Army Rumour Service

Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

Motorcycle security advice.


War Hero
I had the opportunity to run a Metropolitan Police stand at the EXCEL motorcycle show the other month for the three days, to offer advice in regards to bike security and for joe public to ask relevant and not so relevant questions . This was a very much a last affair that only had myself and another officer manning it, next to the far more glitzy and bigger BIKESAFE stand that that was concerned with bike riding and courses.

From the non-stop, large numbers of people visiting the stand. I can only hope that we gave some useful advice to the many people who apparently had a very basic idea of bike security if at all. There was a large percentage of moped riders who required advice and a surprising number of motorcycle riders as well. We also talked people through legislation in regards to common law and showed some of the new liquid DNA launchers that are used to tag riders as well as showcase the new pursuit bikes being used to pursue mopeds.


1) I know how infuriated the average motorcycle/moped rider is about the state of bike thefts and the criminal offences being utilized by bikes. I have ridden bikes for 30 years and still do approx 40,000 miles annual on my own bikes, using them to travel into London for work and for my own purposes. I detest the current policies around the theft of bikes and engagement and pursuits.
I cannot change the policies, I just have to deal with the shit situation and ever increasing amounts of people who have had their machines stolen caused by pathetic regulations and legislations.

2) This is my own advice from experience and not official Met police advice

Security Advice for mopeds and motorcycles. This is for a serious attempt to take it, not kids buggering about when parked up on holiday in spain for example


1) Steering locks are utterly worthless on both mopeds and motorcycles. Often a single good kick is enough to destroy the small metal lug that is mounted onto the headstock of your machine. If this was the only security being used on your bike at the time, then the criminals will then be able to simply roll your machine away, or as is often seen, they will have another moped or bike that will be used to push the stolen machine to an area of their choosing.Even if you immediately recover your machine, there is a very high chance that the frame/headstock will now be fractured ....essentially you will now need to replace your frame.

2) Actually fit security. The amount of stolen machines that have had little or no security used at the time they were taken is staggering. If there are two identical bikes parked up, one with a £20 disc lock and one with no disc lock...guess which one will get taken?

3) Be paranoid. Do park your bike in a public area that is busy, with streetlamps and over looked by houses or business, Street CCTV or street vendors if you can. Take note if your area is an area targeted by bike thieves or you see the common sight of a couple mopeds, two up, patrolling around and looking at bikes and cars. Inform workmates which is your bike.
If you do have to park in the same area each day, for work. Try to alternate where you park your bike, fit multiple security like a chain and padlock and a disc lock and maybe a bike cover.

4) Do not leave your chains where you park. Its not uncommon for chains that have sleeves to be tampered with if left overnight. The sleeve is untagged to expose the actual chain which is then partially cut....the sleeve reattached, and when you attach it to your bike as normal, the thieves pay a visit and spend 5 seconds cutting through the last bit of metal. Padlocks are super glued up to stop you using them, anticipating that you will be made late for work and lave your bike ( now ) unlocked


1) Throttle lever locks. These are small clamps that lock around your grips and grab your brake lever to stop anyone moving the bike. Small and cheap and easily carried. useful for a short stop if your near to the bike.

Major Flaw with this design is you can simply do several things to totally bypass it. The bike lever can be cut through or removed, your bikes front brake lines can be cut and the bike simply rolled or pushed away.

2) Front disc lock. Various designs, some hugely more effective than others, these are effective to stop an opportunist thief, but not one equipped with tools. The theory is that the bike cannot be rolled away as the front wheel will not rotate due to the disc lock, fitted through the brake disc, hitting the fork stanchion of disc calipers.

A determined thief can bypass these quite easily. Your front wheel is held on by ( normally ) a single axle bolt and 4 caliper bolts for the brakes. A spare wheel can often be attained for the machines to be stolen, the bolts removed, disc locked wheel left at scene, the spare wheel fitted and the bike taken...a common tactic with mopeds. With motorcycles, this tactic would be used as the thief would have done a recce on your bike first and noted its security and because you park it in the same place and in the same way, every day.

A quicker method used for high value bikes, is to just use a grinder to cut straight through the brake disc itself,where the lock is fitted, they have lost the £100 sale of a front disc but have now got a £15,000 sportsbike to sell for spares. Cheap locks do not stand up well to being hammered by a lump hammer either.

3) Disc lock through rear Disc. Same disc lock as the front, but now you have fitted it to the rear disc of the bike or if the spaces are big enough, placed on the sprocket carrier for the chain. Numerous positions you can get disc lock into that make it exceptionally hard for someone to try to hammer or grind the lock off without damaging the bike and making it unrideable. You can use the bikes architecture to hinder tampering, by placing the lock in an especially awkward position.

