Setting up your garage for motorcycles doesn’t have to be a far-off fantasy you’ll never see happen.
It doesn’t have to cost $100,000, involve 12 architects, and take a year to build.
The key to getting a motorcycle garage you love is to work with what you’ve got.
We’ve turned our pretty basic double garage into a biker haven that you want to spend all day in.
And it wasn’t hard.
A great garage for motorcycles involves 5 elements: more floor space, proper storage, some personality in the decor, somewhere comfortable to sit, and good security. You can set up most of these by using your brain rather your wallet. But where do you start?
Let me walk you through how we set up our motorcycle garage without spending anywhere close to a fortune.
How to Set up a Garage for Motorcycles
We’ll start with the biggest challenge first…
1. You’ll need more space in your garage for motorcycles
The problem with garages is they tend to gradually, organically turn into storage rooms for all your household junk.
Go out to your garage and look around.
How much useless old stuff can you see?
Are you accidentally storing:
- an old washing machine you don’t know how to get rid of
- tins of half dried out paint in weird colors
- sports equipment that belongs to kids that have moved out
- a collection of rusting gardening tools with mysterious uses
- bags of cement or building supplies that have been there 10 years and you’re never going to use?
How did all of this end up in your garage?
It’s become your own personal landfill site.
All of that junk is taking up precious floor space you need for motorcycle activities.
And you know where I’m going with this…
Yep, you need to have a clear-out.
But that sounds too hard, right?
It’s only too hard if you don’t know the short-cuts to making it as painless as possible.
- Start by moving non-garage things to a more appropriate space.
The garden stuff can go live in the garden shed.
The 500 empty jars from your wife’s short-lived jam-making hobby can go in a kitchen cupboard.
Or call a charity store to come get them.
- Hire a small skip, and have it delivered this weekend.
You’re about to get rid of all the things that you no longer need.
And if you have a skip being picked up Monday morning, you only have 2 days to get this done.
It’s faster than hiring a trailer and taking loads to the rubbish dump all weekend.
And now you have a deadline, you can’t put it off for another year.
- Ask for help.
Get your significant other, or a friend to come help you.
This will take too long to do on your own.
If try and do it all yourself, you won’t be finished by Monday.
Call in the cavalry from the start.
- Be brutal.
Don’t keep stuff because you plan to sell it on eBay sometime in the future for $20.
Don’t hold on to that vacuum cleaner that’s been broken for 5 years but you might be able to trade it in.
Let the junk go.
Once all the useless stuff is gone, you’ll be amazed by how much space you’ve opened up.
While you’re on a roll, get out the yard broom and have a quick sweep up.
What an achievement!
You’ve just cleared years of clutter, and you have more space than you thought possible.
2. In a garage made for motorcycles, you need plenty of storage
Storing all the stuff that DOES belong in the garage is the next step.
The next weekend, or after work during the week, make a plan for where you’ll put everything.
If you have tools piled up all over the bench, and random piles of nuts and bolts lying around, it’s time to sort those out.
Again, it’s not that hard.
Take a deep breath, and try this:
- Put your tools away in their tool chest.
You’ll be able to find it now that it’s not half-hidden behind the broken-down washing machine in the corner.
- If you don’t have a chest for your tools, hang them on nails on the wall.
Then you can see what you have.
- Put your nuts, bolts, washers, screws etc. into containers you’ve labelled.
It doesn’t have to be fussy or pretty.
It just has to make your life easier so you can find what you need.
- If you need more shelving, you have two options:
Nail a couple of shelves to some spare wall space, or
Go to a hardware store and buy a basic metal shelving unit.
You have enough space now to squeeze it into a corner.
3. Every garage for motorcycles needs some personality!
No dream motorcycle garage is complete without some touches that reflect your personality, and moments from your motorcycle journey.
Before you start prettying up the place with throw cushions and frilly curtains (he he), you might want to give the surfaces a quick wipe down.
If you’re not keen, ask the wife to help.
Women love cleaning, right?
Even so, you might want to be very charming when approaching your wife, and throw in a romantic dinner to say thank you.
Once the surfaces are clean, or at least cleaner, there are lots of ways to add some personality to your new spacious garage:
- A photo board.
