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How to prevent motorcycle theft

Keep your motorbike safe with these 10 simple tips. Learn how to prevent motorbike theft by locking your motorbike, installing alarms, using a cover and more.

Thousands of motorbikes are stolen in the UK each year. In fact, in 2021 a little over 3% of all vehicles on UK roads were motorcycles, but they represented over 25% of all stolen vehicles. Just leaving your motorbike unsupervised and unprotected could be an invitation to thieves, who won’t pass up the opportunity to grab a poorly secured motorbike - even if it’s not very valuable or in need of repair.

Whether you’ve bought your bike or you got it through a motorbike loan, motorbike theft can be absolutely devastating. So what can motorbike owners do to avoid becoming victims of such a common crime? The key to preventing motorcycle theft is to make your bike much harder to steal - here are 10 simple ways to do this.

1. Keep your motorbike out of sight

The most important tip is to not advertise your motorbike to potential thieves. You may love your new bike and want to show it off, but keeping your motorbike in full view on your driveway just makes it much easier for criminals to scope out your property, check your motorbike model against their list and plan how to steal it.

If you have a garage, your motorbike needs to be securely locked inside whenever you’re not using it. If criminals don’t know you have it, they won’t be able to take it from you. No garage? A motorbike cover can work wonders - but more on that later.

2. Increase your garage security

If a criminal does end up targeting your property, you’ll need to have strong security measures in place to keep them away from your garage and motorcycle. The most obvious security measure is a good garage lock. Keep your garage locked at all times, and if your garage also has windows, make sure they’re locked too. You could even install metal bars on your windows to really boost your security.

In addition to locks, you should also consider installing alarms and CCTV. Point cameras towards all access points to catch criminals in the act. Visible security measures like cameras can also act as a fantastic deterrent, preventing you from actually having to deal with a theft and going through the stress of recovering your bike.

3. Avoid dimly lit areas

But what should you do if you don’t have a garage? Having to park your motorbike on the street will obviously put it at a greater risk of theft, but there are still ways you can mitigate this risk and avoid becoming part of motorbike theft statistics.

The number one tip is to always keep your motorbike in busy, well-lit areas that are within your line of sight. You may think that parking your bike in a secluded side street will make it safer, but thieves prefer targeting bikes in dimly lit areas where no one is around to interrupt or challenge them. If you can park your bike where it’ll be visible to CCTV, then this is even better.

4. Use a motorbike cover

As mentioned above, motorbike thieves typically shop around for particular models and parts. Therefore, if you use a cover on your motorbike when it’s not in use, this can make it less attractive to criminals.

Even though it's only a small obstacle, a motorbike cover can actually be very effective at deterring more opportunistic criminals too. This is because removing the cover will cost precious seconds, which can make a huge difference when a thief is trying to steal an item and get away as quickly as possible.

Plus, if you ever notice someone lifting your motorbike cover to have a look at your bike, you’ll instantly know that there’s something suspicious going on. Otherwise, without a cover, criminals could check out the model of your motorbike and make plans to steal it at a better time without you even realising.

5. Always remove the keys

Just stopping somewhere quickly? You may be tempted to leave your keys in the ignition if you’re only parking for a few moments, but a few moments could be all an opportunistic thief needs to grab your bike and get away.

No matter how long you’re leaving your motorbike unattended, you should always remove the keys and engage the steering lock. Don’t make it easy for criminals to target you.

6. Use motorcycle locks

Motorbike thieves will always prefer to target easy-to-steal bikes. Although some organised gangs will be able to use tools to break locks or dismantle your bike for easier transportation, most common criminals will be deterred by common-sense security measures like locking your bike and removing the key.

Using multiple locks is the best way to make your motorbike an unattractive target for opportunistic thieves. Here are the main ones to choose from:

Steering lock

You should use your motorbike’s steering lock whenever you park it. Although it’s true that some criminals can break steering locks and wheel your bike away, your steering lock can be an effective layer of security that makes it harder for thieves to steal your bike quickly.

If criminals know that stealing your bike will be slightly more time-consuming, this may be enough to deter them and make them seek an easier target. Steering locks may not be the best security measure on their own, but they can be very effective when used in conjunction with other types of locks.

Disc lock

A motorcycle disc lock, also known as a wheel lock, secures the front brake disc by passing a pin through it and immobilising it. This prevents the wheel from moving forwards or backwards.

Disc locks are very portable, so you can easily take one with you and secure your bike wherever you park it. Unfortunately, some criminals can cut through disc locks with bolt cutters, so make sure you buy one that’s made with hardened steel or one that has an alarm fitted.

Grip lock

Another type of lock you can use is a motorcycle grip lock. These locks are placed on the handlebar to immobilise the throttle grip and brake lever. Like steering locks, grip locks are a great layer of protection when using multiple locks, but a grip lock on its own won’t be effective at deterring all criminals.

Chain lock

Whenever you’re parking your motorbike for a longer period of time, the best defence is a chain lock attached to an immovable object. This could be a ground anchor on your property or a bike rail in the street. A chain lock fixed to an immovable object is the only type of lock that will prevent experienced criminals from lifting your bike onto another vehicle.

When tying the chain around your bike, make sure you keep the chain taut and avoid dangling it on the ground. This is because some criminals use tools like angle grinders to cut through the chain, using the ground as leverage. You should also loop the chain around the frame of your bike rather than just through the wheel. If a criminal really wants your motorbike, they’ll have no problem leaving a wheel behind if they have to.

7. Have an alarm fitted

A great way to deter criminals is to have an alarm fitted on your motorbike. Even if a criminal gets hold of your bike and tries to cut the locks, an alarm could be what you need to stop them in their tracks. Criminals want to be able to take your bike as quickly as possible without anyone noticing or interfering - an alarm prevents this by drawing attention to the scene.

If you want the best alarm for your motorbike, you should buy devices that are Thatcham-approved. Thatcham Category 1 alarm systems include movement sensors and immobilisers to protect your bike.

8. Be vigilant

In addition to getting all of these security features for your motorbike and your home, you need to remain vigilant. Watch out for strangers acting suspiciously around your property. Criminals will often scope out your home and potentially check the model of your motorbike before returning to steal it later on. If you suspect that a criminal is checking out your motorbike, make sure you move it to a safer location.

9. Install a motorbike tracker

In the unfortunate event that your motorbike is stolen, remember that not all hope is lost. Although 45% of stolen motorbikes are never recovered in the UK, you can improve your chances of getting your bike back by placing a GPS tracker on it. Not only will this help you and the police track down your stolen bike, but it can also reduce the cost of your insurance premiums. Using other security measures (such as locks) alongside GPS trackers can reduce the cost of your insurance even further.

10. Property mark the motorbike parts

Use a property marking kit or ultraviolet marker pen to write your postcode or registration number onto valuable parts of your motorbike. Property marking the parts is an effective way to make it more difficult for thieves to resell your motorbike, which will therefore make it less attractive to steal. Plus, property marking will make it easier for the police to track down and recover your motorbike if it's stolen.

At Superbike Loans, we understand that your motorbike is more than just a vehicle to you. In our blog, we offer expert advice to help you look after and get the most out of your motorbike, such as advice on how to get a motorbike licencehow to get a motorbike licence and how to SORN a motorbike. Plus, if you’re hoping to get a new motorbike but are struggling with bad credit, we offer flexible finance deals that’ll help you get the bike of your dreams. Get in touchGet in touch today to see what kind of motorbike loan you could be eligible for.

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