If you’re anything like me, you rarely let your prized machine out of your sight. However, we can’t be with it 24/7, leaving us two options when it comes to motorcycle security:
- Adopt security features or a garage defender to either slow down thieves or move them onto easier pickings
- Invest in a tracker and potentially retrieve your machine once they’ve absconded with your bike
Most thieves are tracker savvy and will often hide a stolen motorcycle for a few days in a quiet spot until the coast is clear. This gives you a potential opportunity to retrieve your bike.
Read on for our guide to the best devices available on the market right now.
Simple, effective and affordable
If you’re looking for a simple device to monitor your beloved bike on a budget, the Monimoto ticks all the boxes.
It’s not a guaranteed ‘stealth install,’ but it provides movement alerts direct to your mobile, even if someone knocks your bike. Check SportsBikeShop
Best Motorcycle Tracker Reviews
Let’s dive into our top picks.
Monimoto – Best All Rounder
After paying a £136 purchase cost, and a small £2.70 monthly subscription (via a supplied sim card), the Monimoto is the only device on our list that requires practically no installation skills.
Even a cack-handed idiot with a spanner allergy can install the ‘cigar tube’ like device within their bike. However, it’s not teeny-tiny, so hiding it in a discreet location isn’t necessarily possible on every bike model.
The device is always working unless a deactivation fob is placed near the bike (which would be secreted on your person). If the bike is moved, the device sends an immediate alert to your phone via an app. It also alerts you to ‘tampering’ if anyone nudges or sits on your bike.
It isn’t Thatcham approved, so no insurance savings, and it does have tracking limitations (basements, buildings and areas with limited cellular coverage). However, the Monimoto offers a cheap, effective theft solution that could still allow you to retrieve your bike if thieves have stashed it somewhere to cool off.
Note: a new, improved Monimoto (7) is now available in the US, offering a smaller square device making it easier to hide on the bike. Watch out as this may eventually appear as a European/UK model.
- Low purchase cost and low subscription (and first two months are free)
- Easy to install
- Mobile App for alerts and map locations
- Cylinder may be too bulky to hide on some bikes
- If discovered, easy for thieves to remove
- No insurance savings or Police Support
TruTrak FMT100 – Budget Pick
The cheapest tracker on our list, the TruTrak, is a Sim-based GPS device with a low up front cost and a reasonable monthly subscription.
It’s not going to lower your insurance, and it’s aimed more at car fleet owners. However, it offers a surprisingly feature-packed budget option for the Motorcyclist via a decent-looking app.
The small device (9.2 x 5.8 x 1.4cm) is wired directly to your battery terminals which may offer challenges in hiding, although, for some bikes, this will be pretty well hidden. Once installed, the device can be set up to provide several tracking options and alerts.
A key feature is the unit’s Geo-Fencing option which allows you to get an alert if your bike is started/moved out of a specified location.
The device will also track and map your routes, speeds, and a host of other data more akin to car fleet management (such as harsh cornering/accelerating).
- Low cost
- Easy installation
- Refined professional app (desktop and mobile)
- Easy to discover/remove
- Will drain battery (does have a low battery alert)
- Pinpointing your bike will not be as accurate as premium trackers
Datatool Stealth S5-VTS – Premium Pick
Datatool offers the ‘Stealth’ and ‘Adventure’ models in their range (the Adventure offers route data maps). Both are Motorcycle specific S5 certified trackers.
The Stealth costs an initial £395, but installation is included in the price, unlike the Bike Trac device. Subscription is then £9.95 a month or £109 for a year.
The Stealth is a feature-packed device, which connects directly to the vehicle’s battery, which it monitors and alerts to low charge levels. As well as 24/7 monitoring (linked to the police), the device’s key feature is its ability to create a Geofence around your bike.
If the supplied ID tag isn’t present and the bike is moved outside of the Geofence, the bike contacts the monitoring centre, which calls the owner. It can also be configured to send SMS notifications.
It can also detect the difference between a bike drop and a proper crash (a feature known as ‘G Sense’), enabling a 999 alert if you have an accident.
You can also set up location alerts, e.g., a warning if you get too close to your Mother-in-law’s house, accident blackspots, etc.
- Thatcham S5 certified
- Fully monitored, linked to Police
- Geofencing system creates immediate theft alerts
- Claimed 96% recovery rate
- Will drain bike battery (e.g., during winter storage)
A premium device, the Bike Trac, has an initial £299 upfront cost and requires professional installation, which will set you back a further £350. There’s also a further £9.99 monthly subscription charge (or a £99 annual payment).
For this price, you will not only get a stealth installation but a fully monitored Motorcycle covered by a 24/7 operations centre that will also liaise with local police forces.
