Preventing a motorcycle from being stolen is an extremely important responsibility every bike owner should have. As a victim of motorcycle theft myself, I can tell how disappointing it can be to find out some thieves have stolen your bike. My very first motorcycle was a Suzuki DRZ-400. It was stolen from an underground garage at the place where I used to live. There was a security camera that actually recorded the person who was stealing the bike. Unfortunately, nobody did anything about it. Luckily I had a motorcycle insurance that covered the theft and the insurance company paid most of the value of my bike.
I did a huge mistake by securing my motorcycle poorly. It was an older vehicle and the steering lock was not working anymore. The only obstacle preventing anybody from stealing it was a heavy duty chain. The thief has just cut the chain, walked the bike into a van and got away. This was a valuable lesson for me. Since then I always use multiple different ways how to secure my motorcycle against robbery.
Lets discuss some of the most useful strategies how to make your bike more secured and how to prevent it from being stolen…
Ways to Prevent Motorcycle Theft
1. Activate the Steering Lock
The easiest way to secure your motorcycle is to use the steering lock, if your bike has one. It will make the handlebars immovable and nobody will be able to walk your bike away. Every bike has its steering lock on a different location. Most modern bikes have this system built in the ignition keyhole. You will have to turn your key counterclockwise to activate the lock. It is the opposite direction than when you are starting your bike. This method is the most simple way to prevent motorcycles from being stolen. Steering locks can easily be broken though and the repair cost can be astronomical. Because of that, some motorcyclists actually refuse to use their steering lock being afraid of thieves trying to break the lock. I would still strongly recommend to use this technique if you are able to.
2. Use a Chain Lock
If you park your motorcycle close to some stationary object such as a steel railing or a tree, the best option for you is to use a heavy duty chain. You can also buy a ground anchor if there is nothing to lock your chain to. Other option is to lock your bike together with your friend’s bike. Chain will make it impossible for common thieves to steal your vehicle. Remember though, professional thieves will use tools such as heavy duty bolt cutters and angle grinder, which will easily cut the chain. Using a heavy duty chain has many advantages and it is one of the cheapest options to secure your motorcycle. Keep in mind that a chain can be weighty and takes a lot of space. If you will ever need to travel with it, you will be carrying few extra pounds with you.
3. Use a Disc Lock
Using a disc lock is one of the smartest ways to secure your bike. Disc locks are lightweight, don’t cost much and some of them even have a built-in alarm. Disc lock is designed to be used with a break disc of your motorcycle. Once you have a disc lock on, your bike can’t be moved at all. Nobody can steal it without actually dismantling its wheel or breaking the disc. You can also use two disc locks at the same time to lock both wheels and make it practically impossible to steal your bike without professional tools. I can strongly recommend using any kind of disc lock, you just can’t go wrong with them. Remember to take off your lock before you jump on your bike though, you can damage your break disc if you forget it’s there and try to start riding your bike!
4. Cover Your Bike
Sometimes the easiest way how to prevent your bike from being stolen is to use a motorcycle cover. You know that old proverb “What the eyes don’t see, the heart doesn’t feel”. This can be used in our situation as well, but I am not sure if a thief actually has a heart. Never mind, if you put the ugliest and dirtiest motorcycle cover on your bike, you can be sure that most people won’t even consider stealing it. They will just think that if that person doesn’t have enough money for a new bike cover, how terrible must his/her motorcycle be. This method can be the cheapest and the most effective way how to get rid of most of the potential thieves. I would say that motorcycle cover is the number one choice for me, as it is one of cheapest options and it offers multiple functionalities.
