Afraid that your bike will get stolen? There’s plenty of reason to be concerned when you realize just how easy it is to steal it if it’s parked outside. Or even in a closed garage if the thief is able to enter inside unnoticed.
Your bike can easily get lifted into a van or a truck, and you’ll probably never it again. Since there are no doors or windows to act as security barrier, turning on the engine and driving into the sunset is another easy method for a seasoned thief.
These frustrating, but all-too-common scenarios can be prevented by upgrading the security of your motorcycle.
In this article I’ll share with you 8 security tips that you can start implementing right away.
All of these tips have been recommended by law enforcement over the years and are already used by experienced bikers to protect their favorite two-wheeler from the bad guys.
1. Keep your bike inside or covered
If your bike can’t be seen, it’s less likely to be stolen. Sounds pretty logical right? Keeping your bike in the garage with locked doors and windows makes it much harder to access it.
However, if you have to keep your bike out in the open, it’s best to use a cover. Using a cover that doesn’t scream to the world that you have an awesome motorcycle is also advised. In other words, use a low-key cover that doesn’t attract undue attention.
Of course, your neighbors and anyone who knows where you live will very likely know what kind of a motorcycle you have. So while doing this can help, it’s not the ultimate tip.
Personal story: I had a situation like this recently, not with a motorcycle but with my new bicycle. My building has a room for bikes, but the door wasn’t locked. Someone entered around midnight and tried to open the window to get the bicycle outside faster. But something in the window snapped and there was a really loud sound which made them run for their lives.
Thankfully, I also locked my bike with a really strong chain. After this event happened, I went down to check if my bike was still there and noticed marks on the chain. So it was definitely a thief who noticed that I have a new bike and felt that he deserved it more than yours truly.
The point of the story is that it’s impossible to hide the fact that you have a great motorcycle or bicycle from the locals, so you still need to implement some of the following security measures to be on the safety side.
2. Park in safe areas
When parking away from home, it’s best to use well-lit areas that have a lot of traffic. Don’t park in dark alleyways and near gathering places of suspicious groups or gangs. Also, lock your bike to a solid object, or even another bike if you’re allowed to.
3. Set up booby traps
It doesn’t have to be a serious trap either. In fact it’s better if it’s not because you could get sued if someone accidentally gets injured. But something as simple as glass bottles and a trip wire can produce a lot of noise and alert you or the people nearby if someone messes around with your bike.
4. Motorcycle security alarm system
There are many alarm systems for motorcycles. They usually don’t just produce an annoying beeping sound if someone messes with your bike. They’ll also send you a warning signal on your remote controller if anyone messes with your bike. Then you can manually turn on the beeping noise and in some cases flashing lights as well. Some also have an anti-hijacking feature for cutting off power supply.
The BlueFire Motorcycle Security Kit has all of these features and it’s a best seller on Amazon. It also costs less than $20! So I suggest checking it out if you don’t have a similar alarm system already in place.
5. Use a motorcycle grip lock
Placing it on doesn’t take more than a few seconds. I recommend this to every biker because it’s simple, affordable and most importantly highly effective.
This popular motorcycle grip lock from Amazon (shown in the photo) is a universal fit for any two wheeler with a grip up to 1.5 inches (38 cm). Plus, it can also be used to secure the grip in an ATV.
6. Make your bike immovable
If you use the previous tip, the thief won’t be able to do anything with the grip / brake / throttle / handlebar. That’s pretty effective against the bad guys who want to take your bike for a spin immediately.
But what about those who are more patient, and have no problem packing up your Harley in their van and enjoying it later? To get rid of this second likely scenario, it’s important to use a lock that will make your bike completely immovable.
The best security device for this purpose is the The Club UTL800 Utility Lock. It’s heavy duty steel construction makes it virtually unbreakable. It’s also large enough to pull through the wheel, forks or the frame. It goes without saying that it can also be used to secure similar vehicles such as a bicycle or an ATV.
Use this lock to secure the motorcycle to a heavy object that is firmly attached to the ground or a building, such as a pole or a heavy fence. However, also consider the fact that many times the distance is too big. If you want to make sure that you can lock your bike almost anywhere, use a heavy duty security cable along with the utility lock to improve its range. I recommend locking your bike even when it’s stored in an indoor area.
A powerful alternative to these two products is the Kryptonite Chain. It’s a really thick steel chain with a protective nylon cover, steel shackle, double deadbolt and a crossbar. The disk-style cylinder has an advanced anti-drill and anti-pull protection system.
This is top of the line stuff. The only downside can be the length. There are two lengths available, 39″ and 60″. I recommend getting the 60″ because it’s way more convenient.
Sad personal story: When I was in high school I did an idiotic mistake of locking my bike (bicycle) to a pole that was too short and the thieves simply pulled the cable over it. That was one of the cringiest mistakes of my life. So definitely secure the lock/cable to a strong and reliable object, otherwise it won’t do any good, unless you stumble upon a clumsy thief who daydreamed into the wrong profession.
7. Install a kill switch
You can also wire up a kill-switch or spring-loaded switch that has to be held down when the start button is depressed. Many thieves don’t know this so it can definitely confuse them.
This is a more complicated method, but here’s a good video tutorial on how to install a kill switch. A different approach is to remove the main fuse altogether when parking the bike.
Either way, keep in mind when using these methods that your bike can still get lifted unto a van or a truck. So you should still use a U-lock to make sure that doesn’t happen.
8. Watch the mirrors
I remember a cool quote from Tony Soprano when he was warned that the FBI might have been following his car for a while: “No way, my whole life is in the rear view mirror.”
I don’t expect the same level of dedication from a regular rider, but you should be aware of your environment to some extent. Many motorcycle thefts happen when a certain model is wanted on the black market. Thieves will then track down this particular model by following the rider to his home, work or school.
If you notice that someone is on your tail for a long period of time, try to shake them off. It doesn’t have to be a Liam Neeson chase scene, but making a few awkward or seemingly illogical turns can work well.
Or better yet, do the most awkward thing you can by simply parking somewhere where it would be obvious that they are following you if they also stopped. This way they’ll have to continue driving and leave you behind, or you’ll know for sure that they’re following you if they don’t. In that case, get on your bike again and shake them off as soon as you can.
Chances are that they won’t start to follow you again because it would be too obvious, and no thief wants to reveal his identity (and registration number) as easily as that.
9. Secure your motorcycle helmet
Secure your helmet with a good lock, otherwise it can also be a target of theft. The good thing about helmet locks is that they’re pretty small, so it’s easy to carry them in your pocket or a small container on your bike or a backpack.
A very popular helmet lock is the carabiner-style Helmetlok 4101. It has a programmable 4 digit locking mechanism and is made from thick, rubberized steel.
Final Word: Don’t be a sucker!
We can summarize this article into 4 general tips:
- Park in safe areas
- Immobilize the bike with strong lock(s)
- Use a security alarm with the latest technology
- Be aware of your environment
I would say that parking in safe areas and using a strong lock/chain like Kryptonite is of the highest priority. It’s only a minor investment and it takes little effort to carry around. And furthermore, it’s an indispensable tool even if you use other security methods.
Just imagine the misery of losing your bike and having to deal with the annoying public transport? Or the feelings of shame and victimhood as you have to explain to family and friends that your bike was stolen? And not to mention trying to motivate the cops to look for your bike, only to realize they’d rather eat doughnuts and write speeding tickets.
Instead of this sadly common scenario, you could enjoy peace of mind knowing that your bike is completely secure.