BikeTrac Interview - Motorbike Trackers
BikeTrac Review - Interview with the owner (plus Lamb Chops tests it out for us)
Is always a hot topic and one of things we get asked about all of the time is trackers. You might be one of the many bikers considering the purchase of a motorcycle GPS tracking device and whether it is “worth it”. We're also often asked if it's worth installing one for the insurance discounts alone...
From experience as both insurance brokers and bike owners (2 of our Directors have had bikes stolen from their garages), we say that Trackers and many other approved security devices are critical to stopping some thieving low-life ruining your biking experience. Don't just buy security devices for the insurance savings (although they do often attract discounts), as insurance discounts alone are unlikely to fully offset the investment, protect your bike to stop the thieves winning and help you keep on 2-wheels - it's not just the impact on your No Claims Discount (NCD), but also having to declare a vehicle theft on your bike policy(s) AND your car and van policies etc!!! In some cases like buying a new replacement high performance, high value sports bike, a recent vehicle theft can literally stop you getting insurance for your new bike - so the real question is, can you afford not to???!!!
Scroll down to read the BikeTrac interview then see our exclusive video with Lamb Chop Rides (LCR) who test-steals the uniquely awesome BeMoto "Beasty" Fireblade back, that he spent years building!
So, back to BikeTrac... We refer a lot of our customers to BikeTrac, firstly because they are one of the most proactive companies when it comes to recoveries of motorcycles and of course, they are Thatcham Approved with robust technology including cellular data, GPS and Radio Frequency transmitters (RF) that can pinpoint the exact location of your bike and has a great recovery time - plus even better, you can get the first 3-months BikeTrac subscription FREE when you quote "BeMoto" at the time of purchase.
As part of our Secure Bike Garage series and Insurance Insights, we meet up with Bill Taylor - a fellow biker and owner / Commercial Director of BikeTrac. Bill has probably forgotten more than most people know about trackers and is the perfect source of information. As you should know by now, we didn’t want to take a dull and predictable approach to this, so we asked Bill if he could answer some of the difficult questions. Those that are typically asked about trackers. From those that are cynical, emotive, to perhaps a bit controversial!
Although, we’ll be gentle to begin with...
Do Motorcycle Trackers “Actually” Work?
Bill, one of the most famous questions no doubt?
Yes!! We get asked this a lot...When people see BikeTrac for the first time, we want them to know that if there is a shortfall or problem they perceive about trackers that we have anticipated it and dealt with from a design or technology perspective. We offer what we believe is not only the best solution available, not because we’re expected to say that, but because an awful lot of research, development and dedication has gone into the product.
What happens if the thief puts it in a secure spot like a cellar where Global Positioning Systems (GPS) won't be able to track it? Word on the street is that bikes are disassembled within 24 hours so parts can be sold. The tracking device will probably be found and destroyed immediately won’t it?
Well, the reality is....No device sold is 100% bulletproof! From our experience, it can be a waiting game sometimes which can result in arrests (and has done). The fact is, when you look at BikeTrac, just on our Facebook page alone, you will see us recovering bikes all of the time. If our tracker leads to one bike that happens to belong to one of our customers, often other bikes will be recovered at the same time. This Ducati Supersport was recovered within hours of it going missing, it was found alongside a Hypermotard, also stolen, and recovered because the Supersport had a tracker!
Let's kick this up a notch!
We’re borrowing this question, we know it’s been put to you before…. "Total rubbish that the GPS works inside a van. I have a £12 tracker bought off eBay attached to my bike working via a SIM card and it works perfectly. Why should people buy your over the top priced system? They do nowt that a cheap version doesn't!!"
It's true that GPS "may" not work all the time in vans perhaps, it depends on the van and its engineering… Walls and windows / roofs. I would appeal to logic here in that a lot of people use a sat nav in a van, and that works on GPS fine. That said, we don’t only rely solely on GPS, so our tracker only has to connect momentarily to update its position and therefore our chances of following a bike are a lot higher than a bike with a GPS only tracker, and insanely higher than a bike without any form of tracker.
The trouble with trackers that are only monitored by the person owning them, is that they will find the response from the Police will differ from a monitored solution. The reason for that is this, a simple cheap “tracker” that can bring the police to a 100sqm radius in a built up area, or in a busy service station (if in the back of a van), really doesn’t increase the chances of locating the bike that much. It's also not accurate enough to allow the Police to exercise their powers faithfully, or obtain a warrant. However, with our tracker that can be pinpointed down to just ONE metre provides as close to certainty as you could possibly hope for.
Imagine a bike that 8 hours after being nicked, was out of the country on board a van. Would the BikeTrac work then?
If a bike had been stolen and ended up across the water into Europe, we have a close relationship with Interpol and use a variety of methods to recover bikes. I won’t tell you about those though, I don’t want to spoil the surprise for the thieves!
What if the thief disconnects the battery to give them time to find the tracker?
If the battery is disconnected, our unit will survive 30 days on its internal battery. The key is also the location where the tracker is situated, which is why it is best to get a dealer to hide the device for you.They know the bikes better than the thieves.
Most of the time bikes stolen are ridden crazy, crashed and dumped (and possibly torched). At that point, I don’t want it back so how will a tracker help?
