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No matter what kind of motorcycle you ride, motorcycle gear isn’t cheap. In this post we’ll talk about how to store your motorcycle gear.
If you ride then you know;
Motorcycle gear is a really important part of riding any motorcycle and is a big investment in your safety. You want your gear to perform the way it was intended, for the purpose it was designed.
After your done prepping your motorcycle to store it long term for its long winter’s nap (even if you’re storing it without a garage), it’s time to turn your attention to your motorcycle gear and clean it up. You may discover that certain pieces need to be repaired or even replaced.
Chances are this-
During riding season you’re paying close attention to how your motorcycle gear is performing…
But what about when you’re not riding your motorcycle?
How do you store your motorcycle gear if you’re not going to be on your bike for long stretches of time? That could be due to life getting in the or the riding season is over for you.
Some of the products I personally like to use to clean my gear:
- Leather Honey for my leather jackets and gloves
- 3D final touch for helmet, the visor and my motorcycle. This is a great all around cleaner/polish, I love it.
- Microfibre rags – Anytime I use a rag for any of my gear I use these.
These are my three core ‘go to’ products that i use for just about everything.
How to Store Motorcycle Gear
Prepare your motorcycle gear by cleaning the inside and outside according to the owner’s manual or the tag. Once your gear has been prepared, store in a cool dry place.
Just like anything else in life, there are good and bad ways to perform any task; storing your motorcycle gear is no different.
Think about it;
If you don’t take care of your stuff, the wear and tear will decrease its life expectancy and you’re going to wind up buying new gear and/or apparel sooner.
But if you take good care of your gear and store it correctly you’ll be rewarded (or should we say your wallet will be rewarded) with gear that works better, lasts longer, and is ready for a ride as soon as the season begins for you.
We’ve put together some highlights to prepping and storing your motorcycle gear that just about anybody can use.
As a reminder…
Make sure you check the manufacturer’s specs for care and cleaning instructions. If you didn’t hang on to them, take a look inside the piece of gear and look for a sewn in label. Worst case scenario, visit your local motorcycle shop and ask or visit the brand website.
Preparing Your Motorcycle Gear for Storage
Actually storing your gear isn’t that complicated of a process, but where people tend to go wrong is not preparing their gear to be stored for a long period of time. If you’re storing your gear for the winter months, or any other extended period you won’t be using it, you NEED to prepare it to be stored.
Sweat, body oils and road grime can chip away at the integrity of your motorcycle riding gear over time.
First things first…
Storing A Motorcycle Helmet
Cleaning the outside
Start by wiping down the outside of your helmet. Typically, I use lukewarm water and a microfiber rag. If there’s not much junk on the hemet, I’ll just use a dry microfibre rag (amazon link).
Feel free to use something more abrasive like a paper towel dampened in water, but don’t use the paper towel on your face shield, it’s too abrasive and may scratch it.
The only real reason to use anything slightly abrasive is help get excess road grime like bug and other debris off the motorcycle helmet shell.
For hard to reach areas where you can’t get the rag into (such as vents) consider using a toothbrush.
Cleaning the Visor
Continue using a damp rag here, but don’t use anything such as windex. Windex (and other cleaners) can react badly with the plastic and cause it to cloud up.
Cleaning the inside of your helmet
If you have a removable liner, your in luck! Take it out and toss it into the wash on a delicate setting.
For motorcycle helmets with a non removable liner (like mine unfortunately) it’s not quite that simple.
The interior can be wiped down using a shampoo and water solution. Keep the solution mild, you don’t want excess soap in the cloth. Don’t use laundry detergent or any other harsh detergent in your cleaning solution here.
Cleaners are primarily corrosive materials that can irritate your skin, so the more gently the better. Baby shampoo is ideal.
You can also use Fabreeze. Spray it onto a rag first and then wipe down the interior. Otherwise you may get it on the visor and it could react badly with the plastic.
Also, don’t forget check any plastic or rubber insulating fittings on your motorcycle helmet. If they look a bit dry, you may want coat them with silicone or petroleum jelly to keep from drying out.
The ‘Final Touch’
The only thing that I will spray on my motorcycle helmet including the visor is a product called 3D Final Touch (amazon link). This stuff is a great silicone based cleaner that not only cleans, but puts a great shine on the helmet.
It’s the ONLY product I clean my visor with.
If you still have the bag that your helmet came in, place your helmet in the storage. If you don’t have it, you may be able to get one at your local cycle shop or just use a pillow case.
Cleaning Motorcycle Apparel and Gear
Whether you’re riding with textile, leather clothing or other gear such your leather tool bag you’ve mounted on your bike, they each have their own maintenance requirements.
Beware that a lot of cleaning products are going to be hard on your motorcycle gear and aren’t going to be suitable. Items that have special coatings like gore tex or anything that’s perforated to breath or breathable membranes will be damaged if the detergent is too caustic.
For textile jackets and other clothing is relatively easy although there are a few steps. We’ve outline this process in our article on how to clean a textile motorcycle jacket. Use cool water and use very little to no heat to dry them.
For lining and other special items it’s not recommended to put them in a washing machine. These items you’re goint to want to wash by hand.
For both textile apparel and special items you may want to use something like Nikwax Techwash (amazon link)
After washing, hang dry your items in the bathroom or outside (no direct sun and no extreme heat).
If you want to accelerate the drying process a hair dryer works best.
Why is that?
You can control the heat better. Keep in mind that severe heat when drying your items will likely ruin them.
When you’re all done put some lubricant on snaps and zipper (silicone, petroleum jelly) to keep them working good.
