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DIY cradle for California 1400 jack and roller: try or bail?

Discussion in 'Cal 1400 8V' started by Pete BoBeet, Jan 11, 2021.

  1. Pete BoBeet

    Pete BoBeet Just got it firing! GT Famiglia

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    I was given a high-quality US-made jack and matching roller (probably for Harleys) to roll my 2014 Cal 1400 around my cramped garage. The bottom of the bike frame goes from horizontal to angled (toward the swingarm) and, because the bike seems rear-heavy (maybe it's the panniers and top case), there's nothing under the angled part to meet the jack or roller. Jacking the bike under the frame as close to the rear as I could still left the rear wheel on the ground. My idea was to build a temporary cradle and mount it under the frame to "extend" the horizontal area of the frame so I could move the jack and roller toward the rear where I needed them for balance and to raise the rear wheel. I made a cradle out of 1-1/4" drilled steel tubing and 1/4" flat stock and bolted it together with Grade 8 bolts. I had to notch and brace the cradle on the shifter side to clear welds on the frame. The cradle has 2 cross braces to secure the sections at proper distances. The upper arms are a slip fit over the rectangular cross-piece on the swingarm frame (clearing vital parts), and the front ends of the cradle bolt to U-nuts I set on the handy holes on the bike frame near the crash bar bolts. Now that I've built it, the big question is, would I damage my bike by lifting it with the swing arm and the frame bearing the weight? Not worth trying if damage is possible Assembled cradle.jpg Unmounted cradle.jpg Mounted Cradle.jpg . Thank you all in advance.
     
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  2. kiwi dave

    kiwi dave GT Reference

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    I can't see why it wouldn't work.

    But it seems overkill to me. I just position the hydraulic motorcycle lift I have as far back as possible, the pump it until both wheels are in the air. The front does lift first, but the rear eventually follows.

    If I want the rear only to lift, I put my front wheel into a wheel cradle and then run strops from the handlebars and the wall the cradle is against. Then using the hydraulic motorcycle lift, I can get the rear high in the air. This is especially useful when removing the rear wheel, as the rear brake mechanism has to be removed for the rear wheel can be freed from the splines.
     
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  3. Pete BoBeet

    Pete BoBeet Just got it firing! GT Famiglia

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    Thank you, Kiwi Dave. I appreciate your insight and helpful advice. The jack I have, on its own, does not lift the bike high enough for the rear wheel to follow and lift off, so of course that remains the case when the bike is lowered onto the roller. Maybe I should try a combination of a taller jack, roller, and secure blocking. There is value in keeping things simple.
     
  4. James Chance

    James Chance Cruisin' Guzzisti

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    I have one of the Harbor Freight ATV lifts. California1400 Custom here. Same issues completely. My solution was to take an 8 foot 2x4, and whack it up in to 18" pieces. I then started making blocks out of screwing two (or more) pieces together, so I had an assortment of blocks. I position these towards the rear edge of the lift's platform. I also have added the frontwheel chock being strapped to the handlebars approach to keeping the front wheel on the ground approach. Not the most stable platform, but it sure is easier to deal with the space requirements than with a real lift...
     
  5. roadventure

    roadventure High Miler GT Famiglia

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    Well, the swing arm and frame hold the bike up when parked and riding. So, it only seems logical that they would continue to do so when lifting with a jack.

    Your creation looks good. I like it. Maybe, in time you will see ways to simplify it. Excellent first effort!
     
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  6. Pete BoBeet

    Pete BoBeet Just got it firing! GT Famiglia

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    Yikes! I just deleted what I thought was a duplicate post, so I will try to re-create what I just wrote.-Pete

    Thank you, Dave! It is nice to hear encouraging words!

    I gave it a go last night and the cradle worked great. I am now able to roll my bike around the garage easily. As a side note, I do not want to state the brand name of the roller and jack since Guzzitech sells a jack and I do not want to do anything resembling an endorsement of a competing product out of respect for Todd and his company. The roller and jack were a gift from my family, God bless 'em.

    The jack is crude but effective. For those who are interested, the 1/4"x 1-1/4" steel flat stock and the 1-1/4" square predrilled steel tubing were readily available at my local big box store. The 5/16" Grade 8 bolts, nuts and washers, the 1-1/4" plastic furniture tips (that fit in the ends of the tubing to prevent scratching the swing arm brace and to guard the ends of the tubing), and the 5/16"-shaft diameter plastic automotive hood insulation clips (used for shims and to prevent scratching the frame) were all available at my local hardware store. I also covered the 1/4" flat stock that slides over the rectangular swingarm brace with some 10 mil tape I had handy to prevent scratching the brace. Tools used: a measuring tape, a vise, a hacksaw, a drill press and drill bits, metal files (round and flat), and a 1" bi-metal hole saw (for cutting semi-circular notches in the tubing to clear the semi-circular welded lugs near the shifter and kickstand). Better tools and a welding rig might make this a simpler project but, for now, it's good enough.

    Thanks, again, Dave. Ride safely! (That goes for the rest of us, too.)
     

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