The device also has other features such as ‘bike down’ alerts and the ability to record and review your journeys. Biketrac has a separate battery supply, but this only lasts for 30 days and will drain your bike battery after this time (if stored for a lengthy period).
- 24/7 Monitoring, with links to local police forces
- Extremely difficult for thieves to spot or remove the device
- Thatcham approved
- Needs professional installation
- Internal battery only lasts 30 days
Tracker Retrieve – Battery Powered
This Thatcham S7 device (see Thatcham Categories) is a ‘one-time use’ stolen vehicle recovery tracker that costs £249 (including installation) and a further annual subscription of £149, which reduces with a two or five year upfront subscription.
Although £249 for a ‘one-time use’ sounds a lot, let’s be honest, how often are you expecting to get your bike stolen? So this tracker could offer a great solution for remote or lengthy storage.
The device offers top-spec UHF tracking technology linked directly to all UK police forces, allowing them to pinpoint recovery on all but the most hidden locations (even containers and basements). It also has a self-contained power source that can last up to five years.
- S7 Thatcham with latest tracking technology
- Direct Police Force links
- 5-year Internal power source, won’t drain vehicle battery
- One time use product
- Premium price
Considerations and costs
Other than budget, your tracker requirement is going to depend on many obvious factors. Do you want a ton of features? A reduced insurance premium? Or simply guaranteed vehicle recovery?
Whatever you decide, here is a simple guide explaining some of the key elements and functions to consider:
Many devices are connected directly to your bike’s battery. This is convenient as the device will always have a power source.
However, they are known to slowly drain and flatten your vehicle’s battery, which could potentially damage it and require replacement. This is a serious issue for those who mothball their bikes over the Winter.
Most trackers will alert you if a low battery is detected. Still, a device with its own battery supply is easier to install and less problematic for battery anxiety (remember, it will still require periodic battery replacements.)
Many insurance companies offer policy discounts for certain S5, S6 and S7 ‘certified’ tracking systems. They turn to Thatcham Research, an organisation that has set vehicle security standards for over fifty years.
Since the 1990’s Thatcham have assessed and assured vehicle security devices, using the following categories:
- Cat 1: High-end Alarms and immobilisers
- Cat 2: Electronic immobilisers
- Cat 3: Mechanical immobilisers
- Cat 4: Wheel locking devices
- Cat S5: Post theft tracking and recovery systems
- Cat S6 and S7: Stolen vehicle and location systems
Tracking Types and Signal Strength
Tracking devices utilise one or more tracking technologies, with the more premium devices using a combination allowing greater pinpointing accuracy:
- Global Positioning (GPS): Utilises satellites to triangulate location, but the signal can easily be lost in buildings or containers
- Radio Frequency (RF): Probably the most accurate technology, but the range can be limited, often used in conjunction with GPS/Cellular in premium devices
- Cellular (GSM): Sim card devices that utilise the mobile phone network, limited to areas with mobile phone coverage and as with GPS signal can be obstructed
Some signal types are also easier to ‘jam’ where savvy thieves can prevent the device from sending out a signal. However, this is a lot harder to do with premium trackers that use multiple signal types.
Allows you to plot a virtual fence around specific locations using map software. The system can then be set to send alerts when entering or leaving these locations. Some trackers automatically create a Geofence around the vehicle when they are armed.
Placement and Installations
Premium trackers often require professional installation as these devices are hard-wired into integral bike systems. These stealth installs make it harder for thieves to spot a tracker and difficult for them to de-install them.
Adversely, cheaper devices are often simpler to install but easier to be seen and removed by thieves.
Placement can also affect the efficiency of some units, which can cause a significant reduction in signal strength if they are not located or installed correctly. Some GPS devices, for instance, need to be located at the top of the motorcycle’s structure.
- Bike Down: Many systems offer a feature that will alert predetermined numbers or emergency services in the event of an accident
- Monitoring Services: Premium services include 24/7 monitoring where call centres will contact you during an alert and also liaise with police/recovery services if required
- Journey Tracking: Some devices enable you to record and review your journeys which can be useful if you ride an inspiring route and want to record/ride it again (also see our guide to the best motorcycle dash cams.)
Although this guide only mentions a few available devices on the market, the buyer’s guide will arm you with the knowledge you need to find the best tracker for you.
Tracker choices are often dictated by bike value and insurance costs, but there are plenty of options to suit most riders’ wallets and purses.
As this technology evolves, there will undoubtedly be further technological improvements with devices getting smaller and cheaper.
Personally, I hope that most manufacturers will eventually install factory devices, as we see with GPS mapping systems appearing on many new bikes.