Locking System - Locked 'N' Loaded - Buyer's Guide

A Buyer's Guide To Scooter Security

If you've ever had your bike pilfered, you know all about the anger, denial and empty feelings arising out of that traumatic experience. A better option than running off to your psychiatrist, though, is getting yourself psyched up about preventing the theft of your pride and joy in the first place.

To protect your ride, you have to be more determined than the bad guys. Luckily, there are plenty of security systems at your disposal, and with a little forethought your precious scooter should be able to withstand street prowlers in search of an easy heist.

Job one is decreasing your motorcycle's theft potential. Thieves of opportunity, for instance, can be kept at bay by devices such as quality disc locks, chains, cable locks or U-locks. The crooks will have to defeat this stuff on-site, so they'll usually move on in search of an easier target.

More serious criminals favor what's known as "lift-away theft": a group of beefy lads drive around in a large vehicle and, upon spotting a desirable target, lift the unlucky two-wheeler, locks and all, into their truck. Your best bet against this is to secure your machine to an immovable object, such as a permanent structure or in-ground anchor. This isn't always practical, but it's the superior way to stop thieves from rolling your ride away.

For equipment, make sure you get quality stuff. For instance, cheapie locks sport diecast components that're easily defeated with common hand tools. Better locks have hardened steel shackles and cylinders that require torches or grinders to remove.

We sought examples of the different locking systems on the market. They range from high-end hasps to items you can scrounge at your local hardware store; so really, you have no reason to leave your pride and joy at risk.

Nailing It Down
Permanent options, of course, are best-when the locking mechanism on your bike is secured to the ground, it's one less point of entry for the thief. Products such as Kryptonite's Stronghold and the Bike Anchor are both U-shaped steel anchors made to be embedded in your garage floor for real protection. With a heavy-duty chain and lock inserted through the frame and anchors, your bike's stoutly secured

Operating on a similar principle is the new Bike Brace, a plasma-cut steel plate that also mounts to a permanent surface. A precision-ground one-inch shaft contained within inserts through a bike's wheel. An industrial-grade padlock, mounting hardware and instructions are included; a shell on the side protects the padlock from bolt-cutters for effective security.

Owner Jay Heerens says plans are in the works for a cruiser-specific anchor system to be unveiled sometime next year. For more information see www.bikebrace.com

And if you want to get even more high-tech, we hear LoJack will soon be launching a service for motorcycles, too. Get more info at www.lojack.com.

Not My Ride: 10 Ways to Pilfer-Proof Your RideThere are a million ways to lower the odds of your machine being stolen. No single one is completely foolproof, but if you consider the following tips, you stand a better chance of ensuring your ignition key doesn't get lonely.

1. Lead Them Not Into Temptation
The less your bike is seen, the less likely a thief will cozy up to it. If you don't have a garage, keep it covered-not knowing what's underneath makes it harder to assess the difficulty of stealing it.

2. Steer Clear
Although readily defeated, your bike's steering lock can be a first-step defense and will discourage easy maneuvering of the bike.

3.Keep It Up
Whatever you use, don't rest it on the ground; the thief then won't have extra leverage to pry the lock. The lock should be attached through the frame, or less desirably, forks or wheel.

4. Lock It Down
A disc lock might inconvenience joy-riders, but determined thieves can simply hoist such a bike into a waiting truck. Even bikes inside garages should be securely locked.

5. The Power Of Two
It's best to use two or more locks of different types. Rarely will a thief be prepared to tackle different kinds of locks.

6. Don't Cheap Out
Go for the good stuff: Alarmed disc locks, U-locks of hardened steel and asymmetrical chains (51/48 inches or greater) all rate highly.

7. Get Sneaky
If you're really determined to foil the bad guys, wire up a kill-switch or spring-loaded switch that must be held down when the start button is depressed.

8. So That's The Key
Make a record of your key numbers, then file them off the locks if they're stamped on-anyone with a number can have a key cut to fit.

9. Shine A Light
If you park outside, choose a well-lit, conspicuous area. If you can't lock your bike to something stationary, try another bike. Even plastering your bike with "Alarm Installed" stickers could discourage the bastards.

10. Move it Or Lose It
Last but not least, remember to remove your cable, disc or U-lock before riding away. A helpful article on this too-common blunder is at http://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/streetsurvival/LockReminders/.