Electric bike theft prevention, what solutions are there?

City Riding Electric Bike | Qiolor Ebike
Electric bike theft is a growing concern, but there are several effective solutions to protect your investment. This explores various methods including the use of high-quality locks, GPS tracking devices, and secure storage solutions.
Table of Contents

In the United States, a large number of bicycles are stolen every year, including a considerable number of electric bicycles. According to the latest statistics, about 2 million bicycles are stolen in the United States each year, of which electric bike for adults account for a considerable number. The specific number may be underestimated due to unreported thefts, which account for a significant proportion of all thefts.

This vulnerability worries bicycle users in the United States. A recent study shows that a survey of 1,500 American cyclists conducted by the National Bicycle Association in 2023 found that 80% of people expressed concerns about bicycle theft on social media.

This concern is the second largest obstacle mentioned by cyclists in social media discussions and needs to be urgently addressed in order to provide a worry-free experience for existing riders, while also increasing the appeal of electric bicycles to future riders on social platforms.

You will find a summary of best practices to ensure the security of electric bicycles in the best way.

My electric bicycle was stolen - what should I do?

Storage Electric Bike | Qiolor Ebike

If you are not careful, you only walk into the store for five minutes - it happens. The brand new electric bicycle has disappeared. Expensive models in the four-digit price segment are particularly popular and often stolen. If your bike is stolen, first of all, stay calm. There is definitely a chance to get your bike back safely.

First of all, you must report the theft to the nearest police station. This is important for insurance purposes and to officially confirm the loss. Beforehand, collect as much information as possible about your bike. Photos and frame number increase the chances of identifying your bike. In addition, the purchase receipt is important as evidence to verify you as the owner.

Even if the police are called, the chances of law enforcement alone are not particularly high. That is why you should also conduct your own search. It can be helpful to post about the lost bike on social networks such as Facebook. Upload photos and indicate the time and place of the theft. These ads are often shared and increase the chances of finding your e-bike again.

Many stolen bikes are quickly resold to cover their tracks. Popular trading platforms include eBay Classifieds or Facebook Marketplace. After the theft, be vigilant: your bike may be advertised for sale. Flea markets or pawn shops are also used to sell stolen goods. If you see someone offering your bike, notify the police.

How to prevent e-bike theft?

Bicycles, especially electric ones, can quickly inspire desire. There are a number of strategies you can use to minimize the risk of theft.

Parking, an often underestimated variable

There are many ways to park your bike. However, some options are safer than others.

Parking is often an overlooked variable, whether in urban or rural areas. It is important to park your bike in a well-lit, busy, high-traffic area. Thieves are less likely to target bikes in areas where they can be seen. Therefore, finding storage areas designed specifically for bikes can help reduce the risk of theft.

If you need to leave your bike unattended for a short period of time, choose a location where it can be seen. Using an extra bike lock, even for a short time, can deter potential thieves. Therefore, keep an eye out for official bike racks or areas specifically designated for bike parking, such as bike racks or special boxes.

Bike Tagging as a Deterrent Method

Bike tagging involves printing a unique identification number on the bike (usually in the form of an engraving, durable sticker, or microchip), which is then stored in a national or local database accessible to law enforcement (and sometimes even the public).

This identification number is often linked to the owner's information so that the owner can be identified and contacted if the bike is recovered after being stolen.

The advantages of bike tagging are:

Deterring theft: A tagged bike is less attractive to thieves, as the tag makes it difficult to resell a stolen bike and increases the risk of getting caught.

Easy to return: In the event of a theft, a tagged and registered bike is more likely to be returned to its owner, as it can be easily identified.

Awareness: Tagging initiatives raise awareness of the bike theft problem and encourage owners to take additional security measures

It is recommended to combine bike tagging with other anti-theft solutions.

What lock solutions are there for my e-bike?

As mentioned earlier, e-bikes are an investment, and their growing popularity makes them particularly attractive to thieves. While e-bikes as a whole are sought after, certain components such as batteries and displays are also stolen for parallel sales channels.

Luckily, in addition to having the right reflexes, there are various anti-theft solutions designed to protect your bike.

Classic bike locks: U-lock, chain lock or frame lock – which one should you choose

Frame lock: a quick but ineffective solution

Frame locks, also known as “block locks”, are a practical solution for quick stops. It attaches directly to the bike frame and locks the rear wheel so that it can no longer move. Although it provides immediate protection, it is recommended to use a frame lock as a supplement to a more robust solution for longer storage periods.

Chain locks, a popular and flexible solution

Chain locks offer great flexibility and allow you to secure your bike to a variety of fixed objects. Although they are usually heavier than U-locks, high-quality chain locks are made of hardened steel and covered with fabric to protect the bike frame. They are particularly suitable for high-risk areas where violent means of stealing bikes are often used.

The flexibility of chain locks makes them so convenient, but it can also be a disadvantage. Sometimes it is easier to manipulate the chain into a position that allows the lock to be broken using lever tools. In fact, even if the chain links are made of hardened steel, they can be vulnerable to specialized tools such as bolt cutters or angle grinders used by determined and well-equipped thieves.

U-shaped bike locks: simple and effective

U-locks are strong and durable and are among the most reliable locks on the market. They are made of hardened steel and resist cutting, twisting and picking attempts. Their rigidity limits the points of attack that thieves can use. However, this point is also their biggest limitation.

Their flexibility is limited because they cannot always adapt to the most complex parking configurations. Therefore, in some cases, it is difficult to effectively secure the bike by securing it to the frame and wheels. Therefore, with a U-lock, a second lock may be necessary to ensure optimal protection.

