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Best Bike Cover For Bike Racks And Transportation

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One reason to buy a bike cover is to protect your bike while it’s being transported on a bike rack. It stops your bike from being coated in grime or grit during foul weather.

If you’re looking for the best bike cover for a bike rack, this article should help. We review top bike covers like the Formosa Covers Bike Cover. This is a 2-bike cover with transparent side panels to keep your tail lights and brake lights visible.

We’ll also tell you what to look for in a bike cover so you can find your ideal product.

Top Picks:

Top 7 Best Bike Covers For Car Racks

Bike covers for car racks differ from those meant for indoor use. Below, you’ll find several examples of these rugged bike protectors.

1. Formosa Covers Bike Cover For Hitch-Mount Racks (best overall)

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  • Material: 300D Polyester
  • Dimensions: 80“ L x 36″ W (Top) x 18″ W (Bottom) x 50″ H
  • Bike capacity: 2

The Formosa Covers Bike Cover sits at the top of our list largely because of its translucent PVC side panels. These allow vehicles behind you to see your rear lights and avoid you having to buy trailer lights or leave bikes exposed.

As well, this cover is made from durable 300D Polyester. This is a strong material that resists damage by tearing or abrasion. The cover secures tightly to your bikes with a double zipper and easy-snap buckles.

Two bungee cords are supplied to tie down any surplus material and prevent air pockets or damage. One downside to this cover is the somewhat underwhelming zipper, which could be a bit more robust. Use this with care!

The zippers seal the bottom of the cover, protecting your bike from any grime or grit kicked up from the road.

What We Like

  • Light-friendly – translucent PVC side sections keep tail lights visible.
  • Durable – tear-resistant 300D polyester material.
  • Waterproof – keeps rain and grit off your bike.

What We Don’t Like

  • Zippers – a little fragile (use with care).

2. Zeal Pro Road, Tri, And CX Bike Cover For Hitch-Mount Racks (runner up)

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  • Material: Nylon & neoprene
  • Bike capacity: 1

If you have an expensive road-style bike to protect and you regularly travel to races and events, the Zeal Pro Road, Tri, And CX Bike Cover might be for you! This takes second-place on our list for its sheer quality of design and manufacturing.

There’s no doubt this is an expensive cover, so you’re not likely to invest in it unless you have a high-end bike to protect. If you do, it’s justified. The cover has been tested on all sizes of road bikes from 48cm to 63cm.

Constructed from durable neoprene and nylon, the Zeal Pro cover keeps your prize bike protected on a hitch-style rack. The zippers are strong and there are built-in pouches for brake lights to help avoid accidents and stay legal.

This is a cover for a road, gravel, CX or TT bike that offers outstanding durability.

What We Like

  • Durable – hard-wearing neoprene and nylon material.
  • Light pockets – built-in light pouches for brake lights.
  • Weatherproof – keep your bike pristine over long trips.

What We Don’t Like

  • Price – expensive.

3. Formosa Covers 1-Bike Cover For Hitch-Mount Racks (best value)

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  • Material: 300D Polyester
  • Dimensions: 73″ long x 30″ wide at the top x 50″ tall
  • Bike capacity: 1

You’ll struggle to find better value for money than the Formosa Covers 1-Bike Cover if you’re carrying one bike. The price is right, and it includes the brand’s see-through side panels to keep your vehicle’s sidelights and brake lights visible.

These translucent side panels potentially save you more money, as you don’t have to buy trailer lights as well. You might still add these for extra visibility if desired.

Formosa Covers’ bike covers also feature reflective piping for enhanced nighttime visibility. This one is solely for use on a hitch rack and cannot be doubled or tripled up (i.e., you can’t carry multiple bikes with separate 1-bike covers).

This rack comes with bungee cords to supplement the integrated straps and buckles. It’s a good idea to add your own straps and ties to hold down the cover as much as possible, otherwise it’s prone to parachuting and can get damaged as a result.

What We Like

  • Side panels – see-through panels allow your vehicle lights to be seen.
  • Durable – 300 denier polyester is resistant to tears and abrasion.
  • Value – good protection at an affordable price.

What We Don’t Like

  • Billowing – can get damaged at high speeds if you don’t thoroughly tie it down.

4. Team Obsidian 2-Bike Cover For Platform-Style Hitch Racks (best for security)

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  • Material: 300D Polyester Ripstop Oxford Fabric
  • Dimensions: 82″ L x 46″ H x 37″ W
  • Bike Capacity: 2 (three sizes available)

The Team Obsidian 2-Bike Cover takes our “best for security” slot because it has not one, but two lock holes. These let you thread the locks of your choice through the cover and around your bikes.

