Motorcycle security - Protection from theft

Motorcycle theft is super common these days all around the world. Motorbikes are small, light and hard to secure making them an easier target than other vehicles. Motorcycles are much more common in today’s society and some of the newer machines are quite expensive, making the black market for used motorcycles and parts quite lucrative. There are several stages of motorcycle protection that can be used to deter motorcycle theft depending on a wide range or different factors. The best protection from theft other than insurance is to hide the motorcycle from prying eyes in a locked garage. Unfortunately a locked garage can’t follow your pride and joy around and eventually you will need to leave your motorcycle unattended in public for whatever reason.

The aim of the game is to make your motorcycle as inconvenient to steal as possible. The more time a thief has to spend trying to steal it, the riskier it becomes for them. Also don’t forget to take your key with you once parked…it happens more than you think.

Most commonly targeted motorcycles for theft

Supersport motorcycles are usually the most common bikes around and are easier to sell and strip for parts. Supersports are crashed a lot so the spare part industry is huge. High value motorcycles are a big target because of the resale and parts value. Don’t leave an expensive or new motorcycle on its own in public for long periods of time. If you commute to work each day on a brand new Ducati Supersport your just asking for trouble, invest in a cheaper daily commuter so you won’t have a mental breakdown if its damaged or stolen. 

 

Available security systems

Using multiple security systems on a motorcycle will help deter a thief from choosing your motorcycle to steal. Many thefts are opportunistic so even the basic methods of motorcycle security can help.  

Insurance

The best protection against theft. Unfortunately it’s the most expensive form of protection and doesn’t help deter a thief from stealing your motorcycle in the first place. No matter what you do no motorcycle is 100% safe from a professional thief.   

Heavy chain and lock

If used correctly the only way to get past this security device is to pick the lock or cut the chain. If a thick chain is used it becomes time consuming for a thief to cut, increasing their risk of being caught which will deter most thieves. Use a good quality lock and thick chain that is off the ground when used for maximum protection.   

Disc lock

A nice cheap device that will stop a wheel from turning. This will stop a random from wheeling your motorcycle away, but will provide minimal protection against a professional thief. They are extremely easy to bypass and won’t protect against theft such as: lifting the bike into a van, putting a skateboard or trolley under the wheel, braking the lock off with force or removing the wheel. Use on rear wheel for maximum protection.

CCTV protection

As easy as it is to wear a hoodie and hide your face from the camera, no thief likes to be on a video that will be watched by police. Parking a motorcycle under a camera is a good deterrent.  

Alarm

An alarm going off on your motorcycle will alert the surrounding public that something is wrong. This may be enough to scare a thief away or stop them from trying in the first place (although not always the case, usually the public don’t care).  

Lo-jack/tracking device

Will help with catching the thief after they have stolen the motorcycle but will likely not stop the theft in the first place. A professional will remove or disable a tracking device.

Motorcycle cover

A good preventative security measure for the price. If your motorcycle is outdoors for extended periods of time, a cover is a good idea to protect the bike from the elements and prying eyes. A cover will make it harder for a thief that’s shopping around for a motorcycle to steal by hiding its identity. They can always just look under the cover but this adds risk for them.

Best ways to protect motorcycle from theft

There are many ways to help protect your motorcycle from theft with varying cost and effectiveness. Use as many combinations as you can depending on where the bike is located and your circumstances to increase the security of your motorcycle.

  • Hide your motorcycle from prying eyes either in a locked garage or with a motorcycle cover – If you have to park the bike outside an apartment complex, consider renting a garage or storage unit.
  • Put a quality disk lock on the rear wheel
  • Use a thick high quality chain and lock that passes through the frame or swing arm of the bike chained to an immovable object. Keep the chain tension tight and off the ground.
  • Use your steering lock at all times if fitted to your machine
  • Have theft coverage insurance on your motorcycle
  • Fit an alarm and or low jack/tracking device to your motorcycle
  • Park your motorcycle within vision if possible or constantly check on it
  • Park next to other motorcycles that may be a better target for thieves.
  • Consistently change parking locations so a thief can’t scout and plan the theft
  • Make your motorcycle hard to access if possible
How I protect my current motorcycle from theft

I currently daily ride a 2009 CBR1000RR supersport motorcycle. It has the ability to lock the steering with the key which I always do and is fitted with an immobiliser from factory. I park the bike in a locked garage each night in a quiet neighbourhood in the suburbs. For peace of mind I have full comprehensive insurance which includes theft protection. I store my disk lock in the rear compartment of the bike which I use on the rear wheel whenever I need to leave the bike somewhere.

When working in the city I take a backpack with my heavy chain/lock combo and I chain the motorcycle to an immovable object. I don’t have an alarm on my bike because I don’t want it potentially draining the battery or randomly going off all day. People don’t care about alarms going off in my city! I don’t bother with low jack or tracking devices because it doesn’t stop the bike from being stolen and if a thief has had his way with my bike, its damaged and I don’t want it back (why I have insurance). My heavy chain and disk lock combo has prevented my motorcycle from theft to this day. The effort required to brake the heavy chain and lock combo far out ways the value of the bike once its stolen.

My advice for anyone who daily commutes or has to constantly park a motorcycle in public for long periods of time is to invest in a cheaper motorcycle that you can use and abuse. Only low tier thieves are interested in an older cheaper motorcycle to steal, and if it has a good quality chain on it, chances are they will move on to something easier and within their skill level.

Motorcycles are constantly being stolen all over the world. Although it’s impossible to protect a motorcycle from theft, we can use security methods to deter most thieves from trying. Motorcycle owners usually worry the most about their machines when parked out in public, but many bikes are stolen from home, so don’t forget to secure your motorcycle when at home base.