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Apart from the fact that stickers can be removed (as thats not the point of my question) would if my bike got stolen and i found it, would a sticker with my name on the frame be enough to prove that the bike is mine?

Thanks.

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    What would stop you from putting a sticker on a bike and claim they stole it? – paparazzo Aug 17 '17 at 15:30
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    It would be more convincing if you also had existing photos of that bike. I register my bikes (bikeregister.com) and this registration includes photos. Registration is free. – Christian Lindig Aug 17 '17 at 15:35
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    I use BikeIndex.org - but really any of these services are enough to establish provenance as they time stamp. However, a sticker or name/address written on a piece of paper hidden in the seat post or head tube is VERY CONVINCING to a police officer -- or to a bike mechanic who might be asked to repair the stolen bike after the fact. – RoboKaren Aug 17 '17 at 15:59
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    It probably is not enough to prove legal ownership, but it would be enough to provide police with 'reasonable cause'. In most jurisdictions, this gives them more in the way of legal authority for search and seizure, and buys you time needed to provide the proof of ownership (receipts, photos etc) you will presumably have. – mattnz Aug 17 '17 at 20:46
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    Putting some identification at the INSIDE of an accessible part, like the seat-post, the seat-tube, or the down-tube (from the bottom bracket) will make it less likely to have it removed by a thief. – Carel Aug 18 '17 at 11:02
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It may be better than nothing, but no. There are free registries online that you can use to register your bike's serial number. The shop where I purchased mine set me up as a part of the purchase.

Some home/renter's insurance policies require you to have pictures of the bike along with the registration. Pictures with a datestamp could help prove how long you have had the bike.

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  • Note that date stamps supplied by a camera are trivial to forge: you can set the camera's time and date to anything you want before taking the photograph. – David Richerby Aug 18 '17 at 9:51
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    The registries time stamp the upload, which helps a lot. They also provide (for a fee) unique ID markings (some very durable) tied to the database entry. Two of my bikes are marked this way. – Chris H Aug 18 '17 at 14:03
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I am not a lawyer, but I believe the only thing proving ownership is going to be a receipt or bill of sale. When I sell a bicycle to someone else, I usually write a short "To whom it may concern" letter saying that I sold the bike and how much I was paid. I include the serial number and brand of the bike. If you're buying a bike from someone else, draft up something like that and ask him/her to sign it, and ditto if it's a gift. There's no guarantee this would be sufficient if you buy a bike that was stolen from someone else, but it could make your life easier if that turns out to be the case.

As for recovering the bike, a sticker is easily removable. Engraving is better, but I don't know if it can be safely done on composite frames, and it makes the bike less desirable if you want to sell it to someone else. I've taken to writing my name, phone number, and a reward offer on the rim tape, on the hypothesis that a mechanic who is changing a tire might see it and notice that the name on the wheel doesn't match the name on the repair ticket. My reward offer includes the promise that I will buy the mechanic a beer just for making the call to check.

There are also bike registration services. Police departments used to do it, but there are fewer that do, and registration doesn't really prove ownership unless you are required to provide proof of ownership when you register.

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In France, we have Bicycode (https://www.bicycode.org).

What they do is that they engrave your frame with some sort a serial number. It's considered irreversible because attempt at erasing it would likely damage the frame. There is a contre-indication for carbon or titanium frames (but if it's a alu or steel composite you can certainly engrave on the metal part).

Then once it's tagged, the bike is entered into a national database along with your infos (so basically you enter a VIN registry but for bikes).

If you want to sell you bike, you will then just need to transfer the ownership and if it's stolen you can report to the authorities in order to put you bike on some blacklist which should render it "more difficult" to sell (it's juste like cars, you'll always find shady people). But the good thing is that if your bike is found you should normally be contacted. So it's like with your antitheft, it's not perfect but that could incite the thief to go for the next bike rather than yours.

Maybe there is some sort of equivalent in your neighborhood, it's worth a search (in my town it cost 2euros).

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No, a sticker on its own proves nothing: there's nothing to stop you walking down the street, putting a sticker on the nicest bike you see and claiming that it was stolen from you.

However, a sticker would suggest that the claim the bike was yours isn't completely ridiculous, especially if the sticker obviously wasn't put on the bike two minutes ago. It would provide some indication that the bike you'd found was potentially your stolen bike, rather than just another bike with the same brand and colour. But to actually prove the bike was yours, you'd need more evidence such as purchase receipts or information about the bike that you'd provided to your insurer.

Of course, a thief would be likely to remove the sticker.

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A sticker with your name on would do little. A sticker with a unique ID tied to a database entry that's searched by police if they recover a bike is another matter.

Two of my bikes are marked using kits from bikeregister (UK) (the third is registered but isn't worth much more than the marking kit, so I didn't buy the kit). The registration on the database includes the serial number etc.

Of those two, one was marked for free. The police around here occasionally do this outside the major stations.

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