Choosing the Best Security For Your Motorcycle

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When I worked in London as a riding instructor, I used to work with a guy called Steve. He was a local chap, grew up on downtrodden estates as a kid, and was every bit as rough and ready as I was. We had a lot in common, and I liked him a lot.

One Thursday, I rocked up to the pad, ready to meet and greet the next intake of would-be riders. And as I laid out the cones, my phone rang.

Steve was on the other end. He’d come out of his flat that morning and found his bike wasn’t where he’d left it.

A month or so later, the insurance company replaced his bike. And as he stopped at a McDonald’s in Shepherd’s Bush, a group of chavs held him up at knifepoint and once again stole his bike.

Another claim later, and again the bike was replaced – only for it to go missing AGAIN overnight almost as soon as he’d got it.

Steve gave up. He never came back to work with us, and I never saw him again.

oxford disc lock - best security for your motorcycle
Image: Oxford

Is It Worth Investing In The Best Motorcycle Security?

See, that’s what these arseholes do to regular folk like you and me. They make our lives a misery. And even though the attack is nothing personal from their point of view, it certainly feels like it when you’re on the receiving end.

And despite the new-fangled options we have to secure our bikes, the fact remains that if some disgusting creature wants to steal your bike, they will steal it in one way or another – despite your best efforts to protect it.

So is there any point in investing in security to stop motorcycle theft?

The answer is probably a little more pessimistic than you would like. And the reason I say that is because you’ll drive yourself crazy by trying to protect it too much. You’ll become paranoid and fixated on something you ultimately can’t control.

So, unfortunately, it’s a case of accepting that it might happen. And the only thing you can do is make a reasonable effort to protect your bike without it turning into a one-person vigilante mission.

After all, if you let these arseholes ruin your life, they’ve already won.

abus disc lock
Image: Abus

Compromise: The Best Motorcycle Security vs Life

I’m like you. My bike is my pride and joy, and I love it. If someone stole it, it’s safe to say I’d be upset. But I also refuse to live my life in fear that someone might steal it.

For me, the compromise is taking reasonable precautions whilst simultaneously accepting that someone might take it.

I refuse to carry 5x 20kg security chains with me every time I pop into town for some shopping. And I refuse to spend an hour locking up my bike each time I stop for a coffee mid-ride.

So in this post, I’d like to offer a range of solutions. Either one by itself likely won’t be enough to prevent your bike from being stolen.

But a few of them combined could make your bike such a pain in the backside to steal that it’s simply not worth it for the thieves to try.

And that’s how you balance securing your bike with living your life.

So let’s start with some common deterrents.

Disc Lock(s)

I’m a big fan of disc locks. They’re not the be-all of motorcycle security, but they’re light, portable, quick, and give you bang for your buck. Stick one through your front brake disc, and it’s impossible to roll the bike without braking the lock first (or picking the bike up.)

And unlike a heavy chain, a disc lock can fit under your seat, in a tank bag, or even in your jacket pocket.

I read a while back that 16mm thickness is what you should aim for. It’s far from impenetrable but is thick enough to make thieves work to get it off. And that might be all that’s needed to make them think twice.

Personally, I use an Oxford Boss 16 on the front as my primary disc lock. But I also use a smaller 11mm Oxford Monster disc lock for the rear. It wouldn’t take a skilled scumbag long to get it off but combined with the 16mm lock on the front, it would be a pain in the ass. 

Just remember to use a hi-viz reminder cable whenever you use a disc lock. My front one goes around the handlebar, and the rear one attaches to my peg. You can see my bike is double disc locked due to the reminder cables – even from a distance.

Plus, they prevent me from trying to ride off without removing the disc locks first!

oxford boss 16 - best security for your motorcycle

Oxford Boss 16

oxford monster disc lock

Oxford Monster Disc Lock

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Grip Lock

In the same vein as disc locks, a grip lock won’t stop thieves from stealing your bike. But they act as a good deterrent because they’re visible. And as with disc locks, they’re light and portable.

Pop it around your grip and secure your brake lever in the lock. This means the bike cannot be rolled without breaking it off.

Combine this with a disc lock and your bike’s native steering lock, and it’s already becoming burdensome for the lowlife who is eyeing up your pride and joy from the shadows.

bully grip lock - best security for your motorcycle

Bully Grip Lock

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Security Chains

You wouldn’t necessarily carry a chain whilst popping to the supermarket, but they’re ideal for use in the garage or even in dodgy parts of town.

Combining them with your disc lock(s) takes your security up quite a bit because now thieves have a disc lock or two AND a security chain to deal with.

Simply wrapping it around the back wheel will act as a deterrent. But wrapping it around a lamppost or fence (and then around the bike’s frame or swingarm) makes them much more effective.

