How to keep your e-bike secure

Source: aa.co.nz

Story by Kathryn Webster for the Winter 2023 issue of AA Directions magazine. 

Commuting by e-bike is on the rise. It makes sense, as the average one-way car trip to work in New Zealand is just 10.7km. Most people can travel that distance in 25 minutes on an e-bike and increasingly, they’re able to do it on safe bike paths. 

Unfortunately, the other statistic going up is e-bike thefts. They’re high-value items, often left unattended and security locks and chains don’t deter professional thieves.  

How can you keep your e-bike safe?

Even your system for securing your e-bike at home should be robust, as thieves could take advantage of a bike left unlocked. Ideally, your e-bike would be in a locked and alarmed shed. Failing that, secure it with a strong chain lock with links thicker than 12mm – they’re harder to cut through – and remove the battery and computer. 

When you’re out and about, try to park your e-bike in a busy, well-lit place, ideally near CCTV cameras. But even when your bike is within sight while you pop into a dairy or sit in a café it should be locked. One minute it’s there, the next it’s not.

The thicker and stronger your lock the better – although the bulkier they are, the heavier they are, so there are pros and cons to consider. 

U or D locks are light, easy to carry and are convenient. However they are not very versatile, as your bike needs to be positioned near whatever it’s being locked to and the U won’t fasten around large objects. But these types of locks are hard to cut through, unless a thief has a pretty indiscreet angle grinder. 

Chain locks are much more versatile, but light chains can be cut and more robust chains are heavy and cumbersome. A solid chain is a good option for your home security system or at work in a bike cage, so you don’t have to carry it on your commute. 

Smart cyclists might opt for two security methods;  a U lock and chain or cable, for example, with different challenges for potential thieves.

Cable locks are versatile, easy to use and widely available but they can be cut with bolt cutters, so are not enough on their own. They’re a good option for a second layer of security, though. 

Think about how you lock your bike. It needs to be fixed to an immovable object that can’t easily be broken or bent. Locking the bike’s frame and rear wheel to a fixed option is best, but consider locking both wheels. Fixing a cable or chain high up and near the rear wheel makes it difficult for someone with bolt cutters to operate. Think about where to angle the lock so it’s hard to pick.

If it’s less convenient for you to park, lock and unlock, it will also be less convenient for a sneaky thief. 

For an additional layer of protection, consider registering your e-bike with 529 Garage. This is a community-powered bike recovering service that operates via an app. Users enter their bike serial number, details of identifying features and photos of the bike. If the bike goes missing, alerts send out broadcasts to app users in the area to look out of it.  

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Bernadette Robert

Bernadette Robert