If you want to make sure that your motorcycle is truly protected from the elements, then you’re going to need a decent motorcycle cover. There’s more to a bike cover than you would think, and there’s a lot you need to consider before blindly investing in the first product that you see. Do you need a bike cover for indoors or outdoors? Are UV-rays a threat to your paintwork? Is waterproofing essential, or will a water-resistant fabric do the trick instead? What about sizing? Are specially-designed security features important to you?
Whether you’re looking for an indoor motorcycle or an outdoor motorcycle cover, you’re going to want to a product that can easily keep out rain, dust, and dirt, that securely fits over your bike: sport bike, dual sport, dirt bike, or Cruiser. Here are the top 10 covers that are currently on the market, followed by an in-depth buying guide that should tell you all you need to know about what to look for when buying a new motorcycle cover.
Note: we’re talking about physical textile coverings and not motorcycle insurance cover!
Motorcycle Cover Buying Guide & FAQ
A motorcycle cover will help to protect your bike. There are so many products available on the market, and deciding which product is the best one for you is no easy task. Do you need a cover for a sports bike or a cruiser? Does it need to protect your motorcycle when it’s outdoors, or do you mainly park inside? Does it need to be portable? How important is UV protection to you? And of course: how much are you willing to spend? Choosing the right product can be difficult. This overview should make life easier for you.
Why Buy A Motorcycle Cover?
It might seem like nothing more than a fitted tarp, but a good motorcycle cover will have a number of features that set it apart from a simple ream of waterproof cloth. Proper bike covers are designed to fit your machine snugly, keeping the water out, keeping air circulating within, and protect your motorcycle’s components from the effects of the elements. If you own a motorcycle, it’s a very good idea to invest in one of these specialist covers. Even if you leave your motorcycle indoors, you’re still going to want one of these items. The best motorcycle cover will truly keep your motorcycle protected!
Your motorcycle is your pride and joy, so you should want to give it the best protection possible. We’re not talking about locks and chains to keep thieves away (though a good cover will play a part in that), we’re talking about elemental protection. Rain, snow, dust, heat, ultraviolet light, and wind, can all damage your motorcycle. They cause rusting and corrosion, can discolor parts of your motorcycle, speed up the perishing and aging of consumable parts, and cause scratches. That’s why a good cover is an essential purchase.
A cover can also prevent theft. A covered motorcycle is an unknown quantity, and any thieves may be put off if they’re not sure what’s under the cover. The cover could be hiding an arsenal of anti-theft devices…or they could peel back the cover only to discover that the stunning Triumph they were dreaming of was nothing more than some old junk. It’s not a sophisticated anti-theft measure, but it might just be enough to prevent a theft.
What To Look Out For When Choosing A Bike Cover
Before you start your shopping, there are a few important things to consider. Where you store your motorcycle, the size of your motorcycle, and what kind of materials you should be looking for. There are more things to consider, but these three are the most important that you should think of first before typing “motorcycle cover Amazon” into the search bar.
Are you planning on storing your motorcycle indoors or outdoors? There are differences between an indoor and outdoor motorcycle cover. Outdoor products are sturdier and built to withstand harsher weather. Indoor covers are usually much cheaper and only designed to protect against UV rays and act as a dust cover. Ideally, you should buy an outdoor cover as these work well in both conditions. Your local climate is also a good thing to keep in mind too. Do you suffer from seriously heavy downpours regularly? Or the occasional light shower? Think carefully, because this could influence your buying decision later on.
Motorcycles come in different shapes and sizes, and so do bike covers. Make sure you get a cover that fits your motorcycle by getting your tape measure out and taking some measurements. Even covers that describe themselves as “universal” might not be as universal as you’d expect. Take into account the length and height of your motorcycle, and keep these measurements nearby when you start your search. You don’t want to buy a Harley motorcycle cover for your tiny moped, and vice versa!
The materials used in any potential motorcycle cover that you might buy will give you a good indication of how effective it will be at doing the job. That’s why it’s important to familiarize yourself with the fabrics available and what they’re capable of before you begin your search.