You may well have piles of old motorcycle photos in a box somewhere.
Now you know what to do with them.
If your photos are purely digital, print out your favorites rather than leave them all on your phone.
Put up some pictures of your bikes past and present, and rides you’ve been on with friends.
The photo board in our garage has been there for years.
It’s weathered and old, but each cracked photo tells a story.
- Signs and posters.
You know those tin signs your non-biker friends like to give you?
They’ll look great in a garage for motorcycles.
We’ve had some classic advertising posters from bike magazines framed too, along with some sketches of our favorite bikes.
It’s like a biker art gallery out there.
- Quirky collections.
Back in the day, we were big fans of tequila.
And now we have a pretty alarming collection of all the bottles we’ve sampled over the years.
I like to quickly point out to visitors that this collection came together over about 10 years, rather than one messy weekend.
You’ll have your own momentos of bike rallies you’ve been on, old motorcycle t-shirts you can’t possibly throw away, tools that used to be your dad’s, spare motorcycle gas tanks…
Putting these personal things on display help to make it clear this is a garage for motorcycles.
4. A garage for motorcycles needs cool seating
When you have a space you love hanging out in, of course you’ll be spending more time there.
So you need somewhere to sit, where you can relax and enjoy your motorcycle sanctuary.
But you don’t have to drop 3 grand on a new leather sofa.
Again, look around and work what you already have:
- Do you have any outdoor furniture you’re not using?
Give it a new home in the garage.
- Do you have an old sofa or armchair you’ve been talking about throwing out?
Drape your favorite flag over it, and set it up in a corner of the garage.
It’s just become comfortable biker furniture.
- Do you have any old barstools you’re not using?
They’re easy to move around the garage and don’t take up much space.
- Old milk crates or wooden boxes look great.
We picked up some wooden beer crates that a local small business has converted to garage seats.
They’re comfortable and look cool.
Even the biker cats love them.
And as we know, that’s important.
There are lots of ways to make do with what you have for seating – and this is a casual space where motorcycle work gets done.
Your furniture doesn’t have to be French-polished antiques with silk cushions.
5. A garage for motorcycles needs good security
This is the final piece of the puzzle in your dream motorcycle garage.
Now that you have a motorcycle workshop you love, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s secure.
You probably didn’t bother before, because who’s going to break in and steal a broken lawnmower or clamber over all the other junk that was in there to get to your motorcycle?
But now the space is clear, it’s easier for people to see what’s in the garage.
And so it’s smart to protect both your motorcycle, and all the gear that’s now on organized display (workshop tools are expensive too, and a pain to replace).
Here are some ideas for increasing your security without investing in state-of-the-art sensor alarms, and vaporizing heat-seeking laser systems that Tom Cruise might have to work around in Mission Impossible:
- Take 10 minutes to review your insurance policy.
Is it up to date?
There’s no point paying for it if it doesn’t cover your current needs.
- Buy some heavy-duty padlocks and chains.
This is one area we have actually spent some money on.
Get the serious ones that need to be broken with angle grinders and a team of experienced thieves.
- Chain your bikes together if you have more than one.
If you don’t have more than one, buying another motorcycle just became a priority.
It’s a legitimate security measure.
- Add a link to the floor of your motorcycle garage and chain your bike to that.
We’ve sunk a steel loop into the floor.
Anything chained to that is not going anywhere.
- Increase the security on your motorcycle garage door.
Again, chains and padlocks will help.
We went a little crazy, and got some steel locks fitted to the ground outside of our garage doors, which are padlocked closed.
This means that even if someone broke in through the small windows, they have no way of opening the garage door from the inside, or the outside.
- Security signs are one more deterrent.
It won’t hurt to put up a Beware of the Dog sign, or a notice that you have a security alarm system.
You want to send a message that your garage will be a lot of work to break into, and there are likely easier targets out there.
Move on, bike thieves…
Setting up a garage for motorcycles is totally within your reach.
As you can see, it basically takes some motivation, a few hours, and a step-by-step plan to put these elements together.
It’s really worth it.
Because on the days when you’re not riding, where else would you want to hang out but in your custom-designed motorcycle garage?
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