Collapsible Motorcycle Workstand




The workstand is constructed from two full 4'x8' sheets of plywood.

To build the workstand you will need:
  • Two sheets of 3/4 inch plywood.
  • One lb box of 1 1/4 inch drywall screws per bench being built
  • One small bottle of woodglue.
  • 12 2" hinges if you want it to fold down (strongly recommended)
  • Saw (table preferred, tho you _could_ do it with a hand or jig saw)
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
I put these plans together back in 2001. Since then they have been republished and re-used, but I've noticed it's getting harder to find. I decided to publish the instructions and plans here on Instructables in the hopes others can continue to find them easily and build their own workstands. :)

NOTE: It's possible to use 20/32nd sheets instead of 3/4"... even for my old 660lb Concours. However for anything heavier use the 3/4". I've loaded full dresser harlies and gold wings on this stand without problem. If you want to temporarily use the sidestand while getting the bike up onto the stand (especially helpful when loading the bike alone) I recommend the 3/4 also be used for lighter bikes. Using the centerstand is no problem with this thiner board and I just double up with a small sheet under the center stand. Even for the heavy Connie I've had good success with just having a second piece of 20/32nd board about 12" wide and 24" long to set the sidestand on. For light sportbikes, the only time I needed additional bracing was for kickstand usage while transferring to a rear wheel stand. You can either brace with a 2x4 directly under the kickstand under the wing down to the floor, or place a piece of ply under the kickstand bridging the main stand and the wing for extra rigidity.

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Step 1: Cutting Out the Pieces

As each piece it cut, it should be labeled with a pencil for later assembly and easy identification! Also, when references are given to the "top" of a piece, it shall refer to the top of the piece as oriented on the layout diagram.

Step 2: Sheet One Parts

Start by ripping the two G pieces off at 12" from the top of sheet one, This piece will be ripped in
half in a few cuts so don't adjust the fence on the tablesaw yet.

Next rip the right side of the remainder of sheet one at 12" for the two H1 and H2 pieces. This will also be ripped to correct size in just a bit but there is one more 12" cut left. Now rip from the top of the remainder of sheet one piece A.

Now we will rip the first cut piece for G in half to yield both G pieces at 12" X 47.94" (48" minus width of the blade, just aim for the middle)

Now set your fence for 17.25" and rip the two H pieces from your second cut piece and toss the excess.

Now back to the main sheet. Rip from the right side so that the total width is now 82.75" then cut from the top piece I at 10.25"

Rip from the side of the main sheet so that it is now 82.5" and set your fence for 10.5" and cut Piece M.

Set your fence to 2" and rip piece K1. The piece that is left should be just about 1/2", this will be piece L1 and were done with sheet one.

Step 3: Sheet Two Parts

Start with the fence set to 17.25" and rip from the top all the way across twice. This will be the pieces used
for B1, B2, H3, and H4.

Set the fence at 12" and rip from the right side from both pieces just cut pieces B and H.

Set the fence at 2" and rip from the remainder of the sheet the two R pieces with one cut, then cut this into
two pieces for R1 and R2 at 2" X 48"

Set your fence at 12.25" and cut from the right side of the remainder of the sheet piece C1. You will need to
trip the bottom of this piece for correct size at 10.5 yielding a finished piece 12.25" X 10.5"

Now rip the remainder of sheet two down to 82.75" and set your fence for 4"

Rip the two J pieces as rectangles for now, we'll make the final angle cut later.

Rip the remainder of sheet two down to 82.5" and set your fence to 2".

Rip Piece K2, and like with sheet one the remainder will be L2.

And were done with sheet 2... and now ready to start assembly!

Step 4: Cutouts

Now we need to complete pieces B1, B2 D, E1, E2, F, N, O, P, and create piece C2.

