The 10 Best Motorcycle Locks to Buy 2020

The 10 Best Motorcycle Locks to Buy 2020

If you’re a motorcyclist, your bike is probably one of your most prized possessions. But it’s well known that motorcycles are prime targets for opportunistic thieves due to their relatively small size and high value. So it’s worth the money to protect your hobby and investment from anyone interested in taking it from you.

The cheapest and most common form of protection for a motorcycle is a simple lock. In recent years, there are hundreds of new types of locks coming onto the market but the concept stays the same: by immobilizing the vehicle, you make it difficult to steal. If you’re interested in checking out some of the most effective lock technology available, read below for a list of the top ten motorcycle locks on the market today.

Features to Consider in a Motorcycle Lock

Material

Different lock manufacturers uses different materials in the pursuit of maximum protection. From strange alloys to lightweight carbon fiber or even plastic, it feels like everything on the market is made out of something different. While unique materials can bring unique and desirable properties to a lock, we prefer to stick to the classic metal alloys like manganese steel and carbon alloy steel.

Lock Type

Each year, new types of locks come onto the market, each with a different approach for managing theft. They all have the same idea, though: use a private entry mechanism (typically a key or a code) to prevent the motorcycle from moving. While this isn’t a comprehensive list, some of the most popular methods available are listed below.

Brake Disc Locks

One of the most unobtrusive, packable, and effective locks is a brake disc or disc rotor lock. These types of locks attach directly to the motorcycle’s brake rotor itself and clamp down, preventing the wheel from moving, theoretically thwarting the thief from rolling or driving the bike away. The flaw with these locks is that wheels are removable, so a thief could conceivably detach the wheel and take the rest of the bike.

Articulated (Folding) Locks

Articulated locks are designed to be compact and stowable, providing both transportability and security. Typically made of some kind of reinforced metal, they aren’t the most secure method for heavy-duty protection, but they’re convenient and provide a light layer of defense.

Shackle Locks

Shackle locks, most commonly used in combination with a chain or a cable, are the least expensive type of lock. They’re also known as padlocks. This style of lock is both cheap and easily available, but they can typically be broken with just a set of bolt cutters.

Handlebar Grip Locks

Handlebar grip locks are a clever way to restrict the bike’s movement by controlling the brakes, throttle, or steering. This type of lock is more of a deterrent than a theft-prevention method and can be broken relatively easily.

Chain/Cable Locks

Chain locks are often come with or are used in conjunction with a shackle lock. Some are made to withstand serious attacks, others are made more as deterrents. Quality varies, but we don’t recommend a chain with a combination lock, as combination locks are quite easy to crack.

Anchor Lock

An anchor lock is the sturdiest option on the market, actually drilling into the concrete to create a locking point for the motorcycle. The disadvantage is that they are by design meant to stay in a single place.

Degree of Protection

The most important feature for a bike lock is the degree of protection it provides. While burly chain locks do a great job, and smaller cable locks can be snipped through with just a set of bolt cutters, the truth is that every lock is bypassable in one way or another. Nothing is perfect, and anything can be cracked with the proper tools, time, planning, and patience. Locks are still very valuable though. The reason for buying a motorcycle lock is to act a strong deterrent and not make your ride an easy target.

The 10 Best Motorcycle Locks 2020

1. Best Overall Motorcycle Lock: Oxford OF3 Boss Alarm Disc Lock

Oxford OF3 Boss Alarm Disc Lock


Why we like it: The Oxford Boss evades categorization, it’s a multipurpose and sturdy approach to lock technology—and it is that utilitarian multifunctionality that puts it on top of our list.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

Lock Type: Brake Disc Lock, Shackle Lock, can also be used with Chain and Cable Locks

Material: Steel

Review

The Oxford Boss Alarm Disc Lock is a burly alarm-equipped lock meant to provide serious protection. At over $100, it’s not cheap, especially considering that you’ll probably want to buy a chain to go with it. However, in terms of build quality, versatility, and alarm volume, it’s an easy pick for the top of our list.

