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Best bike covers: Keep your pride and joy protected from the elements

A hole in a bike cover showing a crankset
(Image credit: Will Jones)

The best bike covers might seem like a superfluous addition to your list of bike accessories, but a good one can be looked at as an investment in the longevity and protection of your bike. 

Not all of us are blessed with a garage, or even dedicated outdoor storage shed. While some of us are fortunate enough to be able to keep our bikes in the house, some of us need to store them outside, and that's where the best bike covers come in. 

None of the best bike storage solutions involve leaving your bike outside in the rain, but for some, it's an inevitable reality. Unfortunately, this comes with an increase in how quickly your bike will wear, but a good quality, full coverage bike cover can prevent this, and help your bike stay healthier for longer, reducing maintenance costs down the line. 

Some covers are designed to be a permanent feature, others for protection at the office on rainy days where no sheltered bike parking is available. Some are better suited to keeping your investment protected while it’s on a bike rack, and a small minority are even made to help you bring a filthy bike indoors, either into a car or a house, without necessarily having to wash it.

Remember though, a cover won’t keep your bike from getting filthy if you ride it, and won't stop it from rusting either, so take a look at our guide on how to clean your bike to make sure yours keeps running smoothly. 

The options we’ve tested below cover a spread from lightweight commuter protection to at-home storm coverage, plus a couple of indoor options. They’ve been assessed for ease of use, durability, fit and waterproofness, so whichever scenario you’re looking for coverage for, you should find a solution here.

If you're still unsure as to what to look for by the end we've put together a handy guide to help you make the right choice, too.

The best bike covers available today

(Image credit: Will Jones)

Topeak Bike Cover

A good portable bike cover for throwing in a backpack

Specifications

Sizes: 700c / 26" & 700c Touring / 29" MTB
Material: 190T Nylon
Lock access: No
Adjustable Fit: No

Reasons to buy

+
Packs away very neatly

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Tight fit

The Topeak bike cover, available in three options depending on the type of bike you have, is certainly a neat and compact solution when packed away, and out of the bunch it’s definitely the most commuter-friendly. The integrated zippered pouch would easily fit into a backpack without much issue, helping you remain prepared for unexpected rain protection.

It took 1 minute 49 seconds for me to fit this bike cover onto my test bike, which isn't as fast as the similarly pitched Oxford Aquatex, and while it lacks any tensioning besides an elasticated base, the fit was snug enough to avoid any ponding of water during a soaking test. That being said, it was certainly the snuggest fit, even on a 56cm Specialized Allez, and it wouldn’t accommodate my longer wheelbase Fairlight Secan gravel bike, so if you’re running a 58cm frame or larger, I’d suggest this might be too small to reasonably use.

A folded bike cover in a pouch on the floor next to some sunglasses

The Topeak bike cover packs down very neatly (Image credit: Will Jones)

The shape is well thought through to accommodate handlebars, and thanks to the snugness it provided the best fit of the bunch, and the 190T Nylon was plenty waterproof enough to dissuade any water from penetrating. The lack of access holes for a lock does mean the cover will also have to accommodate whatever you’re locking the bike to though, and given it’s already a snug fit this may be problematic.

Re-packing the cover took 1:44, which was on the longer side. Naturally, it didn’t pack away as neatly as it came out, and would need folding to achieve this. I cannot imagine a beleaguered commuter opting to fold a bike cover in high winds, so opted for a haphazard-stuff as a better real-world test - I do worry, too, for the long term service life of the zip, which does strain while packing it away.

(Image credit: Will Jones)

Bike Parka

The best bike cover for regular commuters

Specifications

Sizes: Standard / XL / Small / Cargo
Material: Ripstop nylon
Lock access: Yes
Adjustable Fit: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Frame straps are a nice touch
+
Durable and light
+
Can accommodate cargo bikes

Reasons to avoid

-
Covering takes longer than rivals

Another commuter facing option, the Bike Parka bike cover is constructed from ripstop tarpaulin fabric, with taped seams. I tested the Stash model, which didn’t feature lock access flaps, but Bike Parka also offers an Urban model that does, as well as larger models to accommodate mountain and even cargo bikes. 

The compact size was commuter-friendly, especially considering the stuff sack comes with velcro loops to attach to the frame. While it wasn’t as neat and compact as the Topeak or Oxford offerings, the material itself felt more sturdy, and so for regular commuting rather than occasional use, this might be something that tips the balance for you.

A bike cover strapped to the front of a bike frame

Handy straps mean the Bike Parka shouldn't take up bag space on your commute (Image credit: Will Jones)

The cinch strap on the spine, as with the Storm Skin, is necessary to avoid ponding, but the material itself is more than waterproof enough to keep the elements at bay. The slightly tacky nature of tarp material made covering a slower affair than most at 1:56, but restuffing was a middle-of-the-road 1:33, though was rather difficult. Again, as with the Topeak and Oxford offerings, folding would likely make it easier, but in the real world, this isn't going to happen.