Pieces B1 and B2 will have four sections cutout. Pieces B should be fastened together so the cutouts match.
Two sized cutouts of 7.00" X 13.00" and 7.00" X 19.00". The 7.00" X 13.00" cutout will be made 7.25" from the top and 3.00" in from the side of each end. The next two cutouts will be made in from the first by 4.75" or 20.75" in from each end and still 7.25" down from the top. This should yield an ~4.50" section in the middle of the final two cutouts. Once you have your cutout lines marked there are two approaches to cutting out depending on your ability to cut a straight line and/or tools at hand. Either drill a hole in each corner and cutout the entire piece with a jigsaw, or take a circular skill saw and saw the lines close to the corners and finish with a jig or hand saw. Either way, try and make sure that the cuts are as close to straight as possible and many pieces will be cutout from the scrap from these holes.

Once you have all found sections cutout separate pieces B (take care on orientation so that when assembling the
two sides the holes still line up, natch) take the scrap pieces and set them aside.

If you have a tablesaw you might find it easy to 'square up' these pieces first before cutout out the next
pieces by running one side through and then flipping it over and using that as your new straight edge. It will probably take several passes but you should be able to square up the pieces and not loose too much material. Take care not to cut the height down below 6.125 as there are two pieces of this height, and one at 6"!

Save two pieces of the 7" X 19" for piece C2!

Now cutout pieces D, E1, E2, F, J1, J2, N, O, and P as rough sized rectangles, Piece D is 5" X 10.5", pieces E1
and E2 are 4" X 10.5", Piece F is 6" X 10.5", Piece N is 4" X 8.75" (adjust if using 20/32nd board), Piece O is 2" X 8.75" (adjust is using 20/32nd board), and piece P is 3.88" X 8.75" (adjust is using 20/32nd board)

Set E1, E2, & O aside as they are finished.

Piece C2 will be manufactured as two pieces cutout from the two reserved 7" X 19" and then glued together. You
can also create a backing piece to glue/screw on and face inside, but this is optional and just eases assembly if glue is not yet dry when assembling the final unit. To form Piece C2 you need to take the squared up 7" X 19" pieces (now probably closer to 6.5" X 18") and cut these down to two pieces 6.125" X 10.5", then glue the two pieces together along the 6.125" to form one piece 12.25" X 10.5". If you wish to put the backing plate on cut a piece of scrap 3" X 10.5" and glue/screw this piece on the back (inside of the main box), but again, this is optional and only makes assembly easier if pieces are not dried at assembly as it should not make a difference to structural strength as load bearing is straight down.

Now locate pieces D, F, J1, J2, N, & P.

Piece D should have two sections cut out of the upper right corner and upper left corners along the top at
0.50"X3.00" each to yield a piece with 4.50" left from the 10.50" width.

Piece F should have from the top cut out the two 1.00"X1.00" corners cut out, then cutout from the middle along
the top leaving a section 2.00"X1.00" next to these corners cutout.

Pieces J1 and J2 should be temporarily attached together like B was to have one corner cut each cut out. Mark
along the top at 19.25" and then draw a line with a straightedge to the bottom corner on the same side. Cut along this line

Piece N should have the top center section cutout 1.00" deep leaving the two outside edges intact at 1.88"
width. The notch on the top of piece D should be able to fit inside of this cutout when completed.

Piece P cutout is similar to piece D but the cutout dimensions are 2.00" by 0.75" leaving a notch 4.75" X 0.75"
across the top left.

Step 5: Assembly

After all pieces have been cutout assembly can begin. From here on when the word "attach" is used, that means
to glue and screw the pieces together. Be liberal with the glue and wipe up whatever excess spooges out the sides. Screws should be set unless otherwise specified at 6" intervals, tho as long as you don't split the wood you can never have too many, error on the side of too many than not enough. :)

