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At the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) conference, held at the National Motorcycle Museum in January 2023, it was announced that motorcycle theft statistics from the Police National Computer show a worrying 36.4% increase in 2022 compared with 2021. In this post we recommend motorcyclists take notice of these theft statistics and bolster their motorbike security measures.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on motorbike thefts is apparent from the annual figures. In 2019 there were 24,353 motorbikes reported stolen and in 2020 this dropped by -27.1% to 17,747, due to the pandemic. But in 2021 the number of stolen motorcycles escalated by +4.2% to 18,485 and figures for 2022 reflect 25,212 motorcycle thefts, a massive +36.4% increase on the previous year.
Projections for anticipated motorcycle thefts in the UK during 2023 suggest a likely increase of +11.1% to 28,000 stolen motorbikes.
These statistics have prompted calls for motorbike manufacturers to take security more seriously and for motorcyclists to take care of their valued motorbikes using layered security measures.
The most commonly targeted motorbikes by thieves are sports bikes and other popular models. This is because stolen motorbikes aren’t easy to resell on the black market, making it simpler and more profitable for the criminals to break up the stolen bikes into parts that can be sold on far more easily.
The most common way used to steal motorbikes these days is by lifting them off the ground and into a van. People sometimes ask if its possible to steal a motorbike without keys and the answer is - yes it is.
A recent case in which an organised gang stole a Ducati Multistrada V4, worth around £28,000, demonstrates how this form of theft is carried out incredibly quickly. The motorbike owner, a French tourist, had parked his motorcycle in a Liverpool city centre street while on his way to the Isle of Man TT races. A gang of five thieves pulled up in a white transit van and four of them used bolt cutters to cut the bike free and lift it into the back of their waiting van. This all happened in under a minute.
Luckily, this well planned exploit was spotted by a vigilant CCTV operator who called the police. Officers chased the van through Liverpool streets as it sped through red lights, putting pedestrians at risk.
The valuable motorbike sustained £1600 worth of damage, making it unrideable. And the owner told the courts how he had suffered, both financially and psychologically, due to the theft.
In another recent case, three thieves broke into a shed and stole two motorcycles, one of which was brand new. The owner reported how he had been devastated by the crime and that he’d intended to sell the older bike but now had to disappoint the person buying it.
The criminals are reported to have removed the motorbikes from the property by lifting a fence panel into a neighbour’s garden. They managed to gain access to the bike shed by removing some bolts and it was clear this had been a well planned crime as the offenders knew exactly where the bikes were stored and what they needed to do to reach them and take them away.
Although the crime was captured on CCTV, which also recorded the gang examining the property before committing the offence, the valued motorcycles have not been recovered. Police are requesting and gathering more information on the crime.
Motorcyclists need to be aware that even large sports bikes, weighing around 200kg, are easily and quickly lifted into a waiting van by 4 thieves. In some cases these gangs use scaffolding poles under the front forks and rear of the bikes, near the shock absorbers, to quickly lift them into the back of a waiting van where the stolen bike is immediately hidden from view. And experienced thieves can complete this operation in seconds.
Its also worth being aware of how thieves will follow potentially valuable targets to discover where the motorbikes are stored and how they are secured.
Motorcyclists should be aware of the various types of motorbike insurance and the need to be certain they have adequate cover.
Comprehensive cover will pay out for damages even if an accident wasn’t the riders fault. Third party insurance is the most basic form of motorcycle cover required to ride a motorbike on UK roads. This form of insurance basically protects ‘the third party’ or the other person, in the event of an accident. Third party fire and theft insurance cover doesn’t provide the level of insurance cover provided by fully comprehensive, but it does provide cover if the motorbike is stolen or damaged in an attempted theft. It also provides cover if the bike catches fire.
