How To Keep Your Motorcycle From Getting Stolen

How To -



You know what blows? Getting your pride and joy stolen. You know what is easy? Keeping your bike safe. But doing so isn’t so much a case of fitting an alarm or buying a lock, it’s more a way of thinking and a system of practices you need to learn to live by. Like good riding, it’s just a skill you have to learn if you’re going to be a lifelong motorcyclist. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you learn how to keep your motorcycle from getting stolen.

The Basic Theory

Here’s the thing. If a determined, skilled thief decides he wants your bike, there’s really nothing you can do to prevent him from taking it. There’s no chain that can’t be cut, no alarm that can’t be defeated, no garage door that can’t be opened. But, what you can do is make your bike less desirable to that thief by making it take more time to steal than his potential profit merits. You can make your bike less appealing than others on the same street or in the same area. You want any potential thief to pass your bike over for an easier or more desirable target.

The best way to achieve this is through layers of security. A single lock, even if it’s a good one, presents only a single obstacle to a would-be thief. A well-lit parking space, covered bike, alarm and locks on both wheels, however, combine to make yours a less inviting target.

How and Why Thieves Steal Bikes

Very few thieves are looking to ride your bike away from the scene of the crime. Unless, that is, they’re simply responding to a target of opportunity such as an unattended bike with its key in the ignition. Instead, they’re likely stealing to order and using a van or truck for the getaway. That order? Parts, not a whole bike, meaning they don’t mind damaging it in the theft. Using a truck or van also means the theft need take only seconds; they just snap whatever lock you’re using, then pick it up, throw it in the back and drive off. No need to take time with a ramp or tie-downs, your baby is lying on its side.

Because they’re looking to sell parts, thieves are also looking for common bikes that are commonly damaged and that have expensive components. Sportsbikes, mainly Japanese ones. They’re simply the biggest market for things like swingarms, frames, engines and other components. That means the easiest deterrent is simply to avoid advertising.


If thieves looking to steal a specific bike or a specific type of bike don’t see that bike, they won’t know it’s there. Sounds simple, but there’s still non-obvious methods.

You garage your bike, so you’re good, right? Not so fast. Do you routinely park that carefully garaged-at-night bike out on the driveway or street during the day? If so, people know what’s inside. Does your garage have windows? Can you see through them? So can thieves.

A simple, plain cover could be enough to divert the eyes of a casual thief cruising for potential victims. The same goes if you’re street parking or sharing a parking structure. Simply reducing the number of people that know which bike is where is a basic counter-theft strategy that can be achieved cheaply and easily. As a bonus, thieves won’t know what security you’re using on the bike, so it’ll be harder for them to show up armed to attack your specific locks.

Locking it up

It stands to reason that locking your bike will help prevent it being stolen. But, many riders use locks inconsistently, inadequately or improperly.

In an ideal situation, your bike would always have strong locks on the front and rear wheels connected to some sort of immovable object. But, that’s hardly a reality in most parking spaces and transporting bulky chains and other devices can be difficult. The goal here is to make it as difficult and complicated as possible for someone to get at your bike.

There’s also the question of what you can connect the chains to. Wheels are easily removable, but a bulky chain isn’t going to fit between a modern aluminum beam frame and engine. Sometimes, an exposed trellis, as on a Ducati Monster, can accept some locks. Just make sure the tradeoff between what you’re passing the chain through and the strength of that chain doesn’t compromise security.

Same goes for whatever immovable object you’re locking the bike to. Is it really immovable? A $400 chain is all well and good until you loop it through a cheesy chain link fence that can come apart in seconds.

At a very minimum, aim to make the bike as difficult as possible to move. Sure, two strong guys can pick up a sportsbike, but can they maneuver it awkwardly into a van without any rolling? A simple disc lock or padlock clamped around a brake disc can help. This should be treated as the most basic layer of security. If your bike is out of your sight, even during the day, for a short period of time in a populated area, have the steering lock on and something immobilizing at least one of the wheels.

With chains, it’s really not worth using one unless you’re locking the bike to something. In many cities, you’ll frequently be unable to park on the sidewalk or in the vicinity of one of those immovable objects, but there’s still a potential solution. Parking next to another motorcycle, if it has a chain fitted, you can lock to it. Because you’re just looping chains, either party can choose to disengage at will. This should be the kind of common, courteous practice all of us do regularly, both bikes become safer and neither party is inconvenienced.

