It is true; the wind is not one of our best friends when it comes to riding or parking a motorcycle.
In order to avoid any potential damage to your motorcycle, it is essential to understand how much wind is too much when parking outside.
Winds above 35 mph can blow over most motorcycles. Factors like the motorcycle’s weight, lean angle, how it is parked, the road’s angle, and the speed of the wind will play an important role in whether or not the wind will blow over the motorcycle.
I am sure that you do not want to see your motorcycle tipped over because of the wind. This is why below, I will share with you more detailed and useful information on everything you need to know in order to avoid any frustration situations.
How much wind will blow over a motorcycle?
The first thing we need to establish is how much wind is too much.
Winds of up to 20 or 25 mph are, generally speaking, considered safe and should not be able to blow over a motorcycle unless the motorcycle has been parked in a very compromising way.
Winds starting from 30 mph and above may potentially tip over a motorcycle depending on other factors—this means that you need to take some precautions if the wind exceeds 30 or 35 mph.
Following the proper parking techniques will increase the stability of your motorcycle. This will make it more firm even against stronger winds. In which case, very strong winds of 40 mph may not blow over your motorcycle even if they hit it on its broadside.
Winds exceeding 50 mph can be considered very dangerous and highly likely to tip over even a heavier motorcycle. And stronger winds above 90 mph can even blow over a 400-pound barrel so most motorcycles will not stand a chance.
What can cause wind to blow over your motorcycle
Besides the wind speed, several other factors will affect how likely it will be for your motorcycle to be blown over by the wind.
The weight of the motorcycle
The weight of the motorcycle will play a significant role in how firm it will be and how much wind pressure it will be able to withstand before tipping over.
Motorcycle weight may vary from 160 to over 1,000 pounds (73 to 454 kg).
Heavy motorcycles will be a lot harder to blow over by the wind. For example, motorcycles weighing over 550 pounds will withstand a lot more wind pressure than lighter motorcycles below 400 pounds.
If you are riding a lighter sports bike, dirt bike, or cafe racer, you may have to exercise extra caution as it will be easier to blow over by the wind. In comparison, heavier baggers, cruising, choppers, and touring motorcycles will be harder to blow over by the wind.
The angle of the motorcycle to the road
The angle of the motorcycle to the road is one of the main factors determining how much wind pressure it will be able to withstand before tipping over. The lower the angle, the higher winds it will be able to resist before being blown over.
The length of the kickstand determines the lean angle. Not all motorcycles will have the same lean angle when on the side stand. The best angle is usually within the 12 to 15 degrees angle. If the lean angle were below 10 degrees or above 25 degrees, it would be easier for the wind to blow over the motorcycle.
If the motorcycle stands very upright, the angle should be lowered, and if the motorcycle is leaning too much, the angle should be increased.
The angle of the road
The road’s angle is another important factor that may increase the odds of your motorcycle being tipped over by the wind.
If you park your motorcycle on a completely flat surface, this can be considered the most neutral position, which will give your motorcycle good odds against winds from all directions.
If the motorcycle is parked on an angled surface, the direction of the wind will be very important.
If the wind is blowing up the slope, the motorcycle will usually have lower chances being tipped over as opposed to winds blowing down the slope.
Which brings us pretty nicely to the next thing.
The angle at which the wind blows
The angle at which the wind hits the motorcycle will have a significant impact on the stability and ability of the motorcycle to withstand the wind pressure.
A strong wind blowing directly to the broadside may tip a motorcycle a lot more quickly than a wind blowing head-on, which will have a much smaller impact on the stability of the motorcycle.
The condition of the kickstand
The design and how sturdy the kickstand is will have a huge impact on the motorcycle’s stability. After all, the kickstand is responsible for keeping the motorcycle in place.
Some kickstands are very flimsy, which could cause the motorcycle to be easily blown over by the wind.
The type of the kickstand
I am sure that at some point some of you may have wondered which one is better. Is a center stand or a side stand more stable?
It is a debatable topic, but my experience showed that the center stand makes the motorcycle a lot more stable. I have seen motorcycles being blown over off of the side stand but not off of the center stand.
The center stand will provide more stability and thus allow your motorcycle to resist stronger winds.
How much damage can the wind do by blowing over a motorcycle?
All bike owners want to protect their motorcycles. And the weather is one of the main culprits when it comes to motorcycle wear and tear. However, people usually think about protecting their motorcycle from rain or snow, but not the wind.
Wind can be just as dangerous as any other element and should never be underestimated. Strong winds can cause your motorcycle to tip over, which can introduce varying levels of damage to the motorcycle.(Especially if it has fallen on the pavement.)
- If the motorcycle has fallen on its clutch side, the radiator cap, shifter peg, and lever may have been broken or bent.
- The front brake lever and rear brake pedal may have been damaged, cracked, or bent.
- In some cases, the engine case may also have been damaged or even cracked.
- The plastic fairings or frame sliders are very likely to get damaged, cracked, or scratched up.
- The handlebars (including the mirrors) may also get damaged, bent and scratched up.
- The flashers may also get damaged or broken.
Depending on the type of motorcycle you have, the carburetor may also get flooded or drained depending on how long the motorcycle has stayed on the ground.