This cover is also durably made from ripstop fabric. As its name suggests, this reinforces it against tearing. The cover is UV-resistant and rainproof with a PU coating to protect against bad weather. It uses drawstring cords and safety buckles to achieve a secure fit.

As with other bike covers, a potential problem with this cover is that it’s quite likely to block your tail lights and brake lights. A popular solution for this is to buy a set of trailer lights.

What We Like

  • Lockable – two lock holes help you secure the front and back of bikes.
  • Durable – 300D fabric is resistant to wear or damage.
  • Drawstrings – integrated drawstrings help to cinch down the cover.

What We Don’t Like

  • Lights – may cover the tail lights on your vehicle.

5. Formosa Covers Bike Cover For Trunk-Mounted Racks (best for trunk mount)

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  • Material: 300D Polyester
  • Dimensions: 80″ L x 36″ W (Top) x 18” W (Bottom) x 50” H
  • Bike capacity: 2

If you need a bike cover that’s compatible with a trunk-mounted bike rack, consider the Formosa Covers Bike Cover. This is specifically designed for Allen-branded trunk racks or similar. Covers for trunk racks are relatively rare, but this one works well regardless.

The cover incorporates two openings to secure it to the arms of a trunk-mounted rack. Like other covers from the Formosa brand, it also features translucent side panels so your rear lights remain visible when in use.

A buckled strap and two bungee cords are provided to tie down the cover and prevent billowing. Be sure to add your own straps, cords or netting to this cover, as it can easily become damaged by wind at high speeds.

What We Like

  • Trunk – one of few covers suitable for trunk-mounted bike racks.
  • Panels – translucent side panels maintain rear-light visibility.
  • Durable – made from heavy-duty 300D polyester.

What We Don’t Like

  • Straps – needs extra securing to avoid damage at high speeds.

6. PRO BIKE TOOL 3-Bike Cover For Hitch-Mount Racks (best budget)

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  • Material: 300D Polyester Ripstop Oxford Fabric
  • Dimensions: 76.4” L x 45.3” H x 30.3” W
  • Bike capacity: 1

Durably made from a ripstop 300D material, the PRO BIKE TOOL 1-Bike Cover features double stitching, heat-sealed TPU seams and a PU coating. This ensures robust protection against all inclement weather.

It’s easy to recommend this attractively priced cover as our best budget cover. It’s well made and won’t give you the feeling you’ve compromised.

Useful features of this cover include innovative necking straps for better wind resistance, reflective handles and straps, and a lock hole to accommodate bike locks.

This cover is likely to obstruct rear tail lights and brake lights, so that’s a downside. You can solve this by installing trailer lights. The cover is available in three sizes so you can cover one, two or three bikes.

What We Like

  • Weatherproofing – sealed and coated to keep out adverse weather.
  • Ripstop – 300D fabric is resistant to tears and abrasion.
  • Lock-friendly – run a bike lock through the material.

What We Don’t Like

  • Lights – will almost certainly cover your rear lights.

7. Velosock Stretchable Bike Cover For Trunk/Hitch Mounted Racks

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  • Material: 90% Polyester and 10% Spandex
  • Bike capacity: 1

The flexible material of the Velosock Stretchable Bike Cover enables it to fit over most bikes. You can use it on hitch racks or trunk racks. A zip system in the top-tube region enables the bike to hang on bike-rack arms.

Because of its stretchy fabric, the Velosock doesn’t have the same ballooning problems as other covers. It’s also surprisingly protective with its water-repellent fabric and mild abrasion resistance.

Different Velosock cover designs are available for different bikes: Ray for road bikes, Shard for MTBs or Endurance for triathlon bikes.

The Velosock is one of the more stylish and colorful bike covers on the market, but it’s not quite as rugged as some other covers made from high-denier fabrics.

 What We Like

  • Sleek – no possibility of it filling with air.
  • Rain – water-repellent material.
  • Versatile – compatible with trunk-mounted racks plus hitch racks.

What We Don’t Like

  • Durability – not as heavy-duty as most transportable bike covers.

Why Cover Your Bike On A Rack?

A bike is pretty safe on a bike rack when you’re driving along in fine weather. But what about when the weather turns foul? Exposing your bike to torrential rain, snow, or ice is not ideal. Even when the sun is out, dust and UV degradation are undesirable elements.