While it does work by itself as a disc brake lock, fitting into the disc brake rotor to prevent roll-off theft, it works best in tandem with a chain lock like the Kryptonite New York Noose. With that, you can hook up the bike frame itself to the locking mechanism or lock it to some type of anchor point. The lock mechanism is rubberized and pick-proof.

The 100-decibel alarm is loud and sensitive, but not sensitive enough that it gets accidentally set off. It comes with batteries, so it’s ready to go right out of the box. The alarm is detachable, so the lock functions as a shackle lock by itself if you don’t care for that functionality. The 14mm steel shackle is difficult to cut through and passes the critical ‘five-minute attack test’—if a thief hasn’t broken through the lock in five minutes, they’re much more likely to call off the attempt. This model passes with flying colors.

If we had one complaint it would be price. After all, this piece of equipment is fundamentally just a disc brake lock. But spend a few bucks on a chain and it becomes much more than that, and while it is more expensive than some comparable products, it’s absolutely worth the price. Besides, paying a little over $100 to protect a bike worth thousands of dollars? That’s worth it, in our book.

Degree of Protection

In tandem with a chain and a sturdy anchor point, the Oxford OF3 boss is one of the most solid options available. Threaded through a disc rotor, the shackle style lock is slightly more vulnerable to angle grinder attacks than other disc lock designs. The loud 100db alarm makes up for the vulnerability, and the versatility means you can use the lock by itself outside of the café, as well as at home with a burly chain and anchor point.

Pros

  • Versatile technology works in multiple use cases
  • 14mm steel shackle
  • Built-in alarm
  • Pick-proof

Cons

  • Expensive for this category
  • Needs a chain for maximum efficacy

2. Best Anchor Lock: Kryptonite Stronghold

Kryptonite Stronghold


Why we like it: A sturdy drill-in anchor point is about as thief-proof as money can buy.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

Lock Type: Anchor Lock

Material: Carbon Alloy Steel

Review

The Kryptonite Stronghold is the only anchor lock to make our list, as others on the market are inadequate with regards to security, installation, and price. Although the category of products is relatively lackluster, Kryptonite knocks it out of the park with a lock that’s secure, well thought out, and relatively inexpensive considering its vault-like dependability.

Kryptonite’s first clever idea with this lock comes by way of the design philosophy. Other anchor locks take a generalist approach to the product class, making something that could be a grill lock, a bike lock, or even a canoe lock. And that’s where they fail, those designs lack specificity. The Kryptonite Stronghold is a shackle that physically drills into the ground meant as a motorcycle attachment point, whether that point is in your garage, driveway, or parking spot.

Once drilled in, it stays there. The proprietary and included drill bits dig irreversibly into concrete or asphalt, meaning that no thief (or even yourself) can take it out without serious hardware—and that’s why it’s so secure. Once installed it becomes the motorcycle equivalent of a permanent tattoo, with no turning back permitted. Kryptonite backs this permanence up with a lifetime warranty, along with all of their other products. For $100, best-in-class security seems like a great deal.

This system doesn’t work by itself, though, as it’s just a solid anchoring point in the ground You’ll need to pick up a chain lock like the Kryptonite New York Noose or the Trimax Thex to lock the bike to the anchor point itself.

Degree of Protection

This product is perfect for someone who’s looking to lock up a bike in a garage or a driveway and needs maximum security. Those looking for a portable lock, or just a non-permanent solution, should look elsewhere. But in combination with a sturdy chain, this is as secure as you can get.

