Ask RideApart: Chains

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Category: Ask RideApart

We believe your bike should remain with you even if you aren't around. So making sure you have a proper set of anti-theft chains is key to keeping the baddies away.

Question:

Hey Guys,

You've got the best American moto blog as far as I'm concerned, so I trust your advice. Hopefully you have time for a question from a fan.

If you had to have one chain for your fancy new sport bike, both worthy and backpackable, what would you pick?

Best,
Rob from Boston
'14 STR

Answer:

Dear RFB,

Thanks for the question. We've always got time for a Ask RideApart question from a fan -- especially when it's preceded by praise. Flattery is currency -- we're only human.

Back to your question, and away from our beaming pride. Since you specified "backpackable," we assume that you're referring to a security chain, and not a drive chain.

It's a really good idea to lock your bike when you have to leave it unattended. Using a chain is a good option, especially if you can use the chain to secure a major part of the bike, like a frame rail, to a stationary object, like a light pole or a tree. We like to combine a chain with a secondary lock, like a disc lock, for dual dissuasion.

Professional thieves have proven that they can defeat just about any lock in seconds. The trick is more about where you park, and making your bike less of an easy target. A locked bike parked under a streetlight on a heavily trafficked street is much safer than a bike parked in a dark alley. Locking your bike with a chain is a deterrent that will encourage casual thieves to look for easier prey. There hasn't been a chain made yet that can't be defeated with the right tools and enough time.

That said, we'd look for motorcycle-specific products, not lighter weight general purpose or bicycle products.

A longtime favorite is the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain 1415. It's heavy (15.25 lbs), but still backpackable at 5' long. If you're serious about showing potential thieves that this is not the bike they're looking for, the Fahgettaboudit looks the part, yet has a flexible jacket covering that is gentle to chrome and paint.

If 15 lbs is too heavy for you (and it probably is on a sportbike), you might want to consider a cable lock like the Trimax Alarm Cable Lock, which also integrates a deterrent audio alarm. Weighing in at about 3.5 lbs, the Trimark is constructed of coated 25mm quad-strand cable, and is 4' long. Cable locks sometimes succumb to bolt cutters, which is their disadvantage over hefty chain locks, but a 25mm cable takes a lot of strength and a big bolt cutter, and with the alarm function, the Trimark will make a lot of noise before it gives way.

Best advice -- find the cable or chain that fits your budget, use it every time you park, and secure your bike to a big stationary object in a highly trafficked, visible area, or park inside a locked garage whenever you can.

Stay safe, and thanks again for the nice words.

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