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Winter Motorcycle Storage Options

Having a motorcycle is terrific when the weather’s good, but what happens when winter rolls in? Snow, rain, sleet, ice, and all-around cold temperatures can make it impossible to ride safely and enjoyably. As heartbreaking as it might be, many bikers have to store their motorcycles until springtime.

If you own a motorcycle, start thinking about winter motorcycle storage options. You don’t want to leave your bike just anywhere, allowing it to sit in a harmful environment. Correctly storing your motorcycle will help it stay in great shape so you can hit the road as soon as possible.   

Winter Storage Options for Your Motorcycle

Winter could be harsh, mild, or a mix of both, depending on where you live in the United States. Some bikers can ride year-round, while others face freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall. Your location will often determine which type of storage works best for you.

You can’t simply throw a tarp over your bike and call it good. As you think about practical winter storage, you’ll want to protect your bike from these factors:

  • Natural elements
  • Theft and vandalism
  • Moisture problems

When it comes to winter motorcycle storage, you have two main options: indoor and outdoor storage.

Indoor Storage Options

Storing your bike indoors during the long winter months is your number one option. With a standard garage, motorcycle storage shed, or dedicated vehicle trailer, you can keep your motorcycle safe and secure while you wait for riding season. You can lock up your two-wheeled stallion and not worry about wear and tear from the weather.

Many bikers store their motorcycle during the winter using these types of indoor storage:

  • At-home garages
  • Sheds or pods
  • Enclosed trailers
  • Motorcycle storage units

Although indoor storage is your go-to choice, it does have several downsides. You should consider the following factors before finalizing any plans:

  • Costs: Using your garage for storage won’t cost you anything extra, but what if you don’t have a garage? You’ll pay a pretty penny to buy a pod or rent a storage unit at a storage facility. A small, climate-controlled unit can cost $79 per month.
  • Available space: Sometimes, you simply don’t have enough indoor floor space to stash your motorcycle. You may have difficulty getting to other essential items, even if it does fit. Consider other winter motorcycle storage options if you struggle to find available indoor space.
  • Moisture issues: Excess moisture often affects homes and garages. If your indoor storage area has mold, mildew, and an overall damp environment, you might want to rethink leaving your bike there for the winter. 

Indoor storage is by far your best motorcycle storage solution. Yes, there are pros and cons to it. However, storing your motorcycle inside will typically keep it in excellent condition all winter long.

Outdoor Storage Options

If you don’t have a good place to store your motorcycle indoors, outdoor storage is your next-best solution. This option works OK for regions with mild winters, but it doesn’t protect your bike as well. You’ll also at least need to purchase a fitted cover for your motorcycle.

Here are some common problems with outdoor motorcycle storage:

  • Harsh weather exposure: A carport or popup shelter won’t effectively protect your motorcycle against several feet of snow, below-freezing temperatures, and constant ice. Cars, SUVs, trucks, and every other type of vehicle rust more quickly and deteriorate faster in cold-weather climates.
  • Lack of security: Outdoor storage areas aren’t as secure as indoor, enclosed spaces. You’ll be more susceptible to theft and vandalism, especially if you don’t store your bike close to your house or apartment.

Outdoor storage is a last-ditch effort for bikers who face long, harsh winters. However, it could save you money and be your only option if you can’t secure indoor storage space. Having your motorcycle in a temporary shelter can also allow you more convenient access.

Pre-storage Preparations

There’s more to winterizing a motorcycle than deciding where to store it. You’ll want to know how to properly stash your motorcycle before letting it sit for a few months—otherwise, it could deteriorate and require costly repairs. Take care of the following before finalizing your winter motorcycle storage options:

  • Body: Always wash your motorcycle before stowing it for the winter. Dirt, dust, excess moisture, and caked-on grime can lead to rust and other damage while the metal sits unused. You’ll also want to thoroughly dry the body and maybe apply a wax coating for additional protection against rust.
  • Fluids: Checking and changing your motorcycle’s fluids will help it stay in good shape during long-term storage. We recommend changing the oil filter and oil and taking your bike for one last spin around the block. You should also check brake fluid, clutch fluid, and antifreeze, topping them off as necessary.
  • Fuel System: If you winterize your motorcycle with an empty or low fuel tank, you risk drying out the system and causing corrosion or rust. A great way to avoid this is to fuel up and add a stabilizer. Fuel stabilizers slow the oxidation process and prevent damage resulting from extended cold temperatures.
  • Tires: While your motorcycle remains idle, its tires can get old and quickly develop flat spots. You can prevent this by fully inflating the tires and using a motorcycle stand to keep the wheels off the ground. Another solution is to rotate the tires periodically and keep them as dry as possible.
  • Battery: Your motorcycle’s battery life will decline when in storage, so you’ll want to take care of that, too. A trickle charger (or battery tender) is an excellent device to help maintain battery life and ensure that you’re ready to ride in the spring. You can remove the battery, hook it up to the trickle charger, and charge it all winter long.

Leaving a motorcycle in long-term storage isn’t as complicated as some think. Once you understand your winter motorcycle storage options and know the necessary prep work, it’s simply a matter of doing it. You can stow your bike confidently and look forward to the upcoming riding season.

And we’d like to offer you one final tip from your friends at Law Tigers. 

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