Why Cover Your Scooter/Motorcycle?

One of the biggest reasons people choose two-wheeled transportation—scooters and motorcycles—over automobiles—is economy. Therefore, it stands to reason that those people aren’t looking for any additional costs to attach to their initial investment! But it is absolutely vital that the owner of any two-wheeled vehicle consider using a cover to protect his or her investment. This article will examine a number of the reasons why the owner should purchase—and use—a cover to protect the vehicle in order to guarantee the longest life of the vehicle, its best appearance, and its greatest trade-in/resale value. It may even reduce it insurance cost. Using a scooter or motorcycle can change the owner’s life; using a cover on that vehicle can make using the vehicle that much more enjoyable—and that much more economical in the long run.

So you finally went and did it—you bought that shiny new (or maybe used) two-wheeled vehicle that you’ve had your eye on for a while. Maybe it’s going to be your only form of transportation, giving you new freedom from the rigors of bus and train schedules! A scooter, a nice 250 to take to work and run errands, after all these months riding the bus. This will be a whole new life! Your new life!

 Or maybe it’s going to open new trails up into the hills—new vistas to explore, new sights to see, new paths to discover: a dirt bike or motorcycle to take you into the back country with your new friends; you’ve got new camping equipment and new plans for new trips—what a great summer is on the horizon! You’ve got the maps laid out on the kitchen table—can’t wait! Or maybe you’ve finally decided to take a really long cross-country road trip on a big bike—haven’t there been a couple of movies like that? In any case, motorcycles have a certain mystique, don’t they?

 Maybe it will become your new hobby, your new way to spend your leisure hours—but whatever, your new motorcycle or scooter represents more than just a sum of money you shelled out of the old bank account. It’s going to become part of your life, but you should also think of it as an investment. If you want to be doing this thing for more than one season, you have to think ahead.

Like any investment, you want to think about ways you can secure it. You don’t leave bearer bonds laying around for someone to pick up and cash. You wouldn’t even think of leaving the keys in your new bike or scooter laying around so that any clown could come along and ride it away. So why do so many cycle and scooter owners allow the sun, wind, rain and other weather to wreak havoc on their machines when they park them out in unattended, uncovered parking lots? Or even in relatively secure—but uncovered residential driveways? The family sedan gets the garage—but the Harley sits out in the driveway, exposed to whatever Mother Nature chooses to dish out day after brutal day.

And what might that be? If you think that the only damage that weather dishes out comes in the winter—think again. Most every custom car enthusiast knows that a car cover is a necessity for maintaining the finish on his pet automobile against solar damage. Or to protect it from the jealous jerk who tosses his half-finished latte onto the leather seat of his vintage roadster. The same thing is true for the finish on your bike or scooter. Good covers for scooters and motorcycles are an absolute must. Many good covers are available for all types of vehicles, ranging from off-the-shelf types to custom-fits for particular models. Depending on your special circumstances and what you’re going to use your new vehicle for, you will want to choose the right type of cover.

Is your new two-wheeler a scooter that will be your ride to work every day? You will need a heavy-duty cover that can protect it in the company parking lot (assuming that lot is not covered and your home lot is also unprotected). Buy the best available. Consider this as part of your insurance to guarantee the longest life for your ride. Your will get protection against not only solar deterioration, but also damage from rain, snow and even light hail damage as well. Such covers can be purchased from local dealers in many cities, but also many online providers for prices ranging from $50 to more than $100, depending on the model of your vehicle. Be sure to examine whether or not the model you select includes tie-downs to secure the cover in place. Read the reviews customers have provided if you choose to buy online. If you buy locally, ask to see if you can contact local buyers for their experiences. Reputable merchants are more than willing to provide such information. Customers will tell you how happy they have been with their purchases. Shop around until you know what you’re after.

If your new vehicle is a motorcycle, you’ve got a multitude of options, depending on what type of motorcycle your purchase was. Do you have a straight street bike? Dirt bike? Mountain bike?

 Whatever category your motorcycle falls into, you need to be able to protect it from the elements when you’re not riding it. In fact, many riders even prefer to cover their bikes if the bikes live inside a garage. Light covers are available even for bikes that live inside! These are usually used for vintage and collectable bikes—but depending on your climate and other circumstances, you may want to cover your bike even if it lives under a roof next to the family sedan. You want to keep sand/dust/dirt out of its carburetor when it’s not running, and a cover does that better than anything else.

If the bike lives outside, a good, sturdy outdoor cover is vital. Once again, solar protection is necessary. That gorgeous, highly reflective paint job will only last so many summers if not protected against solar radiation. Once again, just as for scooters, a cover protects against rain and snow damage as well.

If you’re using your bike for back-country camping or other off-road use, you’ll probably have added saddle-bags or some other baggage carrying addition. Your cover should always be part of that baggage, so that when you tuck in for the night—whether it’s in a tent, hotel or at a friend’s house a few hundred miles from home—your ride gets covered up, too. Then when that unexpected thunderstorm breaks loose at 2 a.m.—no harm is done to your bike (or, incidentally, to your saddlebags and whatever may be in them, etc.). Covers = insurance!

What if your new bike is a really big deal? Like a REALLY BIG DEAL? There are motorcycles that cost as much as—no, more than, cars. If you have one of those, one assumes that you have not only have a garage for it, but a cover as well. At least, one hopes so! ‘Nuff said.

OK, so much for simply protecting the current value of your investment. You want the thing that you just bought to stay looking good. But it’s more than just appearance. You are also protecting its performance.

