Hoisting a kayak with a bicycle lift?

Did a search, didn’t find anything.

Has anybody tried using a bicycle lift to raise/lower their kayaks from the ceiling? I was going to use Geoffrey Smart’s technique (http://www.bask.org/ARTICLES/8storage.html), but after trips to several hardware stores, I couldn’t find any double pulleys. Noticed that they had bike lifts on sale ($20) and thought I would give that a try. The bike lift has a load of 50 lbs (my Pungo 140 is 53 lbs), but figured 3 pounds wouldn’t mean a lot. I also bought a longer rope and a pulley for the side wall.

Can anybody comment?



By the look
of the diagram, all you need is 6 single pullys and some 1/4in. nylon rope

I do believe it’s five double pulleys… You would think they wouldn’t be hard to find. After visits to two major hardware stores, couldn’t find them.

I bought a racor bike hoist from nashbar 3 summers ago for about $40, and it works fine. Nashbar doesn’t carry them anymore, but plenty of other online places do. Be careful to choose one of the models that can safety hold your particular kayak. The one I got is rated for 75 lbs. Amazon has a lighter weight one today for $21, but it’s only rated for 55 lbs, so it might not be strong enough for your boat. (PLus the rope that goes with the amazon one is junk, but that’s easy to fix).

The bike straps are 2", not 3" thick, so I put some thin foam over them to reduce the pressure on the hull. I use it only in the winter, but a friend uses the same system to get her kayak on and off her car in the garage.

double pulley

search for part number 3742T46

There are smaller and cheaper available, but I wouldn’t trust them.

Or, West Marine or any other good boat shop will have sail rigging pulleys, but mucho bucks.

Of course two single pulles mounted next to each other accomplishes the same thing.

But you only need one double pulley to do this, and four singles. Or two ropes and five singles.

Do not hoist your boat by two loops mounted in the deck as shown in the drawing.

XC, metal and rope fatigue.
I would get one with plenty of excess load capability, not trying to put a 53 lb yak on a 50 lb system. Over time, with metal fatigue of pulleys, the rope, the plastic rollers, and the sheet rock and dry beasm on your ceiling, something will give and you’ll have a super nice bow imprint on the hood of your Mazeratti.

Go for more load capacity.

I used a double pulley system to store

– Last Updated: Aug-20-06 11:42 AM EST –

my sea kayak in my old boathouse, and it worked great, bought everything I needed at lowes in the hardware section. Used four double pulleys, a light duty winch from a boat trailer, 2" canvas tie down straps and D-rings to make the cradle, and snap hooks on the bottom of the lower pulleys.

I would put the sea kayak on sawhorses, and later a folding table, run the straps under the bulkheads and clip the boat to the pulleys and crank er up to the stow position. When I needed to lower the boat, flip the lever and lower the boat to the table onto the pads. (I usually used boat cushions.)

Worked great and didn't cost that much. Using double pulleys on both ends made the cranking effortless. I ran the two ropes thru eye hooks along the joists to join and run to the winch which was mounted on a wall of the boathouse. I agree with the previous poster who cautioned about weight restrictions. Don't skimp on pulleys OR the ROPE you use. Don't risk damaging your kayak to save a few dollars in materials... it's not worth it.

If you email me, I think I have a few digital pictures somewhere I can send you, I'll try and find them, they may give you a good idea of the system I used.

Good luck,


Bike Hoist
Been using 2-50 pound-rated bike hoists for 3 or 4 years without a problem. They each hold a 55-plus pound kayak for extended periods. I got my hoists from Campmor.




– Last Updated: Aug-20-06 3:45 PM EST –

Thanks for all the advice. I couldn't locate any double pulleys larger than 1" (and like I mentioned earlier I looked at several large hardware stores)... I ended up going with the bicycle hoist, better rope, and some cargo straps. I mounted the pulley system to a couple of boards, then mounted that to the ceiling joists. It worked, but I'm a bit nervous about it.

However, I am going to install a couple of loose ropes attached to a carabiner on the handles of the kayak, and have them attached to eye-bolts on the ceiling. Note the ropes will be loose (not bearing any weight), but if the lift should ever fail, for whatever reason, the "safety lines" should keep the kayak from wrecking my cars.

Or I might just take it down and try to locate some double pulleys (thanks for the link mintjulip). The largest I can find are 1" which aren't quite big enough. I may have to look in the twin cities.

weight limits
Sorry–I didn’t notice your weights in the first email. Outdoor play has the system I bought a couple years ago (although the price has gone up): http://www.outdoorplay.com/store/Product.asp?DID=154&PDID=149&SKU=EOU_BCDHO

A homemade system will probably also work fine. Try slinging your pungo on its side, not its hull, to reduce deformation in the plastic.

Talic Kayak Condo
Much easier, overall. See my review on Pnet product reviews. Just put mine up this past weekend. Sweet.

I know…

– Last Updated: Aug-22-06 12:44 AM EST –

but I have absolutely no space between the side wall of my garage and my car door (I tried- couldn't get out of my car). It's literally 8-10 inches. I have no idea why they build garages so narrow now-a-days. My next house will need to have a 3-car garage to fit bicycles, two kayaks etc....

The lift works great. I put some safety lines in in case the lift fails. Keeping my fingers crossed.

I made my own
Some old garage sale pullies and some 1/4" poly rope. I think I have 1 double and 3 singles.

I’m picking up a Aquaterra Sealion in poly with stuff in the hatches, so there is some weight.

if you’re really concerned…
If you’re concerned about your hoist holding your boats, the weakest points are probably the bolts that hold the hoist to the ceiling and the point on the ceiling you’re using. So you can make it stronger by buying longer bolts from the hardware store, and by making certain that you’re bolting the assembly to a solid beam, not to dry wall. Your boat will likely be just fine.

mintjulep is correct
"Do not hoist your boat by two loops mounted in the deck as shown in the drawing. "

Make webbing crradles - be nice to your boat.



– Last Updated: Aug-22-06 8:42 PM EST –

I ended up making some cradles. But my next question is, What exactly is "cradle webbing?" I just used a couple of cargo straps wrapped around the yak, (near the rear bulkhead in back; and up front) but guess I don't completely understand what a webbing cradle is.

The cargo straps are 1", the 2" straps only came in 20' straps and were 3x the price. I'm guessing I should use carpet remnants underneath the yak to help distribute the weight a bit?


Garages - - -
They build them that way to keep the overall price of the home down. They know a vast majority of home owners never park a car in them. (at least around here) It’s one of the reasons we decided to build our own home. I had to compromise on a 17’ x 8’ door due to track issues and our structure. Otherwise I was planning an 18’ x 8’ door.

kayaks on bicycle lift
I have been using those $20.00 bike lifts for my wilderness 120 & 140 tarpons for three years and they worked fine. I drilled out the rivets, knot & run the line through the hole, down through the drain hole and back up through the other one and the other hole, quik knot and wallah! instant kayak lift.