RV Motorcycle Lift – What’s That? Which to Choose?

OK so long before we decided to ditch the stick house and move on to the mobile lifestyle both Kala and I were avid motorcyclists. I began riding motorcycles at the age of 6 and the rest is well history… I caught the bug hard and found myself on all manner of motorcycle from cruisers to sportbikes and adventure tourers.  In 2014, my father and I decided to take two weeks off and travel from coast to coast on motorcycles staying in tents under the stars for most of the journey. When I returned I knew two things to be true. One, I never wanted to live in a stick house ever again and two, I needed to find a way to bring a motorcycle along for the adventure.

** Checkout our best practices for loading & unloading your motorcycle from an RV lift here **

So began the search for the ultimate motorcycle transportation system. What were the major requirements for our lift?

  • Tow Vehicle Support – Compatible with flat towing our jeep behind the lift 
  • High Capacity – Beastie our BMW isn’t light, we needed at least 900lb of lift capacity for our bike & bags
  • Serviceability  Ability to field service on the road, minimal custom or complex parts
  • Removability – Ability to easily move from one RV to another or remove completely without additional welding
  • Value  The sky is the limit with custom RV accessories, we prefer to stay away from that upper limit 🙂

OK so now that we had our requirements it was time to look at what our options where. We found three major products in the market place.

Note: We are not sponsored by Cruiserlift or any other lift company. This video is purely informational, not promotional. – livinlite.net

Hydralifthydralift-usa.com – known to many as the Cadillac of motorcycle lifts. They offer lifts for just about anything from motorcycles to golf carts and ATV’s. This lift is powered by a hydraulic system. Hydraulics are capable of lifting massive loads and for the most part are extremely reliable. This is the same systems used in heavy machinery like backhoes and large garbage trucks. Serious stuff but also the most expensive coming in at around 5,000 dollars.

Cruiserliftcruiserlift.com – Another popular option for motorcycle lifts. Cruiserlift offers a winch based system that is also removable which is a nice plus from other manufacturers.  Heavy duty system mounts to a 3 point hitch system that must be installed on your rig prior to use. The cruiserlift system retails for 3000.00 dollars.

Overbuilt Lifts – overbuiltlifts.com -A great lift from a company who has been making them probably longer than anyone else in the business. This lift is also mounts to a standard 3 point hitch system. The overbuilt lift sells for approximately 3000 dollars.

Let’s start with the Hydralift. We saw someone in a park with this thing and it was pretty impressive. The unit itself is mounted to the RV frame making it a serious system. There were fewer pins, connections and other modular parts on the Hydralift than on any other system we looked at. Serious welding and serious strength. It lifted a golf cart into the air like it was nothing. I mean seriously, hydraulics are awesome, that’s what lifts cars up in the air at your local mechanic shop! We also really liked that because of the frame based design, it meant this unit resulted in a low total vehicle length and that resulted in it being the easiest to load in our opinion because the lift was able to go completely to the ground. Awesome system but not the one we chose. Let’s talk about why…  First, it was pricy, coming it far above other units at around 5,000 bucks. That was definitely a huge factor as Kala and I were hurting big time after the purchase of our Entegra Coach. Second, it wasn’t removable without involving a welder.. While we loved the Entega we loved our motorcycles more so we knew if we ever upgraded our coach, we’d have to pay another welding fee to remove it (and put back on the original hitch, that we’d have to store in the meantime). Third, while hydraulics are cool they also are messy and a pain. My father works in heavy construction and excavators, backhoes and other big machines are commonplace in my family. Hydraulics are complex systems that love to make messes and are expensive to fix. I definitely didn’t want to deal with that on the side of the road in the middle of the night.

Next we looked at the Overbuilt Lift. This lift caught our eye as Blue OX the well known tow bar company had lent their name to one of the units. It had to be good right? We also loved that it had been around for quite a while. The folks at Overbuilt run a small custom fabrication shop in Lake Katrine, NY and they take their craft and family business very seriously. The unit was the most modular of the bunch, meaning it was the fastest and easiest to remove from your RV. Each piece was fairly light and the assembly was pretty straightforward, really cool design.  Still though, we didn’t choose this unit either.. Why? First, our coach is 45 ft, and the tail of our rig sits over 6 feet behind our rear wheels. The overbuilt lift sat the lowest of the 3 and we were worried it might bottom out or just put our motorcycle in harms way of rocks and other road debris. That said it was a serious contender coming it at 2999.99

Cruiserlift, the unit we ended up purchasing. In the end it came to the forums and comments from other owners. We did our research and found a number of blog posts discussing the Hydralift and Cruiserlift. We didn’t see a lot of posts discussing the Overbuilt lift at the time, but that may have just been poor use of Google.  Both Cruiserlift and Hydralift had their fans but after doing our research we were sure of our decision to choose the Cruiserlift. Here are our top 5 reasons.

** Checkout our best practices for loading & unloading your motorcycle from an RV lift here **

One, we liked that it was removable and that we could install it on other coaches if we ended up changing coaches. Two, it lifted the motorcycle high in the air and out of harm’s way. Three, the manufacturer was in Katy Texas, only a short distance from Dallas where we purchased our RV (location, location, location!). Four, every part on the cruiserlift I could buy either at Walmart or at an autoparts store. We loved that when the warranty expired, there were not many parts on this unit that we couldn’t easily pick up. Lastly, value, coming in at 2999 it was the same price as the Overbuilt lift but gave us some extra features we were looking for. In the end Cruiserlift ended up being the best all around purchase for us but which one would you choose? Share you comments below, we’d love to hear your thoughts!


Erik McCauley

Comments

  1. Mike Peek Says: June 27, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    Erik, thanks for posting this. Also in IT and avid cyclist. This was really helpful.

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