7 Tips on Parking and Storing a Motorcycle to Prevent Theft

Knowing where and how to park and secure a motorcycle can make all the difference if you want to be able to enjoy your ride.

Unfortunately, motorcycles make appealing targets for thieves because ownership has increased and also because motorcycles are easier to transport than cars or larger vehicles.

The key to keeping your motorcycle safe is understanding that no one solution can protect you. Thieves can cut a chain or break a lock in seconds. Instead, the solution is to make your motorcycle a less attractive target by applying multiple layers of protection. The more layers of protection that you use, the less likely it is that thieves will want to target your motorcycle.

These layers of protection include

  • Knowing the Risk Factors
  • Knowing Where to Store Your Motorcycle
  • Using a Cover
  • Knowing Where to Park
  • Locking onto a Stationary Object
  • Locking the Brakes
  • Using a Kill Switch
  • Installing an Alarm

If you want to keep your motorcycle from being stolen, the following tips can help you to enjoy your ride for years to come.

1. Know If You’re At Risk

The only place where thieves ride off on their stolen motorcycle is in the movies.

Most motorcycle thieves aren’t looking to ride off on your bike. Instead, they use a van or truck for a quick, low-profile getaway. Then all they have to do is break the lock, roll it away, and toss it in the back and go. Because thieves are looking for parts, they don’t mind damaging the motorcycle in the process, so don’t assume your dented and scratched motorcycle is immune.

Recent statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau also show that the biggest targets for bike thieves are powerful Japanese models with street-racing capabilities and profitable parts. Be extra careful if you ride a Honda, nearly one out of every five motorcycles stolen is a Honda.

Where you live can also make a difference with warmer states like California, Florida, Texas and the Carolinas reporting the most thefts.

Also, according to insurance reports theft risks increase during the summer months between July and September, so you’ll want to be extra diligent at this time. Knowing when and how you’re at risk, can help you to take the appropriate steps to prevent your motorcycle from being stolen.

2. Know Where to Store Your Motorcycle

Where you keep your motorcycle when it’s not in use can affect whether or not it will be stolen. Never store an uncovered motorcycle out front at home; it’s far safer in a garage or shed. Even if you have a garage, keeping a motorcycle parked on the street during the day makes it more of a target, and if you’re not riding daily, try to put a physical barrier between the motorcycle and the door.

If you don’t have access to a garage, or you park in a public garage, avoid parking your bicycle in the open. Remember, the more visible the motorcycle, the easier it is for a thief to see it as a target. Look for someplace out of the way like a backyard or an alcove, and if possible, park somewhere in sight of a security camera.

3. Use a Cover

Putting on a cover is another simple way to deter thieves. If they can’t see what kind of motorcycle you’re using, they’re less likely to target it. Having a motorcycle cover made from durable materials and built-in hardware for a security chain can also serve as an impediment. As an added bonus, your motorcycle will be protected from dust, grime, rain, environmental pollutants as well as scratches or dents.

4. Know Where to Park on the Street

If you’re taking your motorcycle out to run errands or out for a quick bite, your strategy should be the opposite of the parking at home strategy. Parking in areas with heavy foot traffic means potential thieves will be discouraged due to the increased risk of witnesses, security guards and police presence. If you’re in a quiet area without hi-visibility options, look for a parking space within the obvious view of a security camera.

5. Lock your Motorcycle to a Stationary, Immovable Object

Having an expensive lock and chain is great. But if you use it to lock your motorcycle or scooter to a chain link fence that can easily be taken down by bolt cutters, it won’t do much good. While they may be hard to find, look for objects that are anchored to the ground and immovable.

Also, when you connect your chain, make sure it goes around the frame and not the wheels. Thieves can remove wheels in a matter of seconds and walk away with the rest of your motorcycle.

6. Lock the Brakes

While a chain lock may slow down a thief, they’re even more likely to be slowed down if they can’t roll your motorcycle away.

Disc locks are a great way to keep your motorcycle in place. They’re small, but these heavy-duty locks can immobilize your wheel. For a thief, even seeing a disc lock may provide enough discouragement that they’ll move on to another target.

7. Install an Alarm

Everyone hates car alarms. They’re loud, bright and hard to ignore. While they can be annoying when they go off on your street at night, they serve a purpose. They give thieves an incentive to get away quickly.

The good news for motorcycle owners is that there are now many security systems available on the market. This may include:

  • Flashing lights
  • Siren
  • Early warning system
  • Keyless locking system
  • GPS Tracking
  • Remote Engine Disconnect

Any of these options can make life difficult for a thief and discourage them from giving your motorcycle a second look. Most of these systems can be wired into your motorcycle with minimal effort, and even a sticker or label that warns of alarmed locks or a GPS tracking system can sometimes deter thieves. 

You Can Keep Your Motorcycle from Being Stolen

Applying a combination of these strategies can help you to protect your motorcycle and keep it away from thieves. Don’t forget to reach out to your insurance company, they may offer you an anti-theft discount depending on your coverage and the type of measures you apply.

Easy Guide to Loading Your Motorcycle

Between 2002 and 2017, the number of motorcycles registered in the U.S. has doubled from 4 million to 8 million. And why not? Whether it’s the back trails or the open highway, there’s nothing more liberating than sitting astride a powerful piece of machinery.

