To some of us, our motorcycle is our pride and joy.
To others, it is purely a means to be deposited at the office and scooped back up at the end of the day without having to pay for the pleasure of a sweaty bus ride.
Either way, few things feel quite as raw as the whack in the gonads that is motorcycle theft.
It’s inconvenient, boring and somehow, personal. Just the absolute pits.
The sad truth is that motorcycles are by their very makeup easier to steal than cars. A small group of reasonably big people can lift most bikes clean off the ground and into the back of a van without much bother.
Unfortunately, if somebody wants to steal your motorcycle enough, they will likely find a way.
BUT there is a whole multitude of things we can do to make their lives more difficult.
As with most things motorcycle related, avoiding complacency is key. People do steal motorcycles. It’s our job to secure them, making it harder for them ratbags to do so.
So without further ado let’s have a quick look into the busy, and often expensive world of motorcycle security.
One of the most simple things you can do is assess the risk of theft whenever you park your motorcycle.
- How long will you be leaving it?
- How busy is the area?
- Are there any CCTV cameras you can park under?
Any small changes you can make to create problems for dirtbags can only be a good thing.
Nowadays most motorcycles come with some sort of inbuilt theft deterrent.
More modern motorcycles may have alarms and other wizardry, but most will at the very least have a steering lock.
With your handlebars locked to one side thieves will only be able to push your motorcycle in a large circle. Not ideal for them, far better for you.
Make use of this feature whenever you leave your motorcycle for very brief periods of time. Petrol forecourts are a prime example.
As far as I can see, there are largely two instances when you will need to secure your motorcycle;
Either you are leaving it for a short time while away from home. Popping into the shop, going out for lunch etc etc.
You are parking up at home overnight. Putting your motorcycle to bed, as it were.
These two instances call for different levels of security.
1. Disc Lock
If you plan to lock up your motorcycle away from home, then you will have to carry your security with you. So we are looking for something light, portable, and reasonably quick to apply.
Disc Locks are perfect for this. Bolting through your front disc brake the disc lock makes it virtually impossible to roll the motorcycle without lifting the front wheel off the ground.
They are usually pretty compact things, making them handy to chuck in a top box, rucksack, or pocket.
So far so good.
Of course, there are many different levels of disc lock. Starting with the rather rudimentary padlock through the disc, working right the way up to hardened steel fortresses from Abus.
Something in the middle ground like the Oxford Monster Disc Lock is probably good in terms of cost v’s security.
Read here for more on the best motorcycle disc locks.
Motion sensing alarms can be great, but if you often park alongside other motorcycles, then expect them to go off a lot.
A small nudge from another biker’s well-padded backside is often all it takes to get these bad boys screaming, and it can be a real pain if you aren’t nearby to silence them.
Remember, any disc lock will really ruin your day if you forget to take it off before riding away.
If you use a disc lock, for goodness sake use a reminder cable to wrap around your handlebars.
A buckled disc and a dropped motorcycle avoided, for a couple of quid.
2. Security Chain
Now disc locks are good, but unfortunately, thieves are getting pretty savvy to them.
Armed with an angle grinder and a crowbar and even the most neanderthal of lowlife can dispatch lots of them faster than it is worth thinking about.
But again, the aim of the game here is to slow a thief down enough to put them off your motorcycle.
Don’t be easy pickings.
Combining your disc lock with a chain is a quick way to seriously step up your security.
A good quality chain around your back wheel, and through your swing arm or frame will make it properly hard work for some so and so to wheel your motorcycle away.
If you can loop that chain around a lamppost, or a fence then better still.
In big cities, they are now starting to put ground anchors in the road to loop your chain through. Even more security, courtesy of your council tax. Thank you very much.
We will get back to ground anchors later.
Chain quality and cost can vary massively and having a good old-fashioned shop around is your best bet. But the age-old adage of ‘only as strong as its weakest link’ is really true here.
Spending a fortune on a chain, and saving money on the lock part is a pretty worthless exercise.
Check out the Oxford Hardcore Chain for a decent blend of cost versus security.
Some people have made it their business to test the ‘resistance times’ of motorcycle chains. Pretty worrying to watch, but interesting to know what you’re dealing with.
Where chains are arguably more secure than a disc lock, they are also a real pain to lug around. They are heavy and bulky and often better suited to locking up your motorcycle at home.
This leads us nicely on to…
Motorcycle Security At Home
Putting your motorcycle to bed.
Your motorcycle is most likely to spend most of its ‘unguarded’ hours near where you live. Often overnight, and often in the same place.
This gives thieves the upper hand on two counts. The cover of darkness, and the ability to plan their crime having seen your motorcycle there on numerous occasions.
1. Motorcycle Cover
If you’re anything like me, then you aren’t lucky enough to have a garage to tuck your motorcycle into every night. But panic not, there is a solution that will help guard your ride from both the elements and the prying eyes of a thief.
A simple bike cover will not only stop the rain dead in its tracks, it will also make your bike less visible. Keeping those shiny bits out of sight can often be the first step in stopping a crime before it starts.
Just remember, in high winds a cover will turn your motorcycle into a kite. Best leave it off, unless your bike enjoys lying down.
2. Ground Anchor
One benefit of parking your motorcycle in the same place every day is that you can really beef up the security. Ground anchors are great here, giving you something really solid to chain to.
A bit of investment in drilling and cementing will get you a pretty hardcore security solution that could well pay dividends when it comes to insurance renewal time.
Read our guide to the best motorbike ground anchors.
If you are really convinced somebody is out to de-bike you then I have heard stories of people that go the whole hog.
Fitting their locked, alarmed garage with a ground anchor, chaining their bike to it, fitting an alarmed disc lock and parking their car up against the garage door to really limit access.
It all depends on your paranoia/confidence and the determination of the vagabonds in your area.
Don’t forget your garage door is a potential weak spot. We’ve seen doors bent back or even rocked of the runners in some cases.
A simple way to make life more difficult for the vermin is to fit a garage door defender. These simple deterrents are surprisingly effective.
We looked at them recently and you can see our picks of the best garage door defenders here.
Motorcycle security however doesn’t always stop before the crime starts. If you are unfortunate enough to have your motorcycle stolen, then you may be glad that you had a tracker fitted.
Being able to send the police the location your nicked motorcycle is being stashed could well get you reunited with your motorcycle, and also get a thief off the streets.
Plenty to think about.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m just going to look out of the window to check on my motorcycle!