Steps for Assembly
  1. Attach the Inner rails L1 and K1 to piece B1. The top of L1 should be 1" from the bottom of B1, the top of K1 should be 12.25" from the bottom of B1. Repeat with L2, K2, and B2. Ensure that the cut holes match up on both B pieces when the rails are faced to each other, and that 3/4" is left on each side to allow room for end panel pieces C1 and C2.
  2. Now attach end panel C1 to one side of B1 and rest B2 against C1 as well. Lay bottom shelf piece M along the bottom rail and ensure fit is good and square. After making sure there is room for C2 and the end as well, attach C1 to pieces B1 and B2, slide in bottom shelf piece M, and secure piece C2 to the other end.
  3. Attach bottom shelf M to rails L1 and L2
  4. Attach Work surface Piece A to the top of the main box. Ensure that the sides are flush and ends are square.
  5. Attach spacer piece E1 to the piece C1 square and flush with the top of the piece, repeat with pieces E2 and C2. Use plenty of glue and at least 8 screws. Pattern the screws such that the next piece can be attached in a similar pattern but missing the screws. A pattern resembling a 5 on a dice is recommend.
  6. Attach piece F to E1 such that the two fingers are pointed up, and that the cutout section 1" down is square and flush with the top of piece E1 so that the bottom of the notched pieces allow the ramp piece P can pass over when extracting the ramp. This eliminates the possibility that the ramp can fall off when loading a bike Repeat with pieces D and E2 but such that piece N can pass over D, but catch piece P after the ramp is extended out two feet. This will allow the motorcycle to be rolled out onto the end and provide temporary support while the motorcycle is fastened with a centerstand (or rear stand and jack under engine) and tie down to allow the ramp to then be slid back in for storage and allow the front end or front wheel of the bike to be taken off.
  7. The next step is to construct the ramp itself. Start with attaching pieces J to the bottom surface (not sides) of the ramp surface Piece I.
  8. Ramp Construction completion is done by attaching the Outer Ramp Handle piece N with cutout facing away from the Ramp Surface Piece I flush with the end of piece I, and between pieces J on the opposite end from the slant cut.
  9. Attach piece P two feet from the end of the ramp and piece N.
  10. Attach piece O at the end of the ramp near the slant far enough in so that it does not interfere with the ability of the slant cut to touch the ground.
  11. Tool shelf assembly. Start by assembling the Tool Shelf Edge Piece R1 to Tool Shelf Piece G1 with the bottom of the edge of R1 parallel to the underside of piece G1 so that when attached it will form a lip above the top of piece G1. Repeat with pieces R2 and G2.
  12. Locate the position along the top side edge of Side Panel B1 at 18" from the edge where C1 is attached. This will be where the corner where Tool Shelf Piece G1 will locate such that when the ramp side is raised it will form a flush top with Work surface Piece A. Make sure the Tool Shelf Piece G1 is oriented such that the Tool Shelf Edge Piece R1 points away from B1 when folded down so that it is flush with the side. Hinge location should be set 1 foot in from this mark, repeat these steps on the side of B1 where End Piece C2 is attached. Attach the tool shelf. This might be accomplished easiest if the unit if flipped over face down to the ground. Don't worry about the Tool Shelf Edge not allowing Tool Shelf G1 to rest flush against the ground. Press the edges together and fasten the hinges. Repeat these steps on the other side with Tool Shelf Piece G2 and Side Panel B2.
  13. Flip the unit back to face up and ensure the Tool shelves both operate correctly by flipping up to form a single flush work surface and resting flush against the side. Draw a line along the sides of B1 and B2 along where pieces G1 and G2 rest. This will be the line where the side pieces H1, H2, H3, and H4 attach. Attach each piece so that the pieces can be folded flat against the B side pieces and still allow the B pieces to fold flat as well. Pieces H should be mounted such that the bottom of each H piece is flush with the bottom of the B piece so when set down they do not stick below the bottom plane.
  14. Extend the tool shelves and place the H support piece in place. Drill a 1/16" hole through the tool tray and into the H support piece about an inch from the end that will allow a nail to slide in and hold the side support in place incase it is kicked or jarred when working on a bike.
  15. Your stand is now complete. Test by inserting the ramp and sliding it in and out of both sides ensuring that it can not slid more than 2' out the far side and that it can not fall off the near side when loading a bike. You should now be able to load a bike up onto the stand now yourself with little effort. The stand should also fold into a compact unit that will allow items stored in the middle to not fall out and be transported easily via the handholds on each end. If working with a bike on it's sidestand it's recommended you place an additional temporary H support piece under the sidestand to keep the toolshelf from bowing, but it should be just fine for temporary support of a bike without while moving a bike onto a centerstand or rear wheel stand.

