Motorcycle theft isn’t something we like to dwell on as riders. After all, worrying about your motorcycle security isn’t exactly a fun thought – and yet, statistics show it can happen to anyone. In the US, around 40,000 bikes are stolen each year, with the highest motorcycle theft rates occurring in the warm states. California, Florida, and Texas are the biggest bike theft hotspots with South Carolina and New York following close by. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Honda is the most popular brand among bike thieves with Yamaha and Harley-Davidson motorcycles rounding the top three. The good news is, nearly 46% of stolen motorcycles in the US are recovered. The bad news? Those recovered bikes rarely come back in one piece, as most stolen bikes are typically torn down for parts.
Unsurprisingly, motorcycle security is the biggest issue if your bike is one of the easy targets. If your motorcycle isn’t protected, it may be susceptible to theft, so even if you live in Vermont or Maine where bike theft is much rarer than in California or Florida, the rule of thumb is, better to be safe than sorry. There are some excellent motorcycle security products on the market, and it’s up to you to protect your bike from theft.
To help you set up the best motorcycle security system humanly possible, we put together this ultimate guide to security products and measures, and we hope you’ll never have to call the cops about a stolen bike. We’ll cover:
- Secure parking
- Bike Covers
- Steering Locks
- Motorcycle Chains
- Motorcycle Locks
- Disc Locks
- Ground Anchors
- Motorcycle Alarms
- Motorcycle Trackers
- Garage door defenders
- Marking your VIN number
- Motorcycle security FAQ
Ready? Let’s dive in:
How Do You Protect Your Motorcycle From Theft?
The best motorcycle security system is a multi-layered one. The more tiers of safety you have, the less likely it is for your bike to be stolen. Plenty of riders make the rookie mistake of simply using a motorcycle disc lock or a chain and hope it’ll be enough. However, it usually isn’t: motorcycle thieves can get through a disc lock in a matter of seconds, and if you’re worried about motorcycle security, your best bet is to use several different systems at once. For example, a combination of a safe parking, disc lock, a motorcycle security chain, a bike cover, and a motorcycle alarm is much better than utilizing just one of these tools. To help you make the best decisions when it comes to motorcycle security systems, we’re listing some of the most effective tools and products below.
Motorcycle Security Systems
To make the best use of a multi-tiered motorcycle security system, start with the basics: are you parking your bike safely? Secured parking lots and garages are always better than street parking, and if you commute or travel a lot, consider carrying a bike cover as it can act like a deterrent to thieves (you can’t steal what you can’t see). Next, think about motorcycle disc locks, cable locks, and chains; finally, consider additional security tools like motorcycle alarms, trackers, garage defenders, anchors, and the like. It may not be necessary to arm your bike to the teeth, but here are the top thirteen motorcycle security tools and products you can choose from.
1. Secure Parking
Here’s a simple truth: it’s much harder to steal a motorcycle that’s parked in a secure garage than to wheel it off a street. Whenever you can, even if you’re just grabbing a coffee and leaving your bike out of sight for half an hour, see if you can park it in a secure parking lot. At home, keep your bike locked up in a garage, and when traveling, always look for motels with secure parking available. We get it, you’re busy, and sometimes, looking for safe parking options may sound like a hassle, but having your bike stolen is a much bigger problem.
- Always park your motorcycle in a secure parking lot or garage
- At home, reinforce your garage door with extra locks
- On the road, always look for hotels with secure parking
2. Bike Covers
Parking your bike securely isn’t always an option, especially when you’re on the go or if you don’t have a garage at home. If that’s the case, make sure to at least throw a cover over your motorcycle: you can’t covet what you can’t see, and covering your motorcycle may deter thieves from scouting your bike for a potential grab. Remember, thieves always go for easy targets, so if your motorcycle can be seen, it’ll reduce the risk of it getting stolen. It’s not a fool-proof method, but it’s much better than nothing.
- Covering your motorcycle makes it harder for thieves to spot it
- Added bonus: your bike will be safe from the elements.
Which bike cover to buy: motorcycle covers are an individual choice, but we love these Tour Master bike covers from RevZilla: durable and waterproof, these things cover your bike from bar to tire.
