7 expert tips on how to ensure electric bike security
Just any bike lock is not enough to protect an expensive e-bike from theft. Successful e-bike theft protection consists of various products and measures that complement each other. Here we present 7 expert tips on how to protect your e-bike from theft and how to ensure that you get it back in an emergency. You will also learn what to look out for when implementing these tips.
For an old wire bike, simple frame or chain locks may be protection enough. As the owner of an e-bike, you will have to go to greater lengths to protect it against theft. Experts recommend taking action in several areas to prevent e-bike theft and ensure that you do not end up empty-handed after a theft.
We present the 7 most important measures.
1. Buy a high-quality bike lock
Bike locks are a must-have. But which one? For the police, the matter is clear: A sturdy U-lock, chain lock, or an armored cable lock offers the best protection. A simple frame lock, such as those integrated into some electric bikes, is much less secure. Firstly, they are easy to pick, and secondly, thieves can steal your bike away because you cannot attach a frame lock to a fixed object.
However, there are also different models of U-locks and cable bike locks from different suppliers. The following tips will help you to lock your bike correctly and hereby increase security:
Bike locks with an alarm emit a loud warning tone as soon as someone tries to tamper with your bike. Depending on the model, you will also be notified via an app. This way, security can be increased. However, high-quality bike locks remain crucial with this combination.
Several locks are better than one. For example, combine a simple frame lock with an expensive U-lock or a chain lock. The hurdles for thieves are already higher.
But: Even the best bike lock is no guarantee that your e-bike’s security is guaranteed. Professional bike thieves are not deterred by any lock.
2. Connecting e-bikes correctly
Many bicycle or e-bike owners make the same mistake: They park their bike in a corner and do not connect it to a fixed object. This may be enough for a short time in a well-frequented area and a quick trip to a store. For longer or even overnight, it is not a good idea and is a risk to your bike’s security.
Simple: If you do not lock your e-bike to a fixed object, you risk thieves not bothering to pick folding locks, chain locks, or U-lock on the spot. Instead, they will carry your bike away and load it into a van. Later, they break the lock at their leisure.
That is why the police recommend: If at all possible, lock your e-bike to a lamppost, a fence, a permanently mounted bicycle stand, or another fixed object. That way, thieves have to pick the lock to steal your bike. With a little bit of luck and a good lock, this will keep them from trying. Of course, this recommendation does not just apply to e-bikes, but any bike.
Tip: When buying, make sure a lock is big enough to attach your e-bike to a solid object, even if it is a little thicker. The rule here is, better too much than too little. A folding lock can still be easily stowed in a backpack.
3. Additionally secure components
Not only complete e-bikes are coveted by thieves. Pedelec components are also in high demand. This starts with the battery and includes seat posts, light systems, and pedals. If you do not take measures to prevent this, component theft is not that difficult. Replacements, however, are expensive, especially when it comes to branded products.
So secure not only your entire e-bike with a bike lock but also valuable components.
Pay particular attention to the following parts:
When securing components, you now have almost as much choice as you do when looking for a bike lock for the big picture. A simple way to thwart thieves is to use several conventional locks.
You can also find gravity lock systems on the market. The trick is that the corresponding screws, nuts, or quick-releases can only be opened when your bike is upside down. Therefore, component thieves have to crack your bike lock – at least if you have connected your bike to a fixed object.
You insert HexLox into Allen screws using an individual key.
This blocks the access of an Allen key.
HexLox can only be removed with the coded HexLox key.
If you want to use the system for your e-bike, you get the installation parts for the Allen screw as well as one key, the so-called HexLox key, from the manufacturer. For this key, you can reorder more HexLox, but only if you specify the code in the packaging.
One advantage of the system is its versatility. You can use HexLox not only for your e-bike but also for other objects, such as exhibition stands or furniture located in public places. It can also be used to secure a GPS transmitter successfully. A real all-rounder and also uncomplicated to install. This versatility and efficiency are the reasons why we consider HexLox to be the best component protection on the market. This makes the system worth every Euro.
A simple contribution to the theft protection of e-bikes is often ignored: The choice of the right location.
But it actually makes sense: there are places where the risk of someone stealing your valuable e-bike is higher and vice versa. That is why it is important to choose “parking spots” for expensive pedelecs carefully.
What makes a secure place?
Use the following criteria as a guide where you can leave your bike:
Busy places are generally better for parking a valuable bike or pedelec. Even experienced thieves are reluctant to tamper with a bike lock in public or to carry an e-bike into a delivery van in full view of passers-by. Locks with an alarm system are also more likely to serve their purpose in busy places than in a deserted area. At least if passers-by are not so jaded that they no longer react to an alarm siren. Unfortunately, this danger is high in metropolitan areas.
Places with video surveillance, for example in front of entrances, are very well suited for parking. So take a look around to see if you can see a camera and park your bike nearby.
Lighting also plays a role. After all, it is not a cliché that criminals feel safer in the dark. If an e-bike is parked in the evening in a well-lit cone of a street lamp, with a bit of luck this will act as a deterrent.
Park your bike in different places. Because a bicycle thief also plans his deeds and you make it easier for them to plan if your e-bike is always parked in the same place. Of course, this does not apply to the locked bicycle cellar. This brings us to the next point.
Your e-bike is safer in a locked bike cellar than outside in a dark corner. Especially at night, do not leave your pedelec unattended outside. If you visit friends who have a bike cellar, ask them if you can store your bike there.
