Picking Up a Heavyweight Motorcycle

No matter how careful a rider is, no matter how skilled, no matter if he is a professional or someone like me who rides for freedom and fun — there may come a time when the rider drops his bike.

In the case shown above, the officer was attempting to ride very slowly through a course, lost control, and dropped his motorcycle. That happens even to the best of them.

What the officer is showing is what we are taught in advanced motorcycle safety training courses. Here is how to lift a heavy motorcycle if it is dropped:

1. Stop the engine and if you can make sure the bike is in gear (so it won’t roll once it is righted). If the bike is on it’s right side, put the sidestand down before trying to lift it. If the bike has a gas petcock, turn the valve to the “off” position.

2. Back up into the bike with your body. That’s right! Don’t face the bike to try to lift it — use the power of your legs to lift it. It is safer for your back and your body to do it this way.

3. Place your butt in the mid-section of the seat (back toward the motorcycle), not too close to the edge. Keep your back straight and your head up.

4. Grab the handlebar grip with the hand closest to it. Pull the handlebars as close to the gas tank as you are able. Find a place to grab with the other hand.

5. Put your feet fairly close together, about 12″ (30cm) apart. Press the bike using your legs and rear to lift it up. Your hands will guide it. Take small steps backwards. Once you have the bike sufficiently lifted, reach the hand that is not on the handlebars over and grab the other grip. Straighten the handlebars.

6. Be careful to go slowly enough that you don’t push the bike over onto the opposite side.

Before remounting and restarting the motorcycle, check it carefully for damage that may interfere with safe operation. Cosmetic damages like a broken turn signal lens or scratched paint do not interfere with your ability to ride the bike. However, damage to steering alignment, brake pedal, gear shifter, or other parts may require that the bike be towed to a repair shop to be fixed before being ridden again.

That’s it! Don’t be embarrassed, because it happens to almost all bikers eventually. Using this method, you can lift the bike yourself — even a bike that weights many times your own weight. The trick is using leverage to your advantage, not mere physical strength.

Life is short: ride safely!