CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Computers, GPS, 'Smart' 'Phones

Tracking Device for Stolen Bicycles?

(13 posts)
  • Started 4 years ago by Iratesheep
  • Latest reply from I were right about that saddle

  1. Iratesheep

    Does anyone have any recommendations for a tracker to install on new bicycle?

    It'll be a cargo e-bike and I have to secure it outside because I won't be able to get it into my building. It'll be secured on a concreted A stand but in a heavy traffic place (just by the Meadows) making it a clear target.

    Do any of you use gps bike trackers? Any tips as to what I might want and what you didn't want in yours?

    Posted 4 years ago #
  2. Murun Buchstansangur

    Have thought about this in the past. Somewhat put off by most products either being not that well thought-out (IMO) or having ongoing charges.

    This looked like one of the better ones:

    Posted 4 years ago #
  3. Roibeard

    I tried one a few years ago - it was a rear light, with SIM and GPS (or mobile triangulation) location.

    It worked well, although it needed periodic charging, however the Scottish weather caused it to fail within weeks. It was designed in South Africa, as I recall...

    Got a refund, and I note that the company went on to produce one built into a stem cap (with easier in situ charging, and presumably better weatherproofing).

    The market has expanded since then, so none of this is likely relevant (even if I remembered the manufacturer!), expect perhaps to say that weatherproofing and charging should be key features to consider...

    That and a maoosive lock - I've still got my bikes following an intruder, so have doubled up on the Almax chains.


    Posted 4 years ago #
  4. Iratesheep

    Yeah, maoosive lock is on the list. It's nice to have no weight concern at all.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  5. Arellcat

    The two I've seen recommended were:

    • Mictrack MT600 with separate antennae for GPS and 4G, and you choose the SIM. In theory, you can interface it with Traccar via a private server, instead of Mictrack's.
    • PingGPS which is USAnian and currently sold out, according to their webshop.

    This also looks like a good place to start:

    +1 for Almax. Interesting boltcutter test they performed on the very muckle Oxford Monster XL, which is the one that my local motorbike shop usually recommends.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  6. Kim

    It depends on what you want, do you want a generalised tracking device, which will need to be removed every so often to have their batter recharged or do you want something that is basic fit and forget?

    Then there is the question of how does the tracker communicate with the outside world, some of these devised only uses Bluetooth, great for finding keys lost down the back of the sofa, but so not much use if you are not within a few metres.

    Obviously with a bike you are going to want something with a SIM card. Here you can safely ignore the 3G, 4G or 5G abilities of the SIM all that is required here is the ability to send a text message with the the lat and long of the device at any given moment in time (it ain't trying to stream uncompress video), so good old 2G GPRS is fine.

    Here is where using a device with a non UK SIM has an advantage, because it won't be tied to any of the four UK network, it will simply talk to which ever network is providing the strongest signal. But herein is the bind, due to the gross stupidity that is Brexit, we don't know what the mobile phone roving situation will be beyond the end of the year, so a €3 (£2.69) per month contract might become rather more in January, if somewhat unlikely to increase beyond £10 a month, so interns insurance and of peace of mind in knowing where a £5000 e-bike is, not a lot, but still an annoyance.

    There are a couple of e-bike specific trackers on the market and at least one that has an Edinburgh dealer who will fit it for you as part of the purchase price.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  7. slowcoach

    Scottish Borders Police (on Facebook) suggest 'Consider fitting a tracking device / bike alarm', after 5 properties were targetted in Peebles and bikes taken:
    "The colour and brand of bikes stolen include:
    • a black and blue Transition Sentinel x-large adult bike
    • a silver Trek Roscoe small adult bike
    • a turquoise specialised Turbo Levo electric bike
    • a blue Canyon Strive CF 9.0 mountain bike
    • a black and green Giant Propel Advanced road bike
    • a dark green Sonder mountain bike with rear child seat and red frame bag attached"

    Posted 4 years ago #
  8. Grahamn

    not released till September but worth a look

    Posted 4 years ago #
  9. MediumDave

    If using such a device and fitting your own SIM (rather than paying the manufacturer a subscription), make sure the SIM is a machine to machine (M2M) SIM rather than an ordinary PAYG SIM. Credit on the latter expires and the SIM is deactivated if you don't take various actions like making voice calls and/or sending texts periodically.

    Got bitten by that with a remote environment monitor one time. Doh...

    M2M SIMs will often (not always) have the handy roam-between-networks feature too. The ones I have (EE) don't because my environment monitors don't move.

    They are also usually limited in some way (SMS only, or data only). This limits their utility to scumbags if the SIM itself gets filched.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  10. Murun Buchstansangur

    @slowcoach sounds like the thieves knew what they were looking for. Following Strava tracks?

    Posted 4 years ago #
  11. Try Cycle

    would a quick release front wheel be an option? wouldn't stop everyone but would stop a lot of people.

    I read yesterday (not sure it was here, maybe facebook/twitter) that thieves have taken to putting trackers on expensive looking bikes so they know where they're stored at night and then nicking them at a time that suits

    Posted 4 years ago #
  12. Roibeard

    The See.Sense AIR (can companies get even more irritating with capitalisation/punctuation?) uses narrow band IoT coverage, and a map of coverage for the UK (Vodafone) isn't easily available. A quick search suggests that Vodafone expected to add NB-IoT to all their 4G masts by 2020.

    NB-IoT range is about 1km (urban) or 10km (rural), so at the moment, you'd need to be pretty close to a 4G mast for the AIR to "phone home". The basic SMS solutions might provide better coverage...


    Posted 4 years ago #
  13. I were right about that saddle

    The answer to bike theft is threefold:

    1) Repeal the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and everything that went with it.
    2) Universal basic income.
    3) Nail remaining miscreants to the summit of Ben Alder.

    Posted 4 years ago #

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