We’ve compiled a list looking at keeping your pride and joy safe. We’ll have a look at motorcycle security to give you an idea about keeping your bike safe from thieves.
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Thatcham security ratings (https://www.thatcham.org/)
Before we get started, it’s important to address the standards behind security device testing. When concerning motorcycles, there are four major forms of security:
Put simply, motorcycle security isn’t just slapping on a disc lock or a chain. If you want the most protection available, add in one of each type of Thatcham approved security types.
An independent company, such as Thatcham Security test products and give ratings based on their performance.
Usually, products are advertised as “Thatcham approved” and these products usually pass basic tests for their category.
Buying a product based purely because it’s Thatcham rated is also a no-no. Their rating means it passed the basic tests, but some tests have been disproved by other companies or people online.
Whilst being a good baseline, Thatcham devices are sometimes very easy to bypass.
It’s always worthwhile to do a little digging, look at previous reviews and make your mind up for yourself which kind of security device is suitable for you.
Chains are the most common form of security. They’re great at keeping your bike safe against opportunistic thieves. Their main problem is, they are big and bulky.
If you commute on the bike, you may have a top box which is perfect for transporting a chain. Ideally, a chain is best suited for “home use” where it doesn’t need to be carried around or shoved into a bag.
Good chains are heavy, especially in the case of the Almax series IV, which can seriously limit their use. As standard, you should always have a chain on your bike for when it’s parked at home.
This method of motorcycle security can be used in combination with fencing or fixtures used to hold chains in place (such as a ground anchor).
However, using a ground anchor requires installation which may not be applicable in all situations. Chains can’t stop theft by themselves, but they help prevent roll-away theft and make it an additional challenge.
This is a key deterrent to bike thieves as they cant all carry the tools for the job without looking suspicious.
Preventing roll-away theft should be high on your list as a bike owner, especially with rising levels of dedicated bike theft teams using scooters to bump start and steal valuable bikes.
Adding a chain to your pride and joy can instantly turn a theft situation into too much work for thieves.
This makes it more effort to steal and the bike is worth to them.
Obviously the most common type of motorcycle theft prevention is the disc lock. Designed to prevent the wheel from rotating by hitting and locking against the suspension stanchion.
Disc locks are small enough to be carried easily (usually under a seat in most instances) and effective enough to be utilized by every rider out there.
Another method of preventing opportunistic roll away theft, disc locks are relatively cheap and can easily be picked up from many bike shops.
Most are designed to insert a u-shaped or r-shaped shackle through the brake rotor of the front wheel, thereby creating a jam against the suspension preventing wheel movement.
Some disc locks are small enough to fit inside a pocket and are designed to “clip-on” to the brake rotor.
Using a disc lock is irreplaceable and should be on every biker’s list of essential security equipment.
The ability to stop roll-away theft whilst you’re out and about or at work should be a key factor in picking up a good quality disc lock.
The main issue with disc locks and chains is that both require a lock to keep the bike safe. If the lock can be cut or picked then these security measures are essentially nullified.
That being said, most modern and new locks are designed in such an extravagant way. Even some lockpicking experts have to design their own tools and modify them for every lock.
Therefore, your average run of the mill bike thief won’t have these sorts of tools on hand to pick these locks.
Brake lever clamps
One of the lesser-seen motorcycle security options, brake clamps apply force on the front brake lever to lock the wheel.
This puts pressure on the front wheel preventing it from being rolled away.
Whilst not as secure as a disk lock, brake clamps should be used in addition to other security measures. As the clamp relies on a single hinge, the plastic could be cut making the lock essentially useless.
Relying on the friction of the rubber teeth can also be a problem as tools can be used to slide the lever away from the handlebar.
Here we’ll discuss two of the most common unique markings that can increase your motorcycle security.
A unique identifier won’t help prevent the bike from being stolen, but can significantly increase the chance of the bike being reunited with its owner if it has been.
They’re not physical locks or chains but by marking the components and key parts of your bike, you can identify them in case of theft.
If a bike has been found dumped then unique hidden markings may allow it to be reconnected with its owner.
