I put a little screaming lock on the front brake and keep my 9mm handy. I try to stay at hotels where I can park the bike in front of the room. Funny story, I stayed at a Motel 6 in Reno, NV last year in not the best looking neighborhood. As I was putting the lock on, a shady looking guy asked me if that was loud when it went off, I told him not as loud as the gunshots that would follow soon after the alarm.
IBA Number 49673
There is nothing wrong with being paranoid about your ride; you've put a lot of dollars and love into its care and you want that to continue without undue grief.
When I lived back east, many of my friends had their bikes ripped, but yeah, they were mostly Harleys and customs or hot-rods... the thieves actually broke into the garages to get them. A couple were smaller bikes (at campuses), because they were easy targets of opportunity.
Living where I do now, I often hear of DIRT bikes being stolen - either right out of the campsite (even at rallies!), or even right off the trailer. Sometimes it's easier to take the entire trailer.
I've also heard of a thief in a nearby ritzy neighborhood to my south who stole a couple of cars out of a "highly secured" garage, where the cars' frames were chained to a loop sunk into the floor - the owner came home to find not only two cars gone, but another less valuable one was TURNED AROUND and re-chained! As if to say, "If we wanted it, we would've taken it."
Occasionally, the AMA publishes theft data in their magazine (I haven't checked to see if it's on-line too), and there's quite the variety of brands, types, and locations involved.
Don't put the cable through just the wheels - if they want it, wheels are easy to unbolt, or multiple gorillas can lift the pair. Put it through the frame somewhere PLUS a wheel, so it's not so easy to roll. Keep it high off the ground, so they have less leverage for their bolt cutters. If a post or another bike is not available, yes front wheel + frame will make it more difficult for them.
Cables are more difficult to cut than chains, but the experienced thief will ignore the cable and use liquid nitrogen to freeze the lock. Then a blow from a hammer will shatter it.
Still, the best defense is always Situational Awareness.
I recall reading a report that the objective of most late night motorcycle thieves is to ride the bike away (not truck it) and that the greatest theft deterrent is a disc or Kryptonite-style wheel lock on the rear wheel.
1991 K75 - 121k Miles
Ride-offs may be more common; but I'd have to disagree with the rear wheel - you want any deterrent to be easily visible, so the thief will consider a different target. But disk locks up front are known to cause damage if the real owner forgets and tries to ride off with it in place.
Two more cases I know of, one in San Jose and another in El Segundo - each time, a friend's new HD was chained to a support pillar in an underground garage, inside the corporate complex (allegedly with private security) ... a van drove up, they jumped out, froze the lock, lifted the bike, and split. In the El Segundo case, it was actually caught on camera - it took about one minute. They also took the cable, but left the shattered lock, both cases.
My $0.02 is that the motorcycle thieves are not looking for BMWs! However, it never hurts to be careful. I have never had a bike stolen, and have never used anything more that the steering lock.
I now have to go to meetings in Sacramento, and the area of town is not the best. So I have found a hotel that has a locked motorcycle cage in the covered parking area. They also have video cameras in the parking garage. Thus, I will be staying there every trip.
I take simple precautions. I park in a lighted area. I stay at a good hotel. I use the alarm that came with the RT. That's it. If they want to steal my bike, I'll use the insurance and buy another. I've never had a problem in 30 years.
Here's a funny story:
My buddy had some "heavy duty" cable lock he used on his bike. He lost the key on a trip! (I recommend a combination lock if you use one). I pulled out my little wire cutters, and I mean little (a 4 inch set), and it took me about 25 minutes to cut all the cables and I ruined the wire cutters permanently. But I cut it. That tells me a purpose driven thief with proper cutters will get the bike. Heck, I could carry an oxy torch in my truck and cut anything in about 2 minutes.
My point is that locks and cables will stop casual theft, but not a thief who is prepared and out on the prowl, intent on stealing.
I love the advice to park next to a Harley or sport bike!
Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
'05 R12RT, R90/6
2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
Suzuki DR 350
Years ago I parked my Honda 750 Four in an alley in Chinatown in Philly while taking in lunch across the street. Halfway through my meal I walked to the window in this restaurant to check on it only to see this guy giving a suspicious wave to his accomplice in a van. As the van backed up to my bike I ran out of the restaurant and yelled at them. The spotter jumped in the van and they burned rubber. I guess my tale supports others who have suggested not leaving the bike alone in a suspicious area.
I have a screamer cable lock that I use to cable lock mm gear to the bike, have a nice big cheapy cover (black) to cover it all up.
Seems like out of sight has been working so far.
I'm not in the insurance biz but I'd bet if you had access to m-c theft records you'd find than "touring" bikes in general are stolen very infrequently. That would include most BMWs, tho not the s1000RR. It also includes things like the ST1300, FJR and C14. A CBR600R or a 250 dirt bike would be prime pickin's. Professionals steal what can be re-sold as parts, or frequently these days, off-shore. That requires high demand. You can't stop the pro if he really wants the bike. Amateurs are joy-riders who will ride the wheels off the bike until it runs out of gas, and they aren't interested in an R1150RT or F650. And you can probably stop an amateur anyway.
At a motel, lock the forks and cover the bike. It won't be covered in dew when you go out in the morning that way. At a restaurant, park where it's in view or close to the door. If you can't sleep or enjoy your meal that way, get a disc lock but tie a strap to it that you can hook over the handlebars so you won't ride off with the lock in place (embarrassing and expensive)
As Bobby McFerrin said: "Don't worry. Be happy" This is supposed to be fun!
I'm not sayin, but there's always.. .. .
"It is what you discover, after you know it all, that counts." _ John Wooden
1973 R75/5 - original owner
I've been across-continent quite a few times in the last decade and I simply lock the forks and for overnight stops I add a cover. Liker many have said, just use common sense -- and gut instincts -- as to where to stop and where to spend the night. I usually try to park out front of my motel/hotel where I can see the bike from my room, or I ask to park it under the overhang near the front doors. For meal/rest stops, I park where I can see the bike from inside (I do not remove my GPS, except for overnight stops).
The only thing I use and it's pretty rare that I even use it, is a Xena disc alarm lock.
Do not bother putting it on the front disc unless you have no option. It's too easy to remove and jury rig a front tire in place. The rear tire is a bit harder to work with. Guy back home had his FZ1 stolen. They removed the front wheel used a piece of allthread and a car spare donut spare tire and a few big washers and nuts and rolled the bike away.
Honestly the best defense is to have good insurance cause if someone wants your bike they are going to get it.
I do the motel thing per above in US. Being in front of your room will not stop them at all unless you are posting a guard all night. Ask me how I know this. I only take cables/locks (monster cables from Lowes) when going below the border and even then I almost never end up using them as only dumb people leave there bike outside or unguarded down there at night.
"If I had my life to live over, I'd dare to make more mistakes next time...I'd relax,I'd limber up... I would take fewer things seriously...take more chances... take more trips...climb more mountains...swim more rivers...eat more ice cream." Jorge Luis Borges at age 85.