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high pivot witchcraft
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Discussion Starter #1
Just wondering if such a thing exists. For example, a $19.99 adhesive chip that can be affixed inside the seat tube trackable with your phone.

Bike theft in my city is at an all time high. I understand it is among the highest in all of Canada. I am trying to do what I can to protect myself from being gutted by some low life.

Last week, I was on the LRT. A low life obviously fked up on meth boarded with 2 bikes - a kid's bike and a higher end Specialized SJ. I called 911. I hope they got him.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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Lots of options exist.

There are also lots of notable limitations with any such option you choose. None of them are foolproof.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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Thanks.

I see that I am a little off in my hope for a $19.99 price tag.
Yep. That's a biggie.

But beyond that, you also need to realize that there are some major technological limitations to GPS tech.

Sampling/reporting intervals are one.
How sensitive is the receiver? Can it determine its location if it's inside a van? A warehouse? It doesn't take a whole lot to block GPS signals from the receiver.
How does it transmit? Range is a problem with Bluetooth. Devices that use SIM cards require ongoing service fees. Something that blocks GPS signals is also likely to play hell with transmit signals.
Battery life is a concern, too. The longer the battery lasts, the bulkier and more obvious the device. Which in some ways might be its own deterrent. But in other ways might be seen as a challenge by others and paint a target on your bike.

Lots of bikes have been getting stolen near me lately, too. Almost daily, I see a new report of one on social media. All types. MTB's, road bikes, commuter bikes. Not too many details about them, but I think most are just low-hanging fruit. Some are being stolen off of car racks at the bank or whatever. I think the majority of them aren't locked up at all, so some simple behavioral changes can cut your risk fast.
 

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Fart smeller
Tell us what parts you're using.
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Yep. That's a biggie.

But beyond that, you also need to realize that there are some major technological limitations to GPS tech.

Sampling/reporting intervals are one.
How sensitive is the receiver? Can it determine its location if it's inside a van? A warehouse? It doesn't take a whole lot to block GPS signals from the receiver.
How does it transmit? Range is a problem with Bluetooth. Devices that use SIM cards require ongoing service fees. Something that blocks GPS signals is also likely to play hell with transmit signals.
Battery life is a concern, too. The longer the battery lasts, the bulkier and more obvious the device. Which in some ways might be its own deterrent. But in other ways might be seen as a challenge by others and paint a target on your bike.

Lots of bikes have been getting stolen near me lately, too. Almost daily, I see a new report of one on social media. All types. MTB's, road bikes, commuter bikes. Not too many details about them, but I think most are just low-hanging fruit. Some are being stolen off of car racks at the bank or whatever. I think the majority of them aren't locked up at all, so some simple behavioral changes can cut your risk fast.
Dammit, Harold. Always a fount of good info. Keep up the good work, mtbr needs guys like you. Stick around.

And to the OP, see the NorCal board posting about bikes being stolen (mostly the Santa Cruz area) almost daily.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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Saw an update from the local PD about the rash of local bike thefts lately. Broader problem than I had thought.

Some stolen bikes were locked (how well, I don't know), so locks are being cut. Some bikes were inside secured homes, so houses/apts/garages/sheds are being broken into. Some have been unsecured, also.

Honestly not sure how useful any sort of GPS tracker would be for the majority of them. I know from past experience that professional bike thieves tend to be mobile, moving from city to city, so they're gone before they get caught. I'm sure this allows them to also sell stolen bikes in places where people are unlikely to be looking for them.

In one sense, it makes you think that a GPS tracker would be valuable to assist with recovery. But then you run into limitations with the tech. How long will the battery last before needing to be recharged? How long can it sit in a warehouse or storage unit with no signal before it might grab one (and transmit that location) when it gets moved again? Is it transmitting its location frequently enough for you to be able to pinpoint its exact location before it's put somewhere that it can't get a signal? If it's an obvious tracker, how long will it take the thieves to remove it or otherwise disable it for good?

Also - how much of a head start do the thieves have on you? Will your chosen tracker alert you as soon as the bike is moved? Are you able to respond to that alert immediately?

