How To Prevent Motorcycle Theft

How To -



So What Should I Buy?

When looking at chains, look for something designed specifically for security that can’t be attacked with chemicals like liquid nitrogen. Girth, materials, and shape are going to be the biggest factors in a chain’s ability to withstand attacks. Obviously, bigger is stronger, but it’s also important to look for the specific materials used (you want boron, carbon, and manganese in the steel) and to make sure that the shape of the links is designed to turn bolt cutters. This one, the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit U-Loc, should do quite nicely.


When looking at locks, make sure the lock body encloses as much of the shackle as possible to prevent bolt cutters from being able to access it. This one, by SOBO , will make it really tough for thieves to cut.

Using brands that aren’t common can also be helpful as many thieves have learned how to defeat popular brands. Those boutique brands you found online may frustrate or confuse them with their unfamiliarity.


The best chains in the world are by a company called Almax, unfortunately they don’t have a U.S. distributor. If you’re real smart, you’ll figure out a way to get one online, otherwise just compare anything you’re thinking of buying with their products.


Your choice in disc lock is less important, as it’s more effective in making your bike harder to steal than it is at preventing outright theft. We use XENA disc lock alarms, which are affordable and effective. As an added bonus, the alarm will sound if you forget the lock is there and try to ride off before removing it.

Additional Tips
Park your bike in a garage or yard? Upgrade the locks on those doors or add a motion sensor light. Locks anchored into concrete will be more secure than those bolted to wood or thin metal.

Have windows in the garage? Put bars on them.

Always think about location, the closer your bike is to your person or other people the safer it is. Think about the areas you’re in and what’s acceptable in those areas. Know where you can park on the sidewalk and where you can’t, or where there’s a bar nearby that will have bouncers out front until 2am.

Remember, thieves are looking for the bikes that will be easy and quick to grab, so the more layers of security or deterrents you can add, the better chance your baby will be where you left her in the morning.

What steps do you take to keep your motorcycle safe?

Related Links:
Another Option: 10 New Motorcycles That Won’t Ever Get Stolen
Theft: What Motorcycle Theft Statistics Mean For You
Ask an Expert: Ask A Motorcycle Thief

  • Aakash

    My tips:

    1. Don’t own a sport bike

    2. Wire-in hidden kill switches

    3. Don’t own a Harley

    • runnermatt

      What if your sport bike is “just a 250″? Especially, if that 250 is made in Thailand and parts are really cheap.

      • Aakash

        Don’t ask redundant questions ;)

      • Thomas Høj Jørgensen

        I’ve recently had my cbr250r stolen from a city street. It was parked amongst other bigger, more valuable bikes. It was the only sportbike-look-alike though, and i guess they didn’t know it was just a 250, as a short joyride later, they seemed to get tired of it and ditched it. In the US the cbr is one of the best selling bikes correct? I would think that fact alone, together with the lack of immobilizer, would make it a prime theft candidate.

    • Piglet2010

      Disagree with #3 – you may get a better deal from your insurance company if your H-D is stolen than as a trade-in at a dealer of other brands. ; )

  • imprezive

    The reddit AMA with a motorcycle thief is well worth a read.

    • Jorn Bjorn Jorvi

      EVERYONE QUOTES THIS AMA BUT NOBODY ACTUALLY KNOWS WHO THE GUY IS. You’ve taken to trusting either a. some goon who has no clue what he’s talking about b. a troll c. a person who actually steals motorcycles. What about this seems OK? Anytime somebody says they don’t want their bike loaded into some van or whatever, somebody gotta pop up and say “this guy on the internet one time told me he stole a motorcycle and rode away on it”.

      • imprezive

        All I said is that it’s worth reading. If the guy wasn’t a thief he researched the hell out of motorcycle security to pretend. Even if he is a fraud doesn’t mean it’s not worth reading and considering as it’s one of the more comprehensive motorcycle security discussions I’ve seen.

    • Malandro

      I’m inclined to believe the Reddit poster.

      Interesting how he dismisses the throw-it-in-a-van method. I suppose the US road system means it makes more sense to leave on the bike. European cities are quite different. My town of Barcelona is notoriously up there as one of the worst places in the western world for bike theft and the most typical method is to throw it in a van. Underground car parks are the norm here and thieves gain access by slipping in when the door is open (perhaps after a car enters), hiding and calling their accomplices to come round with a van. It’s rare for bikes to be hotwired and ridden away.

      Insurance companies don’t even give you a discount for having your bike parked in an underground car park. It’s really just to protect the paintwork from the sun.

  • Rameses the 2nd

    If you live in a neighborhood where you have to worry about your bike being stolen all the time, you really shouldn’t spend a lot of money on the bike. Just buy a cheaper bike that nobody wants and live stress free. What’s the point of having a motorcycle, if you have to constantly protect it from theives.

  • ThinkingInImages

    I prefer the Abus Detecto disk lock/alarms. I tried one of the earlier Xena’s but it was a little too sensitive and bulky.

  • metric_G

    If they want to take it they will, get full insurance coverage, at least you can buy another one.

  • HD19146

    I highly recommend this setup. With the chain off the ground, It is impossible to attack the chain or lock without setting of the alarm.

  • Jai S.

    I’m glad I ride a Strom and don’t have to worry about this.

    • bammerburn

      Yes, comparatively “undesirable” motorcycles are the best.

  • Brian

    I wouldn’t be kidding about booby traps, unless they were made by Data from the Goonies!!!

  • This guy

    I don’t take my bike out as much as I would like (only if I’m leaving London or really fancy a ride, short distance here is not at all worth it) and I’ve come up with an extra security method that works perfectly. Disc lock, big chain on the back wheel, and then I remove the battery. Even if they get through the lock and chain it can’t be started, and good luck to anyone who wants to try lifting it into a van! I ride a ’96 Yamaha Virago, not exactly a target for an opportunistic thief anyway.

  • Jonathan Noble

    No mention of concreted-in ground (y)anchors?

  • Llort Ecaf

    I use a scorpio i900 alarm with perimeter sensor and a Xena XX6 disk lock alarm. I live in a relatively small military/college town and when my bike isn’t in the garage, it’s parked at work which is on a military base so the chance of theft is extremely low. At the end of the day, it depends on the type of environment your bike is in. Funny thing is, I also have a matte grey 13′ R1 with an akrapovic system lol. I thought that was my bike when I clicked on the article XD