Unfortunately, motorcycle theft is on the rise (especially scooters and mopeds) and the easiest target for any thief is a motorcycle that is left unsecured and has no security on it whatsoever! An unsecured bike can be taken in seconds, so it’s up to us to make it as hard or as inconvenient as possible to take our prized possessions!
We all know what it’s like when we get to our destination and just want to get off the bike at work, in the city or in a car park and get to where we are going ASAP – especially if we’re running late. We don’t need the hassle or extra time it takes to fit a lock and chain, disc lock or croc lock. “It will never happen to me” – well one day it might (and we all work hard to pay for our bikes), so let’s try and make it as inconvenient for the thieves as possible, making our bikes as hard to take as we can whilst keeping our commute fun and making sure that carrying our different forms of motorcycle security is not a chore!
Over the next few paragraphs, we’ll cover the various methods of motorcycle security and add in a few do’s and don’ts to help you decide which is right for you.
A lot of motorcycles are stolen from homes, so the use of a ground anchor is ideal when using your lock and chain to fasten your bike to an immovable object! Ground anchors can be used inside or outside and, as well as been recommended for home use, there is no stopping you fitting a ground anchor at work if you’re given permission to do so.
Although there are many types and styles of ground anchors available, the main difference is that some are designed to be bolted to the floor or wall and others are designed to be concreted into the floor (the type you choose will obviously depend on where you want to mount it, the type of floor you’re fitting it to – and whether or not you like digging big holes!)
One of the biggest and best ground anchors available is the Milenco Snaefell Ground Anchor – the daddy of ground anchors. This beast can take up to 22mm link chains such as the Milenco Snaefell Diamond lock and chain and features hardened steel armouring and resin bonding for unbeatable security. If you’re looking for something a little less hardcore and a little less intrusive, then the Oxford Docking Station and the Bike-It Mammoth Flip Ground Anchor can be fitted on either the floor or wall mounted. If you have the space, or the ground isn’t suitable for drilling to accommodate the bolts for a bolt down anchor, then it’s time to dig a hole and get mixing some cement! The Bike-It Mammoth concrete in anchor and the Oxford Terraforce ground anchor are designed to be concreted. They are fitted with saw and sledgehammer resistant heads and once the concrete has set, these are going nowhere!
Motorcycle locks and chains
Ok, so we’ve touched on ground anchors and proved the importance of something immovable to secure your bike to, but the most essential piece of equipment is a good quality lock and chain to fasten your bike down. Motorcycle locks and chains really are the forms of security where you want to buy the best that you can afford. It’s ok fastening your bike to a ground anchor or lamp post but if the chain can be easily cut with bolt croppers, your bike can be gone in seconds!
Not all chains are made from the same materials and will offer different resistance to attacks than others. For this reason alone, it is best to buy a reputable brand of lock and chain (such as Abus, Milenco, Oxford or Mammoth) to guarantee the products are made from a high quality, hardened steel for reliable security. Obviously the bigger and thicker the links on your chain, the more resistant they will be to attack – most chains of 16mm links or above cannot be attacked by hand operated cutters, whereas chains under 10mm can easily be cut with a medium sized pair of cutters (chains in between these sizes offer excellent protection and will take a thief who knows what he is doing to cut through the chain).
Attacks on your chains can be drastically reduced by keeping the length of chain you use to the minimum and by not allowing the chain to rest on the floor and keeping it as high off the ground as possible. If your chain is resting on the floor, a thief can easily use one arm of a cutter against the floor as leverage, but if it is off the ground then this is harder to achieve.
Another good tip is to make sure you loop the chain through a part of the bike that is not easy to remove. For example, if you loop your chain through the frame and rear wheel then the only method of getting the bike would to be attack the chain, but if you were to just loop the chain through the front wheel, a group of thieves could easily remove the wheel and lift the bike away leaving the chain still attached on the floor!
The Milenco Snaefell Diamond lock and chain is a brute of a chain and will deter pretty much any thief with its 22mm links and its pick resistant, hardened steel lock! If you’re looking for something a little more mainstream and not so expensive then the Oxford Monster Ultra Strong Chain and Padlock is an excellent choice! Available in 3 lengths, it features 11.5 mm links and a hardened steel case padlock and is enough to deter most opportunist thieves! If you are really on a budget, then the Mammoth 10mm Square Link Lock and Chain is for you. At 1.8m it is long enough to fit around most bike frames, whilst offering good resistance to opportunist attack and great value.