If you do find something solid to lock to, you need to get that right too. Remove slack from the chain by doubling it around the anchor or whatever you’re locking it to on the bike, keeping the chain from resting on the ground where it can be attacked with a hammer and chisel. Less slack and as little distance as possible between bike and object will also make it more difficult to attack with an angle grinder or bolt cutters.

A chain around one wheel, connected to a solid anchor, plus a disc lock on the other wheel is about as immobilized as you can make a bike if you’re parking away from home.

Which locks?

YouTube Preview Image

Know the old adage about wearing a $100 helmet only if you have a $100 head? Well, the same goes for locks and bikes. What’s better insurance, an on-paper policy that costs you thousands and will inevitably be disputed, have payment delayed and cause premiums to rise should your bike be stolen or a $500 lump of strong metal that you can rely on? I trust things I can see and understand and I can see and understand a strong lock.

The best chains in the world are made by Almax which is unfortunately a UK-based company that doesn’t have a US distributor yet. the Squire padlocks they sell alongside are available in this country though.

In general, you want a security specific chain and lock that can’t be attacked with liquid nitrogen. The padlock should enclose as much of the shackle as possible to prevent bolt cutters from being able to clamp on it. Check out how much of this Squire’s shackle is concealed, once attached to a chain, there’s virtually no way to get at it.

The way that thieves will then try and attack the padlock is by drilling the lock cylinder out. Look for locks where the cylinder rotates freely or is otherwise resistant to this type of attack.

It’s also a good idea to seek out a non-common type of locking mechanism and lock brand. Kryptonite, for example, makes pretty good bicycle locks, some of which could do double duty on a motorcycle. But, they’re common as muck. Anyone who’s stealing things in America knows how to attack them and can likely do so quickly and easily with tools they have on-hand. Searching for an uncommon brand or bringing something home from a European holiday can totally befuddle xenophobic criminals.

On the chain, girth, shape and materials are key. It stands to reason that very thick links will be stronger, but pay attention to the alloy they’re made from (you want boron, carbon and manganese in the steel) and whether or not the shape is made to turn bolt cutters. The largest Almaxes, for example, are simply too large for any commonly-available bolt cutters, even hydraulic ones, to fit around. Never just buy one from a common hardware store, if they can cut it to length with a pair of croppers, then you’re not getting much security.

Which disc lock? These are less important. As that initial layer of security, its mere presence is the most important thing. You’re simply looking to add a small level of difficulty as simply picking up the bike is the likely work around for thieves. Even a simple padlock will do. Just put a big rubber band around the brake disc or use a similar reminder so you don’t ride off with it attached. Securing the disc lock flush with the caliper (top or bottom dependent on which way you’ll roll), can also prevent damage.

Quality Control

There’s no authoritative body granting certificates of quality in the US that we’re aware of, but you can still research purchases using the European Sold Secure, Thatcham and CEN standards.


Here’s where the real fun begins. You’ve got yourself some strong locks, but what should you be locking your bike to? Out and about, you simply need to find a mix of security and convenience. At home or at work you can install a specific device aimed at preventing theft.

There’s many in-ground or in-wall anchors available. Find one that works for your situation and install them in solid concrete instead of asphalt foundations, where possible, to ensure max strength and apply the same lessons you learned about chains and locks to which anchor you choose. There’s even large metal shoes out there that wholly enclose the front wheel and spindle, preventing its removal.

If you’re like us and rent an apartment because you live in a city, then a good alternative to a permanent anchor is a big rubber trash can filled with concrete. Not only is it unlikely to piss off landlords of violate contracts, but once chained to your bike, a good couple hundred pounds of rock is going to make that bike exceptionally hard to steal.

To make an anchor like this, get a large rubber trash or horse feed tub, an appropriate length of scaffolding tube and a nice, long chain. Stick the scaffolding in the middle, poke holes for the chain at wheel level and run it around the pole so the ends dangle outside the tub with plenty of room to go around a wheel and tire. Fill the thing with concrete and you’re done. I’ve successfully used this method for years and never had a landlord complain nor a bike stolen.