(Image credit: Will Jones)

Storm Skin

The best bike cover for at-home protection

Specifications

Sizes: One size only
Material: Heavy duty plasticised canvas
Lock access: Yes
Adjustable Fit: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Sturdy build quality
+
Cinch strap to take up slack
+
Eyelets for tying it down

Reasons to avoid

-
Very large

The Storm Skin is, with the exception of the Nukeproof Horizon, the most bulky bike cover we tested. So much so that I don’t realistically see this as a viable option for a commuter.

While its size may be a drawback for those out and about, it does mean it’s much more accommodating of being placed over bike racks, and so represents a better system for more permanent, at-home protection. Two large slits allow access to locks both at the front and rear, should you wish to be doubly secure, which might be wise as the tropical styling certainly makes this the most aesthetic option too.

The heavy plasticised canvas is rated to 6000mm hydrostatic head, and taped seams throughout keep the water out. Only when spraying a hose directly at the lock openings did I notice any ingress.

A bike cover in a square bag next to a bike wheel

The largest packable cover on test; I don't see the Storm Skin as a commuting option (Image credit: Will Jones)

An elasticated base, plus eyelets for further bungees help keep the slightly formless shape in check, as does a central elasticated cinch along the spine of the cover - without tightening this, I found ponding of water does occur. Handy arrows point to the front too, which helped when unfurling, but it still took me 2:42 to adequately cover my test bike, the longest time of all. On the flip side, I stowed it away in a minute on the nose, made easy by a roomy stuff sack.

Given the size and the large slits on both sides, I can see this having a use for coverage in transit, but Storm Skin is at pains to point out that it hasn’t been tested for such an application, so do so at your own risk.

(Image credit: Will Jones)

Oxford Aquatex

The best bike cover for no frills coverage

Specifications

Sizes: Single / Double / Triple
Material: Polyester
Lock access: No
Adjustable Fit: No

Reasons to buy

+
Cheap
+
Packs away neatly

Reasons to avoid

-
Feels a little flimsy

The Oxford Aquatex represents the most ‘no frills’ bike cover in this list. No cinch pulls, no lock loops, just a simply elasticated lower with a belly strap. It wasn’t as tight as the Topeak, though it fulfils much the same function as a lightweight and easily portable bike cover. If you’re looking for something like this and have a larger bike this would be the one to go for, especially if the price of the Topeak isn't for you.

The lack of cinches and larger size did make it a little more flappy, combined with a material that, although waterproof enough to repel even the staunchest battering from the garden hose, felt more flimsy than the similar material used by Topeak. It is however a cheaper offering, and so less durable materials shouldn’t be a surprise.

A bike cover in a silver case next to a bike wheel

Neat stowage and no frills make the Oxford Aquatex a viable option for on the go (Image credit: Will Jones)

A 1:39 covering was relatively easy, but the elasticated base isn't the tightest, adding to the flappy feeling. Stowing the cover away took 1:33, though was a little frustrating as the zip on the pouch kept creeping open. As with the Topeak, I worry for the longevity of the zip too.

(Image credit: Will Jones)

Nukeproof Horizon

The best bike cover for protecting against damage in transit

Specifications

Sizes: One size
Material: Polyester, foam padding, ripstop nylon
Lock access: No
Adjustable Fit: No

Reasons to buy

+
Easy on, easy off
+
Padding for protection

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Takes up a lot of space when empty

The Nukeproof Horizon bike cover offers something a little different. Much like the Velosock below, it aims to protect the elements from your bike, rather than the other way round. While the Velosock is marketed more as an indoor storage solution for dirty bikes, the nukeproof adds an element of protection to the mix, featuring a padded clamshell design that slips over your bike and covers the majority of it, with the exception of the tyre tread.

The inside of a padded bike cover showing wipe down tarpaulin

The plasticised inner means you can wipe the Nukeproof Horizon clean after use (Image credit: Will Jones)

The padding is designed to protect the bike in storage or transport, and while there isn’t a huge thickness of foam, it certainly stopped my Fairlight getting dinged in the back of a fully laden Peugeot on an eight-hour drive across the country recently. It won’t stop you from bending a mech hanger, but if you regularly transport a bike inside your car rather than using a bike rack, it represents a good way to keep it safe and stop trail muck from getting all over the upholstery.

The construction is sturdy, but this comes at a cost; the Nukeproof is the most expensive cover we tested by a noticeable margin.

