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How to Choose an Outdoor Bicycle Cover (Buyers Guide)

So, if you’re anything like me, you have a lot of bikes, which can lead to storage problems. There have been times in the past where I’ve needed to store one or more of my bikes in the house, garage, or outside for extended periods of time.

When I’ve tried to store a bike outside, I’ve been frustrated by the difficulty in finding a cover that can withstand the elements over time. Sun damage and exposure, as well as persistent wind, rain, or snow, can cause a bicycle cover to wear down and degrade over time.

Don’t have time to read? This is the cover that was chosen as our ‘Top Pick.’ Check it out on Amazon by clicking here.
Due to a bad (insufficient) fit or a lack of ways to secure the bike cover to the bike, they always seem to rip, tear, go brittle, or fly away in the wind. Over the years, I’ve tried at least three different bicycle covers, and none of them have lasted more than a few months.

‘Why is the cover for my outdoor grill much more suitable than any of the bicycle covers I have tried?’ I’ve always wondered. ‘Why are all of the bicycle covers on the market made of thin, insufficient materials that are also ineffective?’

If you’re in a hurry and don’t want to read the whole guide, but just want some recommendations for the best covers we’ve found, look at the table below.

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Covers of Various Types
Before we get into the details, let’s classify the various types of bicycle covers and the situations in which they might be useful.

Long-term storage of a bicycle outside.
For short periods of time, a bicycle is kept outside. (Think of it in terms of commuting.)
The bicycle is kept inside the house.
Inside the garage, a bicycle is being stored.
While in transit, a bicycle is being stored. (Imagine a bike rack on the back of a car or an RV.)
As you can see from the preceding list, different scenarios must be considered as well as your specific requirements. A cover for outdoor storage could or should be designed very differently than one that is only used indoors for dust protection.

Suggestions
So, having some experience and having purchased and compared multiple bike covers, as well as having an interest in bike storage, I ask, “What should someone look for when they set out to purchase a cover for their bike that could cost them hundreds or even thousands of dollars?”

I figured it would be best to write a detailed buyer’s guide that explains what to look for and why certain features/functionalities work and others don’t.

‘Isn’t a bike cover pretty simple, and it’s just a cover – how complicated can that be?’ you may be thinking. ‘Actually, there are plenty of things you might want to consider,’ I say. By the end of this guide, you should have a good idea of what to look for and how to avoid some of the blunders I made.

This article will primarily focus on bicycle covers for long-term outdoor and garage use. Indoor bicycle covers are simple to make and do not necessitate the same level of thought as outdoor covers.

Material is a big one, and it’s probably the most important factor to consider. All of the bicycle covers I’ve bought haven’t been made of thick enough material to last over time or not tear when being put on and taken off the bike. What is the reason for this? Isn’t it more sensible to use a material that will last a long time and can withstand the elements, just like your grill cover?

Next to the grill cover is a bicycle cover.

I’m assuming that, due to manufacturing costs, no one wants to make a cover that costs more than a competitor’s version, so they cut corners on the material quality? I’ve looked around and looked at various materials, but there isn’t one available that is thick enough.

It appears that a thick polyester material, such as 600D, is required. (A few covers appear to be partially made of 600D Polyester at the top or bottom, but what about the entire cover? For some reason, those don’t appear to exist.

Let’s take a closer look at materials and the term ‘D,’ and see why the ‘denier’ of polyester (the most common material used for bicycle covers) is important and can determine whether or not a cover will be suitable in the long run.

Denier

I won’t go into too much detail about denier because it’s not the most exciting topic, but there are a few things you should be aware of that will help you know what to look for when selecting your next cover.

When comparing two deniers of the same polyester material, denier is the best test of strength and durability. A 600D material, for example, is far more durable than a 400D or 240D. Threads with a higher denier number are heavier and thicker.

stitched material bike cover

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If you go to Amazon and look at the covers, you’ll notice that most of the sellers list waterproof/outdoor/durable, etc. However, closer inspection reveals 190T, 240D, or ‘ripcord/parachute’ type material, which isn’t that thick.

