I ordered my Indian Chief Vintage in November 2013, and took delivery towards the end of March 2014. I’m very happy with the bike; the style, the handling, the power and the finish are great. Let’s not mention the leather fade, ok? They have a fix for it anyway now 🙂
One thing that perplexed me a little was that in the design of the bike, not one thought was given to lifting the bike via a bike lift to clean, check oil levels or even store my bike. Underneath is all over the place… three plugs in one place, ABS brake lines in another, and bolt channels from front to back in the crank case.
I tried two “cheaper” bike lifts which ended up being returned, and I found a US made bike lift which looked well made, but the whole weight of the bike(370kg or so) rested on the smallish crank case and the brake lines, plus they cost about $600.
So I was talking to Skol from Ozbike about the “dilemma” at the Bankstown Custom Motorcycle show, and he replied with “I have just the guy for you – come with me.”
He took me down to a trade stall and introduced me to Ian the designer of IB Bike lifts. We chatted for a while, and finally I think I may have convinced Ian to take it on as a challenge to develop an adapter for his bike lift to suit the new Indians. I had one of his lifts delivered anyway as I have a Harley Fatbob as well, and the stock IB Bike lift fits it to perfection as there are not many lifts on the market that will fit a Dyna.
After several trips to Brisans Motorcycles at Newcastle (the local Indian Motorcycle dealer), Ian had come up with an adapter design, and went into production. A few days later I received the first one in the post, and eagerly replaced the existing rails with the new Indian ones.
When you see the adapter, you’ll see just how difficult Indian has made it to get something which fits. I slipped it under the bike, carefully aligning the left side of the lift with the contact points on the bike (rear engine mount and front knobby thing near the side stand bracket).
I then started to pump the hydraulic jack handle, and the bike gradually lifted and dropped onto the right side lift points (right rear engine mount, and right front engine mount). From there it was up, up and away.
There are quite a few things I like about this lift. It has a very solid, square “footprint”. Not long and narrow like some of those “other” brands made in China. The hydraulic lift has a (yellow) locking mechanism which drops down once it gets to a certain height. This prevents the bike from lowering by itself in case of failure. But you keep pumping beyond this point. The lock is there simply as a safety measure ONLY.
Also, with regard to the lift’s footprint, it has a very low profile, so it will easily hang on a wall (with the optional wall mount bracket).
Another thing I like about this lift is its very smooth drop speed, controlled by a screw at the base of the jack bottle. Other lifts I have tried use a foot pedal, which ends up being a very jerky ride down indeed.
The finishes are great – I got the “hammertone gun metal” colour, but you can buy them in orange and black as well.
There are mounting points in the end of the frame for tie downs, but, I have to admit, I’ve never tied down a bike on a lift.
The lift has been AUSTRALIAN designed and engineered certified, and has Working Load Limit (WLL) of 450kg, although I believe it will lift quite a bit more than that.
Finally, there is the price. At $400 delivered, that’s pretty darn good. Simply mention that you have an Indian (the new Spirit Lake ones), and the correct adapters will be fitted and shipped with it. If you already have one of these lifts, or you have more than one bike, the extra adapter rails are available for $60 per pair (plus postage). Ian tells me he has over FORTY different adapter rails to suit different brands and models of bikes. I’m not sure I know of another manufacturer in the world who can boast that, plus he has been doing these lifts for 15 years.
With white wall tyres and valanced guards like the Spirit Lake Indians come with, it is almost a MUST to have a bike lift if only to make cleaning easier – and less back-breaking.
For more information, please visit the contact page.