Best Motorcycle Security – How to keep your motorcycle safe

Motorcycle thieves must be grateful that seven out of 10 owners still leave their machines unlocked in city bike parks.

Dr Ken German – Head of technology and vehicle crime at the Met, as well as president of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators.

There’s a popular saying, ‘If you want to catch a thief you’ve got to think like one.’ Would you steal a bike with a chain, or the one beside it with no chain?

A determined thief will go to any lengths, but they will always choose the ‘easy’ looking target first! If your motorcycle just ‘looks’ more difficult to steal, it is proven to be much less likely to be targeted.

So your first line of defence is to have your motorcycle secured making it clear to the thief that stealing your motorcycle is going to cause them some real trouble. Your goal is to make the potential thief think that your motorcycle is just too much ‘bother’. The opportunist thief will 9/10 times move on to find an easier target!  

Remember thieves are smart! The majority of organised criminals consider only stealing a bike that they know can be broken up for parts easily. (Read more about ‘Data Tagging’ below.) 

The most common way motorbikes are stolen is to simply left it from the ground, and put it into the back of a van. The thief does not even need to know how to ride the motorcycle! An alarm might help in this instance (the noise may cause them to give up loading it and run) but as I have said above, your best option to make things difficult: The first step, is finding a good ground anchor (like a lamppost) and second, using a certified hardened chain! While your motorcycle would be reasonably secure with the right lock and chain (and it is a certainly the number one great ‘obstacle’) some thieves have learned just to remove the wheel where you have the chain attached, and load the rest of the bike into their van with just one wheel! (Have you considered putting your lock and chain through part of the engine mounting brackets or frame instead of the wheel?). If your bike is loaded into a van, a good GPS tracking system is one of your only avenues of recourse. (Learn more about GPS tracking systems below!) 

Where you park matters. 

Do some research before you leave home; your best option (this is not always possible!) is to park your motorcycle in an official, covered car park, monitored by a security. If you are parking at the side of a road or a street, lookout for pubic street security cameras (these often are quite well hidden on poles in many public areas, on footpaths and around towns and city centers). One the best options for parking I have found, is to look out for government buildings (like court houses, police stations, and other public buildings) – these building often have security camera’s mounted around their walls / perimeters; so use these places (and their security systems) to for your own advantage; simple make sure you park near enough to them and suddenly their monitoring systems are now your personal motorcycle security cameras!  (I suggest you take a slow walk around the area you normally park at and scout the buildings for cameras and surveillance equipment – this is the one instance when it is great that Big Brother is watching!)

Another tip is that I always prefer parking my motorcycle where there are lots of people – do not opt for a quiet dark side street, or a quiet side road on the outskirts! Motorcycles thieves do not like to operate in areas where there are lots of people around.

At home, a brick built garage with a concrete floor, and security door is your best option. (Tell your insurance insurance if you are able to keep your bike in a garage, they will usually reduce your insurance premium!) Failing that, if you can just get your motorcycle to the back of your property, please do so, do leave it on the kerb at the front of your house if you can at all avoid it. Even at home – chain it up! Apply all the security that you normally would if you were parking at the side of any public street in the middle of town. Remember your job is to make things difficult for an opportunist. 

So what else can you teach me about protecting my motorcycle?

Did you know the Motorcycle Industry Association (MIA) launched a new scheme to help bike buyers easily see what level of security about cars before they buy.  A star is awarded for:

1. Standard steering lock

2. Ignition immobilizer

3. A forensic marking system

4. Alarm

5. Tracker

To receive 5 Stars about would need to have all 5 items fitted. ( If you added a brake disc lock for example – that would be considered ‘aftermarket’ and therefore that would be outside the scope of this as a ‘new bike’ rating system.)

We at feel that is a great system you can easily apply when considering your next motorcycle, even if it doesn’t have an “official” MIA certification! Simply rank the motorcycles you are looking at using this simple star system yourself! Why not  improve your own motorcycles ‘safety ranking’ by adding some of these features, and give your own motorcycle a ‘rating’ to help market it when selling it onward? 