Every motorbike insurer has their own criteria for covering motorcycles as they all rate various security measures, such as immobilisers, differently. When considering insurance policies and providers its important to assess the provider’s requirements and always be open and honest about all aspects of motorbike security, including where the bike is stored, where its commonly parked and what theft prevention and deterrence measures are being used. Some insurers will apply only one security discount regardless of how many anti theft measures are used.
The two previously cited cases in which motorcycles were stolen highlight the two primary security concerns for motorbike riders:
Police forces recommend a layered approach to theft deterrence and motorbike security. These recommendations are reinforced by reports from ex-motorcycle thieves who have highlighted how they and other criminals would not spend prolonged periods of time working to overcome motorbike security measures. Most will spend nothing more than a few minutes and if they aren’t successful they will move on.
Another important point made by some motorcycle thieves is how highly visible protection measures are a powerful deterrent. While some less-visible security devices such as motorcycle trackers, are effective, highly visible, passive security protection measures are also extremely valuable.
Motorcycle security recommendations from UK police forces include the layered lock, chain, cover technique.
Police forces specifically refer to the use of disc locks that will help secure the front brake disc along with the use of D-locks on the front wheel to prevent the bike from being wheeled away. They also recommend the use of grip locks to secure the motorbike throttle and brake controls.
Police note that thieves will sometimes steal bikes by breaking the steering lock and wheeling it away. They recommend using a chain lock through the rear wheel and making certain this is tightly secured to an immovable object such as a piece of street furniture or a ground anchor. Ensuring the chain is taut and not resting on the ground surface helps protect it against attacks using angle grinders or sledge hammers. Police suggest that if it isn’t possible to chain a bike to an immovable structure, thread the security chain through the rear wheel and bike frame.
It is noted that thieves will often be on the lookout for specific motorcycle models. Using a motorcycle cover immediately hides the bike and will also present a further obstacle thieves need to overcome.
The police go on to recommend that when parking at home the safest location is inside a locked garage, shed or storage unit. These structures must be locked and secure and it should be ensured door locks and hinges are all robust. Security lighting, triggered by motion, is another valuable security tactic along with CCTV cameras. And its also possible to fit garage and shed alarms to raise a loud alert if these structures are attacked.
If you don’t have a secure garage, shed or parking facility for your bike its recommended to park close to home in a well lit area and make certain the bike is protected using the lock, chain and cover technique.
Another valuable security tactic is to security mark all of the parts on your motorcycle. Marking as many of the bike components as possible immediately makes a motorbike far less appealing to criminals who want to break it down to sell the parts.
We offer an extensive selection of high quality, tried and tested motorcycle security products from our online store. Here’s a selection of excellent security devices that we know are popular with our motorcycling customers.
When securing your motorbike in shed or other other outbuilding you need to make sure the structure is as secure as possible. The CEN4 rated Federal FD730 Padlock & FD4025 Security Hasp set is designed for high security applications and offers exceptional resistance to physical attack along with protection against weathering.
CEN stands for ‘central european norm’ and refers to an agreed standard for padlock manufacturers. A CEN4 rating categorises the padlock as ‘high security’.
One of our valued customers said the following about this hasp and padlock set:
Excellent product and a wonderfully fast service. What more could you want?
Another valuable enhancement to beef up shed door security is our range of shed door security bars. These devices come in various lengths to fit most shed doors. They are easily installed by anyone with basic DIY skills and immediately present a strong visual deterrent while also making the secured door far more impenetrable.
This is what one of our customers recently had to say about this great product.
Only thing to say outstanding,easy to fit, good value for the money. Thank you . I used disk locks to secure it. This will give the low life something to think about.
As recommended by police forces, its always a good idea to securely attach motorbikes to immovable anchor points. Even when motorbikes and other valuables are stored inside locked garages or sheds it makes sense to layer up security by robustly attaching them to immovable anchor points.
We offer a wide range of both wall and ground anchors, including our own Big Boy Ground Anchor that’s received many excellent reviews from the motorcycling community. Two of our most popular ground anchor models are the Taurus Bull-Ring Concrete-in Ground Anchor and the TORC Sold Secure Motorcycle Gold Ground Anchor.