3. Steering Locks and Electronic Immobilizers
Unless you own a 30‘s vintage, your stock bike already has its own in-built motorcycle security system in the form of a steering lock and, if it‘s a newer model, an electronic immobilizer. Your job is to simply utilize them: locking up the steering is a matter of seconds, but it can make all the difference. If your bike has an electronic immobilizer, the thieves will not be able to start it and ride off; your motorcycle can still be wheeled away or lifted off, but if it‘s a chance theft, the immobilizer just might do the trick.
- Always use your steering lock if you‘re leaving your bike unattended for more than fifteen minutes
- If your motorcycle has an electric immobilizer installed, be sure not to switch it off!
4. Motorcycle Chains
In addition to secure parking, a motorcycle security chain lock is the next best thing to keep your bike safe. Whether it’s a sturdy heavy-duty chain or a cable lock, it will act as a serious thief deterrent and protect your bike from sticky fingers: chaining your motorcycle to a solid pole or concrete block will make it much less attractive to thieves. We recommend carrying a motorcycle chain with you wherever you go, including your commuter routes and weekend rides. Simply coil the chain around your luggage rack or toolbox to save space, and use it as needed – when parking somewhere new, leaving your bike unguarded, or traveling.
- Get a heavy-duty motorcycle chain or cable and use it on a daily basis
- Always loop the chain through the rear wheel which is harder to remove; never loop the chain through the front wheel or the subframe
- Chain your motorcycle to something immovable, like a concrete fence or a pole
Which motorcycle chain lock to buy: there’s no shortage of different motorcycle chains available, but our vote goes to this Kryptonite chain lock because of its solid build.
5. Motorcycle Locks
In combination with chains and cables, motorcycle locks are essential to keep your steel horse secure. From padlocks to combination locks, you can choose from a wide variety of security devices, and you can keep them in your saddlebags or toolbox for easy access whenever you need them. When locking up your bike, remember to never leave the motorcycle lock on the ground because it’s easier to smash it. Ideally, your lock should sit above ground and not touch any hard surfaces like a concrete wall.
- Use heavy-duty locks in combination with chains or cables
- Never leave the lock on the ground
- Carry the lock with you at all times
Which motorcycle lock to buy: as with chains, the options are limitless, but we recommend this Oxford lock and chain combo for maximum security.
6. Disc Locks
Do you carry a motorcycle wheel lock? No? It‘s time to get one. Disc locks, especially in combination with chains and cables, are a great addition to your motorcycle security system. It’s one more hoop to jump through for thieves, and often, that alone can be a deterrent. Typically, bike thieves attempt to steal motorcycles in the least amount of time possible. If you make it harder for them, chances are, they’ll leave your bike well alone. Best of all, most disc locks now come with an in-built screamer: if anyone tries to mess with the lock, the alarm will go off, so your chances of keeping the bike secure increase even more.
- Use disc locks in combination with chains and padlocks for maximum security
- Opt for disc locks with in-built alarms
- Clip a colorful keychain on your motorcycle key to remind you that the disc lock is on and prevent you from riding off with the lock still attached
Which motorcycle wheel lock to buy: for the best lock-and-alarm combo, take a look at this state-of-the-art Abus disc lock.
7. Ground Anchors
Chains and locks can only do their job if the bike is chained to something solid, and if nothing is available at your usual parking spot, consider getting a ground anchor. These come in handy when you don‘t have a garage or if you need to park your bike at work regularly and there are no secure parking options available. Ground anchors are easy to install, and they can be a big factor to keep your bike secure at all times.
- If your regular parking spot is not secure, installing a ground anchor can be the next best thing
- Ground anchors need to be installed and secured well to prevent them from coming off
- Always attach your ground anchor to something solid like a concrete wall
Which ground anchor to buy: solid but easy to install, these Kryptonite Stronghold Anchors get our vote.
8. Motorcycle Alarms
Secure parking, chains, locks, and ground anchors already make for a great motorcycle security system. However, if you live in an area where bike theft is rife, consider getting a motorcycle alarm to add another layer of security. Alarms can be a serious thief deterrent, especially in more populated areas, and they can give you a few extra minutes to jump to your bike’s rescue. Some motorcycle alarm systems go off when the bike is touched or moved, while others push notifications directly to your phone if there is any disturbance.
- A motorcycle alarm adds another layer of security
- You can choose traditional sound alarms or ones that notify you via an app on your phone
- Alarms work as a great thief deterrent
9. Added Motorcycle Security: Insurance
This isn‘t exactly theft prevention, but having a good insurance policy should be part of your motorcycle security system. When all is said and done, if your bike does get stolen despite your best efforts to keep it safe, at least you‘ll have the insurance to fall back on. Do your research, choose a reliable insurance company, and stay safe!
