Best Motorcycle Cover Buyer's Guide

Troy Siahaan
by Troy Siahaan

Better alternatives than throwing an old blanket over your motorcycle.

In a perfect world, you’d probably park your motorcycle in your bedroom, where it’ll be nice and cozy, and well out of harm’s way. But, as we know, the world is not perfect, and many of us are left parking our beloved motorcycles outside, exposed to the elements and even the prying eyes of those with bad intentions.

Enter the motorcycle cover. While not as effective in protecting your bike from Mother Nature or vandals as keeping it parked inside, if you have to leave your bike outside, a cover is the next best line of defense. This is your guide to some of the different types.

There’s a surprising amount of variety when it comes to motorcycle covers, and while this guide is not intended to cover every single one of them, it should at least open your eyes to what’s available, and maybe even point you in the right direction as to which is the best motorcycle cover for you.

Table of Contents

Half Covers

Say you commute on your bike, and instead of leaving it exposed to the elements while parked, you’d like to have a clean seat and controls when it’s time to ride again. Half covers are perfect for this. Small, light, and easier to transport, half covers are exactly that – covers that extend from the front to back and only drop down slightly below the seat.

See the Oxford Umbratex Cover above, for example. It’s pretty clear the wheels and lower portions of the bike are still exposed, but all the upper bits are protected from the elements. Some covers line the bottom portion with elastic to fit over the bike, while others include elastic and either Velcro or straps to keep the cover secure.

Lastly, because motorcycles come in so many different shapes and sizes, half covers, including the Umbratex here, also are available in differing sizes to suit.

Promoted Product: Poly Shield PL Motorcycle Covers at

The Platinum Shield Motorcycle Cover from offers superior protection from all outdoor elements. Lightweight yet durable, the Platinum Shield offers the highest level protection from all elements. The breathable characteristic of the cover material naturally prevents mold, mildew, and rust. Made of high-grade woven polyester fabric with an added soft inner fleece lining, and UV reflective coating, your motorcycle is sure to be protected – particularly in sunny, hot climates. Double-stitched seams provide leak protection and durability, while elastic front and rear hems ensure a snug fit. Finally, reinforced grommets built into the cover allow for use of a cable lock to secure your cover from theft.

This is a sponsored placement.

Scooter Cover

Scooters make ideal commuting machines in many areas, but they are also often neglected and left outside – how many old scooters have you seen with faded paint, and decayed, dried-out seats? It doesn’t have to be this way if you invest the $40 in a scooter cover like the Nelson Rigg SC-800 Scooter Cover. The SC-800, like most covers, is made from water-resistant polyester that will also go a long way towards protecting your scooter from the sun’s harmful rays. An elastic bottom will fit snug over your scoot, and grommets at the bottom front and center make it easy to install locks, too.

Cheap Full Cover

If you own a full-size motorcycle, not a scooter, and want cheap full-coverage protection, there are options like the Nelson Rigg Deluxe All Season Cover. For less than $50 you get a lightweight, water-resistant, polyester cover that will fight off the elements. Even though it’s inexpensive, this cover and many like it have heat-resistant panels to protect itself from hot exhaust pipes, and soft liners to not scratch the paint and/or windscreen.

Ultimately, you do get what you pay for, and these lightweight covers aren’t well suited for extreme weather conditions and/or heavy usage. So, buyer beware.

Stretch Cover

When you want to move up the price scale a little, there are stretch covers like this Oxford Protex Stretch Motorcycle Cover that ranges in price from $100-$140, depending on size. The tight-fitting cover is like a well-fitted suit for your motorcycle and reduces the chances of random dust and debris sneaking in underneath the cover due to, say, an overzealous gardener with a leaf blower.

On the outside of this Oxford cover, you’ll find ventilation, reflective panels, and three layers of material. Inside, the soft lining protects the bike’s finish from scratches and water-resistant seams keep the rain away.rr

Sportbike Cover

Sticking with the well-fitted suit analogy, we all know different motorcycle types have vastly different shapes and lines. If you know you’re only going to have one specific motorcycle to cover – in this case, a sportbike – then covers like the Nelson Rigg Defender Extreme Sport Bike Cover make sense. Its UltraMax polyester is 100% waterproof with electronically taped seams. It also provides maximum UV protection. The elastic lining at the bottom makes for a tight-fitting cover, while vents reduce the chance for condensation. You’ll also find heat-resistant panels to shield against exhaust heat, soft liners to protect windscreens, and grommets at the bottom to fit a cable lock. This specific example comes with a lifetime warranty, too. Not bad for $90.

Adventure Cover

Like sportbikes, adventure bikes have a unique shape, too. They’re tall, long, and wide (if they’re wearing panniers). Clearly Nelson Rigg can’t let sportbikes have all the covers. So, out comes the DEX-ADV Defender Extreme Adventure Cover. Built to suit the shape of adventure bikes, the DEX-ADV cover literally has all the same features as the sportbike cover we just listed, just with a different shape.

Full-Size Cover

Finally, we come to full-size covers. One look at the photo above and you can likely guess what motorcycle is under the cover. These covers are big, heavy-duty, and able to withstand whatever you have to throw at them – pouring rain, searing heat, gusty winds, whatever. Of course, inside you’ll find soft liners to protect the finish, heat-resistant panels to withstand exhaust heat, and ventilation panels to help water and moisture escape. In the case of this Dowco Guardian Weatherall Plus EZ Zip Motorcycle Cover, the rear zipper makes installation a little easier and gives you access to the saddlebags without the need to remove the whole cover.

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Troy Siahaan
Troy Siahaan

Troy's been riding motorcycles and writing about them since 2006, getting his start at Rider Magazine. From there, he moved to Sport Rider Magazine before finally landing at in 2011. A lifelong gearhead who didn't fully immerse himself in motorcycles until his teenage years, Troy's interests have always been in technology, performance, and going fast. Naturally, racing was the perfect avenue to combine all three. Troy has been racing nearly as long as he's been riding and has competed at the AMA national level. He's also won multiple club races throughout the country, culminating in a Utah Sport Bike Association championship in 2011. He has been invited as a guest instructor for the Yamaha Champions Riding School, and when he's not out riding, he's either wrenching on bikes or watching MotoGP.

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2 of 12 comments
  • KLRJUNE . KLRJUNE . on Oct 04, 2020

    A Harley owner covers his bike with a Walmart tarp while he visits his brother in another state. When he gets back he finds the wind and the tarp have combined to scratch the paint horribly.

  • Arthur Riaf Arthur Riaf on Apr 25, 2022

    I've used Cycle Shell bike shelter for 10 years now. They are made in USA and come in 3 sizes. Rugged and good for all year protection I've kept my CBR1100XX, Kawasaki 1400 concours and my latest bike ZX1400R in one. Highly recommended for protection. Art