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Guide: Secure your motorcycle outside

Unfortunately it’s not always possible to park your motorcycle in a secure garage or underground car park. If you’re not lucky enough to have a garage, then you’ll have to leave your motorcycle outside – but this doesn’t mean it has to be at risk. Although it is statistically more likely to be stolen if it’s parked outside, you can beat the odds by following these simple rules.

Use the steering lock

You’d be amazed at how many bikers don’t use the steering lock on their motorcycle or scooter. A thief will have to break the steering lock in order to push the bike away and even though it’s not that hard for them to do so, it’ll prevent an opportune thief.

Cover it up

All it takes is for a thief to get a glimpse of your motorcycle in your front garden or down a street for them to be interested. So stop them ever getting a glimpse of your bike by using a cover. In London, covers get stolen quite frequently, but you can use a lock to keep the cover in place and stop it getting swiped.

Use an alarmed disc-lock

Scummy bike thieves now carry portable angle grinders which can make light work of a disc lock but if yours has an ear-piercing alarm built in, it’ll cause the thief more grief and have them on their toes. They’re probably more likely to try and pinch a bike with a standard disc lock than one that has a built-in alarm.

Fit a disc lock around the rear sprocket

These days more and more thieves are opting to cut the motorcycle or scooter’s brake disc than try and cut the actual disc lock. If you fit your disc lock through your motorcycle’s rear sprocket and around the drive chain, it’ll be a lot harder for the scummy parasites to get the job done quickly. A bit of lube from the chain on the lock will do no harm either – it’ll lower the angle grinder’s ability to get traction and cut the lock.

Use a quality chain

It’s not always possible to carry a huge chain around with you but a quality chain like an Almax Series IV with a Squire lock will be a huge deterrent to most thieves. They’re not impossible to get through but they will take a lot longer than the £24.99 lock and chain you bought from eBay. If you lock your chain through your rear wheel and over your seat, it’ll make the chain harder to cut and the bike less mobile than if it were place through the front wheel, which can easily be removed.

Lock the bike to a solid object

Whether that’s a bucket of concrete with a ground anchor embedded in it, a lamp post or a council-supplied ground anchor, if the bike is tethered down it’ll be harder for thieves to lift it into a van.

Loop your chain through another biker’s chain

This is a simple measure but most bikers never do it. If you look your chain through the chain of another motorbike, you’re effectively making each other’s bikes more secure, as it’ll be nigh on impossible for anyone to lift both of your bikes into their van if they’re attached. The trouble with this method is, people don’t fully understand it, thinking we might leave another biker stranded with our chain looped around theirs. The fact is, you won’t. Our Britishness means we’re too polite to touch anyone else’s stuff, so we’d rather not bother. If you park in the same bay with other bikers, why not leave a note with your number on it, so you can get together and agree to loop your chains together.

Use forensic marking

You can forensically mark your motorcycle using technologies such as Smartwater. It’s not the best deterrent but it may make a thief consider whether they want their garage to be raided by the police, with a whole load of parts that they know are marked up to someone else’s bike that’s reported stolen. The kits and widely available and cheap enough.

Use your steering lock when filling up

Yes it’s a bit of a pain to put your steering lock on when you’re only leaving the bike for a minute but a minute is all it takes for thieves to get on your bike and push it straight off the forecourt before you’ve had time to battle through all the Shirley’s doing their weekly shopping in your local petrol station. Use your steering lock, even if the bike’s unattended for just a few moments.

Make your bike look rubbish

Thieves are inherently lazy – which is why they’d rather steal the stuff you’ve worked for than work hard themselves. If your motorcycle or scooter is a bit hanging or covered in random stickers, it’ll just not look as good as the other ones parked next to yours or not even catch a thief’s eye in the first place., If you buy a bike to commute on and you’re not that worried about looks, you can use liberal amounts of ACF50, WD40 or other oily lubricants on your forks, wheels and so on – they’ll pick-up road grime and make the bike less attractive but with a good wash and power clean, the bike ought to come up like new again.

Fit a ground or wall anchor

If you park your bike in your front garden or around the back of your  house in your communal garage area, you can install a ground or wall anchor to tether your bike to. A thief might be able to cut a lock in your front garden without you noticing but a wall anchor will carry the vibrations into the house and generally make the bike far less attractive.

Let your tyres down

If you intend to leave your bike for a long period of time, then let the pressure out of your tyres so that they’re down to 10psi or so. This won’t stop the thieves getting access to your bike but if they do beat your other security measures and try and push the bike away – especially if they’re trying to use another scooter to push it along, the flat tyres will make the bike almost impossible to roll and even harder to steer, meaning you might find it at the end of your road.

Let there be light

If you can, try park your bike where it’s under a street light or in a well-lit area. You might think that will mean thieves have more chance of seeing it but the fact is they like to work under the cover of darkness as much as possible. If your bike is in your front garden, fit a motion-sensing security light – thieves hate these with a passion.

Get CCTV

If you’re lucky enough to be in a position where a window of your property overlooks your bike parking area, then look into a CCTV system – ones which can be accessed via your mobile from anywhere are well under £200. Position the CCTV in your window and buy a sticker to stick on your motorbike that advises the would-be scumbag that they’re being watched.

Fit an ignition interrupter

Although the majority of motorcycle theft is done by defeating the bike’s security and pushing the bike away, some bikes are still stolen as the thief knows they don’t have a manufacturer-fitted immobiliser system. Some thieves can start a bike as easily as screwing a screw into the ignition then using pliers to rip out the ignition barrel, then using a flathead screwdriver to act as the ‘key’ and start the bike. It’s annoyingly simple.

You can fit an interrupter switch, wired into your bike’s ignition which will prevent this type of theft being successful. However the only value to this little security measure is in the thief not being able to find the switch, so hide it in a hard to find but easy for you to access location.

A final word

Of course you can fit all sorts of fancy trackers which will notify you if your bike’s being tampered with or where if it should it have been stolen but these are in most cases secondary measures and fairly useless if you don’t use other forms of security. Experienced thieves know to park your stolen motorcycle in a motorcycle bay locally, put a cover over it and a lock on it and see if it’s still there a week later. If it’s got a tracker it’ll get recovered – if it hasn’t, they’ll wheel it on to their lock-up and get to work dismantling it.

Keep it out of sight and make the little scrote’s lives as hard as possible and you’ll drastically reduce the chances of your pride and joy being stolen.