Its very hard to do a quick change of a rear wheel and a lot more logistics to attain one for a swap, but not unheard of for a high value bike.

4) Good quality Chain and Padlock. I regard this as the minimum that should be fitted onto a bike due to the thieving population we seem to have grown. Huge amount to choose from in different lengths and gauges and types of padlock.

A chain through and around the front wheel is a very good deterrent.

,A chain through the back wheel is a vastly better deterrent.

A chain through the back wheel and attached to something that doesn't move is really getting there.

1) Do not let the chain pool onto the floor, if the chain is quite long for example, this enables a thief to work against the chain by using the floor as a working surface and makes their job easier.

2) Waste the spare length of chain by wrapping it several times around the wheel or buying it to length, if its a long chain and is attached to something, try to have the chain semi-suspended as this robs the energy out of a kinetic attack against the chain by the chain moving. If you bike has pannier racks or crash bars, try to have the chain go through these at some point...same theory to have the chain suspended but with a little slack to absorb impact.

3) Obviously try to avoid having the padlock on the floor.

4) Read and do research. Many good magazines that do product test on security devices, RIDE MAGAZINE for example, do not be swayed by shiney stickers and price alone. I personally use several chain and padlock's called MAMMOTH, that is a Thatcham approved chain, its affordable and in the right length is easily always carried on my bike, the padlock is also designed to hamper any attempt to get a grinder or bolt cropper onto it. I carry a smaller length chain for being out and about and have longer chains for locking the bike up at home.


War Hero
I will continue to post more to the guide,covering bike covers, marking devices and tracking devices if the Arrse collective find this useful.
I have a loop of paracord around my key which I loop around the frame when riding. I read increasingly that crims will do a key-grab when you are stopped at lights, if you have to leave the bike to sort it out they will return and ride it away.
Fair post though.
Scrotes tried to nick a mates bike from under his bedroom window.

What they didn't expect was a17 stone tattooed naked headcase to come out of the front door swinging an axe at them.

Funnily enough this could be cross posted to the Sapper in Los Verde post tbh.
Why are Sappers so ******* mental?


Book Reviewer
I think disk locks have felled more owners than they have inconvenienced thieves!

No apologies for this DM link, but when you see how brazen thieves are these days, you can see why physical security measures only have limited effect:

Moped gang are filmed trying to steal a £6,500 motorbike from outside owner's front door | Daily Mail Online
I’ve seen that done. Everyone screaming no, no, no. And the person attempting to take off having forgotten the disc lock.

Possibly using one in collaboration with a handlebar lock as a reminder wouldn’t be a bad idea.


War Hero
Ground anchors or wall anchors

These are various devices that are permanently attached to something solid, like a concrete floor, carpark or house wall and either anchor the bike directly, such as clamp that goes around/over of though the wheels or more commonly they allow a chain and padlock to be fed through the device and anchor the bike to the wall or floor.They can be attached by concreting in, bolts, welding etc.

These tend to be quite robust devices if fitted correctly and are not especially hard to DIY at home, simplest being to dig a big hole near to where you want to park your bike, put a large muck carrying builders bucket in it, place a stanchion designed ground anchor it, fill bucket with postcrete and then backfill the soi. You now have a nice, ground anchor.

The chains are often targeted as the weak spot in this arrangement.

If you have the time and the space and value your bike greatly, place the ground or wall anchor in an awkward position. ie. A ground anchor could be placed between your bike and a wall to greatly limit the access someone would have to it with any tools.

You can place them in workshops, garages or sheds ( ground anchors, don't use wall anchors on sheds ) I have cut a section out of my timber workshop floor and mounted anchors into the concrete base, they are covered by flooring when not in use.

Do research before you buy. And check before you start digging for Australia.

U-Lock or D- Lock

These are often solid metal bars shaped into a U or D shape and secure by a block lock. Depending on their size, they can be used to go through your discs, around the actual wheels or wheel stems/spokes or even attach your wheel or frame to something that doesn't move like a strong metal railing or another bike ( make sure its your mates )

I regard U-Locks as a very good system if you choose right and often better than a disc lock. They can be easily carried and are quite adaptable if you cannot carry a chain and padlock.

Cable locks or Steel Wire Rope ( SWR )

These are security devices in various configurations that take the place of chains or D/U-Locks . Their advantages are normally their low weight, flexibility and easy to carry. The theory is you can wrap them around wheels or frames and attach to other items, and even run them through your helmet and riding gear if leaving them on your bike. Constructed by multiple layers of steel rope arranged into a single cable, covered by a protective cover ( to stop scratching bike ) of some kind or sometimes an extra metal cover.

In my opinion, a chain and padlock are a far better alternative for security, but I have used cable locks when travelling overseas for extended times, and these are perfectly fine . I would not recommend them for use in the UK though.
I’ve seen that done. Everyone screaming no, no, no. And the person attempting to take off having forgotten the disc lock.

