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I'm planning a RTW trip and right now I'm thinking about anti-theft devices. Lot of people suggested making a secondary hidden switch for turning off the ignition circuitry. I think, that if someone is targeting your bike specificaly, he could potentially see that you are flipping some other swithes on your bike before starting it, so has anyone had any expireince in putting in a remote controlled switch instead of that?
I'm looking for something like this: Logisys RM02 12V 15A Relay Switch With Remote Control at SVC.com
I could install it somewhere completely hidden away by the fuse box maybe and make it a little more waterproof and the remote will be on my keychain or in my jacket. I'm also thinking that if this device would fail on me, I always know where it is so that I can pull it out and easily bypass it.
Of course, if someone thinks about to carry away my bike, this wouldn't stop him, but for hit-and-ride kind of thieves, this could stop them.
Back before Uk insurance companies realised alarms were a complete waste of time, I had a switch installed close to the rear shock fixing. It deprived the engine ignition switch of it's ground, so fail to set the switch the right way and no amount of screwdrivering the ignition would result in a running engine. Being on the earth side and NC, when it finally failed, I lost the ability to turn it off rather than having to strip it off or bypass it.
I'd avoid the relay thing, it's electronic and therefore as likely to go wrong as a full alarm system.
IMHO, a big chain is still the best protection though.
IMHO, a big chain is still the best protection though.
My opinion too - despite the weight disadvantage.
My guess is that if bikes are stolen while on a RTW (or similar ride) they are taken by opportunists, quietly wheeling them away to try to get it working, or stripped for parts, elsewhere - at another time when the 'hue and cry' has quietened down.
No amount of hidden switches will prevent such an initial loss - and are a potential weak point for electrical problems.
My guess is that if bikes are stolen while on a RTW (or similar ride) they are taken by opportunists, .
Depends where you are?
A long post from elsewhere, but may be of interest to some:
While places North of the UK tend to have very little crime, the level of crime in mainland Europe and the UK in particular can be of concern. I get asked about avoiding theft, so a brief summary, much of it aimed at those used to Northern Europe and the Americas. The first thing to point out though is that crime, even in the likes of London is pretty rare. Take basic precautions and you’ll be fine. There is no need to worry or let these idiots stop you doing what you want to do, only plan ahead so they don’t have it easy. Know your enemy.
There are gangs of high level, organised thieves in the UK. They operate in major UK cities, especially London and I daresay other capitals and built up areas. They have vans with untraceable number plates, often marked up as recovery companies or lock smiths so CCTV will send the plod off looking for some unfortunate innocent in Aberdeen or Aberystwyth. They have angle grinders, liquid nitrogen and a host of other methods of getting your bike in the van and away. Within days your bike will be on its way to a new life in Russia or the Gulf States.
Below these professionals is an amateur level. The van will be stolen, the chain breaking tools are missing from a building site and your bike will end up on E-bay either whole or in part. Again, these are city dwellers.
Next in the hierarchy of scratters and scum we have the general steal anything idiots who’ll fancy a ride because they like the colour, can’t afford the bus, want to impress their mates etc. These guys have some ability with the sort of locks bike manufacturers fit, but are generally too lazy or stupid to do more. Your bike will end up out of petrol with bits missing on some rough estate. Oddly, this lot can be found in places you’d least expect them. Magot services, seemingly out in the Welsh countryside backs onto the housing estate from Hell, villages in the Yorkshire Dales and Spanish mountains have bored teenagers just like the centre of Stoke or Brighton. Do not assume the countryside is safe.
The lowest level is the true street scum. Zero skill and zero ability, but quite willing to snatch your GPS or cut the straps on your rucksack just to see what is inside. This lot will steal anything. They like phones and the odd GPS to trade with their dealers for white powder or White Lightning, but I’ve had a Big Mac stolen too. Again, mostly city dwellers but service stations bring them out too.
The rarest scumbag is the armed one. While guns and knives are common in the Americas, South Africa and other parts of the world, Europe fortunately lacks criminals that will routinely threaten you to get your kit. This doesn’t mean you won’t get stabbed if you attack a thief, but it does take out a level of major worry. Layer the defence
Knowing what thieves want, you can match the defence to the threat. The organised gangs will take any vehicle they want, no security measure will hold them for long. However, the vehicles they want are new and expensive. No Arab playboy or Moscow gangster wannabee will buy your 12 year old XT or million mile CG125. These guys want new Ducati’s, BMW’s with all the Pooratrek kit, Harleys etc. You can make the bike even less attractive by making it stand out in way that would help a conviction stick. Marking systems like Datatag and Smart water or simply writing your name on the frame paint with a nail or permanent marker will make these guys steal something that’s closer to showroom spec. If your bike is new, a tatty old rain cover will act as camouflage, the exact opposite of the logo’d one the dealer will sell you that announces to the world what’s underneath.