Of course, if you want to transport your motorcycle, you’ll often need to load it onto the back of your truck or trailer.

Given that the average motorcycle can easily weigh 600 lb. it’s not something to be taken lightly.

Looking for the best way to transport a motorcycle? Follow these tips for loading, tying-down and transporting. Then, check out our suggestions on how to deter thieves and keep your motorcycle safe.

You can also watch this quick video showing the best way to attach your ramp.

1. Use a Ramp

One of the biggest mistakes that motorcycle owners make is that they skimp on a loading ramp. In fact, the internet is full of videos of unfortunate individuals who attempted to load their motorcycle using wooden planks. They don’t end well.

Instead, invest in a good quality loading ramp. Many are made from aluminum which makes them strong enough to support the weight and light enough to transport on your own. Also, many can fold to fit in the back of your truck or trailer.

When looking for a ramp, keep the following in mind:

  • Make sure that it’s the correct length. A ramp that’s too short can lead to loading accidents such as stalling and slippage on inclines that are too steep.
  • Determine optimal ramp length, using a Motorcycle Ramp Calculator, you'll simply need to provide your Loading Surface Height, Ground Clearance and Wheelbase.
  • If you have low ground clearance (under 4”), you may be at risk of having the under-body of your vehicle hit or scrape against the bed of your truck or trailer. Using an arched or curved ramp allows your vehicle to load at an angle parallel to the ground. This allows for a smoother transition that protects both your vehicle and your truck or trailer.

2. Attach the Ramp Properly

When you’ve unfolded your ramp, attach the end with the rubber tips to the tailgate. This will help prevent scratching and keep your motorcycle in place. If your ramp has hooks or connectors that will lock into your tailgate, make sure they are securely connected.

Next, use a ratchet tie-down strap to secure the ramp to the truck. Most ramps will have a hook intended for this use. Place one hook from a ratchet tie down through the hook on the ramp and secure the other end to a loop or hook in the bed of the truck. Use the ratchet to tighten the strap until the ramp is held firmly in place.

Look for straps that are rated to support the weight of your motorcycle. Look for sturdy, anodized or coated hooks and cambuckles. These will better support the weight, lock in place and prevent rusting over time.

Do not use a bungee strap to secure the ramp. Bungee straps may give, allowing the ramp to fall.

3. Put It In Neutral

Before you load, make sure your motorcycle is in neutral. It’s found between first and second gear and most motorcycles have a neutral light, that lets you know when you when your motorcycle is in neutral.

Also, avoid loading your motorcycle on soft or uneven ground. These might give way when weight is placed on the ramp while loading. Instead always load on blacktop or concrete. If neither of those are available look for a patch of dry, even ground.

4. Get Help Loading

You wouldn’t lift 200 lb. at the gym without a spotter, so why would you try to do the same thing with a 600 lb. motorcycle? Get a friend to help you when loading and unloading your motorcycle, otherwise, the motorcycle could tip and hit the ground, or even worse, fall on you. When loading have your friend push from behind while you steer.

Before the motorcycle has cleared the ramp, use your right hand to squeeze the front brake lever on the handlebars. This will keep the motorcycle from rolling backward. Then your friend can climb into the bed of the truck and help you pull the motorcycle in the rest of the way.

5. Secure your Motorcycle


Once your motorcycle has been loaded into your truck, it’s time to secure it for travel.

At minimum, you should have three ratchet straps with at least one “soft loop” or heavy duty loop that won’t damage the paint on your motorcycle.

How you tie down your bike will depend on the model of the motorcycle and the dimensions of your truck or trailer. However, it’s advisable to use either the frame or a solidly mounted part on the frame as an attachment point.

The first step is to get your truck or trailer as level as possible. Then, set two ties up front and two on either side. This should be adequate for most street bikes, but if you’re concerned, you can always add an additional two ties in the front hook.

Connect the tie-downs to your floor or frame loops and extend them out as far as you need to attach to your motorcycle (and where you can reach them).

A good rule of thumb is the 45-degree rule. All straps should form a 45-degree angle between the bike and floor and at a 45-degree angle from the motorcycle to the anchor points.

If you’re using a motorcycle ramp, don’t forget to strap it down as well.

6. Use a Wheel Chock


Another option that you can use is a wheel chock. These are curved blocks or metal frames that can keep motorcycle wheel from shifting.

Some chocks are simple rubber bricks, others have aluminum frames with locking mechanisms to keep your wheels straight and secure. Also, while some can secure to your truck without needing to drill holes in the truck bed, others cannot.

7. Use a Cover


Once your motorcycle is loaded and secured, you want to protect it from road dust, grit and insects. One easy way is with a motorcycle cover. Ideally, you’ll want a cover that can be effectively secured to your motorcycle while allowing your motorcycle to stay securely in place. Your cover should also be durable enough to withstand the high winds from the road and waterproof to keep your motorcycle dry.

Load, Secure and Transport Your Motorcycle Safely and Enjoy the Road

When the time comes to haul your motorcycle, following these steps will make it easier to load, secure and transport your motorcycle. They will also help protect your motorcycle from being scratched or getting dirty before you get to enjoy your ride.