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  • Devin

    “Or, just buy an old piece of shit you can afford to forget about.”

    This is my current security method. I’ll keep this article in mind once I own something worth stealing.

    • Myles

      Not so much can afford to lose, but so cheap it’s not worth the hassle of stealing. I haven’t even thought about any security measures and have been fine.

      But every week on . . . . . .


  • Sean Smith

    Goddamn kreiga ad…

    • Trev


    • Mark D

      Their 20L tank pack is awesome though. And great for wallet/keys/lock/leatherman, as noted above. Plus enough room for overnighting.

      • Nicholas

        The Kreiga tail packs are all well and good until the strap fails on the M40 at high speed losing your Kryptonite Fahgettaboutit and a selection of other expensive items.

        As much as I like their backpacks I could never recommend their tail packs.

  • Kirill

    I buy bikes nobody is going to bother stealing.

    • Brendan

      ’95 Seca II FTW!!!!

      • Uncle Fluffy

        My Seca II is a ’92… I’ll park it next to yours! Extra layer of security next to your fancypants ’95

        • Gregory

          My first bike in North America was a 1996 Seca II. It had been sitting for a while. I bought it for 24 bottles of Budweiser Select. Was able to limp from Seattle down to Portland. Even made it to Lincoln City now and then. Eventually, the carburetor was just too gummed up with goo. I traded it for a large bottle of SKYY vodka to a guy who needed a Seca II parts bike. Good deal~

          2008 Kawasaki KLR 650
          Portland, OR

  • NitroPye

    I plan for the worst and just rock full coverage.

    • mugget

      I have always had my bikes insured for theft. It’s like they say – if you can’t afford insurance, you can’t afford the bike…

      But having a bike stolen would be a major hassle. Not to mention if you’ve spent a bit of money on aftermarket parts or suspension, dyno tuning etc. that’s all money that you won’t get back.

      If I had a bog stock Gixxer I would not be so worried, but after all the work I’ve done on my bike (not even that much compared to some) I would be out of pocket by about $5-6k if I was to buy another bike and put new parts on and do the tuning again. Not to mention all the hours of work required.

      Wow – thinking about all that stuff was a good reminder what a bad thing it is to have a bike stolen. Maybe I should start looking into some extra security…

      • Kirill

        You know you can get accessory coverage for your aftermarket parts, right?

        • NitroPye

          My progressive plan covers $3k of accessories. Pretty good considering. I have yet to make a claim on this plan so I don’t know how much of a hassle it would all be.

          • ike6116

            They are actually really hassle free. Assuming they don’t have me on some blacklist, I would go back to Progressive with my next bike in a second.

            • Ben Incarnate

              Were it not for the substantial price premium over All State for the same coverage, I’d go back to Progressive, too. I didn’t want to leave – quoted on the website, called an agent, etc – but their price was set and it more than doubled my offer elsewhere.

  • M

    when i park a bike outside (like when my shed’s full of non-running bikes), i usually use a kryptonite chain to lash it to the gas meter. it’s not so much the chain that’s the deterrent as the threat of explosion.

    • jason McCrash

      You can remove a gas meter with a pipe wrench or if there is room a regular pipe cutter. Contrary to what PSA’s from gas companies and fire dept’s say, gas won’t explode unless it is confined and at the correct fuel air ratio. It will ignite, but just like on a stove. But 99.9% of people don’t know that so your idea is pretty good.

  • Steven

    I have a tripwire firework, available at America’s trealer gun shows. I tie one end to my motorcycle and the other to a fence. If it’s pulled, it makes a noise like a piccolo pete. I count on it not being seen in the dark. It cost all of four dollars, so if it’s total bullshit, whatevz.

    • dux

      Cool idea

  • Dave H

    I followed this closely when I had my R6. At home it had a brake lock, locked cover, and was chained to my car. Under a streetlight in the corner of my parking lot. Thieves always went after the uncovered, unlocked liter bikes and harleys. I never had to worry about a thing.

  • Dennis

    Not one word about LoJack?

    • Wes Siler

      No experience with it. Seems like a closing the barn door after the bike’s been stolen type situation though. Prevention > cure.

