Motorcycle Security Tips – Tracker

Trackers are concealed locating devices carefully installed on the bike. These may use GPS & mobile networks or VHF to transmit their location back to either the owner or the tracker company. GPS based trackers offer a very high level of accuracy with regards to positioning, but can be blocked easily by a metal van or thick walled garage. VHF based trackers can send signals through thick walls, are very hard to jam and most police units cary VHF detectors, but can’t be located with such fine grained accuracy as GPS devices.

Police like trackers as they lead them to a lock up with many stolen bikes and the guilty parties – suspects and evidence served up on plate for a nice easy case.

One school of thought suggests advertising you have a tracker installed with a nice big sticker and hope this will be a visible deterrent to prevent a theft. However another school of thought suggests keeping it concealed, so a thief is not aware they need to find and remove the tracker as soon as they can. Either way, the main intention of the tracker is so the bike can be recovered. The Police like trackers as they often lead them to a lock up with many stolen bikes and the guilty parties – suspects and evidence served up on plate, for a nice easy case.

As with everything, there are a number of key disadvantages:- GPS/GSM based devices can easily be blocked with a GPS/mobile jamming device or by merely putting the bike in a metal van or garage. Or worse, the GPS could be spoofed so a false location is broadcast back… Such as this GPS attack trialled against a Yacht using just $1000 of kit in a briefcase. VHF doesn’t really provide enough accuracy to narrow down a location in a dense city setting.

The cost can also put many people off, with many professional services starting at around £300 up front for installation and yearly subscription starting at £100. However, as an alternative a number of cheap Chinese GPS/GPRS devices can be picked up that you just put a PAYG SIM card in and wire up to bike battery yourself, for example the TK102. These can Text you your bikes location when phoned or it moves outside a configured boundary. No subscription, just top up the SIM card as required. A good installation guide can be found here for such devices. For the super cheap skates, you could just purchase some fake ‘tracker installed’ stickers to slap on your bike…

The final disadvantage is if you do get your bike back, what state will it be in? Dropped, trashed, stripped down? You will still likely have an insurance claim for repairs or it’ll be written off, and ultimately you’d perhaps be no better off than had it been gone forever and you just got a payout.

  • TrakKING offer a subscription based GPS/GSM tracker.
  • Tracker offer a subscription based GPS/GSM & VHF tracker.
  • Bike Trac off a subscription based GPS/GSM & VHF combination tracker.
  • Cheap TK102 SIM based GPS tracker from ebay.

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One thought on “Motorcycle Security Tips – Tracker”

  1. “..ultimately you’d perhaps be no better off than had it been gone forever and you just got a payout”

    You might not be but the rest of the world would be! Recovering bikes and deterring criminals is everyone’s responsibility, surely?

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Trials and tribulations of a motorcycle newbie in London