During inclement weather, a certain amount of debris, grit and spray is thrown up by cars in front of you or passing by.

The drivetrain is always an area of the bike you want to protect. Grit in the drivetrain wears down the chain, and phenomena such as flash rusting may affect shifting.

Are All Bike Covers The Same?

Bike covers are most definitely not all the same. The cheaper ones made from less robust materials are designed for stationary storage only. Bike covers intended for bike racks and road transport will be made from a stronger fabric.

Bike Rack Compatibility

Most bike covers are not meant for use on bike racks. Those that are will often only be suitable for hitch-mounted bike racks (the ones that attach to the hitch receiver of your vehicle). A minority can be used on a trunk-mounted bike rack.

A feature common to all trunk-mounted bike racks is their two arms. The bike hangs from these two arms, but they are an obstacle to most bike covers. Any cover that is compatible with these arms must include holes or a zip system to accommodate them.

You won’t find any covers designed for use on roof-mounted bike racks. That’s because they would catch too much air and create a parachute effect that would slow the car down and likely rip the cover.

Features: What Makes A Good Bike Rack Cover?

There are several features for you to focus on when choosing a good bike rack cover.

Material

Bike covers that are intended for transport are made from denser, more heavy-duty materials out of necessity. This is measured in denier (often written as “D”). Most bike covers suitable for bike racks are made from at least a 300D polyester.

A bike cover that uses material of less than 300D is likely to be for stationary storage only. Any material exposed to movement of maybe 70 mph or more needs to be stronger to avoid tearing.

The denier measurement is only directly comparable between products when the material is the same. For example, nylon may have a lower denier than polyester and still be equal or greater in strength. (Bike covers are only rarely made from nylon).

Ripstop materials are woven into a square pattern to reinforce their strength.These might be polyester or nylon.

Waterproofing

At the very least, you should expect a bike cover to be water-resistant or water repellent. Water in itself does limited damage to a bike and might even lubricate and silence it for a while. When water is a vehicle for grit and grime it is far more harmful.

Polyester absorbs less water than nylon, so it is naturally water-resistant to a degree. On top of that natural property, you will often see that bike covers are PU coated. This makes them robustly resistant to water, or if it doesn’t you have a faulty product.

Video: PU Coating Applied To Fabric

Taped seams also help make a bike cover waterproof, as the seams are a vulnerable area for water ingress. Zippers can also be coated and waterproofed, though this is not often a feature of bike covers.

Fastening

A critical component of most transportable bike covers is the straps and fastening systems that tie them down.

Without this fastening, the movement of the vehicle causes the cover to balloon or billow, which can damage the material and may tangibly slow the vehicle down.

Aside from this undesirable parachuting effect, you should also tie the material down as much as possible to avoid damage to your bike’s finish. Excessive movement or vibration in the material can wear paint down on your bike.

In rare cases where a bike cover is made from stretchy material (i.e., with significant elastane content), this need for holding down the material vanishes. The downside of these streamlined covers is less tear-resistance and abrasion resistance.

Rear Light Visibility

Many bike covers are going to block the rear lights of your car, which is hazardous and illegal. This is a problem you can fix by adding aftermarket trailer lights to your set-up.

Some bike covers come with translucent side panels. These allow rear sidelights and brake lights to remain visible, so no extra purchase of trailer lights is necessary.

Lock Holes

Some bike covers come with built-in eyelets for bike locks. You can thread a bike lock through these and lock bikes together under the cover. If you’re using a hitch-mounted rack, you can often lock bikes to the car as well.

Let’s “Cover” The Pertinent Details

To summarize our top reviewed products, the Formosa Covers Bike Cover is a great all-rounder with a durable 300D polyester construction and the brand’s trademark clear side panels. These panels keep your vehicle’s rear lights visible, so you needn’t fork out extra cash for trailer lights.

Anyone with a valuable road-type bike might appreciate the Zeal Pro Road, Tri, And CX Bike Cover. It’s ideal for cyclists who want to keep their bikes in pristine condition when traveling to races or other events. Everything about this cover is strong and durable.

If you just want to carry a single bike on a hitch rack, the Formosa Covers 1-Bike Cover gives you great value for money. With its reflective piping and see-through side panels, this cover keeps you visible to other road users. We hope this article helps you find the bike cover you need, whether it’s one of our suggested products or one you uncover yourself.

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Glenn H
Glenn H
When I’m not contributing articles to Bike Push, I can often be found cycling on the rural roads around me. If I can help you benefit from bicycling in some small way, I’ll consider it a win.

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