Possibly using one in collaboration with a handlebar lock as a reminder wouldn’t be a bad idea.
I have a clothes peg attached to the cables, when I use the disclock it goes on the screen or the clutch lever. So far so good!


War Hero
I had my keys on a fluorescent spiral cord attached to a dog-lead-clip, clipped to my jacket for the bike with ignition under the fuel tank; old yellow tent guyline looped over the mirror stem for the 'normal' bike.
Fluorescent builders/roadwork tape* on disc lock, about 3 foot long so it was obvious!
d-lock (& more tape) through rear wheel & drivechain, chain through frontwheel & frame.
Left it in gear to stop it being wheeled off....bit pointless really seeing as I didn't have a lever lock!
[*theft by finding it at the side of the road? No, officer, it was temporary recycling while I rode round asking the roadgangs if they'd lost any of their tape...)

hate seeing people with chains round their waist or over teir shoulder after seeing the bruises etc on people that went down the road
Last edited:


War Hero
Tracking and protective marking

When Asked about these devices, I normally enquire about the value of the persons machine that they are thinking about getting these devices for. There are of course two values, pure financial value and the far more important but not measurable emotional value. If the bike is worth a lot of money, or is really important to you, or especially both than I would say that trackers and marking are sensible for you.

Or if you have the money to spend of course.

Protective marking ( make sure people see the warning signs on the bike )

This is a system of unique marks that are fitted to your bike, either by the dealer, or more likely by yourself. ALPHADOT, DATATAG etc. It can be tiny identifiers (microdots ) like Alphadot that are applied around the bike in various spots ( record where you put them ). if a bike is found or parts of a bike are recovered, assuming the recovering police force have the tech available, the microdots can be traced to the last registered owner.

Or a unique code that is applied over the bike in an indelible ultraviolet dye. These are more easily seen with a common UV light are are meant to be seen by the crims who carry a UV light, meaning that the whole bike is marked.

Both of these are deterrents, but only in certain cases.

If you have a bike that is high value ( money or desirability ) and is likely to be sold on or more likely stripped to be sold as parts, then these marking systems are good as it means a canny buyer or certainly a dealer would or should be able to spot these at source.The crims are less likely to steal the bike if they want to make a profit like this as they would have to strip the marked parts out.

However, it will not stop anyone stealing your bike if they just want to knick it and rag it about, use it for crime to mug someone on false plates or the thieves are that stupid that they don't know what a DATATAG warning sticker is.

If you got the money spare, its no harm at all to fit these and might actually deter someone.


Quite a few of these on the market now.From experience I can tell you bluntly that several are worthless.

As a response officer, I would receive a call that a motorcycle has been stolen and be given the bike details, victims details and where it was stolen and if it has happened now or very recently and any witnesses. If a tracker is fitted, the good companies would have called me directly and would be giving me second by second updates as to the location of the machine and I am often directed by the tracker operator the bike can be recovered.

These good companies have.....

1) 24hr 365 day monitoring.
2) communication with their customers in regards to when the bike is expected to be used and where, when they are holiday and when the bike would never be used.
3) battery backups
4) multiple locations on bike to hide device.
5) direct police liaisons

The bad companies contact me that the customer has had their bike stolen 24 hrs ago and the last update showed it parked nearby 6 hrs ago.....and the device will update in 2 hours.

Excellent thread & opening narrative, Unfortunately work commitments prevented me to visit this year’s Excel. Having had a motorcycle previously stolen (not at home) I’m a lot more wary & cautious than ever.

I regularly monitor motorcycle bays & moped rider complacency towards security is still ongoing, I personally carry two physical devices and the bike has a factory electronic device too, the rule of thumb of buying the best security you can afford 10% of bike value est is ok but my home security has plant rated HD chain & padlock includes wall anchor.

Lastly, I never use cable only chains, however a thief or gang armed with a cordless grinders etc can only survive so much. Personally, I’d like to see more kerb security rings installed, like those just off Tottenham Court Road, however more bays are definitely needed.
Do you consider it worthwhile using a cover? I park behind one of your nicks most days and use 2 disk locks but just up the road bikes are openly being nicked without a care of who’s around.
I like this thread. I don't own a bike, but I have other stuff that needs to be secured such as my ride-on tractor mower and very expensive BBQ set-up. I am now motivated to have a look at some of the options you have suggested in terms of anchors, chains and locks.

