There are lots of good motorcycle security guides on the web and many that claim to be the best or show you the best products. This is not one of those guides.
I’m not going to pretend this is a review of the best stuff. Instead, it’s just a down-to-earth guide on the different options you can use to keep your motorcycle safe and secure.
The pictures in this guide all show my garage and the security I use.
In this guide, I’ll list the different layers of security, their pros and cons, and a couple of good links to where you can look at some recommended products online.
CCTV & Floodlights
CCTV came top of the list when reformed thieves were asked about crime deterrents. Also in the Top 10 were security lights. Thieves are often opportunists. If you leave your bike on the driveway in the evening after washing it, a floodlight and the threat of CCTV might deter a would-be thief. They would certainly rather work under the cover of darkness than be lit up for all to see.
Pros: A very visible deterrent. Simple to install. It can be monitored when you’re off-site.
Cons: Requires power.
Expect to spend: £150 for a decent CCTV system with a mobile app.
Handy links: Amazon’s top-rated CCTV system
A garage defender stops the garage door from being easily pried open. The eagle-eyed among you will also notice a pair of garage door deadbolts. Again, these prevent an up-and-over garage door from being opened.
Pros: It’ll beef up a flimsy metal up and over garage door. Opportunists won’t have the time to get past it. Additional peace of mind when you’re away for extended durations.
Cons: I sometimes think that with it fitted, it might signal to thieves that there’s something of value in the garage. If you do fit one, you feel you have to use it. And when you’ve locked the garage and you’re ready to ride, you’ll probably realise that you’ve left your gloves in there…
Expect to spend: £80 for a garage defender, £30 for the deadbolts.
Handy links: Garage defender showcase
A motorcycle cover is a good layer of security. Hopefully this picture illustrates my point well; you can’t tell what’s under the cover. Yes it’s probably a motorcycle but is it a £300 shitter or a £30k superbike? You can, however, tell I have a ZX-10R in there and if you know anything about bikes, you’ll know it’s worth pinching. I keep my bikes under covers so that when my garage door is open, any passers-by won’t be able to easily weigh up the value of them.
Pros: The less a thief knows about what’s in your garage, the lower the chance of them trying to steal it. My bikes don’t accumulate a layer of garage dust and grease. I keep my paintwork scratch-free.
Cons: I can’t think of any but if you can let me know in the comments section below.
Expect to spend: £20 for a decent cover.
Handy links: Motorcycles cover guide
You can have all the security in the world but if your bike’s not anchored to something, it can easily be lifted into a van. If you mount a ground anchor in your garage, put it in an out-of-the-way location so it isn’t a trip-hazard. Close to a wall will make it harder for thieves to use tools, too.
Pros: Ensures your bike can’t be easily lifted into a van. Can get you a discount on your insurance premium.
Cons: Once they’re in, they’re in.
Expect to spend: £60 for a decent ground anchor. The cheap ones (sub £20) can’t fit a decent chain and can be levered out but they’re better than nothing.
Handy links: Motorcycle ground anchor review
Beefy Security Chain
Anything under 12mm can be easily bolt-cropped. And yes, portable angle grinders are the scourge of motorcycle security and, given enough time, can get through anything. These chains never leave the garage, so I’m not worried about portability but I want something thieves are going to have to spend time on.
Pros: Capable of defeated all but a prolonged angle-grinder attack
Cons: They’re pricey, they’re heavy and you’ll stub your toe on them with alarming regularity.
Expect to spend: £170+ for a decent chain and padlock.
Handy links: The thickest motorcycle security chains
A disc lock is another good layer of security. Alarmed ones can be a pain in the wotsits outside, due to wind, rain and vibration setting them off but in a garage they’re worth having. Two decent bits of security takes no time to secure but they’ll present another hurdle for a bike thief.
Pros: Cheap, easy to apply and a good form of portable security.
Cons: Easy to forget (I have disc lock reminders but even with them I manage to roll my bike forward and bash the disc lock into the caliper/mudguard at least once a year.
Expect to spend: £40 for a decent disc lock, up to £150 for a very snazzy one.
Handy links: Motorcycle disc lock guide
I suppose it all boils down to: preventing a thief knowing what’s in your garage, stopping them trying to get in, and if they do get in, giving them as much of a headache as possible.
Additional motorcycle security
As a general rule, I leave the steering locks off my bikes when they’re in the garage. I really don’t expect anyone to get past the garage defence but I’ve read too many horror stories of thieves trying to break a steering lock and causing a huge amount of damage (one guy I know had his S1000XR written off as they cracked the headstock). No steering lock also makes the bikes a little bit easier to shift back and forwards on their stands.
Two of my bikes have trackers fitted, one on a monitored subscription service and one not. This is mainly to give me a better chance of getting the bike back if it gets nicked out and about, rather than with garage security in mind.
One of the bikes has an alarm / immobiliser which is annoyingly sensitive but it will be a real pest to anyone who nudges the bike. They might take the bike but they’ll probably lose their hearing. I wouldn’t spend the money on fitting one to the other bikes but as it came with it, I figure I should use it.
That thieving toe rag deterrent list in full
A security survey by the Co-Op was published in The Guardian and showed a list of things that former thieves said were their biggest deterrents. Quite a few of these can be applied to making your motorbikes safer at home.
Top 10 deterrents for burglars
- CCTV camera
- Sound of a barking dog
- Strong, heavy doors
- TV that has been switched on
- Locked UPVC windows
- Cars parked on driveway
- Overlooking property
- Surrounding fences
- Gates outside the property
- Motion-activated security lights
Top 10 deterrents for car thieves
- CCTV street camera
- Car alarm
- Street lighting
- Car parked on a driveway
- Newer vehicle
- Steering lock device
- Older car
- Neighbourhood Watch-designated areas
- Car parked in a dark alleyway
Share your tips
If you’ve got any good tips on keeping your bikes secure, horror stories, or recommended products, just drop a comment below.