- A good insurance policy is a must for any bike owner
- Insurance will add to your peace of mind
- Having insurance will not prevent theft, but at least you’ll be able to get a new bike if the current one gets stolen
Which motorcycle insurance to buy: carefully research your options and buy insurance that will give you the best chance of getting compensated in case of theft. Always read the fine print to make sure you understand all the terms and conditions.
10. Motorcycle Trackers
Much like insurance, a motorcycle tracker will not prevent thieves from attempting to steal your bike, but it can be a game-changer in finding a stolen motorcycle. Generally, there are two types of motorcycle trackers: wireless, which operate on battery life, and those wired directly into your bike‘s system. Wireless motorcycle trackers offer more security as they cannot be disabled by disconnecting the bike‘s battery, and your chances of finding a stolen bike increase. Here at Monimoto, we have countless success stories of motorcycle owners recovering their bikes with the help of live GPS locations sent out directly to their phones. The police are also much more likely to get on the chase and try to recover your bike if they have an exact location, so make sure you install a tracker on your bike for some peace of mind and extra insurance.
- Motorcycle trackers can make a massive difference in the recovery of a stolen motorcycle
- When it comes to motorcycle anti-theft devices, trackers are among the best tool you can use
- Wireless motorcycle trackers have less chance of discovery and damage by thieves
- An active motorcycle tracker on your bike is an extra incentive for the police to go after the thieves
Which motorcycle tracker to buy: as with chains and locks, there are multiple options, but if you‘re looking for a wireless motorcycle GPS tracker, Monimoto is one of the best solutions out there.
11. Garage door defenders
Another excellent motorcycle anti-theft solution is a garage door defender. If you usually keep your bike in your garage, it’s a good idea to reinforce the garage door to prevent thieves from breaking in. Garage door defenders come in all shapes and sizes, and even the more basic products can boost your motorcycle security system.
- Garage door defenders offer an extra layer of security
- If you always park your bike in a garage, the door defender is a must
Which garage door defender to buy: the market has several excellent options on offer, but we like this Silverline garage door defender.
12. Marking your VIN number
Is your motorcycle’s VIN (vehicle identification number) marked on your bike? If not, make sure you mark it – this can greatly help the police to find and recover your motorcycle in case it gets stolen. Additionally, you can mark other parts of your motorcycle to make them easier to identify if the bike is stolen and chopped for parts.
- Marking your motorcycle’s VIN number help in locating and recovering the bike
- Marking several other parts of your bike can help identify the stolen vehicle
For an extra layer of security, consider registering your bike on Immobilise, an online service for registering and checking property in case of theft. The Immobilise database is used by the police and insurance companies, and it can be a great help in case your bike gets stolen.
How do you secure a motorcycle on the street?
The best way to secure your motorcycle on the street is using your steering lock and utilizing a disc lock in combination with a motorcycle security chain. Loop the chain through the back wheel (the front wheel is easy to take off) and secure it to a solid post. Make sure the lock is not on the ground, as it can be broken with an angle grinder. For more tips on motorcycle security on the street, see the Met Police advice.
Do motorcycles get stolen often?
Unfortunately, motorcycles get stolen more often than we like to think. As mentioned previously, bike theft is fairly common, and it’s typically harder to recover a stolen motorcycle as they are quickly chopped for parts.
How easy is it to steal a motorcycle?
If you aren’t utilizing a multi-tiered motorcycle security system, stealing a bike can be easy. Thieves simply break the steering lock and ride or wheel the bike away, and even when you have a disc lock or chain, motorcycles can be shockingly easy to steal. This is why motorcycle security systems are crucial if you want to keep your bike safe at all times.
Lock it up, insure it, and track it: if we could sum up a decent motorcycle security system in three words, this would be it. Always parking your motorcycle securely, even when you’re pressed for time, and utilizing extra security measures like chains, locks, covers, and alarms will increase your chances of keeping the bike safe regardless of the location. Finally, having a good insurance policy and installing a tracker on your bike adds an extra layer of protection in case your bike does get stolen.
“Lock it, Insure it, Track it”
Designing your own motorcycle security system is your best bet against bike theft, so make sure to do some research, shop for quality products, and always spend that extra minute or two to lock up your steering or throw the cover on. Don’t make it easy for the thieves, and ride safe!