The first step when looking to keep your e-bike safe and secure is getting a good e-bike lock, but there are some other electric bike safety techniques that can further help you protect your investment. By practicing these simple habits you can rest easier knowing your e-bike is that much safer.
There is no one magic tip for making your e-bike safe and secure – it’s all about using a wide range of techniques and equipment that will make life so difficult for any would-be thief that they can’t or just don’t want to target your bike.
E-bike Security at Home
When at home keep your e-bike out of sight
Keep your bike in your garage, shed, inside your house, under a tarp, etc. Thieves will spend time scoping out a neighborhood before they make their move. Don’t let them see your e-bike!
More than that though, it’s fairly obvious that the more secure the location at home the better. Inside your house is probably best, though not all have the space. Sheds and garages are popular locations, but the more secure the better:
- A shed or garage located where it is difficult for thieves to see and operate is best. Timber and metal can both be good materials but the stronger the construction the better, whatever the material. Thieves have been known to substantially dismantle sheds if they think the reward is worth it, so a strong shed is a major defense. Strong anti-theft hinges and strong hasps and locks are also important.
- Security lighting in the area is a good idea, so any intruders at night can easily be seen
- A shed or house alarm is a good idea. Hardwired ones are ideal but battery-operated ones can be very practical and cost-effective too.
- Don’t leave any tools that could be used to break into any storage area, be it house, shed or garage (sounds obvious but it’s easy to leave garden implements and the like lying around).
- An immovable locking point within the shed is a very good idea, typically a ground or wall anchor.
Record your electric bike’s serial number
In the event that your e-bike is stolen, you will need your serial number to give to the police and to provide any info that you may post about your stolen e-bike and it may well help with any insurance claim.
Typically the serial number on a bike can be found on the bottom of the bottom bracket (where the bike cranks are) or sometimes on the headtube of the frame (between the handlebars and forks).
Some serious thieves will go so far as filing off a stamped serial number so you may want to hide a piece of paper with your contact info in the handlebars or seat tube of the bike.
We also recommend signing up with a bike registration service (or ideally more than one). There are several organizations that offer this service.
Registration may be free and it’s simply a matter of recording the bike’s serial number on a central database that law enforcement or others recovering a stolen bike may be able to check to get the details of the owner. There may be some small optional outlay on further technologies that allow your e-bike to be identified if it’s stolen, such as indelible markings or unique identifying markers that are only visible under ultraviolet light.
There are numerous bike registration services but they include the following popular options:
Let’s take one detailed example, Cowboy, as described by Cowboy themselves. A SIM is actually integrated into the bike and, once the bike is paired with your smartphone, it means you can track the position of the e-bike really precisely (i.e. within a few meters). If the bike is inside a building you can use the built-in Bluetooth scanner to know how close they are to the bike.
However, Cowboy do note that if your bike is in an area without cellular network coverage, it will not be able to send its position, and they add getting theft insurance is the best way to be 100% at ease in case of theft.
Stromer says GPS tracking in the Stromer ST2 helped an owner recover their ST2 and 50 other stolen bikes!
It’s also worth noting that there are other electronic safety features often associated with such high-tech e-bikes that might act as theft deterrents. For example, electronic keys (using a phone or special fob to unlock a bike) or integrated alarms that alert you on your smartphone if the bike is disturbed.
There are also an increasing number of GPS tracking devices that can be retrofitted to e-bikes to help track a bike in the event of theft.
Boomerang Cyclotrac is a GPS tracking device and alarm that is mounted to the bike at the water bottle cage. If someone tries to tamper with your bike an alarm will sound and your smartphone will alert you from the Boomerang app and the GPS tracking will show you where your bike is. Here is a video with more info:
There are also non-bike-specific trackers that you might want to consider and use either the cellphone network or short-range bluetooth technology – names to look out for include SPYtec, Apple Airtags, and Tile (bluetooth only).
The ultimate and perhaps most reliable protection against theft is good insurance and you can check out our guide about the basics of e-bike insurance for details of the leading policy providers.
E-bike Security in Public
Taking your e-bike out and about and leaving it parked is probably when you will feel it’s at its most vulnerable, but following these tips will help mitigate theft risk and help keep your e-bike safe and secure.
Park your electric bike in a public place
Thieves are less likely to try to steal your bike in a public place – meaning somewhere where it’s highly visible to others. It is harder for them to break the lock when there are a bunch of people around.
Try not to leave your electric bike locked up somewhere public overnight. Try and find out where local bike theft hotspots are, so you can avoid them (you can ask questions in your city’s Reddit thread or a similar local forum – fellow bikers are always happy to reply).
Conversely, there may be super secure parking facilities where you are headed, such as indoor Cycle Hubs, guarded parking, and the like.
Common sense says use the best lock possible and to help you do that you can check out our guide to lock security ratings and the best locks. This is a valuable guide to the main types of locks, but also features ideas for securing other parts of the bike like frame locks, wheel axle locks and hex bolts to secure stems and other components.
It’s not just about the lock – you need to pay attention to how you lock the bike up. Choose a locking point that is both firmly fixed to the ground and is heavy gauge – concrete posts are one of the best options as they are difficult to cut through (as opposed to say very thin metal railings or even thin wood which is relatively easy to cut through). Here are some suggestions:
– Bike parking area that is solidly attached to concrete.
– A tree or street sign or street light. Make sure your bike can’t be lifted over the tree, sign or light. Avoid parking meters for this reason!
– A solid fence, not a chain link because a thief could easily cut the chain link.
– A hand rail that is solidly attached to a wall or sidewalk.
Use good bike securing/locking technique
Properly locking up your e-bike means of course locking the frame, but also the rear wheel and, if your lock is long enough or you have a secondary lock, the front wheel too. If possible try and leave minimal space around the locks themselves to reduce the space available for thieves with tools to work on.
If you find it a pain to carry the most secure (and often the heaviest) locks around with you, note some riders leave theirs locked to a good locking spot they often use (outside a workplace or transit station for example).
A few other points on good e-bike securing techniques:
- Park your bike in high-traffic areas, but try to be respectful of where you park your bike. Some areas may not work because it will cause too much congestion where people are walking by. This can be especially true if you are locking up multiple bikes.
- Lock your helmet to your bike. If you are in a high theft area you may want to route your bike cable through the vents in your helmet. Routing the cable through the helmet straps also works and I personally have never had a helmet stolen. In reality I am not sure how many people really want a used helmet!
- If your e-bike display and lights are detachable take them with you. Some displays (like the Bosch Kiox) easily detach from the handlebars and will not allow the thief to ride away on your bike with electric assistance.
- Some riders remove other components from their e-bike. This can make it less attractive to thieves – probably the battery is the one single item that it makes the most sense to remove (it’s vital to remove it if it’s of one of the small numbers of designs that does not lock to the frame of the bike). It effectively disables the e-bike and makes it far less valuable to a thief too and in any case you may want to charge it where you are going. Some riders have been known to go as far as removing seatposts and even wheels but obviously, you then need to carry them round with you or have a safe space in which to put them – neither of which may be a practical option.
These are essential practices for keeping your beloved e-bike safe and secure be it at home or in public. If there are any others that we may have left out, be sure to pass them along in the comments section below!