It’s easy to understand why so many motorbikes are stolen each year. Motorbikes cost thousands of pounds and have a high resale value on the black market so demand is high.
Even the largest motorcycles can be put in the back of a van with ease, so the risk of getting caught is less than it would be for stealing a car.
Consequences of motorbike theft
The likelihood of seeing your motorbike again after it’s been stolen is remote.
In worst case scenarios they might have been stripped and sold for parts within hours.
While it’s worth reporting the crime to the police – and using social media to track down potential witnesses – your chances of success are slim.
Aside from the misery of your beloved motorcycle vanishing, there’s also the inconvenience.
What will you do if you ride it to work every day?
Then there are the financial consequences. Motorbike theft could have an impact on motorbike insurance costs, potentially pushing them up.
So it’s always best to avoid having to make a claim in the first place.
What can you do to avoid becoming yet another gloomy statistic? Well, the good news is there are plenty of ways to deter would-be thieves.
Compare motorbike insurance quotes
How can you stop your motorbike being stolen?
The key here is to make stealing your motorbike as unappealing as possible.
For example, keeping it out of public sight is the best option.
And anti-theft devices might delay criminals trying to steal it away.
The longer a thief needs to spend breaking through your security, the less likely they are to try.
For example, thieves may think twice about cutting through a chain in the middle of a bustling estate.
On the other hand, leaving it unsecured in a dark, secluded area is asking for trouble.
The ideal scenario is to keep your pride and joy safely locked away.
Putting it in a garage - or using a secure outbuilding at the bottom of your garden – is ideal.
Of course, you still need to ensure those locations are secure.
An unlocked garage could actually be even more of a risk as the thief can work out of sight.
If your garage is linked to your house then consider extending your burglar alarm's range to cover it.
If not, consider installing a separate system and home security cameras.
Don’t forget that windows could be a weak point.
Consider bricking them up completely. At the very least, consider window locks or security grilles.
Try to keep your motorbike around the back of your house or under a cover.
You might love a flashy motorcycle but you probably want it hidden when you’re not riding it.
If you haven’t got access to a garage, it’s worth seeing if you can keep it on a driveway.
Getting it off the road should be looked on favourably by insurance companies.
A better level of security lessens the risk of theft – or it being damaged on the road by other vehicles – and could help you secure cheaper motorbike insurance.
There are also secure car parks. The bonus with these is they're often patrolled regularly by security guards or monitored by CCTV cameras.
Some of them are also password protected, which provides another layer of protection.
Discuss these issues with the company you have your motorbike insurance with to see what they prefer.
As well as keeping your motorbike hidden from view, think about using security devices such as motorbike locks.
What's the best motorbike lock?
It's a good idea to invest in a good motorbike lock and not scrimp on the cheapest option.
Northants Police recommends using a disc lock to secure the front brake disc, or a grip lock to secure the brake and throttle controls.
You could also use a D lock on the front wheel to stop it being wheeled away.
Whatever lock you choose, make sure it bears the SOLD SECURE logo.
Sold Secure is part of the Master Locksmiths Association and has an aim of reducing crime by assessing and rating security products.
Products are graded bronze, silver, gold or diamond.
Bronze products resist attempted theft from basic tools only. Superior gold or diamond products should be able to defend your motorcycle from thieves with dedicated or specialist tools.
Where's the best place to lock my motorbike?
In addition to where you keep your motorbike at home, you need to pay attention to where you park it when you're out and about.
Busy areas with plenty of people around should be safer than quiet spots where thieves have the opportunity to work on your motorbike without anyone noticing.
Locking your motorcycle in a well-lit, visible area - preferably with CCTV - should also help.
Thieves often steal a motorbike by breaking the steering lock and wheeling it away.
Use a chain lock through the back wheel as the front wheel can be removed, points out Northants police.
“Secure your bike, with the lock taut to an immovable object such as a ground anchor or street furniture,” the force advises.
This action should stop thieves from cutting a lock trailing on the ground using an angle grinder.
An alternative, if this isn’t possible, is to thread the chain through your motorbike frame and back wheel.
A ground anchor provides a fixed point to which you can chain your motorbike.
While they’re usually attached to the ground, they can be just as easily fixed to a wall if necessary.
There are plenty of different anchors available.
At its most simple, it’s a basic metal look that can be secured in some way to a flat surface.
The best, however, can be dug into the ground – and then the hole filled with concrete – for the maximum amount of security.
Prices, however, also vary.
The cheapest can be picked up for less than £30, while you be looking at more than £100 for a top end version.
These can also be a useful deterrent. Ensure that any alarm you choose has been approved by Thatcham, the not-for-profit insurer-funded research centre.
This organisation was established in 1969 and launched categories for alarms and immobilisers in the 1990s. They've become an industry benchmark.
Certification from Thatcham provides reassurance around the performance of alarms, their design, and suitability.
Gangs of thieves may drive around the area looking for potential targets. Therefore, even keeping your motorbike under a cover could help.
Few thieves would want to draw attention to themselves by trying to peer underneath the cover. It’s far easier to move on to the next potential victim.
You can get a basic cover for less than £50. As well as acting as camouflage, it also protects your bike against rain, hail and dust.
Disable your motorbike
Another easy option to deter thieves is removing the spark plug or HT cap.
The benefits are that it’s quick and relatively straightforward.
Of course, none of these stop thieves lifting your motorcycle onto the back of a low loader, but as an added tier of security it’s worth considering.
Other motorbike security tips
It's certainly worth marking as much of your motorbike as possible, according to advice from the Metropolitan Police.
This should make it more difficult for criminals to sell parts on – and your motorbike less attractive to steal. It also helps police identify parts and return recovered stolen bikes.
There’s no shortage of motorbike marking providers. You can pick up pens cheaply online and do it yourself or explore specialist marking system, such as Datatag.
It's hard for thieves to ride off on your motorbike if the tyres are flat.
However, it’s not fool proof, and might be irritating if you have to pump them up before every ride.
Make sure you take plenty of photographs of your motorbike – particularly if it’s rare or you've made modifications that make it unique.
Even quick mobile phone snaps are useful for alerting people if it goes missing.
The hope is you’ll make it hot property – and the thief opts to dump it rather than risk getting caught.
Of course, sometimes bikes are stolen regardless of how much security you have in place. In those situations, it's worth knowing how to claim on your motorbike insurance.