About theft protection for e-cargo bikes in a nutshell
A cargo bike with a motor costs several thousand euros. That’s why some gangs of thieves have specialized in stealing e-cargo bikes. You need effective theft protection, especially in large cities, as it is not easy to lock large cargo bikes away indoors.
A good lock is important, but it’s not enough, as professional bike thieves can get away with it in no time at all, even with expensive U-locks.
We recommend combining a high-quality GPS tracker such as BikeTrax from PowUnity with several locks. This way, you can park your cargo bike outdoors without worrying.
Environmentally friendly, maneuverable, more storage space than conventional e-bikes: e-cargo bikes are all the rage. In Scandinavian cities such as Copenhagen, they have long been a feature of the streetscape and they are also becoming increasingly common in Germany. If you don’t want to buy a cargo bike yourself, you can use leasing providers or rental bikes to transport loads or take the kids to school.
Unfortunately, however, gangs of thieves are also profiting from this development. After all, a new e-cargo bike costs between 4000 and 7000 euros. That makes the theft worthwhile. What’s more, the size of a cargo bike makes it impossible to park it in your own home and there is often no room for it even in the bicycle cellar. On the street, the investment is a real magnet for thieves. And cargo bikes from leasing services are left outside all day anyway.
So what can you do to efficiently protect cargo bikes from theft? Here we present a few measures.
Securing cargo bikes with more than one lock
When you hear the word “bike theft protection”, the first thing that comes to mind is bike locks. These do indeed play an important role in protecting cargo bikes against theft.
However, they only fulfill their purpose if you pay attention to a few things:
The choice of bike locks is as big as the differences. A simple frame lock and a high-quality U-lock are worlds apart. So don’t just use any lock, but a high-quality cargo bike lock. It may cost a few euros more, but the investment is worth it.
One lock is much better than none, but not enough, especially for a cargo bike. It is better to combine several locks. Also secure expensive accessories such as pedals or saddles, for example with a HexLox anti-theft device.
Professional thieves will pick any lock. That’s why you need extra security, no matter how many locks you use.
Important: Always lock your cargo bike to a fixed object such as a bike rack or a fence. Otherwise there is a risk that thieves will put it in a van and pick your locks later at their leisure.
Coding your cargo bike
A simple deterrent measure is to have your cargo bike coded. The principle behind this is simple: depending on the frame and material, a code that identifies you as the owner is engraved, embossed or glued on.
Coding makes it easier to prove that a stolen cargo bike belongs to you. It is best to store the code, as well as the frame number and other information about your bike, in a bike passport.
Tip: The PowUnity app for the BikeTrax GPS tracker contains a bike passport in which you can store all the important information about your bike. After a theft, you can digitally send the bike pass and a report to the police and can even track the current location of the stolen bike in the app.
Taking out a cargo bike insurance
Just like the number of bikes with motors on the market, the number of insurance policies has been increasing for years. You can also insure e-cargo bikes, not only against theft, but also against accidental damage, vandalism, theft of personal items and much more. This ensures that you will be reimbursed for your cargo bike or its value in the event of an emergency.
You should note at this point:
The prices for cargo bike insurance vary. As a rule, they increase with the value of the bike. The age of the bike can also play a role. In any case, bicycle insurance involves ongoing costs.
The benefits are even more important than the costs. It’s worth taking a close look! Ask yourself beforehand what you want to insure your cargo bike against. Are you “only” concerned with theft or also with accidental damage or wear and tear?
Bicycle insurance only pays out under certain conditions. The minimum requirement is usually that the bike is locked. Sometimes a high-quality lock is explicitly required.
Ideally, you will receive a replacement for your cargo bike from an insurance company, but you will not get your bike back – no matter how much you have grown fond of it. It can also take some time to get a refund. In the meantime, you will have to make do without your cargo bike.
As an alternative to a separate insurance policy for bikes with an e-drive, you can insure your bike via an add-on to your household contents insurance. In this case too, however, the insurance conditions differ. Sometimes you will only be reimbursed a certain portion of the sum insured, which is not sufficient for the purchase of a cargo bike. In other cases, household contents insurance is an attractive alternative.
Our conclusion: If you want to insure an e-cargo bike, find out exactly whether it is cheaper to take out household contents insurance. Compare insurance rates and take the time to take a close look at the details.