On average our recovery rate is within 2 hours, occasional cosmetic damage is discovered or the ignition barrel is broken. That said, even if you did not wish to have the bike back after it had been stolen, it is better to have it back and sell it than not recover at all ,as your insurance will not have as higher claim to settle. This Honda NC750D was recovered in great condition by Police within hours of it going missing in South-East London. The insurers barely had time to do the paperwork!!
What if a stolen bike loses GPS? Can’t Radio Frequency (RF) be blocked easily?
We don't tend to find this is an issue, if that were the case then it would not just be our product that falls foul, all trackers would. We overlap the methods to reduce risk of failure and loss as much as possible. We are also using technology that is relied upon by law enforcement and governments around the world, they use it because it’s reliable.
Another beauty of a question for you from someone, Sorry Bill! - "Do BikeTrac guarantee the return of your bike in the event of theft with the device fitted? if not they can stick it up their arse. beg my pardon. if so then i'd get one..."
No product would guarantee 100% recovery nor would offer an impregnable solution, lock companies, tech companies, nobody offers that… The reason? Well, there are human factors involved, say we pinpoint a perfect location but there are no cops or agents to recover the bike, why would we take the risk of that guarantee for the meager price of the tracker? It makes no sense either as a business or from a common sense point of view. We appeal to the rational understanding of people and thankfully we get that 99% of the time. I always invite people back to the facts, we recover an awful lot of bikes!
We picked up that somebody had mentioned that the only way someone would consider getting a tracker is if there was an explosive device attached to it, that way the scum that steal bikes would go up in flames with it….
We had considered this, but it seems there are laws that prevent us...
Some have said: "This is more a service for insurance companies, unless you make a BIG saving on the insurance premium by having it, it's not worth it..."
Insurance companies offer around 5 - 15%, over the years it soon adds up, don’t forget the cost you save if a bike is recovered as opposed to having an expensive claim against your insurance history. More than that is the peace of mind that you have the best chance of recovering your bike with a tracker. There are also features on our tracker that can alert you to bike movement. Most people would like a heads up and some would say that scaring a thief off is better than losing the bike at all.
How about an explanation of the size of the unit? We saw someone who said "Small" is not really a good enough explanation!"
We're try to keep as much information about our device confidential as possible for obvious reasons. Our device is about the size of a box of matches, that's all I'm saying!
Trackers are only for the rich and famous because of the cost aren't they?
Absolutely not, we pack a lot of technology into our trackers, so in fact they represent really great value for the amount of risk they offset. We also make them super affordable with 0% finance. We don't want people to not have our tracker if they want it, so we have made it as accessible as possible. At £299 for the device plus £9.99 a month for the subscription, it may seem a lot at first, but... The trackers are of premium quality with an excellent lifespan. They are registered to you and not the bike so when "new bike time" comes, you can move it to your new bike. The subscription covers unlimited data usage for real time reporting and text notifications. It also gives access to our Nationwide Recovery Team. That £9.99 per month pays for a human to track and locate your bike, as well as delivery back to you if stolen and recovered!! Most people can't get a taxi to the train station for that money.
BeMoto customers can benefit from 3-months FREE subscription if you mention "BeMoto" at the time of subscribing/ordering :-)
BikeTrac Live Tracking Review with Lamb Chop Rides...
Well Bill, you didn't think you were going to get off with a friendly chat did you? We're going to put you to the test! We're got our man Lamb Chop Rides of Youtube fame to pinch our beloved BeMoto Beasty. As you know, Beasty is fitted with one of your trackers already, so he's going to pinch it... errm... right around .... NOW!!
Bring it on...
Motorbike Tracker FAQs
Are motorbike trackers worth it?
From experience as insurance brokers and bike owners (2 of BeMoto Directors have had bikes stolen from their garages), we say that Trackers like BikeTrac and many other approved security devices are critical to stopping some thieving low-life ruining your biking experience - it's not just the impact on your No Claims Discount (NCD), but also having to declare a vehicle theft on your bike policy(s) AND your car and van policies can add £££s to your premiums and maybe even stop you getting insurance for your new bike - so the real question is, why wouldn't they be worth it if you can afford one???!!!
Will a motorbike tracker reduce my insurance premiums enough to pay for itself?
From experience as insurance brokers and bike owners (2 of BeMoto Directors have had bikes stolen from their garages), we say bike trackers are awesome but don't just buy security devices for the insurance savings (although they do often attract discounts), as this is unlikely to fully offset the full investment - the real cost of a vehicle theft is often felt when your premiums often go up for ALL your vehicles, not just your bike(s) and, in some cases, it may mean you can no longer get insurance at all for your dream motorbike - so the real question is, can you afford not to???!!!
Which motorcycle tracker is insurance approved?
At BeMoto we refer a lot of our customers to BikeTrac, firstly because they are one of the most proactive companies we know when it comes to motorcycle recoveries and of course, they are Thatcham Approved with robust technology including cellular data, GPS and Radio Frequency transmitters (RF) that can pinpoint the exact location of your bike -and even better, you can get the first 3-months BikeTrac subscription FREE when you quote "BeMoto" at the time of purchase.
How does a motorcycle GPS tracker work?
We're often asked how bike trackers work and whether they are “worth it”, for example, will the cost be offset by insurance discounts? We answer these, and put your questions (and ours) to BikeTrac owner Bill Taylor, as well as finding out more about their Thatcham Approved technology including cellular data, GPS and Radio Frequency transmitters (RF) that can pinpoint the exact location of your bike... Plus we get Lamb Chops to steal our customer Fireblade and test BikeTrac response!