Your electric bike is an expensive investment. The trouble is that everyone else knows this too, so if you don’t lock up your ebike when it is unattended , chances are it will get stolen and be on the second hand market within a few hours of the theft.
Bike thefts of all types are a common problem and you have very little chance of getting your bike back even if you report the crime to the police. You should of course insure your electric bike but this doesn’t compensate you for the misery of losing it. Prevention is always better than cure so this means that a good quality e bike lock is an important part of your ebike kit.
Let’s check out everything we need to know about electric bike locks as well as other ways to keep your ebike safe.
Chain lock vs. U lock
There are a few different types of e bike lock on the market. However they largely fall into two categories; chain locks or U locks. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages but essentially it all comes down to how you intend using your e bike lock.
Chain locks are lengths of chain, usually covered in a protective sleeve. They are easy enough to carry with you because you can wrap the flexible chain round your seat post, however they can be heavy and you might find the added weight slows you down.
With a flexible chain lock you can secure your ebike in a variety of ways. The flexible nature of the chain means you can attach your bike to a range of fixings such as pipes or metal fences. You can weave the chain through the bike wheel and your frame so it does prevent an opportunistic thief from making off with your wheel if they can’t manage to steal the whole bike.
Chain locks are generally made from steel or aluminium. The locking function is provided by a U lock or a combination keyless lock system so you don’t need to worry about carrying a key and with thousands of number combinations available, it is unlikely that any thief will crack your code. That said a combination lock is the weak part of this system as it can be cracked open with a pair of bolt croppers. So a traditional U lock in place does offer a slightly more secure option.
U locks are sometimes called D locks and offer fantastically strong security that will deter most bike thieves. With this type of rigid lock you can fit it through the wheel and frame of the bike and attach it to railings or a bike stand.
U locks are built to be strong. One of the most popular brands is the Kryptonite New York which features 18mm steel construction that resists saws and power tools. This model comes with some neat extras including spare keys and an LED key fob that makes unlocking the bike easier in the dark.
U locks are safe and secure but they can be awkward to transport. If you have a cross bar on your ebike, you will find that this does the job however on step thru models you may struggle to find a convenient carrying place.
Which types of ebike are most targeted by thieves?
All ebikes are desirable. Any bike in the Hovsco range is eye catching and will tempt the attention of criminals so it is important to consider your ebikes security and take precautions.
The step thru models such as the Hov Alpha may make transporting a U lock problematic so for these types of step thru model, a chain lock is probably best.
Some ebike enthusiasts recommend using two locks on the same bike; preferably a chain lock and a U look. The reason is that this will not only make your ebike more secure, it will buy you time. A bike thief will be unwilling to attract too much attention to their activities so is unlikely to go through the hassle of trying to break two ebike locks when so many other ebikes may be less protected.
How you should secure your electric bike?
Regardless of the type or types of lock you choose, you need to be careful when securing your bike. Make sure the point you wish to lock your bike to, is strong and a permanent fixture. Locking your bike to a pole or small tree for example could enable the thief to simply lift the bike up and take it away.
The best way to lock up a bike is to put the lock or the chain through the back wheel and frame and position the lock through the railings or bike stand. That way you can be confident that it is safe and well attached.
If you have decided to go for two locks on your electric bike, put the second lock through the front wheel and bike frame for added security.
Always choose a brightly lit public space to leave your bike, preferably an area that is covered by CCTV .That way thieves will be less likely to draw attention to themselves by using power tools such as an angle grinder to break through the lock.
If you use your ebike for work, change your routine
Quite often ebike thieves will spend time targeting bikes to steal, so if you stick to the same routine each day, always park your ebike in the same place at the same time each day, you may be at more risk from theft.
The answer is to change your routine from time to time. Don’t always use your ebike and when you do vary your parking space. Doing this may prevent your ebike from becoming a target.
What about securing the electric bike battery?
An easy way to secure your bike battery is to remove it and take it with you. That way you don’t need to bother about carrying more locks with you and it saves you time as well.
E bike batteries are designed to be removed very easily. So the best advice is to simply remove yours rather than enabling a thief to remove it for you.
There are battery locks on the market. However nothing beats the security of simply sliding it off and taking it with you.
Register your ebike for anti theft protection
Although the police do not take bike theft very seriously, if you register your ebike for anti theft protection, such as the Bike Index , you may have a better chance of it being recovered. In addition it will help you recover your losses if you have registered the bike’s serial number, model, make and details.
When you buy from Hovsco, the company will be able to give you all your ebike’s security details and even better they keep a record of all sales and specific ebike information that can be used if you need to make an insurance claim.
Fix a security tracker to your ebike
A GPS locator such as an Apple air tag is a good idea for increasing your ebike’s security. An apple air tag is a location device that can be fitted to your ebike and should your ebike get stolen you can see exactly where it is and hopefully alert the police.
An apple air tag is a very small disc that is about the size of a coin and can be hidden in a range of locations on your ebike such as under the saddle.
Take time to think about securing your ebike properly
Many ebikes are stolen by opportunistic thieves who notice when an ebike may not be locked up correctly. So always take time to find a safe place with adequate lighting and don’t rush the process of locking up your ebike and later finding it gone because it wasn’t attached to a stable fixing.
In addition you do need to be careful when making short stops. Sadly it only takes a minute to steal an ebike so never leave it unlocked outside a shop or store while you pop in to buy a pint of milk or it may be gone when you come out.
Don’t assume your ebike is safe because you have left it outside your house or a house you are visiting. Always lock it up because doing so only takes a couple of minutes and it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Obviously some areas are more prone to ebike crime than others. So if you are out on a trail ride in a rural location and leave your ebike unattended for a few moments, it is far less likely to be stolen than doing this in a city such as New York.
However it is good to get into the security habit because that way, locking your ebike becomes routine. After all you wouldn’t leave your car unlocked with the keys in the ignition. So treat your ebike the same and always lock it up.