Motorcycles are targets for thieves for a number of reasons – their size, their high value in a relatively small package, the ability to chop and part them out, and the fact that motorcycle security systems are fairly easy to bypass if a thief is experienced.
The last thing you want is to walk out to where you park your bike and find it missing.
Use some of these tips to help prevent your motorcycle from being stolen.
Check our our reviews and recommendations for the best motorcycle locks and alarms.
How to Protect Your Motorcycle from Theft
Motorcycle theft prevention falls into 2 main categories: security where your park your bike long term (i.e. where you live or work) and security when you park your bike temporarily.
If you’re able to, park and store your bike in a secure garage. This includes having locks to your garage, blocking your bike with your car, and installing security cameras and lights.
If you don’t have access to a secure garage, follow as many of the suggestions below as you can.
To prevent your motorcycle from being stolen:
- Lock your steering.
- Turn off and lock your ignition.
- Use a disc lock or thick chain lock on the rear wheel and swing-arm, if possible.
- Keep chains as tight as possible – more slack makes it easier to cut.
- Lock the bike to a secure object.
- Use a motorcycle alarm and lo-jack.
- Do not store your title or your keys on the bike.
- Install and use a hidden kill switch, if possible.
- Place markings or something unique on your motorcycle and keep current pictures of your bike.
Some theft-prevention tips for temporary parking situations include:
- Removing your clutch lever or removing a spark plug.
- Parking in a highly visible area or in front of security cameras.
- Parking in a tight space – i.e. behind a car or other obstruction.
- Lock bikes together when riding in groups and parking for a while.
How do Thieves Steal Motorcycles?
The most common form of motorcycle theft involves the thief actually riding away on the bike.
Another way is loading the stolen bike into a van or truck.
Why? It’s much easier to get away on a small, fast motorcycle than it is on a big, slow truck or van.
This means the more obstacles you can create for would-be thieves to ride away on your bike or pick up and move the bike, the better.
Stolen Motorcycles When Buying or Selling
Buying and selling used motorcycles is another situations where motorcycle theft and stolen motorcycles can become a problem.
The best tip here is to use common sense. If something doesn’t feel right or you’ve found a deal that’s too good to be true (either an asking price or an offer from a potential buyer), you should probably walk away.
When buying a used bike from a private seller:
- Get the VIN checked.
- Inspect the motorcycle for potential signs of theft.
- If a newer bike doesn’t have keys or a title, that’s a red flag.
When selling a motorcycle:
- Don’t sign or hand over the title until you get paid.
- Don’t allow test rides unless you absolutely trust the buyer and get some collateral. It’s smart to have them sign a liability waiver as well.
Most Commonly Stolen Motorcycles
The most commonly stolen motorcycles are the most commonly ridden motorcycles. i.e. The common sport and super-sport models from the major motorcycle makes are stolen the most. These include:
Lost of visible aftermarket upgrades and accessories can also make your bike a higher target for motorcycle thieves.
The most common months where motorcycle thefts occur are during the summer in:
This makes sense, as more people ride when it’s warmer and bikes may be more commonly parked in easy-to-steal locations.
In the U.S., the most motorcycle thefts occur in the following states:
- New York.
- North Carolina.
- South Carolina.
Top cities for motorcycle theft include:
- New York, NY.
- Los Angeles, CA.
- Miami, FL.
- Las Vegas, NV.
- San Diego, CA.
- San Francisco, CA.
- Houston, TX.
- Philadelphia, PA.
- Austin, TX.
- San Jose, CA.
If you live in an area where motorcycle theft is common, or you simply want to protect your bike, you should consider adding comprehensive coverage to your motorcycle insurance policy.
Motorcycle theft statistics come from NICB.org.