I haven't been in a situation to have my bike out at night yet but I have been out in the rain with it a few times now. Most of the time in the rain I was riding, so I guess you could say my fat a$$ covered most of the bike, a couple of times it would rain while I was in stuffing my face in a Restaurant somewhere, in those cases, I knew it was going to rain which is why I stopped, and if I had a cover, I would have used it, same with overnights, if I had a cover, it would get used. If not a weather thing, I would do it for the vandalize or other hazards, like birds......... Big Birds........
Last weekend when we were out in Blowing rock at a restaurant, there were other bikes in the parking lot. There were people that would go out side to smoke and go over and sit side saddle on someones bike and smoke. Mothers would bring their kids over and put them on the bikes to play. One guy did go out and let the mother have it, I was inside and couldn't hear all he had to say but you an tell by his flailing arms and scowled facial expressions that he wasn't happy........ Mom picked her kid up and left.
I use the 1/2 cover when on the road, or at work. Keeps curious hands off the controls and keeps little kids from jumping on the bike before mom and dad can stop them. Also helps stop the sun damage. Just like the boat, water was NOT the reason I covered that either. It was to protect it against sun damaging UV rays.
I use a half cover also. It does keep dew, and rain off the seat and prevents the birds from doing a number on things also. My main reason is to keep people from messing with it. I am sure you have all walked out and found someone flipping switches, opening pockets, and turning on the heated seats at some time. The cover prevents this.
Lat fall, around this time, I had stopped real quick at the grocery store. They have one spot up front dedicated to motorcycle parking. I had bought my 2 or 3 items and was in the check-out line when I saw a dad lift his little 2 or 3 year old son ONTO MY BIKE!!!! Like it was some kind of carnival ride. His little shoes were scraping the radio knobs. I BOLTED out the door and yelled "whwat do you think you are doing?". The guy actually said, "G wiz guy...relax. He's a little kid". Like I was talking to the little kid??? Anyway. I explained my safety and liability concerns, put the key in and let the kid push the airhorn button and then told the dad that people who ride bikes are typically very protective of their rides, so probably not a good idea to put the kid on random motorcycles. I didn't want to scare the little kid or I probably would have been a little more upset than I was.
I always have a my light weight half cover with me. It folds up small enough to fit in the cubby inside the trunk with a first aid kit. Don't always use it, but I also like it for keeping unwanted hands off the buttons as well as rain drops and UV rays.
If I had a nice bike, I would cover it. Something I don't have to worry about with my LTD, 26 years in the AZ sun has already done it's damage. The clearcoat is mostly burned off, and the paint is very faded, the seat and windshield are ruined, and numerous rubber and plastic bits were deteriorated beyond any hope of restoring them. The switch housings were that chalky gray color, and I may wind up having to replace them.
But having done plenty of it, there is no way to tour on a motorcycle without running into rain, and when you actually ride in the rain, on a road that was dirty, you are actually riding in mud, and your whole bike will be brown. But bikes were meant to be ridden. On the other hand, I would never tour on a new 1800 (unless I was rich) After paying that much, I would keep it in a bank vault.
Whenwe travel,we ride until we get tired. i don't cover the bike after riding because of dirt and hot bike. I have taken my cover on the last 2 2week vacations and I probably covered it twice. We park it under the awnings at the hotels if possible or at least where we can see it. the weather is not a problem. either you spray water on it to wash it, or God will spray water on it to wash it, but God does not do a very good job, or maybe it is because I am a little picky.