Not everyone has the luxury to have a private shed or garage for storing their motorcycles. You can still store your motorcycle outside for as long as you follow the protocols to keep your motorcycle safe from weather elements.
You can store your motorcycle outside but you need to place it under some shed during the summer and winter to protect it from the sun and the rain, respectively. It is also advisable to get a motorcycle cover that fits snugly in order to protect your motorcycle from outdoor elements. The motorcycle cover should be waterproof and should possess ultraviolet protection.
There are other safety measures that you need to consider for outdoor motorcycle parking. You need to be aware that motorcycle theft is a real possibility that you need to prepare for.
Outdoor Storage During The Summer
Summer is the perfect season for taking long motorcycle road trips. If you do need to store away your motorcycle, make sure to keep it out of the sun as much as possible.
Keep It Out Of The Sun
The intense heat from the sun can cause damage to your motorcycle. Make it a point to park under some shade because prolonged exposure to the sun can cause serious problems, like faded paint jobs and the degradation of the motorcycle seat.
One main problem is its effect on paint over the plastic parts of the motorcycle. The prolonged exposure to the sun will cause the paint to fade from the plastic parts faster than the metal parts. This includes the helmet, fairing, and more. That will result in an uneven paint job that will look unattractive. You’ll need to spend more to even out the paint on all surfaces.
Another effect of prolonged exposure to the sun is that it will cause the plastic parts to go brittle. This affects the overall structural integrity and makes your motorcycle weaker.
You can also expect your motorcycle seat to be affected. Textile or leather seats will go brittle and will easily crack once left under the sun for too long.
How To Park
The best thing you can do is to park your motorcycle under some sort of shade from the sun. Use a heat shield, a carport, or park your motorcycle under a makeshift shed or porch. You can also park under the shade of trees. Parking under trees means you need to deal with tree debris like fallen leaves, branches, rotten fruits, seed pods, and insects.
If you really cannot find any shaded area to park in, use a motorcycle cover to provide a layer of protection to your motorcycle. Go for something that is waterproof, has ultraviolet protection, and will fit your motorcycle snugly. You can also use a tarp or some waterproof fabric to cover the motorcycle. This works well for dry weather but you need to anticipate rainy days even if it’s the summer.
Outdoor Storage During Winter
The winter season is a tricky time to park your motorcycle. The extreme drop in temperature has major effects on your motorcycle, like freezing your wet cell battery or exposing it to moisture and other corrosives.
Protection From The Rain
The winter season means the onset of rain and snow, both of which lead to moisture that induces corrosion. Make sure to park your motorcycle under some makeshift shed or porch so as to shield it from the heavy downpour.
If you cannot find a roof, use a motorcycle cover. It should be waterproof and should fit the motorcycle snugly so as to prevent any water from touching your motorcycle. A cover that’s too small will expose some motorcycle parts to moisture. An oversized cover will cause some areas, particularly the middle and the seating area, to sag under the heavyweight of the rainwater. The cover will be overwhelmed by the weight and can lead to leaks. This can also soak the paint job and cause some fading.
Protection From The Wind
Another abundant outdoor element during the winter season is the wind. The wind can topple over your motorcycle so make sure that the bike stand is secured. The motorcycle should also lean against something so that it will not fall over.
The strong winds can also blow off the cover of your motorcycle. Make sure to tailor-fit the cover so that it snugly fits the motorcycle. You might also want to anchor the edges so that they will not flap in the wind.
Additional Tips For Winter Storage
If your motorcycle has a wet cell battery, it is advisable to take out the battery and store it in a warm and safe location inside the house. The extreme temperature will cause the liquid acid to freeze, which then causes damage to the battery plates. You can also hook up your motorcycle battery to a trickle charger to keep the battery cells active so that the battery won’t drain.
There’s no need for you to drain the gasoline in the tank. The freezing point of gasoline is negative forty degrees Fahrenheit so it will still stay fluid even in the dead of winter.
The last tip is to over-inflate your motorcycle tires. The drop in the temperature will also cause the tire pressure to lower. Over-inflating for a few psi accounts for this so that you can still readily ride your motorcycle.
Security Tips For Outdoor Parking
One concern for outdoor parking is motorcycle theft. This is a serious concern especially if you have a high-profile motorcycle model, like a Harley-Davidson.
Make sure to lock your motorcycle in place. You can lock it to a post or an anchor so that it will not be easily towed away. Make sure to use a heavy-duty chain for this.
Another trick is to lock the motorcycle itself. You can install a disk lock that disables the motorcycle chain from being moved. There are also locks that come with motion sensors so that you will be alerted of any theft attempts. You may use a U-lock that you can loop through the motorcycle cover and front wheel so as to completely immobilize the motorcycle.
Make it a point to park your motorcycle in a well-lit area. This will discourage any thief from approaching your motorcycle. You can use lamps with motion sensors. These lamps automatically light up upon detecting movement.
Tips For Long-Term Outdoor Storage
You can’t just dump your motorcycle outdoors and throw a tarp over it. There are a few maintenance checks that you can do to ensure it stays in its optimal condition.
Wash your motorcycle, lubricate its parts, fill up the gas tank, drain the carburetor, plug the exhaust pipes, tend to the battery, and shield the wheels before you cover it and store it away for long-term use.