Best Motorcycle Alarms

Updated September 2020
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

23 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
460 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best motorcycle alarms

Last Updated September 2020

The latest figures from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) tell us that there are as many as 45,000 reported motorcycle thefts per year in the United States. If you’re unfortunate enough to have it happen to you, there’s likely to be financial loss. Insurance often doesn’t cover the true cost of replacement. If it’s your only vehicle, you’re left stranded or reliant on public transport. Investing in a motorcycle alarm is not only a very sensible idea, but it could actually save you a lot of money.

But which motorcycle alarm? That’s exactly the kind of question BestReviews was set up to help you answer, and we’ve been looking at all your options. The good news is that you have many choices. And while you can spend hundreds of dollars, many cost no more than a couple of tanks of gas. Even at that low price, they can be very effective.

Our recommended models underline the wide range of affordable devices available, and in the following motorcycle alarm buying guide we look in detail at the features they offer.

Alarms that are wired into your motorcycle have extremely loud sirens, which will scare off many potential thieves, but some kind of physical deterrent that prevents it from being moved is still recommended. For very little extra money you can fit a disc lock as well.

Key considerations

Opportunistic vs. pro thieves

Before we get to the motorcycle alarms themselves, a quick note about motorcycle thieves. They fall into one of two categories: opportunists and professionals. The opportunistic thief is often on foot or driving around in a car looking for an easy target — a bike without any kind of security. Any visible physical deterrent will put off many would-be thieves. An alarm will stop most because there’s probably an easier target for them just down the street.

Professionals frequently target a specific motorcycle in advance. They know how to defeat most forms of motorbike security systems. They arrive in a van or truck and simply lift the bike in. Even if you chain your bike down, they’ll either have bolt cutters or freezing spray that makes chains and shackles brittle and easy to break. Unfortunately, there’s little defense against the pros, but the more security you have, the more chances you have of slowing down or stopping them.

EXPERT TIP

Some owners recommend parking next to the nicest motorcycle you can find, so if one is stolen, it won’t be yours!


Staff  | BestReviews

Types of motorcycle alarms

Given the limited space available on a motorcycle, an alarm needs to be compact. There are two main approaches: disc locks with built-in, battery-powered alarms and wired-in alarms that link to the motorcycle’s 12-volt battery. We’ll also look at vibration alarms and handlebar locks.

Disc locks

These are a simple but effective solution. The mechanism consists of a pin that fits through one of the holes in your disc brake and clamps the body of the lock in place. Once fitted, you’ve effectively got a big lump of metal attached to your disc. It won’t go past the forks or brake caliper, so it keeps the wheel from rotating. Locking is usually just a question of pushing the pin home with a button, so it’s very fast. It’s unlocked with a key.

It’s difficult for a thief to disable the alarm when it’s fitted to your motorcycle because access to the battery and circuitry is on the side that’s against the brake disc. They can’t get tools at it. The locking pin is usually forged stainless steel, so it’s very difficult to saw through. Brute force will defeat one of these locks, but they’re an effective, inexpensive deterrent.

Cord: A disc lock comes with a “reminder” cord (usually a nylon-covered steel cable) that extends from the lock and loops over the handlebars so you don’t forget the lock is there and try to ride off with it attached.

Alarm: The vast majority of disc locks include a motion-activated alarm that goes off if someone tries to move the bike. The volume is usually around 110 decibels (dB), which is loud enough to cause physical discomfort if you’re nearby.

Wired-in alarms

These alarms are wired directly to the 12-volt system of the bike, and while they don’t offer any kind of physical locking, they have a motion-activated alarm that can hit 120 decibels or more. Basic models stop there, but others offer several enhancements.

Cheaper models (the same price range as disc locks) include flashing the lights and/or turn signals, sounding the horn (in addition to the alarm), and a remote engine kill switch. The latter function also provides the ability for keyless remote starting. While it isn’t a security measure, it can be convenient.

Sensitivity: These alarms usually have several levels of adjustment because sensitivity can be an issue. They’ll go off if someone stands the motorcycle upright to move it, but a large truck passing might also set them off.

Monitoring: More advanced models can monitor the current in the electrical system and will be set off by someone trying to hot-wire the motorcycle.

Alerts: They may also provide alerts via a pager built into the remote, so you get a warning that someone is trying to steal your bike. However, the range is usually limited to about 1/2 mile.