Joshua Slocum

Book Reviewer
I will continue to post more to the guide,covering bike covers, marking devices and tracking devices if the Arrse collective find this useful.
Yes please do
and you are right about people leaving them poorly secured, another is leaving a flash bike on the drive to show off to neighbours, mine is behind the gate as soon as I come home, then in the garage, and covered and locked

Joshua Slocum

Book Reviewer
A mate of mine rides in London on a tasty bike, he has a lanyard thingy like they fit to Jetskis, as soon as its pulled out the bike is dead
he said its a pain, but I think he has had contact with the scooter mongs already
once bitten and all that

Joshua Slocum

Book Reviewer
I like this thread. I don't own a bike, but I have other stuff that needs to be secured such as my ride-on tractor mower and very expensive BBQ set-up. I am now motivated to have a look at some of the options you have suggested in terms of anchors, chains and locks.
Tractor mowers are a regular theft item around here, oddly members of the nomadic caravan using community tend to be seen in the area for a time before, if its valuable as well as a bolt and chain to the floor, and alarm on the building and a tracker are worth thinking about, a friend up at Stow lost his, normally there is always some one in the house or the stables
they reckon the thief was in the woods nearby behind the barn waiting and then started it and rode across the field, through two gates and out of another gate into a white pick up
now there is barbed wire coils run along the sides of the buildings and razor wire in other places


War Hero
CCTV at home and Work

The council operated street CCTV ( if manned 24 hrs , not all are ) are a good deterrent and the local crims know this. I have been given second by second descriptions of a bike theft by CCTV operators by the crims too stupid or not local to realise they are trying to steal a bike directly under a CCTV mast, and we get the chance to leap out and give them the good news.

Home CCTV is also a good deterrent against certain individuals, ideally it needs to be the type that gives you immediate alerts if triggered so you have real time imaging to see if a theft is going on and call police...rather than a bloody irritating recording of a group of crims with their faces covered stealing your pride and joy that you can watch the next day.

CCTV is a good thing for the general security of your house anyway, have it up high to prevent tampering, as long as you are not pointing it directly into the neighbours, teenage daughters bedroom you will be fine ( that is half of Arrse ruled out ) if in doubt read up on local regs, and try to have the dome type CCTV that makes it harder for someone to work out where its looking.

Bike Covers

Not just to protect your bike from the elements.

If a crim was to walk along a road and was to go to your covered bike, lift up the cover to have a look at the security or the reg plate and was seen to this by yourself, a nice neighbour or an officer. Said crim will be arrested for " vehicle interference " and if they are a know bike thief or other little scoundrel, that can mean very bad news for the individual. Plus of course, the old out of sight and out of mind.


until recently people used to just ignore them, stand and gawp, occasionally video your bike being stolen and posted it on facebook without calling police or other wobble headedness .

People are now getting more aware and actually start to take notice due to huge problems with the moped crims at the moment, people jump in and challenge them sometimes. An alarm is a good thing to have, especially for us at home who sleep very lightly and storm down the stairs at the slightest sound of metal moving near our bike.

Get a good alarm, one that can alert you by phone if possible and definitely do not get one that goers off at every single movement.

No. You cannot legally have an alarm that you can initiate and locks all the brakes on your bike if its being pushed down the road by the moped crims. Sadly.
Sister owns a quad, she lives in the country & it’s hidden in stables in amongst annexes with three horses, she has one of my old chains to secure it, also sheep, cattle and hardware are popular with thieves.

As for covers, yes an invaluable tool.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Joshua Slocum

Book Reviewer
If you keep your motorcycle in a garage or outhouse, buy and install a baby monitor, as long as the garage is on the same supply, set the Audio level and most of the time it wont bother you, but you would be surprised at how much noise scum make when trying doors

if leaving a motorcycle stored for a period of time remove the battery and keep it on an optimate inside the house ( away from sparks and naked flame) if possible remove the back wheel, although in my case it was not till the retards rolled it off the stand that they spotted that !!!!

you can get some cheap small battery powered alarms remote control with vibration sensors, fix them on garage doors and window, and even fit one on the bike

if you have a garage/workshop, check your fence panels around it
A client of mine was awakened by his baby alarm during the day ( he works nights) to find a couple of lads sliding the panels out of the concrete H posts
I believe a discussion ensued about theft ?
we nailed some barbed wire along the inside upper edges of the panels using cleats, stops them being lifted as they are effectively joined together

gripper rods nailed to the inside edge of a fence post and gates, not sure wether its legal but I did it, and I dont give a hoot ( 2 bikes and one car)
Yes please do
and you are right about people leaving them poorly secured, another is leaving a flash bike on the drive to show off to neighbours, mine is behind the gate as soon as I come home, then in the garage, and covered and locked

Ditto. I had a ground anchor sunk, behind a locked gate, out of sight from the road. And that was only for a BMW R1200RT.

When I had had a GSXR600 I’d leave it on display, in the hope that someone would have it away, knowing that I’d get the insurance and the baddie would be easily tracked down by identifying regular visits to a local chiropractor.