Use a GPS tracker
Do you want to have piece of mind during cycling or parking your e-cargo bike and to make sure that you get your bike back in case of a theft? Then we recommend a GPS tracker instead of bike insurance. It works as follows: You mount the tracker on or in your cargo bike and connect it to your smartphone via an app. If the bike is stolen, the police can track its location in real time.
But be careful: as with bike locks, GPS trackers depend on the model. Trackers that are clearly visible and attached to the bike frame immediately catch the eye of thieves. In case of doubt, they can be rendered harmless or removed with a targeted kick. Then that’s it for tracking. On the other hand, tracking stolen cargo bikes is not very promising if it only works sporadically or breaks off after half an hour due to a lack of power. You can find detailed information on buying GPS trackers in our bike GPS tracker test check article.
In a nutshell, this means that to efficiently protect a cargo bike from thieves, you need a GPS tracker that meets at least the following requirements:
It enables seamless tracking in real time, even on country roads and in less frequented areas such as border regions.
The device is inconspicuously attached to or, at best, in your cargo bike.
The battery has enough power for longer chases.
We also recommend a device with a SIM card and a high-quality app. In contrast to real GPS trackers, Bluetooth chips such as the Apple AirTag are not recommended as anti-theft protection. They do not use real GPS tracking and are only suitable for locating lost items such as keys or purses at short range
The BikeTrax GPS tracker offers maximum security for your cargo bike. It is integrated into the motor so that it is invisible to thieves and is paired with the corresponding PowUnity app on your smartphone. In the event of an attempted theft, the app alerts you immediately so that you can intervene. If the thieves and their stolen goods are on the run, you can track their location throughout Europe in real time and pass it on to the police. Our record for an e-bike recovery using the tracker is 12 minutes. Let Paul tell you about it himself in this video (with English subtitles):
Tips for the right parking location
Finally, a piece of advice that may seem obvious but is often not followed: Park cargo bikes in a protected place. It is best to park them in a closed and locked room, especially at night. If this is not possible, places with a lot of public traffic are safer than secluded corners where a thief can saw and screw in peace and quiet.
No matter where you park your cargo bike, remember to lock it to a fixed object and secure it with a tracker. The experience of our customer in this spectacular BikeTrax Hits YouTube video below (with English subtitles) shows that even a bicycle cellar does not offer one hundred percent protection against gangs of thieves. The thief in this theft story was disguised as a newspaper carrier. Fortunately, our customer had installed the BikeTrax GPS tracker.
Conclusion – combining is the best solution
Because cargo bikes are expensive, they need a lot of protection. It is best to combine several measures:
Code your cargo bike so that it is recognizable as yours.
Secure it with several high-quality locks. Also think about expensive accessories.
Install a good GPS tracker inconspicuously, preferably inside your cargo bike.
If you follow these tips, you don’t necessarily need insurance cover. The chances are good that you will get your cargo bike back soon, even if it is stolen. Sometimes, however, it makes sense to take out additional insurance to cover you against accidental damage and wear and tear. In this case, however, you should take a close look at the insurance conditions.
Either way, it is worth investing in theft protection for e-bikes and especially e-cargo bikes. This is because the purchase price of a new bike is usually significantly higher.
FAQs on theft protection for cargo bikes
Why do cargo bikes need special theft protection?
Cargo bikes, especially e-cargo bikes, cost a lot of money. Depending on the manufacturer and model, you can pay up to 7,000 euros or even more. That’s why the bikes are very popular with thieves and losing them is painful. In addition, it is often not possible to park a cargo bike in a closed room.
Which bike lock is the right one for e-cargo bikes?
A simple frame lock is not enough to protect an e-cargo bike from thieves. We recommend high-quality chain, folding or U-locks. Combine several locks and always lock your cargo bike to a fixed object. Reputable tests and certifications will help you choose good bike locks.
How do I find a good GPS tracker for my cargo bike?
When choosing a GPS tracker for cargo bikes, make sure that it meets the following requirements: It can be mounted in the bike so that it is invisible to thieves, has a long battery life and enables seamless real-time tracking. The PowUnity GPS tracker BikeTrax meets all of these requirements. You also benefit from a high-quality app with many useful additional functions.
What is the best theft protection for cargo bikes?
The best way to protect cargo bikes is to combine several anti-theft measures: secure the bike with several good locks, code it and use a high-quality GPS tracker. You can also take out insurance for cargo bikes. Depending on the tariff, this also covers you against accidental damage, vandalism or even wear and tear.