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Bike Covers: Oxford Stormex vs Dowco Weatherall Plus.

Discussion in 'Everything Else' started by Mr Owl PhD, Oct 29, 2015.

  1. #1 Mr Owl PhD, Oct 29, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2015
    I recently bought an Oxford Stormex bike cover for $180 because on specs it seemed to be the most heavy duty. However today I finally got to return it after my Dowco arrived from the US of A and so I write this limited review as by the time the US postage and bad current conversion rates are paid, it is the same price and it is considered to be the top of the line in the Dowco range with a lifetime guarantee.

    The Stormex was returned due to completely dysfunctional design that practically invited rainwater to soak your seat by having unnecessary air vents place on the top of the cover. As one Amazon user put it "what were they thinking". When heavy with rainwater the cover sags in the middle and the heavy reinforced vents sit right at the bottom of the sag so the water can run downhill right into the vent.


    Were it not for this I would have kept it, but since I had to replace it there are a few more issues that make the Stormex a poor choice of cover that I'd like to mention.

    First the material. The Stormex is a heavy duty nylon that seems to repel water well, it has a different weave to the Dowco which has a coated polyester fabric called ClimaShield® Plus which looks to be a pretty high tech made in USA fabric. The Stormex has a thin white furry lining covering the entire inside of the fabric which ostensibly is meant to not scratch your bike. This furry lining is bonded to the fabric not sewn in. It seems like a bit of a gimmick because I can't see any plastic cover scratching your bike.

    The Dowco though does have a furry white material sewn in to a small part of the front to be extra gentle with windshields. See photo below which also shows the black cotton sewn in lining that is on the rear side quarters of the cover to afford some heat protection from mufflers. The shiny fabric in the middle is the plain Climasheild® which is how most of the cover is.


    However the furry inner coating on the Stormex actually has some serious disadvantages because it is bonded and not sewn in. The main one being that although both bikes have seams sealed with tape, the Stormex has to put their tape on the outside of the cover because they cannot put it on the inside like normal seams that are sealed, due to the fuzzy bonded lining. Worse, after just a few days worth of rain, the seam tape on the Stormex is already starting to peel off.

    Here are a couple of shots with the factory seam tape already lifting on the Stormex. You can see a bit of gaffer tape that I've used inside the venting 'arch' to block up the first row of holes and it's holding up better than the Oxford applied seam tape on the outside that looks like it will be completely useless after a couple of months of rain.


    Another disadvantage of the fuzzy lining is that it makes the cover unnecessarily bulky although this could be a matter of preference. It does afford a measure of protection from hot mufflers but it is over the entire cover. The Dowco on the other hand has no lining on most of the cover but they have an extra cotton material on the back side quarter of their cover to also protect from hot mufflers. Although neither are meant to be used over scalding hot mufflers anyway. The stormex does have a different silvery coating around the bottom inside edge that also seems to add complexity without functionality. In the photos below you can see the felt lining of the Stormex and some extra stuff that goes around the edge. On the other photo you can see that Dowco has sewn in some extra cotton material which is only in the hind part of the cover.



    The fit of the Dowco is much better due to it having more seams designed to allow the fabric to drape better. The Stormex cut, coupled with the heaviness caused by the felt lining makes it drape badly especially when tossed around by the wind, it slides into a bad position, this is made worse by the belly strap not being able to be tightened enough, where as the Dowco has an infinitely adjustable belly strap, a tiny detail that makes a big difference. I found myself needing to wrap the Stormex strap around my (greasy) centre stand in order to reduce its length.

    The Dowco has a nice flat top with two seams on either side giving a nicer shape. As a result of this better fit Dowco have a much larger range of specific sizes. The one I have is the 50124-00 and I possibly could have gone for the medium 50003-02 but Dowco recommended the 50124-00. I went with that as a couple of people on Amazon with a Hyabussa and a Honda vfr 800 said it fit their bikes well and so I made a comparison with my GS500 and it looked good. There is a comparison gif at the end of this review so you don't have to have the annoying animation in the middle.

    The Dowco has a single air vent on one side under the handlebars and that seems to be enough so I am perplexed why the Stormex even needed any extra top ventilation considering that it has two already one below each handlebar. I suspect that this model was designed to put as many gimmicks on it as possible in order to sell it at the top dollar. I say this because it has a couple of other completely useless gimmicks that add to the cost of manufacture. One of those is a clear window where you can add a solar charger and have your battery charging while your bike is covered, because we all know how frustrating it is when there is no pocket on our bike cover for the solar powered battery charger that we will never buy ever.


    The solar battery charger holder window is on the front but there is another much larger window on the back the purpose of which is anyone's guess but it is quite ugly and annoying as instead of a nice smooth cover you have a crinkly vinyl window that is bound to weaken with time. Worse, the inside has a velcro enclosure that catches on my GIVI top plate and opens as I put the cover on creating a terrifying ripping sound. Below is the inside and outside picture of this extra mystery window. I suppose if you're really worried about your bike and you nip out regularly to see if it's still there that you could leave the flap down so you could see your bike through the window thus foiling a would be thief who tried to trick you by stealing your bike and replacing it with some pillows arranged in the shape of a bike. Then you would not know it was stolen until you came down in the morning and whipped the cover off, by then of course our enterprising thief is probably hundreds of miles away having a great time, but I digress...



    On the shot below you can see how this window drapes, at first I thought it was for the solar panel which I later discovered was on the front.


    And the Dowco below...


    The Dowco is much easier to throw over the bike due to the lighter weight but remember this lighter weight is not due to a lighter fabric but it is due to not having the useless felt bonded to the inside.

    So why would anyone buy the Stormex in Australia, over the Dowco, well because the Dowco is not available in a brick or online Aussie shop. But even with the conversion rate of 72c USD per AUD, and a $40 USD freight charge the cost is the same.

    My only niggle is that the Dowco is a couple of inches too high on the front wheel but that will be rectified when I eventually replace the functionally excellent but aesthetically ugly mirrors. This should not be a problem on most sports bikes as you can see from the gif below.

    Note that the Dowco Weatherall Plus is supposed to be a better fabric than the Dowco Weatherall (no Plus). I should point out that the model below the Stormex is called the Rainex it is half the price and might still be a good option if it does not have the gimmicky stuff, but I have not eyeballed it myself.

    I didn't really mind the furry bonded fabric on the Stormex and if that was the material used but designed like the Dowco then the heavy weight caused by it being bonded and not sewn in could be quite nice, albeit with the seam tape problem I mentioned. The designers looked like they tried really hard to make a nice cover but it looks like design by committee. If ever there was a case for 'less is more', the Stormex is a top ten candidate.

    [​IMG] f
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