The next layer of defence is there to put off the general sort of scum who’ll want to stick a screwdriver in the ignition and be off. You need locks they can’t break without serious tools. This means a big chain (13mm plus links) with a 5 minute approved lock, or a D-shackle lock with the same rating. The chain is better as some cities provide street furniture you can chain to, or you can chain your bike to your mates if travelling together. Disc locks are not sufficient, mid level break and e-bay merchants will simply take off the front wheel and throw the two bits in their van. The chain goes through the back wheel, shocks, swing arm etc. (with none left trailing on the floor) so they’d need a formula 1 pit crew to take the bike to bits. Don’t use the ignition lock, these clowns will screwdriver the lock before seeing the chain, ruining your day even after they fail to steal the bike.
Street scum are not after the bike unless they can literally just ride it away. This is where the disc lock and ignition lock come in. If your habit is to leave the bike ready to fill up with the GPS running and the keys in the fuel cap while you use service station facilities, the difference between Stoke and Smallville will become painfully obvious very quickly as some clown rides off on your bike. If you leave the bike use the lock, take the keys and place your high value, easy snatch items in a tank bag or similar and take it with you. Your pannier locks can usually be opened with a brick, so don’t assume the panniers do anything more than cover your stuff. A tent on the rack can be secured from opportunists using a cable lock or mesh netting. Helmets are stolen if fancy brands or labels. Do not use the hopeless locks the bike manufacturers supply that go onto the helmet straps, put the main bike securing chain through the helmets chin bar or take it with you. Habits not applicable to Europe.
Having come across Asia or Africa, you will suddenly find yourself in very different environment. Kids in Morocco might fancy your tool kit or stove while their older brothers might try to leg it with a jerry can of petrol. In India, fellow Enfield owners might cure their own difficulties by taking your battery or carb. These are not issues I have ever seen in Europe. What does stand out on overland bikes is some of the fancy kit such as GPS mounts, TT boxes and things like windscreens with lots of stickers that appeal to the more feral and tribal scum. There are no restrictions on carrying cash in Europe, so having a roll of fifties stuffed behind the battery is a double edged weapon. If your jacket is stolen it keeps you mobile but can also be simply a nice little present for bike thieves. Likewise, no European cop is going to keep your documents and will never accept photocopies. Having copies on the bike (again in case your jacket is stolen) might be useful but I’d never keep the originals hidden on the bike or access the hiding place anywhere except maybe a secure hotel car park or campsite. US and South African riders often seem to carry weapons. Shoot, stab or Taser an assailant in the EU and you are going to jail. Get caught with an obvious weapon and you are going to jail. Use an everyday item in a threatening way before things get out of hand and you’ll go to jail. Whacking some scumbag with the D-lock after they’ve started something you might get away with. During the first few days in the EU you need to switch how you think about these things. Alarms
An alarm will mostly be ignored. In London even the police ignore a bike sat wailing away unless there is a bloke in a suit with arrows on trying to force it into his swag bag. The only person who will do anything about your alarm is you. In the street you might be able to tell the blokes who’ve just started trying to break your chain that they should get lost, but try it in a dark alley and you are wasting your time. Alarms go wrong, flatten your battery and can generally be very poor. An alarmed garage at home has better prospects as one hopes the neighbours might actually do something and the house alarm can never stop you starting the bike while actually travelling. Alarmed disc locks are fine as an additional layer of the alarm does not detract from the lock. I’m yet to see a high rated lock, most alarmed types seem to used cast bodies. Rely on this and all you’ll find after some lag with a cold chisel has been round is the alarm bit wailing away where your bike used to be. At home
Unless you have a garage full of Brough Superiors, the biggest risk is the kids who hang about on your street corner. They’ll be the ones who see you ride away on one bike and know there are others in the garage. If you do have a Brough in there, it’s the steal to order boys who are the enemy. First of all don’t advertise by lining your bikes up on the drive while you wash them. Don’t post pictures on the internet that would allow your location to be identified. You can make the garage more secure . Fit ground anchors into the floor and use them. If they share with a car, use that to block them in. If the doors are wooden and hinged there is a very simple way to open them, crowbar the hinges out of the frame. Prevent this with steel sheet, which can also be used to block any windows. Don’t forget the roof, another simple way in is to smash through asbestos sheet, so replace that with plastic or metal. Get the garage alarmed and make friends with your neighbours. Finally, don’t hang the keys on a nail at the back of the front door of the house, the scumbags will rob your house and then ride away on your bike.
Despite all this, most people travel for years and never see any real issues, so above all don’t worry and don’t panic.
