Is there any evidence that thieves prefer one color of bike than others?

I'm not asking for opinion but for a citable reference.

  • 1
    This comes from a comment @Criggie made in another question.
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 18:32
  • 1
    Red bikes go faster? White bikes are frequently dirty? I'd wonder if there's a relationship between people who wear a lot of black, would choose to ride a black bike over any other colour, and then perhaps not lock it up as much as someone riding a different colour? <br> Totally subjectve impression based on riders who wear all black+no lights at night+remove reflectors+no mandated helmet (in NZ) and bonus points for riding on the wrong side of the road, on the footpath, or are using a cellphone while riding :-\
    – Criggie
    Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 3:11
  • Last time I traveled I told my travel companion that black bikes must be very popular in that town. In the whole (Germany and Denmark) travel I did see more black bikes than all other colours combined. I am pretty sure a high percentage of stolen bikes will be black as well. (I do not claim black bikes are more popular there, it was just the impression I got.)
    – Willeke
    Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 18:15
  • We might count if there are more requests to identify black bikes here on SE.
    – gschenk
    Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 21:39
  • 1
    @Willeke - Actually, all the bikes you saw were stolen. It's a very dishonest town. Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 21:57

2 Answers 2


Finding statistics is extremely difficult, but one set of data was located from the Chicago Stolen Bike Registry.

Their statistics page is now dead/404-ed but if you go to the WaybackMachine, you can get archived data from September 2012.

And tada!

This one is probably a bit less than scientific, but seemed interesting. Also, unlike all of our other stats, it's based on a free-form text entry, rather than a select-box type field.

Color Percentage
Black 14.23%
blue 7.60%
Red 5.28%
Silver 5.21%
White 4.87%
Green 2.30%
Grey 1.63%
Yellow 1.26%
Light Blue 1.17%
ORANGE 1.15%
Gray 1.09%
purple 0.91%
Gold 0.83%
Black/Silver 0.80%
Brown 0.74%
dark blue 0.74%

However, to make sense of this data we'd also have to know what proportion of colors are the most popular amongst bike sales because if Black bikes make up 25% of the market but only 14% of thefts, then black bikes would be proportionately less likely to be stolen. So some further research is needed.


enter image description here enter image description here

  • I can't find any data on the popularity of bicycle colors (especially in Chicago :-)
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 6:41
  • I guess the distribution of colours bought will be largely independent of location, so if anyone can find any data, it's probably not very important that it be for Chicago. Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 13:21
  • 3
    Anyone with pictures of bike racks in Chicago circa 2012, please share!
    – rclocher3
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 17:33
  • I don't care enough about this to dig, but there are a lot of bike sales/use stats compiled here: ibike.org/library/statistics.htm Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 18:06

Black Colour Bicycle is Bicycle Thief choice is for One reason:

Thief can just paint it with black coloured Spray and Not get detected

Black colour bicycle is the world's Most favorite colour,Even I want it

Black coloured bicycle (Mostly Plain bicycle) Is very common in US

  • Black bicycles are definitely not rare. Among other things, the most common bicycle ever made comes primarily in black- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Pigeon
    – Jamie A
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 20:58
  • But if a thief stole a black bicycle.....why would they then want to spray paint it black?
    – Penguino
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 21:48
  • To make it look like painted? Like a bank robber would wear an obvious fake mustache over real one?
    – ojs
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 14:21
  • It will sorta make it less obvious I think
    – RedBattle3
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 15:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.