      • Dennis

        Ask Sean Smith. He apparently knows all about it.

        • Sean Smith

          When that was written, Bill Clinton was halfway through his second term. I was ten years old. Lojack has done some good, but it’s not a theft deterrent, can be defeated and is pretty damn expensive to purchase and install.

          • Dennis

            How old you were or who was President at the time are not arguments. They’re red herrings.

            You don’t have any actual experience with LoJack, do you? You guys should go educate yourselves on the subject and write something good.

            • Steven

              Did you even read your own link?

              “Because installing Lojack does not reduce the likelihood that an individual car will be stolen, any decrease in the aggregate crime rates due to Lojack is an externality from the perspective of the individual Lojack purchaser.”

            • Steven

              Also, “Those who install Lojack in their cars, however, obtain less than ten percent of the total social benefits of Lojack, causing Lojack to be undersupplied by the free market.”

              Also, it’s an article about cars.

              • Dennis

                Professional motorcycle thieves are exactly the same as professional car thieves. They fill orders, take them to a chop shop, and sell the parts.

                Everything in this article is essentially useless against a professional. If a professional bike thief has an order for your bike, he will get your bike and you can’t stop him.

                What this study shows is that if enough people use LoJack — or one of several tracking systems such as Traquer which somebody linked to below — it breaks the business model for professional thieves. Their odds of doing jail time become so high that it becomes impossible to steal enough bikes to make it worth it.

                It’s bizarre that HFL is giving big sloppy blowjobs to new electronics in bikes like traction control but gets all Luddite for no logical reason when it comes to bike theft. Here’s a chance to rewrite the rules of the game, putting the pros out of business and leaving only amateur bike thieves to deal with, who can be stopped with conventional means.

                But HFL puts blinders on and won’t even investigate the subject for the most pathetic of reasons. You don’t trust motorcycle mechanics to work on your bike? You fear for your *battery*? Really? Then you’d better give a thumbs down to every bike with a clock. Better warn everyone away from considering a speed shifter or a power commander, right? Can’t have some *mechanic* installing things, can we? “I wanted a power commander, sure, but the technician who was going to install it had greasy nails! The very idea gave me the vapors!”

                Just admit you don’t know squat about anti-theft tracking systems. No shame in that. Add it to your list of things you’d like to learn more about. Being arrogant and pig headed about new technology just makes you look like a fool.

                • Ben Incarnate

                  Why wouldn’t a professional thief also have a jammer?

                  I’d love to see an investigation on LoJack and how well it ACTUALLY works versus what’s claimed, but I don’t imagine it’s any more effective against real pros.

                • stempere

                  I can’t speak for LoJack because i don’t know the system but it seems close to the tracker i have.
                  It’s not plugged on the wiring harness, it has (apparently) a 7 years standby battery, so they just toss it in the airbox or something…

                  The company that manufactures mine claims they do get the stuff back, usually quickly and that they often discover garages filled with stollen bikes and scooters. I don’t know if it’s all true, but i guess if more and more people get them, more and more thieves will buy jammers or at least look for the device…

                • Wes Siler

                  Better hope those pro thieves don’t discover metal shipping containers.

                • aristurtle

                  It is absurdly, ridiculously easy to jam GPS. Like, you can buy a made-in-China GPS jammer that plugs into a car cigarette lighter jack for less than fifty bucks including shipping. You can build one that fits in a chewing gum box and has a battery life of two days from a couple AAs. It’s really not hard to jam at all. The odds of LoJack being present are too high for any “professional bike thief” to go without one.

                  When that article was written, the components for a jammer cost ~$800 instead of ~$18, and they weren’t easily available on the Internet.

                  LoJack might stop those amateurs you’re talking about, though.

                • Dennis

                  Jammers? Perhaps, but that’s pure speculation on your part. You don’t KNOW because you haven’t made any effort.

                  You have to wonder, why is LoJack still around? Why do professionals still use it? Why do insurance companies still recommend it? Could there be some flaw in this jammer theory?

                  Smoking a bowl on the couch isn’t going to learn you the answers.

                  Oh, look. Mr Google says…

                  Read the editors note at the top.