The vast majority of motorcycle covers on sale are made from polyester or Nylon fabrics that offer excellent waterproof protection as well as breathability. These fabrics come in heavy-duty configurations or lighter weight models; both offer different levels of practicality and protection. Heavy-weight covers may offer better weather protection but their heavy nature makes them unwieldy and impractical for easy use and storage. Conversely, lightweight covers might pack down quickly and can be thrown over your bike easily, but since they’re so light they may end up flapping around when the wind blows, which could lead to ripping or worse: scratching and damaging your motorcycle!
Important Features To Consider
Now that you know the broader fundamentals to consider when buying a new motorcycle cover, here are the smaller but equally important features to look out for.
Waterproof Vs Water-Resistant Materials
There’s a difference between waterproof and water-resistant materials. Something that is waterproof is completely impervious to water. Something that is water-resistant is able to resist the penetration of water, but not completely. Water-resistant fabrics are generally more breathable, which allows any moisture or condensation to evaporate, which is useful to keep rust at bay. Unfortunately, water-resistant fabrics will let water in eventually. A waterproof cover will not let any water in, but without any air-circulating vents, it won’t let any water out either. Make sure you know what you’re buying before you hit the button.
There’s more to a motorcycle cover than just rain protection. It’s essential that you buy a product that protects against other elements too. The sun can cause damage to a motorcycle in the form of UV rays that can cause your motorcycle’s paintwork to fade and ruin the finish. Buying a cover with adequate UV protection will keep your motorcycle safe from the sun, defending your paintwork against discoloration. Even motorcycles parked indoors can be damaged by the sun.
This feature is often overlooked but incredibly important. The vast majority of top-quality motorcycle covers should come with this as standard, but warned that some don’t. Some covers have heat shielding and heat resistant coatings sewn or embedded into certain parts of the cover to protect your cover from the heat that comes off of your engine and your exhaust. This doesn’t do much to protect your motorcycle, but it will protect your cover from burning to a crisp or melting. If you need a cover that you can throw over your motorcycle immediately after a ride, heat shielding of some kind is an absolute essential.
Other Bonus Features To Consider
These features below aren’t essential, but they are things worth looking for and thinking about when you go searching for a new motorcycle cover. Keep these things in mind when you’re shopping around!
Ventilation: Useful and thoughtfully placed air vents are essential to improve the overall breathability and air-circulation that needs to happen underneath your motorcycle cover. You don’t want any moisture to get trapped underneath the cover; it could damage your motorcycle. A moist climate under the cover will increase the chances of rust and could speed up the aging process of seals and other perishable parts.
Security: Your motorcycle’s security is paramount and it’s essential that you find a cover that has special provisions to accommodate any security measures that you wish to put in place. Many covers have cutouts and holes that will accommodate a chain or cable lock. Others have pockets designed specifically to hold on to padlocks or alarm systems. If you’re serious about your safety, search for a bike cover that’s built to work in partnership with other security devices.
Tie-down Grommets: Strong winds can cause even the most snugly fitting covers to get blown away or blown around. A motorcycle cover that’s being blown around could scratch and damage your motorcycle, or it could rip and tear your cover. In the worst case scenario, it could catch the wind and pull your motorcycle over! If you live in an area with strong winds, it’s worth looking for a cover that has additional grommets attached to it, allowing you to tie it down more securely, preventing any damage from happening.
Visibility: For those who park in darker, unlit areas, it’s worth searching for a cover that comes equipped with reflective and high-visibility details. A couple of reflective strips go a long way. If you’re backing your car onto your driveway at night and your motorcycle’s covered up behind you, you’ll be thankful that you bought a cover with high-visibility details. You wouldn’t want to reverse into your Ducati, would you?
Portability: This feature probably isn’t that important to the vast majority of riders. However, for those who are on the road regularly or call multiple places home, having a cover that’s easy to transport can be really handy. There are some covers that can compress down into small, lightweight, and compact shapes that can easily fit into small transportation bags. If you’re always on the move, this could be a really useful function for you.
How To Use A Motorcycle Cover
After you’ve bought a new cover, you’re going to need to learn how to put it on properly to ensure that you protect your bike. Like with anything you buy, make sure that you read and understand the instructions, following the manufacturer’s advice. Luckily, putting on a motorcycle cover isn’t rocket science. However, you can easily make a real job out of something that’s supposed to be very simple if you don’t think about what you’re doing.
