Whether you have a motorcycle that you just bought and it needs a lot of work, or a motorcycle with a new chrome finish, the most important thing you can do at the outset is clean your bike. Dirt traps moisture, and moisture causes rust. This is the number one reason that unless your bike is clean it probably isn’t ready for storage. As an extra preventative measure, once you wipe your bike clean, lightly cover all exposed metal surfaces with an oil like WD-40. As oil is hydrophobic, it will protect the surfaces most vulnerable to rust from water.
Fuel System, Engine Prep, and Tires
As with anything that runs on gas, either draining the tank of gas or supplementing the gas with a fuel additive is a necessity if you want to prevent the gas tank from rust erosion. Storing gas in the tank without running your bike all winter might cause condensation in the tank; this is one thing the fuel additive protects against.
Another preventative measure you’ll want to take is changing the oil. With old oil in your engine, gunk could build up over time as the motorcycle is stationary. Changing the oil and running your motorcycle for a few minutes so it cycles through the system will help prevent buildup in the engine. Likewise, don’t forget to double check your antifreeze, which will protect against freezing, which causes condensation, which causes erosion.
Lastly, whether you are in a climate controlled unit or a regular unit, it is difficult to raise the temperature of concrete slabs that are poured into the ground above ground temperature. When the ground freezes, as a result, the floor temperature of your unit could drop below freezing. As a result, many motorcycle enthusiasts either use center stands, which suspends their bikes in air, or roll their motorcycles onto cardboard or wood. Using a cycle stand is certainly the most ideal, given that it not only protects the tire rubber against below freezing temperatures, reducing cracks, the motorcycle stand also protects against lumps in the tires. If you cannot get a cycle stand, however, you should at least get a cardboard box, as below freezing temperature could cause your motorcycle tires to crack.
For maximum protection from the elements, it is recommended that you reserve either a climate controlled or temperature controlled unit. The difference is that climate controlled units not only control temperature but also control humidity, whereas temperature controlled units just control the temperature of the unit. However, if you just have a new fixer-upper motorcycle that needs a lot of work, a regular storage unit will probably serve you well.