Putting a motorcycle into storage (with tips)

When storing a modern or classic motorcycle for an extended period it’s important that its stored correctly. There are a large number of motorcycle storage specialists in operation these day offering both internal and external option on a long or short-term basis.

The best specialists offer dehumidified, climate controlled, and secure luxury motorcycle storage for expensive classics and super bikes. They carryout daily, weekly & monthly checks and offer detailing and transporting services on a national or International basis.

But what if you just want to store you’re motorcycle yourself, maybe because you are going away and don’t want to sell the car or simply want to store the motorcycle over winter. Here are the thing you need to consider.

Where should you store a motorcycle?

Not everyone has access to the off-road or dry storage but ideally a motorcycle should be stored in a secure well-ventilated, dry garage, store or barn, underground car parks are also a good option. But if not a lean-too or car port is the second best option, but isn’t recommend for long-term storage in most climates. If you have to store a motorcycle outside hardstanding or a paved driveway is preferable, to grass or another damp surface.

How do I prepare my motorcycle for storage?

Prepping the motorcycle for storage is very important and a thorough clean is recommended. 

The bike should be given a good wash down and a clean The motorcycle should then be carefully dried and cleaned using a chamois leather or microfibre cloth.

Once the motorcycle is totally dry you should then add a layer of polish or wax to the painted panels. There are lots of quality products available but this is an important step so don’t skip it.

After the motorcycle is full cleaned it is essential that you leave the motorcycle uncovered for at least 24 hours to insure it is 100% dry. We will cover the importance of quality motorcycle cover later in this article. But needless to say you don’t want to be trapping any moisture in with a motorcycle when it’s in long-term storage.

Check the fluid levels

Once you are done cleaning the next step if to check the fluid levels and make sure they are topped up. This includes engine oil, brake fluids, washer fluids and coolant. You may also want to brim the Fuel tank at this point and add fuel preservative if the motorcycle going to be stored for a long period. Alternatively some manufactures recommend draining the motorcycle of all fuel before long-term storage, so its best to seek advice on from your local dealer.

Tyres

The next step is also an important one. You should make sure your motorcycle tyre pressures are at least set to the manufacturers recommendation, if not slightly over inflated. This will insure your tyres maintain their shape and don’t flat spot whilst sitting stationary. If you don’t follow this advice tyres can loose pressure and deform over time, leaving the motorcycle unreadable when you come to take it out of storage. If you are planning to leave your motorcycle for a long period it’s best to jack it up off the ground and place it on stands if possible.

Brakes

Depending on the climate you may also want to ride a motorcycle a short distance once you have washed your car over, this will stop any corrosion forming on the brake discs/rotors. 

Motorcycle covers

Whether you are storing a motorcycle internally or externally a quality car cover is an absolute must. These range massively in quality and price and there are lots of options. 

Soft, breathable covers that allowing damp and moisture to escape and are ideal for inside storage and there are options to fit every make and model imaginable. Most manufacturers offer a choice of colours and custom options.

Manufacturers also offer heavy duty indoor and outdoor motorcycle covers for external storage that feature tough outer skins and soft non-woven multi-layer interior linings to protect paintwork. These covers are secured with straps and also feature welded seams and double stitched hems for extra strength and long life, allowing them to endure extreme weather conditions with ease.

You may want to place a plastic sheet or drip tray under your motorcycle. This not only allows you to check for and drips or leaks, it also adds another damp barrier further protecting a motorcycles underside.

If you live in a very harsh environment, have a very expensive motorcycle or are just looking for the ultimate level of protection. Carcoon have the solution for you, they make highly versatile motorcycle cocoons called Bikebubble that are suitable for both internal and external use.

The Carcoon Bikebubble is very simple to use, all you need to do is cover the garage floor with the base mat provided, park your motorcycle on the mat, place the top cover over the motorcycle and fasten it to the base using the special zipper. Plug in the power supply, and five minutes later, your motorcycle is stored in its own protected environment, with nothing touching or resting on any part of the motorcycle.

The Carcoon also comes with an ‘intelligent’ battery management system that powers the Carcoon and maintains the battery of the stored vehicle in optimum condition. It also features a unique patented ‘active airflow’ system that comprises of two air treatment units which operate continuously to provide super-atmospheric, circulating airflow for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Importantly, the circulating air is taken from inside the storage unit itself, which effectively isolates the flow of air from the outside environment. With a running cost of approximately 2 pence per day, who can’t afford that kind of protection?

Purchase a quality motorcycle trickle charger

A modern trickle charger is another useful item if you are putting a motorcycle into storage. There are various types of battery charger currently available but the most commonly used is made by CTEC. These modern smart chargers offer a much safer and efficient way of maintaining and prolonging the life of the battery than the older designs. 

They are also suitable for both internal and external usage and only require a constant power supply. We have been using these chargers for years on a variety of different motorcycle and have found them to be faultless. 

These chargers are used and supplied by top manufacturers.

Conclusion

Motorcycles like to be used and ridden regularly. But can be stored easily and safely if you follow the advice above. You should take great care in preparing a motorcycle for long term storage and even greater motorcycle choosing somewhere to store a motorcycle. 

Motorcycle storage tips

  • Always use a quality motorcycle cover
  • Check you lights and fluid levels
  • Use a modern trickle charger to keep you motorcycle battery in top condition
  • Notify your insurance company if your motorcycle is being stored away from your property
  • Block the air intake and exhaust tail pipe with rags to stop rodent damage
  • Before disconnecting the battery refer to the owner’s manual for any recommendation
  • Do not use cheap plastic cover as they can damage the paint
  • Use a tray slid beneath to monitor any potential fluid loss
  • Keep a battery conditioner or trickle charger connected at all times
  • Spray unpainted surfaces and rust prone areas with light oil or WD-40 to keep corrosion away
  • Disconnect the battery if you can’t use a trickle charger
  • Park your motorcycle on a plastic sheet to protect the underside from corrosion
  • Check your motorcycle for any leaks or drops from the brakes, transmission, and engine, and repair any leaks you find.
  • Take advice on draining the fuel from your motorcycle tank from a local dealer
  • Always give your motorcycle a thougher clean before putting it into storage
  • Over inflate you tyres if your parking the motorcycle up for an extended period.
  • Add a fuel stabiliser or preservative and top up your tank
  • If you are planning to leave your motorcycle for a long period it’s best to jack it up off the ground and place it on stands if possible
  • Minimise the chances of condensation forming in the tank by filling it full of fuel
  • Allowed a motorcycle to fully air dry for 24 hours prior to storage
  • Make sure your coolant system is filled with none corrosive winter coolant.
  • Run the engine occasionally if possible
  • Ride the motorcycle periodically