                • aristurtle

                  I write radar software for a living, dude; I know how frequency jamming works. OnStar uses GPS to track, I assummed LoJack did as well, turns out they use a VHF signal (at 173.075 MHz) but it’s really irrelevant, it just means you probably won’t find them in quantity at eBay. Change the VCO in your jammer and you can jam a different frequency range easily.

                  Insurance companies and police departments like LoJack because it makes recovery easier for amateur thieves.

      • Gene

        Plus where are they going to “hide” it on my totally naked SV, that the thief isn’t going to go “oh look! a lojack! ” ? I’ve never gotten an honest answer how big the unit is, or where it’ll fit.

    • Sean Smith

      “There’s also the question of some greasy-nailed tech intern hacking into your lovingly robot-crafted OEM wiring harness to install a device that’s going to run down your battery and be subject to radio wave interference, potentially costing you even more money and hassle.”

      • Scott-jay

        National equipment rental companies install Lojack-like devices on construction equipment routinely, and have done so for over a decade now.

  • T Diver

    Move out of the ghetto.

    • Travisty

      I live in the ghetto so I can afford a nice bike. Can’t have both right now. I really don’t think living here is any better or worse. I don’t think bike thieves look here for D675′s.

    • RT Moto

      Yeah… That doesn’t help. Where do you think the ghetto gets the nice bikes to steal from? It sure as hell isn’t the low income, can barely afford the rent type folk.

    • Filipe


  • Brammofan

    I’ve got one of those Xena locks, although I’ve never actually used it in practice, mainly because my bike is parked securely most of the time. However, when I tested it, it was freakishly loud.

  • Emmet

    I park my old ’79 GS750 on my street (crime watch neighborhood, man shot/killed two years back) since there’s no available space behind the house. Parked nearby are a beat up GSXR and Ninja (with airbrushed superheros). A thief would have a better payout with either of those two. Still, I am guilty of not chaining the front wheel. That I’ll do when I get my second bike on the road, and lock the two bikes’ front tires together.

  • stefano

    great write up.

  • Gene

    I still love the old Performance Bikes interview of the group of dockworkers that would leave a bait bike out and sit in an old Ford van. When someone tried to steal it, they’d jump out and have an “enthusiastic chat” with him.

    • Scott Pargett

      I’d LOVE to see that!

  • R.Sallee (Ninja 250)

    When I go places where I worry about theft, I ride the pink 20-year-old thumper.

    • Noah


  • Keyrock

    So, any recommendations on a chain that you can purchase in the US?

  • Mike

    Ride something that looks like the stuff in the lead photo. Who would steal that?
    Plus, it’d get you more chicks because you’re obviously a badass.


    Not trying to be a smartass here, but what do you do with the trash can boulder when you move? Roll it into a U-Haul? I did something similar with the bicycles I store in my apartment’s garage, but with a smaller concrete filled home depot bucket with some pipes sticking out the top. We have like 5 bicycles for this one apartment, so they’re all chained to this device and each other. Things have been stolen from the bikes, like an irresponsibly left behind bike computer and some lights, but never a whole bike.

    • Wes Siler

      I just roll it around the corner or something :)



      • nick2ny

        Now this is the Wes we know and love!

      • Dan

        Previous owner of my house left me a mini version, made from an old tire apparently, in the bushes which I found using the lawn mower. Its now buried in the ally, since the trash men wouldn’t take it and my “free bike lock” ad on craigslist had no takers.


    Double post for a separate question: What’s the deal with sidewalk parking in LA and in general. I’ve been tempted but never done it.

    • zipp4

      Good question. I live in Baltimore, no garage, and park all of my bikes in a remote locked garage. Gives me peace of mind, but not really that convenient.

  • stempere

    I follow most of these, still had a 2004 z750 and a duke 2 stollen in the past three years, two of the most stollen bikes (z750 is #1 in europe and france if i recall correctly).
    I actually ride an old v11 nobody would want to steal and a too rare to be interesting (regarding a part order) corsaro veloce with chain + U + alarm + VHF tracking (VHF means it works in parkings, vans, basements, containers, unlike GPS).
    So far so good.

