Motorcycle Security Products
At BBTA we are NOT a Charity, NFPO or Funded, and have No FINANCIAL INTEREST in the products we test and promote. We put our own time cash into this cause because we care about our City and Surrounding areas and the Biking Community that enjoy it
The results of testing and searches are what we find, and what we find will be warts and all! Everything has good and bad points. It is about compromise and what best suits YOUR lifestyle, pocket and the way you use your bike. We may suggest ways of bolstering up certain areas if the item has some cracking attributes, other than that - its' your choice!
We have Ex-Police, Security and Automotive Electronics people on the team, so what you get will be an informed opinion.
All products are available direct from manufacturer using a special discount code to our followers and supporters mostly, although some we have HAD to purchase through a trade account and are available from that participating dealer who will pass on the discounts to you. Links will be available to manufactuers websites and discounts will be marked where a manufacturer is supporting Bristols' Fight Against Motorcycle Crime.
Locks come in Many Guises. It is easy to say 'Buy the Best' and end the conversation, but at the end of the day, it is budget focused. Locks and Chains are your first and very important line of defence - it acts as a visual deterrent, but his of course needs backing up with brawn - no point shouting about how secure you are if it will fall apart at the sight of a hammer.
So for Locks, the rule of thumb is 'BUY THE BEST YOU CAN AFFORD' However, it doesn't mean a cheap lock is useless if used properly....or even in numbers!
Firstly, consider size - the larger the chain, the harder or less likely you can get bolt croppers around them to cut the chain. This is generally the preferred method as it is silent and effective. This just leaves grinders, which creates noise and sparks which are not wanted in your shed, garage or drive at 3am. The prize really has to be worth it, and they will likely move away from your commuter to something more interesting and less challenging.
16MM is deemed the minimum size for crop proof security. Paired with a Ground Anchor for Home and a secure immovable object (and not a short bollard!) will be as good as you will need for minimum defence. Put the chain through the back wheel as opposed to the front, and in scooters such as Vespas which are difficult to lock - over the foot-board. Front wheels are easily removed and easily replaced, so unless you want a £20 front wheel left behind, go through the back, through swing arm where possible and to an immovable object.
Safety in Numbers is also a chosen method by some owners, and as well as a defence can also be effective. With at least one decent lock and ground anchor, you can add as many cheaper options as you can be bothered to unlock in the morning. If you have a nice bike, an extra 5 minutes of fiddling may well be worthwhile! A chap I know has numerous locks on his bike, I believe around seven, but he gets up early in the morning, so has time to unlock them all! But when you weigh up the inconvenience, heartache and so on - he may be onto something! Chopping/grinding through one is one thing, having done that and have 6 more to deal with keeps you in one area for an uncomfortable time!
Screamer Padlocks are also a good idea to alert of tampering. This with a good disclock - especially through the difficult to access rear disc is a real put- off. A Cover over the bike is also something that the thieves don't like - too much risk and they prefer to check out the bike model and security devices from a distance without being noticed before committing.
So What do we recommend in LOCKS?
Disc locks are popular - they are cheap to buy, easy to chuck in a pocket and effective. So which ones? Mammoth have Mammoth Micro which is small, and easy to use - its' sub £10, so if you are on a student budget, then its' a no brainer - get one for each wheel, splash out and have two on the rear to really annoy the thief. Joking aside, there is no excuse to have NO LOCKS on your Bike at that Price. Mammoth's Next Offering is the Mammoth Maxi, a large lock which fits around the disc snugly with an 11mm pin. This is under £30 from most retailers, so again - not outside of the budget of any rider. Doubling up to around £60 you have Oxfords' Nemesis, at 16mm we are minimum chain territory. One of these is really going to annoy any prospective thief when hes' been eyeing your ride. If you want to splash the Cash Abus RS1 is a snazzy number with a patented snap design and features an alarm - this one comes in at around £130 from good retailers.
CHAINS AND ANCHORS
We have spoken to ALMAX SECURITY whom have offered a small discount on his products. The locks and chains are super strong and well known for upsetting the industry in being strong and impervious to bolt croppers, and a customer tested with a mains powered grinder taking over 5 minutes of constant grinding - with competitors being 4 or 5 seconds...
Alex is passionate about security, and was an owner who was sick of spending £300 on a chain which was cropped in seconds, so he endeavoured to make one that couldn't be. His Thatcham Approved Chains are from 16MM - 22MM and cut to the length of what you need for your bike and anchor, so it is in effect custom made and at less thant £200 for a chain, good value too! The only negative point we could find the a chain of this high quality was weight - but where is your bike more at risk? At home or in a car park? Take it and use it away as well as at home!
The video Below shows thieves trying to take a bike secured with an Almax Immobiliser chain. It is interesting that they have brought heavy duty equipment and have obviously scoped out the size of locks previously. Quite some time is spent, on a busy road before giving up. This is useful for you to see what you are up against in real life.
Watch and Learn.
Trackers are devices that use one or a series of methods to geo-locate your Bike. This can be in GPS (GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM) GSM (GLOBAL SYSTEM FOR MOBILE Communications) anf RF (RADIO FREQUENCY) which would use one frequency or a range of frequencies between VHF/UHF.
GPS is not that secure, but it is cheap and commonplace. Years ago, GPS was all you needed - today, that is not so true. It has a place, and is still a good system, but not one you cannot rely on solely if you have a choice. It is however, very useful for general tracking. In real-time trackers GPS is used to locate the vehicle and you can do this as often as you wish. Of course, this signal being transmitted permanently does effect your bikes' battery and can often flatten it. It also gives its' location away to thieves using readily available devices to locate and jam GPS devices
The next system is GSM - Mobile Network essentially. Using the three nearest mobile phone masts and bouncing a signal of each the tracker will work out 'roughly' where it is and give you a search area. Traditional Trackers will have GSM back-up and will use a chosen provider with a SIM card much like your phone. It will utilise this to text you locations and so on. So acts much like a phone would. This is useful and would work anywhere it will get your providers' or partners' signal. There are some more advanced systems which use ANY GSM signal worldwide using E-SIM technology, which is not a SIM card as you know it, but a chip-set which allows it to communicate on any GSM frequency worldwide. An E-Sim is embedded (hence the 'E') into the phones motherboard so there is no card. The benefits are that is is not locked to any network provider and can seemlessly swap networks to the strongest without issue. It is still an advanced technology - though soon, all phones will be fitted with E-Sims as standard - for the Moment only Apple, Google & a small number of others have adopted it.
RF - or RADIO FREQUENCY Signal - is a where accuracy comes into Play. GPS will give you a 5 meter radius generally, GSM will be around 200yds or so - RF will pinpoint not only the direction of the tracked object, but the distance as well. It essentially is accurate enough to trace with pocket you put a tracking device in. This is useful to accurately pin-pointing the exact location of the tracked item, so in the the case of it being on private land, hidden in a container etc it can be found and a warrant to enter by The Police gained with ease.