Although U-locks are one of the best bike security features, they are not foolproof and have some limitations. Therefore, their use should be accompanied by a geolocation solution to keep an eye on them in real time.

Should you additionally protect your e-bike battery from theft?

Without the battery, an e-bike is just a very heavy bike. The battery is the "E" in e-bike. That's why you should protect this important part of your bike especially. When it comes to e-bikes, opportunistic thieves usually don't target the entire bike - they just want to steal the e-bike battery, as long as it is removable.

However, as a bike owner, you can take some measures to counter this threat and provide your battery with anti-theft protection with a battery safe. The safe is attached to the e-bike battery when the bike is parked. Battery safes made of metal are considered particularly effective, although they are much heavier than plastic safes. Alternatively, you can make sure that a battery lock is integrated when you buy your e-bike - or you can remove the battery yourself every time you park and take it with you.

Can I get anti-theft insurance for my e-bike?

E-bikes are expensive purchases. Therefore, protection against theft is particularly important for e-bikes. In many cases, it is worthwhile to get anti-theft insurance for e-bikes. This type of insurance is offered by several insurance companies and usually covers damage to e-bikes caused by storms, accidents or vandalism, in addition to damage caused by theft.

Anti-theft insurance for e-bikes is also usually offered under the name of comprehensive bicycle insurance. Of course, there are additional costs for taking out additional anti-theft insurance for your e-bike. These are usually based on the value of the bike. E-bike owners should calculate the cost of around 2-3% of the purchase price of the bike per year as additional insurance to protect the e-bike against theft. Over-insurance can quickly lead to unnecessary expenses. Therefore, we recommend the following: Before buying anti-theft insurance for e-bikes, check whether the bike is already insured under your own household contents insurance.

Which e-bike locks are accepted by insurance companies?

Not all bike locks are considered effective anti-theft protection for e-bikes. Insurance companies usually provide specific information in the policy about which e-bike locks they accept. The insurance will only pay out if the e-bike is stolen and it can be proven that such a bike lock was used. Many insurance companies use e.g. B. to require that bicycle locks used to lock e-bikes have a VdS seal. This means that the lock has been independently tested and deemed effective.

The test seal of the ADFC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club e. V.) is also helpful. A good guide when buying a bicycle lock for an e-bike is the manufacturer's security level. Experts recommend using locks in the top third of the manufacturer's own security category to protect your bike from theft. Some providers also provide a list of bicycle lock models approved by insurance companies.

What are the security levels of a lock?

An important factor for a bicycle lock is the security level. It indicates how high the quality of the anti-theft protection the bicycle lock provides for your e-bike is. However, different manufacturers each have their own classification.

For example, Abus has a bicycle lock with a security level of 1 to 15, while Trelock only has a security level of 6. The classification of the VdS (Association of Property Insurers), the so-called VdS test seal, is considered objective. However, it takes some effort to find out the exact security level of a specific bicycle lock through VdS. It is easier to look for the VdS seal when buying a bicycle lock for your e-bike. The general rule is: In order to be able to get insurance for your e-bike in the event of damage, you should use a bike lock with VdS ​​certification for theft protection

See also 6 Safety Tips for Riding an Electric Bike on the Street

What geolocation solutions are there for e-bikes?

GPS trackers installed before or after buying the bike represent a revolution in the field of e-bike protection. These unobtrusive IoT devices take many forms and allow the bike to be tracked in real time via an app.

These are essential to increase the chances of recovery once a theft has occurred. Some models even offer a motion warning, informing the owner if the bike has been moved without permission. In addition to an audible alarm, networked locks can also integrate this feature.

How secure are electronic bike locks?

Today, many e-bike owners rely on electronic bike locks. The so-called smart lock systems are controlled via a smartphone and can only be unlocked and locked with it. When locked, the electronic bike lock blocks the rear wheel, preventing the e-bike from being pushed away, for example.

The alarm function is important: it ensures that in the event of a theft attempt, the alarm tone can be heard from a distance. Electronic bike locks are considered relatively secure against tampering and can especially deter opportunistic thieves.

Conclusion

Securing your electric bicycle against theft requires a multi-faceted approach. From reporting thefts promptly and conducting personal searches to using robust parking practices and advanced lock systems, each step is crucial.

Employing bike tagging, investing in high-quality locks, protecting vulnerable components like the battery, and considering anti-theft insurance are effective strategies. Moreover, geolocation solutions and smart locks offer advanced protection and increase the likelihood of recovering stolen bikes. By integrating these measures, electric bicycle owners can significantly reduce the risk of theft and enjoy a worry-free riding experience.

FAQs

What are the best locks for electric bikes?

High-quality U-locks and chain locks are considered the best for securing electric bikes.

Are GPS trackers effective in preventing e-bike theft?

Yes, GPS trackers can help locate a stolen bike and deter thieves.

What other measures can I take to protect my e-bike?

Use bike alarms, register your bike, and park in well-lit, secure areas to enhance protection.

TIGER
TIGER
$1,999.00
26 MPH
Top Speed
60 / 130 Miles
Ranges
400 LBS
Max Load
750W
Robust Motor

Meet the Team Behind Qiolor

The Qiolor family blends the iconic motorcycle aesthetic of the '90s with today's e-bike innovations. Be inspired by the free-spirited California lifestyle and join the Qiolor community today to connect with other enthusiasts and get exclusive updates.
Join our newsletter.
Get the latest news about Qiolor Bike.

RELATED ARTICLES