In the grand scheme, a GPS tracker is another tool that might be helpful in some cases. But realize it's not foolproof. Like a lock isn't foolproof. Like the doors to your house aren't foolproof. Behavioral modifications are also a tool, but can't necessarily help in all cases, either. At some point, you'll HAVE to leave your bike unattended somewhere. Should also make sure that your bike is well-covered against loss with a good insurance policy. Record your serial number(s). Take pictures of your bike(s) - I know that's a real hardship for us here at mtbr. Of all the things you can do, I think a good GPS tracker is going to be the most expensive thing you can do. For me, the price of the things just isn't going to cut it. I have 6 bikes. At $150 ea, that's about $900 initial purchase price, plus service fees for 6 devices. Plus monitoring the batteries on 6 devices. IMO, the value proposition just isn't there.
 

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high pivot witchcraft
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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Harold.

Bike theft is brutal where I am. Last week alone 2 guys I work with had their bikes stolen - one was stolen from within a closed-in porch area of his home (so a B&E). This kind of **** is a daily occurrence here:

https://m.pinkbike.com/news/paraplegics-adaptive-bike-stolen-in-calgary.html

I am going to start locking my bikes again even though they are all kept within my garage. It’s a PITA and may still not stop a theft from occurring but I will do what I can.

I was hoping a GPS tracker chip could be found for $19.99 or thereabouts. I also thought it would be more effective than what you have outlined above.

*sigh*
 

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jcd's best friend
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I have a Boomerang and it works great! You can't hide the thing but that's not a big deal. If someone tampers with your bike, it sets off an audible alarm and sends you a text message letting you know your bike was moved. It also has GPS coordinates too. They have a smaller version of it now and I'm waiting for them to release the clamp so I can clip it to my bike frame/seat post with a secured lock. I only use my Boomerang as a 3rd layer of protection for my bike when it's on my rack.

For now, you can attach it to the water bottle cage mount with special security screws that requires a custom bit to remove it. I did ride down the trail with my Boomerang attached once. For some reason, everyone thought my Transition Sentinel was an e-bike.

https://boomerangbike.com/
 

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high pivot witchcraft
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Discussion Starter #10
I have a Boomerang and it works great! You can't hide the thing but that's not a big deal. If someone tampers with your bike, it sets off an audible alarm and sends you a text message letting you know your bike was moved. It also has GPS coordinates too. They have a smaller version of it now and I'm waiting for them to release the clamp so I can clip it to my bike frame/seat post with a secured lock. I only use my Boomerang as a 3rd layer of protection for my bike when it's on my rack.

For now, you can attach it to the water bottle cage mount with special security screws that requires a custom bit to remove it. I did ride down the trail with my Boomerang attached once. For some reason, everyone thought my Transition Sentinel was an e-bike.

https://boomerangbike.com/
This is not what I had in mind, but it looks promising. Price is right too. I need to read about this in more depth.

Harold - are you familiar with this product? If so, any comments?

The biggest issue at first glance seems to be how to attach and detach it quickly and easily. I assume the clamp is the answer, which is backordered.

Thanks for posting this. Like I said, it looks very promising and by the sounds of it, you are happy with it.
 

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Has anyone tried this one? https://www.tailit.com/bike/
It fits in the handlebar, claims 8 week battery life.
Supposed to work in the USA, which many of the others don 't.
Should also work indoors:

From their website:

  1. Tail it uses satellites to get location outdoor
  2. Tail it uses WI-FI routers to get location indoor
  3. Tail it uses GSM antennas (LBS) to get location in areas without satellite and WI-FI coverage.
 

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I have a Boomerang and it works great! You can't hide the thing but that's not a big deal. If someone tampers with your bike, it sets off an audible alarm and sends you a text message letting you know your bike was moved. It also has GPS coordinates too. They have a smaller version of it now and I'm waiting for them to release the clamp so I can clip it to my bike frame/seat post with a secured lock. I only use my Boomerang as a 3rd layer of protection for my bike when it's on my rack.

For now, you can attach it to the water bottle cage mount with special security screws that requires a custom bit to remove it. I did ride down the trail with my Boomerang attached once. For some reason, everyone thought my Transition Sentinel was an e-bike.

https://boomerangbike.com/
Do you have any information on the new, smaller version?
What is on the site is the "Boomerang V1", deeply discounted, with the clamp marked "Sold Out". Might be a long wait for that.
My bike has no bottle cage mount, so no bueno.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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I haven't used any of the devices specifically. My thoughts/comments are of a more general nature.

