Bicycle trackers

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Callum63
Posts: 2
Joined: 5 Dec 2020, 10:54pm

Bicycle trackers

Postby Callum63 » 11 Jan 2021, 7:53pm

Having just had the pain of having my Cube ebike pinched, I've gone down the route of chunkier lock, motion, alarm for bike and shed etc
Also thinking of getting some form of tracking device. Any recommendations for a reasonably priced clever bit of kit. Many thanks in advance
Callum

LittleGreyCat
Posts: 856
Joined: 7 Aug 2013, 8:31pm

Re: Bicycle trackers

Postby LittleGreyCat » 14 Jan 2021, 4:14pm

I have this:
https://www.immobitag.com/
However I have no idea how good it is because (thankfully) I haven't had my bike stolen so far.

philvantwo
Posts: 1161
Joined: 8 Dec 2012, 6:08pm

Re: Bicycle trackers

Postby philvantwo » 14 Jan 2021, 4:56pm

Thats not a tracker, more like a chip that pets have in case they get lost.

gazza_d
Posts: 212
Joined: 30 Oct 2016, 8:20am

Re: Bicycle trackers

Postby gazza_d » 14 Jan 2021, 5:22pm

A cost effective option may be to use a Tile www.tile.com
Theyre a small device which uses Bluetooth etc and can be tracked and found via an app or eebsite.
We have them on our keys

st599_uk
Posts: 379
Joined: 4 Nov 2018, 8:59pm

Re: Bicycle trackers

Postby st599_uk » 14 Jan 2021, 5:34pm

The Tile dongle relies on other Tile users walking within Bluetooth range whilst they're Bluetooth is operating to update the website.

It's good in cities near busy streets, but in remoter locations may not update often.
A novice learning...
“the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”

LittleGreyCat
Posts: 856
Joined: 7 Aug 2013, 8:31pm

Re: Bicycle trackers

Postby LittleGreyCat » 14 Jan 2021, 7:52pm

philvantwo wrote:That's not a tracker, more like a chip that pets have in case they get lost.


If you are looking for an active transmitter, how good are they?

I seem to recall that expensive cars with active trackers are driven straight into a container and then all trace is lost.

So will a tracker work inside a garage or inside a building?
I assume that mobile phone coverage is a rough guide but I am by no means sure.

philvantwo
Posts: 1161
Joined: 8 Dec 2012, 6:08pm

Re: Bicycle trackers

Postby philvantwo » 14 Jan 2021, 8:28pm

All new Mercedes are fitted with a tracking device, if its on a finance plan and the buyer defaults on the payments then they can locate and take repossession of the vehicle.
Some cycle ones with gps and a sim card are available but a monthly charge is involved.

Richard D
Posts: 266
Joined: 27 Sep 2011, 6:16pm

Re: Bicycle trackers

Postby Richard D » 14 Jan 2021, 8:44pm

I tried one of those bike GPS trackers for a few months, but its long-term usefulness was limited by the battery life and the reliability. It wasn’t at the level of a consumer-ready product, unfortunately.

I’ve been pinning my hopes on Apple's answer to the Tile, which has been on the cusp of being released for the last nine months. All of the Apple stuff I use just works.

gregoryoftours
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Joined: 22 May 2011, 7:14pm

Re: Bicycle trackers

Postby gregoryoftours » 14 Jan 2021, 9:34pm

My organisation has used a couple of types on our e-bikes. Both have a GPS/mobile element, SIM card (with annual subscription fee for the tracking service), cache battery and connect to the battery cable inside the mid drive housing. The one we use currently is much better and simpler to fit than the first brand we used, requiring no soldering, just a through plug adapter in the cabling. It's called pow unity.

As well as plotting your bike live on a map in the mobile app, you can set a remote alarm lock so that it alerts you if your bike is moved (only on your phone though, it doesn't disable the bike or make an audible alarm sound on the bike).

Even though it is connected to the e-bike battery it draws from the cache battery, and when the latter drains after a few days of the bike being switched off, the bike won't ping the GPS until the bike is switched on again for a little bit. Of course the bike also needs to be outside or somewhere with decent mobile reception to ping.