    Added bonus of the tracker, i installed it when i bought the bike new, so for three years if the bike is stollen, not found (they clame like 97% of recovery in 48h) and my insurance doesn’t pay full purchase price (wich it should) the tracking company pays the difference. Not a bad deal for 700€ (600 when i got it), the bike cost 14k€.

  • Mr.Paynter

    Thank goodness out here in South Africa, especially in my little town, bike theft is largely unheard of!

    I have an extra garage lock, raw-bolted in to the floor and a motion-sensor hooked up to my house-alarm all the same!

  • ike6116

    You forgot the most obvious form of theft prevention, rocking the 3 patch cut so everyone knows not to fuck with you.

    • cadillacjack

      ding, ding!

  • KR Tong

    Sucks that modern japanese sport bikes are targeted. It’s worrisome to me considering my F4i was built out of the Ebay parts bin. You can have an F4i too if you have paypal, $1600 and a set of wrenches.

    • aristurtle

      Intriguing. Even the frame? Do you have a build thread anywhere, that seems pretty neat.

      • KR Tong

        I found a few threads out there for inspiration. Basically any f4i owner who’s crashed without insurance is a good resource. Im on the phone so I can’t link up the threads but a google search should do it. The frames the only thing I bought locally for ease at the DMV (yes it’s registered and street legal). You can price things out on eBay. The place has probably 10-15 f4i’s floating in parts at any given time so you can haggle on price for motors. Freight service banged up the valve cover so the seller gave me $200 off a motor that was $600 shipped.. Just avoid “aftermarket” stator covers and rearsets–anything that looks Chinese. Everything else was pretty much plug and play.

    • Edward

      I’d also be curious to see a build thread or parts/costs list. It’s a neat idea.

  • Filipe

    Literally as I was reading this I got the call from my insurance company to give a statement on my bike which was stolen a few weeks ago!

    I normally follow most of these suggestions religiously, but of course on the one weekend when I had to rush out of town and didn’t, the bike was stolen right from inside my building. Though I always worried about the possibility, I never expected the thieves to be so brave as to dismantle my bike three feet from an apartment window. But then again, never underestimate Brooklyn…

    Besides all of the obvious steps and having comprehensive insurance, I think the only real prevention would be to live somewhere civilized… Until then I’ll be adding as many layers of security as I can think of to my next bike.

    As always, props for the article, HFL.

    • nick2ny

      So, was your bike locked? Covered? Was the cover locked? Was it outside? What neighborhood, what bike, and what condition???

      • Filipe

        Well, it was inside the gate of my building, on the entrance ramp, about two feet from an apartment window. It was locked, but I had lazily put the chain around the swingarm because of the angle in which I parked. That time, uncharacteristically, it wasn’t covered and it didn’t have the alarmed disc lock on. So, all in all, it was an easy target, I suppose, especially given that this was in Bed-Stuy.

        Won’t be making those mistakes again…

  • Barry

    I installed a wireless video camera in front of my garage, since I pack my truck full of gear and bikes the night before a race weekend(I’m still looking for a truck topper that will let me load my motard + CBR in my Tundra at the same time). It’s constantly recording to my hard drives, but just having what LOOKS like a very obvious camera seems like a good idea to me. Sure, they can still take everything that’s not cable-locked into my truck bed(or even that too if they’re committed), but that plus motion-lights can’t hurt.

    • Nicholas

      My friend tried the same trick in London. 6 guys turned up in balaclavas and an insulated refrigeration truck, pulled his garden wall down, blew kisses at the camera, clipped the chain and threw his new R6 in the truck. Due to the insulation Tracker did not pick up an reception and the machine has not been seen again.

  • HammSammich

    Great security ideas.

    Incidentally, I love the first picture of the motorcycle wrecking yard. I recently spent an afternoon wandering around a small local moto-wrecking yard, Allen’s Cycles, digging through parts and taking photos…It’s like visiting motorcycle Valhalla.

  • randry

    Most insurance companys play to the letter of the policy and will screw you if they have the chance. One use thing to remember is to take photos of all add ons (unless there internal, wich you can still document). If you can prove it was on the bike when stolen you have a good chance of it being covered. For a lot of us this could be thousands.

    • HammSammich

      Okay, since this is something I actually know more about than motorcycles, I’ve got to speak up.

