How to Protect Your Electric Bike in Cities? [Top 10 Tips]

An electric bike is a modern version of the traditional bike, which often makes it twice as expensive in comparison.

Its futuristic design, multiple benefits, and expensive electrical components often make it an attractive target for bike thieves.

In a country like the USA, where bike theft is extremely common, owners must take care of their electric bike, and its different sensitive components, and make sure to protect it from theft.

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How to Protect One Electric Bike in Cities?

People living in the cities often use electric bikes for their everyday commute, to get to work or school, or to run errands.

Even since the commercial rise of electric bikes, people have stopped relying on personal cars or public transport for intra-city transportation.

Since an electric bike is often twice as expensive as a regular bike, people need to put in twice the effort to protect it from theft and minimize damage and premature depreciation.

In order to protect the electric bike from becoming an easy target for thieving, an electric bike owner has quite a few options, like effective bike locks and theft prevention mobile applications.

Moreover, following some simple tips, such as parking the bike in a well-illuminated area or taking the e-bike along wherever possible, can further make sure that the electric bike does not get stolen.

Furthermore, bike theft is not the only thing that an electric bike owner needs to worry about. Instead, the city pollution, road conditions, traffic, and heat can cause irreversible damage to the bike and its electrical components.

These damages lead to bothersome repairs and component replacements, which can be extremely expensive.

Many times, people revert back to using costly public transportation once their electric bike has sustained too much damage.

Continue reading below to learn what makes an electric bike an attractive target for thieves, why it is especially important to protect the electric bike in cities, and how one can protect their electric bike from theft and excessive damage.

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Read Where Can I Buy An Electric Bike?

What Makes an Electric Bike an Attractive Target for Thieves?

With great global awareness regarding the environmental pollution crises, more and more consumers are willing to shift from their personal cars to electric bikes.

Moreover, an electric bike contains several different electrical components that make up for the electric bike’s high purchase price.

The table below shows the difference between the prices of some electric bikes compared to traditional bikes.

Brand Names of Traditional BikesAverage PricesBrand Names of Electric BikesAverage Prices
Cannondale Super-Six Evo12,100 USDBlack Trail BT0180,000 USD
Simple Diamondback bike 7500 USDElectric Trefecta DRT25,000 USD
Brompton2965 USDAudi E-bike17,000 USD

As shown in the table above, an electric bike has far more value compared to a regular traditional bike. This alone is one of the primary reasons that make an electric bike so attractive to thieves.

Moreover, an electric bike’s battery and motor are two of its most expensive components that retain their value over time. This makes reselling an electrical battery or the motor a profitable deal.

As a result, thieves are interested in stealing an electric bike as it has high resale potential due to its ever-growing global popularity.

They usually steal from busy city areas and sell them to dealers who then export the stolen electric bikes to other countries for sale as second-hand e-bikes.

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Apart from selling the electric bike as a whole, its different components can also be detached and sold individually to different dealers. Due to the high value, the deal is almost always extremely profitable.

Furthermore, apart from the value, stealing an electric bike is easier than stealing a car due to the obvious size difference.

Hence, due to these reasons, an electric bike, unfortunately, becomes an attractive object for theft.

Read How Much Can an eBike Weigh?

Why Is It Especially Important to Protect the Electric Bike in Cities?

Although electric bikes should be protected everywhere, it especially becomes important in the city. This is because city life is extremely busy and every single person on the road is rarely ever free to notice or observe their surroundings.

The New York City Police Department recently conducted a study on the annual frequency of electric bike theft in the USA. The results showed an alarming figure of two million bikes that get stolen each year in the USA.

This figure included a high number of electric bikes and scooters, which were most commonly stolen from urbanized city areas.

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Unlike in rural areas where only a few people can afford to own an electric bike, cities are flooded with electric bikes.

For instance, Beijing, the capital city of China, alone has almost 2.5 million electric bikes on the road.

With so many electric bikes, it is hard to identify a stolen electric bike or spot an ongoing theft in action.

Moreover, due to hundreds of electric bike shops and repair shops wanting to buy different electric bike components and batteries, a thief can very easily disassemble a stolen electric bike and sell its individual components to different shops.

As a result, it becomes almost impossible to recover the stolen electric bike, and the owner has no choice but to suffer a significant financial loss.

In most cases, recovering the e-bike is also incredibly difficult.

Read What to Look for in Electric Bike Batteries

What Are Some Ways that One Can Protect Their Electric Bike from Theft?

Watch Where You Park

During work hours, the electric bike owner often has to park their bikes before entering an establishment or a building.

This is exactly when an electric bike is most vulnerable and exposed to thieves. Hence, it is extremely important that a person chooses their parking location wisely.

