Even though motorbikes are harder to protect than other vehicles, the following advice and devices can make all the difference.
• If you park your bike in public whilst out, park it in the busiest public place possible.
• If you have a daily routine, try to vary your parking place.
• When available, always use purpose built motorcycle areas (i.e. with fixed parking stands or other ground anchors).
• Use an engraving kit or a security marker pen to mark your motorcycle with identifying details (vehicle ID code, number plate or your postcode).
• Don’t leave your keys in an easy to find place, this is becoming a popular way to steal motorbikes and cars.
Things to consider whilst parking, locking and storing your bike:
• Always engage the steering lock.
• Don’t just put the chain though the wheel. Wherever possible, attach the motorcycle to an immovable object or another motorcycle, using high-tension steel cable and a high quality padlock, or a U-lock through the rear wheel or frame.
• Don’t leave possessions (crash helmet etc) with the motorcycle or in pannier bags.
• When choosing security devices, consider purchasing those ‘gold’ rated by www.soldsecure.com. Sold Secure do not make or sell anything, they test and grade them independently.
• Try not to leave your garage open and make sure you machine is covered, even when you at home. More and more thieves are stealing bikes to order, so a motorbike spotted today may be stolen tomorrow.
You could also consider getting an additional chain and lock for places you visit regularly (work, friends etc) and just leave it outside so you don’t have to carry it around.
Putting your car in front of the garage can be a deterrent for an opportunist thief. The problem is that a determined thief will find a way to get in and out that could cause more damage to your garage door and car, as well as the loss of your bike. This technique is a calculated risk.
Motorcycle Security Devices
It is worth investing in good security devices as in the event of a theft, the cost of your possible insurance excess, loss of no claims bonus and general expenses whilst you are without a bike will more than match the cost of some of the items below:
Don’t position it in the middle of the garage. If placed in a corner or along one side, a thief has less space to work around your bike with an angle grinder or other tools.
If installing a motion sensitive garage alarm, you should station the sensor and alarm unit at the far end of the garage. This will give a thief less time to disable it.
Alternatively you could fit an alarm to the light switch. This can be set to go off if the light is turned on during the hours you’re normally in bed. This is not a large job for an electrician, can be wired to the mains and needs little maintenance once installed.
Use a lock like the Garage Defender. This should be fitted to the middle of the door to prevent the corner being forced.
Alarms are not always the cure-all they are sold as. If nobody hears it, it is pointless. Even if someone does hear it, they are often ignored. Either social embarrassment, in case it is a false alarm, or fear of getting involved with a potentially violent thief usually stop people responding properly.
Two types of alarms worth considering are paging alarms, as you are more sure of responding than strangers on the street or talking alarms as people tend to respond better to a human voice than an anonymous siren.
Disc locks are only useful for stopping an opportunist thief from pushing your bike away. An organised thief with a van is just going to pick the bike up and load it in.
Long shackle “U” locks
These are effective if you buy a good quality one. Remember to lock the bike to something however.
Lock your U-lock to an immoveable object or ideally fit through the rear wheel and over the swingarm, use as well as a disc lock. Fit a disc lock snugly to the calliper.
Micro-Tag and other companies offer a range of ways to tag your motorcycle. Some apply a microdot to your bike so the police can identify the owner.
Others etch a code on your bike’s panels makes it harder for a thief to sell on. A police scanner can find and read transponders in the petrol tank and wheels.
Brake lever lock
A very portable security device that acts as a good supplement to more robust measures. It locks the front brake lever fully on to avoid a bike being quickly rolled away.
Fit a kill switch after purchase, so the thief doesn’t know where it is positioned.
If your neighbours don’t know who you are, they’ll never be sure who is a thief and who is the property owner. Join, or even start, a neighbourhood watch scheme.
If possible, avoid parking your bike in the same place every day. Organised bike gangs will note any bikes that they can predict the location of on the day they are active.
It’s not a good idea to get a Doberman if you know you’re not a doggy person. If you are choosing a dog, however, it wouldn’t hurt to choose a breed that is known to be sensitive to strangers and that makes a noise to raise the alarm.
Put up signs to warn of the dog and you may just deter a thief before they begin. Having a killer dog on the premises however, is more likely to get you into trouble than anything else, so be sensible.
If you can’t afford your own CCTV to watch over your motorbike, buy a fake camera. These are a useful preventative measure.
If you buy second hand parts for your bike, make sure you are dealing with a reputable dealer. First, if you end up buying parts that came from a stolen bike, you arehelping to prove the trade in stolen parts is profitable. It’s not a good idea to boost this trade as sooner or later thieves they may get round to your bike.
Second, there are some criminally minded dealers who, if your bike parts are in demand, will pass your details onto a thief.
Ask their advice. They will have experience of dealing with the people and problems that you are trying to avoid.