So it's far from perfect, but pretty good as they go, I think. Not cheap! I'd spend the money on better insurance to be honest, and consider the tracker after that. They aren't always accurate enough to pinpoint a particular house, and the police are unlikely to act on information that locates the bike in a 20m radius. If you're happy to do your own detective work and stake out the location for a positive sighting you might have better luck than we did with the police! We did manage to get one back that was tracked to a remote farmhouse in Wales, as it couldn't have been anywhere else.

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Si
Moderator
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Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 7:37pm

Re: Bicycle trackers

Postby Si » 16 Jan 2021, 11:19am

Things to consider:

How are you going to mount it to the bike? If it's somewhere obvious then thief will just break it off an bin it. Better places,like inside frame tubes, can reduce signal.

How are you going to power it? Will you/the police have chance to recover it before the battery dies?

Are you prepared to go to the faff of recharging the bat regularly, especially considering it may hidden be in a 'safe' location on the bike that is hard to get at.

Is it a subscription service? If so, how long before the subscription costs more than the bike? Is the subscription more than insurance? How reliable are the providers?

If you can track your stolen bike then what are you going to do about it if you locate it? For instance, we had one or two get pinched and tracked them to blocks of flats. Because we couldn't pinpoint the exact flat the police couldn't do anything about it....understandably they not allowed to search everyone's flat until they find it! In some places the police might not even be interested in going to look for it any time quick so it could have moved on since the last signal.

But having said all of that, we did get a few back, so it was helpful. However, our trackers weren't there for theft prevention, rather we were just monitoring how people used the free give-away bikes that we were handing out so that we could use the data to further promote cycling.

Psamathe
Posts: 11952
Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:56pm

Re: Bicycle trackers

Postby Psamathe » 16 Jan 2021, 11:26am

gregoryoftours wrote:My organisation has used a couple of types on our e-bikes. Both have a GPS/mobile element, SIM card (with annual subscription fee for the tracking service), cache battery and connect to the battery cable inside the mid drive housing. The one we use currently is much better and simpler to fit than the first brand we used, requiring no soldering, just a through plug adapter in the cabling. It's called pow unity.

As well as plotting your bike live on a map in the mobile app, you can set a remote alarm lock so that it alerts you if your bike is moved (only on your phone though, it doesn't disable the bike or make an audible alarm sound on the bike).

Even though it is connected to the e-bike battery it draws from the cache battery, and when the latter drains after a few days of the bike being switched off, the bike won't ping the GPS until the bike is switched on again for a little bit. Of course the bike also needs to be outside or somewhere with decent mobile reception to ping.

So it's far from perfect, but pretty good as they go, I think. Not cheap! I'd spend the money on better insurance to be honest, and consider the tracker after that. They aren't always accurate enough to pinpoint a particular house, and the police are unlikely to act on information that locates the bike in a 20m radius. If you're happy to do your own detective work and stake out the location for a positive sighting you might have better luck than we did with the police! We did manage to get one back that was tracked to a remote farmhouse in Wales, as it couldn't have been anywhere else.

What ones do you use (name, website or something?)

Ian

gregoryoftours
Posts: 1410
Joined: 22 May 2011, 7:14pm

Re: Bicycle trackers

Postby gregoryoftours » 16 Jan 2021, 4:37pm

The ones we used were Redweb. These needed splicing and soldering into the power cable between the battery and drive unit. The tracking worked fine but there was no app, it was all website based and a bit clunky. The one we used after is called Pow Unity, designed for use with Shimano steps and Bosch mid drive systems. I'm not sure if they offer others. The installation is a bit easier just involving a pass through plug to the connection between battery/drive unit. Cache battery lasts a few days of the bike being switched off, thereafter it needs the bike to be turned on for a bit before it charges the cache battery and registers signal again. The app seems to be quite good and I like the notification of unexpected movement function. Is about £200 with a year subscription, ~40 euros a year thereafter. As I say getting good insurance may be a better bet economically.