Hello and welcome to Alex's Blog. This week I wanted to focus on bike security. We obviously sell motorcycle kit to keep you secure in the event of the worst happening, but how do you protect your bike from being stolen?
You can't look on social media these days without reading about bike thefts and these seem to be (worryingly) increasingly common, so I want to explore the different options you have to make sure that this doesn't happen to you – or to make it as difficult as possible for the thieves!
There is no subtlety in motorcycle theft. Speed is of the utmost importance and that means, more often than not, physical force in the form of hammers, bolt cutters and portable angle grinders. The only true theft deterrent is time; the longer it takes to break your bike's security the less likely it is to be targeted. If your security looks like it is going to take more than 5 minutes to break, then the opportunist thieves will move on to a less well protected bike.
We sell a lot of security items such as Chain locks, disc locks, ground anchors, trackers, even immobilisers and alarms - which we also fit!
Firstly, there are a few things to think about. Where do you leave your bike and for how long? Is there something solid to attach it to? How are you going to carry your bike's security?
Next consider that decent security costs money; spending £9.99 on any old padlock & chain from the local hardware store is not going to protect your £9,000 pride & joy for long.
So, let's get started on what your options are and what we have to offer.
These are the most popular security item we sell. Portable but durable you can see why they are appealing as they also don't break the bank. But, they are heavy and not something you should carry on your person "Ghost Rider" style when riding. There are different levels available, but a chain lock does act as a good deterrent to an opportunist bike thief. Lots are even Thatcham Approved which bodes very well for your insurance and could lower your premiums.
With chains you need to look for hardened steel and closed links which will be saw, drill, sledge hammer and bolt cutter resistant. Plus, a chain should have a protector sleeve, plastic or fabric, to prevent damage to your motorbike's wheels and paintwork. Locks should also be made from hardened steel with reinforced cylinder plates to resist drilling and picking for added security and peace of mind for you.
You can obviously use a chain lock both home and away, but don't be slipshod when using it. Fix your bike to the biggest, heaviest, thing possible like a tree or lamppost, and one that you can't lift the chain off.
Put the chain though your bike, most use a wheel, but wheels can be removed, so if possible put the chain through a solid section of the frame itself if you can do so without damaging your bike.
Have the chain tight against the thing that is secured to, don't leave it with too much slack, and ideally keep the chain off the ground - this makes it harder for thieves to attack.
Oxford Products OF159 HD Chain Lock 1.5m
Mammoth Thatcham Square Chain 12mm 180
Abus Granit Power XS 67 KS Loop 120
At home the best item to couple chain locks with for added security is a ground anchor.
Instead of chaining your precious motorbike to something that could easily be broken, a ground anchor is another way of ensuring you aren't making thieves lives easy. The initial installation of a ground anchor can be a slight hassle, but install it properly and enjoy a life time of easy chain locking and extra confidence that your bike is safe. A lot of ground anchors are also "Sold Secure" which also can help your insurance premiums.
Oxford Products Of439 Brute Force Ground Anchor
Anchor Force Ground Anchor
Oxford Products Of442 Terraforce Ground Anchor
A very handy and useful bit of kit. These are extremely portable, so you really have no excuse not to use these whenever you park your bike. Always. For an opportunist thief this small lock could be the difference between choosing your bike or someone else's next to it that doesn't have one on. Many are in bright colours to act as a visual deterrent.
There are a few types of disc locks; the pin type through the disc vents, larger locks which lock through nearer the hub, shackle locks and alarmed disc locks with movement and tamper sirens.
Alarmed disc locks are double trouble for thieves. Movement or tampering will set of a high decibel alarm alerting you, and others, to the attempt.
The ABUS Granit Victory is an innovative disc lock which has one of the highest levels of protection. It has a round shape with a revolving outer ring which makes it very difficult to attack and cut with tools or angle grinders.
When it comes to fitting a disc lock, use the disc on the side that leans down towards the road. This will make it much harder for the bike thief to get at it.
You might also want to consider a second shackle type disc lock on your rear sprocket, cutting through a chain and sprocket is more difficult than a disc for a thief. I know this'll get oily and covered in chain lube, but most disk locks come with a carry case to keep it in and two locks will mean that thieves can't just pick your handlebars up and wheel your bike away.
When riding make sure you have a way to carry the disc lock(s) easily, ideally on the bike and not in your pockets, as they could actually damage you if you come off.
Finally, if you don't have an alarmed disc lock, remember to use a reminder cable so you don't forget yourself that you've used it!
Oxford Products Screamer XA7 Alarm Disc Lock Yellow
Abus Grant Power XS 67-105HB50 Red
Abus Granit Detecto X-Plus 8077 Orange
These days trackers are on everything from cars to mobiles to fitness bracelets and fitting one will allow your bike to be tracked to a location in the event of a theft. We sell and fit trackers in our stores with workshops. We sell BikeTrac and DataTool Tracking systems. These have 24/7 monitoring and recovery systems so if the worst was to happen you are safe in the knowledge that you can trace your bike, and more importantly so can the police. These are also Thatcham approved for lower insurance premiums and worry not as they do not data log your speed history! Definitely worth the extra money if you can afford it.
Alarms and Immobilisers
Again, these are both items that we sell and fit in our stores with workshops. I don't really need to go in to detail to convince you why an immobiliser and alarm are a good idea but they, again, are definitely worth the extra money to give you complete peace of mind and again, lower your insurance premiums with the majority of insurers.
Mark Your Bike
Another way in which you can reduce the risk of your bike being stolen is to mark your bike. Put the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) all over it if you have to, but this makes it easily identifiable in the case of it getting stolen (and can be quite the deterrent). These products are affordable and could earn you a discount on your insurance.
Application is simple, use the glue filled applicator to dab or brush the dots onto your bike in as many places as possible. Our stores and workshops have the industry leaders Datatool Datatag and
Alpha Dot available to order.
Marking all the parts on your bike will make it very difficult for them to be sold on and increases the chances of getting your bike back to you.
Other ways in which you can reduce the risk of your bike being stolen are to always park overnight in your garage if you own one. If you are parking away from home then always try to park it in a public place, ideally a designated parking space, rather than street parking. If you can, park it in a ParkSafe car park. However, if there is no designated parking nearby, you should try to park in areas with lots of people, good street lighting and look for CCTV cameras - thieves don't like them for some reason.
Also remember that it's not just bikes that are stolen. Helmets left with bikes are susceptible to getting pinched. To prevent this from happening to your helmet (and let's face it making your journey home rather impossible without one!) go for a cable lock. Small and portable, they keep your helmet close to the bike.
We do not advise that you EVER leave your helmet unattended with your bike in public, but, hey, we know it happens and it is best that your helmet is at least secured if you do have to leave it. The Oxford OF211 Lid Locker is ideal for this – it even has a protective waterproof bag to keep your helmet protected from the elements as well as thieves!
Oxford Products Bumper Cable Lock Yellow
Abus Combiflex 2501-65 Coil Lock 65
Abus Combiloop 205 Coil Lock 5 200
Until next time, stay safe,
Sold Secure is an independent, non-profit making organisation dedicated to reducing the risk of theft by testing security products. The same methods of attack used by criminals on the street are replicated by Sold Secure in the assessment of security products. Many insurance companies offer substantial reductions to those who use Sold Secure approved products.