For both scooters and motorcycles, the performance of the engines of the vehicles depends on the cleanliness of the gasoline and oil running through them. Because the relative size of the vehicles compared to automobiles is small, they are open to a substantial amount of ambient pollution from the atmosphere around them. If the amount of wind-borne dust and sand that the engines are exposed to can be reduced, the performance of the engines over time will be sustained. Covers can help keep the engines cleaner. Anything that keeps junk out of the engine helps the engines, which in turn, of course, preserves the performance of your machine. That means better gas mileage, better pick-up, smoother acceleration, quieter running—and, maybe most important, longer life. And longer life means a better return on that investment that you made! You can’t beat that. There’s also the added benefit that covers protect the thing stops you—motorcycle brakes are adversely affected by sand and grit; covers help prevent contamination of brakes and extend brake life, especially for bikes that are parked for long periods in places where the wind blows frequently.

There is another, usually overlooked, advantage to a vehicle cover. They function as serious theft deterrents. Two-wheeled vehicles, both scooters and motorcycles, are extremely attractive targets for vehicle thieves. An uncovered two-wheeled vehicle is far easier to swipe than one that is covered. That’s true whether the thief is a single guy just roaming around looking to nab a quick ride or an organized group sticking bunches of bikes on flat-bed trucks for rapid re-sale to underground railroads. Either way—a cover is a big road block. A thief is by nature an opportunist—a cover deters opportunity. It’s a big mess to get the darned thing off the bike—especially if the cover has the additional barrier of some kind of lock attached. Most covers allow for the easy addition of locks. While those little locks are certainly no real block to any really determined felon—they are a very real deterrent to any of the usual sort of scooter or bike thief. They simply want to grab it and go! That’s true whether the thief is a pro or just a guy who’s looking to grab a ride—he doesn’t want to get caught. But he wants that bike—either to ride up to the summit of the hill or to get it to the “fence” for the $400 bucks it’s gonna bring as fast as possible—one way or the other—speed is of the essence. The cover acts as a brake—a big, fat brake. Add that brake; it’s worth what it costs, ten times over. Maybe twenty. 

So a cover is clearly a good thing to have if you wish to protect your initial investment; the value of your scooter or motorcycle is protected by a cover. Its finish can be preserved by a cover; its carburetor can be protected; its brakes can be protected; and even your ownership can be protected if you cover your vehicle. Then there is one additional advantage to be gained from all of this. More money in your pocket at the end.

If you do protect your initial investment, the result is that your investment does not depreciate as rapidly (or as much) as it otherwise would. The bike that sits out in the sun for five years without a cover is simply not worth as much as one that has been sitting next to it under a cover. If we just look at the two of them, side-by-side, there is a discernible difference. One is far shinier. One is considerably duller. How much does that difference make?

That is the question. One thing it will do. It will make the discerning buyer examine the bike more carefully—he will look at the carburetor and examine it for signs of dust and sand corrosion, which are more likely to be present in the uncovered bike. The same thing is true for brakes in the uncovered bike—even when not in use, brakes can be damaged by and dust if uncovered.

But why would you care? After all, a cover costs money. It might set you back as much as say, as much, a couple a hundred dollars for a big bike—that’s a lot of money, right? Wrong! If you spent $3—5,000 on a bike—what’s $150—or even more on a cover for it? It will pay for itself –if your bike doesn’t get stolen—when you either trade that bike in after you’ve had it for it a couple of years or when you decide to sell to somebody else. It always helps to be able to tell the buyer that your bike has been covered! And the fact is, when the time comes to sell your bike or scooter, if you include the cover in the sale, you can increase the price by the cost of the cover, assuming it’s still in fairly good shape. Most buyers will be very happy to get a cover along with a new/used bike!

And that scooter—Maybe it didn’t cost thousands (maybe it did). But it’s still your big investment, and it, too, can be a target for thieves, especially in urban areas and in urban parking lots. Most urban police departments urge you to cover your scooters to discourage thieves. Covers remain one of the biggest deterrents to theft two-wheeled theft that are available. And all of that stuff about protecting the finish and the rest applies to scooters as well.

You can even use the cover to make a personal statement. Custom covers can be made in any color of the rainbow; they’ve been observed in pink polka dots covering urban scooters and with those garish blood red flames on black backgrounds over monster Harleys in mall parking lots. These covers probably don’t come cheap, but whatever turns you on and you can afford…they still do the same jobs! Design your own, find one online, get a friend to do the job. Monograms and other stuff, all this is your prerogative—However, if you have made it TOO personal, you can probably forget trying to recoup your cover investment at re-sale time. Your new buyer may not be as wild about pink polka dots as you are (or maybe she is—lucky you!).

There is one final additional point to be made. In some areas, insurance rates may be lower for vehicles that are kept covered. You will have to inquire whether this is available in your area and under your policy. Sometimes, this may also require anti-theft devices. Consult your agent. The various combinations of what may have to be purchased, etc. may require a detailed cost/benefit analysis. Do it. Depending on whether your two-wheeled vehicle is your main form of transportation or just your weekend hobby, you will want to protect it.

So—you got a scooter or a bike, and it’s going to change your life—probably for the better. Either it will help free you from the chains of the mass transit schedule (yeah!)—or it will give you new roads to travel—or it may provide you with a whole new lifestyle altogether. In any case, it has set you back a chunk of change. It would be the worst of folly if you didn’t protect that investment as wisely as you can by purchasing a cover for it.