Pros

  • Top-of-the-line security
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Can’t be removed
  • Inexpensive for security offered

Cons

  • Need to buy additional chain lock
  • Permanent

3. Best Disc Brake Lock: Kryptonite Keeper 5s

Kryptonite Keeper 5s


Why we like it: An inexpensive disc brake lock for riders who need a simple yet sturdy protection method.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

Lock Type: Disc Brake Lock

Material: Weatherproof Steel

Review

The Kryptonite Keeper 5s is an inexpensive but effective disc brake lock, attaching to the brake rotor to prevent roll-off and ride-away theft. The thin locking mechanism fits on all sizes of disc rotors without compromising security. With a solid steel construction and clever design, the theft protection per dollar spent on this lock is truly exceptional. The lock body itself is made of weatherproof steel and the lock mechanism is a cylinder disc-style model, meaning it’s hard to pick.

The lock is solid but not brawny, which is good if you’re looking for something lightweight, but perhaps insufficient for very high-crime and high-traffic areas. Kryptonite includes two keys with the lock, but they also have a lost key program in place just in case you misplace your backup. Remember to register online so that you have access to that program if you happen to lose both keys.

A disc brake lock can sometimes be problematic because it’s easy to forget to unlock, and if you try to roll away with the lock still attached, you can end up damaging your rotor, caliper, and forks. The Kryptonite Keeper mitigates this risk by using an orange cable that attaches to your handlebar as a reminder to unlock before riding off. For maximum lifespan, remember to lubricate the locking mechanism every few months, as the keyhole can seize up when exposed to the elements.

Degree of Protection

The lock, due to its inaccessible design, provides a high level of security. Both bolt cutters and angle grinders are difficult to use against this lock due to the way it attaches to the disc rotor. The only flaw with security is the same flaw experienced by all disc locks—a motivated thief can steal the motorcycle simply by removing the wheel and taking the rest of the bike in a van or truck.

Pros

  • High value per dollar
  • Hard to pick
  • Fits all types of brake rotors
  • Key replacement program

Cons

  • Less secure than other types of locks
  • Requires occasional lubrication
  • Could damage motorcycle if not careful

4. Best Chain Lock: Kryptonite New York Noose

Kryptonite New York Noose


Why we like it: A heavy chain and shackle lock combo is good for locking up to an anchor point, or even just for locking to itself.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

Lock Type: Chain Lock and Shackle Lock

Material: Manganese Steel

Review

Although Kryptonite initially manufactured these types of chain locks for bicycles, the New York Noose is an expansion on the bike-specific lineup, adding some motorcycle-friendly touches. The lock is composed of a 4.25-foot manganese steel 12mm chain and a Kryptonite stainless steel shackle lock mechanism. The $100-ish chain and shackle combination is covered in a sturdy nylon fabric sheath, providing another layer of protection against bolt cutters.

While chain locks are still somewhat vulnerable to attacks with angle grinders, compared with simple cable locks of the same thickness, the actual metal itself is harder to keep in place while cutting and therefore more time consuming to cut through. With enough time, though, it can be done—there is no foolproof protection method. However, the combination of a 12mm manganese steel chain and 14mm rubber-coated steel shackle will definitely take some time to crack.

At over seven pounds, this lock is not particularly portable or maneuverable. To use it, you can wrap up the wheels and frame to prevent rolling off, but for maximum efficacy, you will need to lock up against something. You can hook to the chain up to an anchor point like a post, rack, railing, or even an anchor lock like the Kryptonite Stronghold.

Degree of Protection

With a 12mm chain and a 14mm shackle, if you’re locked up to an fixed point, it’ll be hard to crack. As with all chains, it’s at risk of angle grinder attacks, but even the burliest of bolt cutters will be hard-pressed to make it through. Although it’s not perfect, the lock is one of the most secure available.

