Moto Lift ML-12 Motorcycle Lift Review

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Moto Lift ML-12 Motorcycle Table

Forget the days of jury-rigging projects with duct tape and hope. Today’s consumers are embracing professional-grade tools for everything from home improvement to creative pursuits. These tools not only streamline the process, making tasks less time-consuming and frustrating, but they also unlock a level of quality that was previously reserved for the pros. Whether it’s a precision miter saw for woodworking or a powerful photo editing program, consumers are taking control and achieving impressive results.

We see this with the plethora of “Professional Grade” drills, wrenches, pliers, saws, and a myriad of other hand tools at every big box home improvement store. Visit any motorcycle shop and one tool becomes immediately visible. Every mechanics bay features one, and sometimes two motorcycle lifts per technician.

At least I noticed so when the owner of the vintage British motorcycle shop decided to retire after 50 years of balancing Amal carburetors, adjusting tappet valves and replacing zener diodes, I jumped at the opportunity to buy his well worn, well used, battered motorcycle table that had been in professional service for thirty years already. I continued to use it in my own garage for another twenty years.

Canyon Chasers SV650 army race bike

There are few things that enhance the motorcycle ownership experience more than a motorcycle lift. I didn’t know this at first, of course. Kneeling on cardboard and concrete, maybe occasionally using a stool was the way of the world. The best you’ve known is the best there is. It wasn’t so bad when I was in my 20’s, but it’s pretty awful these days.

Comparing that old professional table with cheaper alternatives from Harbor Freight cemented the idea that if it’s something that gets a lot of use, “professional grade” is worth the price of entry.

But nothing lasts forever so when it came time to replace that table that was surely older than I was, I had enough experience to know that first, a lift table is something I am unwilling to live without and second, there were several things about that old table that made me crazy.

While not cheap, there are plenty of motorcycle lift tables on the market, all claiming to be professional. But in my research, one stood out from the rest.

Moto Lift ML-12 Motorcycle Lift Review

The Moto Lift ML-12 Pneumatic Motorcycle Lift. Made by the fine folks over at No Mar who brought scratch free tire changing stations into the hands of thousands of home-garage motorcycle enthusiasts, it immediately got my attention based on my own very positive ownership experience with that changer.

Right on the top of their product page they proclaim, “we have used many brands of lift over the last 20 years and have now developed our own, re-engineering the quirks and deficiencies of other brands […] designed to be your favorite lift.”

The major frustrations I’ve had working with other tables over the years. The wheel chock usually sucks. Either it won’t fit a 190/200 width rear tire, or it’ll pinch the brake rotors on modern superbikes, or it won’t adequately pinch larger 19-21” front wheels. I was so frustrated with the wheel chock on my old table I just removed it and ran without one.

There tend to only be one or two tie down points. Lifting a bike up into the air, I want to rest assured that it wont fall off the table, or worse, fall on me.

Canyon Chasers Shop Filming Studio

Too short! This wasn’t a problem years ago, but both the Multistrada 1200 and Aprilia RSV4; the rear stand hangs off the back of the table to the point where this one time the Multi literally started to roll off the back of the elevated table – making those tie down points even more critical. This was not something I ever wanted to experience again.

Leaky seals. OMG! This will make anyone batty. Even on relatively new tables I’ve used at other shops, air ramps seem to just want to leak air and dealing with leaky air seals is the worst part of having a table. Basically, you’d put the table into position. Unhook everything, all the air leaks out of the ram over the course of an hour (depending on how bad the leak is) finally some silence just in time to lower the table and the process starts all over again.

Moto Lift ML-12 Motorcycle Lift Goodyear Air Spring instead of an Air Ram

Not enough height settings. The lowest settings are too tall and the highest settings are too low. Better than kneeling on the ground but if we’re making a better table…

The grey color. This one is probably unique to me. But most tables come in grey or black or blue. The perfect color for tools, nuts and bolts to flat out disappear right in front of your eyes. This made me crazy, I spray painted my old table a bright red just so I could stop loosing things.

Going down the list of features on the Moto Lift motorcycle lift:

  • The wheel chalk takes front and rear wheels and has an adjustment for depth to accommodate any wheel sizes I’m likely to encounter.
  • An “E-Track” Connector system.  Basically, six tie down points using a cool quick-release strap system.
  • A Goodyear Air Spring instead of a ram.  Less likely to leak and if it fails, replacements can be found at most auto-parts stores.
  • More height settings and a longer deck!
  • A bright orange color option!

