Motorcycle Security Tips – Chain and Padlock

A good security chain is par for the coarse, however not all chains are made equal. In addition some consideration on how you chain up your bike is just as important.

Pragmasis Protector Chain
The Pragmasis Protector 16mm chain and Squire SS65CS padlock

To thwart bolt croppers you need at least 16mm or 19mm chain links, the latter will be too big to even fit in the jaws.  Only consider a 14mm chain as a lightweight option purely for low value bikes.  You should avoid ‘Through Hardened’ chains, they are just too brittle, once one side of a link has been cut the rest will just shatter. Instead opt for ‘Case-Hardened’ chains, which will very hard on the outside by ductile on the inside, require both sides of a link to be cropped. Few sub 16mm chains will be case hardened due to the cost and difficulty of apply this process to smaller chains.

Don’t be tempted to throw your chain over your shoulder, it’ll do serious damage to you if you come off your bike.

Case hardened 16mm and 19mm chains will require power tools to break, which are heavy, possibly noisy and will only be used by pros. The downsides of such hefty chains is weight, a 2m long 16mm chain with padlock weighs in about 10Kg and as such will realistically need a top box to carry it about. Don’t be tempted to throw your chain over your shoulder, it’ll do serious damage to you if you come off your bike.

Recommended chains are the Almax Immobiliser III 16mm chain and the Pragmasis Protector 16 and 19mm chains. Both of these are often sold with the Squire SS65CS padlock, which is CEN6 rated.

It is advisable to try and keep your chain off the ground when locking up, as this can help prevent a hammer attack. With nothing to smash it against, it will be difficult to break. Opting for a shorter chain that’s just long enough with no slack will help here. Although, a longer chain can be more useful when away from home and struggling to find something to chain too.

Chose carefully where on your bike you thread your chain, although the wheels are obvious choices, they can often be removed fairly quickly, especially the front. With a van handy, a bike with one wheel is still worth the effort of pinching. See if you can thread the chain through the frame, behind the downpipes or even over the seat. Otherwise look at the Pragmasis Anti-Pinch Pin, a solid bar that can be threaded through your bikes frame or hollow axle and then chained to at each end.

Chained to nothing
Chained to nothing and easy to lift away

A chain will only ever be as effective as what you chain your bike too. Simply threading it through a wheel and leaving it on the floor will be no more effective than a Disc Lock and leave you wide open to a skate board of van attack. Similarly, if you wrap your chain around some flimsy railings that can be cut with bolt croppers or freeze attacked, you’re still no better off. At home install a Ground Anchor (see below) to thread your chain through. Whilst away from home, try to find some thick railings, fence/sign post or similar. It’s good to see some solo motorcycle bays in London now have ground anchors and dedicated rails to chain to. 

If you can’t find anything to chain to, thread your chain through the chain of a neighbouring bike parked up.

If you really can’t find anything to chain your bike to, thread your chain through the chain of a neighbouring bike parked up. Until the other rider leaves, the two bikes chained together will be very difficult to carry away. The Lock2Lock scheme is actively promoting this tactic and have stickers to put on your bike to encourage it.

One popular way to negate having to carry around a heavy chain is to leave a second chain at work. Besides doubling your outlay, the big problem here is a dedicated thief who has spotted your bike may tamper with your work chain at night, so that he can have an easy time stealing your bike in the morning. They may weaken or partly cut the chain underneath the sleeve or even just fill your padlock with Superglue preventing you even chaining up your bike! I’ve heard of a London biker who keeps a Superglue solvent under his seat after witnessing this.

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Trials and tribulations of a motorcycle newbie in London