Pros

  • Both chain and shackle lock included
  • High level of security
  • Thick 14mm rubber-coated steel
  • Long 4.25-foot chain

Cons

  • Heavy and difficult to transport
  • Need to lock up to an anchor point for maximum protection

5. Trimax Thex 5 Foot Super Chain with U-Lock

Trimax Thex 5 Foot Super Chain with U-Lock


Why we like it: A steel shackle lock comes with a five-foot chain at half the price of competitors.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

Lock Type: Chain Lock and Shackle Lock

Material: Solid Steel

Review

Like it’s more expensive cousin the Kryptonite New York Noose, the Trimax Thex contains two distinct components: a burly chain for wrapping up the bike, and an actual shackle lock to latch the bike in place. The solid steel chain is 5 feet, and the lock itself is made with a 12mm solid steel alloy shackle.

This lock has large loops on the end of the chain that allow it to wrap back over itself, which makes it easier to lock things further away from the anchor point. Other chains that end in a standard chain loop have less ability to be maneuvered and can’t wrap around themselves. The chain itself is sufficiently long to lock up all parts of the motorcycle. The shackle component of the lock kit is small, has a cheap-feeling plastic coating, and a thinner gauge steel than the chain.

The lock is quite inexpensive at only around $50, but its build quality is noticeably worse than other premium products, with cheap-feeling welds, plastic construction, and no use of the most modern alloys like manganese steel that we’ve come to expect with other products. It’s heavy at around 11 pounds, and that can be a good or bad thing—while being inconvenient to lug around, the heavy-gauge metal will stand up to bolt cutters.

Degree of Protection

With the thick steel chain covered in a cut-resistant fabric, the weakest link here is the shackle lock mechanism itself. A relatively thin-gauge steel forms the lock’s main body, and the locking mechanism is relatively easy to pick compared with more expensive cylinder-style mechanisms. While security might not be as great as expensive models, it will still do a fine job of thwarting all but the most prepared of thieves.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Solid steel chain
  • Convenient chain loops

Cons

  • Pickable lock mechanism
  • Plastic construction
  • Thin shackle

6. Best Handlebar Lock: BigPantha Motorcycle Lock

BigPantha Motorcycle Lock


Why we like it: An unobtrusive and inexpensive handlebar lock is the easiest and most convenient way to prevent opportunistic theft.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

Lock Type: Handlebar Lock

Material: Aluminum

Review

With a shiny red color, the BigPantha Motorcycle lock is not only a security device, but also a deterrent for opportunistic thieves wandering around the bike corral. The lock functions by fastening around the throttle and the brake level of the motorcycle, preventing the motorcycle from being rolled or driven away. It uses a standard round key similar to a mailbox lock, so it has the unfortunate flaw that it can picked with a little bit of time and knowledge.

The lock is inexpensive, made out of a lightweight aluminum that is solid enough to resist any casual attacks. Even with tools, based on its location, it is hard to damage the lock without damaging the bike itself. It works on handlebars up to 1.5 inches in diameter, which will cover all but the thickest of grips. The construction, while lightweight, can’t help but feel a little cheap.

Like disc brake locks, this handlebar lock is more effective as a deterrent while out and about than as a method of overnight protection in high-theft areas. This lock is best for a rider who only needs a lock while out and about, or someone who has a heavy-duty lock at home but wants something a little bit more portable for riding around. Portability is a major strong suit—the lock only weighs about a pound. The product includes a convenient holster so the lock can stay on your waist, ready for near-instantaneous use at quick food or gas station stops.

Degree of Protection

This is probably one of the least thief-proof methods in the lineup, targeted at motorcycle riders who are just looking for a temporary, portable lock that will deter opportunistic thieves. If you decide to purchase this lock, use it in combination with another method of protection or keep your motorcycle behind closed doors at night and only use this at ride stops.

Pros

  • Lightweight aluminum
  • Comes with holster
  • Prevents roll-away attempts
  • Low price

Cons

  • More of a deterrent than a lock
  • Lock is easily pickable
  • Cheap feeling construction

7. Best Premium Lock: ABUS Granit Detecto X Plus

ABUS Granit Detecto X Plus


Why we like it: One of the most robust locks available brings beefy protection and an alarm for a hefty price.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

Lock Type: Brake Disc Lock

Material: Hardened Steel

Review

Expanding on simpler brake disc locks, the ABUS Granit incorporates serious protection and some computerized touches, albeit for a high price. The lock attaches to the front or rear disc rotor, although the half-inch steel bolt might not fit through smaller rotor holes on smaller dual-sport and trail bikes.