Unfortunately, there is hardly any place where your e-bike is completely protected from theft, not even locked bike cellars. The most likely place for this is your own apartment. But in very few cases does a parked e-bike add to the interior design, not to mention the space it takes up. Besides, sooner or later you will be embarrassed to park your bike on the road.
5. Take out insurance
Bike lock, component security, right location … Even if you take all this into account, it can hit you: You return to the place where you left your e-bike and it has disappeared.
Then the main question is how to get it back or replace it. You can take care of the second case by taking out insurance.
To insure your e-bike, you have two options:
1. Household insurance
If you do nothing else, the household insurance will only cover you if your e-bike is stolen from your home or from a locked bicycle cellar. However, you have the option to extend the insurance coverage to an e-bike theft outdoors with an additional clause. One advantage of this is that you can take out insurance for all your bikes. A disadvantage is that the amount you get in case of an emergency is limited to a certain percentage of the total sum insured. For an expensive e-bike, this is usually not enough. In addition, there are often other restrictions in the fine print.
2. Bicycle insurance
The alternative to homeowner’s insurance is a special bicycle insurance, or more precisely, an insurance for e-bikes. This costs more money. In return, it offers a higher scope of benefits specifically designed for e-bikes. For example, you can insure components against theft in addition to the entire bike. In addition, many insurers offer you the option of insuring your e-bike against wear and tear and accidents, as well as a breakdown service for when you are on the road.
Welche Variante die bessere ist, hängt vom Einzelfall ab. Experten raten meist dazu, sich am Wert deines Fahrrads zu orientieren. Für ein billiges und/oder altes E-Bike reicht unter Umständen eine Hausratversicherung, für teure Pedelecs ist eine spezielle Versicherung die bessere Wahl.
Which option is better depends on the individual case. Experts usually advise you to base your decision on the value of your bike. For a cheap and/or old e-bike, household insurance may be sufficient; for expensive pedelecs, special insurance is the better choice.
Important: Whichever insurance you choose, take a close look at the insurance conditions. For example, insurance companies usually do not pay if your e-bike was not locked. Keep the invoice of your bike lock for proof. Also, inform your insurance company as soon as possible after an e-bike theft.
Either way, with insurance, you may get the money to replace your e-bike or components after a theft, but you will not get your own e-bike back, no matter how much you have grown to love it. The thieves also usually get away without punishment. This is a key difference to a GPS tracker.
6. Mount a GPS tracker
Along with locks and component security, GPS trackers have established themselves as the standard in modern e-bike theft protection. They combine GPS and the Internet of Things to alert you early in the event of theft and help you get your e-bike back.
The underlying principle of the trackers is usually the same. However, there are major differences between individual devices in key details.
You integrate the GPS tracker inside your e-bike. The attachment can be done easily and quickly by yourself, even if you are not a hobby DIYer. The tracker itself is thus invisible to thieves – unlike devices that are attached to the frame and can be removed in a few easy steps.
As soon as someone unauthorized moves your e-bike, you will be notified via an associated app using a motion alarm. You or the police, depending on where your e-bike is located, then have the opportunity to thwart the theft.
Are you too late to put a spoke in the thieves’ wheel? Then the GPS tracker gives you the opportunity to track the location of your e-bike in real-time and pass it on to the police. This works thanks to seamless network coverage throughout Europe.
A big advantage of the BikeTrax GPS tracker for e-bike theft protection: Under normal circumstances, only about 10% of all bicycle thefts are solved. Tracking with GPS increases the chances enormously that you will get your e-bike back after a theft.
Some of PowUnity’s customers have already experienced this.
For example, the police in Halle an der Saale found three stolen bikes in a delivery truck with the help of a GPS tracker. The story of a customer whose e-bike was stolen from a campsite in Italy proves that BikeTrax is worth its weight in gold, especially on vacation. Thanks to the integrated GPS tracker, the thieves were apprehended at the Hungarian border just a few hours after the theft was discovered. Incidentally, the owners of the 19 other e-bikes that the thieves had in their luggage, and which did not have a GPS tracker, also benefited from this.
You can read many more stories about how the GPS tracker Bike Trax was successfully used after an e-bike theft in our Hits and Success Stories.
Important: In order for a GPS tracker to develop its full potential for the security of your e-bike, it must have some important features. One of these is that it is not attached to the frame, but is firmly integrated inside your pedelec. At least as important is real-time location tracking. This is where most devices on the market fail.
If your e-bike was stolen, it is important that the police can identify it – a bike passport can help you.
Sometimes you get one when you buy a bike or e-bike. You can also create it yourself or save it directly in the BikeTrax app and send it to the police via the app after a theft. This saves valuable time.
Important details in a bike passport are:
Brand and model
Frame size and frame number
(If available) coding
Bike lock used
Some experts suggest marking your own bike or e-bike to make it easier to identify after the theft. This can be achieved, for example, by using paint. Of course, this method only works if the features in question are difficult or impossible to remove. Also, it is not necessary to deface your e-bike to achieve more security. With a GPS tracker and a digital bike passport, you are already on the safe side.
Maybe you are wondering how much good anti-theft protection for an e-bike costs? As a rule of thumb, for more security, experts like to refer to the 10% rule. It says that you should invest about 10% of the value of your pedelec in anti-theft protection.
However, this is only a guideline. It is much more important that the investment in a high-quality anti-theft device pays off. Above all, a high-quality lock, good component protection, and a modern GPS tracker are essential components in e-bike theft protection. With this trio, you take the right measures for prevention and for getting your e-bike back following a theft. Additional measures such as choosing the right parking location are even free of charge.
It is up to you to decide whether you want to cover your e-bike with household insurance or a special bicycle insurance policy.