A DIY Motorcycle Dolly

by William Machin
Dollies are used to maneuver a motorcycle in the garage or shop.

Dollies are used to maneuver a motorcycle in the garage or shop.

A motorcycle dolly is used to elevate the front wheel of the bike for repositioning it in a shop or garage. Some dollies are designed as front wheel roll-ons, while others elevate the entire motorcycle off the floor. Manufactured dollies have all the bells and whistles, and a price tag to match. In terms of basic design, you can make your own motorcycle dolly by retrofitting an inexpensive hand truck or appliance dolly. The only requirements are a few shop tools, some steel pipe and hardware.

Measure the distance between the right and left axle nuts on the front wheel of the motorcycle. Note this measurement. Measure the height of the axle nuts from the floor and note this measurement.

Lay the hand truck or appliance dolly flat with the lifting plate pointing up. Find center of the plate from end-to-end and mark this point on the upper edge of the plate. Refer to the distance between the axle nuts and divide it in half. Make additional marks on the edge of the lifting plate at each side of the center mark. Double-check the distance between these marks with the width of the axle nuts.

Ask an assistant to steady the handle of the dolly. Make a 1-inch deep by 1-inch wide cutout at each of the axle marks on the plate using a hacksaw. Bend each of the cutout tabs 90-degrees with offset pliers. Cut the base of each tab with a hacksaw and remove the tabs.

Refer to the measurement for the height of the axle nuts from the floor. Measure a piece of 1-inch steel pipe that will attach to the base of the dolly handle, rest in one of the cutouts and extend above the floor three inches more than the height of the axle nuts. Add one inch to this measurement and cut two pieces of 1-inch steel pipe to length.

Flatten one inch at each end of the pieces of steel pipe using a steel mallet. Secure one of the pieces vertically in a bench vise with a flattened just above the vise. Cut a "V" groove in the flattened end to make an axle nut support. Repeat this with the other piece of steel pipe to make the other axle support.

Position each piece of 1-inch pipe in the cutouts on the dolly plate with the "V" grooves extending up. Note the angle where the lower ends of the pieces contact the lower portion of the dolly handles. Bend the flattened end of each piece to this angle by securing each in the bench vise and using the steel mallet.

Drill attachment holes in each of the flattened ends using an electric drill and 3/16-inch drill bit. Position each piece on the cutouts and against the dolly handles. Use the 3/16-inch holes as a guide and drill through each of the handles for attachment bolts.

Attach the flattened ends of each length of steel pipe to the dolly handles using 3/16-inch machine bolts and nylon lock nuts. Tighten the nuts with a socket and ratchet.

Items you will need

  • 1-inch steel pipe
  • Hacksaw
  • Offset pliers
  • Steel mallet
  • Bench vise
  • Electric drill
  • 3/16-inch drill bit
  • 3/16-inch machine bolts with nylon lock nuts
  • Socket and ratchet


  • Weld or bracket the steel pipe at the dolly connection points if needed.

About the Author

William Machin began work in construction at the age of 15, while still in high school. In 35 years, he's gained expertise in all phases of residential construction, retrofit and remodeling. His hobbies include horses, motorcycles, road racing and sport fishing. He studied architecture at Taft Junior College.

Photo Credits

  • two motorcycles. image by Yuri Bizgaimer from Fotolia.com