What to consider when storing your motorcycle outside: lock it and look after it!

If you aren’t fortunate enough to have a secure garage or quality shed to keep your motorcycle in, then you are pretty much left with no option but to keep it outside. This is particularly common when people are first learning to ride and slot motorcycles into their lifestyle, and poses more risks in many ways as your bike will be more exposed and vulnerable, not only to theft but also to the elements.

In this guide I’ll touch on the various points you might want to consider when keeping your bike outside, such as security and weatherproofing.

Relevant articles


First and foremost you will want to ensure that your motorbike is as secure as you can make it. At the end of the day nothing will stop the most determined of thieves, but the idea is to make it more hassle to pinch your bike than it would be someone else’s. There are many options of security and locks that you can use to deter those looking to steal a bike.

Disc locks

One of the most popular options are disc locks. They are relatively inexpensive and small and light for popping in a rucksack or tank bag to keep with you. Many of them also offer an alarm function for additional peace of mind. The downside of a disc lock is that they can be removed with an angle grinder, but when used alongside other security measures they can help to keep your pride and joy safe. They’re also often painted bright colours, which is likely to deter ‘chancers’ who are looking for an easy target.

Find our full list of disc locks

Gold rated with an alarm

Price: £54.98 (was £79.99)
The XA14 is a portable, tough, Sold Secure ‘Motorcycle Powered Cycle Gold’ certified lock with a shouty 110dB alarm built in.

Tested by Rich Newland for two years:

"Just compact enough to slide into a big jacket pocket, it is even better if you have room under the seat, in a tank-bag or rucksack. The main body is forged stainless steel and protects a sturdy 14mm locking pin.

"I’ve not yet found a bike that I can’t fit it to, and after two years of all-weather use the lock still feels like new. It’s bold in bright yellow – or more subtle if you take the black option. You get three sturdy keys; a reminder cord; and a USB lead to recharge the alarm battery – but no storage pouch."


  • Very portable
  • Easy to use
  • Effective alarm


  • No storage pouch included
  • Looks deceptively weedy
  • Quality
  • Value
  • Ease of use
  • Overall
Weight 0.75kg
Size 10.16 x 7.62 x 5.08 cm
Construction Forged stainless steel
  • Motion activated 110dB alarm
  • 14mm T-locking pin
  • Rechargeable lithium polymer battery, with USB charging cable included
  • Reminder cable included

Chains and padlocks

A second layer of security that you can add to help protect your motorcycle is a chain and lock. Ideally you want one that is long enough to fit through your motorcycle, frame if possible or rear wheel, and attach around a nice secure object like a lamp post, while keeping the chain off of the ground.

Find our full list of locks and chains

Gold rated

Price: £114.99 (was £214.99)
This heavy-duty lock and chain is just about light enough to carry in a tankbag but it's right on the limit and will be too heavy for some. Even so, it makes a great home security option.

Tested by Ben Clarke for two months:

"The recently updated Oxford Nemesis lock and chain set is a great middle ground between a portable chain you might use out and about and the kind of heavy-duty metalwork you could only realistically deploy at home.

"At 7.7kg (1.2m version), it's a little too heavy to carry with you on the road but the 16mm hardened steel links are more than a set of bolt croppers can munch through, so if you are able to carry it somewhere it offers a great level of security (it carries a Sold Secure Gold rating).

"On the plus side, it's dainty enough to fit between the spokes of most bikes-the fairly tight pattern of the Indian FTR S's cast rims are no problem - and it's light enough to manhandle without issue, too. As an added bonus, the padlock acts as a disc lock when you're out and about and you can arrange the chain in such a way that it's locked to the disc to make it harder for thieves to move your bike around and gain access with cutting tools. The fabric sleeve protects your paintwork and this is the first chain I've used where the studs holding the sleeve in place haven't immediately given up.
"The £189.99 price is a little salty but when you consider the lock's double use it doesn't seem so bad. There are plenty of deals to be had online, too."


  • Just light enough to carry
  • Long lengths available - up to 2m
  • Still fits through most bike rims


  • Chunky and heavy
  • Only fits through bigger ground anchors
  • Quality
  • Value
  • Ease of use
  • Overall
Weight 7.7kg
Size 1.2 - 2.0 meters
Construction Hardened steel
  • 16mm hardened steel shackle
  • Anti-pick and anti-drill lock cylinder
  • Shock-resistant rubber over-moulded lock body
  • 3 (replaceable) keys provided with dust cover
  • Double security by securing onto the disc with chain
  • Reassuringly huge 16mm hardened steel chain links
  • Cloth sleeve helps protects paintwork
  • Zinc coated to help prevent corrosion

Ground anchors

Ground anchors provide a secure point for mounting a chain and lock if you don’t have anything really sturdy to lock it to. They are usually some sort of large solid metal eyelet for threading the chain through, that is very securely mounted into the ground using bolts or industrial adhesive.

Find our full list of ground anchors

Gold rated bolt-in

Milenco say they designed the Snaefell to be the toughest, strongest and most secure ground anchor ever made, and if its size and weight is anything to go by, you can tell. It’s so chunky, in fact, that it’s worth bearing in mind if you intend to install your anchor in a tight spot in your garage.

Tested by Ben Clarke for six months:

"With the rubber cover in place the Snaefell measures in at an imposing 350mm x 350mm (1sqft in old money).

"I’ve managed to install mine in deep tarmac, but I feel like it would be more secure in concrete. That’s not to say that it feels like it’s going anywhere.