Motorcycle disc locks
Disc locks are another form of security that you can use to protect your motorcycle, and are often used in conjunction with locks and chains to offer an extra level of visible protection.
Motorcycle disc locks are designed to be portable and easy to carry (unlike a lock and chain) and most can be fitted in your pocket, or some come with a carrier that attaches to your bike, so when not in use the disc lock can be stored on your bike. As with all products, disc locks have evolved over the years from all looking very similar into a whole new range of styles and technologies. Although disc locks are not as secure as a lock and chain, they could still mean the difference between riding and walking home! The opportunist thief will move on from a bike fitted with a disc lock as it takes away the ease of just rolling your bike away.
The Oxford Nemesis disc lock for example, features a 16mm hardened shackle, an anti-pick double locking mechanism and it can also be used as a padlock, (so if you were to keep a spare chain at wok for example, this lock could be used with it). Alarm disc locks are another relatively new design that seems to be growing in popularity. If your bike gets moved with the disc lock fitted, then an alarm sounds from the lock attracting attention from people around and hopefully deterring anyone who is messing with your bike. If you are new to riding, using a disc lock, or just a little forgetful; then we always recommend the use of a disc lock reminder! This little device just attaches to you disc lock and to your handlebars to avoid forgetting it is fitted and an embarrassing or possibly costly car park spill!
Another handy little device that’s easy to carry is a Croclock – designed as an easy to use, highly visible, theft deterrent for scooters, motorcycles and ATVs. Croc Lock works by locking the brake lever to the handlebar, preventing the vehicle from being pushed or ridden away. Made from glass reinforced plastic which is impact and saw resistant, Croc Lock is more visible than a disc lock, easier to install and impossible to forget.
Motorcycle alarms, immobilizers, trackers and tagging kits
An alarm on your motorcycle will attract the attention of by-passers but will not prevent your bike from being stolen and we always recommend using an alarm alongside another mechanical form of security. If just an alarm was fitted, it could be wheeled away into a waiting van and never be seen again – however, no-one is going to stick around and try to remove your lock and chain or disc lock, whilst there is a 100dB siren going off – attracting attention from all sides!
Available as Thatcham-approved alarm and immobiliser systems that have to be fitted by a certified installer, such as the Datatool S4 Red Super Cat 1 Alarm, or as a more basic self-fit alarm like the Datatool Evo self-fit alarm, there are numerous options to suit all budgets…
One thing we do recommend if you are fitting or having an alarm fitted is the use of a good Battery Conditioner to keep your battery topped up over the winter months when you’re not riding it. Immobilisers fall into a similar category as alarms – designed to work alongside other forms of security to stop your bike being hotwired and ridden way by an opportunist thief.
Fitting a tracker to your motorcycle will make you aware that someone has tampered with your bike straight away through an app on your phone but will not emit any noise on the machine. The Datatool TracKING system is a GPS based device that, should your bike get stolen, will help you track and recover your motorcycle.
A Datatag motorcycle tagging kit is a sophisticated identification system that has been in use since the mid-1990’s and there are over 500,000 motorcycles protected by the system in the UK alone. Based around Datadots and electric transponders that form an electronic “fingerprint”, the theft rate of tagged bikes is less than 1/10th of non-tagged motorbikes. As soon as a thief sees the Datatag decals, they will usually leave your motorcycle well alone.
There are a few other little tips and routines to get into that could save us having unwanted guests in the future…
- If you have a garage – make sure you use it! A lot of bike thefts occur from the owner’s properties, as we get complacent and leave our bikes out when we get home from work, or back after a ride.
- Don’t leave it out for people to see, or leave the garage door open. Put it in the garage straightway otherwise it just invites unwanted attention.
- If you do have to park your bike in public, make sure you park in a place where the bike can be seen day or night and try to vary your parking spots! Don’t leave your bike hidden out of view – this just gives a potential thief time to disable your security at their leisure!
So, there we have it – a brief overview and a look at some of the most popular and effective security solutions to keep your pride and joy safe, after all, we just want to make sure our bikes are there every time we want to go out for a ride!