Now let us learn even more about the range of specific tools and systems available to you that you need to help protect your pride and joy.

1. Wheel disc locks and a chain.  

As you have learnt above, the majority of bike thefts are still opportunistic and can be avoided with good locks as a deterrent. While the opportunist thief will be able to ‘get around’ and break some weaker locks, it is important to put this impediment in place. Declaring you have an appropriate recognised disc lock for your motorcycle can even help reduce some insurance premiums. Get a quality lock and chain right now.

2. Data tagging

Now we are getting more advanced! Data tagging systems include covert marking systems to help identify your motorcycle even if the number plate is changed or your chassis number is is altered. Data tagging can take a number of forms including microdots, UV pen markers, tamper proof stickers and many more). These things are easy to apply, I can recommend this product as a good option. Some insurers will reduce your premium by if you declare you have a data tagging system in place.

3. GPS tracking

Adding one of these systems will bring your motorcycle security to another level. The cost of these advanced systems is a very small price to pay to have peace of mind. We at smart motorcycling guide believe having a GPS tracker is the definition of ‘smart motorcycling’. 

The best systems will have a built-in SIM card with a GSM connection, they effectively allow the tracker to broadcast tracking information using mobile phone technology. Despite this being one of the more advanced security systems that you can buy , they are very easy to install and often have no wiring. The most important thing to consider when installing these gadgets is that they can be reasonably bulky : you want to find somewhere to mount your tracker that is very difficult to find, simply placing it under your seat is not a good idea!

4. Alarms

A security alarm on your motorcycle it designed to emit an audible noise to to tear a thief when they try to tamper with your motorcycle or or your lock. Simple, effective, smart.

So I would encourage you not to make Motorcycle thieves ” grateful ” that you have simply have not bothered to secure your ride.

Stay safe and ride smart.

The Best Heated Grips for Motorcycling – Are heated Grips Worth it?

If could hands KILL you.. could “Heated Grips” save your life?

— Learn more before it’s too late!

Whether you are riding out early on a chilly summer morning, or, on a cold crisp winter afternoon – seriously cold hands will impact most motorcyclists at some point in their riding career but is this actually dangerous, and if it is actually dangerous, are heated grips worth it? What is the best heated grips for your motorcycle? Do heated grips have any disadvantages? What exactly are heated grips and how do you install them? What about heated gloves?

Are heated grips worth it?

You need to have good feeling in your fingers to control your bike properly. If your hands get too cold, they get numb, and you are in trouble! While heated gloves definitely do have a place, it becomes more difficult to control your bike when your gloves are 4 inches thick. (That being said, heated gloves can be used in conjunction with heated grips for ‘double toasty’ hands – follow up article is the works on heated gloves!)

While you can add multiple layers to your torso and legs to help insulate against the cold, it is difficult to add multiple layers on your hands!

Losing feeling in your fingers or having less control of your hands while riding a motorcycle may contribute to you losing control – so yes, cold hands could kill you. Remember your (front) brakes are controlled by your fingers and hands – you need to be able to react quickly, with accuracy and with good feeling at all times. Additionally, any rider will tell you how dangerous it is to have something uncomfortable niggling at you while on the road. Distractions that take your mind off what you should be doing (concentrating 100% on your riding performance) are a serious safety concern. Do not underestimate how distracting painfully cold hands are.

For those of you who have not started motorcycling yet – or for those fortunate enough to have never ridden their motorcycle on anything but a sunny warm may seem a little dramatic to talk about ‘losing feeling in your fingers!? Don’t underestimate the wind chill factor!

The Wind chill Factor
For motorcycle riders, wind chill factor is of particular importance. For example if you are travelling at 20mph the ambient temperature may be 0 °C, but the wind chill can bring the temperature you experience to approximately -6 °C! Similarly, if the ambient temperature is 0 °C and you are travelling at just 45mph the wind chill is approximately -9 °C.

