The Best Way to Beat the Thieves
Nobody wants to think about having their motorcycle or ATV stolen, and while social media might have you believe it’s commonplace, the chances of losing your bike or ATV are actually very slim, especially if you lock it up.
But while police forces around the country have had significant success in reducing motorcycle and ATV crime – not least the Met with Operation Venice – bike theft does happen, and you do need to be aware of it.
“How can I stop my motorcycle being stolen?”
Given enough time and equipment, a determined thief will get through any security, but a huge proportion of machines are left with nothing more than their steering lock engaged, which on any bike is easily snapped; most thieves don’t need to bother with angle grinders when there are such easy pickings.
Factory-fitted immobilisers like Honda’s HISS make it harder for the motorcycle to be started, but with chop shops stripping bikes down to sell the parts, this isn’t a concern to many thieves who’ll push the bike away with a mate on a scooter or load it into a van.
The first step to keeping your bike secure is to use the best chain and lock you can afford (and can carry). It’s worth the investment, as decent kit should last you a lifetime; look for Sold Secure approved products to ensure they’ve been properly certified (and could offer a discount on your insurance), and also read independent reviews like those on BikeSocial.co.uk to find the best security for you.
Always try to chain your bike to something if you can, but at least use a quality disc-lock as it’ll help to prevent the bike being pushed away; in London especially, thieves are more likely to do this (have you ever tried driving a van through the capital?). You should also use a cover if you can – surprisingly, covering your bike significantly reduces the chances of it being stolen as it’s more hassle for the thieves and they don’t know what’s under there, or what security they need to deal with.
“How can I stop my ATV from being stolen?”
Keep your ATV locked. Wherever you keep your ATV, make sure it is behind a locked door. This could be in your garage, inside a locked shed or in a locked trailer.
Don’t keep the ATV far from your house. Having the ATV enclosed in a locked room that is connected to your house, such as a garage, is your best bet. Even if your ATV is locked in an outdoor shed, if someone can break the lock and get it without waking you up, the deterrence level is too low. So, if you have to keep it in an outdoor shed or in a trailer or something similar, you want that location as close to your house as possible so that it is within your sight and hearing.
Have a chain and lock system. Wherever you store your ATV, have it locked with a chain. This is really simple but is going to go a long way in securing your ATV. You need to be smart about how you chain up the ATV though. If you lock inside your shed around a 2-inch wooden pole, it will be easy to break that pole and take the ATV. Also, make sure you are using a good quality lock and chain that isn’t going to be easy to break.
Look at getting ground anchors. Ground anchors are a pretty cool security tool that you can install in your garage or shed or wherever you store your ATV. They are basically an anchor bolted or concreted into the floor that have a connection for a chain and padlock.
Put padlocks through the brake rotors. This one only works if your ATV has drilled brake rotors, but if it does, this is an easy way to keep someone from being able to roll your ATV. It is also a great method to use when you are camping or somewhere else where you can’t use your normal chain and lock system.
“I’ve heard that the police don’t care about stolen bikes”
This simply isn’t true. Motorcycle and scooter theft is targeted by forces around the country. Besides the loss to individuals, stolen bikes go on to be used in often violent crimes by serious criminals or are stripped by professional gangs. But it is true that, should your bike be stolen, the police are unlikely to have the resource to send an officer to the scene of the crime; if you were unfortunate enough to be a victim of bike theft, you’d most likely be given a crime number and told to speak to your insurer. If a bike doesn’t have a tracker, once it’s gone, there’s little the police can do or find at the scene. But that’s not the end of it.
Every crime is recorded, and the intelligence gathered forms a detailed picture of what the criminals are doing. You might remember a video of a gang attempting to steal a motorcycle in Soho, threatening bystanders with angle grinders and hammers. You probably haven’t realised that, after several years of investigation and piecing together evidence from other crimes, those masked criminals were caught and sentenced to a total of 12 years in prison. The road to conviction is a long one – so rarely do the victims of theft realise that – eventually, the perpetrators often face justice.
“How can I help to beat the thieves?”
Locking your bike and ATV up will mean you’re at far less risk of having it stolen, but in a worst case scenario, having a quality monitored tracker fitted will, in at least 95% of cases, see your bike recovered very quickly; usually in as little as 30 to 40 minutes.
Honda has partnered with Datatool to offer all of its motorcycle and ATV customers one of the leading tracking systems: TrakKING Adventure.
Professionally installed, it’s a Thatcham-approved, waterproof device with full battery backup and a team monitoring it 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
With the important safety feature of ‘G Sense’ which uses a highly sensitive 3D accelerometer to detect rollovers or high g-force on your motorcycle or ATV you’ll receive a text message on your mobile phone with the news. If it’s moved outside the small automatic geofence area, the unit will contact Datatool with its exact location, where one of the dedicated operators will call you to check if you’re with the bike or ATV. If you’re not, they’ll continue to track every movement of the machine while you get a crime number from the police (this takes just one quick phone call). From there Datatool will liaise directly with officers to track and recover your motorcycle.
Datatool’s uniquely accurate GPS system – which uses three separate constellations (GPS, GLONAS and Galileo) for a total of 72 potential satellites – can accurately locate a bike even if it’s inside a van being driven away.
Because there’s such a high chance of catching the thieves in the act, the police will respond very quickly; the potential to bring down a gang of criminals responsible for multiple thefts is very real, and it’s not unusual for officers to find several other stolen bikes thanks to one tracker.
A tracker allows you to keep a constant eye on where your bike or ATV is, and if be quickly alerted if anyone is tampering with it. For very real peace of mind, they’re well worth having, but TrakKING Adventure can also record all of your journeys, offers crash alert notification to your loved ones, and the option of a direct to 999 call in the event of an accident. Location-based alerts can also be enabled (perhaps to remind you to pay a toll), yet all this technology is housed in a small, easily hidden box that draws a tiny current from your bike’s battery. If that battery does get low, the device will even let you know…
You can read independent reviews of trackers, including Datatool’s TrakKING, by visiting BikeSocial’s security pages.
Four steps to keeping your bike safe
• If you don’t have a garage or other secure area, park your bike somewhere visible, rather than in a secluded street – criminals prefer not to have an audience.
• Lock it up – if you’re out and about at least use a disc lock, but where possible chain it to something solid.
• Cover it – it really is a useful deterrent as thieves don’t know what’s underneath, or what security they need to tackle.
• Fit a tracker – you’ll have peace of mind wherever you are, and if the worst did happen, you’re extremely likely to get your bike back (and the criminals could well get caught with it).
Don’t let a fear of crime spoil the enjoyment to be had in motorcycling – by following our simple steps you can rest easy and with Honda’s offer of a free, fully-fitted Datatool TrakKING Adventure for every buyer of a new or used Honda motorcycle or ATV from franchised dealers, there’s every opportunity to make sure your machine stays yours. For more information on Honda’s exclusive Datatool TrakKING offer, click here.