Mar 10, 2012

Product Review: Aerostich Ultralight Bike Cover

All Rights Reserved © 2008/2012 Thomas W. Day

The V-Strom fully loaded and Aerostich-covered.

I'm a big believer in covering my motorcycle whenever I'm not riding it. Plastic and paint fade and look uncared for if you leave those parts exposed to the sun. A newly detailed, unprotected bike will be quickly coated with dust, urban air pollutants, and unsightly rain spots. Tires oxidize, get hard, and lose their stickiness. Birds crap on the places where you put your hands and butt. Vandals will steal your handles, farkles, and anything not solidly secured. In those low places where diversity is not appreciated, folks who disagree with your choice of motorcycle may even decide to give your ride a toss, out of whatever motivation inspires that sort of uncivilized behavior. Putting a cover on your bike can insulate you from many less-than-precious memories.

For a half-dozen years, I'd used a Nelson-Rigg bikini cover to protect my SV and V-Strom from snow, rain, wind, and such. The Nelson-Rigg cover served me and my bikes well, but when I added GIVI side and top cases to the V-Strom, the old cover left a bunch of my bike's gear unprotected. When I saw the Aerostich Ultralight Bike Cover appear in the 2007 catalog, it looked like a good fit for my application.

The "self-storing pocket."

There are a lot of bike covers available, from a lot of vendors; even Wal-Mart and Fleet Farm carry pretty good motorcycle storage covers. The problem with most of those products is that you have to dedicate a lot of luggage real estate to be able to carry the cover with you on the road. The Aerostich Ultralight is not one of those. The medium Ultralight wraps around my V-Strom, cases and all, with a little room to spare. Without the cases, I can wrap up the V-Strom like a Xmas package for Batman. That same protection stuffs into a "self-storing pocket" that takes up slightly more space than two cans of soda.

Both bikes covered and protected on a rainy night in Canada.

To get all that protection into such a small package, Aerostich designed the Ultralight out of "opaque 1.1 oz siliconized ripstop nylon." This is the material that allows parachutes and kites to pack light and small. The Ultralight Cover comes in small (dirt bike and scooter size), medium (sportbikes, standards, dual sports, and sport touring bikes), and large (Goldwings and nuclear submarines). The additional details that make the Ultralight Cover specially cool include a elastic shock cord that lets you wrap up your bike's parts securely and a pair of grommets for tying down the cover in windy weather or for a security lock or cable. The self-storing pocket is also a handy place to hide your security alarm. The cover is large enough that it provides good protection for gear placed under the bike and that makes it particularly useful when camping.

The small cover on the small bike in a parking garage.

One thing I worried about was that the cover would be so large that it would either turn into a kite and fly away in a strong wind or that all the added surface area would make my bike unstable in that same situation. So far, that hasn't been the case. On a cold and rainy afternoon, I parked and covered my V-Strom in an open parking lot as winds gusted to 40mph. The cover flapped in the breeze and a hard rain fell all day. At the end of the afternoon, my bike was dry from the wheels up and the cover was right where I left it. 2008 was my first season for the Ultralight Cover and I'm very happy with it. It has gone to Nova Scotia and back with me and I have used it often for two years.

After the 2008 trip, I bought a small Ultralight Cover for my Yamaha WR250X commuter. It adds security and weather-proofing to the commuting, touring, and camping capacity of the little bike. I've been using it to theft-proof my bike in the parking garage and to protect my camping gear in the woods. A couple of times, I've used that cover as a rain shield when I stopped for a break on a Wisconsin single-track trail. This product gets a six-thumbs-up vote from me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree. It's a great cover. Too bad the new ones only come in black. The boys in Minnesota apparently have never used it in the desert.