      Insurance is not a cure-all, and Wes’s security ideas here are essentially a form of insurance that is arguably superior to any policy you can buy from an Insurance company, insofar as it is preventative. But I can tell you that “Most insurance companys(sic)” are really not trying to “screw you.” From a property/casualty standpoint (I can’t speak for Health/Disability ins.) they see it as their duty to indemnify their policy holders. Their job is to pay legitimate claims. The difficulty is that insurance fraud is rampant and often systemic. For better or worse, adjusters have to approach every claim with suspicion. With theft, particularly involving a relatively small object like a motorcycle, fraud is unfortunately easy. That adjuster doesn’t know you from Adam, so for all they know, you might have dumped your bike in a lake after it broke down so you can get a new one.

      As far as playing to the letter of the policy, they have to. An insurance policy is a legal contract, and Insurance companies are monitored closely by state insurance commisioners to make sure they are appropriately handling claims. If you are unable/uncomfortable reviewing your policy coverage yourself, I’d strongly recommend having your agent explain your coverage to you when you purchase a policy, so you know what to expect in the event of a claim. Finally, as you suggest, taking photos of your property, to aid in claims adjusting and/or recovery, is always a good idea.

      • Denzel

        This is the dorkiest +1 ever.. but … +1…

      • randry

        Hamm, sorry to stike a nerve, maybe a bad choice of word. I understand the rampant fraud and I understand my contract with them, but, they work for me. There are good people at what they do just as there are bad. The game has changed and become extremely competitive. So in the end let’s just say “cover your ass” because your insurance may not.

        • HammSammich

          Eh, as an insurance geek, I’m probably overly sensitive about it, so no need to apologize. It’s understandable that people disparage insurance companies as being a racket, espeically when you hear emotionally driven stories about medical insurance carriers denying claims for life-saving treatments, etc. As I said, I can’t really speak to that, because I’m not involved in that aspect of the insurance industry, but from my experience in property casualty lines, I know that they really are in the business of attempting to mitigate the consequences of risk. Are some carriers better than others? Absolutely. Hence, it’s a good idea to shop around, not just on price, but on coverage, and claims handling as well.

          “So in the end let’s just say “cover your ass” because your insurance may not.”

          +1,000,000! That’s why it’s important to understand the coverage you have. Ultimately, if you are willing to pay enough premium, you can probably get a policy that will cover you for almost any eventuality with a specialty carrier like Lloyd’s of London, but in the general market, no policy is going to cover everything. And ultimately, as noted before, taking simple steps to prevent a loss, is usually a better (and often more affordable) form of insurance than can be provided by any Insurance company.

          • Edward

            how do you shop around on claims handling? Thanks for sharing your expertise, also.

            • HammSammich

              There are ratings companies like JD Power, Consumer Reports, etc. Alternatively, a local independent agent who writes insurance for many different carriers (and likely has experience helping their clients dealing with the various claims departments) might be able to offer some insight too. You can also ask friends, family and co-workers, who have had a claim but bear in mind that it’s difficult to gauge a company’s claims handling based on one person’s experience.

  • Dan

    My most typical concern is locking up my helmet, jacket, pants and tank bag when out on the town or whatever. Carrying all that stuff is pretty inconvenient but a wire bicycle lock and padlock is so far good enough to keep the casual vandal from walking off with my gear. (Which probably cost almost as much to replace as the bike at this point) Every night out I tell myself my next bike will have hard bags.

    • stempere

      Aren’t locks on hard bags easy to break?
      How about one of these? I also saw some sort of bag that is secured on top of the seat but can’t find it.

  • Dean

    Here’s a sad story: Bushwick, Brooklyn — my 2004 GSXR 750 was chained to a concrete pillar in a shared parking garage (remote access, but not individual RF keys).

    3am on the 4th of July… two assholes pull up with their mini van, take an angle grinder to the chain, and pop the bike into their van.

    Security Video:

    Was probably an inside job, like they got one of the garage clickers from someone who had parked there before (or they parked there before themselves).

    Luckily they didn’t touch my Buell x1 (which was chained up right next to the gsxr). I immediately relocated the Buell to a motorcycle specific garage that has per-person keyed access.

  • Ben Incarnate

    I’d prefer the insight of our local professionals from NYCF.