Oxford makes a lot of different bike covers for keeping the elements off your bike, but the Protex Stretch Indoor Bike Cover is, as the name suggests, for indoor use only. It's a quick-fitting solution for protecting your pride and joy from dust and simple knocks, whether you use it every day or for long-term storage.
Opening the zipped case, you'll find the cover itself and a universal chain guard which you fit to the bike first to stop the chainring teeth from damaging the cover. It's a simple job: fit it over the crankset, looping the elasticated strap behind the crank, and pull it tight to keep it secure. It's large enough to fit over a 53-tooth chainring with ease, so even large time trial gears aren't going to be an issue.
Next comes fitting the cover itself – which takes all of two minutes, especially once you've done it a couple of times.
Some thought has gone into the design, it's not just simply a piece of stretchy material with a hole in the bottom. The Protex Stretch is made in three sections, a left and a right with a triangular section added at the front to give enough width for handlebars. This means the fabric stays taut all around the bike, giving full protection.
The cover is made from 95% polyester and 5% Spandex to give it its stretch – in four directions no less, according to Oxford. It does pull in all directions to be fair, making it easy to pull it backwards and downwards if you start from the end.
Considering how thin the material is, the Protex feels very durable and hardwearing. I fitted it over a fair few bikes and even getting it snagged on mechs, quick releases and disc rotors didn't cause any damage to the cover at all. You could cut it easily with something sharp, but with a bit of care it should last for a long time.
At £34.99 it looks expensive on the face of it – you can pick up outdoor covers for around a tenner – but the Protex Stretch has much more going for it, especially if you use it as much as I did.
Travelling around the country for our team road.cc rideout series (fancy joining us?) means I'm constantly chucking bikes in the boots of hire cars and taking them into hotel rooms. Only taking a couple of minutes to put on and take off/pack away, it has become a really useful item for not only protecting your bike's paintwork but also keeping oil and grease off furniture.
The big benefit for me, though, is its breathability. Leave a bike out in a cold shed or garage in an outdoors 'plastic' cover and condensation becomes an issue. If your bike is stored long term, this can lead to corrosion. This isn't something that happens with the Protex – your bike always remains dry even in humid conditions.
I think the Protex Stretch is a great piece of kit for indoor storage of your bike. It provides just a little extra level of protection against scratches from other bikes, keeps the moisture out, and also protects furniture or car interiors from your bike.
A great, tight-fitting, easy-to-use bike cover to protect your pride and joy indoors
road.cc test report
Make and model: Oxford Protex Stretch Indoor Cover
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"Perfect barrier to protect you bicycle paintwork while it's stored indoors
4-way stretch material provides huge flexibility for different shapes and sizes of bike, whilst ensuring a figure-hugging fit
Soft lining protects paintwork from light knocks
Breathable material to avoid condensation/moisture retention and the resulting risk of rust
Includes a universal chain guard that protects the cover"
I think it's a great product which is simple and effective to use.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Offers protection for one bicycle
Suitable for indoor use
Constructed from 4-way stretch fabric to fit all types of bicycle
Includes protective, universal chainring cover
All stitching around the material and elastic looks well finished.
I think it's brilliant. It delivers exactly what I expected. So easy to fit, hardwearing and, above all, free of condensation.
I certainly can't see any longterm issues, but you need to go careful around sharp edges.
You could shove it in its case and bung it in your rucksack to take it to your destination without even knowing it's in there.
A lot of the outdoor covers on the market seem to be a lot cheaper for whatever reason. You are getting the extra chain cover here as well, though.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Ideal for quickly chucking the bike in the car or if keeping it in the house. Simple and effective.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Packability, and simple to fit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Price seems a little high compared with Oxford's outdoor models.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
For people who have to keep their bike in the house or even in a shed where they don't want it to get scratched or dusty, the Oxford is hard to fault other than the price looking a little steep. I'd happily pay it though for what I consider a very good product.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Mason Definition
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.