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Motorcycle security – keeping your motorbike safe

When you’ve invested in a motorbike to get to work or to ride for pleasure, you want to make sure it’s not stolen. Motorcycle security should be a priority if you want to keep your motorbike safe.

Motorcycle theft hit a peak in England and Wales in 2013, with an estimated 43,000 bikes being stolen from riders. Theft of scooters, mopeds, and motorcycles dropped the following year but has been steadily increasing since 2015. Currently, there’s around a 3.3% chance you’ll have your motorbike stolen – this rises to around 13% if you’re in London. It takes an average of 20 seconds to steal a motorcycle. The highest levels of motorcycle theft are in spring. Below we take a look at the motorcycle security options from leaving your bike in a garage to motorcycle security while touring.

What is the best motorcycle security device?

There’s a wide range of options when it comes to motorcycle locks and security. Motorcycle chains, cables and disk locks along with audible alarms all work to keep your motorbike safe from theft. Most insurers recommend using multiple devices to protect your wheels from theft.

While insurance can financially reimburse you for a stolen bike, it’s much better to avoid the hassle and increased premiums by not having it stolen, to begin with.

Disk locks, chains and cables all have their pros and cons when it comes to effectiveness and theft prevention.

Motorcycle disk locks

Disk locks are light, convenient and quick to put on and remove. They’re relatively resistant to hammers and cutting tools. The good quality disk locks also have good resistance to lock picking or key bumping. Some disk locks also include an alarm. This alerts you to attempts to steal your bike, adding an additional layer of security.

The downside of disk locks is that the disk can be completely removed from the wheel while it is in place. That renders them entirely useless. You’ll be have your motorcycle’s disk and no bike. To improve their effectiveness, only use disk locks on the back wheel of your motorcycle.

Motorcycle security chain and padlock

Security chains and padlocks come in various strengths. Obviously, the tougher your chain and lock the better protection it’s going to provide. And there’s no point getting a strong lock and skimping on the chain or vice versa.

The advantage of chains over disk locks is that you can, and should, chain your bike to something secure. Another option is to double-loop the chain around your bike’s wheel and body. This makes longer and heavier chains a better option from a security point of view. Look for one with a fabric covering to avoid scratching up your bike when carrying it or using it. You’ll also need to consider where and how you’re going to store it – under your seat or in a pannier is best.

In some cases, padlocks for chains can double as disk locks. This gives you two anti-theft options in one security device.

Don’t wear a motorcycle security chain around your upper body when riding – this inhibits movement and could cause additional injury if you run into trouble. When locking your bike with a chain, you need to keep it off the ground to prevent a thief from breaking it with a swing of a hammer against it and a hard surface.

Motorcycle security cables versus chains

Security cables for motorcycles are the least effective. The thinner cable makes it easier to cut through with cable-cutters, bolt-cutters, a hacksaw or even wire cutters. Lincolnshire police recommend skipping cables for motorcycle security. However, if you do decide to use this method, pair it with one of the security options above.

Keeping your ride safe while touring and at home

Tactics for preventing theft of your motorcycle at home will likely differ to the method you use while touring.

Good practice for motorcycle security for all situations is to ensure you lock your ignition (don’t just shut it off). You should also lock the forks and use an audible alarm on at least one security device. If you’re leaving your bike in a garage, this could be an alarm on the garage. Uniquely mark your bike. You should photograph it too. That means you can show your bike to the police if it’s stolen.

When you can’t leave your motorcycle in a lockable and alarmed garage, chain your bike to sturdy, fixed objects. If there’s a security loop fixed into the ground or wall, use that. Keep your bike covered and if you can, park it near security cameras. If there are not cameras where you’re staying, park it as close to your room as you can.

After working your way towards a motorcycle licence, and enjoying the freedom of two wheels, the last thing you want is to lose your wheels! Take care to choose the right motorcycle security device for your bike, storage options, and situation.

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