True enough. All joking aside have you ever heard of a signal-blank trap? Woodsmen use them. They're a shotgun sized blank cartridge sometimes called air-bombs. In field and airgun magazines you can buy a tripwire trap quite legally in the UK which means probably true everywhere else. If someone wheeled the bike away it could be rigged to detonate the blank which would sound the same as a gun going off. I don't know the legalities of this and quite frankly couldn't care less. If it came down to losing or keeping my bike with no possiblity of injury to anyone then I think it's probably worth a thought.
They're crude devices, just a tube with a blank in the end with a bolt on a spring. A wire holds the bolt locked back and if the wire is disturbed the bolt goes forward and you get a bang. It would be loud enough to alert you, scare off a kid and almost definitely get the police involved... as I say.. legal in the UK.
There was also a device consisting of a theatrical maroon (stage pyrotechnic), a tub of hand cream, a 9v battery and a mouse trap. All perfectly legal things to own.
Now, when some poor innocent little chav who because of his deprived home background (TV under 60 inches, PS3 two years old, trainers from the £150 range not designer) had to break into your garage and gets hand cream or bits of shotgun cartridge in his eye and has ringing in his ears and as a result misses his appointment at the dole office, you will find you've infringed his human right to be a nasty little scumbag. You will be hauled before the courts and charged with bomb making under the Terrorism act.
Owning three tons of fertilizer, a ton of sugar, Diesel, fireworks and flourescent lamp starters isn't illegal either. The courts do tend to frown on what you can do with these though.
Compared to getting better locks improvised devices strike me as a major hassle.
For anyone in UK after a chain and lock intended to prevent theft rather than act only as a deterrent check out Almax chains. I ordered a 1m chain and lock and received a mobile call to point out that such a short length would not allow me to chain the bike to a solid object. My idea had been to loop it tightly over the seat and through the wheel. This company's chains are easily the best, the only ones worth considering really. The Squire lock supplied is also really excellent with an unusual key system: You get three pairs of keys. If you lose the first version then install one of the second version and that cancels the setting, making the lost key useless. This can be done once more to using the third version if you're really careless. An Almax chain and Squire lock are probably so secure that the only time they'd be broken would be out of bloody minded malice of a professional thief to show that you can never win. Of course they're massively heavy though. Can't have everything. Lindsay.
I'm saying you can buy the trap, not make one. It's a small thing used to scare off animals in farms and causes no injuries. I'm not saying you should use one, just think outside the box. I would never fit an electronic alarm, they do nothing but drain your battery and cause potential hassles. Maybe we should be doing what pushbikers do? Pull off our front wheels?
If you live on a farm with animals, good plan, even if it gives someone a heart attack you'd have a defence. Now in Surbiton.....
When I've been away for more than a few weeks, I have removed wheels from bikes and cars, I take them to my parents.
Removing a part is a good idea, but what? I don't fancy taking a 19-inch semi-knobblie round the shops with me. It'd also be better if it wasn't on the serious type approval stuff as this causes hassle with the in-sewer-ants if you modify and then crash. As this rules out brake levers and foot pegs, how about a throttle grip that slipped off, or something expensive and reportable to dealers like the engine ECU? Doesn't stop them putting it in a van, just makes it better if they steal something else. We'd also have the usual problem of unusual security stuff being appauling quality.
Brings us back to Linzi's chain I guess.
One thought on that, if you have a specific plan where you'll have street furniture in one place and not in another, get 2 one-meter lengths and two locks. Not quite as secure and more expensive, but this sort of chain defeats most thieves and when using it alone it is better to fill it with bike.
The problem with ECU is losing your data. Not a huge problem but a problem. When i get back I want to install a GPS tracker. Again, it's a partial solution but it uses gps and mobile phone data to provide a trackable signal. I should be able to dial into my bike from any web enabled place on my laptop. The unit is small, I can hide it. I figure I can get a cab and get my bike back under most circumstances.
I'm on the road now and I hide it when i can. I take the time to find alcoves or whatever. I've hidden it behind rocks and bushes overnight. Tonight she is in the fire escape stair well. If scumbags can't see it they won't try to steal it.
I also lock the wheels...
A fairly simple and lightweight locking system I have decided to use (if you have a centre stand) is a very good quality shouldered magnum lock (the type where the D sinks into the body of the lock) but instead of a chain I have had a robust bracket welded onto the centre stand that lines up with one on the frame when the bikes on the stand these two line up and with the lock through them the brackets are virtually impossible to get at with saws or cutters, the lock is also in such a position that access with levers hammers and tools is at best very difficult if not virtually impossible. The bike can not be moved off the centre stand whilst locked nor can you accidently forget to unlock it cos you can't lift it off the stand to get on it. Back it up with common sense as to where you leave it and maybe a cable type lock that's visable and locked to something solid - it would take time to cut one then faced with a pretty heavy bike on a stand that still wont move is as much as you can do.
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