Battery backup: This means the remote will still work even if someone cuts the cable between the unit and the battery.

Sensor: We know of one alarm that has a proximity sensor that will go off if anybody comes near. It sounds clever, but it’s difficult to see when or where that would be of practical value.

Vibration alarms

A vibration alarm is a very cheap option that doesn’t require wiring because the unit is battery powered and self-contained. Basically, it’s a loud alarm in a small box fixed to the bike with a sticky pad or cable ties and activated by a remote. There’s no doubt the noise would be something of a deterrent (100 decibels and more), but there’s no physical security, and once the alarm is found, it’s pretty easy to remove it and simply throw it away.

Handlebar locks

A handlebar lock isn’t strictly speaking a motorcycle alarm because there’s no audible element, but one is easy to carry and worth thinking about as an additional means of security. Basically, it’s a very strong hinge and lock mechanism. It can be installed in seconds, usually over your throttle and front brake lever (which applies the brake and stops the bike moving) or on the left-hand handlebar and clutch lever. Some even come with a holster for your belt. It doesn’t need batteries or wiring, so there’s really nothing to go wrong, and it effectively immobilizes your bike. A thief would either have to jimmy the lock (not easy) or lift the motorcycle to steal it.

Disc locks usually come with a reminder cable that attaches to your handlebars. It doesn’t increase security, but it does make sure you don’t forget to remove the lock before riding off!

Motorcycle alarm prices

Inexpensive: There are lots of cheap motorcycle alarms available. For between $20 and $30, you can find dozens of wired-in models, plus numerous disc and handlebar locks. Each is a very affordable form of motorbike security.

Expensive: While we usually include the prices of mid-range models, as far as we can tell they just don’t exist. We found one at around $70, but it does little more than those that cost $30. That aside, it’s a big jump to either big-brand physical locks, at around $100, or those that will page you at a distance. Prices for the latter start at just under $200 and reach almost $400.

EXPERT TIP

The alarm in a disc lock runs on batteries. They should last months, but you don’t get much warning when they’re going flat. Make sure you’ve got replacements so you can change them straight away.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Park in a busy area. If you’ve got to park on the street, try to choose a well-lit area with plenty of foot traffic. Also look for security cameras. They might put thieves off, and if you’re unlucky enough to have your motorcycle stolen, the recording could help with its recovery.
  • Chain your bike right. If you’re using a chain and padlock, pass it around the frame, not the wheel. Thieves with a truck will just remove the wheel and leave it behind.
  • Cover your bike. Although a motorcycle cover isn’t really any kind of physical barrier, it will shield your bike from prying eyes. Buy a plain one that doesn’t reveal your bike’s make or model.
  • Don’t leave the key in the ignition. Do not pop into a store and leave your key in the ignition, no matter how quick you think you’ll be. You’d be surprised how many people do.
  • Lock your bike at home. Do this even if it’s in a garage. Most garage doors don’t provide much of an obstacle to a determined thief.
Motion sensors set the alarm off as soon as someone moves it to try and ride off. However, false alarms from passing vehicles can be frustrating, so adjustable sensitivity is a definite bonus.

FAQ

Q. Do I need an alarm if my motorcycle comes with an immobilizer?
A.
We’d recommend it. Though modern immobilizers are complex devices, high-tech criminals always find a way to hack them (the components cost as little as a few bucks). Given the affordability of many bike alarms, why not add another layer of protection?
 

Q. Are wired-in alarms easy to fit?
A.
They do vary quite a lot. Basic alarms just need to be connected to the battery, and high-end models with remote paging can be very straightforward. If it links to the turn signals or offers remote starting, you can end up with quite a few wires. If you’re not comfortable working with motorcycle electronics, it’s probably best to call in a professional. It shouldn’t take a competent engineer very long.
 

Q. Will a bike alarm lower my motorcycle insurance?
A.
Unfortunately, popular low-cost alarms don’t qualify. You would need to find an anti-theft device that incorporates radio frequency tracking, GPS positioning, and/or a remote kill switch. In those cases, we’ve heard of savings of around 10% being offered, but it very much depends on the individual company. You need to talk to your broker.

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
The team that worked on this review
  • Andrew
    Andrew
    Writer
  • Bob
    Bob
    Writer
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.

Take Survey