DataTag is a very common brand of unique identifier and is offered by most dealers as a service, or included with the purchase of a bike.
These unique kits use an invisible forensic barcode identifier applied to parts of your bike.
With it being an invisible mark or hidden tag, there’s a worry about it being obvious to thieves.
However, warning stickers are provided which may act as a deterrent to thieves who know about the service.
For small parts that need to be marked, DataTag uses individual DataDots, which are specific to your kit.
If a breaker discovers a DataDot they can track and trace parts to their original owner.
For larger parts, DataTag employs specific button and glass transponders, and UV stencils /stickers to etch on a unique identifier.
These transponders can act like a small NFC tag which produces a unique signal, registered to your kit.
It’s worth noting that in court where DataTag has been used, the crown prosecution service has never lost a case.
This kit acts as an identifier of your motorcycle and is an excellent factor in increasing your motorcycle security.
Alpha Dot (https://www.alpha-dot.co.uk/)
Alpha Dots are incredibly tiny dots (measuring 1mm in diameter) printed with a unique code registered to you.
Like DataTag, Alpha Dot is applied to individual components of your bike, marking them as yours.
This unique code allows the police to return stolen goods (not just motorcycles) to their correct owner. Your details are then registered to the Alpha Dot system.
Their website claims that police only need to find one painted onto your motorcycle to use it as evidence and secure conviction.
Alpha Dot allows 24/7 access to the database for the police, meaning that as soon as a motorcycle is found, it can be checked for Alpha Dots and traced back to you.
How is Alpha Dot different?
To counter Alpha Dot, the thief has to find each individual 1mm tiny dot and scrape it off. Not an easy task at all!
Compared to DataTag, Alpha Dot is easier to apply and incredibly hidden due to their tiny, almost invisible size.
Where other brands may require UV markings, Alpha Dot comes as a glue-like solution which is painted onto your motorcycle.
Alpha dot also prepare a motorcycle application guide, useful as a guide when applying your miniature security devices to your bike!
Alpha Dot even advertise the fact you can mark your pet tortoise with Alpha Dots…just in case!
Hardwired immobilizers may be a faff to set up (and will probably need to done by a dealer), but the fact that they prevent the ignition from starting by acting almost as a second key can be invaluable.
If you use your motorcycle for literally everything, adding an immobilizer can be the saving grace that protects your motorcycle.
Due to the nature of their business, some motorcycle training schools utilize immobilizers as an added security measure for their bikes, so you may already have experience with using one.
Immobilizers act like a second key, this can use a button or near-field communications (NFC/RFID).
If the detector doesn’t detect the key/fob, it won’t allow the ignition to start, preventing any form of brute force ignition attack or “hotwiring”.
For the average person, an immobilizer may be a bit over the top, but frankly, if you have a nice bike, something you love and want to take the extra step to protect, an immobilizer can always be an excellent finishing touch to your security measures.
Most modern bikes come fitted with their own immobilizers from factory, which are all Thatcham tested and approved.
Similar to an immobilizer system, trackers offer a great way to protect your motorcycle. Despite not being a physical lock, trackers often have the best rate of motorcycle recovery in instances where bikes have been stolen.
Trackers usually give you 24/7 access to the motorcycle’s location which can be valuable to owners and the police who may be trying to recover your missing bike.
Some immobilizers come fitted with a tracking unit also, but they can be purchased as a standalone kit and wired into the bike at home. Most trackers can also be hidden well in the frame of the bike without being too obvious.
Trackers can be viewed at anytime using a computer of a smartphone providing unlimited access to your vehicles location.
Some trackers operate as a subscription service, which offers a greater level of surveillance and accessibility, and others operate using a pay-as-you-go sim card. With these kinds of products, price is a good indicator of reliability and service.
The shed (secure-a-bike).
No garage? No problem.
Basically a nuclear fall out shelter for your bike so you can mad-max the roads after the bombs drop, Eurosecure produce a garage without the bricks and mortar.
Maybe a bit over the top for some people, but your bike-bunker could protect your pride and joy.
It can also double up as your nuclear bunker, so be sure to keep some tins stashed away at the back for when you go motorcycling at the end of the world.