Step 6: Use

Setup for use:
  1. Placement - To setup for use, move the stand into an open and flat area where you intend to wrench. Be sure to allow enough room in front of the stand for the ramp to slide out and the front of the bike to be set on it temporarily.
  2. Extend the ramp out the back, hook the edge on the catch, and set it down on the ground.
  3. Extend the side wings and slide the side props under.
  4. Lock the wings with a nail.I drill a hole down through the wing, into the side prop for the wing. This then allows me to drop a framing nail into the hole. The head on the nail keeps it in place and allows for finger removal later. I drill the hole deep enough to allow the nail to store in the side wing when stored. The advantage of the nail "locking" it in place is that way an errant foot can't accidentally kick it out of place while working on the bike... or retard friends who aren't careful while examining the bike while on the stand. Having the wing fold down while piled with tools and parts would be... unpleasant.

Loading the bike onto the stand:
The entire process is very similar to loading the bike into the back of a truck. If you are regularly practiced at doing this, you won't have any problems loading the bike onto the stand. If not, you may want to practice with a truck a few times first as it's a larger platform and while taller, a bit more forgiving.

Until you get some practice at loading onto the stand I would strongly recommend doing this with a helper! Like loading a bike into the back of a truck, you need to get a bit of a run up at the ramp. The incline is NOT to be ridden up, or use the motor to drive the bike up the ramp onto the stand. Muscle power ONLY! You will push the bike up the ramp, covering the front brake to provide stopping power. Push the bike up onto the flat of the stand, and pause once the rear wheel if fully on. Have your helper slide the ramp into the stand, and push out the front. Now walk the bike forward onto the front / extended ramp until you have enough room to fit the rear wheel stand on the wings. You will want the rearstand pivot to be as close to the wing prop as possible for as much bracing as possible, but anywhere within 3-5" should be fine. 3/4" plywood is stronger than you might think it is, after all. With the bike balanced by one person, hold the front brake, and have your helper lever the bike onto the rear stand. Once up, roll the bike back until the front wheel is back on the stand, and extend the ramp back into the case.

If you are using a center stand, the process is similar, tho you may need a chair to stand on to get up high enough to lever the bike up onto it. I could do this myself with my 660# concours, without any helper, tho it did take some practice before I attempted it myself alone the first time. :)

Unloading the bike:
Reverse the loading process. Again, be SURE to keep the front brake covered. You don't want the bike rolling forward or back off the stand while you are busy looking at the other wheel trying line it up on the ramp.

Step 7: Advanced Use

The Stand has an "Advanced" use which allows the front end to be easily removed or the front wheel pulled. This will require a stand and a jack, as seen in the photos.

Motorcycle rolled up onto stand, then ramp extended out the front. Bike is rolled onto extended ramp.

Once motorcycle is supported, front end can be jacked up, and ramp pushed back into stand. This way, it's possible to remove the front end or wheel with the end extended out into open space to allow more room / access.

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    24 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I have to agree this is an excellent design and great use of materials. Is there anyway that more pictures of the finished product could be done? I would like to see how the ramp slides in and out and just some overall closer shots of the different sections.

    3 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I can take some more photos yes. The ramp slides straight out the back and catches on the endplate. The pice in the front third of the ramp is the stop for the front so it can only slide out so far. You then just wheel the bike up, and yer on. Then you put the rearstand on, or you can attach a front wheel chock, or use a center stand if you have one. I've set the bike on it's sidestand on the wing before by bracing with an extra piece of wood underneath, but you wouldn't want to set it on the sidestand without extra bracing to support the weight unless it's an exceptionally light bike.


    5 years ago

    Holy crap, I just realized that's a 4 cylinder 2 stroke! If that is yours, you sir have good taste! From a former RZ350 owner.

