Mar 24, 2024

Eastbound MotoWinch Review [Portable Motorcycle Hoist Test]

The Ultimate Motorcycling Yamaha Ténéré 700 Project Bike is now over 500 pounds loaded. It is not immune to being dropped, and I am not getting any younger. In addition, I am venturing out solo into backcountry areas where the terrain, location, or an injury could severely limit my ability to wake my mount up from a trail nap. Fortunately, the innovative, compact Eastbound MotoWinch helps get the rubber side back down when you can’t do it alone.

There are two MotoWinch models—the LC1500 is for bikes up to 600 pounds, and the flagship LC2500 is for any motorcycle. I have a 900-pound Yamaha Venture and a 500-pound Yamaha Ténéré 700, so I chose their heavier lifting winch. The LC2500 is only a pound heavier than the LC1500, and runs just €9 more at €178 (plus extra freight from the Netherlands), so I recommend the more robust LC2500.

In ideal conditions, I can lift either motorcycle myself. The Venture, on its side, is vertical enough when down to allow me to use the butt/backup method. If I have the hard panniers on the Ténéré 700, it lays high enough to either use the butt/backup method or do a squat lift at the handlebar. Without injuries, I can probably lift the Ténéré 700 a few times on dry asphalt before I create a repetitive strain injury, and about the same with my Venture.

So, what would I do if a rain squall muddied my path in the forest on the Ténéré 700 and, in a muddy panic stop to avoid a scared deer, I dropped my bike? I will pull out my Eastbound MotoWinch LC2500 and be back up and on my way in a matter of minutes.

I dropped my Venture at a gas station when my wife reset herself on the pillion just as I swung the kickstand up. My left boot was out of position, and the Venture can’t lean much off vertical without going down. I used the butt/backup method and public embarrassment adrenalin to get it back up. That was the only tip over for my Venture in 10 years.

There was almost another tip-over. On the way to Sturgis, I was parked on sandy dirt at an out-of-the-way diner with my Venture uncomfortably more vertical on the kickstand than I would like. From inside the diner, I spotted a dust devil heading across the parking lot. I ran out of the diner to the high side of the bike just as the dust devil started to push it toward me. If I hadn’t been there, I would have been calling a tow truck to help me lift it, as the only other person around was the chef, who was in his 80s.

People of all sizes, shapes, and physical condition ride motorcycles. While you may be able to lift your motorcycle in all conditions, not everyone can. Even if you can, you might need to fix a flat on the trail, and the MotoWinch can be used to raise your front or rear tire to work on them.

Noel De Pietro created the MotoWinch in 2017 when he recognized a worldwide need for a strong, lightweight, compact, and easy-to-use motorcycle lift assist. The innovative gent that Noel is, he has also created lightweight, pocket-sized, modular, billet aluminum, bike-specific tire repair kits with an innovative bead breaker and mini socket drives that complement the MotoWinch for field repairs. The repair kits utilize components from each other, so you have less to carry.

I wouldn’t be able to lift the Ténéré 700 on slippery footing, and certainly not if I were hurt enough to lose strength in my legs, back, or arms. That is where the Eastbound MotoWinch comes to the rescue. As long as you can reach the five-pound PVC-coated canvas carrying bag, you can get the bike up, even if it is pinning your legs—assemble the MotoWinch with your legs pinned, set it up, and lift the motorcycle enough to get your legs out. From there, winch it the rest of the way up and be on your way, mentally dictating the appreciation email you will be sending to Noel.

Assembly and operation of the MotoWinch are straightforward. However, assemble it at home first to see how it works before you are in a situation where you need to use it.

You start by taking all the pieces out of the bag. Each tube fits into the next with an O-ring at each connection that adds stability to the entire length of the winch. The Velcro strap on the bag can hold the front brake tight, so the bike won’t pivot around the rear wheel as you jack it up. Loop the strap around the end of the handlebar as a slipknot, using the stitched loop, with the handle pulled inward toward the tank.

Next, situate the foot of the MotoWinch right at the end of the handlebar where you have attached the strap. Run the strap through the roller at the top of the MotoWinch and then down to the ratchet. Thread the strap through the slit in the ratchet spindle and start cranking the ratchet. Make sure the strap catches and is winding over itself with no twists. The strap must wind in the center of the spindle—do not let it spool off to one side.

Get the MotoWinch in position, slightly angled toward the bike. As you crank, keep your boot against the foot of the pole to keep it from sliding out. Keep cranking the ratchet until the motorcycle is vertical enough for you to stand the bike on its kickstand—your side or the opposite side. If the kickstand is on the opposite side, deploy it before you start jacking. Nothing says frustration more than getting your bike up only to have it flop over to the other side.

The actual lifting of my Yamaha Ténéré 700 off rain-soaked, slippery grass, using the MotoWinch, took just a few minutes. I have intentionally dropped it there before to see how my crash bars keep the sides of the bike off the ground. This lift was way easier and safer for me.

“Keep the rubber side down” is a friendly reminder to other riders, though it doesn’t always work. Sometimes it happens that a bike ends up on its side, and, for all kinds of reasons, it’s impossible to get it back up on the rubber without assistance. The Eastbound MotoWinch can be the difference between waiting for help or continuing your adventure. In extreme circumstances, it’s a lifesaver. I will be strapping mine to where I can always reach it, even when pinned.