The Taurus Bull-Ring Concrete-in Ground Anchor is Sold Secure Gold (Motorcycle) rated and very popular with motorcyclists and others who need to ensure their valuables remain locked in place.
This is what one of our customers had to say about their Taurus Bull-Ring:
After someone managed to half uproot my previous “Bird” anchor I searched for something that wouldn’t budge and I found the Taurus. So glad I did as it’s sturdy, strong and there’s lots of room for multiple chains, locks and cables. The fact that it’s a concrete in product is a double bonus. Expensive, but a worthy investment.
The TORC Sold Secure Motorcycle Gold Ground Anchor is another popular ground anchor choice that’s bolted in place rather than set in concrete. Long life is ensured by the two-stage corrosion protection involving zinc-phosphate pretreatment along with a tough powder coating finish.
This is what one of our customers had to say about his TORC Ground Anchor order.
Excellent product and super customer service My own fault I ordered the wrong kit (fixing kit for the ground anchor), when I called customer service to explain my mistake nothing was a problem, they sent me out the right fixing kit which they weren’t obliged to do so FREE of charge - above and beyond I would say Thanks very much Elke and without doubt will be coming back for advice on my next project, boating security & order :)
The Pin Element of the RL21 RoundLock body is 21mm in diameter, so the lock doubles as a very compact, convenient disc lock, which at just 0.53kg is practical and easy to carry.
The RL21 Roundlock bundle includes this remarkable lock, which has achieved Sold Secure (Motorcycle) Gold accreditation, along with the RL21A socket that’s required if the lock is to be used with our Protector 19mm Security Chain.
While the standard RL21 lock works with 13mm or 16mm Protector Chains and makes a great disc lock, it needs the RL21a socket to operate with the 19mm Protector Chain.
Here`s the feedback from one of our RL21 customers:
Excellent item, good comms from the delivery company, fast delivery overall. chose credit card option to make sure I had section 75 protection but somehow paid via paypal . The lock is 5 star.
Manufactured from high-grade European steel and treated with precise and proven specialist heat treatment and finishing processes in the UK these Protector 19mm high security chains have achieved Sold Secure Ratings in all categories including Motorcycle, Caravan, ATV and Van.
This is what one reviewer had to say about this high security chain:
Ok, so bought this for my motorcycle to go through imbedded Y ground anchors. It’s great quality, but quite tight through the spokes of the wheel. I got the 80cm length chain, which is fine but quite tight as well, no reflection on the quality, but I’d probably advise anyone else to get a slightly longer chain than you think you’ll need. Overall I’m very pleased and feel very confident in the security of the bike now.
Police recommend the use of D-locks as part of their layered motorcycle security recommendations. This high security Sold Secure Motorcycle Gold D-Lock is precisely what’s needed. The special 16mm hardened steel alloy shackle includes a rubber cover that helps protect motorbikes from scratching and importantly it’s impossible to crop by hand, even when using massive Irwin Record 42" bolt croppers!
This is what one reviewer had to say about their D-lock and our service.
Sorry for the late review... I purchased the Pragmasis DIB-D 130 in November 2021 after seeing seeing the Bennets review on YouTube. I received an exceptional service from Elke, who was very informative about the product as well as professional in her manner, and this persuaded me to buy from Insight ; also the price was the best. The checkout was easy with delivery and cost very good. The D lock itself is excellent quality, sturdy and perfectly fits through the front forks of my Honda SH125i. I will be going Insight as my first choice when looking for bike security. Thanks again Elke.
If you have any questions about motorbike security or if you have any special requirements remember that we are here to help. Give us a call on 01273 475500 and we’ll provide you with free, expert advice.
This message was added on Thursday 23rd February 2023
Need Help or Advice?
Call the Insight team
01273 475 500