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Abba Skylift with the Tracer


Wintersdark

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So I've had the Skylift for about a month now, figured I'd do a review and picture show of it's use. 

As I've said in other discussions, overall it's an extremely good piece of kit.  Quick and easy to hook up a bike and lift, lots of options in specifically how you lift.  In the following, I'll show lifting in "wheelie" position, but it's very flexible.  You can lift with the bike in wheelie position, level, or stoppie position with the rear wheel raised.  With a little experience, you can go from the bike on the sidestand to fully lifted in about two minutes without rushing. 

Step one - holding the bike upright, kickstand and center stand raised.  Roll the stand in, and lift or lower the left side swingarm pivot bit with the D-shaped fitting until it fits into the swingarm pivot.  You want it a bit low, so the bike leans slightly into the lift.  This allows the lift to support the bike without the right side brace in. 

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Step two - Insert the right side brace, lock it in position with the handle set screw at it's base, then use the T handle to apply tension across the swingarm pivot and hold the bike securely.  Use the attached allen key to lock the brace in position with the second set screw for extra safety (there are two, because when you tension the t-handle the upright will pivot outwards some because of play inside the "sleeve" at the base of the upright - you want that to move before setting both set screws tightly):

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Step 3 - This step differs depending on which lift position you want.  In this case, for wheelie position, you run the provided strap from the (also provided) swingarm spool to a bobbin in the base of the lift.  This allows the rear tire to lift off the ground, but keeps it just a couple inches up and forces the bike to pivot up into wheelie position.  Alternatively, you can insert a bar into the body of the lift (note the square hole in the red where the upright and base meet) and strap the rear wheel to that, which will cause the bike to lift level, or finally you can not strap the rear at all, which will lift just the rear end of the bike keeping the front wheel on the ground.

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For the curious, in this position the rear wheel is about 3" off the ground.  The center stand *just barely* clears the lift: image.thumb.jpeg.72a5a57ec3cb59fb2cc88e8ee35e2fdc.jpeg

For some bikes, if you don't have a center stand, you can continue to tighten the strap between the swingarm and frame and stand the bike up nearly completely vertically, but that's not happening with out center stand.  That's not something supported by Abba, mind you, but it's something I've watched videos of people doing successfully. 

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Total front wheel lift in wheelie position.  This would be a very effective winter storage solution, as the bike doesn't use any more "footprint" than the lift itself, is quite secure, no wheels on the ground getting flat spots, and it's very easy to move around.  

 

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It might be a bit hard to tell from the pics, but, in person, it's a very compact piece of kit.  It looks like it'll fold up / break down into dang near nothing and take up next to no storage space.  Great value, overall.

2015 FJ-09 / FJR touring bags / oil plug mod / Evotech rad guard / SW Motech bash plate / VStream touring windshield / Seat Concepts:  Sport Touring / Vcyclenut ABS rings (speedo correction) / Cosmo RAM mount

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But how do you remove the swing arm for maintenance?

I presume you could pull the shock using it with another jack to unload the linkage

Interesting but with my Handy Loft table and Pit Bull stands and my home made gantry to remove the shock and triple tree in my cozy shop, I really have no need for it.

I spent probably less years ago for my NoMar and static balancer, which has paid for itself 5 times over in time and $.

Use it in good health 

BTW storing a bike in either the wheelie or stoppie position has the crank exposed to  oxygen and the corrosion versus if level

 

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1 hour ago, 2and3cylinders said:

But how do you remove the swing arm for maintenance?

They have a kit for that, enabling attachment to something other than the swingarm pivot bolt

The Swing arm removal kit is a universal kit made to work in conjunction with the abba Superbike Stand & Sky Lift for removal of the Swing-Arm.

The kit works by removing your original foot rest hanger bolts on both sides of your bike, the swing arm removal kit then bolts directly to the bike frame in the foot rest hanger position with the bolts supplied (8mm thread).

Once fitted the superbike stand/Sky lift will then locate on the swing arm removal kit. This will then give you full access to the swing arm pivot bolt so the swing-arm can be completely removed.

When lifting in this way the whole bike can be disassembled down to the bare frame.

abba-swing-arm-removal-kit-02.jpg

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On 4/10/2023 at 2:53 PM, knyte said:

It might be a bit hard to tell from the pics, but, in person, it's a very compact piece of kit.  It looks like it'll fold up / break down into dang near nothing and take up next to no storage space.  Great value, overall.

Yep - the horizontal "legs" on the base are butted against stops inside the tubes, and held in place with allen key set screws.  You can remove/install all the legs in less than a minute, so the whole assembly can be dismantled and stored easily.  

 

22 hours ago, 2and3cylinders said:

But how do you remove the swing arm for maintenance?

I presume you could pull the shock using it with another jack to unload the linkage

Interesting but with my Handy Loft table and Pit Bull stands and my home made gantry to remove the shock and triple tree in my cozy shop, I really have no need for it.

I spent probably less years ago for my NoMar and static balancer, which has paid for itself 5 times over in time and $.

Use it in good health 

BTW storing a bike in either the wheelie or stoppie position has the crank exposed to  oxygen and the corrosion versus if level

 

As @Lone Wolf said, you just need the swingarm removal adapter.  You don't need the Superbike Stand, just adapters that connect to the footpeg mounts instead of the swingarm pivot.  The adapter set is $55 

I'm sure you spent less for your existing table and stands - I'm not trying to sell you a Skylift. It's not like they're gonna send me cookies; I'm just trying to help out people who want a good way to lift their bike for maintenance. I mean, if I already owned a lift table and stands and gantry, I wouldn't have bothered either.  I do own a rear stand, mind you, but that still leaves me crawling around on a cement floor and finding janky ways to lift the front wheel.  

