motorcycle theft prevention

Motorcycle Theft Prevention: 7 Easy Expert Tips How To Save Your Bike

You just finished plunking down a small ransom for your new pride and joy. Obviously, the worst thing that could happen is dumping it, but we won’t think about that, especially with all of the good tips you learned about in the Survival section.

However, the second worst thing that could happen is for some low-life to steal it. Professionals take most of the bikes that are stolen these days.

The bikes are usually stripped for parts or taken to the port to be sent down to South America. Basically, the premise about the theft is the same for a bike as it is for a car.

If a professional want it bad enough, they’re gonna’ get it no matter what. However, making even the slightest effort against theft can cause a thief to walk away and find an easier target.

7 Tips On How To Save Your Bike

1. Out Of Sight

The best way to prevent theft is keeping the bike out of sight. Out of sight, out of mind is the best medicine. If possible, keep the bike in a locked garage or storage box.

Even if you have a garage, the safest way would be to store your motorcycle is tucked with a thick blanket on top.motorcycle cover

You may wonder “Why do I need a blanket if I have a garage?”. Well, you might leave the garage open while you quickly go into the house to take something.

Or you might be working in the backyard while left your garage open for easier access. If you have a blanket which covers your bike, nothing except the old bicycle you have will catch the eye of the passing pedestrians.

In addition, the padded blanket (like an old comforter) makes for nice protection when shuffling stuff around in the garage.

However, if a garage isn’t possible, a durable non-obvious looking bike cover also makes a great deterrent. A thief would almost have to crawl under to find out if the bike is even worth stealing making this target a little too much work.

2. Disc/ Lever Locks

A good lock is one of the best types of theft prevention. Basically, a good thief is going to hop on the bike, snap the standard fork lock, destroy the ignition switch, hotwire the bike and be on his way quicker than you can say, “Hey that looks just like my bike!”

A basic padlock is better than nothing, but a few dollars more will give you far better protection. If you’re looking for something to keep on the bike at all times, a disc lock or lever lock is the way to go.

A disc lock makes the bike impossible to roll. A lever lock locks the clutch to the grip or front brake lever to the throttle making the bike nearly impossible to get on and ride.throttle lock

I prefer the U-lock style lockers. They are extremely hard to cut through and the lock is designed to make it a lot tougher to pick.

I say tougher because it all depends on how bad they want it and how much time they have. If it’s a choice between my bike and the bike without, they’re going to pick the easy target.

I’m leery of the true disc lock because a thin-bladed hacksaw may be all it takes to cut through the small bar going through the disc.

I also like to put the lock through the rear disc. If two thugs are trying to move the bike into a van, it’s a lot tougher lifting the back instead of the front.

However, the drawback is that it’s a little harder to see for the thief and the rider! There are two main rules for this type of lock:


Disaster results if you try to ride off with the lock still attached. One way to prevent this is a small piece of tape. When the lock is stored, keep the tape on the lock.

When the lock is attached, put the piece of tape over the ignition switch to remind you that the lock is still attached.

Another idea my buddy used is making the lock very visible. He attached a “Remove Before Flight” ribbon to the lock. It comes in bright orange with an eyelet for the lock to pass through.

3. Cable Locks

Due to its small size, some type of disc lock is good for carrying on the bike, but a more substantial lock should be used whenever possible.utility lock for motorcycle

For example, if you park the bike in an apartment complex or work parking lot, the best protection is a cable-type lock.

The cable should go through the wheels, frame and most importantly be secured to an immovable object. At my work, they have a pole sunk into the concrete at both ends just for locking up motorcycles.

If you keep it at an apartment complex, look for things like signs or fences cemented to the ground or anything else that can’t be moved. Remember, if it’s not nailed down, it could walk away!

4. Alarms

Alarms are the most convenient way to protect your ride. They can range from anything as simple as a hidden kill switch or fake blinking light to a full-blown remote system.

If you’re serious about installing an alarm, spend the extra cash and get the motion sensor with the starter disable.

This will keep the thief from being able to ride off while the alarm is going off. If you live anywhere like Los Angeles, alarms going off are so frequent that they’re more annoying than anything else. With the starter disable, the sound may be ignored but at least the bike is unrideable.

5. Security Camera

Wireless security cameras nowadays are super easy to install and set up. Not only it will help your bike stay safe, but your home will also be much more secure.

Now, if you have a garage where your motorcycle stays, you may want to position the camera to the entrance of camera

If the bike stays somewhere in a parking lot in front of or behind the house you will logically position it facing that parking.

Make sure to buy a camera with a high resolution. That way if an incident happens, it will be much easier for the police to recognize the faces which are recorded.

Furthermore, not only the camera helps to recognize the thieves, but if they realize there is a camera, they might totally change their opinion of approaching your machine.

Consider buying a sticker which says “You are on camera” or something so they know they are recorded. That is really helpful!

Another good thing about the modern cameras is that you can always access them through your mobile phone and even make a sound if you see someone is approaching your motorbike.

All you need to set up a camera is a wireless internet and an electrical plug.

6. Lock The Ignitionignition

This sounds very easy and common sense but very often all of us when we are in a hurry we forgot to do that.

It takes less than a second to lock the ignition of almost every motorcycle so no matter if you leave the bike for 4 hours or 4 minutes, do not forget to do that.

Yes, it is not something that will stop real professionals who came with the van to take your bike but will surely make their work harder and slower.

And that extra minutes could be the difference if you will find your motorcycle where you left it or not.

7. Visibility

Finally, here are a few suggestions that I try to use every time I go for a ride whether long or short. First, always park the bike in a highly visible

Don’t park the bike down a darkened alley so it doesn’t get scratched. Put it out in the open so it’s in plain view. Also, make sure to park it in a well-lit area.

Thieves are like vampires, those blood sucking, piece of trash, oh, sorry. They don’t work well in lit areas. And finally, there is the question of the helmet.

What do ya’ do with the helmet? I’ve heard numerous stories of people that had their lids stolen. All it takes is a quick slice of the strap. So for me, I ALWAYS take the helmet with me.

It cost plenty and I’ve had far cheaper items stolen before. If you’re the sort of person who just doesn’t want to deal with it, get a cable lock that was mentioned above and include the helmet with the bike lock up.

Jason Clark

15 years of experience as a professional mechanic. Rally car test pilot and advisor.

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