(Image credit: Will Jones)

LifeLine Single bike cover

The best value bike cover, and one that doesn't skimp on durability

Specifications

Sizes: Single / Double
Material: 210T Nylon
Lock access: No
Adjustable Fit: No

Reasons to buy

+
Great value
+
Easy restuffing

Reasons to avoid

-
Lock holes no use
-
Flappy

The in-house brand of multisport giant Wiggle-CRC has a tendency to produce well-performing products at an attractive price point. The LifeLine bike cover is no different, and is certainly at the cheaper end of the market.

A bike cover stuffed into a sack next to a kettle

Good value, but the LifeLine bike cover doen't pack down so small as its peers (Image credit: Will Jones)

In form, it is most similar to the Topeak and Oxford offerings, in black and silver, though the material felt thicker than both, and was of course sufficiently waterproof. It was on the larger side though, and rather flappy, so did exhibit some ponding under heavy spray, but not as much as some others.

(Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Velosock

The best bike cover for indoor storage

Specifications

Sizes: Half, full, kids, BMX
Material: Stretch fabric
Lock access: No
Adjustable Fit: No

Reasons to buy

+
Fully sealed underside protection
+
Easy stretch for installation
+
Myriad design options

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Not as protective as Nukeproof

The Velosock occupies a slightly different role than the other options in this list, that being to protect the inside of your house from the muck on your bike, rather than protecting your bike from the elements. The material is super stretchy, and so can accommodate a wide variety of shapes, though it's a little more involved to install given it goes on from the bottom rather than the top so as to protect flooring - take it from me, black chain grease is very hard to get out of a cream carpet.

If you're not fussy you can get a plain option, but there are pages of design options and the facility to create a completely custom design if that's your thing, and while it doesn't come cheap you could at least try and blend it in with the wallpaper.

How to choose the best bike cover for you

Do I need a bike cover?

Bike covers are primarily designed to keep water off your bike, which over time can lead to corrosion. We all ride in the rain, and your bike won't dissolve if it gets wet, but if you are regularly storing your bike outside, either at work or at home, then a bike cover might be a good idea to protect your bike and stop the wear from accelerating.

Which type of bike cover is best?

This very much depends on your use case. If you only need to store the bikes outside at home, and don't need to bring a cover with you out and about then a large, sturdy option like the Storm Skin will likely be the best bet. 

If on the other hand you're commuting and need something lightweight and easily packable then options like the Topeak will be a better bet.

Finally, if you're in need of indoor protection then something like the Velosock will probably be the one to go for, as it can do away with any need for waterproofing.

What should I look for in a bike cover?

All the covers on test here that were designed for outdoor use are sufficiently waterproof to withstand heavy rain. Some are more sturdy, but that won't necessarily keep your bike more dry. The materials will be more durable though, if product longevity is important to you.

For commuters the ability to access a lock is definitely of use; you'll sacrifice absolute waterproofness thanks to having holes in the cover, but they all have flaps and in reality the trade off is worth it.

More expensive options will have some level of adjustable fit, allowing you to tighten the cover around your bike. Without this the material can flap, and even create ponds that will sit until disturbed. While not fatal, this will certainly test the seams of any bike cover over time.

Water ponding on a green tarpaulin

An adjustable fit avoids water ponding (The Bike Parka shown here does have a cinch strap to avoid this issue) (Image credit: Will Jones)

How did we test the best bike covers?

As close to a real-world simulation as was possible was used. Each cover was unfurled without looking a the instructions (it's a bike cover, it shouldn't need instructions) and placed over a size 56cm Specialized Allez. The covering was timed, and then as the British weather wasn't playing ball (it was sunny for a change!), the covers were sprayed for a prolonged period with a hose, particularly at any weak points like seams or lock holes.

The bike covers were then stuffed away into their respective covers, again timed, to give an indication of the ease at which they can be used. While not totally scientific it was certainly enough to differentiate those which were easily stowed from those which were a struggle.

Will Jones
Will Jones

Will joined the Cyclingnews team as a reviews writer in 2022, having previously written for Cyclist, BikeRadar and Advntr. There are very few types of cycling he's not dabbled in, and he has a particular affection for older bikes and long lasting components. Road riding was his first love, before graduating to racing CX in Yorkshire. He's been touring on a vintage tandem all the way through to fixed gear gravel riding and MTB too. When he's not out riding one of his many bikes he can usually be found in the garage making his own frames and components as a part time framebuilder, restoring old mountain bikes, or walking his collie in the Lake District.

Height: 182cm

Weight: 72Kg

Rides: Custom Zetland Audax, Bowman Palace:R, Peugeot Grand Tourisme Tandem, 1988 Specialized Rockhopper, Stooge Mk4, Falcon Explorer Tracklocross