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Heh agreed, my thoughts exactly... GT380 and RD400 here ;-)

    Nice use of the sheets, and being so compact would really help in my garage. I'll give this some thought as a winter project.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Heh. Yeah, that's my primary toy bike. 86 RG 500 Gamma. It has spent a LOT of time on the stand being fiddled with and adjusted and toyed with. Like any toy tho, it probably spends more time being looked at and being wrenched on than ridden. LOL


    1 year ago

    I'm still not convinced about motorcycle lifts...but I want one anyway.


    3 years ago

    Awesome space saving design, thank you!


    3 years ago

    I'm thinking of building this. I see in the plans that you have the panels / cut outs, marked like A and E2 etc. Do you have a list of the panels with ref to letters numbers etc.


    4 years ago

    Use Kevlar slings under the top frame tube with a come-a-long.
    If the roof and take it and you can find the POB ( point of balance ) you can rasie it as high as you need and rotate it with a feather.

    Yeah Yeah I know sling off the front and rear wheels befire you walk away but the dealer won't/can't say your shocks are collasped and your wheels are : kick stand" stress warped: (take a picture)


    A reasonable good sling can be rated up to 20, 000 lbs and a come-a-long or a portable crane (115 volt) with all components rated/modified to double your wet weight and you can step by step upgrade to a touring bike if you want?
    Definitely this box is a great hobby/idea if you're handy, I'm not.
    i moved up from a manual frame lift to a axel lift stand with good knees to a chair and bifocal glasses to work on them (49cc to 1340cc and back to 1500 plus change! :-)


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Nice indeed! A moped driving friend of mine (pedal start old school mopeds) uses something very similar in his shop to work on bikes. A brilliant idea when you don't have the space or money for an electric lift!


    5 years ago

    nice work dont know much about bikes


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! My 2001 BMW R1150GS should fit up there just fine. 550 lbs wet...


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I can't decide if I like this better than crawling around my cold garage floor on my arthritic knees or not.
    It could be my next project. Thanks.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I believe that is a RGV500 he has on the stand. SUPER cool bike.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Great Design!!!
    Something well within reach of garage mechanics!
    Have you made any changes since 2001?
    Without knowing anything about motorcycles, the bike looks a little precarious up there. maybe the addition of wheel locks, or tie down straps? some casters might be useful? I can't tell from the photo's but maybe also adding a plywood on the bottom so that you can have tool storage inside?

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    The design has not changed. The bike on it's sidestand isn't the most stable because of flex in the wing. You can add a piece of board by laying it across the top of the table and the wing to add rigidity, but basically you want to use a stand when the bike is on the table. Once you get it on a rear or center stand it's perfectly fine.

    There is a bottom in the stand, and the cutouts on the sides (part B) allow storage. I frequently place all the parts removed from a bike in small boxes which fit into the stand, so if I don't finish working on the bike in that session they are all still neatly stored with it.

    I'll sometimes use tie-downs from a hard point on the bike, like the passenger footpeg brackets, and into one of the side cutouts. Especially when doing things like removing motors which require a bit more... herking and bumping and rough handling.

    Casters... I dunno! For a comment that started with being concerned about precarious-ness... casters could very potentially dramatically add instability I would think. :) While I wouldn't suggest it, feel free to give it a try. If you get trapped under a bike that fell over on ya' tho, I want a photo of the cast signed "Wookie told me this might happen." ;)


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Great Design!!!
    Something well within reach of garage mechanics!
    Have you made any changes since 2001?
    Without knowing anything about motorcycles, the bike looks a little precarious up there. maybe the addition of wheel locks, or tie down straps? some casters might be useful? I can't tell from the photo's but maybe also adding a plywood on the bottom so that you can have tool storage inside?

    Dustin Rogers

    5 years ago

    Wow. Nice design. I like the advanced feature for the front end disassembly and that the ramp stores neatly in the stand. I don't quite understand how this stand is collapsible though?

    I found some plans a while back that are similar. Just thought I'd share in case anyone is interested.