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10 Great Motorcycle Storage Tips

Aug 14, 2023Aug 14, 2023

Top tips to help you store your bike the right way while it isn't in use

Storing your motorcycle properly is one of the most important things to do if you want to lengthen the overall life cycle of any bike. Any motorcycle service done prior to storing your bike will go in vain if you do not take care of a few crucial things. Maybe you are not planning to ride your motorcycle for a time period because of travel, work, or family obligations. Or perhaps you are storing the bike for the winter as the temperature cools?

The good news is that it shouldn't take more than a couple of hours of effort to ensure that your motorcycle will continue to be in top shape in terms of appearance, mechanical condition, and trouble-free operation when you want to ride again. Putting in a little time and effort now will save you a lot of hassle and money later. Here are just a few tips for maintaining your bike's superb condition when it isn't being ridden for a long period of time.

Related: The Most Important Motorcycle Maintenance Tasks You Need to Know About

Make sure the gasoline system properly emptied and conditioned for older bikes. For newer bikes simply adding a good fuel stabilizer additive is the best method. In order to ensure that the additive permeates the entire fuel system, you should ride your bike for a few miles after adding it. When you're ready to ride, just refuel, and you're good to go.

Next, make sure to give your motorbike a thorough cleaning. You can opt to take it for a thorough wash too if cleaning your motorcycle at home seems like a task. You need to get rid of the grime that accumulated over the previous few months and a good de-greaser is the ideal tool for the job. And while you are at it, be sure to clean the entire motorcycle and not just the fairings and the tank - don't forget to get the suspension and brakes. In the end, make sure that your bike is totally dry, and if you have access to compressed air, utilize it.

After having cleaned the brakes and the suspension, be sure to re-lubricate these parts suitably. Make sure to get all the joints and pivot points while making sure to cover the brakes (calipers and discs) to protect them during this operation. If your motorcycle has a chain drive, lubricate the chain after the cleaning process. It makes sure your chain and sprocket remain corrosion-free and ensures a smooth ride once you get back to riding again. For moving parts and surfaces, regular chain lube or the ever-reliant WD-40 will usually suffice. For the more sensitive mechanicals like the brakes, use specific cleaning agents like brake cleaner.

Related: Maintaining the chain and sprocket of a motorcycle

Once you've washed and cleaned the bike and lubricated all essential mechanicals, the next step is to coat and polish the exposed surfaces on the motorcycle. Because over a period of time when the motorcycle will just sit unused, it will attract dirt and particles to sit on the surface. And when it sits on the metal long enough, it fades away that shine your beloved motorcycle had. To avoid all this pain, use high-quality wax right before you tuck your bike away in the garage.

Many motorcycle manufacturers also advise the use of a corrosion treatment (but not for brakes). Although not essential, it does have a great effect on preserving the life of parts and joints that are exposed to corrosion, especially if you live around the coast.

One of the most common mistakes while storing your bike for a long period of time is forgetting about the tires. But, the importance of getting the tires off the ground couldn't be more stressed. It helps preserve tire life and even avoids cuts and scuffs on your beloved rubber. But, alas. So many modern-day motorcycles come without a center stand. And while purchasing a bike, not many riders foresee the use of a center stand.

Not only is it of great convenience when you store your bike, but it also helps during consistent use of the bike to lubricate the chain, clean the bike and even strap luggage onto the bike without balancing the bike one way. But don’t stress if your bike doesn't have one. Get a paddock stand - it serves the same purpose. Rest assured, this investment will more than cover itself.

If it is at all possible, it is recommended to start the engine frequently, in regular intervals. By circulating the oil, this procedure keeps the engine's parts lubricated and keeps the engine from becoming immobilized while the bike is not in use. While you are cranking your motorcycle, keep in mind to do this procedure in a well-ventilated place. This would prevent the buildup of exhaust fumes in an enclosed space. Also, remember to let your bike idle while doing this. Pulling the throttle is not recommended until the engine reaches operating temperature.

Related: Tips For Easy Breezy Riding In The Summer

The most common problem of not using your bike for a prolonged period is battery drainage. Over a period of time, the battery drains power even when the bike is not in use. This results in insufficient voltage to crank the bike when you finally get back to using it. What’s next? The hassle of removing the battery and taking it to a mechanic to get it charged?

A more efficient way of solving this issue is with the help of a battery tender. It is a device that charges bike/car batteries using an AC wall socket. It is an automatic mechanism that stops charging the battery when the voltage reaches its ideal level. By using a battery tender, you can avoid the hassle of requiring a new battery come spring. This investment will repeatedly pay for itself, similar to raising the tires.

While storing your bike indoors in your own garage is the best way to go about it, there are many folks who do not have the luxury of their own storage space. In such cases, you can always opt for renting out storage units. It is a popular choice across the country. But to ensure the safety and preservation of your motorbike, various aspects must be taken into account while choosing a storage facility. For instance, choose a storage facility that has reliable security measures, is easily accessible, and is in a safe, convenient location.

While you are storing your motorcycle, don't forget about your riding gear. In the period that you will not be riding your bike, your gear should be also be stored appropriately. Firstly, wash all your wearables and dry them nicely. Alongside, detach all removable helmet liners and wash them carefully as well. Clean your helmet, use a polish on the surface if necessary and clean the helmet visor as well. When all your gear is clean and dried out, store it away in a cool and dry place until you need it again.

Finally, the most insignificant investment should be on the most crucial part of storing your bike. A motorcycle cover. There are endless choices in the market when it comes to covers. The best choice is ideally a waterproof cover - especially if you live in an area that receives a lot of rainfall.

If you are someone who has their own garage, you could opt for a more breathable fabric to prevent condensation, which would make sure the cover breathes in a damp environment. It also mitigates the issues of rodent attacks or corrosion - some of the most common issues when you are leaving your motorcycle unattended for weeks at a time.

Utkarsh has over a decade of experience traveling and documenting his adventures through photographs and films.He has a YouTube channel where he shows his motorcycle adventures through India. On days when he is not writing about motorcycles, he's riding one.

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