One thing to point out is that one of these things is more likely to be more effective while it's still novel. Bike thieves will eventually find relatively effective ways to defeat these sorts of devices if they haven't already.

Note that the Boomerang states it'll work as long as it's not in a fully metal enclosure. With a visible device like the Boomerang, it's not so hard for a thief to put a metal box around it to block the wireless signals. Would wrapping it in alu foil work? Good question. I bet someone has tried that already.

Then there's the heavy reliance on security screws. A thief doesn't even have to break anything to defeat that.

https://www.wihatools.com/torx-tools/bits/security-torx

If you can remove it easily enough, who cares if it sounds a loud alarm and notifies your phone? Throw the device in a dumpster and ride the bike away. Or maybe even move it carefully enough that the motion sensor doesn't activate, set it down, then ride away.

Addition of wifi on the tailit is a nice touch to help with location in case the bike is stored inside a warehouse. But what happens if that warehouse also happens to block cellular signals? I've been in more than a few large buildings that inadvertently did block cellular signals. And a couple of older houses. I think 8 weeks of battery life is not a good amount. It's long enough that it's not so difficult to forget to charge the device. And not long enough that if the device isn't fully charged that it could die before you're able to recover your bike.

What it all comes down to, IMO, is that these things aren't half as effective as they claim to be. And they're awful expensive for the benefit they do provide.
 

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jcd's best friend
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Do you have any information on the new, smaller version?
What is on the site is the "Boomerang V1", deeply discounted, with the clamp marked "Sold Out". Might be a long wait for that.
My bike has no bottle cage mount, so no bueno.
Not sure where the smaller version went. They had it on their website for quite a while. I threw down on their crowd funding back in January for the clamp but they've been dealing with production delays and what not. Are there work arounds on this device? Yeah probably. That's why I only use it when my bike is on my rack with a really thick chain securing it (along with the OEM cable locks). I'm that paranoid about my bikes in public.

I tell you what. That movement sensor goes off with the slightest bump. I actually wake it up on accident when I bump my desk slightly while it's charging. It goes into sleep mode when there is no activity. In my garage, I set the alarm off just by bumping the bike slightly during a test of the alarm.

If you locked a bike and turned on the alarm, it will alert you to movement while they are attempting to cut the chain and lock off. Overall, I think the Boomerang is a pretty good device but I prefer to use it as a third layer of protection for my bike on a rack.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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Overall, I think the Boomerang is a pretty good device but I prefer to use it as a third layer of protection for my bike on a rack.
That's probably the best way to use such a device. Unfortunately, they're pretty expensive for that.

And considering that homes are getting broken into for bikes locally (I suspect that some of the thieves watch where people with bikes on their cars go, what apartments they go into, and what homes have cars with bike racks in the driveway), you miss a fairly major risk, and certainly, the place your mtb spends most of its time.

If I'm going to spend that kind of money for additional layers of theft protection, I'm going to spend it elsewhere. I've already been planning to buy a garage door locking mechanism that works with electric garage door openers, and security cameras for my house.

With bikes on a bike rack, I tag team with my wife when possible, so one person is with the bikes all the time. I use locks when that's not possible, and keep things out in the open and within my own sightline (usually this means in parking lots with other bikes on racks, that aren't locked at all). And finally, our bikes are well-covered by our homeowner's insurance. We have a $1,000 deductible, but that's no problem at all considering how much our bikes cost. I've certainly thought about supplemental coverage specifically for the bikes, because I have a feeling the insurance company still might balk if the house got raided and all the bikes got stolen.
 

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Thanks for the thread. In 2 weeks my wife and I are taking or mountain tandem up to ride from Banff down to Whitefish. Most of the areas where we will be riding are pretty remote and secure. My only concern is in Banff. We're bikepacking and a heavy cable or lock is not really in the cards as weight is such a concern.

The Boomerang at 5 pounces is not that much though. It is a shame that the V2 is not out yet.
 
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