5. Install Security Cameras
Let’s talk about some alternative ways of protecting your motorcycle against theft. Security cameras can be used to record the criminals and help tracking them down. Unfortunately, there are many problems about using this technology. It can be difficult for most persons to install a security camera. Besides that, you can’t simply use security cameras in public places. If you point your camera into the street where you park your bike, you can be actually breaking the law! Recording your neighbor’s property also isn’t allowed. However, if you have a front yard or back yard, there should be nothing preventing you from using them. Security cameras, or motorcycle cameras in general, can also be useful for other situations than just for protecting your motorcycle, so they are without a doubt a very useful gadget.
6. Use a GPS Tracking Device
GPS tracking is another unusual way how you can make sure your motorcycle will never get stolen. In this case, if it does get stolen, you will see the location of your vehicle in your smartphone tracking app. Using this device, the police will easily be able to track down the stolen motorcycle and arrest the criminals. Keep in mind that the very first thing a motorcycle thief might do, is to look for this kind of device attached to your bike and remove it. Also, the GPS technology needs an open space for the signal to be strong enough and work properly. These facts make GPS Trackers a little unreliable for protecting your bike against theft. On top of that, quality GPS tracking devices can be rather expensive, but it’s up to you to decide what kind of GPS tracking device you will buy.
7. Have a Garage
Using a private garage or a shed for your motorcycle is without a doubt the most effective way how to make it as secured as possible and never get it stolen. The motorcycle will be hidden form all eyes. Garage door can be locked and you can also use an alarm or have a dog guarding it. Another benefit of a shed or garage is that you will have a space for storing some of your best motorcycle gear and accessories. If you are living in a big house, this option is very easy for you to implement. However, living in a small town house or a flat is making this almost impossible. If you are lucky, the place where you are living will have it’s own car park. But as you know already, it is very easy to steal a motorcycle from there.
Bonus Tip: Be Clever!
As the title says, just be clever! Don’t do stupid things and act according to your situation. If you have a brand new shiny motorcycle that cost you a fortune, you must try really hard to prevent any potential theft or damage to your bike. The more expensive your bike looks the more attention it attracts. You can either park your bike on a completely hidden spot, or leave it on a very busy place where hundreds of people walk every hour. This will lower the chances of your motorcycle being stolen. Don’t leave it standing on a dark street area where it would be way too easy for a thief to steal your bike. Because, thieves will have plenty of time, space and comfort for stealing it in that case.
Motorcycle Theft Statistics
Every year, around 40,000-50,000 of motorcycles get stolen in each the US and UK. So if you are a motorcycle owner, you have somewhere between 3-4% chance your bike will be stolen EVERY…SINGLE…YEAR!
Keep in mind, there is a much higher probability you will get your bike stolen if you are living in some of the biggest urban areas such as London (up to 15% chance!!!). Speaking of chances, the most usual time someone will steal your vehicle is during the Spring and Summer, with April being the absolute worst month. During April, 1600+ motorcycles are stolen every year in London:
The biggest problem is that those numbers are not going down and even increasing in some places, even though we have many modern tools to prevent the motorcycle theft.
Most Stolen Motorcycles
Some types of motorcycles are more desirable among the criminals than others. If you own any of the popular sports-bikes such as Suzuki GSX-R or Kawasaki Ninja, it can be stolen some day. The main reason are spare parts. It will be dismantled for the parts just few days or even hours after it was stolen.
As you can see, motorcycle theft is a serious problem we shouldn’t ignore. Luckily, there are many different ways how you can secure your motorbike and lower the chances of getting it stolen. My personal advice would be to combine multiple different ways of protection. You should at the very least use a simple disc lock with a combination of a steering lock or a bike cover. If there is an immovable object near your parking spot or you have some extra cash to spend for a ground anchor, just use a heavy duty chain as well.
Remember, regarding motorcycle theft prevention, even the bare minimum can make a big difference. The worst thing you can do is to leave your motorcycle completely unprotected against thieves. Anyone can then just come to your parking place, hotwire your motorcycle and get away with it.
I hope these 7 tips will help you get some ideas to decide what are the best options for you to secure your motorcycle against theft. If you have any personal advice you would like to share with us, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.