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If you’re like most motorcycle enthusiasts, you probably have put hundreds of hours into the care and maintenance of your bike. And while you likely want to protect your motorcycle as you would any other asset, motorcycle security is a little different than keeping a vehicle secure. In this article, we’ll take you through some of the most reliable ways to protect your bike from theft.
Motorcycle Theft Prevention Tips
Since motorcycles are significantly lighter than cars, they’re a lot easier to steal. When a thief wants a motorcycle, the most common way to steal one is by lifting it up into the back of a van or box truck. Ideally, your method of motorcycle security will prevent that from happening. Here are some of the ways you can keep your motorcycle protected from would-be thieves.
Keep Your Bike in the Garage
This answer may seem like an obvious one. After all, keeping your bike in the garage accomplishes a couple of objectives–it keeps your bike hidden from thieves, and it also makes it difficult for motorcycle thieves to simply lift up and take your bike.
Many crimes are crimes of opportunity–in this case, a thief who sees an unsecured motorcycle may simply take it because it’s easy.
That said, garages are not necessarily thief-proof. If a potential thief has seen your bike around and is making plans to steal it, they might not be deterred by a locked garage door.
Thieves who know what they’re doing can relatively easily break into a garage, especially if it’s a roll-up door with windows.
Windows make breaking in a bit easier, and they also might let potential thieves look inside and see your bike, making it a more likely theft target.
If you keep your bike garaged, you’ve already done a lot to keep it safe. But if theft is a concern, consider also using a ground anchor, chain, or another security method as well. Unless a thief is truly determined to steal your specific type of motorcycle, they likely won’t take on the challenge of breaking into a garage without being detected.
Use an Anchor
A motorcycle ground anchor works a lot like a bike rack, but it is usually more secure. A ground anchor is essentially a sturdy piece of material (usually metal) that can be bolted to the floor of your garage (or bolted to your driveway if you don’t have a garage).
Most anchors have a very durable hook or loop that your motorcycle can be chained to when not in use (check out our next section for advice on how to make it harder for thieves to cut through a chain lock).
Depending on the design, a ground anchor may be able to be folded down when not in use so it’s easier to drive over.
Anchors certainly aren’t the easiest motorcycle security method to use, and not everyone has a drill capable of drilling holes through concrete or asphalt in order to accommodate the bolts of an anchor.
However, if theft is a major concern (and if you want maximum peace of mind), it’s worth it to purchase and install a high-quality anchor. Certain types of anchors can also be placed under concrete, but unless you anticipate needing to re-pour concrete in the very near future, this type might not be too practical.
Use a Chain Lock
On its own, a motorcycle chain lock isn’t necessarily thief-proof. But like chain locks for bicycles, chain locks for motorcycles make theft a lot harder. Here are a few tips for keeping your bike extra secure with a chain lock (whether it’s chained to an anchor at home or to a bike rack when you’re on the go):
- Keep the chain as tight as you can–Often, potential thieves will try to cut through a chain lock with an angle grinder or bolt cutter. The closer the chain is to your bike, the harder it is for thieves to cut through it without risking damage to the motorcycle.
- Don’t let the padlock sit on the ground–Especially if there aren’t people around to see, some motorcycle thieves will use a sledgehammer to break open a padlock. If the bike is chained loosely enough that the padlock is on the ground, it’s especially easy for thieves to smash it with a hit or two. Ideally, try to keep the padlock up against your bike–motorcycle thieves want to preserve the value of whatever they steal, and they likely won’t smash the padlock if it means causing damage to a motorcycle.
- Use a heavy chain–This one probably sounds obvious, but it’s still important. A lightweight chain will be extremely easy to cut through, making theft relatively effortless. A chain with thick, heavy links will be significantly harder to cut.
- Don’t chain the front wheel–Just like with bicycles, it’s much easier to remove a motorcycle’s front wheel than it is to remove a rear wheel. If only the front wheel is chained, a thief can easily remove the wheel and take the rest of the bike.
Use a Disc Lock
The motorcycle disc lock is one of the most commonly used locks for a few reasons. To start, they’re very portable–disc locks are designed to stop the wheels from turning, and many are small enough to fit into a pocket.
Some of them even come with an optional alarm feature, which adds an extra measure of security. As we mention in the next section, an alarm is guaranteed to stop a theft attempt, but most thieves prefer not to have attention drawn to them.
On its own, a disc lock may not be too effective. After all, especially if nobody is around, thieves can simply pick up your bike, toss it into a getaway vehicle, and drive away with it. And for an experienced motorcycle thief, breaking a disc lock can be relatively quick and easy.
Invest in a Motorcycle Alarm System
While an alarm system may not physically prevent someone from taking your motorcycle, they’re designed to attract attention, which motorcycle thieves generally don’t want. Especially if you know you’ll be in earshot of your bike when the system is engaged, you’ll likely be alerted in time to potentially stop an attempted theft.
If you’re planning to rely on an alarm system alone to protect your motorcycle, though, you may want to consider pairing it with a heavy-duty chain lock. After all, when many people hear a car alarm, their reaction is simply an annoyance. Especially in a very busy area, an alarm alone isn’t a guarantee that bystanders will do anything to prevent theft.
Set-Up (and Advertise) Video Surveillance
Video surveillance on its own isn’t enough to stop your motorcycle from being stolen. However, if your bike is removed from your property, a quality surveillance camera (especially one that is night-vision equipped) might be able to get a clear picture of the thief.
Some surveillance cameras can also send you motion alerts, which are especially useful when you’re home. If an unexpected motion is recorded, you are immediately notified and can view live video.
Some cameras give you the option of contacting authorities if you see a thief while you aren’t at home.
If you have surveillance cameras (and maybe even if you don’t), it can be helpful to have a sign clearly indicating that the area is monitored by video surveillance. As you might expect, potential motorcycle thieves prefer to operate in an area where they’re unlikely to be caught.
Unless they come prepared with masks or other ways to make them hard to identify, thieves are more likely to move on in search of an easier target.
Keep Your Bike Covered
Will a bike cover stop someone from stealing your motorcycle? Of course not. However, as we mentioned earlier, a decent proportion of crimes are crimes of opportunity. If potential thief sees a valuable motorcycle, they might be motivated to try and steal it.
A cover means that potential thieves can’t assess the value of your bike just by looking–for all they know, it could be a broken-down project bike. Ideally, try to use this method alongside other security measures–a cover isn’t necessarily a security measure, but it may serve as a deterrent.
Making the Decision
Motorcycle security is vitally important if you want to protect your investment. Ideally, you’ll want to use more than one method of security. No means of securing your bike is 100% guaranteed, of course.
But by making it very difficult for someone to run off with your bike, you stand a much better chance of keeping it safe from theft. When you take a few simple measures to keep your prized possession safe from thieves, you can enjoy many more miles with your motorcycle.