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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live in the UK where it is currently winter and approx. six deg centigrade and damp every day.
My bikes are kept in an attached brick un heated garage, bikes normally uncovered.
Recently For three days I have had both bikes under bike covers.
When I removed the covers I found both bikes soaking wet with condensation. No evidence of condensation anywhere else in garage. The chains were starting to rust.
I dried off the bikes with a blower drier and left the covers off. The condensation has not returned over a few days.
I seem to remember the same thing happened last year but I thought it was a one off then due to some unusual weather
That's it, no more bike covers for me
 

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You wil only get condensation on a covered bike kept in a unheated space if the cover is designed to be waterproof. As the bike chills it pulls water out of the air and it can't escape. You need a dust cover, I would be inclined to use a simple old, cotton sheet, depending how dusty the space is.

My bikes have always lived outside. Usually covered. My habit is to uncover them on good days, even if I'm not riding. Allow the air to circulate as well as an excuse to gaze in smug satisfaction, or keep up with checks and maintenance. But even when this isn't possible, I have never seen condensation. Sometimes a bit wet.. Because it was covered wet. That's occasionally unavoidable. But.. I'm always ready for that. Busy with the usual suspects. Wax. Wd40. Silicone spray and ACF all as various barriers between what can corrode.. And the water plus air that can start it off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I too was of the opinion that if a cover was breathable then condensation would not occur. One of my covers is an outdoor cover and the other is indoor fabric . Both covers have the same effect, soaked bike. Maybe there is a crucial difference between breathable and free air movement. A breathable garment allows moisture to wick through it but that is a different situation as the moisture is being produced from within and has the driving force of a temperature difference
My mate had his bike covered in a dust sheet and it too became soaked in condensation.
I don't fully understand whats going on but its to do with dew point, air temp and humidity. I think the condensation is due to trapped air that cannot move quickly when the bulk atmospheric conditions change. The air surrounding the bike can no longer hold its moisture as conditions change and it has to condense as the dew point is reached.
Anyway its better to see the bikes rather than look at a cover.
 

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Thankfully, that's one problem we don't have here in Virginia in the winter.

After our long hot summers, so humid, walking outside is like stepping into the breath of a panting dog, we get our rainy autumn. Then, as winter sets in, once it gets below 45F or so, it becomes so dry the moisture is wicked out of everything. Dry as bones for months. Humidity readings steady in the 20's.

The upside is we don't have to worry about mold and such in the winter, but the downside is dry, dry skin—so dry the ends of my finger tips are forever splitting... those incredibly painful razor thin cracks. And enough static electricity pulling off a sweater to run a small town for a weekend. Crackle, pop—and if it gets you just right, it's like getting zapped with a taser.

My ATAS is garage kept, unheated. I should be OK with a dust cover, but I'll keep an eye on it just in case.

Have you thought about the old-school trick of keeping a lighted bulb under the (covered) bike? (Worked for my dad when we were stationed in Alaska—but for keeping the engine block just warm enough to help crank it over in the extreme cold, not for the damp). But I wonder if it might keep the bike warm enough to stay dry? An incandescent 75W bulb?

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Edit: It occurs to me that a better solution is a dehumidifier rod... the sort you see for damp closets, gun closets and such. "Goldenrod" is one brand, "Dampp Chaser," another. You can get them in all sorts of lengths and wattage. From personal experience I can tell you both work well. I use them in closets in the summer here. A 10W bar is likely enough for under a motorcycle cover and will work 10x better than the old light bulb trick at a fraction of the run cost. They work by keeping the area warm, but more importantly, they help to circulate the air. You'd probably want to fashion a holder of some sort that keeps the rod a few inches off the ground under the center of the bike/ cover for the convection properties to work best. Good luck, man. Hate to think of your chain getting all rusty over winter.
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