While the ABUS Granit’s expensive price tag is due partly to the expensive hardened steel, most of the difference is caused by Abus’ 3D detection system which spits out 100 decibels when any movement is detected. The alarm is quite sensitive, and while it’s better to be safe than sorry, it’s frustrating to have your own lock chirp at you whenever you get too close. Redeeming the alarm system is a feature that enables the lock to detect when it’s actually locked to a rotor, so it will never beep when hanging out in a saddle bag or jacket pocket.

As with all disc brake locks, you can conceivably start up the bike and begin to roll off with the lock still attached, causing damage to the brake and forks. But our biggest issue with this lock is its high price. This disc lock is over five times as expensive as the Kryptonite Keeper 5s, but it’s hard to imagine that it provides over five times the theft protection. For this reason, it falls a couple of spots on our list.

Degree of Protection

While this is the one of the most unbreakable disc brake locks on the market, it is still subject to the weaknesses of other disc brake locks, namely, that the wheel can be removed in most cases more easily than the lock itself. While a criminal will have a heck of a time breaking through the ABUS Granit, all the protection in the world won’t stop him from leaving the wheel and taking the rest of the bike.

Pros

  • Solid steel construction foils thieves
  • Alarm incorporated into lock
  • Half-inch locking bolt

Cons

  • High price
  • Oversensitive alarm

8. Best Budget Motorcycle Lock: Kryptonite Keeper 785

Kryptonite Keeper 785


Why we like it: A lightweight but effective lock meant for bikes ends up being useful for motorcyclists that need a lightweight chain.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

Lock Type: Chain Lock

Material: Manganese Steel

Review

While Kryptonite initially intended this product for bicycles, they ended up with something sturdy enough for motorcycle use but light enough to carry along on day trips. Compared with a chain like the Trimax Thex, which weighs over 10 pounds, the Keeper 785 at three pounds is light enough to throw in a small handlebar bag.

Other chains locks have two distinct components, the chain and a separate lock, but this chain incorporates the locking mechanism into the chain itself. This means you don’t have to carry or lock them together, the lock will always be ready to go. With other styles of lightweight locks, like handlebar locks or disc brake locks, you can’t actually attach to a fixed point. This chain is long enough to wrap around railings or signs to attach to some type of fixed anchor point.

With a sub-$50 price, this lock is pretty well made considering its cheap price. Build quality is average, but the nylon feels a little cheap, and the lock mechanism is coated in a different rubberized material than other kryptonite locks. Available in three colors and with the bonus perk of Kryptonite’s key-registration program, it’s good for anyone who wants something light enough to carry around in the day-to-day but who needs to lock up at a fixed location at night.

Degree of Protection

The disc-style cylinder locking mechanism (the actual lock mechanism itself, not the chain) is particularly difficult to pick, although the chain links are somewhat vulnerable to angle-grinders and to a lesser extent bolt cutters. While a nylon sleeve offers some protection, the 7mm manganese steel chain links simply aren’t as sturdy as the 12mm-plus sized links that we see on other chain models.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Mechanism is hard to pick
  • Inexpensive
  • Manganese steel chain

Cons

  • 7mm links easier to cut through than thicker chains
  • Cheapish build quality

9. Best Folding Motorcycle Lock: ABUS Bordo 5700

ABUS Bordo 5700


Why we like it: A compact design offers the form factor and fixed-point security of a chain with a high degree of portability and a cheap price tag.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

Lock Type: Folding Lock

Material: Steel

Review

For maximum portability and 5mm thick steel protection, the ABUS Bordo is a bicycle and motorcycle lock that can beat a set of bolt cutters and still fit in your pocket. It’s a more compact alternative to a chain, able to fit its playing-card sized profile into a pocket. While it works in the same way as a chain does, locking to a fixed anchor point, it’s not long enough to wrap around a motorcycle frame and wheel—you get one or the other, and it’s inflexible shape doesn’t help the issue.

