It may have fallen off the radar a little recently, but security remains one of the biggest concerns to any motorcyclist. The scare stories from a couple of years ago may have quietened but the fact remains that motorbikes are still a huge draw to thieves; whether the casual thief who simply wants some fun at someone else’s expense and potentially bait the police into a chase, or at the hands of an organised operation which will probably break the bike into parts and ship them far and wide.
There are plenty of steps that you can take to make life harder for thieves. Ultimately, the idea is to make your bike as unattractive as you can and force them to move on completely or at least, to the next bike.
We’ve gathered what we feel are the top security products to help ensure that you keep your bike and it doesn’t disappear without trace.
The best security products for your motorbike
Top security products
1. Motorcycle Shelter
They say 'out of sight, out of mind' and of course, parking your bike in a garage or shed means that thieves have a solid layer of protection to penetrate before they can even see what your bike is, let alone be on their way with it. However, if you haven't got a garage or shed, a shelter like this folding one will not only keep the weather off your bike – it's waterproof and will allow ventilation to help prevent it getting damp – but it will also prevent prying eyes from working out if it's worth targeting. Win/win…
2. Ground Anchor
A hefty chain and lock are essential components in the fight against motorcycle crime but they are far more effective when they are used to chain the bike to something immovable. There are generally lots of things when you are out and about but at home, properly installing a strong ground anchor can often be the best way. This Y-shaped item is designed to be concreted into the ground and the chain fed through from one side to the other then through the bike's wheel. It has the highest certification from Sold Secure – Diamond – which means it offers excellent protection.
3. Home chain
If you're serious about keeping your bike, then a solid chain is essential. This behemoth from Almax uses 25mm thick links and weighs 23.4kg for the chain alone. Clearly it's for home use but in tests, it has stood up exceptionally well – more than three minutes to cut through a single link using a mains-powered angle grinder when tested by our sister title RiDE, earning it a Best Buy triangle. It is supplied with Squire's flagship padlock that has a hardened steel body and lock shackle and quarter of a million key combinations. Just make sure your back's in good shape – it's a monster.
4. Travel Chain
Just as a chain will help secure your bike at home, a chain and padlock are essential when you're out and about on the bike. This one from Oxford also won a RiDE Best Buy triangle and took a minute to cut through either both sides of a chain link or the hasp of the lock itself, meaning that it would offer significant protection for your bike when locked to something solid, like a post. Weighing just 8.4kg, it may be heavier than some panniers or racks stated capacity but it will fit easily around the pillion seat or the grab handles.
5. Locking Post
Not a direct bike-security product but if you keep the bike in the back garden – either under a cover or in a shed – and have to wheel it down a passage to get to the road, then a locking post like this one can present an obstacle to ne'er-do-wells. Make sure you don't leave room either side to allow the bike through but remove it completely when you want to move the bike out. A simple and straightforward aid to make their life harder and help you keep your bike.
6. Garage Door Lock
Most up-and-over garage doors aren't renowned for their strength – there is a limit to the amount of material – and hence, weight - that can be used in them and still be able to lift up. As a result, the locking mechanisms aren't the strongest. But a door lock like this Squire item will make it much more difficult to get a garage door open and act as a visual deterrent at the same time. The locking bar is removable so it doesn't get in the way of opening the door when you want to use it.
7. Disc lock
A disc lock is a really useful and easy-to-use option in conjunction with a chain and lock or, at a push, on its own for very brief stops. It won't stop the bike being lifted in to a van but it will prevent it from being pushed or ridden away. Clamping to the brake disc and preventing it turning, this one from Xena has a built-in 120dB alarm to detect tampering and alert people around. Just remember to remove it before you ride off – you'd be surprised how many people forget…
8. Lever Lock
Readers of a certain age will remember the Krooklok; this device locked the steering and the brakes on cars so they couldn't be driven away. This lever lock from Kopvix does a similar thing; it clamps onto the throttle grip and locks the front brake lever in the on position, so the bike can't be ridden or pushed away. Again, it won't stop it being lifted up but it is another layer of security and an integral 120dB alarm lets passers-by know it's being tampered with.
Datatag isn't a direct anti-theft system as such; it's a way of marking your motorcycle in a variety of ways, such as tamperproof stickers, RF ID chips and UV markings so that if it is stolen, it – and its component parts – can be identified quickly and easily by the police. The Datatag protection is clearly marked on the bike as a deterrent in its own right and according to the manufacturer, bike's protected with this system are four times less likely to be stolen and six times more likely to be recovered if they are.
10. DIY Tracker
Tracking technology is widely regarded as the best way to recover a stolen motorcycle (or car, horse lorry etc) if they are stolen and this DIY example from MinoMoto is about as easy as they come. Hide the self-powered (for up to a year) tracker somewhere on the bike and fit the fob to your keys. It arms and disarms automatically via the fob and if the bike is moved without the fob disarming it, it will ring your phone and provide its location, for you to give to the police.
11. Professional tracker
While a DIY tracker can be useful, a professionally-installed version offers more levels of security. For example, BikeTrac has a 24/7 control centre that will alert you and then, the police, to unauthorised movement of the bike and it operates on a variety of levels, meaning it will still provide the bike's location if it's inside a shipping container, a van, underground or in a building. The company even offers a 'Theft Response Team' which, in the event the police doesn't have the capacity to track your bike, they will do so and notify the police of its location.
Look for the logo
When you’re buying security products, look for the Sold Secure logo. This is a not-for-profit scheme run by the Master Locksmiths Association that tests and rates products depending on their resistance to attack. Look for products that have Motorcycle ratings and ideally, Gold or Diamond for the highest levels of attack resistance.
When you’re securing your bike with a lock and chain, make sure you wrap the chain around something immovable; a bike with a chain only through the wheel can be lifted by a few burly blokes and loaded into a van but if it’s locked to a post, then they’ll have to cut it and that makes noise and takes time. Also, keep the chain off the ground so it can’t be attacked with a sledgehammer.