TopSpeed guide to prevent your motorcycle from getting stolen
Ten ways to wade off prying eyes away from your loved rideby Sagar Patil, on LISTEN 01:10
The dreadful feeling of getting my dear motorcycle stolen or damaged has given me quite a few sleepless nights, especially in demographics I’ve traveled new to wander off. I’m sure most of you feel the same, and a few have already lost their motorcycle to petty witches of our society.
Motorcycle theft is a growing criminal activity in certain parts of the world. Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Harley-Davidson motorcycles are the top five motorcycles, listed by brand, that were most frequently stolen last year. The top five states for motorcycle thefts were California, Florida, Texas, New York, and South Carolina.
The black market in motorcycle salvage is huge, and hence, only 45% of the stolen vehicles will be recovered. Here is our guide to help you secure your vehicle when left unattended and deter thieves from taking your motorcycle:
1. Locking your ignition/handlebar
• As lame as it sounds, this is the first thing a thief physically checks before whisking it away. A locked handlebar using the lock in the ignition will make his/her job that much difficult and time consuming to either unlock or even break it to run away with it.
• It is even more useful if your ignition and steering locks are separate, so the thief needs to defeat two locks to escape with your scooter/motorcycle.
2. Cover your motorcycle
• The adage of “out of sight, out of mind,” holds here. Thieves usually pick motorcycles made of a particular brand, make, and model. So covering your machine and mystifying what is actually under it keeps the prying eyes away from your bike.
• Use an unbranded cover if possible to indicate something of a lesser value underneath.
3. Installing a hidden kill switch
• It is an emergency switch, or engine shut off/cut off device that can be used to cut power to the engine in the event of an emergency. If the thief is unaware of an additional kill switch, it will almost make it impossible for him to start the motor and pull away.
• Harness the wiring well hidden from sight and make it as difficult as possible to figure out the leads.
4. Use a disc lock
• Disc locks are small devices that clutch onto the disc brake unit that has a lever that goes through the disc hole.
• Try making use of two different makes or brands of locks to wade the thief because of complexity.
• Place the disc right up against the caliper or swingarm to minimize the wheel movement.
• Disc locks with integrated alarms are an even better idea. They will start sounding off when hampered with, and drawing attention is the last thing a thief wants.
5. Secure your bike with a chain anchor
• Chain guarding your bike is the most common way to keep it from getting stolen, but thieves nowadays carry a set of chain cutters along. Hence, opt for a thick, high-quality one.
• Loop the chain through the frame or a braced swingarm, or even the rear wheel since it is more difficult to remove than the front wheel.
• Secure the chain to something impossible to cut through, maybe a pillar or a lamppost.
• Make sure it rests off the ground, where it can’t be cut or chiseled easier, for that extra leverage to pry the lock open.
6. Using alarm / TRACKING DEVICES
• Most common crooks don’t have the electrical skill or tools to find and disarm an alarm/tracking system. The technology gives a pinpointed Google map and exact coordinates of the stolen bikes
• Using VHF technology trackers can find your bike even if it has been hidden in a lock-up, van, shipping container, or underground car park, situations where GPS tracking can be rendered ineffective.
• These devices have unique tracking software that cannot be affected by signal jammers and come with a motion sensor to detect unauthorized movement.
• Some devices are a full 24/7 monitoring and recovery assistance that works on a GPS/GSM based tracking and theft recovery service designed first to alert you via SMS text message of potential theft.
• The device gets activated as soon as the ignition is detected to be switched off and monitors the vehicle until the designated key starts back the ignition.
7. MANUFACTURER TECHNOLOGY
• Manufacturers have incorporated anti-theft measures into their products to make it difficult for people to whisk away bikes without authorization. Luckily, these systems are already made available, albeit for a price.
• Honda has equipped a few of its models with the H.I.S.S (Honda Ignition Security System) immobilizer system for theft prevention as standard in a few markets.
• Harley comes with an optional package that includes a Smart Siren anti-theft device every owner can purchase. The top of the range motorcycles, however, comes with this as standard equipment.
• Most other manufacturers equip their machines with a Keyless Ignition operation that includes an alarm/immobilizer feature that can be operated via the key fob.
8. Customizing your ride
• Apart from giving your motorcycle a new character and soul, customizing your machine might be worth more to would-be thieves.
• But then, a personalized bike is an easily identifiable piece, and could also draw more attention from onlookers than a factory unit.
9. Install CCTV at your parking spots
• CCTVs have been the biggest deterrents for any thief who does not want to leave any traces. A spot where a security camera has your bike in view almost helps in preventing your bike from getting stolen.
• If you are not home, you can still have your bike in your sight by checking it on your smartphone anywhere.
• The motorcycle theft video captured by your security camera will be pretty helpful for police investigation and give them essential leads.
10. COMMON SENSE
• Using common sense when parking your bike will come in handy in every possible situation. Consider including choosing a well-lit area, locking the ignition, and taking the keys with you, even if it’s stored in a closed garage.
• Never store a motorcycle’s title and registration in the bike’s storage compartment. Instead, keep these documents secure at home, and carry photos or copies of the papers along.
• Have several anti-theft measures in place, a chain, a disc lock, and an alarm. Alarmed disc locks, U-locks of hardened steel, and asymmetrical chains make it that much more difficult for the thief.
• Never put faith in other people’s security. Park your motorcycle with others.
If you are a thief and reading this, it is time to look for a new career choice, my friend.