Motorcycle Anti Theft Devices: Are They Useful?

Motorcycle Anti Theft Devices: Are They Useful?

  • Updated: 2023-07-04

How do thieves operate?

Motorcycle theft needs to be taken seriously since only in the United States alone, over 45,000 bikes are stolen each year. As such, investing in anti-theft devices becomes a necessity since most bikes are very easy to take, part out, and sell. You might be surprised to learn just how easily an unprotected bike can be stolen even when parked in a public place.

While there are many types of motorcycle thieves, some more skilled than others, there are only a couple of ways that the motorcycle itself can be taken. It can either be ridden away or hauled off in a truck or a minivan.

The minivan or truck method is very common since it requires little experience, and it is relatively low-tech. However, it is very effective since the speed at which it can be carried out means that it can be used even out in broad daylight or high-traffic areas.

The ride-away method is usually used by more skilled thieves. They know how to wire out a separate ignition switch to start the bike and how to pick, remove, or cut locks and chains. Nevertheless, most skilled thieves go after easy targets, and motorcycles who use extensive anti-theft devices are not their top priority.  

As such, most motorcycle anti-theft devices on the market use strategies that anticipate and prepare for both types of thieves. What’s important to understand about theft prevention is that there isn’t a single product on the market that can prevent your motorcycle from getting stolen.

All of these products have weaknesses that thieves can exploit. This is why the best strategy is to use multiple products that work together to keep your bike safe.

This is also why the key to keeping your bike protected is not to make it theft-proof since this is impossible, but rather to make it such a hassle to steal that the thieves decide that’s better to move on and steal another motorcycle instead.

Ground anchor

Another surprising fact that you may not be aware of is that most motorcycles are not stolen from public places, but rather from home. This is why a ground anchor is a great anti-theft device to get. This product can prevent your bike from being stolen since it acts as an immovable object that attaches to your bike.

The anchor is fixed either to the floor or wall, and it is connected to your bike via a chain and padlock. A ground anchor is very versatile since it can be used both at home but also in parking spots since it can be installed in both indoor and outdoor areas.

You can fit the anchor yourself, but it is advisable to let a professional do it since if the product is not fixed properly, then you can put your bike at greater risk of being stolen.

Security chain and padlock

You can also use a security chain and padlock to protect your motorcycle since, similarly to a ground anchor, this system allows you to lock your motorcycle by attaching it to an immovable object such as a lamppost.

Generally, these devices are fitted around the motorcycle’s frame or the wheel. You can even use the chain and padlock in combination with a ground anchor to add an extra layer of protection to your bike.

When purchasing a chain and padlock, you’ll need to make sure that it is not too long so that it can be kept off the ground. If the chain touches the ground, this makes it easier for the thief to smash it open.

It is recommended to invest in chains that are at least 14mm thick. Options that are thinner than 14mm are not as secure, and they are easier for thieves to cut. Beyond the thickness of the chain, you should also make sure that the product is made of high-quality metal.

Disc locks

A disc lock is yet another device that you can use to discourage potential thieves from riding off with your bike. It is a good alternative to a security chain since it tends to be more affordable, but it can also be used in combination with a chain and padlock system for extra protection.

Unlike chains, a disc lock is also much more portable since it is a lightweight device that can be taken on the move and fitted to the wheel of your motorcycle quickly and easily. Some models are even available with alarms that are activated when someone tries to tamper with them.

The way that a disc lock works is by attaching to the holes of a bike’s disc brake. Once attached, the disc renders the motorcycle unrideable until detached by the owner. To prevent the motorcycle from being wheeled away, you should use disc locks on both the front and back wheels.

While these anti-theft devices are very popular, most experts recommend that you only use them in conjunction with other devices since a disc lock alone won’t deter skilled thieves.

Motorcycle tracker

Installing a tracker on your bike is becoming more and more popular as this technology evolves and gets cheaper and the tracker smaller. This, in turn, makes it easier to hide it away from skilled thieves. However, do keep in mind that a tracking device won’t prevent your bike from getting stolen, but it can help you recover it if the other anti-theft devices you have in place fail.

Most vehicle tracking systems on the market use either radio or GPS to locate the vehicle. This device has the advantage of being commonly recognized by insurance companies, and you can even get a discount on policies if your bike has a professionally installed tracking system.

If you’re determined to get a tracking device, you should be aware that aside from the initial cost of the device itself, most products on the market also come with an annual or monthly fee that you need to pay for the service. This can lead to a rather hefty total cost.

All things considered, the benefits are well worth the cost for most people since, in case of a theft, the police will be able to track down your vehicle in hours or even minutes instead of days, weeks, or never.

Audible alarms

Unlike most cars that come with an audible alarm system already installed, not all motorcycles come fitted with one. The good thing is that there are plenty of aftermarket alarm systems available for sale that can be installed on most bikes. It is recommended to have the alarm installed by a professional since installing it by yourself could invalidate the warranty.

An alarm can act as a deterrent to thieves since most models on the market are designed to activate when the bike is struck by anything, tilted upright to ride, or even when anyone who doesn’t have a key sensor gets very close to your motorcycle.

Other useful tips

There are also a few other simple things that you can do to prevent your bike from getting stolen. The first tip is not to be afraid to customize your motorcycle. You might think that a customized bike will be a higher target for thieves, but the truth is that most professional thieves don’t like to bother with a customized bike.

The reason why highly-customized bikes tend to be left alone is that they are easily identifiable. Having a bike that can be identified quickly also makes it easier to recover in case it does get stolen.  

You also need to take parking seriously and always think about visibility. You should try to keep the bike in sight, in a well-lit spot, and if possible, somewhere you can still keep an eye on it from time to time. Another useful tip is to look for security cameras and park the bike in an area where it can be in plain view of the cameras.

Lastly, try to keep your keys away from your bike when you aren’t near it. This may seem like obvious advice, but many people think that nothing can happen if they hop off their bike for a few seconds or minutes. This rule also applies when you are at home. Never leave the keys in the garage, or anywhere near the bike.