Putting It Away
Other gear like boots, gloves, helmet, and etc. can be stored in a plastic box with a lid. Storing leather in an airtight space can cause issues with mold, so if you’re storing your leather gear in a box make sure it isn’t totally airtight.
While a box for leather gear shouldn’t be airtight, I highly encourage a box with a lid that will keep bugs or dust off of your gear. Storing your gear properly can add literal years on the life expectancy of your jacket, gloves, boots, helmet, or any other riding gear.
If you don’t have the closet space to store your motorcycle jacket and pants, then you can do that in a box as well. It’s important that the box you use for your jacket and pants is large enough and deep enough that they fit into it without you having to fold them.
Folding your gear before storing it away can cause it to lose its shape which means you’re going to be hurting the lifespan of your gear instead of helping it.
Consistent time keeping your gear in shape is the best investment next to buying the gear itself. There are plenty of bikers who don’t properly clean and store their gear which means by the time they take it out again they’re going to realize they need new gear. That means two things: spending more money and less time spent riding.
Make sure that all the gear is completely dry before storage to prevent mold issues.
Cleaning Your Leather Gear
Cleaning leather can be quite the process and really starts by taking care of your leathers throughout the riding season.
If you want to do it by hand, you’ll want to use a soft brush and a good leather cleaner like Leather Honey (amazon link) to stay on top of cleaning your leather gear. You can use the same process to clean your leather motorcycle boots and gloves.
Want to hear something crazy?
You can machine wash cowhide leather.
It’s important to confirm that your gear is cowhide leather (it usually is) and not something exotic – Different types of leather have different properties and may not stand up to machine washing like cowhide does.
Check out our article on how to clean a leather jacket in a washing machine for details. The same process will not only work for jackets, but pants and other gear.
How Do You Clean The Inside Of a Motorcycle Leather Jacket or Pants?
Cleaning the inside of your sleeves or pants for leather apparel can be a bit tricky. Aside from choosing to put them in washing machine, here is a cheap and easy method try.
The Distilled vinegar method:
- Start by turning the jacket or pants inside out
- Put distilled vinegar into a spray bottle about halfway
- Spray the inside of the jacket or pants until soaked
- Hang the apparel up on a hanger to dry
If you don’t want to use vinegar, you can try the same method, except substitute Fabreeze for the vinegar.
Cleaning Motorcycle Boots and Gloves
Here’s the thing;
Not much really changes here.
You can use all of the previous techniques mentioned above to clean your boots and gloves.
For boots, I rinse the soles off in water and clean the gunk out of the ‘tread’. After that, you can use off the shelf shoe polish to give them a nice coat and make them shiny and black again.
For gloves, use any of the tips above whether they’re textile or leather.
Drying your Gear
Remember to always let your gear have some time to dry. Like I mentioned in my other articles, you should let your gear dry in a room temperature ventilated place out of direct sunlight. If your gear doesn’t get a chance to dry properly after you’ve washed and cleaned it then it’s going to have the same issues as not washing your gear at all.
Keep this in mind;
Extreme heat will damage your gear.
Cleaning your gear is going to be the difference between having ruined or ride ready gear when the next riding season rolls around wherever you are. And regularly cleaning it is important for maintaining the health of your gear as well, so after you read this article don’t just clean it before you store it but give your gear regular TLC so it stays how you want it to.
Storing Your Gear When You’re Off The Bike
We’ve covered how to store your gear for the long term, but how about what about when you pull over in the middle of a ride? It’s an all too common situation, especially when you’re on a long trip. You’ve put down a hundred or more miles and you stop to take a break.
But here’s the issue…
You’re wearing a lot of motorcycle gear and there’s no way you’re going to fit all the gear you don’t want to be wearing in your bike when you get off it.
Usually if you’re touring your bike will have a good amount of storage and saddle bags so you can put away most of your stuff, but what do you do if your helmet doesn’t fit?
Bring your gear with you.
It’s a pain hitting the coffee shop, lugging around your stuff and being stared at but it’s the best way to may sure nobody steals anything.
Some bikes have a feature that lets you hook your helmet to the bike and lock it so it can’t be stolen when you go into a restaurant or anything else. Usually it’s under the seat, and it’s meant to go through the D-ring of your helmet.
Do you Leave Your Helmet on Your Motorcycle?
Whether you decide to leave your helmet on your bike will depend on a couple of things:
- Can you lock it up on the bike itself?
- What kind of area are you in?
If you don’t have a way to lock your helmet on the motorcycle and you’re not comfortable with the area your in (or you just don’t know) a best practice would be to just bring your motorcycle helmet with where ever you go.
Storing your Motorcycle Gear
Just to wrap it all up here’s a quick bulleted list of what you should and shouldn’t be doing.
- Always Prepare your gear for storage which means a deep clean before a long break period you won’t be riding in
- Always dry your gear after washing it, and give it the time it needs to dry well
- Store it out of the sun, in a climate-controlled area, I prefer an enclosed case where bugs and dust won’t get on it, but some people use shelves and those can be fine too.
- Don’t fold jackets/pants into enclosed spaces that can cause their shape to deform
- Consider investing in portable storage systems for your helmet if your bike doesn’t have the room to store it.
Remember, If you ride, you’re going to sweat, and that sweat is going to get into every crack and crevice of your gear which means if you leave it in a dark room for a few months totally untouched, then it’s going to get pretty nasty.
The important thing about knowing how to store your motorcycle gear and cleaning it, is reading the manual or the tag for that piece of gear.
Treating your gear right means you’re protecting your investment. Always take the time to take care of your gear whether that means cleaning it or storing it properly, and it’ll last you a long time.