The risk of frostbite increases at -5℉ with low wind speeds. In a wind chill around -17℉, frostbite can occur in 30 minutes or less. One of the first of several signs of frostbite to be aware of is a prickly, burning sensation followed by numbness.

What are Heated Grips?

Heated grips replace your standard handlebar grips, they are manufactured with tiny wire heating elements inside them. These elements are powered by your motorcycle battery, and can have many different features for example a thermostat for exact temperature control, automatic cut-off, etc.

What are the issues with heated grips? Battery consumption, and some added strain on your alternator and regular rectifier. (Without going into the detail, these are parts of your electrics that deal with regulating and rectifying AC / DC power in your bike’s electrical circuits, taking generated power from your alternator and allowing it to be converted into a form that allows you to run lights and heated grips!) The manufacture’s of the products we have listed for your below have all go through rigorous testing and safety protocols – but always remember to switch off your heated grips when your bike is not running!.

Do I need a mechanic to fit them?
Fitting electric motorcycle heated grips should take the ‘average person’ no more than one hour max. You will only need some very basic tools and the ability to follow instructions!

Basic tools?
To begin with you will need to consider how to remove your existing grips. So safety knife is essential. Also consider getting some contact adhesive a spray can (or hairspray) as a good grip tack in case your grips do come with any supplied. You will also need some basic spanners, maybe a small socket set, a set of good Allen keys and some Phillips headed screwdrivers; basically the kinds of basic things anyone who attempted some basic DIY should have to hand.

How do I install heated grips? *

1 Check your heated grips product package contains everything it should!

2 Remove your bar ends

3 Slice your existing brake side grip right along the length of the old grip, and remove. Be very careful removing your old throttle grip as you do not want to damage the throttle tube. Use a very thin screwdriver (or blast a jet of air from your your air line gun, if you have one!) and gently lift your old grip. You can try to spray some white spirit or any other cleaner or solvent into the gap to help breakdown the old glue holding it on. You may be able to wiggle and maneuver the throttle grip off without having to cut it. If you do need to cut it, just be careful not to gouge too deep.

4 Clean both of your exposed handles ready for the application of your contact glue adhesive.

5 When pushing your new grips on, try not to crumple them, taking care not to damage the wiring within, take your time, there is no rush!

5 When pushing your new grips on, try not to crumple them, taking care not to damage the wiring within, take your time, there is no rush!

6 Run your wiring neatly down to the battery on your motorcycle usually under your seat follow the instructions you have been given in your package with your new grips.

  • Tidy up your wiring with little cable ties and mount controls on the handlebars within easy reach.
  • Test the grips before you set off on the road to ensure they are working properly.
  • Enjoy Warm Hands!

*Always follow the specific grips manufacturer’s guidelines, the above gives you the basic idea that it is not rocket science!

The best motorcycle heated grips.

Here are some of the best heated grips for motorbikes on the market today. Many heated grips are universal: motorcycle handlebars are often common sizes even between different manufacturers but do be sure whatever you buy that they are right for your specific motorbike, measure the diameter of your bar ends, or check your bikes specific user manual – be sure to click through on the links below (to Amazon) and check out what sizes they are available in.)

  • Oxford Heated Grips are our recommended product choice, and what we believe is the best heated grip on the market.

My personal choice – are these Oxford Grips. Oxford products are always of fantastic quality and reliable. I personally have a number of Oxford products (including paddock stand, and riding jeans) which are fantastic quality.

Reviews love the heat intensity, and their build quality. These grips are universal and the manufacture tells us they should be compatible with most motorcycles, even those with smaller batteries and low capacity charging systems.

The box should come with everything need to fit this to your bike. Oxford supplies what is needed to take you from a wiring loom with ring connectors to the battery with simple plug and play connectors right through to attaching the unit to the switch and grips, together with smart mounting.