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In order to protect the electric bike from theft, one should:

  • Park their electric bikes in a well-illuminated area that will allow them and other people to see the electric bike clearly. An electric bike parked in a dark or dim alley will be an even easier steal. It will be hard to notice the theft in action, and by the time the owner notices their bike is gone, it will be too late.
  • Park their electric bike in public areas such as outside the park or a shopping mall. The densely populated area will discourage a thief from making a move as the chances of getting caught will be higher.
  • Park their electric bikes in parking lots or zones that have pre-installed CCTV security cameras. Not only will this discourage the thief from stealing the bike, but the camera footage will also help identify the thief.

Read How to Derestrict an Electric Bike

Doing Prior Research Before Visiting a New Area

If the nature of a person’s work requires an electric bike owner to visit a new area, it is better to check the area’s crime rate and general reputation.

News articles and published police reports will help e-bike owners figure out whether taking their electric bike there will expose it to a high risk of getting stolen. 

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If the new area seems to be safe, then all’s well and good. However, if the research shows high crime rates in the area, the electric bike owner can do the following to protect their bike:

  • Walk to the location.
  • Take a public bus or train to get to the location.
  • Take a personal car, or travel in a friend’s car to the location.
  • If the person has no choice but to travel via their electric bike, then they should take a friend along and ask them to watch the bike as they get their work done.

Taking the Electric Bike Along

An electric bike is most exposed when it is parked outside by itself. Although bike locks can offer protection, they still cannot completely eliminate the chances of theft.

One excellent way to make sure that the electric bike does not get stolen is to take it along with you wherever possible.

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This means that the bike owner should request the office, school, or friend to allow them to park their electric bike inside instead of out in the open.

Moreover, the bike owner should try to shop at retail stores or malls that allow them to park their bikes within the premises.

This becomes extremely convenient if one has a foldable electric bike, such as the Brompton electric, which can be easily folded and wheeled around everywhere.

Such foldable electric bikes can be taken onto trains, buses, and even taxes. Hence, the person never has to leave their electric bike parked outside, and the chances of theft are almost completely eliminated.

Furthermore, unfortunately, parking an electric bike inside a garage does not guarantee protection. As a matter of fact, the garage is one of the most common places for an electric bike to get stolen.

Hence, either the owner should keep their electric bike inside their house or invest in high-quality bike locks and CCTV security cameras for the garage. 

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Read How Far Can an Electric Bike Go on One Charge?

Refraining from Following a Pattern

An electric theft is rarely ever a random event and instead is usually a properly planned heist.  The thief keeps track of where the electric bike owner usually rides and parks their bike.

This information allows the thief to know exactly when the electric bike will be left unprotected and how they can plan their move.

One way to prevent this from happening is by refraining from following a strict and easily predictable biking pattern. Instead, the owner should try to ride on different routes and during different times of the day.

Investing in High-Quality Electric Bike Locks

Bike locks have been used ever since traditional bikes were introduced. Although common bike locks do offer some protection, they are often easy to break.

A high-quality modern electric bike lock does not cost more than 100 to 200 USD and is able to offer much greater protection.

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These locks are designed to have extremely complicated designs that are much stronger, durable, and require more time and effort to break.

It is important that an electric bike owner measures the dimensions of their electric bike before investing in an electric bike lock, as not all locks are meant for all electric bikes.

A lock that doesn’t fit well will easily be cut and will hence fail at offering protection.

Furthermore, it is important to tie the lock of the electric bike to a fixed solid structure such as a street light pole or a strong tree.

If the owner ties the lock to a movable object such as a bench or a table, their electric bike won’t have the same level of protection.

The following are some popular high-quality electric bike locks that are available in the USA, and can offer great protection from bike theft:

Moreover, another great tip to make the bike lock more complicated and less breakable is to tie the lock around different components of the bike.

Not only will it offer greater protection but it will also protect the individual components.

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What Are Some Ways that One Can Protect Their Electric Bike from Excessive Damage?

  • Using bike fenders to protect the battery from sun damage.
  • Use a microfiber cloth to clean the electric bike’s frame to avoid scratches.
  • Refraining from riding or parking the electric bike in the rain to prevent water damage and rusting.
  • Refraining from deliberately riding the electric bike over rough terrains.
  • Making frequent visits to the workshop to make sure no minor issue snowballs into a major expensive repair or replacement.
  • Parking the electric bike under shade.

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Final Thoughts

An electric bike can be more expensive and valuable than most standard cars on the road. Hence, protecting it from theft, especially in big, heavily crowded cities, can often be challenging for many.

Investing in high-quality electric bike locks and parking the electric bike in secure and well-monitored areas can often help avoid electric bike theft.

Moreover, apart from getting stolen, an electric bike is also susceptible to getting damaged by dirt, debris, water, and the sun. Hence the rider should focus on keeping their electric bikes clean and well-protected from external weather conditions to ensure their modern bikes retain their quality and value for a long time.