Howdy webBikeWorlders – I’ve been helping out around the garage and with some of the technical evaluations for a while, and I figured I’d take a turn at writing instead of wrenching.
My full-time job requires a commute from the ‘Burbs to downtown Washington, D.C. every day on the infamous Metro. I’ve tried riding and scootering, but believe me, you don’t want to two-wheel it on the streets around here during the morning commute, what with three-ton SUV drivers sucking vanilla lattes while they’re dialing home to make sure the kids are up.
The Metro lot I use has a tiny free parking spot for scooters and bikes, and you’d think it would be full every day, but as near as I can tell, there are only four of us who are regulars. I’m not sure why — the normal parking rate is $4.00 per day, so you’d think more suburbanites would be taking advantage.
Probably one reason is that unless you have some decent rain gear — and aren’t afraid of getting wet — riding a motorcycle to work is basically a crapshoot with Mother Nature. The dress code for my job is definitely casual, so all I need is an el Cheapo rain suit and I’m all set. But the thing that really bugs me is climbing on a wet saddle, rain suit or no.
One of the regulars rides an old Gold Wing, and rain or shine, it’s always under a full-length motorcycle cover. But I’ve seen him struggling with the cover and a set of bungees to get it on or off and it seems like it’s more trouble than its worth. I had been wondering out loud lately if there was a better solution, when Rick tossed me the Wraptor motorcycle cover to try.
The Wraptor motorcycle cover comes with its own stuff sack, an ingenious idea. The stuff sack is permanently attached to the cover itself, which means that it can’t get lost. With the cover stuffed inside the bag, the unit measures about 9″ long by 5″ wide by 3″ thick (23 cm by 13 cm by 18 cm) and it only weighs 9.5 oz. (271 grams).
The bag has a couple of big Velcro loops on the back, which allow it to be attached to the handlebars (the crossbar on our Triumph Tiger hack bike is perfect), a luggage rack or even the frame.
The entire package is small enough to fit under most seats, or it can be easily stuffed into one of the pockets of my courier bag (The Boss “suggested” I insert a plug for the wBWreviews of the Timbuk2 and the Wal-Mart special courier bags and the BikeSeen backpack, all of which are perfect for motorcycle commuting).
The Wraptor isn’t a full-length motorcycle cover; instead, it’s designed to cover the seat and fuel tank of most motorcycles and some scooters.
It’s made from some type of waterproof (and claimed mildew-proof) nylon fabric, and the cover has a sort of coffin shape; that is, it’s wider at one end than it is at the other.
I’ve found that it fits differently on each type of bike, fitting very tightly on some but relatively loose on others, like the uncommonly shaped Tiger.
The Wraptor motorcycle cover includes two bungee cords at either end, which feed through metal grommets. When the cover is installed for the first time, it may take some fussing to find the best locations for the bungee cords, but after you get the hang of it, the cover can be installed very quickly.
Since the bike will be parked when the cover is in use, you can be creative in finding the best location for the bungee cord hooks — wheels, brake calipers, hoses, frame parts, handlebars and anything else is fair game, as long as you’re careful around the hot bits.
I haven’t melted anything so far, but I’ve been pretty careful. So I suggest first practicing the installation of the cover when the bike is cool, so that you can check out any places where it might touch a hot part.
With patience, the cover can be carefully folded and placed back in its pouch to minimum dimensions. However, by time I get home from work, I’m itching to go, and all I do is manhandle the cover into its bag as quickly as possible. Since there are no hard parts anywhere, it’s relatively easy to get it all back together in no time at all, especially with some practice.
The Wraptor motorcycle cover doesn’t keep the entire motorcycle protected, but the important parts like the seat and fuel tank are kept nice and dry. Careful use of the bungee cords can keep the cover pretty tight, although there are a few spots here and there that can fly around in a strong breeze, but so far this hasn’t been a problem for me.
When the cover is wet, I’ll shake it out as best I can, pack it in the stuff sack and wait until I get home to drape it over the bike in the garage and it’s dry by morning.
The Wraptor motorcycle cover fits most motorcycles and costs a reasonable $39.95 with free shipping.