It’s a fact: electric bikes ain’t cheap. The Stromer ST5, for example, costs $10,000 (that’s around €8,400 or £7,600). Of course, most ebikes cost a lot less than that; most electric bikes fall in the range of 1,000 to 3,000 regardless of which currency you’re measuring in, but hey, that’s still a fair amount of money!
When you’ve invested that much money into an electric bicycle you’ll want to feel confident that the bike is secure when you’re not cycling it. While no security system is absolute, there are a few tools you can use to ensure your electric bike doesn’t get stolen.
Bike theft has always been an issue. Bikes are an easy target for thieves since once the lock is removed the theft itself provides the getaway vehicle. And since ebikes tend to be more valuable than regular bicycles they are also more attractive to thieves.
Whether you own a simple pedal bike or the Stromer ST5 electric bike, there are a few best practice security measures you should always follow:
- Buy a really good anti-theft lock and a second simpler lock – There are two reasons for buying two locks. Firstly, the more work a thief has to undertake to get your bike free the less likely they are to attempt the theft. Secondly, many thieves are opportunistic and come prepared to break only one kind of lock. Having two different locks, even if the second is not such high quality, can deter ill-prepared bike thieves.
- Place the locks on different parts of the bike – Make sure one lock is attached to the frame and the front wheel; if the lock only goes through the back wheel thieves can lift the ebike’s back wheel off the ground and push the bike using the front wheel only. Put the second lock on the back wheel to really make life difficult for them. Also, always lock your ebike to something!
- Put your ebike inside at night (and during the day if possible) – I have a friend who rides an expensive fixed gear bike and every time he visits he struggles through my door with his bike on his shoulder. He refuses to leave it outside unattended even for a minute. I recommend you do the same with your electric bike. Put it inside whenever possible and especially during the night.
- Get good electric bike insurance – Make sure the ebike insurance policy you choose covers theft. The price of electric bike insurance policies will depend on the value of your bike.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look at some of the high-tech electric bike anti-theft solutions available on the market today. I’ve chosen to review three of my favourite ebike anti-theft accessories. Let’s take a look…
The Abus SmartX – Smart protection for analogue ebikes
The Abus SmartX bike locks are designed as an add-on for electric bikes that don’t already feature smartphone integration.
Abus is a top-notch security brand (I would also highly recommend buying Abus padlocks). The Bus SmartX bike locks offer a level of protection and security you won’t find elsewhere. The system operates without a key; it relies on the use of a custom made Abus app or by the use of a proximity sensor that is activated when your phone is in range.
Once you are in range of your electric bike the proximity sensor will automatically unlock your ebike. Alternatively, you can set the Abus SmartX to unlock your ebike via the app only, giving you more control.
The Abus SmartX lock transfers encrypted data via Bluetooth to your smartphone and will alert you if your electric bike is moved. The second a thief touches your bike your phone will start buzzing. Cool, huh!
The lock is available in a variety of sizes and the battery life is impressive. Having trialled this system on my own bike for several months I can say that I have no complaints.
The Abus Nutfix – Ensures the security of your ebike’s wheels
Simple yet effective, the Abus Nutfix makes it incredibly difficult for anyone to remove the wheels from your electric bike. This is particularly true if your electric bike is locked to something; this is because the Abus Nutfix can only be removed if the ebike is laying horizontally. Unless the ebike is horizontal the mechanics inside the Abus Nutfix simply won’t work.
The beauty of the Abus Nutfix is the product’s ease of use. While there are other wheel security systems for electric bikes they are often complicated and make removing the wheel difficult for everyone, including you. The Abus Nutfix allows you to remove the wheel when you choose but will stump most bike thieves.
Take a look at the Abus Nutfix, it comes in a number of colours. Take your pick.
Tile Tracker – A tiny GPS tracker that sticks to stuff
GPS technology offers many opportunities for tracking stuff: from the government tracking our every move by tracing our smartphones to providing a way to find a stolen ebike, GPS is a glorious invention that shouldn’t be overlooked. And indeed, I shall not overlook it today. Let me introduce you to the Tile Tracker, a tiny little GPS tracker that can be stuck to just about anything, including your electric bike.
Simply stick the tracker somewhere out of sight, such as under your seat, and you’ll be able to check where your ebike is at all times using the company’s custom made tracking app.
The drawback with Tile Tracker is that their tiniest version can only be tracked up to 150 feet (46 metres) which means it’s no good if the thief is already racing away on your super fast and awesome ebike. However, it will notify you that someone is moving your bike while it’s parked outside your house. Think of it as an early warning system, rather than a tracking system per se.
Invoxia – Inbuilt GPS tracking for your electric bike
Invoxia on the other hand is a serious GPS tracking system. Invoxia has no maximum range which means you can find your stolen ebike wherever it is in the world. The device weighs just 50g and has a battery life of up to 3 months. When the battery begins to run low you will receive a notification on your phone to remind you to charge it.
I’m sure all of that sounds great, but wait! You’ve not heard the best part yet…the Invoxia electric bike GPS tracker is built into a very ordinary-looking reflector! Thieves won’t even know it’s there.
Invoxia is a French company and claims 400,000 bikes are reported stolen in France each year. They hope their innovative product will help to recover some of those stolen bicycles.
Protecting Your Electric Bike
In addition to using to these four crafty gadgets to secure and track your electric bike, it can also be worth getting electric bike insurance. It is affordable and covers your in the event of theft. Most policies will reimburse you the entire value of the electric bike or let you pick a new ebike of equal value to your original.
Given the value of modern, high-end electric bikes, getting insurance is something to consider along with implementing high-tech tracking devices and Smart locks.