Suspending the Front End of my Bike with a Ladder!

It’s rather low-tech, but sometimes you’ve gotta work with what you’ve got. Repairing my Honda Rebel has led to a lot of innovative fixes, and the last time I had to bring the front end up, I used straps to suspend it from a rafter, rather than a ladder. Ladders are a little more portable than garage rafters, though, so when you don’t have rafters in your garage, a ladder can do quite nicely.

Using a ladder for my Honda Rebel repair, I’m able to fix my forks a lot easier than it would be with blocks under the bike. Often, blocks are used to support the front end of a Honda Rebel, because the pipes are lower than the frame. The centerstand wouldn’t help, if there was a centerstand on the Rebel. As they say, necessity breeds invention!


A few things about using the ladder, though – the ladder is rated for an up to 250lb load. The Rebel 250 is heavier than that, of course, but the wet weight of a Honda Rebel is 320lbs, if memory serves, and I’m only lifting up half of it. The maximum that the ladder is probably supporting is around 200lbs, which a 250lb ladder should be able to handle just fine.

If you’re going to use a ladder to suspend your motorcycle, then please look at the safety label to see that it can support at least 2/3 of your bike’s weight.

As you can see, the ladder is doing a decent job holding the bike up. I really like doing that for fork and brake work, but it gets a little cumbersome after a while. It’s definitely not the best solution but if all you have around is a ladder, and you don’t feel like doing the block trick with a bike lift and the front end definitely has to be suspended, then throwing a ladder on it isn’t going to hurt anything. It wasn’t easy getting the cylinder head and the jugs outta there with that ladder in the way, and it was even more difficult trying to figure out how to do a decent helicoil when the best location was taken up by the ladder’s legs. But it’s not too hard to deal with, either.


The one thing that was kind of difficult was dealing with how the cinch straps would turn and twist when I was tightening it down. I’m not sure if there’s an easy fix for that, but since it’s a relatively rare occasion that the front end gets suspended anyway, then it’s just something that will have to be dealt with when it comes to it.



2 thoughts on “Suspending the Front End of my Bike with a Ladder!

  1. Jim

    Hi charlie, I have followed you for a few months now and I have been restoring a 1985 Rebel while watching you. I do have some mechanical background so I have a bit if experience to work with.
    My bike is completely restored now and I love riding it.

    Some of the methods you have used are different than mine and we can share information back and forth on our experiences. If you have questions feel free to ask me as I am getting better and better as i go along. However, I feel some of your experiences could be valuable, filling in where mine might be weak. Fie instance, put some more penetrating oil on your front rotor bold and tap it with a hammer to loosen rust and help the oil into the threads. At this point drill a hole about 1/2 to 1 inch deep and use an easy-out to back it out. this will save your threads. I have noticed that on some pre-owned bikes, the previous owner really tightened bolts tight. They don’t need to tighten them so tight.

    Feel free to email me and share or ask questions I might can answer or find an answer for you. I have lucked out having a salvage yard with about a dozen rebels of various years to rummage parts off of.

    • Hey Jim, how’s the 85 running for you? Is it your first bike or one of many?

      For the rotor, thanks, that might have been one of the things we tried. It might be red threadlocker, I’m not sure. I don’t remember exactly at this point.

      I don’t have very good luck with easy outs, I always seem to break them. I’ve got a stuck screw on the controls of the Nighthawk that I’m thinking might need it. Thanks. 🙂

      A salvage yard with that many rebels would be a dream. There were just one and a half at the one I went to. That’s how I got the wineberry swingarm.

      How long have you been a mechanic?

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