Back in 2013 when I bought the Suzuki SFV650 I wanted to have a way to park it in the driveway and keep it covered, but still have easy in and out access to the bike. The first cover that intrigued me was the CycleShell. The method to purchase the CycleShell is to call the manufacturer in Colorado to place the order. At the time, I had no success with getting through by phone or e-mail and no calls/emails were returned. The next option was the Bike Barn that I ended up purchasing. The Bike Barn requires full assembly by the end user which isn’t difficult, but takes some time to complete. The end result is a flip up shelter that is very easy to quickly open or close to access the motorcycle.
These pictures are from the summer of 2017 after four years of use and storing it in the shed during the off-season.
The Bike Barn worked well for most of each season. Most of my issues occurred during the lawn and leave maintenance activities. Since the Bike Barn is just sitting on the ground, anything that blows in its direction will end up inside the shelter. Blowing grass clippings off the the driveway was sometimes an annoyance, but the lawn service that picked up the leaves each fall wrecked my day more than once with blowing piles of leaves towards the Bike Barn.
And occasionally I had trouble with mice deciding to make a home under the shelter and inside the bike under the seat. Luckily they never chewed up anything worse than the tool pouch.
After I added the top case to the Suzuki SFV650, I had to start backing into the Bike Barn to be able to close the shelter over the bike, but it still functioned as intended. After upgrading to the 2016 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Touring bike, there was no chance of it fitting in the existing Bike Barn. It wasn’t wide or tall enough to get over the Multistrada even without any of the side or top cases mounted.
I debated different options such as the larger Bike Barn, a Portable Garage Shelter, driveway shed, and the CycleShell. I didn’t want to fill up a bunch of space in the driveway and had a few issues with the Bike Barn, so decided to try again with the CycleShell.
This time when I called, the owner (Mark) typically answered the calls. Still if I left a message or followed up with an email question, none of those were returned. Despite concerns about the communication, I decided to go with the CycleShell and Mark recommended their largest model, the Tourer model, which has an extra frame member to make sure that the cover will fit over the front windscreen and the back top case of the larger bike.
Each CycleShell is to made to order. It takes about three weeks to complete the manufacturing process and deliver the unit. It is cheaper to deliver to a commercial address. I was able to have it shipped to my office loading dock and then pick it up in my Toyota Tacoma to bring home with no problem, but you need a good size vehicle if you don’t get it delivered directly to your residence.
The apparent benefits of the CycleShell are the following:
- It is completely assembled when it arrives. You just unfold it and you can re-fold it for storage much more compact than the Bike Barn.
- It has its own base. I paid extra for the mat used with the Bike Barn.
- The cover completely seals with Velcro to the base.
The CycleShell also comes with pieces of diamond plate that you install under each wheel and side-stand. The pieces are fairly small though, so I bought some larger pieces at the local hardware store to make parking not such a precise event. A larger piece was pre-installed for use with the center stand, but I use the side-stand the majority of the time.
After using for a few days, I fine tuned where the diamond plate was needed and screwed it into the plastic base.
There is plenty of room for the Multistrada.
It takes a bit more time than the Bike Barn to get the bike in and and out due to the tie down straps, Velcro, zippers, frame hold down pins, and spreading/lifting the cover and frame up and over the bike. I have had the CycleShell in use for about two months now and I am pleased with the protection so far and the extra time in and out is worth it to me.
The CycleShell is a good product to use if you can persevere to get through to the manufacturer and get one ordered. It would be nice if they could go a bit more electronic in the process. I received mine fine, but with everything handled verbally there were some minor issues such as spelling my last name wrong and my company name wrong and getting tracking information for the package.