7

I have seen a few GPS devices either in the backlight or unside the seat tube which you can track if you lose your bike (your bike gets stolen).

What do you think about this stuff. Is it worth the money and how easy is it to track your bike with this things.

10

Pain in the ass, and waste of money.

As of the last time I checked, you can't track them directly (there'd be no way for you to receive a signal from a battery-operated device 5mi away), so you need to sign up for a recurring monthly service. On top of that, they chew through battery pretty quickly, requiring a recharge every few days.

Contrast that to just buying a decent set of locks. If you need to lock up your bike in the same place every day, get a thick $80 chain and a cable for the front wheel. If you need something lightweight to carry around you, a $50 u-lock is going to be a reasonable level of protection.

If your bike is worth more than a few grand, you're absolutely crazy to leave it outside at all.

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  • 3
    Agreed. If you want to use a bike locking it away on any place you go, the bike should not appeal to thieves. If your current bike is too atractive, it's worth considering to have another one. After all, the ideal number of bikes to own is N+1 (with N being the number of bikes you already own). – heltonbiker Jan 23 '12 at 15:34
  • Also s - 1, where s is the number of bikes which would cause separation from your partner (shamelessly stolen from the rules). – Stephen Touset Jan 23 '12 at 16:35
5

A new product, SpyBike, is out on the market and it partially negates the claims I made in my previous answer. The website is hideous, but the general idea appears to be:

It sits invisibly in your head tube, under your stem cap. You wave a keyfob over it to "activate" it when you leave your bike somewhere. This way, it remains completely disabled and therefore doesn't drain the battery when not in use. When activated, it enables low-power vibration sensors (again, preventing the battery from being drained). If it detects constant vibration for more than a few seconds, it uses an embedded SIM card with 2G data plan to send you a text message notifying you, and enables a GPS tracker. GPS coordinates are sent to their tracking software over the data plan, and you can view live updates on its location from your browser.

If you're set on using GPS to track your bike, this product seems like it might be at least tolerable, if somewhat of a pain to set up initially.

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  • Have you used it? – gerrit Jul 22 '15 at 10:05
  • 1
    in 2018 most cellco's are in the process of shutting down their 2G networks to increase density, which means this item won't work anymore. Technical obsolescence strikes again. – Criggie May 29 '18 at 1:33

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