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Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road Recent News, political or military events, which may affect trip plans or routes. Personal and vehicle security, tips and questions.
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  #1  
Old 26 Dec 2003
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Motorbike theft

I am wondering how many folks out there have had their bikes stolen while travelling, or know someone, or have heard of someone who has? How common is bike theft in Asia or Africa even if one takes the obvious precautions like securing and storing the bike at night, etc.

This issue is affecting my decision on which bike to buy for my trip across Asia. I really want an F650 Dakar, but I am pretty nervous about riding a $6-8000 bike without any theft insurance...insurance sounds cost prohibitive and not really an option.

Assuming I take the normal precautions, am I being overly paranoid, or should I just get the bike I really want? My other option is to just take a much cheaper bike that I can afford to lose...like a KLR650, which is a great bike also, and half the price of a F650.

Experiences, ideas???

-Dave
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  #2  
Old 26 Dec 2003
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We certainly have - Two members of our group got their bikes hotwired right at the end of the trip. Even though we went through some dodgy places such as russia we hardly had a problem until we reached europe. Funnily enough the theft happened in Amstradam and was quite an episode with a highspeed police chase and ending with one bike being totaled.

The best thing we can think of is just to watch your bike like a hawke. If you camp near your bike people will be more wary about doing something. A disk brake lock is is small and good. Also re-inforce the ignition.

Check out the entire story on our site at http://www.blue-dunes.com/2003_11_09...40049959603262

Shaun

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  #3  
Old 26 Dec 2003
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Hi David,
No reason to be paranoid. I travelled through or around all continents, save Antarctica with two shiny new BMWs, a 1991 R100 GSPD, and a 2000 F650, and never had any problems. My first line of defence was to stay at an upscale hotel or motel, or guarded campground, or to leave my bike at a guarded lot, in Russia usually that of the local police. Second line of defence: As soon as I arrived, I locked steering, put padlock through front brake disc, covered bike with a burqa (bike cover) from top to bottom, and turned on the alarm. If in motel or hotel, I parked bike next or under my window (ask for room with window facing parking area, or took it into my room. This may have cost a bit more, but offered peace of mind.
Go ahead, buy your coveted F650 Dakar, enjoy, and follow proper procedure, and you will have no problems, even in places like India or Africa. Antarctica? I don't know if you can trust the penguins.
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  #4  
Old 7 Jan 2004
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We have travelled all over Africa and not lost so much as a tooth brush, but we met a couple on a bike in Mombasa, who were preparing for high security in Africa, and had everything stolen in Italy long before they got there! I think Europe is the place to be careful.
Happy Trails
Bruce

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  #5  
Old 7 Jan 2004
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i would concur that in the allegedly "civilised" cities of western europe you are much much more likely to have your bike pinched.

generally in the "3rd" world: most people cannot ride a bike anyway, especially not a big mother overlander. cars are much more preferred.

i had no bike theft problems: i locked my bike away every night: guarded campsites in africa, hotel carparks/reception areas, or guarded public carparks in the americas. chat to the guard, promise (and pay) a little tip and all is usually swimming. a BIG heavy chain is still a good idea.
ChrisB
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  #6  
Old 8 Jan 2004
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Travelling back from Bangladesh to the UK the only thing that was stolen from my padlocked XTZ was the padlock itself, in eastern Iran. Maybe the thief was just making a point.

It was very rare to have to leave the bike out on the street, as most hotels had courtyards or a lobby which they were quite happy to let us use.

The one thing I would highly recommend is a bike cover (secured with a chain and lock through the front wheel) which not only makes it more difficult to steal bits from the bike or the luggage, it also hides the shiny paintwork and appears to make the bike almost invisible to locals. As others have pointed out, it's Europe where you have to be really careful.
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  #7  
Old 9 Jan 2004
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Absolutely agree. I've just gone from London to Singapore on the 650 Dakar. No problems Even the dodgy places and cheap hotels have places you can put your bike to keep it out of the general view.

A good cover though is something well worth taking and a decent lock.

I reckon just buy the Dakar and go for it.
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  #8  
Old 11 Jan 2004
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I had a ZX-11 Ninja stolen in front of my mother's house in a good area of Manhattan (east 80s)in '91. Attempted theft of my Suzuki DR350SE in Manhattan in '95. And several helmets, gloves, and a leather jacket stolen off my bikes in NYC, CT, and Daytona. But no theft problems outside the U.S.
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  #9  
Old 11 Jan 2004
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Did you know there are over 20,000 motorcycles stollen in the UK every year. Frightening eh? I worry about leaving my bike anywhere in the UK but not so much when travelling. Most hoteliers in developing countries will let you bring the bike into the hotel if they don't have a yard and certainly in Africa places have night watchmen who will look after your bike at night and it's always nice to give them enough money for a in the morning. A bike cover is a good idea as is a lock just for peice of mind. I have had a tank of fuel stollen in India after 7 days parked in the same place, and in Egypt my Elk mascot had his goggles pinched after 4 days parked on the street. Big cities in Europe are the places to be most alert. Regards Chris
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  #10  
Old 17 Jan 2004
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Never leave your bike unattended in Mexico City it will dissapear in seconds.
Not much problem in the rest of the country.

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  #11  
Old 5 Mar 2004
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Hi guys,
i just had my honda dominator stolen in leeds (bramly) last tuesday. I rode from Singapore to here, and i'd say this, you are very very much less likely to get your bike stolen in the 3rd world countries, as the locals there tend to look after you and keep an eye for your safety. Go for the cheaper option, and if you are happy riding it, why spend more.Im glad mine was an old dominator and not some new GS or such.
Worry more about losing your bike in UK as i found out. Cause firstly, its such a common occurance here as i found out. The police didnt even bat an eyelid and the locals were not surprised either. Secondly, stealing a bike here doesnt seem like an offence like all, been reading in the papers how theives are simply let off. Try stealing in Asia, the locals themselves would beat up the theif.
Anyways im still a little sore about this, but hey everything happens for a reason.
Cheers n best wishes
DAlbir
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  #12  
Old 10 Mar 2004
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We're planning a trip to Morocco this year and have more or less given up trying to get anything other than the obigatory 3rd party insurance. UK insuarance companies just don't want to know. We are naturally a little worried about our BMW getting nicked while not insured for theft, but will probably just bring big chain, padlock, disc brakes, alarm and cover, and hope for the best. Also hope to find Moroccan hotels who are willing to secure or guard bike. Anyone got any good tips re. such hotels?
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  #13  
Old 11 Mar 2004
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There are several hotels in the category you're looking for in most bigger towns. You have to shop around. Look into Lonely Planet for addresses, or ask the locals. You may have to spend a little more money than you have planned, and settle for a place a bit away from center town (e.g. Marrakesh). But the peace of mind is worth it. Moroccan citizens also own expensive toys which they don't want to lose. This is not the C.A.R. So don't worry.
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  #14  
Old 24 Apr 2004
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Clare & Pete,

My Norwich Union policy covered me OK for Maroc (seem to classify it as "Europe" for some reason). No other African countries though.

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