"The hoop design makes it very easy to get your chain through and because of the way it pivots, there’s no fiddling around necessary. It’s not been tested by a thief yet (touch wood) but with a Sold Secure gold rating and a hardened 22mm steel link, I’d expect it to hold up well."


  • Easy to use
  • Folds flat when not in use


  • More expensive than the competition
  • Much bigger than other options
  • Quality
  • Value
  • Ease of use
  • Overall
Weight 5.57kg
Size 5 x 32 x 32 cm (in box)
Construction Hardened steel
  • Folding design
  • Full instructions and Fitting kit included


An alarm provides an extra layer of security. They create a loud piercing sound when the motorcycle is tampered with. This draws attention to any thieves that try to make off with your bike, which hopefully will send them fleeing for fear of someone intervening.

Full list of motorcycle alarms


Equally as important as security is keeping your motorcycle protected against the elements. Dampness can cause rust and corrosion and UV rays from the sun can damage and degrade your paintwork and plastics.


Motorcycle covers provide shelter for your motorcycle from the rain and sun and also provide the added benefit of a little additional security by keeping your bike hidden so the thieves don’t know what’s underneath.

High quality and weather resistant

Price: £59.71 (was £64.99)
The R&G Adventure cover is designed primarily for adventure bikes but that makes it big and roomy enough to fit over pretty much anything in a pinch. But there are other fits available designed for other styles of bike, from scooters to sports bikes and cruisers.

Tested by Michael Neeves for three years:

"It was only after buying a scooter that I became a bike cover connoisseur. I’ve used thin, cheap and cheerful ones in the past, but they can rip easily when the wind gets underneath, but this R&G cover is different.

"Made from sturdy waterproof material with belly straps and an elasticated hem, it uses up more space under the seat when you’re storing it, but the reward is a snugger fit. Even after being left outside in the elements, my Yamaha TMAX still looks like it’s been kept in a garage and after three years of service the cover is still in perfect condition."


  • Highly durable
  • Snug fit gives more coverage


  • Doesn't pack down as small as other options
  • Quality
  • Value
  • Ease of use
  • Overall
Size 266 x 112 x 173 cm
  • Weatherproof cover
  • Front and rear chain loops
  • High visibility reflective logos
  • Clear PVC rear window allowing the number plate to be visible, with internal 'curtain' enabling it to be covered if desired

Protectant spray

Another way in which you can protect your motorcycles surfaces from water ingress is to use a protectant spray. These form a film or coating over the bike to act as a barrier to water and dust.

Tried and tested by Gareth Evans for nine months and 4,000 miles

"If there’s one way to encourage bikers to keep their bikes protected, it’s to design products like this spray, that make your entire garage smell incredible. That’s right, it’s Mint by name and minty by nature, with an aroma that feels like it could clear your sinuses. It’s a general protectant, and works by forming a film over your bike’s surfaces to prevent water seeping in and doing damage. It’s particularly well suited to winterising your pride and joy before tucking it out of harm’s way in the garage."

"You simply shake the rather appealingly matte-finished can, spray it onto the parts you want to protect – moving, metal fixtures and fittings, rubber seals and electronics are all fair game, but be careful not to apply it to brake or chain components. There are other Oxford products to help with those. I found it kept the Yamaha R7 looking pristine, and it was noticeably easier to wash the bike too, with dirt simply not adhering in the way I’d expect."


  • It smells great
  • Makes cleaning easier
  • Does what it says on the tin
  • Quality
  • Value
Size 500ml
Type Rust prevention
Dispenser Aerosol spray
  • Mint scented
  • Enhances protection against dirt and grime
  • Light wax coating

How we test kit

How MCN tests security and cleaning products

At MCN, our team of expert journalists have decades of experience gained over hundreds of thousands of miles. We don’t usually test our security and cleaning products to destruction; we use it exactly how you do, in the real world and in all conditions, while also being on top of the key safety and security regulations. That means we can deliver impartial buying advice you can rely on.

Each of our writers has an in-depth understanding of the needs of today’s biker… because they are one.

To find out if a security or cleaning product is worth spending your money on, our testers use them in the way you will. That means riding in them in whichever conditions they are designed for.

If you can’t see a review against an item on this page, it’s because we haven’t tested it yet. These items will only be included if we think they’re important and relevant in the market, and rest assured, we will be working on bringing you a review as soon as we’ve done the miles.

To find out more, head to our dedicated page explaining how we test motorcycle products.

What our star ratings mean

When we review a product, we award it a score out of five. In the ratings tab of a given product, you may also find more specific scores for the different aspects of a product’s performance to help you make an informed decision. Here’s a guide to what each number score means:

  • 1 star – Poor performance in this category or overall. A product with a single star rating has fallen below the expected standard and should be avoided.
  • 2 stars – Basic performance in this area or overall. A product with a two-star rating has managed to perform to a barely acceptable level and there is room for improvement.
  • 3 stars – An average performance in this area or overall. A product with a three-star rating has achieved a basic level of performance and is deemed adequate.
  • 4 stars – A product has performed over and above the accepted averaged in this category or overall. A product with a four-star rating has surpassed expectation and delivered in a particularly impressive way.
  • 5 stars – A product has performed at the highest possible level in a particular category or overall. A product with a five-star rating has delivered to the highest possible level, impressing the tester with its performance. We would happily spend our own money on it.

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