The only time I’ve seen a cover mention using the heavier/thicker 600D material (which is commonly used for grill covers or backpacks, among other things) was for the ‘top’ of the cover – not the bottom.

According to the reviews, these covers appear to have stitched seams (as seen in the photo above) to join the materials together, as some people have complained about water getting inside and onto their bikes.

Suggestion: If you buy a bike cover, make sure it’s 600D polyester all over. This will ensure that your cover will last and that you will not be shopping for a new cover every year or less on Amazon, as many reviewers appear to be doing.

Let’s look at some of the ‘features’ that these covers come with to see if they’ll be adequate for someone storing their pride and joy in an outdoor environment now that we’ve looked at the material side of things and seen how important it is for a bike cover to be durable and sustainable over time.

Size
Another crucial feature of all of the covers I’ve looked at – and one that perplexes me – is ensuring that the cover actually covers the entire bike! The number of covers I’ve seen (and ordered) with the bottom of the cover not even touching or going to the floor is astounding.

Surely, in order for a bike cover to actually cover the bike, this should be a requirement? Is this due to a reduction in the number of materials used by manufacturers? I’m not sure, but what I do know, and what I recommend to you, the reader, is to make sure that any cover you buy for outside use actually covers the entire bike and extends all the way to the ground, where the wheels are no longer visible.

material for a bike cover that isn’t too long

(The cover shown here is an excellent example of what I’m referring to.) This one, by the way, is 40 inches tall. The benefits of getting a larger or XL cover rather than a regular or smaller size are that it ensures your bike is fully covered, and if the need arises, you can even cover two of your bikes at once or use it on an oversized bike like a beach cruiser or even a recumbent bicycle.

Don’t buy a single/regular (78′′ x 30′′ x 40′′) cover unless you’re shopping for a kids’ or smaller-sized bike; instead, get a larger/XL/oversized cover (look for 82 L x 44 H x 30 W inches for example). There may be some extra material at the bottom and sides, but who cares? You want to cover every part of your bike.

The larger covers also provide more flexibility, allowing you to cover x2 road/mountain bikes or a larger bike such as a beach cruiser or a bike with a front basket.

Material that reflects light

This isn’t necessary, but it’s a nice feature to have if you go out into your backyard or deck at night when it’s dark. It’s also not uncommon for people to travel by car with their bikes and then cover them with a bike rack carrier while in transit or while the car is parked at night.

The reflective strips, which can be found on either the top handles or the body of the cover, help to keep things visible and safer.

Suggestion: Look for a cover that has reflective material on the body of the cover or on the grab handles.

Accessibility and Lock Holes
If you’re going to leave your bike outside for an extended period of time, you shouldn’t just leave it there without some kind of security mechanism in place.

One of the bike covers I bought had metal holes in the front that allowed me to access the front wheel and then lock it to a post or railing. Of course, having this ‘hole’ in the front is a good idea, but there were two issues with this method on the bicycle covers I bought:

Because there is a hole in the front, only the front wheel can be locked as a security feature. What’s to stop a thief from simply unlocking the front wheel and walking away with the bike? This is a major flaw, and I’m surprised no one has thought of it and designed a cover with a slot with a velcroflap in the middle on each side to allow the lock to be secured to the bike/frame rather than the wheel. I have yet to come across a bike cover that includes this feature.
As previously stated, the metal hole in this particular cover must have been aluminum because it eventually rusted. (See the list below.) I’ve seen some covers with a stitched hole in the front, which is probably a better option than using metal, which could rust after being exposed to rain, snow, and ice.
a lock hole in the bike cover
a lock hole in the bike cover

Suggestion: Look for a cover with a stitched hole rather than a metal cover, which may rust.

Bike Cover Handles Grab Handles

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These are a fantastic idea and

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