Motorcycle Security: Keep Your Motorbike With A Top Notch Chain & Padlock
There are 2 big problems when owning a motorcycle and they are, falling off and keeping the damn thing! And we think more about our pride and joy being stolen than coming off. I've had a few bikes since my first bike, a Honda QR50 at 7 years old and a few have been stolen. Now that I have another bike I have been spending a lot of time looking at security. Looking at how we can secure our motorbike, What's availible to secure or bikes and what to look for in the different types of products. I've watched plenty of videos on youtube of bikes being stolen, so that I could see what thieves do when stealing someones motorcycle and what was missing to prevent it. It was quite shocking to watch. I've added a few videos below to show how easy it is for someone to take your bike. As I said previously I've had bike stolen in the past and still amazes me how they're never heard or seen. My brothers bike was stolen when we were kids and the thieves stripped my bike to get to it as the were chained together! The videos show what the best method is to give you any real chance of keeping your bike.
The first video shows a walk around a rather tasty ZX6R by it's owner. Now this isn't a theft vid but the reason why I have added this video is because the owner shows his top notch alarm that's been installed on the bike. In the comments box though the owner says the bike was stolen. This video put a stop to me looking for an upgrade alarm. I did watch a step by step on how to install an alarm on your bike and there really wasn't much to it. If an alarm is going off how many people take any notice, if the alarm also has an immobiliser this is useless too as rarely is bike ever riden away. These alarms can be easily removed once the bike has been stolen. An alarm is a deterant but it does'nt stop your bike from being physically taken like it would a car. You might want an alarm so that if you ever heard it you'd know to act but the whole point of security is to be able to leave the bike.
Have you ever had your motorbike stolen?
Next up we have a bike parked up in broad daylight on a busy street with cars and pedestrians walking past. We're told to keep our bike in well lit busy areas rather than trying to hide them away in the darkness. This is supposed to deter thieves from stealing your bike as they'll be seen and potentially be disturbed. This video is a little long but skip it to the minute mark and you'll see these cheeky chappies ( have to keep this hub clean ) take this bike with people and cars going past. Im starting to see a them here now and that is you need something to stop your bike from being literally picked and taken away. Now my search was on to find the best chain a padlock out there. If the bike was chained to the poles nearby this bike may not have been stolen this time. Although chain can be cut it takes a real effort to get through a good one and if you have a pair of bolt croppers near a bike, you're going to stand out.
Oxford Chain and Padlocks
So I started searching for chains and padlocks and what the key features were to look out for. There's a great saying, a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link.The Chains and padlocks on market all looked the same but I knew there must be some differences so I put in Thatcham approved Chains. This means Thatcham have approved the chain for it resistance ability and is recognised by insurance compaines over here in the UK. If you're reading from the US check out Kryptonite Locks. Owning a Thatcham approved chain could also reduce your insurance premium. The difference between these and normal chains and padlocks is the quality of steel is far superior, the links are thicker, the braided wrap is reinforced and the padlock is pick proof. A company that stood out and I've often seen used on bikes is Oxford Chains. The range of chains and padlocks is huge and they don't just do security. I was in a hurry to get a chain as I was paranoid about my bike. I knew which ever Oxford chain I bought I knew I was going to get a quality chain. I ended up getting a 1M Oxford heavy duty chain. This chain looks the business, the squared links, the braided wrap and quality padlock. The padlock can also be used as a disc lock on its own. The only thing i've had to do since owning the Chain is oil the padlock, as it was a little dry and the keys were sticking which is to be expected from a new chain. Since oiling the padlock it has been effortless to use. Oxford chains also come with 3 keys and a key code tag. Oxford proved a service that lets you get a key cut if you lose your keys, but know the code. This service is great! So if you buy an Oxford Chain make sure wirte the code down and keep it with your docs aswell as keeping the code tag and spares seperate. When I bought this chain I went for the 1M chain to reduce the weight as I knew I was going to be carrying this about when riding. After using this I wish I had paid a bit extra and got the 1.5m Oxford Heavy Duty Chain as I did find on some occasions that it wasn't long enough. The 1m chain is perfect for where I keep my bike. I am very happy with chain and can see why so many people have them.
5 Things You Can Do To Secure Your Bike
1. Chain off the ground: Raising your chain off the ground is better than having it on the ground. Raising the chain makes leverage more difficult which is needed for the use of bolt croppers.
2. Make your bike imovable: This means chaining your bike to something this can be sign post or if you have a garage fit a ground anchor. If you don't have a garage and leave your bike on the drive you could chain your bike to your car if it has alloy wheels or the toeing eye if it's large enough. If you don't have a chain, use disc locks. Having 2 disc locks is even better, one infront and behind the brake caliper.
3. Chain the frame if possible: We mostly chain through the wheels as this is the easiet way to secure our bikes but wheels can be taken off. Depending on your bike it may be possible to chain through the frame or swing arm. This is better.
4.Chain to something solid and secure: An obvious one but if you chain your bike to something a little vulnerable then this will be taken advantage of. Thieves will always look for the easiest option and weakest link.
5. Use more than one chain and security device: You cant make a first impression twice. If your bike and security looks like it's going to be agg to steal , they'll move on and find something easier rather attempting a theft.
I'm not naive to think that a chain and padlock will stop a thief completely but they're are the best security device to make the job most difficult. So make sure you secure your bike to something solid whenever you leave it out of sight for a decent period of time. An alarm can go off the whole time the bike it's being stolen but it doens't stop it from being taken a chain does. It's highly unlikely a thief would "pick" a padlock, the easiest way is to cut it with a pair of Bolt croppers. Any reputable chain maufacture will test their chains against a pair of bolt croppers. The Oxford heavy duty chain will need a fair amount of time to be cut through with a pair of hand held bolt croppers. Now I do know that a pair of extended bolt croppers can get through a chain pretty quickly if the thief can get the right leverage. Making you chain awkward to get to and raised off the ground makes cutting a chain harder. Large bolt croppers are not something that can carry about in a bag. Because I had seen some chains being cut with large bolt croppers I noticed a couple of things, first off the thief would need a decent amount of space to do this especially with a pair of large bolt croppers. The chain needed to be on the ground, if you raise the chain it make it more difficult. The last thing I noticed was it takes a lot of energy to crop a chain. This lead me to get another chain because if there were 2 to crop it would make double difficult and I also looked for something even more chunkier. As I was happy with my Oxford HD Chain I looked to see what else Oxford had on offer. The next beefier chain was the Hardcore XL which has 12mm thick links, this was good but not good enough, then I found the 1.5m Oxford Monster Chain & Lock. This chain has a whopping 14mm thick links, which is 4mm up on the Oxford HD chain and 2mm up on the Oxford XL Hardcore. This will definitely slow a thief down if not stop them altogether and I have the HD chain aswell. As you can see I bought the 1.5m version this time and it makes such a difference with making things easier but I don't carry this one about.
All in all I am very happy with my Security set up, Yes the chains can be cropped but they would need space and it would take time to do this. Chains and padlocks physically stop your bike being moved and taken like you can with an alarm. I've coupled my chains with some disc locks also, this makes manouverability even more difficult. You should always buy the best you can buy scrimping on chains and locks defeats the object. Yes we can't spend the whole time thinking about our bikes being stolen but prevention is better than the cure. Once you have bought quality security like I have above then you can have peace of mind knowing that you have done your upmost to protect your bike.