Motorcycle Locks and Security - A Beginners Guide
We don’t wish to put the frighteners on you, but here are two shocking facts that help to put this guide into perspective;
"Motorcycles are six times more likely to be stolen than any other vehicle" *
"1 in every 46 registered bikes in the UK are stolen" **
Both of these statements offer a chilling reminder of just how prevalent this problem is.
Let's face it, motorcycles are easy to steal. Roll any new bike out of a showroom and it would take a thief a matter of seconds to make off with it. This is why aftermarket security devices are so important for UK motorcyclists, and why we here at RideTo have pulled this guide together to help you make the right choice on the right motorcycle security devices for your pride and joy.
So what can you do to make your motorcycle safer both at home and when you are out and about?
Let’s start by looking at the latter and drill down to some of the key security items that will deter potential thieves.
Motorcycle Disc Locks
Motorcycle disc locks are one of the easiest security devices to travel with and they have been proven to be very effective. Statistics reveal that 7 out of 10 owners fail to lock their motorcycles in City car parks***, so if you choose to use a disc lock, a thief is more likely to just move on to another bike.
Essentially a disc lock is just like a big padlock that fixes through either your front or rear disc rotor.
Obviously with it bolted in place the motorcycle cannot be wheeled away. However, the bike can still be physically picked up, so it won’t necessarily deter the professional criminal who has come prepared. But motorcycle and scooter disc locks are almost impossible to remove without bringing attention to yourself.
The RideTo staff have put their heads and experience together to bring you a selection of disc locks to suit all budgets;
Oxford HD MAX - £24.99 - We would consider this to meet the minimum requirements of a disc lock, and we chose it because it’s well suited for use with scooters. The hardened steel lock resists cutting and features a double locking mechanism for added security. It was awarded a ‘Sold Secure’ Silver rating (see our ratings section for more info) and at less than £25 it’s a great value deterrent.
Oxford Micro XA5 - £49.99 - The Micro XA5 is, as the name suggests, a small compact lock that fits easily into a jacket pocket, rucksack or under-seat compartment. Not only does it secure your bike, but it has a trick up its sleeve with a loud 110db built-in alarm. Motion and shock sensors detect any movement of the bike or tampering with the device and kick the alarm into action. It has a universal fit, so is suitable for both motorcycles and scooters.
Oxford Alpha XD14 - £59.99 - No alarm on this lock, but the forged stainless steel XD14 is incredibly strong and has been awarded a Sold Secure Gold rating. It’s still a relatively compact lock however and is easy to transport. Its twin-spar lock chassis makes it very resistant to being cut and the 14mm T-locking pin offers a high level of security.
Motorcycle Security Chains
A little more difficult to transport, but if you are leaving your motorcycle locked up all day, then it’s an effort worth making. Use a chain in conjunction with a disc lock and you’re certainly going to deter all but the most determined professional thieves.
Obviously this method gives users the option to chain the bike itself, or fix it to an immovable object for maximum security. If you ride a scooter, you benefit from being able to carry your motorcycle chain in the under seat compartment, which is certainly worth doing!
Here are three chains that the RideTo staff and instructors think are worthy investments.
Oxford HD Chain Lock - £44.99 - This mid-range chain lock is a very popular choice as it offers a good balance between weight and strength. The chain itself is made from 10mm Cromoly steel links covered with a cloth sleeve to protect your motorcycle. The chain is also case hardened to resist bolt cutters. A double locking hardened steel padlock completes the kit, which also doubles as a disc lock on its own.
Oxford Hardcore XC13 Chain lock - £99.99 - Moving up in size and strength with the XC13, and as the name suggests this is a 13mm diameter square link chain. It's a heavier beast but still fairly portable and it’s proved strong enough to earn a ‘Secured by Design’ (SBD) rating (see ratings guide) The chain is secured by an Ultra-strong padlock with hardened boron steel armour casing and a double locking mechanism, making it one of the most secure locks on the market.
Oxford Nemesis - £119.99 - The Big Daddy of bike chains, the Nemesis is constructed with huge 16mm CroMoly hardened steel links and is covered with a protective and reflective sleeve. It's secure enough to earn a ‘Sold Secure’ Gold Award as well as being SBD accredited. This price is for the chain only which gives you alternative options when it comes to the padlock. The Nemesis is also perfect for use with ground Anchors.
Extra Security for at Home
We’ve looked at a number of devices that aim to keep your motorcycle secure when out and about, but what extra steps can you take when at home. If you don't have a garage or shed to tuck your bike away at night then we would recommend some kind of motorcycle cover. It might sound very simple, but just keeping prying eyes away from your pride and joy can be very helpful.
A simple weatherproof cover is a low-cost option to hide the bike away, but for continued use in all weathers, it might be more prudent to purchase a tougher storm proof version.Of course, you should be using your disc lock or chain and padlock under the cover, but for added security, you may want to consider a ground anchor?
A ground anchor is exactly what it sounds like, a tough and secure metal loop or bracket that bolts securely into the ground. This enables the motorcycle to be chained to a fixed point, thus making it much much harder to steal.
Top Tips For Keeping Your Bike Safe
In general, keeping thieves at bay is common sense. Using locks and chains will most likely make them move onto an unsecured Motorcycle.
- Cover your bike when possible, it not only protects from the elements but also makes it somewhat less of a target.
- When parking in public, try to find a parking space in a busy area with lots of passing traffic and pedestrians.
- If the bike is going to be left in the dark or overnight, then try and find a well lit area too, thieves are less keen on attacking locks where they can be easily seen.
There are of course some organised gangs that are stealing bikes to order and will be deterred by very little, but this is still relatively rare and tends to be concentrated in large cities. The Police across the country are taking the problem seriously and are working hard to crack down on the perpetrators. You can massively reduce your risk by investing a relatively small amount of money on some key security gear.
Motorcycle Security Rating Guide
We’ve mentioned a couple of ‘Industry Standards’ in this article, so let’s expand on those a little to offer an insight into what’s behind the name.
Sold Secure - An independent body that tests resistance to attack for security devices. Established in 1992 by Northumbria and Essex Police with the help and backing of the Home Office, Sold Secure is now owned and administered by the Master Locksmiths Association and works from purpose built laboratories in Rugby. Companies submit their products for testing, which are then given a rating based on the following criteria;
Sold Secure publishes a list of approved products, and manufacturers need to re-submit their products annually to remain on the approved list. It’s a good idea to double-check any potential purchases against this list as some unscrupulous companies falsely claim accreditation. Always remember to check what rating the product has. A ‘Sold Secure’ label may only be referring to bicycle security!
Secured by Design - The official Police security initiative offering a product based accreditation scheme known as the ‘Police Preferred Specification’. SBD provides a recognised standard for all security products that can deter and reduce crime and as such cover a massive range of products and solutions. They use various industry bodies for their testing and offer a search function for accredited vehicle security companies which is a useful extra check.
*figures for 2018. Bikersunited.com, the UK’s stolen motorcycle database
** British Motorcycle Federation 2018
***quote supplied by Bennetts insurance