How to secure your new bike
Q. I'll be getting my first bike next week, a 2010 Kawasaki ER-6F and I'm trying to work out what kind of security mechanisms to get. The bike will be kept overnight in a locked compound (I live in a block of flats, car park accessed via RFID fob) where there's a ground anchor and plenty of big metal U-shaped bicycle lock posts.
I'm currently thinking I'm going to get a chain that’s at least 16mm thick. I've also considered disc-locks but I have been warned against them by people who have attempted to ride off with one still attached.
But since I'll also want some form of protection while I'm out and about, the disc lock would prove handy if I were to say, park outside my office window (saves lugging a heft chain around too).
It wouldn't stop anyone picking it up and shoving it in a van, but since I'm sat 30ft from the door and it'll be in daylight on a busy street...
A. Any security is better than none, and the Cost Benefit Analysis of any scumbag thief is going to be about the time they have to spend getting through your defences so they can sling the bike in a van, start it up to ride it off, or even just push it down the road to somewhere more secluded.
So the more mechanical immobilisers you have on show; locks, disc locks and ground anchors, the more likely they are to pass by your bike to another one less-protected down the street. The same goes for a Thatcham recognized identifaction system like Datatag, Carole Nash’s DNA+ or Smartwater.
With that in mind a hefty Thatcham-Standard chain and lock threaded through the bike’s frame to something immovable like a ground anchor is better than the bicycle lock posts. You should also keep the chain off the ground which reduces the purchase a tea-leaf can get with bolt-croppers. A cover is also a good idea.
The problem is parking away from home, especially day after day in the same place. Even when you are 30 feet away, if you are doing your job you can’t be looking out the window all day long.
And what about lunchtime or a visit to the loo? In this case an alarm does have its merits as you will be close enough to react to it, because no one else will. Many alarms also feature immobilisers too, to stop them hot-wiring your pride and joy.
Again, a cover that stops a villain gauging the size of the prize is good, but keep it clear of the exhausts until they have cooled down. A disc lock won’t deter a professional gang, but they do come with reminder tags or lanyards that should stop you riding off with it still attached.
A good quality U-lock through the front wheel and forks is a must and you really need to use the chain and lock away from home, but finding a handy ground anchor like a lamp post while still parking legally is tricky.
Trackers are coming onto the market now and offer another line of defence. Apart from cost, they are pretty good, though beware of ongoing service charges and endless texts if you dare move it without the key in the ignition.