Again, the closer to 16mm you can get, the better. But unfortunately, this also means the weight and the price increase with the security.

My personal choices are the Oxford Monster chain or the Litelok Core Moto.

oxford monster chain

Oxford Monster Chain

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litelok core moto lock - best security for your motorcycle

Litelok Core Moto

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Ground Anchors: The Best Security For Your Motorcycle?

A ground anchor is an excellent addition to your arsenal for home security.

They’re a faff to set up, and they aren’t transportable. Once they’ve been drilled and cemented into the ground, you can’t move them again.

But securing a thick security chain around your bike and through the anchor gives you a solid security base.

In fact, ground anchors are so effective that many towns, cities, and apartment blocks have them pre-installed in their car parks.

oxford rota force ground anchor

Oxford Rota Force

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Beef Up Your Garage

So now you have a disc lock or two and a security chain wrapped around your bike and secured to the ground anchor.

That’s a powerful place to be.

Now let’s take it up a notch by installing a garage defender.

If you’re wondering, a garage defender is a T-bar that bolts into the ground and secures your garage door via a padlock.

When drilling the holes for your ground anchor, drill the holes for your garage defender, too. Attach a sturdy padlock and instantly upgrade your home security.

master lock garage defender - best security for your motorcycle

Master Lock Garage Defender

Invest In A Tracker For The Best Motorcycle Security

There are a lot of trackers available now. Install the tracker to a discreet part of your bike, and you can usually monitor it via an app.

If your bike moves, it will alert you. And even if you don’t get to it in time, you can alert the police to the precise location of your bike.

Trackers also allow you a chance to get your bike back, as most thieves dump recently-stolen bikes somewhere out of sight for 24 hours – just in case a tracker is fitted.

This means you might get it back before it’s sold, damaged, or dismantled for parts.

monimoto tracker
Image: Monimoto

Get An Alarm

A lot of modern bikes come with alarm systems these days. But even if yours doesn’t, you can buy third-party ones quite readily.

This is something where you’ll have to weigh up the pros and cons. If you have an alarm, it will go off every time the wind blows and each time a person walks within a few feet of your bike.

But then again, maybe that’s what you want.

The Best Motorcycle Security Begins With A Savvy Location

Let’s start with an easy one – location. This is obvious, but parking your bike somewhere well-lit and in plain view might just be the deterrent it needs.

If a thief has to contend with being in view and under the watchful eyes of neighbours and 360° security cameras, chances are they might move onto a bike that has been less thoughtfully parked.

bikes parked up outside building - best security for your motorcycle
Image: Joep Lan

Bike Covers

A simple bike cover will not protect your bike. But if you park it under some street lights, any potential thieves will stick out a mile if they start peering underneath your bike cover to see what’s under there.

It might just be enough to get them to look for an alternative target. And if nothing else, it stops uninvited idiots from sitting on your bike whilst protecting it from the rain.

I currently have two, and both are excellent. I’ve used the Oxford Protex Stretch for years. More recently, I’ve been using the JDC Ultimate heavy-duty bike cover.

oxford protex stretch

Oxford Protex Stretch

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jdc bike cover - best security for your motorcycle

JDC Ultimate Heavy-Duty

The Best Motorcycle Security: Use The Steering Lock

Even with the best will in the world, the steering lock won’t stop a thief from taking your bike.

But it won’t go unnoticed if a scumbag tries to break the lock in a busy car park.

And they’ll stick out like a sore thumb if they end up pushing it round and around in circles.

Block It In!

One of my favourite deterrents (if not my actual favourite) is to secure my motorbike by blocking the entrance of my bike garage with the car.

This way, even if someone removes the cover, breaks the disc locks, breaks through the security chain, and dismantles the garage defender, they still have to break into my house and find the car keys to move the damn car.

Even when I lived in London, I had to keep the bike outside in a communal car park for our apartments. So I would attach my disc locks and chain, cover the bike, and then block it in with my car.

The car prevented thieves from getting to the chain and disc locks, and the steering lock meant they couldn’t push the bike in a straight line to remove it from the grasp of the car.

car in front of garage
Image: Jonas Jaeken

Choosing the Best Security For Your Motorcycle: Conclusion

As mentioned at the top of this post, most people don’t need every option on this list. The key is to choose the ones that work in your given situations and make them as secure as possible.

For ride-outs and trips to town, a disc lock or two combined with something like a grip lock should provide enough of a deterrent.

At home, combine them with a heavy-duty security chain and ground anchor, and your security is looking good.

It sounds harsh to say it. But if your bike is more of a hassle to steal than the guy’s bike down the street, thieves will almost always go for the one down the street.

Do the best you can with what you have. And don’t let them ruin your day.

Related Post: Motorcycle Security When Touring: Protecting Your Bike

Top image: Litelok

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