On top of that, the ramp is extra-long. Two benefits here. It’s easier to push a heavy bike up onto the table because it’s not as steep, and if you have a low-slung bike, it’s not going to drag. I’ve almost dropped a bike when the frame hit on the way up the ramp.

Moto Lift ML-12 Motorcycle Lift adjustable wheel chalk

The foot pedal features an air exhaust silencer! The sound of blowing compressed air is an especially big contributor to hearing loss. 

Moto Lift ML-12 Motorcycle Lift Foot Pedal Air Exhaust Silencer

Shipment comes via freight, so unless you have access a loading ramp (I don’t) the table will likely be delivered to a shipping center.   It took less than a week, I borrowed a flat bed trailer and the very large palette was loaded by a forklift.  Employing the help of a few friends we shuffled it into place in the garage.  It’s close to 600lbs in the crate, so caution is advised. Detailed instructions make setting it up a breeze, but lets be honest here. It’s a motorcycle table. It’s not all that complicated, right.

Moto Lift ML-12 Motorcycle Lift Adjustable Wheel Chalk

Living with the table for the last several months has been great. The screw on the wheel chalk, I’m not sure what’s different about it, but it’s the easiest one I’ve ever used! It’s fast and super easy to set the tension.  

Moto Lift ML-12 Motorcycle Lift Orange

I love the bright orange!  Bolts don’t disappear.  The paint finish has proven to be very easy to clean up and the bright glossy finish helps reflect light onto the bottom of the bike.  It comes in grey or red, but I think orange is the correct color, not for aesthetic (although I do think it looks great) but for much more practical reasons.

Moto Lift ML-12 Motorcycle Lift E-Track Connector

Far and away, the best feature is the E-Track quick connectors.  They are inspired. Securing the bike is quick and easy and doesn’t require much effort to get right. But also, they’ve developed a saddle clamp that uses the same E-track connection points.  The saddle clamp uses a long pole to hold a brake reservoir up near the bikes handlebars making brake/clutch bleeds just a little bit easier.  For such a common task this is a really nice touch!

Moto Lift ML-12 Motorcycle Lift Heavy Ramp

I have a hard time coming up with anything I don’t like about table, but if there was one thing it would be the ramp.  Some tables are designed so the ramp can stay in place while elevated.  While the Moto Lift ramp does stay in place, this isn’t really how it’s intended to be used.  Because it’s so long, leaving it in place would make for a long walk around the back of the bike, and how it attaches It really should be removed. But because the ramp is nice and long, it’s also kinda’ heavy.  At least they put in an intuitive grab handle.

Moto Lift ML-12 Motorcycle Lift Adjustable Height

I’ve been exceedingly happy with the table!  It works as advertised with a lot of nice “quality of life” features that I’ve come to expect from No Mar.  The table kinda’ just disappears which is meant as high praise because it allows you to focus more on the task at hand.

The elephant in the room is while it is priced competitively, It’s not especially cheap.  I think it’s a purchase that needs to be considered with amortization in mind.  Shop rates are starting to climb upwards of $150 an hour and I don’t anticipate them ever coming back down.  It doesn’t take many jobs done at home before a purchase like this starts to pay for itself. 

Motorcycle mechanic replacing fork seals

For example, bring your bike in for new forks seals, it’s a $600 job.  Bring your forks into the shop for new fork seals, it’s a $60 job.  That’s 25% of the cost of the table right there. Now think of all the little tasks that are easier when you can stand next to your bike to work on it. Oil changes, installing a slip-on, new chain and sprockets, new brake pads. It doesn’t take many jobs before the table pays for itself.

Like I said earlier, a motorcycle lift table is something I’m unwilling to be without and I’m quite happy that the Moto Lift from No Mar was able to take something I’ve always loved having and then managed to improve a lot of the niggling issues I’ve had with other tables I’ve used.

Learn more about the Moto Lift ML-12 Motorcycle Lift at https://www.nomartirechanger.com/motorcycle-lifts.html and then order yourself the orange one!

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2 comments

  1. Jason 18 April, 2024 at 06:05 Reply

    Sorry to be nit-picky, but it’s a wheel CHOCK (a device to hold a wheel), not a CHALK (which is used to MARK wheels).
    Sorry to be that guy, but I’m a bit OCD and using the right word matters to me!

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