However, in combination with a disc brake lock like the ABUS Granit Detecto X, the two could fit in a small tool roll or handlebar bag and still provide excellent, anchored-down protection without having to lug big, awkward locks around. While the small form factor is convenient, the 5mm steel doesn’t provide massive protection or cutting resistance.

The lock mechanism itself is key-based, utilizing a traditional tumbler to provide security. It’s a little less secure from lockpicking than disc cylinder lock mechanisms like the one used on the Kryptonite Keeper 5s, but still plenty secure from all but the most highly trained picklocks.

Degree of Protection

While the folding lock is convenient, packable, and inexpensive, it doesn’t offer a high degree of protection. An angle grinder will make quick work on this style of lock, and maybe even a determined thief with a set of bolt cutters could break through with some patience. All of this means that it’s better as a theft deterrent for a nice little Sunday ride than for serious overnight outdoor protection.

Pros

  • Compact and packable form factor
  • Lightweight
  • Relatively inexpensive

Cons

  • 5mm steel isn’t as theft-proof as thicker locks
  • Lock isn’t flexible

10. Trimax Yellow Hardened Metal Disc Lock

Trimax Yellow Hardened Metal Disc Lock


Why we like it: An ultra-affordable disc brake lock is a great backup theft-prevention method.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

Lock Type: Disc Brake Lock

Material: Hardened Steel

Review

As a budget disc brake lock, this piece of equipment feels like a less-sturdy version of the Kryptonite Keeper 5s, and it lacks the alarm of the ABUS Granit Detecto X. While it’s not our favorite, it is the least expensive, and it is the only lock in the sub-$25 price range on our list.

Its small form factor fits into an included carry pouch, which is great for quick stops during day rides. The lock includes three keys, one of which has a flashlight, so there are multiple backups available. A 10mm steel pin threads through the disc rotor to prevent roll-away theft. The lock itself turns smoothly with a picklock-proof disc cylinder lock mechanism.

Although this lock has similar specs and features to the high-end ABUS Granit Detecto X, it just feels cheaper in build quality. Everything down to the stickers feels like it hasn’t been thought out well. We just wish that Trimax would have been a little more thoughtful with its design decisions, including the ugly graphics, if we’re being honest.

Degree of Protection

While the location of the lock and its hardened steel construction makes it difficult to cut through, the design of the device is flawed. If the device stops the wheel from moving, the workaround is that the wheel can be removed given enough time. It’s not ineffective, because it’s a major inconvenience to remove the wheel, but it’s still not as effective as using a chain to lock to a stationary object. In tandem with a chain, though, or just as a theft deterrent, it can be quite effective.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Works well in tandem with a chain lock
  • Carry pouch and reminder cable
  • Picklock proof disc-cylinder lock mechanism

Cons

  • Disc brake locks can be bypassed by removing the wheel
  • Cheap build quality
  • No alarm

Guide to Buying the Best Motorcycle Lock for 2020

A motorcycle lock is a big investment, not due to the price of the lock itself, but due to the value of what the lock protects. Since you can really only fit one or two types of lock on a motorcycle, it’s key that you do the proper research to help deter or stop motorcycle thieves. Let’s look at some factors to consider when choosing a great motorcycle lock for you.

Where will you be parking the motorcycle?

Different riders have different approaches to motorcycle storage. Do you have a house with a garage where you can park your bike? In that case, you might only need protection for when you’re out on a Sunday ride and you want to make sure no one tampers with your bike.

