Storing a Motorcycle in Self Storage

By Molly Hammond,

Whether you’re being deployed overseas, vacationing for a few months, only ride your motorcycle on the weekends, or live in an area where the weather isn’t always perfect for riding, using a self storage unit to store your motorcycle is a great way to make sure that it remains in tip-top shape throughout the year. That’s why we’ve compiled some advice for finding the best vehicle storage for your motorcycle and preparing your bike for storage.

Finding the Right Motorcycle Storage Option

When storing a motorcycle in self-storage, you’ll want to find a storage solution that will protect your bike from the weather. Boats and RVs can get away with outdoor storage because they’re sturdier, but motorcycles need more protection. This is especially true if you live in an area where the weather isn’t favorable for most of the year.

Luckily, the solution is simple. Unlike boats and RVs, Motorcycles are small enough to be stored inside of medium sized storage units such as a 5×10, which gives them all the cover they need from the weather.

Get the Right Storage Unit Size

As for storage unit size, a 5×10 storage unit is generally big enough to house one motorcycle and any accessories you may have, like helmets or jackets. However, if you’ll be storing multiple motorcycles, you may want to look into a larger unit, such as a 10×10 or 10×15.

There’s also an option for short-term vehicle storage with some facilities. This is very useful if you’re going out of town or being deployed for a few months, or if you only drive your motorcycle half of the year. If this is your situation, ask the facility you’re interested in about short-term rental agreements or month-to-month leasing options. That way, you only pay for motorcycle storage when you need it.

Motorcycle Storage Pricing

With 5×10 to 5×15 being the storage unit size range for storing one motorcycle up to a couple, the monthly cost to store your bike should fit in the price ranges below:

5×10 Storage Unit Prices

If only storing one bike, you should be able to get away with a 5×10 storage unit. In smaller markets, you can find this storage unit size for roughly $35 to $50 a month. If you’re in a larger market with over 1.5 million residents, cost rises to the $50 to $85 a month range.

10×10 Storage Unit Prices

If storing two motorcycles, you a 10×10 storage unit is more realistic. These range from $80 to $100 in price in smaller markets, and go for $140 to $160 in larger markets.

Prepare Your Motorcycle for Storage

As soon as you have your storage unit secured, it’s time to prep your bike for storage. If you’re putting your motorcycle into long-term storage and don’t plan to ride it for some time, there are additional preparations necessary for keeping your bike in good shape. Gerde Applethwaite, a blogger for Helmet City, suggested these steps:

  • Add coolant: Make sure your bike’s coolant system is leak-free and your antifreeze mix is fresh. This will ensure that your motorcycle works properly after it’s been sitting for a while, especially during the winter months.
  • Mind your tires: Tires will slowly leak air while they’re in storage, so it’s best to fill them up before storing so you don’t come back to two flat tires. Many experts also recommend elevating the bike if possible to take pressure off of the tires. This helps avoid flat spots that can develop if the bike is left in the same position for months on end. A motorcycle lift stand or center stand can help accomplish this task.
  • Care for the battery: Like any other vehicle, a motorcycle battery can die if it goes unused for long periods of time. Applethwaite recommends removing the battery and putting it on a mild trickle charger or battery tender to keep it from losing its charge entirely. It’s particularly important to keep lithium batteries charged, too, since draining them may prevent the battery from ever charging again.
  • Empty the gas: To keep your fuel system in good condition, drain the gas tank of any fuel. This will prevent corrosion and gunk from forming in your fuel lines. If that isn’t an option, leave your bike with a full tank and use a fuel stabilizer, such as Sta-bil, to keep the gas from breaking down while your bike is in winter storage. A half-empty tank is worse than anything as it can create conditions for moisture to form and damage your tank.
  • Oil change: Change the engine oil and filter before storing. Used oil contains contaminants that can damage your bike if left to sit for a prolonged period of time.  While you are changing your motor oil, check your spark plugs and lubricate them as well.
  • Replace fluids: Replace brake fluids and others
  • Cover it up: Even when storing inside of a storage unit, you should use a motorcycle cover. This will not only keep dust and dirt from collecting on your bike, but it will also keep out pests. You should also make a point to plug up the exhaust pipes, as they happens to be a perfect place for small critters to take up residence. You could buy a muffler plug, or use steel wool or a plastic bag to accomplish the task.

For more on winterizing your motorcycle, this post features more detailed information on the steps above.

Features & Amenities to Consider When Storing Your Motorcycle

Carlos Martinez, a representative for Value Store It, recommends that motorcycle owners look for the following storage features when moving their bikes into indoor vehicle storage:

  • Climate-controlled storage: With climate control, you’re able to keep your motorcycle in an environment where temperature and humidity levels are moderated, which prevents rusting.
  • Drive-up access: This feature allows you to drive up to your unit for easy loading and unloading.
  • Additional security: Individually-alarmed units, on-site management, video surveillance, and gated access are all great security features to have when storing a motorcycle, as it protects your unit from break-ins.
  • 24-hour access: It would be inconvenient to find out your storage facility is closed when you want to grab your bike after work or on the weekend. With 24-hour access, however, you can grab your bike whenever it works with your schedule.

While the decision is ultimately yours when it comes to storage features, these are all helpful amenities to have for preserving your bike during the off-season.

No matter what your reason for storing your bike, self storage is the perfect way to keep your bike safe and shiny. Follow the steps above and your chopper will be ready to roll come riding season. The only thing that matters as much as where you ride your motorcycle is the storage location you keep it in!