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Does anybody have any actual experience with anti-theft GPS trackers like BikeSpy? Their website looks terribly unprofessional and there are only very few testimonies online, but the idea is intreaging. I am especially interested in hearing from people who have tried products like BikeSpy in the US, since they rely on cell phone networks.

  • Are there recurring costs?
  • How long does the battery last?
  • How difficult is it to remove the product with common tools?
  • How reliably does the unit report unauthorized movement?

I have found the following similar questions, but none of the answers seem to come from people who have actually used the products in question:

I have a good lock but live in a metropolitan area with ridiculously high rates of bicycle theft. I am not looking for an alternative for locking my bike, but for "insurance," in case my bike gets nicked.

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For Bikespy: (i) you need to purchase a phone SIM. You communicate with the thing (and it communicates back) using SMS messages so there will be a small ongoing cost in terms of top-ups. (ii) battery last 2-3 weeks between usb recharges. I dabbled with one of these a few years ago, but it never got as far as being put into the bike. –  PeteH May 14 '14 at 8:01
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One that's designed to charge off a hub dynamo would solve the most obvious problem with those. –  Mσᶎ Jun 27 '14 at 3:57
    
I've never used one myself, but they seem awful expensive. As in, only worth the expense for a very pricy bike, which I would keep in my apartment, and then my office, and not on the street. –  Jason Aug 21 '14 at 7:37
    
You probably should consider buying a cheap small black and white mobile phone with a sim (auto answering mode)and strap in under your seat. If any case the bike is stolen, one can ask the police to track it for you. Of course you will not have GPS level accuracy but still helps. –  Superam Dec 4 '14 at 11:49
    
As for installation and removal there is a video. And on my bikes there is a nut in the fork for the screw on the top of the headset - that goes away. –  Blam Dec 4 '14 at 14:36

1 Answer 1

In my experience active GPS trackers are not very suitable to protect your bike at the current technology level. However they are suitable if you are more interested to catch the thief rather than as 'insurance'.

While a general GPS tracker has a good price tag (around 20 GBP) these bike-specific ones seem to be way more expensive. So they are

-increasing the value of what is stolen (bc it gets stolen with it)

-increasing the weight you carry around for any acceptable battery life. But expensive bikes are expensive largely because they are light (for road practical use)

  • tend to require often recharging every few days so most users will stop attending to their tracker soon before their bike might get stolen

  • need configuration with cell phone providers data plans are recharging at least each year with no use.

  • they have to be covert otherwise the thief will take them out but the reason security works is usually because the thiefs know it is there so they are averted from stealing in the first place

I think new technology devices will be coming out soon that will make their daily usage more effective. Until then they are great for increasing the probability of catching a thief (priceless?) in case your bike gets stolen.

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