For someone who only needs a lock for stops, something compact and packable like the BigPantha Handlebar Lock or the Trimax lock will be just fine. If you’re storing your motorcycle outside, you’ll probably want a weatherproof cover as well as something burly that you can lock up against some type of fixed anchor point.

What kind of motorcycle do you have?

There are a couple of considerations based on the type of motorcycle you own that can affect your lock purchase. Generally, the more expensive your motorcycle, the more likely of a target it is for thieves. If you’re riding a $750 beater, you’re fine with a chain, but if you’re riding a $20,000 BMW, you might want to really think about multiple lock mechanisms, a GPS device, and comprehensive theft insurance.

Smaller bikes are easier to lift away and throw into the back of a van, so if you have a lightweight motorcycle, you’ll want to make sure you lock it to a solid anchor point. For a bigger bike, you might be fine just locking it up to itself. Ask some other motorcycle owners with similar bikes what they use, they’ll have a good feel for what works and what doesn’t.

Will the lock fit your motorcycle?

The bigger the motorcycle, the longer the chain you’ll need to lock things up. Also consider that different motorcycles have different sized rotors, and if you’re buying a disc brake lock, double-check that the lock bolt diameter will fit in your rotor. If you’re buying a handlebar lock, make sure the handlebar diameter matches up. Whatever lock method you choose, just take a moment to critically think about what the use of that lock will look like in the real world, How will you carry it? How will you remember to use it? Being analytical and practical can you headaches down the road.

Do you want multiple protection methods?

In terms of protection, the more the better. Just make sure that you’re maximizing things economically and sensibly. It makes no sense to throw two disc brake locks on one wheel, but it does make sense to have a chain locking the wheels to the bike and another chain to anchor the bike to a fixed point. Don’t go overboard, but it doesn’t make you paranoid to want a little bit of extra security.

What else can I do to prevent theft?

A couple of common-sense defensive maneuvers can mitigate the risk of theft more than any alarm or insurance policy. A few tips:

  • Park your motorcycle in a high-visibility, high traffic area. The more eyeballs in one place, the less likely a thief will want to risk getting in trouble to steal a motorcycle.
  • Cameras are your friend! Whether you install one yourself, or even if you park your bike in front of a random security camera, it’ll make a thief think twice.
  • Make your motorcycle distinctive. Custom paint, stickers, and unique modifications not only make your bike personal, they also make your bike identifiable. A bike that’s easily identified is easily tracked down, and no one will steal your bike if they think they won’t be able to get away with it.
  • Park motorcycles together. A motorcycle thief won’t want to mess with a whole group of biker dudes. There’s safety in numbers.
  • If you’re out for a jaunt and leave your bike unattended, try to keep it in eyeshot or check on it frequently. A motorcycle heist takes time, and you might be able to stop it in the act.

Theft Deterrents

A lock is one thing, preventing a thief from stealing your bike in the event of an actual attempt. Another thing entirely is a theft deterrent, which prevents a thief from just trying to steal your bike. While deterrents don’t replace a solid lock by any means, they can be a nice added step to scare off anyone who might have bad intentions for your two-wheeled-friend.

Motorcycle Covers

While a lock will prevent a thief from running off with your bike, a fabric motorcycle cover can prevent a thief from even attempting to steal a bike. These $20 to $100 covers are simple and are usually universally sized for any type of motorcycle.

By covering up a bike and adding a cheap cover lock, it’s one more layer of protection a thief has to get through, but it’s also a way to draw attention away from a bike. By covering your bike, a passing criminal may not even notice the cycle, or more likely he won’t think it’s worth his time to find out if there’s something valuable under the cover.

These covers are quite cheap and have the side benefit of protecting your motorcycle from the elements. They also pack down tightly for storage in your saddlebags. If you’re not keeping your bike indoors, it’s a worthy investment for multiple reasons.

