Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
Company: Formosa Covers
Product: Dual Bike Cover
Sizes: Formosa has covers to fit up to 4 bicycles
How acquired: Purchased
RBR advertiser: No
- Fully covers 2 bicycles to protect them from wind, rain, debris
- Translucent panels let taillights shine through if blocked by cover
- Hook and loop-fastened built-in boot to cover and protect the hitch
- Made of a thick heavy duty 300 D poly material
- Reflective piping
- Adds a layer of security since thieves can’t easily tell the quality of bikes beneath
- Super affordable
A Great Hitch-Rack Bicycle Cover at a Bargain Price
I’m writing this Tech Talk in my RV. My wife and I, and our Aussie posse (2 Australian shepherd pups) are in the midst of a cross country drive. As I type this, we are parked in Deadwood, South Dakota.
This morning I pedaled to the top of Mt. Roosevelt and climbed up the Friendship Tower, erected in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1919. Then on foot, we hiked up to the Mount Moriah Cemetery to see Wild Bill Hickok’s grave.
As a technical sidenote: I had no idea that there was something as exceptional as the Friendship Tower at the top of Mt. Roosevelt. I also didn’t know that the road up there would turn to dirt. But, that’s the wonderful thing about road bikes. Even with my aero road Cervelo and its skinny 25c tires, carbon wheels and rim brakes I was able to ride all the way up the gravel road and the singletrack to the base of the tower – and back down again, too. (It was 5:30 a.m. so there were no hikers.)
Testing a New Cover
An RV trip like this is the perfect opportunity to test a product that took me a while to find. It’s a quality bicycle cover for the two bicycles riding on the hitch rack on the back of our RV. On our last RV road trip (before Covid), I tried one that didn’t work at all. It flapped incessantly in the wind, came undone and the bikes got filthy and soaked.
In case you’re wondering what hitch rack I use, it’s a Hollywood. Here’s my review.
For this trip I did more research and found that the company Formosa Bike Covers has an excellent reputation for quality products. Plus, they sell them at quite reasonable prices. The 2-bike cover that I’m using sells for about $110.
It’s made of a rugged nylon fabric and has nice built in zippers and adjustable cinch straps with buckles. Included are separate bungee cords for use if the cover is baggie when fully zipped.
I’m carrying two full suspension mountain bikes on the back on this trip (a Trek Fuel EX and Specialized Levo e-Bike). My Cervelo S5 road rig rides inside most of the time.
Protection for Two Bikes
The Formosa cover fits over two bicycles facing opposite directions on hitch style racks only. It’s not made for trunk style racks. With two mountain bikes and their wide handlebars, the Formosa cover is a perfect fit. It’s easy to cover the bikes and the cinch straps take up the small amount of slack in the cover.
When I put two road bikes on the rack, the cover isn’t as tight a fit because the handlebars aren’t as wide. Depending on the size of the bikes, that’s where the bungees come in handy.
Along with the excellent fit and quality construction, what I really like about this Formosa cover is that it completely encloses the bikes and even part of the hitch. The cover zips closed on the bottom and there’s even fabric that covers most of the hitch to protect it, too.
It goes without saying that having the bikes stolen would ruin a trip like this. So one of my favorite things about this cover is how it hides the bikes from view. Yes, with the translucent panels you can see that bikes are inside. But, you’ve got to get up pretty close and move the cover around to make out the details.
I know professional thieves can steal anything, but I feel a little safer with the rack locked to the RV, the bikes locked to each other and to the rack, and now the cover making it harder to see that I’m carrying crazy expensive bikes.
So far no one has attempted to mess with the bikes (knock on wood). And, we’ve driven on a few dirt roads and had some showers on the trip and both bikes are still as clean as they left home apart from the dirt we put on them riding. So, overall, I think if you’re in the market for this type of bicycle cover you’ll be delighted with this one from Formosa. That’s why I give it our highest rating.
Ride total: 10,053
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s cycling streak ended in February 2022 with a total of 10,269 consecutive daily rides (28 years, 1 month and 11 days of never missing a ride). Click to read Jim’s full bio.
Randy B says
Hope you enjoyed South Dakota. If you’re still here consider riding the Badlands National Park Scenic Road. Start / end at Visitor Center. Ride west to Pinnacles Overlook and back. 42 mi.
Jim Langley says
Thanks for the ride suggestion, Randy! I will save it for next time- sounds great!
Bud Divoky says
I use the same cover on my two bikes. I use a length of rope wrapped around and around the cover to further secure it. It eliminates any possible flapping.
Jim Langley says
Thanks for the tip, Bud!
Bud Divoky says
I also have my bikes on a platform rack behind my motor home. With the rope securing the cover tightly around the bikes and wheels, my taillights and brake lights are visible to anyone following.
In Virginia there is no law addressing bike racks blocking view of the rear license plate, but there is one for scooters and electric wheel-chairs. I was stopped by the local police one of the first times I used my cover and the citation referenced the wheel-chair/scooter law. When I asked DMV they said the citation was correct and the law does not address bike because you can usually adjust your view and see the license plate but not so when the bike is cover. In Virginia at least, if you cover your bike you need mount your license plate on your bike rack or purchase a duplicate plate for temporary use.
Jim Langley says
Thanks for sharing this information, Robb. Good to know!!
Richard Handler says
Also tail lights, brake lights and turn signals are blocked from view, which is more serious than a citation.
I have this cover but have not used it for this reason.
Chuck Shorten says
To address the taillight problem I bought an LED light strip with running lights, brake lights and turn signals that plugs into a 4-wire trailer connection. I plan to attach this to the outside of the bag. I’ll have to come up with a way to mount the license plate.
Jim Langley says
That’s an interesting solution, Chuck. Thanks for the idea!
In my case the lights where still visible, only partially obscured, but agree letting the driver behind you know your intentions should be a greater concern than the license plate issue. But, in Virginia it is legal to reprint tags as temporary tags (intended to auto dealerships), I was informed by DMV that I could make a duplicate of my tag and affix it either the bike rack or the covered bikes (of course the tag number must be the same as on the registration if stopped). Home Depot/Lowes vinyl numbers and a piece of a back of a plastic sign are sufficient. Never made one, simpler to cover the leather saddle, which was the main reason I used the cover in the first place.
The RV my wife and I use is not very large but it is large enough to carry both our road bikes inside where they are safe from theft and protected from weather. We also have a GMC Suburban and it too has room for both bikes. When I travel alone by smaller automobile, my bike with the front wheel removed fits between the front and rear seats. A zippered soft cover fits from the back of the rear wheel to the front of chainring and that protects the leather upholstery from dirt and chain lube. The trunks of many automobiles are large enough to haul a bike lying on its side with its front wheel removed.
S & J says
we just bought bikes & have been looking for protective cover for our bikes, But we pull a 5th wheel so he put a front mount bike carrier on front of truck….So I need a cover that headlights will show through plus protect our bikes…Any suggestions?