You have a big say in whether your bike gets stolen. Follow these nine strategies and help reduce your risk of theft and look forward to many years of exhilarating rides.
1. Lock it A determined, professional thief may get your motorcycle no matter what you do, but plenty of motorcycles are stolen by opportunistic miscreants. Your fork lock is just a start. Adding a disc lock is better. But why stop there? Use a strong, motorcycle U-lock and a chain to attach your bike to a solid object, or another motorcycle.
2. Cover it No, a motorcycle cover won't stop a determined thief. But it might mean your bike attracts less of the wrong kind of attention. So after you've locked it, cover it. A cover with metal grommets can be locked in place to help keep prying eyes away, and to prevent the cover itself from being stolen.
3. Consider an alarm An alarm in conjunction with a lock can be a difficult combination for a thief, especially if the alarm is hidden. Cutting chains and removing locks is likely to set off the alarm, which could stop a theft attempt before it succeeds.
4. Don't be a show-off Some people are so proud of their bikes that they park them in the front yard for everyone to admire. That just makes it easier for thieves to size up your ride. Always park your bike inside a garage if possible. Keep the door closed and consider covering the windows. If you must park outside, use a cover.
5. Reinforce your garage Use your lock and/or alarm in your garage, just the same as elsewhere. But don't stop there. Beef up your garage security as well. Don't confuse a garage-door opener with a lock. A simple lock on the frame inside the door will keep it from opening unless the thief seriously mangles it.
6. Disable your bike Locking your bike to something stops a thief from lifting it into a truck and hauling it away, but you can also temporarily disable the motorcycle to keep someone from riding it away. This can be as simple as removing the main fuse and dropping it into your pocket after you park. Some owners install hidden cut-out switches that disable the ignition. Just tap a secret switch onto the existing kill switch circuit.
7. Choose parking spots carefully In a parking lot, don't park next to a panel truck, van or other vehicle that can conceal thieves at work. For the same reason, try to choose a spot where thieves cannot intentionally use their stolen-bike transporter to block the view of your motorcycle. On the road, ask the motel operator if you can park by the front door, within sight of an all-night desk clerk.
8. Be wary of test rides Some thieves pose as buyers of used bikes. Instead of a test ride, some sellers get payment first and offer a money-back guarantee if the buyer brings the motorcycle back in the same condition within an hour. It's a no-risk test ride for both sides. If you let someone test-ride your bike, at least ask for identification.
9. Mark your territory If your bike is stolen, don't make the thief's job easier. Professionals take bikes so they can break them down into parts, obliterate the VIN numbers and resell them. If the thieves get caught, you stand a better chance of getting your bike or parts back if police can identify them. So put your driver's license number or other identification in hidden locations on key parts including the engine and frame.
Finally, make sure you have theft coverage on your bike and accessories. Don't assume your homeowners or renters insurance will cover a vehicle stolen where you live-it likely won't. Insurance won't keep your bike from getting stolen, but at least it makes the aftermath a little less traumatic.
Source: Courtesy of AmericanMotorcyclist.com