Most covers have a special soft lining that indicates where the front of the motorcycle cover is. This lining is there to prevent scratches on any screen that might be installed up front. Gently place the front of the cover over the handlebar controls, with the back end of the cover resting on the seat. Carefully pull the front of the cover down to the center line of the front wheel, using the elastic of the cover’s hem to hold it in place. At the rear, pull the back end of the cover over the backside of the motorcycle, taking care not to snag the cover on any protruding parts of the motorcycle such as your gear shifter, foot pegs, turn signals, or license plate, and secure the rear of the cover at the center line of the rear wheel, using the remaining slack in the elasticated hem.
Always ensure that the cover has a snug fit, and that no hot parts of your motorcycle are touching any parts of your cover that don’t have a heat shield. You can further secure your cover with any belly straps that may be provided, or with a lock that could be passed through any available grommets.
How To Care For Your New Cover
Most motorcycle covers require very little maintenance. They are left out in the elements though and occasionally require a little bit of TLC. You can clean your cover with a brush or a soft cloth, or with warm water, detergent, and a sponge. Whatever you do, do NOT machine wash your cover; the machine may damage important waterproof features and compromise the protecting capabilities of your cover. After a gentle hand wash, let your cover dry naturally. Do not wring it or twist it to speed up the drying process. Once it’s completely dry, it’s then safe to fold away for storage. If you want to make the most of your product and improve the cover’s lifespan, you can treat it with a water-repellent spray too.
Motorcycle Cover FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
Where to buy a motorcycle cover?
If you want to buy a motorcycle cover, Walmart, Autozone, and your normal motorcycle dealers are probably the best places to visit if you want to buy a product from a physical brick and mortar store.
If you want to take advantage of better prices and offers, then shopping online is probably your best bet. Amazon, Revzilla, and Walmart’s online store are great places to start your search. Many online stores offer superior prices and usually throw free shipping into the mix too – to the Continental US, at least. Make sure you check your motorcycle’s size before committing to a purchase though!
What size motorcycle cover do I need?
Most cover manufacturers have a size guide that will tell you which size you should buy depending on your motorcycle’s dimensions. To ensure the best fit, it’s important that you measure your motorcycle properly, or are at least familiar with the factory dimensions of your motorcycle. You can usually find the stock dimensions on your motorcycle’s paperwork, but if you can’t find it then you’ll have to measure your motorcycle properly.
The measurements you should be most concerned with include the overall length, overall height at the front, overall height at the back, the width at the handlebars, and the overall width at the back. All of these measurements should take into account any luggage or extras you may have installed.
Should I cover my motorcycle in the garage?
Yes. Though logic suggests that your motorcycle is already covered when it’s parked in a garage, it’s always wise to put a cover over your motorcycle.
A cover will protect your motorcycle from dust, UV rays, and from getting scratched. Garages are usually all-purpose rooms, where people do anything from household chores to light engineering, so you’ll want to keep your motorcycle protected from anything that could happen, from accidental paint spillages to welding sparks! Luck favors the prepared!
How to fold a motorcycle cover?
There are many different ways to fold a cover, however this method always seems to work well:
- Lay the cover flat on the ground with the elasticated hem on the top.
- Starting on one of the two longest sides, begin folding the cover inwards towards the middle, with a fold of about 8 inches long. Keep doing this until you’re left with one long, 8 inch wide strip!
- Fold the strip in half at the middle, and then tightly roll it up, so you’re left with a neat cylindrical roll. Make sure you push hard to squeeze all of the air out.
- Now all that’s left to do it force your roll into a stuff sack or transportation bag! Job done!
Of course, it won’t be that easy when you try it. Simple tasks are very rarely as simple as they’re supposed to be!
How to paint a motorcycle cover?
Don’t! If you want a motorcycle cover that’s a different color to the one you’ve got, you’re going to have to buy a new one. New paint or dyes may damage the waterproof coatings that your cover has been treated with. It’s better to buy a new cover in your preferred color rather than doing a weird DIY paint job on your existing one. Just don’t do it!