Bicycle Theft Protection: How to secure your bike

Bicycling is booming during the warm season. If you don’t want to become part of this sad statistic one day, you should provide appropriate bicycle theft protection. We tell you how you can protect your bike from theft. From choosing the right lock, coding, insurance, and smart gadgets to rules of conduct that effectively deter thieves.

bicycle theft protection

What kind of bicycle lock is good?

Almost everyone likes bargains, but you should make an exception when buying a bike lock. Otherwise, the bike will quickly disappear. If you want to protect your bike from theft, you’d better not save at the wrong end. Resistant materials and a good lock cylinder have their price – although this is still far below a new bicycle.

As a rule, the higher the quality of a bicycle lock, the greater the protection it offers against theft because the longer it takes a bicycle thief to break into it. Two-wheeler thieves often give up if a lock keeps them busy for more than three minutes. The risk of getting caught is simply too great. There are basically five different types of locks:

Frame lock

Frame lock

Especially with classic 3-speed bikes, the frame lock is part of the basic equipment. However, it is not suitable for long-term bicycle theft protection because it only blocks the rear wheel and serves as an immobilizer.

Accordingly, you should only use it in combination with other security devices; it protects against the theft of the rear wheel in any case.

Cable lock

Cable lock for bicycle theft protection

Even the thin spiral cable lock does not provide a real anti-theft device for the bike. Even if it should have a good locking mechanism. It can be cut in no time with a simple side cutter.

Chain lock

Chain lock

This variant chain lock brings quite good bicycle theft protection. If you choose a high-quality variant with an appropriate locking mechanism and resistant chain links. A real advantage: its flexibility allows you to use it much better for connecting to lampposts, poles, or trees than rigid locks.

Folding lock

Folding lock

Quality folding locks provide a high level of security and are also very compact and easy to transport. In any case, choose for your bicycle theft protection as long as possible. So that you can also connect the two-wheeler to bicycle bars and lampposts.

U-lock

u lock

Still the rage in bicycle theft protection! High-quality U-locks made of hardened steel are the safest option. If you choose a top product, it often even protects against lockpicking.

Enjoying this guide on bicycle theft protection? You can also read keep an eye on your bike with a GPS Tracker.

Watch out when buying a lock!

In general, it is assumed that about 10% of the new bicycle price should be invested in an appropriately secure lock for bicycle theft protection. Well-known manufacturers assign security levels to their locks, although there is no uniform system for these security classes:

For example, Abus, it assigns 15 security levels, Kryptonite 10 and Trelock have only 6. In addition, some suppliers only test break-open security, while others also include locking and cylinder technology or even user-friendliness in their own evaluation.

By the way: Especially for very expensive two-wheelers, many insurance companies insist that you use a certified bicycle lock with a high security level for bicycle theft protection! Detailed information on insurance for your bicycle can be found in our article Bicycle stolen – what to do?

Bicycle theft protection: Smart against thieves

Apart from the classic bicycle locks, there are now various technically advanced locks and gadgets for bicycle theft protection:

  • If you like it really loud, choose a bike lock with an integrated alarm system: In case of unauthorized access, the lock alerts not only the immediate surroundings to the theft with a signal up to 100 decibels loud.
  • Always in view with GPS: Thanks to an integrated tracker, you can locate the stolen bike at any time, both outdoors and indoors. If the GPS tracker, which is powered by a dynamo or e-bike battery, is installed ‘invisibly,’ it cannot be detected by the thief.
  • The Skunklock brand of U-locks, which lives up to its name (skunk = skunk), is literally on the nose. When a thief tries to break-in, the lock sprays a nauseating chemical concentrate that is supposed to send the thief fleeing.

Special protection for e-bikes

In general, e-bikes are secured similarly to bikes without a battery. So you don’t need separate e-bike theft protection or special pedelec theft protection. Of course, you should also invest appropriately in bicycle theft protection for these two-wheelers and get a quality lock. After all, such bikes are often particularly expensive and very popular with thieves. However, there are the following extra points to consider:

  • Make sure that your insurance also covers the damage when e-bikes are stolen. There are now special pedelec theft insurance policies.
  • If possible, take components such as the display and battery with you when you connect your e-bike – this lowers the resale value and thus the attractiveness for thieves.
  • If that’s too difficult or inconvenient for you, then be sure to lock up the battery as well.

For better safety on the move with a bicycle, you should wear a helmet and know the right bike helmet size – crucial for safety.

Bicycle theft protection: Coding clarifies ownership

Bicycle coding is an encrypted personal code. This consists of a personalized combination of numbers and letters. And it is attached to the right side of the seat tube in the form of an engraving. With the help of a code, the lost and found offices can immediately determine the rightful owner.

On the other hand, it does not contain any information about the owner and therefore does not offer any real bicycle theft protection. Because coding makes it difficult to resell bicycles without proof of ownership, the sale value of potential loot drops significantly, and thieves know this very well.

In this way, coding raises the inhibition threshold – and leads to higher detection rates if the bike is stolen after all. You can do the coding locally for about $15 by the police, or bicycle dealers, the latter offering a special price for members.

Bicycle theft protection: Lock up instead of locking!

Of course, a good lock alone is not enough. If you only lock your bike, it is often as good as stolen because then you can simply carry it away, no matter how high-quality the lock maybe. Connect the frame, front wheel, and rear wheel to an immovable object for optimal bike theft prevention. This object must be high enough that the thief cannot simply lift the bike and lock it over it.

Bicycle theft protection: Double is better!

Bicycle thieves often specialize in locks of one type and therefore only carry a certain kind of pry tool with them. Consequently, it is recommended to secure the bicycle with two different locks to optimize bicycle theft protection. You can find out the perfect helmet for you in the following Helmet size chart.

Everyday tips against bicycle theft.

As you can see, there are many ways to protect yourself from bicycle theft and ensure that if you are in doubt, you are not left holding the bag. The following precautions also help protect against bicycle theft:

  • Never leave your bike unsecured, even to pop in at the bakery.
  • Attach your lock as high up on the bike as possible! This results in a reduced leverage effect, which makes it more difficult to handle the bolt cutter.
  • Close the lock as tightly as possible around the wheel and frame. This takes away thieves’ freedom of movement and makes it harder to apply a pry tool.
  • Make sure the lock cylinder is difficult to access, preferably pointing downwards.
  • Quick-releases are practical – even for thieves. That’s why you should avoid using them, especially in the city.
  • Do not lock your bike in lonely places that are difficult to see.
  • In general, secure all easily stolen components, if necessary, with a separate lock. And it’s better to take your clip-on lights with you.
  • Be unpredictable – if your bike is parked in the same place at the same time every day, potential thieves may well notice.
  • Also, lock your bike at home in the bike cellar and preferably on.
  • If you transport your bike on the bike rack, you should also lock it well there.
  • Increase the recognition value of your bike by tuning it. Eye-catching bikes are harder to resell, making bike theft less lucrative.

Bicycle theft protection: Opportunity makes thieves

Without questioning the truth of the well-known saying, not all thieves are opportunists. There is no such thing as perfect theft protection for your bike – and you are never completely immune to theft.

So, if someone has it in for your bike, even the best bicycle theft protection won’t stop them from stealing it. But if a thief takes too long to get past your security measures, there’s a good chance he’ll give up in frustration and look for easier prey.

And one thing is for sure: With the measures mentioned in this article, you can secure your bike optimally. And make it really hard for nasty bike thieves in any case!

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