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Follow these tips to help prevent motorcycle theft

Added February 21, 2017
Motorcycle Lock

Among the worst things any motorcycle rider can discover is that his or her bike has been stolen. The sense of loss and violation after such an event can be profound. You can reduce your odds of motorcycle theft by taking some simple steps to secure your motorcycle.

Why steal my ride?

Motorcycles are stolen for quick profit or thrill, with some brands and models more valuable or exciting to steal. While professional motorcycle thieves might have a picky shopping list, the most popular targets—by far—are the easy ones. Don’t make your motorcycle an easy target.

Fighting bike theft

A motorcycle that’s out of sight is out of mind. At home, park your bike in a locked garage. If that’s not possible, or you’re traveling, park your motorcycle so it’s not an easy target. Here are some tips on picking a parking spot:

  • Park in a well-lit area or under a motion-controlled light
  • Park in view of security personnel or cameras
  • Park near the front desk at a hotel
  • Park in a controlled-access garage
  • Park out of sight from the road to combat against drive-by thieves
  • Use a non-descriptive motorcycle cover 

Lock it or lose it

As surprising as it might sound, some riders leave their motorcycles parked with the keys in the ignition in very public places. In the few moments it takes to pay for fuel, for instance, this provides a prime opportunity for motorcycle thieves. Always lock your ignition and steering head before leaving your motorcycle. Using an additional lock or locks provides further protection. Below are various types of locks, some featuring alarms and text message or email alerts.


Lock Type Immobilize Wheel? Attach to immovable object? Ease of use Weight
Disk Lock Yes No Easy Light
U Lock Yes Some models Easy


Cable lock Yes Yes Moderate Medium/heavy
Chain lock Yes Yes Moderate Medium/heavy


Tips and tricks

It takes more than just buying good locks—you need to use them effectively, too. Here is a more detailed look at the locks mentioned above and how to properly use them:

Disk locks

  • Use a brightly colored cord or a long spiral keychain loop attached between the front brake lock and handlebar, making it more visible and reminding you to remove it before riding
  • You can also add a second disk lock to the rear wheel

U locks

  • Lock wheel to frame
  • Lock wheel or frame to immovable object
  • Larger examples can also secure helmets

Cable or chain locks

  • Lock the frame to an immovable object
  • Lock two motorcycles together
  • Reduce slack by wrapping multiple times around immovable object or through multiple parts of motorcycle to reduce access for cutting tools
  • Arrange chain or cable off the ground to limit use of hammer and chisel attack

Theft prevention practices such as using locks makes your motorcycle a more difficult target. A cover hides your motorcycle and denies thieves the knowledge of your lock strategy.

Till next time, ride safe!