It might be a bit early in the year to be thinking about motorcycle winter storage, but if there is one thing that the Stark’s got right it is the inevitability of seasonal change. When it’s cold out, odds are you don’t much feel like riding your bike around town. Not so much a safety issue as a severe wind-chill issue, high winds will cut through any layers you might be wearing like a hot knife through butter. If you decide to store your bike for the winter months, there are a few things you should consider.
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When To Ride Your Motorcycle in the Winter
Riding in the winter, even though it’s cold, is certainly possible. Yes, you’ll need to dress very warmly. And yes, in some places, you’ll need winter tires. Below are a few other tips and bits of advice to follow if you plan to ride during wintertime. (If it’s in motorcycle winter storage with iStorage, your bike will always be ready to ride.)
- Never, ever ride in the snow.
- Don’t ride if the temperature is below freezing. )
- Sunny, dry days are the best. The roads should be 100% clear and dry.
- Increase your distance between other vehicles.
- Try to avoid riding at night.
Gasoline is Corrosive During Winter Storage
Before you put your motorcycle into winter storage, you should probably drain the fuel or at least put in some motorcycle fuel stabilizer. Gas is corrosive, and fuel tanks weren’t designed for months of the gas just sitting in it. As we all know, there is no feeling in the world quite like putting something into storage in perfect working order and come back to find it broken. That was exactly what you wanted.
Check Your Fluids for Motorcycle Winter Storage
This bike isn’t going anywhere for a while. Odds are it is going to be sitting well past the change-by date on most of your fluids. Check the following off of this motorcycle winter storage fluid checklist:
- Change your oil.
- Check your brake fluid.
- Lubricate anything that moves (the throttle, shifter kickstand, clutch cables, etc.).
Tires are Round, the Ground is Flat
While your bike is in storage, the round tires will be on the flat ground for extended periods of time. To prevent any flat spots in your tires you have functionally two options. You could elevate the bike, such that the tires are no longer touching the ground. You can also come back and check on the bike regularly to rotate the tires. The best solution is elevating the bike. This frees up time and does not depend on you coming back to check on the bike. If, however, you are the separation anxiety type, checking your bike may well have been the plan all along.
Wax Shiny Bits Before Storing Your Motorcycle
Waxing the metal on your bike will offer some protection from moisture accumulation, and ultimately rust. In addition to the layer of wax, you might want to spray the exhaust pipes with some lubrication. Worst case scenario, you gave an extra level of protection to your bike.
Cover the Whole Motorcycle for Winter Storage
Take the time to cover your bike. This will provide a final layer of protection from not just moisture but from dirt and dust. In other words, it’ll keep your bike looking great while in storage. That way, when you pull the cover off you’ll wonder why you even put it there, to begin with. It also lets you have a movie-style reveal. While no one will be around to see it, you’ll feel really cool.
Don’t know where to begin when it comes to looking for a place to store the bike? iStorage offers self-storage facilities for exactly what you are looking for, and many have vehicle-specific storage solutions.
What Size Storage Unit Do You Need?
Choosing the right size storage unit for a motorcycle is relatively easy. If you’re storing 1 motorcycle and your gear, the smallest storage unit should be fine. If you’re storing multiple cycles and gear, you’ll need to play it by ear. (The more motorcycles you’re storing, the bigger storage unit you’ll need, naturally.) Below is a quick guide to help you:
- 5’x5′ Storage unit= 1 motorcycle and gear.
- 5’x10′ Storage Unit= 4 motorcycles and gear for 8 people.
- 5’x15′ Storage Unit= 8 motorcycles and gear for 16 people.
PROs and CONs Different Types of Storage
Covered, uncovered, and enclosed storage are your 3 main options for storing motorcycles in winter. All 3 have their Pros and Cons, of course. One costs less but offers no protection, while another is slightly expensive but offers complete protection. We’ve listed all three below for your perusal:
- Protects from rain, sun, and the elements. (Must be attached well to prevent being blown off.)
- Keep bike dry (mostly)
- The elements can still harm your bike.
- It’s easier to steal.
- Cheapest alternative.
- Easy and fast.
- No protection at all from the elements. The sun and rain will bake and boil your bike every day.
- It’s MUCH easier to steal.
- If it rains, your next ride will be very soggy.
ENCLOSED / STORAGE UNIT
- Protects your cycle 100% from the elements.
- Protects your cycle from thieves, criminals, and pests.
- It’s easy to get in and out of a storage unit fast.
- Your motorcycle will be ready to ride at a moment’s notice.
- Professional security 24/7.
- Peace of mind.
- It’s the most costly option (although still very affordable).
- You need to drive to your storage unit when you want to ride.
Did you get all the answers you were searching for today? We certainly hope so! If not, you can always chat online with one of our friendly iStorage managers. Until then, have fun and be safe riding your motorcycle this winter!
Check out these other winter tips & tricks on the blog:
This post was originally published on 6/26/2018. It was updated on 3/17/2021.