Alarms

Some locks come with a built-in alarm, but other alarms are designed to be attached independently or in conjunction with a lock. These alarms have a couple of different approaches or features but the main idea is this: if anyone messes with the bike, they start screaming. This can scare a thief off or draw enough attention to the motorcycle to thwart the theft.

Alarms can range from under $20 to several hundred dollars for premium live-streaming camera-equipped devices. If you are in an area with a lot of opportunistic theft, or if you’re forced to lock your bike up outside at night, an alarm system separate from your motorcycle lock is worth considering.

GPS Device

While a GPS device doesn’t necessarily stop a thief, it can certainly help track down the bike after the fact. Most of these devices are designed to be unobtrusive so that they are unnoticeable by a thief. The device sends a periodic ping via satellites so that you always know where your bike is located.

Most GPS devices are multi-featured, and some premium devices actually plug into your bike to monitor engine performance. Since GPS devices need to be outside to work properly, it’s best to buy a GPS that plugs directly into your motorcycle battery. This way, in case your bike is hidden away in a garage or shed for a few weeks, when it comes out it will have enough charge to send out a signal and you’ll be able to alert the proper authorities.

Types of Motorcycle Theft

Opportunistic Theft

The most common type of motorcycle theft is opportunistic theft, which means that a potential thief comes along, sees an easy target, and makes an attempt at stealing the bike. These attacks aren’t well thought out and these types of thieves typically don’t even have the proper tools. Even the simplest of locks will greatly reduce the possibility of one of your machines being stolen.

Coordinated Theft

Coordinated theft is a worrisome threat that is much more difficult to evade than casual opportunistic theft. Coordinated theft is most commonly perpetrated by a small group of criminals who looks for expensive bikes more than easy-to-take bikes. The most determined of these thieves will get your bike one way or another given enough time, so the best thing to do is keep your bike hidden behind locked doors at night.

While it’s hard to 100% thwart coordinated theft, the best way to protect against coordinated thieves is with a lock that actually attaches your motorcycle to a fixed point. This could be a railing, a bike rack, or even a self-installed locking anchor like the Kryptonite Stronghold. Bike covers can help prevent your bike from being considered too carefully, a GPS device will aid in recovery.

Where is Motorcycle Theft Most Common?

Motorcycle theft is problematic almost everywhere, with cities being particularly notorious for high quantities of theft. The suburbs are sometimes even worse, as quiet lanes and complacent motorcycle owners make for easy pickings. It’s always better to spend a couple hundred dollars on protection than a couple thousand on a brand new bike.

In terms of geography, warmer climates are the most dangerous, with California and Florida topping the list. There are about 50,000 bike thefts per year in the United States, and over 25% occur in those two states. New York, Texas, and the Carolinas are hotspots for stolen bikes as well. Thefts most commonly occur in the summer months, when riders are most active.

Theft Insurance

Most states require only motorcycle liability insurance, which covers expenses for the other parties involved in an accident that was your fault. Savvy motorcycle riders understand the value in comprehensive motorcycle insurance, which covers your bike in the event of any accident or issue.

Comprehensive policies can cover theft as well as fire, vandalism, and extreme weather damage. Make sure you read the fine print and the policy offers the coverage you’re looking for. If your bike is stolen without the right coverage, you’ll have to pay for replacement completely out of pocket. Many policies offer full replacement value.

While comprehensive motorcycle insurance can be pretty expensive, it’s the only way to completely eliminate the financial risk of a bike theft. Depending on the value of your bike and the risk of theft in your area, it’s definitely worth exploring. This great article takes an unbiased look at multiple insurance providers and the coverage they offer.

Wrapping Up

To have a great time on a motorcycle, you need to have a motorcycle, so it’s important to protect your investment against anyone who might want to take it from you. For a small price and a little bit of research, you can have a solid security system that will prevent theft or damage to your bike. Just a few minutes, dollars, and clicks can provide a peace of mind that will have you resting easy at home knowing your motorcycle is safe and sound.