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Unchain My eBike

21 September 2021

Words and Photos: Dave Mitchell

Centre-stands are great!

Our shiny new Dutch-Orange eCargo-bike unboxed itself by magic and after installing all its many and varied attachments, we charged up the battery and were off to pick up a week's worth of groceries and save the planet from the diesel guzzling and highly polluting ute relaxing in our garage. Our futile attempt to save the planet will NOT go unrewarded.

R. T. Rocks

With the price of the most expensive eBikes and eCargo bikes rivaling that of a small offshore island in the Mediterranean and some less desirable planets in the western spiral arm of the galaxy, security of your most prized possession should be at the forefront of your mind. As Dave Tidey of Altitude Adventures once said "after the initial shock, you forget what you paid by the second ride".  And we did. FUN in capitals on turbo mode.

Sardinia for sale

The focus of once happy, now frowning insurance companies, on the high number of stolen bicycles, especially eBikes, and talk of separate policies pegged at around 10% of said value should send shivers through a bicycle owner's downtube. So how to practically mitigate not only the loss of our pride and joy, but also the palaver of an insurance claim and worst still, the reality of the dreaded insurance devaluation of up to 50% whilst scraping together the dosh shortfall up for a replacement.

Norco Eeeeeee $$$$$$$

Problem one, eBikes prices are rising faster than the crazy housing market, building and rental costs. Problem two, you may not be able to get a direct replacement in the colour that matches your eyes, and may end up on a waiting list for something sometime next year or 2023. It's just like trying to buy a big diesel guzzling ute, you may not get one at all.

Safety First!

There is a vast array of tools available for the prospective bike thief and the game changer is the rise of the (lithium powered) machine, commonly known as a battery grinder. Silent analogue bolt and wire cable cutters along with noisy pinch bars and hammers can also do the bizzo. The best bet is to secure your bike in a way that suits the environment it is being left to its own devices in.

Ent Security

You can vastly up the odds of continuing your eBike love affair simply by parking it in plain sight in a high foot-traffic area that would object to a 110db grinder wildly spewing sparks. Lock it securely to something solid, unmovable and tall enough so upward extraction is improbable. Trees are good. A bike locked to itself, or to another bike can easily be lifted into the back of a van by a couple of keen robbers and their robber's dog.


Cable locks below 35mm can be cut rapidly with a bargain basement pair of steel wire cable cutters, ditto small padlocks via big bold bolt cutters. Combination locks, as a work college of mine demonstrated on numerous occasions, are easy to rumble. So all three are really only suitable for light security duties to stop opportunist theft. For maximum security locations the mighty D-Lock or hardened chain lock are our only salvation. So how to choose?

Hiplock D

Hiplock Gold

Like most things in life, there are good and not so good D-Locks and chains. The clever people at Sold and ART have come up with a lock rating system with a comprehensive list of tested products, covering every aspect of the security universe. Their CE and UL certified lads have sliced smashed and picked their way through a menagerie of security devices so you don't have to. And because more is better than less, the Christchurch Police have recently realised a short video with their advice around bike security. 

Lock Rating Solid

Lock Rating ART

But unless you know the product details it's hard to navigate this vast data base and that's where Carl Ellis comes in to play. His excellent website covers every aspect of bike security on planet earth and has lock recommendations.

Bikes inside

Considering that eBike batteries cost over a grand and a good set of carbon bike wheels is over two on a good day - hell even seats and dropper posts can make a sizeable dent in the savings - so bikes hanging off the back of your ute, motorhome or Mum's SUV and their intrinsic parts are an easy target for the bike parts' thief. Lock them inside if you can. Interestingly the back of a motorhome seems to be a favourite target for thieves, but anecdotally an OCD custom cover that disguises its contents reduces risk. Out of sight and all that. Better still is a big shiny 3mm tread-plate aluminium box to lock them up in.

Custom Cover Security

Love that tread-plate

Imbedded trackers may just be the last line of defense or at least a chance of recovery. Once stolen using SIM card enabled GPS, they can relay your bike's position via a nifty bit of mapping software. Like a decent lock, they are arguably pretty good value in the overall scheme of things. Most have a monthly or yearly subscription and run off the eBike battery and are imbedded securely inside the bike. Some of the Garmin GPS units have a security option that once triggered by movement, the sensor sounds an alarm and sends an alert to your connected smartphone. There a bunch of locks that can do the same, ideal if your bike is parked just out of sight at you local cafe or bike park.

GPS Tracker

Garmin alarm

Record the most important data, such as make, model, frame number, colour, and any particular features. It’s also a good idea to take a picture of your two-wheeler. This increases the chance of recovery. The nice people at Bike Data Base have come up with place for you to store and update these important details and you can check a potential purchase for any red flags. Feel free to share any other good security tips.

Beaut Ute

My apologies for stating the obvious. Love your 'eBike like a rock' (Paul Simon 1973), just saying.