‘More motorbikes are stolen in the UK than are bought new, and it takes on average 20 seconds to steal a motorcycle worth £10,000.’
That is one of the many shocking statistics resulting from a report by the UK’s National Crime Intelligence Service (source).
Stealing a motorbike is easier than stealing a car. Organised gangs can lift a bike into the back of a van and be gone with it in less than 20 seconds. The report also states that 80% of bike thefts occur at the owner’s home. With only 16% of stolen motorcycles recovered the report makes for depressing reading.
Many bikes are stolen for spare parts. Once they are stripped down and sold off it makes recovery much harder.
Our Choice Top Locks
First choice for me is the ABUS Platinum Chain 34. Its deeply sunken locking bolt allows little room for metal rods, shafts or cutting pinchers to fit where the chain links run through.
I also like the Oxford Monster Lock because of its similar ‘hard to get at’ locking mechanism. Less space means less room for levering.
Both come with a decent chain length and quality protective chain covers to guard against bike damage.
While they represent good value, I’m less concerned about saving ten or twenty quid between the brands when it comes to securing a ten thousand pound motorcycle.
What can we do?
Stand back, take a look at your bike and consider how vulnerable it is;
- Is it inside?
- Is it shielded from view?
- Can it be lifted away?
Slowing down a criminal gang may prompt them to move on and try their luck elsewhere. They thrive on speed, efficiency and invisibility; denying them these allows more time for them to be filmed, reported and traced.
If you have to leave your bike outside then consider installing a ground anchor in your garden or driveway. Sometimes an outside wall can be fitted with such a device for your security chain to be looped through.
More and more motorcycle car parks have ground anchors to deter thieves but street parking doesn’t always allow this option.
A major deterrent for the would-be motorcycle thief is a strong security chain and lock.
Security Lock Material
A chain is only as good as its weakest link, so goes the saying.
The lock itself is one of those links and it would be pointless having a thick chain forged out of a fallen meteorite only to be held together by a cheap, breakable lock.
The strongest chains are made from carbon, manganese steel or boron.
You should consider a lock’s strength. Will it survive a hammer strike? Can it be picked or drilled open quickly?
Placing one on the ground is ill-advised as it gives the thief a solid base to smash it against. Tight, raised chains remove this advantage.
A good quality, heavy security chain is also capable of covering your beautiful bike with dents, scratches and minor breakages.
Look for one with a protective cover such as nylon and take care when weaving it through your machine after you park up.
The long and the short of it
There are greater options with a longer chain such as extended reach and double wrapping. A long chain is heavier but will not pose a problem if you’re able to stow it safely when on the road.
Chains maybe stored under seats if roomy enough or in panniers. Looping it around your upper body when riding can hamper your movement and cause further injuries in the event of a scrape.
When choosing your chain, remember what it’s for – theft prevention.
Are the two main components, padlock and chain, strong enough to deter or prevent the removal of your bike?
Padlocks are a composition of moving parts and like chains also have their ‘weakest link’. When buying one you need to establish where that link is and if it’s still good enough.
Check the casing, the look of the bolt and assess how various tools or weapons might be used to open it. You have to think like a criminal not like an owner when sizing up the choices.
Let’s have a look at some of the popular brands and models available.
Motorcycle lock and chain reviews
ABUS Platinum Chain 34
ABUS are a German manufacturer renowned for their vigorous product testing. Anything coming out of their factory has been bashed, smashed and crashed a number of times before ending up on the shelves.
The unique feature of the Platinum Chain is that the chain link fits directly into the lock body. I’m pretty certain that at $1,000 per ounce, the chain isn’t actually made of platinum. If it were then steal the 3.7kg chain and leave the bike!
Regardless, the chain is a hardened 10mm hexagonal design protecting against the most aggressive of physical or mechanical attacks.
ABUS-X-Plus locking system has more than 1 million key variations
1.4 metre length chain
Where do I keep it when riding?
Oxford Monster Chain & Lock
A chunkier model from Oxford is the Monster Lock.
Peace of mind comes from an ultra-strong 16mm shackle padlock manufactured with a boron steel armour casing and an 11mm steel chain.
The Monster Lock is Thatcham Approved. Staying ahead of the thieves requires continuous research and development.
The Monster Lock is freeze tested to improve resistance to liquid nitrogen spray that could weaken inferior metals. It is also saw, drill, hammer and bolt cropper resistant.
1.5m Length chain with durable nylon sleeve
Double locking mechanism
Key dust cover
3 x Keys and a key replacement service
Lifetime Oxford guarantee
Heavy to ride with and stowage requires some thought.
Oxford Hardcore XL Motorbike Chain Lock
From one of the UK’s leading motorcycle accessory manufacturers comes the Oxford Hardcore chain and lock.
Oxford claims it as the UK’s biggest selling approved chain and padlock.
It’s chunky, affordable and made with a forged hardened steel lock body and an 11mm steel shackle.
The anti-jack strength is specified at 4.3 tons
Drill, sledgehammer and bolt cropper resistant
12mm Square link chain
Dust covered padlock
Comes with three keys
Despite the strong metal components of the lock the casing may be vulnerable to heavy duty or advanced cutting tools
A longer chain would allow greater fixing options
ABUS Granit 58 & Chain
The Granit Power U-Shackle lock with 16 mm shackle is ideal for securing your bike to fixed objects. Its hardened 14 mm chain comes with an extra advantage… a pull through ring allowing for extra chain length. The U-bolt lock design also allows a little more length. Should the chain prove too cumbersome then simply use the U-bolt as a disc-lock.
ABUS X-Plus locking system
Extremely high protection against intelligent opening methods
Recommended by insurance companies
More expensive for this higher quality model
Mammoth Security 10mm Square Lock & Chaink
This product is great value for a 1.8 metre motorcycle security chain but make sure you actually need the length. Lugging it around may prove hard work. The padlock is a tidy affair protected against muck and weather by a plastic cover. You can also loop the chain links through a close-to-the-body lock. The mammoth security chain is widely recognized as a low cost good quality buy and a bestseller in its range.
10mm square section chain
11mm hardened steel shackle lock
Protective textile outer sleeve protects paintwork and rims
Strong but other models offer better resistance
Long chain may occasionally be unsuitable
Lock it up
Very few security devices are 100% burglar proof. The most determined thief will crack a device if given enough time.
While locks and chains will slow them down think about where to position the lock for maximum hindrance to a thief. Make it as hard to access and break as possible.
Knowing who the enemy is and having a comprehension of their criminal mindset will give you some advantages.
You can still think like the devil and keep a clean sheet so don’t worry about momentarily entering a world you despise; Lee Child and Patricia Cornwell do this quite regularly and they seem pretty nice folk at their book signings!
Safe and happy riding to all.