If your motorcycle has been blown over by the wind, make sure to get it upright and give it a proper inspection. Your checklist should involve all of the above-mentioned things. There is a chance of the fuel filling up the engine, too.
Usually, after lifting it upright, it is good to give it a good 15 to 30 minutes to let the oil settle back down into the sump. Check the oil to see if there are any signs of fuel in it. You may also need to change the oil and air filters.
Gas may also leak out of the top of the gas tank or from the carb float bowl, in which case you may need to leave the motorcycle upright for at least 60 minutes so that the gas can evaporate.
As you can see, the damage caused by the wind blowing over your motorcycle can range from very minimal to very serious.
The costs for repairs can vary from nothing to a few thousand dollars. With that being said, a zero mph drop will usually be cosmetic damage, so normally, there should be no reason to panic.
Even if the wind does not tip over your motorcycle, this does not mean that it cannot still damage it, so to speak. Whenever possible, try to park and keep your motorcycle out of the wind. Seeing how using a cover is not recommended, I know this can be tricky, but it is well worth your while.
The dirt, dust, and debris, blown by the wind at high speeds can eventually damage and fade the finish.
How to prevent wind from blowing over your motorcycle?
I am sure now that you have a better picture of the situation and what to expect. One question, though, inevitably will pop up in your mind, which is, “How do I keep my motorcycle from falling in the wind?”
Luckily, you can do several things to prevent your motorcycle from being blown over by the wind.
Consider where the wind is blowing from
To prevent your motorcycle from being blown over when parked outside, take into consideration the direction from which the wind blows. When parking your motorcycle, make sure that the wind blows into the kickstand.
If the wind is blowing from one direction, you can park your motorcycle in such a way as to be facing the wind directly. If the motorcycle is parked on an even surface, its aerodynamic design will work to its advantage, and the wind will not be able to blow it over easily.
Make the best use of your surroundings
With all that being said, the best preventative measure is to park and keep your motorcycle inside some structure; this can be a garage, a shed, even your home.
So whenever possible, keep your motorcycle indoors. Leaving a motorcycle outside is not always a good idea. Especially if the winds and the wind gusts are particularly strong.
Another alternative is to keep it somewhere near a larger structure or windbreak that will provide some protection against strong winds by deflecting, lifting, or reducing the wind pressure. (Bushes, shrubs, and trees combined with fences or elevated areas can be used with great success.)
To mitigate the risk of your motorcycle being blown over, you can try parking it next to a wall, a car, or even between two cars.
Make sure your motorcycle is facing the right way
Make sure that the motorcycle is leaning with the wind instead of into it. This will allow the wind to roll off the motorcycle a lot easier and, at the same time, provide additional stability by bracing it to the ground.
Keep an eye on your motorcycle
With that being said, if you have to park your motorcycle outside during a particularly windy day, make sure to keep an eye on it to see if it moves or rocks during the stronger gusts. If it does, this is a very good clue that the wind may actually blow it over.
Do not leave your motorcycle out in the open
Do not leave your motorcycle out in the open. Leaving your motorcycle out in the open without any protection against the strong winds will increase the odds of it being blown over.
Depending on where they live, some motorcyclists will even bring their motorcycles inside. However, this should be done only after proper preparation and care have been performed first. As in many places keeping a motorcycle in your apartment or house may not be permitted.
Use only a high-quality motorcycle cover
Do not place a cover on the motorcycle. The cover can act like a sail catching the wind, which can then easily blow over your motorcycle. If you are using a cover to protect your motorcycle from flying debris, make sure to use several ratchet straps, for example, to keep the cover tightly strapped around the motorcycle.
If you are using a motorcycle cover, make sure you are using a high-quality cover. It should fit your motorcycle as tightly as possible, and it should cover the whole motorcycle and go all the way down under and around the tires.
You should have means of strapping the cover tightly around the motorcycle’s body in order to prevent it from turning into a sail.
A good motorcycle cover will prevent your motorcycle from wearing out, getting damaged, and the paint from fading.
How to park a motorcycle so it does not get blown over by wind
When parking your motorcycle in windy conditions, you have to think in terms of gravity and the mechanics of your kickstand.
The first rule is never to park your motorcycle facing downhill. There is nothing that the kickstand—be it a side stand or a center stand—can do to keep the bike from being pushed forward by the wind. (In fact, this is a huge no-no even in normal weather conditions as it can roll forward even if it is in gear.)
Ideally, you want the motorcycle to be facing a slight uphill—that way, the gravity will pull the motorcycle backward, preventing the kickstand from folding.
Do not place the kickstand uphill, especially if it is facing the wind. This will make the motorcycle a lot more prone to being blown over by the wind.
Usually, you want to park with the kickstand facing the downhill but do not do it if very strong winds are coming from the downhill. Both of these factors will put your motorcycle in a very dangerous position as it may be easily blown over by the wind.
Parking your motorcycle with the lean facing the uphill (especially if the wind is coming from that direction) can also be very dangerous.
Make sure to adapt accordingly, and as always, do not forget to leave your motorcycle in first gear instead of neutral.