Short-term Motorcycle Storage: How to Protect Your Bike
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Although quarantine restrictions are slowly easing, it may be a few more weeks before you can take your motorcycle out for a long cross-country ride. Or perhaps you have a classic bike collection that requires extra care. Depending on your plans, correctly protecting and storing your motorcycle can be a challenge.
Failure to properly store your motorcycle can have financially crippling implications. Therefore, prior thorough preparations to store your motorcycle is required. If it’s a classic bike, you should definitely go the extra mile to ensure it’s protected.
We’ve gone through some steps you should follow to maintain your motorbike when not in use before. Here are some added tips to ensure that your bike does not degrade due to environmental factors like humidity and oxidation.
Which is Better: Indoor or Outdoor storage?
Storing your motorbike indoors is the best option as it’ll not only help to protect it from the elements, but it’ll also prevent your motorcycle from being stolen. However, if you have space constraints or if your motorcycle collection is large, then invest in a good and long-lasting motorcycle cover to protect it outdoors.
Storing your motorcycle outside exposes it to the rain and sunlight, which can cause rust and corrosion. So it’s particularly important to shield the engine and battery from exposure to heat and moisture.
How to Protect Your Motorbike in Short-term Storage?
1. Lift the Wheels
Firstly, it’s advisable to lift your wheels off the ground to avoid flat spots from the constant pressure of the bike. If your bike has a center stand to prop it up, use it. But even better would be to get motorcycle stands or a portable hydraulic lift to keep both wheels off the ground. This way, you don’t have to rotate the wheels while in storage.
2. Charge the Battery
Your motorcycle’s battery can go flat if you leave the bike unused for months or even weeks. Every time a battery loses its charge completely, it causes permanent battery damage and can prevent the battery from charging fully when needed.
If your motorbike hasn’t already got one, fit a battery charging plug-in point so that you can easily keep the battery topped up. This simple step can extend the life of your motorcycle’s battery and will ensure it’s ready to go when you’re ready to hit the road again. Of course, if you don’t want to invest in motorcycle battery chargers, you can simply charge the battery manually every couple of weeks.
3. Top up the Tank with Fresh Fuel
Unless you’re getting your motorbike “museum-ready” to store it for years on end, you’ll have better luck protecting its fuel tank with clean fuel. An empty tank is vulnerable to corrosion and dried out seals, while a tank full of fresh fuel can help prevent rust from forming within the tank.
4. Add a Fuel Stabiliser
After you’ve topped up your motorcycle’s fuel tank, you should add a fuel stabiliser and run your engine for a few minutes to allow the stabiliser to mix throughout the engine and fuel system. This step is important to ensure that moisture does not mix with the fuel, while preserving it from evaporating.
Your motorcycle’s fuel can start to spoil within two weeks in storage due to several factors that can affect the quality and, therefore, the usability of the gasoline. If your gasoline has been stagnant for a prolonged period of time, and it is ethanol-based, there’s a chance it will begin to spoil.
This is due to the ethanol itself. The alcohol-based fuel attracts moisture. Whether water particles come from within the tank, condensation, or the outside atmosphere, it can be extremely damaging to your motorbike’s engine.
5. Check Your Motorcycle Insurance
Besides physically preparing your motorbike for short-term storage, it is also important that you check your motorcycle insurance. Check its renewal date and ensure that it does not lapse while in storage. It is not advisable to cancel your motorcycle insurance or allow it to expire although not in use, because you still want it covered in case of theft or fire depending on the cover type you opt for.
If you end up parking your bike on the street during this period, then there are a number of extra precautions you can take to ensure your bike is as secure as possible:
- Using the strongest, most secure lock you can afford
- Install an alarm system on your motorcycle
- Park your bike in a well-lit area
Bringing Your Motorbike Out of Storage
Motorcycle storage preparation is important no matter if you’re storing your bike for a short period of time or long-term. When you finally pull the cover off and your bike emerges from storage, check it from end to end for any leaks, damage from rust or even pests.
Follow these motorcycle storage tips, and save on maintenance costs. Plus, it’ll ensure that your bike is ready to hit the road immediately when the time comes. The only issue might be whether your biking muscles will be quite as ready for the first swing of the leg after being out of the saddle for so long.