If you were looking to buy now, it's quite hard to beat the deal you get with the Skylift.  It's hard just to find a lift table that costs less than the Skylift alone (I wasn't able to find one even within $500 of the Skylift in Canada!) There's a current sale on a cheap harbour freight table for around $600, but it'll be insecure (requiring tying the bike down, as the wheel chock is super janky), and all the problems still remain dealing with wheel/suspension work.  You're realistically looking at a bare minimum of $1300 for an entry level quality lift table.  A set of pitbull stands is around $400 now.  There's often lots of other stuff you need too, particularly if you want to remove both wheels at the same time.  The Skylift is $775; and is a *killer* bargain at that point. Add $55 for the swingarm adapters and you're rocking $825.  If you've got more bikes, you do need extra adapters, which cost $30 if bought with the lift, so for some people (like me and my T7) add another $30.  What you paid for a collection of stuff many years ago isn't particularly useful for someone who has nothing and wants to work on their bike today, particularly given how insane inflation is these days.  Stuff's expensive these days :(

And still - say you bought that HF lift table above on sale.  Now you've paid $155 less, but you need to have room in your garage permanently for a 101"x24" lift table.  That's cool if you've got a big garage, but very problematic if you either don't have a garage at all, have a small one, or simply don't have a big chunk of space you can permanently lose.  I mean, currently, when I'm not using the Skylift I just push it under the shelves in the picture, so it takes up roughly 6" square floor space in front of the shelves.  For me, this is pretty valuable, having just a narrow one-car garage from the 50's. 

Heck, a very practical if kind of extreme use case would be a person living in an apartment could keep a Skylift in their car's trunk, pull it out and lift a bike to do some maintenance, then put it back into their trunk when they are done.  I can only wish I had something like this through most of my riding life.

21 hours ago, ilanr1 said:

Is it good to do some service while it's up ? . I mean secure...

Price spend ?.

As above, $775 for the lift with one set of bike adapters, $55 for the swingarm removal kit (optional; I don't actually have it) and $30 for additional bike adapters.  

You can climb onto the bike when lifted.  It's got a large square base, and holds the weight of the bike in the center of that however you lift it.  Lock the wheels, and it's rock solid stable.  I'm a 300lb guy, and it doesn't care at all - it's rated for some 1500lbs lift, after all, and is VERY secure and stable.  I adjusted my chain tension yesterday with it up, and had no issue removing and retorquing the rear axle nut.  Wheels unlocked, you can grab any part of the bike and roll it around in any direction without any instability of the bike itself. 

The only thing to be aware of is in wheelie or level position, it's holding the rear end down via the strap, and in stoppie position it's resting on the front wheel, so if you put a lot of weight downwards on the rear of the bike you could stand the bike up (more).  This just means when I was working on the rear axle nut at high torque I was pulling up on the wrench vs. pushing down.  Even so, it was trivial to torque that nut without the bike moving even a little bit.  I wouldn't want to remove the engine on the Skylift, but the whole front end is not a problem at all.  

 

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I've already changed rear shock linkages on my T7 on the lift.   Doing so was not only simple, it was a delight.  I lifted the bike in the stoppie position like this:

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Pulled a rolling stool around, sat basically underneath the rear tire (that rear poking red bar just slides out; that's for lifting the bike level and not necessary for this work) and could work directly on the two bolts/nuts on the linkage to remove it.  Ran a ratchet strap over the pillion seat and through the rear wheel to unload the linkage so I could slide the bolts out.  In this position, the rear axle is about 48" off the ground with the T7 which is a hugely tall bike with a very long front end; the Tracer's rear ends up much higher.

Easiest suspension work I've done, hands down. 

Changing a rear shock would be dead, dead simple like this.  So easy to work on both sides at the same time from underneath, no reaching around to hold a wrench on a nut on the opposite side. 

Edited by Wintersdark
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Thank you very much for this comprehensive and helpful review. Very timely as I’ve been deciding whether to buy one. I live in the UK and it’s a real bargain here at at £490 including the tracer adapters and delivery. 

Edited by vic
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7 hours ago, vic said:

Thank you very much for this comprehensive and helpful review. Very timely as I’ve been deciding whether to buy one. I live in the UK and it’s a real bargain here at at £490 including the tracer adapters and delivery. 

That's an awesome deal!

They're good people too.  Before ordering, I had questions regarding how it would fit on my Tenere with its very large aftermarket pegs, and they where very helpful, discussing it at length and provided drawings and measurements of the whole cradle portion so I could be sure it would work.  

It's pretty rare when I'll completely unreservedly promote a product, but I'm absolutely a cheerleader for this.  It's very good kit.

Amongst the local guys, there's some discussion of people chipping in to buy the "technician kit" with the complete set of adapters so everyone can use it - as I've also got an Olmax tire changer, it's super easy for people to lift a bike, pop off wheels and change tires.  Even if they want to bring loose wheels into a shop to have it done, and it's not a problem to have someone's bike standing up in a corner of my garage for a day or two.  The adapter kit is roughly the cost of having the tires changed on the bike for one person, after all. 

I figure it's a worthwhile investment if you've got local buddies who also don't have good ways to lift a bike and change tires.

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Abba have a promotion on just now in the U.K. 10% discount and free delivery. The Skylift now cost £408. 👍  Unfortunately they are out of stock. Back in stock in 2 weeks. 🤞🤞  VERY tempting.😊

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