How To Protect Your Electric Bike From Theft
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How To Protect Your Electric Bike From Theft

electric bike theft, bike securely locked to bike rack

With over 200,000 bicycles reported stolen annually, it’s important to take proactive steps to safeguard your electric bike from theft. Every day, there are stories of bicycles being stolen, a concern echoed across social media platforms. Despite the efforts of many, only a select few manage to recover their stolen bikes.


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Indoor Storage: Your Best Bet

The most important thing to do, if you can, is keep your bike inside with you. Designate an area of your home (and your office) to keep your bikes. It keeps them out of the elements, and out of the hands of would-be thieves. If you have your own garage that no one can gain access to, that works well, too, though we’d still have some form of lock on it in case someone gets in or you forget to close the garage door “that one time”.

Be cautious with gated or shared garages; they are not as secure as they may appear. Instances of bikes being stolen from locked garages or cages are not uncommon, highlighting the determination of thieves. If they can see it, they can steal it.


Invest in a High-Quality Lock

Given the investment in your electric bike, securing it from theft with a high-quality lock is essential. Reputable brands like ABUS and Hiplok offer robust locks that are difficult to breach. Avoid lightweight cable locks, as they are easily cut with bolt cutters or angle grinders.

U-locks or sturdy folding locks are recommended as a primary defense mechanism. Choose a U-lock that can encompass your bike’s rear wheel and frame, and securely attach it to a bike rack or pole. Alarmed locks, though pricier, provide an added layer of security by emitting a loud siren when tampered with, deterring potential thieves.

Most locks can fall victim to an angle grinder, many of them can make quick work of most locks. Hiplok has one they claim has a graphene coating that will wear down any angle grinder blade. They have a YouTube video showing this, but they have yet to send me one to actually test. 


These two locks from ABUS have motion sensors and alarms. The one on the right is keyed, the one on the left is keyless and uses an app to lock and unlock it.

My favorites are the locks with motion sensors and an alarm. A few companies make these, ABUS being one example. They even have a wireless one that works with an app on your phone. The sensors detect motion and emit an audible warning. If the bike is moved again within a few seconds, it puts out a 120db alarm that will alert anyone in the area. Again, the less desirable you can make your bike to a thief, the safer your bike is.


Secure Removable Parts and Use Vehicle Racks Wisely

This person doesn’t understand how to properly lock their bike to a rack.

Remember that some parts on your bike are easier to steal than others. If you have a quick-release seatpost clamp or front wheel, it makes it not only easy for you to adjust it yourself, but also easier for a thief with no tools to walk off with it.


U-locks can hold the front wheel and frame to the rack. This can even be done on a locking, hitch-mounted bike rack.

If you’re buying a rack to carry bikes on your vehicle, consider getting a hitch-mount rack with built-in bike locks. I often use these with additional locks to make it less attractive to anyone. Even using your U-lock to lock two bikes together to make them really unwieldy to run off with adds a level of deterrence.


Maintain Visibility

When dining out or stopping for coffee, choose a spot where you can keep an eye on your bike. In situations where this isn’t feasible, like grocery shopping, ensure your bike is locked in a highly visible and public area, ideally surrounded by other bikes.


Utilize Trackers

For added security, consider using trackers. Integrated tracking systems are available for some bikes, but for others, devices like Tile or Apple AirTags offer a solution, as they work on Bluetooth connectivity but do rely on others with the app to pass close enough to register the device. That said, I remember seeing a news article where a young woman’s e-bike was stolen, it had an AirTag on it. Her father called the police and told them where the bike was. They confronted the thief, who denied it, so the police said there was nothing they could do. The father saw the tracker had moved, so he went to the new location and stole the bike back!


Tile and Apple Airtag trackers use Bluetooth technology to connect to every phone that has the app, so they’re limited to connecting to phones within 10 meters. The Invoxia tracker uses cellular technology, it can warn you anywhere if your bike is jostled or moved.

Cellular-connected devices, like the tracker from Invoxia, offer virtually full coverage everywhere, and even notify you if your bike has been bumped. I have one of these on my motorcycle. The added benefit is that it also tracks my rides.

No matter how careful you are, any bike can be stolen. This is why a good lock and your own vigilance go a long way in preventing theft of your electric bike. The harder you make it to steal, the less likely you’ll lose it.


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IMAGES: TONY DONALDSON

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AUTHOR: 

TONY DONALDSON

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