When we see images of motorbikes being stolen, they’re most likely dramatic shots of angle-grinder-wielding scumbags attacking a chain, with sparks flying. But did you know that outside of city-centres the most common way that motorbikes are stolen is by being lifted into a van.
If it isn’t locked to something, it’s at a higher risk of being stolen be thieves in this way. It takes just 30 seconds to hoof a bike into the back of a van and the thieves can then deal with the locks out of public view.
This is where a ground anchor and a decent chain come in to play. You can pick up a ground anchor from as little as £15 but we’d recommend spending a bit more? Why? Because the more expensive ground anchors are made from stronger materials which will resist attacks from sledge hammers, angle grinders and freeze-attacks.
There are two types of ground anchor; those that bolt in to something and those that are concreted in. Pick the type that works for you.
The bolt-in types require strong drill bits to drill holes into the ground (or wall) and you then secure it with bolts and drive ball-bearings into the bolt heads to prevent them from being unscrewed. With the right tools, you can install one in 30 minutes.
If you’re drilling in to concrete you’ll need an SDS drill and some decent drill-bits. I bought an SDS hammer drill like this one which I then sold on Gumtree the next day. A normal drill will just about do it but you’ll take a hell of a lot longer (approx. 20 mins per hole compared to 5 with a hammer drill). I know because I tried and failed with a normal drill!
You’ll then need a quality drill bit. The drill above comes with a few sizes which will be great for drill pilot holes. Ultimately you’ll need a 16mm hole for most bolt-down ground anchors. This SDS drill bit is a good choice and not expensive.
Before you buy your drill bit, check what size your ground anchor manufacturer recommends.
A robust deterrent made from hardened steel. The Mammoth Bolt In comes with straightforward instructions, a fitting kit including four bolts, an allen key and hammer-in ball bearings. It’s big enough to fit even a 16mm chain.
Luma are a quality manufacturer and this ring-type ground anchor can also be wall mounted. It’s made form hardened steel and the nature of the ring means it move, making it very hard for thieves to get any purchase on it. Another bonus is it sits flush when unused meaning you’re less likely to trip over it.
Mammoth’s chunky concrete-in ground anchor is made from hardened steel and features a rotating top ring which makes it easy to feed your chain through and position your bike but harder for thieves to get purchase on your chain or the ground anchor.
I you want a smart-looking ground anchor that disappears when not in use, the Autolok Ground Anchor is a great choice. It is sunk underground and when not being used it won’t be a hazard – you can drive your car over it and you won’t ruin is integrity. Made from heavy-duty steel with an anti-corrosion finish, it’s built to last.
Not everyone has £50 to spend on a ground anchor. If you’re on a budget, your best bet is to get a bolt-in ground anchor which you can bolt in to the floor (or wall) with ease.
For under £10, you can grab this Ryde Heavy Duty Ground Lock. It’s made from 5mm thick metal which will see off a handheld saw and should buy you some time against a battery-operated angle grinder. The only weak point we can see in this is the fact it’s bolted in with two bolts. On anything but a perfectly flat surface you could get under it and start to lever it up.
For a few more quid you could opt for this double-walled ground anchor again from Ryde. Even harder to defeat and it has four bolts meaning you won’t be able to get under it and lever it off.
If you’re looking for a cheap concrete-in ground anchor then this Hardcastle Under Ground Anchor is a good choice at £20.
Mounting your ground anchor on a wall is a great idea. It makes it harder for thieves to use a sledgehammer type attack and it makes it harder for them to keep your chain still so they can try and cut it.
You can mount all bolt-in ground anchors into a wall – although some manufacturers say their kits are designed for concrete floors – so always check the quality of your wall. There’s no point mounting it into a breeze-block wall as this won’t stand up to much of an attack from a well aimed sledgehammer.
Similarly if you screw it into your shed panel, you’ll be replacing your shed and your motorbike. So if you do have a shed, best to lay some concrete which you can drill in to and bolt a ground anchor in that way.
Oxford Products make a dedicated wall anchor, the Docking Station which can be used with chains up to 16mm.
If you only secure your bike from home then this wall anchor acts like a padlock, meaning you don’t need to spend £60+ on a padlock and £60-ish on a ground anchor – you can use this instead.
If you garage your motorcycle, a ground anchor is an excellent additional layer of security and piece of mind. However if you can only lock your motorcycle outside but you do have access to a ground anchor, then take on board these tips.
Front wheel should be your last option: It isn't common but as the picture above proves, thieves will get a bike by unbolting the front wheel. They'll probably turn up with a spare wheel, unbolt yours, then slot theirs in and they're off.
Cover it up: Keeping your bike out of sight is still a great deterrent. If you can only lock your bike outside but you can use a ground anchor, then cover the bike and use an alarmed disk lock. Any would-be thief tampering with the bike will be warned off and likely pick an easier target
Lock through the frame: Not all bikes will allow you to do this but passing the chain through the frame or a braced swing arm not only keeps it further from the ground but also prevents thieves being able to remove a wheel to circumvent the ground anchor.
Through the rear wheel and the chain: Obviously wheels are easer to get closer to a ground anchor than the frame, so if you do use a wheel to loop your chain through, use the rear wheel and if possible run it through the drivechain too, making it even harder for thieves.
Don't use a crap chain: If you have to keep your bike locked outside, use a quality chain like an Almax or Pragmasis 16mm. Cheaper chains or anything under 10mm will be an easy target.
There are lots of great ground anchors on the market. If our top picks don’t float your boat then have a look at these instead:
Can I bolt a ground anchor to a wall?
Can you remove a ground anchor once fitted?
What’s the best ground anchor?
Thanks to the following websites which helped us research and write this ground anchor article: