Motorcycle storage solutions

Preparing your motorbike for storage in the cold winter months properly will reduce the time and money required to bring her back to life in the spring. You must also decide on the motorcycle storage location that the bike will be stored at. When both of these are done correctly, the time to be back in the wind once the British Isles are done being pounded by mother nature will be significantly reduced.

What type of motorcycle storage should be used?

For the most part, there are 2 different motorcycle storage options to chose from in storage of a bike for the winter. Knowing where you will store it will be a deciding factor on preparing your bike or ebike for the winter. The storage space must be out of the weather in an enclosure where no rain or snow will penetrate the space. The location also has to be secure.

  • Motorcycle storage at your home or property

If you have space and a location out of the weather to store your bike at your residence then this is the preferred choice. It allows you to properly prepare the bike for the long moist winter months.

  • Motorcycle Rental storage unit

Numerous storage rental facilities offer short and long term storage for bikes. Since they are commercial facilities, how you will be able to prepare your bike for storage will be limited due to the hazards the flammable liquids used in the bike present.

How is the engine properly prepared for long term storage?

The first thing is knowing where you will store the bike then proceed with one of the following procedures.

  • For home motorbike storage

Without the restrictions of using a commercial space for storage, you are free to properly store your motorcycle to prevent any rusting of the metal parts. This includes filling the engine with oil until it can’t hold anymore. This will prevent any surface rust from forming on the interior of the engine. The crankcase breather tube must also be plugged. This will prevent any moisture from entering the engine casing and forming surface rust on what it comes in contact with.

Unlike the engine components which is made out of steel, the carburettors are made out of aluminium and don’t rust. Petrol must be drained from them. If that does not occur a green slime will grow in the bowl and will have to be cleaned out before the bike will run correctly when it comes out of storage.

  • For motorbike storage at a commercial facility

Since this location is a commercial facility, you will not be the only person with items in storage. Because of that, no flammable liquids will be permitted in your storage unit. For some, that means the oil has to be drained. If that is the situation you find yourself in then seal the engine as well as you can after you drain the oil. This has to include sealing the crankcase breather tube.

Motorcycle storage : How is the engine properly prepared for long term storage?

Once again since the storage facility is a commercial space there are two paths to follow depending on where you store the motorbike.

  • Motorcycle storage at you home

To prevent rusting and scaling of the interior of the tank, it must be full of fuel. To prevent the growth of the algae mentioned above, special additives should be added to the fuel to prevent their growth. The tank must be sealed and if possible place a piece of plastic sheeting over the top hole before putting on the cap for a better seal from moisture. This will cover the vent in the cap to seal the tank.

Once rust forms on the inside of a tank, it will continue to grow and there is nothing that can be done about it. As the rust flakes fall off they will either be caught by your inline filter which will clog or go to the carburettor and clog it up. The only solutions include the replacement of the tank or have the interior coated.

  • motorcycle storage at a commercial facility

Due to the rules of a commercial storage facility, the petrol tank must be fully drained for safety reasons. You can cover the interior with a thin layer of oil, but in time that will all drain to the bottom of the tank.

A piece of plastic needs to be placed over the top hole and the cap placed back on. This will seal the top and plug the vent in the cap.

How do you store the rest of the bike properly?

Once you are at the motorcycle storage location the bike will rest for months,  get it up off the tires. This can be accomplished with a jack stand. If one is not available then use the centre stand. This will prevent the tires from developing a flat spot caused by the weight of the bike being in one location for months. It is also highly recommended to cover the tires with some type of lubricant. This can be ArmorAll or some other rubber moisturizer that will prevent dry rot from occurring during the cold months ahead.

Any exposed rubber grommet, seals, brake lines and even the hand grips should also be treated the same as the tires to prevent dry rot.

All cables, moving joints and pivot points should also be treated with white lithium grease to prevent the formation of any surface rust.

How do you prepare a motorcycle battery for long term storage?

The battery is temperature sensitive. The colder the battery gets, the shorter its lifespan will become. If the battery freezes, be careful with the acid that comes out from the cracked housing. This is sulfuric acid and is very dangerous and will cause a chemical burn.  Once battery freezes, it has to be replaced.

Once the battery is removed from the frame it has to be stored at a location that will not drop below 60F or 15C. The battery can be safely stored by placing it on a wooden plank. If it is placed on a concrete floor, it will then be drained of voltage and need to be replaced.

The trickle charging on the battery should occur once a month to keep it fully charged. This will have to occur in a well ventilated area since charging a battery produces Hydrogen gas.

Should there be any changes to my motorbike insurance?

Since the bike will be in storage, standard 125cc motorbike insurance will not be required. What is recommended is Laid Up motorcycle storage insurance. This is financial protection when the bike is in storage just in case there is a fire or the storage locker is broken into.

Should I declare my bike with a SORN declaration?

If the motorbike stoarge will be 3 weeks or more a SORN declaration should be signed and submitted to the government. This will reduce the amount of Road Tax you will be required to pay.

By properly preparing your motorbike for a storage unit you will reduce the time required to make it operational once spring has arrived. It will also cost you less when you want to be back on the road with the wind in your face.

You should also remember to call your insurance agent when pulling the bike out of storage so your road motorbike insurance will be active and up to date so you will be covered this upcoming spring. This also applies to ebikes and electric bike insurance