The comprehensive article below will help you understand how to install a motorcycle GPS tracker properly and will provide answers for any other questions that you might have.
What is a GPS tracker and what are your options?
A GPS tracker is a device that helps track the location of an object remotely through the use of the Global Positioning System. The technology can help pinpoint the longitude, ground speed, latitude, and course direction of the target with excellent accuracy.
With that said, not all devices will use GPS technology to locate your bike. Some can use cellular or RF Beacon tracking. Cellular trackers have a built-in SIM card that sends and receives data or texts to and from a server that uses the Global Systems Mobile communications network (GSM).
This is the same technology that is used by your mobile phone and while it is not as accurate as a tracker that uses GPS, it can still be used to triangulate an approximate position of your bike.
RF beacon trackers use radio frequencies to track your motorbike but it has the disadvantage of only being effective up to a mile or so, depending on the terrain you find yourself in.
This method should only be used in conjunction with a GPS or GSM tracker since after you have found the relative location of the vehicle, the RF beacon will give you the most accurate data and it cannot be blocked by the thick walls of building or containers.
Since the police cannot enter a private property legally without having the consent of the owner, or unless he or she has been arrested, an RF beacon will allow the tracking company to guarantee that your motorcycle is inside a property. Thus, it will be much easier for officers to get a warrant.
The installation process
The most important part of the installation process is to decide where to hide your new GPS tracker. Unlike larger vehicles such as vans and cars, there are not many places where you can hide a tracker on your motorcycle. This is also the reason why some companies do not advertise the look of their product, only the features it offers.
As a general rule, when placing your tracker on your bike you need to ensure that it is not too smothered with metal. This means that placing it beneath the fuel tank can restrict its performance and that of the GPS or cellular transmitters. There are some alternatives that use an extended GPS antenna which helps boost accuracy if placed in tricky locations.
Once you have found the right spot, trackers that are wired will need to be connected with a live and neutral wire to the battery, as well as a switched feed from the ignition, so that the device registers when the key is used.
Thus, depending on where the battery is located on your motorcycle, the location of choice for the tracker should be close to it, but still well hidden so that the thief does not notice it.
Most of the options currently on the market also come with a backup battery so that if the wiring is disconnected, the tracker will enter an alert mode that will send notifications to your phone or computer.
You should install the tracker yourself only if you are well versed in the connections of your motorcycle. If you don’t feel comfortable installing the GPS tracker on your motorcycle on your own, you can go to an approved mechanic.
In fact, if you want to purchase a subscription-based tracker, you will need to have it fitted by an approved installer in order to guarantee its effectiveness.
Another advantage of a professionally-fitted device is that you will get a certificate of installation which is very useful in the event of a claim. This is the main reason why most motorcycle owners prefer to have the GPS tracker fitted by an approved installer rather than have them install it.
If you are prepared to spend more, you can get one of the latest models that come with a rechargeable battery and that do not need to be wired to your motorcycle. The advantage is that the installation is as easy as it can get, but you will need to remember to recharge the battery every 10 days or so, depending on what its capacity is.
What are the benefits and limitations?
There are many benefits and a few limitations when using a motorcycle GPS tracker, and to make it easier for you to decide if you should get one, we have listed all of them in this part of our article.
First, the main benefit is that of the insurance since many firms will be more than ready to reduce your coverage rates. In the event of a robbery, the tracker will give the law enforcement agencies an accurate location of where the vehicle is so that you can get it back and have the robbers apprehended in no time.
GPS trackers are also readily available now and are no longer as expensive as they used to be, which means that there is really no excuse not to get one if you fear about your motorcycle being stolen. Some models can even be used to improve the maintenance of your vehicle and alert you when the motorcycle is due for servicing.
The main limitation of a GPS tracker is that a skilled thief might knock a bike to find if it has an alarm on. They may use devices to detect the cellular communication of a tracker, and if they possess the right technology, they can even prevent the data stream from reaching your smartphone entirely.
With all that said, most owners have found that having a motorcycle GPS tracker has helped a lot with their ease of mind when leaving their bikes parked in areas that they are not familiar with.
The features you should consider
Before you go about installing your new purchase, you need to make sure that you get the best model for your needs. The most important feature of a GPS tracker is its compatibility across platforms since you need to make sure that it is compatible with the operating system on your phone. Most models on the market work very well on both Android and iOS devices.
The next factor you should bear in mind is the accuracy of the product. Some GPS trackers can give you an update on the location of your vehicle once every 5 seconds, but they can be quite expensive. If you don’t have a big budget to spare, you can opt instead for a product that comes with location refresh every minute.
Seeing as you want your tracker to last for a long time, you should get one that is made from sturdy and vibration-resistant materials. Depending on where you plan to install the device, water resistance may or may not be necessary.