How to Prevent Motorcycle Theft

Almost nothing is as infuriating as walking to your motorcycle and simply finding it gone. Even if you are fully insured, you won’t be riding for at least a couple of days, and dealing with insurance is going to cost time as well. Especially if you visit areas where motorcycles get stolen more frequently, it helps to take some preventative measures.

The best possible outcome is scaring potential thieves away before they even try. If that doesn’t work, it is still a good outcome if they try but don’t succeed. They might damage the bike somewhat, but at least you get to keep your motorcycle. Lastly if they succeed, you can still improve your chances of getting your motorcycle back.

clean motorcycle

Preventing Motorcycle Theft Before It Happens

In order to prevent motorcycle theft it helps to understand what is going on in the mind of a potential thief. Thieves may have different motives, but the vast majority of motorcycle thefts happen because thieves are looking for monetary gain.

Generally speaking, motorcycle thieves when they see a potential target will ask themselves the following questions:

  • How much is this motorcycle worth?
  • How risky is it to steal this motorcycle?
  • How much hassle is it to steal this motorcycle?

Each aspect can be targeted with preventative measures as well, which adds up to a total of 4 strategies to lower your risk of motorcycle theft.

Hiding Your Motorcycle

Motorcycle thieves only steal motorcycles that they can find. If no motorcycle thief knows about your bikes existence, none of them are going to steal it. While this is the simplest strategy, unfortunately, it is often simply not possible.

Increasing the Hassle of Theft

If you have multiple visible locks on your motorcycle, most thieves won’t even bother. If they can see one motorcycle with a standard lock, and another motorcycle with 4 locks, guess which one they’ll go after in almost all cases.

Having multiple locks of different types in different places will look like a lot of hassle for a potential thief. But that is not the only way to increase the amount of work it takes to steal your motorcycle. You can also make it more difficult to retrieve the motorcycle from where it is parked. For example, if you also have a car and you park the car in a way that blocks the motorcycle, stealing your bike will become a lot more difficult.

Increasing the Risk for the Thief

Parking your motorcycle in a public space with plenty of traffic nearby will increase the risk to the thief a lot. Same goes for places with a lot of light. One trick that occasionally works is adding ‘Anti-Theft Alarms Installed’ stickers on your bike. However, not everyone likes riding around with stickers like that.

Decreasing the Value of Your Motorcycle

This one definitely is not for everyone, but if you ever considered painting your bike bright pink, that actually is a decent theft deterrent. Motorcycle thieves steal bikes to sell on, and selling a bright pink bike is a lot harder than a black one.


Preventing Motorcycle Theft While It Happens

Once a thief has decided to steal your bike, there are still layers of defense to go through. Each of the following items can make a thief give up halfway

Quality Motorcycle Locks

If you have a lock that is much stronger than the thief anticipated, chances are the thief may just run off without your motorcycle anyways. For an overview of some of the very best locks, check out our best motorcycle locks article. Although no single lock is unbeatable, a combination of high quality locks means that most thieves will be underprepared.

Motorcycle Theft Alarm

Thieves hate attention, and a loud alarm that goes off when your motorcycle is getting tampered off will attract plenty of attention. We’ve reviewed the Best Motorcycle Alarms before.

Hidden Kill Switch

Kill switches are quite common, but because thieves know about them as well, they can prepare a way to deal with them before they start stealing your motorcycle. Installing a custom kill switch can be a bit of work, but it’s doable. If you make your own kill-switch or hire a mechanic to make one, the thief won’t know beforehand what is going on, and will likely give up.

GPS System Alert

Some motorcycle alarms can send you a notification to your phone as well. If you’re nearby, you might be capable of catching the thief red-handed. Be aware that although most thieves won’t resort to violence, a few will. So informing the police and only going near your bike as a group are the best ways to stay safe.

Dealing With Motorcycle Theft After The Theft

After your motorcycle has been stolen there is generally little you can do. Sure, you can file a police report, but without additional information that likely won’t get anywhere. If you’ve installed a GPS tracker beforehand your odds go up tremendously. But even then, quite a few thieves check for GPS trackers nowadays, so you’ll need to be fast or lose your bike anyways.

Motorcycle Insurance

Depending on your insurance policy, you may be capable of getting at least some of your bikes value back. The best motorcycle insurance policies will pay out the full amount, but those tend to be quite expensive as well. It’s a good idea to check reviews of your insurance and to read the fine print, as once your bike is stolen the insurance company may try to skimp you. Prevention is way better than dealing with the aftermath.

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