At home, your motorcycle is probably tucked out of sight in a locked garage, barricaded in by your car, with you listening for any sounds of intruders. On the road, it’s considerably more vulnerable.
You may never be able to stop a determined professional thief, but these five steps can deter amateurs and encourage pros to look elsewhere.
1. Lock and alarm. A small disc lock takes up almost no space and may send the casual thief in search of easier marks. An alarm adds deterrence.
2. Go undercover. A bike cover can draw less attention than a shiny bike. You might want one that doesn’t advertise the type of machine underneath.
3. Parking strategies. A friendly chat with the hotel lobby clerk may get you permission to park your bike by the front entrance, where a witness will be around 24 hours a day. Some riders routinely ask for ground-floor rooms where they can park right outside the door or window. If you’re traveling alone, you might want to park your bike with any other motorcycles in the lot, giving you additional riders who will be watching for suspicious activity.
4. Hidden obstacles. If a ride-off thief (on an unfamiliar bike) thinks he’s having a mechanical problem, he’s likely to abandon the heist. Shut off the gas. Loosen a spark plug cap. Pull the main fuse. Some owners go further and add a hidden ignition cut-out switch.
5. Not without me. One rider we know secures his tent to his bike with a guy wire when he camps at night. That way, if the bike leaves, he’ll know it instantly.