E-bike Achilles heel?

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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raylo32   1 kW

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E-bike Achilles heel?

Post by raylo32 » Jun 15 2021 9:03am

I have a hardtail MTB converted to e-bike with TSDZ2. It has a rear rack that along with a backpack could make the bike pretty good for running some basic errands. But I am afraid to park it and leave it, even locked up. Not that I am in a high crime area but we all know how quickly someone can cut a lock or cable and be off with a bike. So short of just using the bike to commute to work where one has safe parking (I am retired!) or run the coffee shop where you can sit at an outside or window table what do you guys do?

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MadRhino   100 GW

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Re: E-bike Achilles heel?

Post by MadRhino » Jun 15 2021 10:29am

Plain bikes are stolen much more than ebikes. The bigger risk is the bigger cost, not any extra risk to have it stolen. Yet, if your battery is obviously easy to clip off, better take it with you.

Insurance is your solution if you are worried about the financial loss. My insurance did cover a stolen bike once, pretty quick and full value.

My commuter is a big, very expansive DH bike that is drawing a lot of attention. As long as it is parked where it is crowded, I don’t even have to lock it. Thieves like to go unnoticed, so they prefer ordinary bikes. Build very flashy or very ugly, it does make your bike less likely to be stolen.
Last edited by MadRhino on Jun 15 2021 10:40am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: E-bike Achilles heel?

Post by 999zip999 » Jun 15 2021 10:38am

they have a van with some with a driver parked down the roadusually parked downhill the guy grabs the price runs it down hill do the van they get in the van they put in the van and then they go to another city.

raylo32   1 kW

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Re: E-bike Achilles heel?

Post by raylo32 » Jun 15 2021 10:57am

My regular EM3EV e-bike battery locks in so that isn't too much of a worry. But my aux battery where I have made an EGO battery mount on the rear rack doesn't lock. I could never leave it unattended when riding with that battery. Not so much worried about the $$ themselves. But having to find another donor bike, especially these days, and do all the work again... That would be a PITA.
MadRhino wrote:
Jun 15 2021 10:29am
Yet, if your battery is obviously easy to clip off, better take it with you.
Insurance is your solution if you are worried about the financial loss. My insurance did cover a stolen bike once, pretty quick and full value.

My commuter is a big, very expansive DH bike that is drawing a lot of attention. As long as it is parked where it is crowded, I don’t even have to lock it. Thieves like to go unnoticed, so they prefer ordinary bikes. Build very flashy or very ugly, it does make your bike less likely to be stolen.

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Re: E-bike Achilles heel?

Post by neptronix » Jun 15 2021 11:25am

This is an achilles heel.
My solution is to park the bike inside of the business i frequent.
If they do not allow it, i won't frequent them. I chose another business that allows my bicycle.

Same with my office and warehouse. let me park my bike inside or i don't sign a lease. I managed to find two companies that were okay with my bike. So my work and hobby commute both have safe spaces for my bike.

This is a pain in the ass to arrange but worth it so that you can safely use your ebike for many situations.

In no way would i consider locking a bike outside and not in my view.
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Re: E-bike Achilles heel?

Post by raylo32 » Jun 15 2021 1:32pm

I saw a man a couple weeks ago at my local grocery store who was allowed to park his NCM e-bike bike in the vestibule air lock area between the 2 sets of automatic doors. Even that isn't good enough, IMO. You still wouldn't be able to see it from anywhere in the store and someone could roll it or carry it out in 5 seconds. It is hard to quantify something like this but I am 99.9999995% sure my car will be there when I come out of the grocery store, but maybe only 75% sure my bike would be. That is an unacceptable risk, IMO. It's a real shame because this would be a good way to reduce one's carbon footprint... at least a little.
neptronix wrote:
Jun 15 2021 11:25am
This is an achilles heel.
My solution is to park the bike inside of the business i frequent.
If they do not allow it, i won't frequent them. I chose another business that allows my bicycle.

Same with my office and warehouse. let me park my bike inside or i don't sign a lease. I managed to find two companies that were okay with my bike. So my work and hobby commute both have safe spaces for my bike.

This is a pain in the ass to arrange but worth it so that you can safely use your ebike for many situations.

In no way would i consider locking a bike outside and not in my view.

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Re: E-bike Achilles heel?

Post by COAR » Jun 15 2021 1:59pm

I don't think an ebike is any different from a moderately nice pedal bike. I don't commute but I'll ride a bike to the grocery store occasionally and I'm comfortable locking it with a sturdy u lock for the 30 min or so that I'm shopping. In cramped conditions the u-lock is only coming off by picking it or with some specialized tools (angle grinder, hydraulic cutters), but I'd say those are unlikely to be deployed in a crowded space. I'm 100% confident my bike will be there when I'm done.

However I would never leave bikes on my hitch rack unattended in a public place, might as well put a 'free bike' sign on there, as they can be removed in literally 10s.

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Re: E-bike Achilles heel?

Post by raylo32 » Jun 15 2021 2:36pm

Yeah, with a U-lock you should have a little better security. PITA to carry and deploy, however. I have one somewhere... maybe I'll give that a go.

And how topical... I just drove to the grocery store and whilst shopping I see a guy pushing what looks like some sort of stool around. Upon a closer look, it's an e-unicycle! And the guy was wearing full fabric protective gear with pads and carrying a full face helmet. We had a bit of chat but I didn't get to see it underway since I finished and left before he did.

COAR wrote:
Jun 15 2021 1:59pm
I don't think an ebike is any different from a moderately nice pedal bike. I don't commute but I'll ride a bike to the grocery store occasionally and I'm comfortable locking it with a sturdy u lock for the 30 min or so that I'm shopping. In cramped conditions the u-lock is only coming off by picking it or with some specialized tools (angle grinder, hydraulic cutters), but I'd say those are unlikely to be deployed in a crowded space. I'm 100% confident my bike will be there when I'm done.

However I would never leave bikes on my hitch rack unattended in a public place, might as well put a 'free bike' sign on there, as they can be removed in literally 10s.

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Re: E-bike Achilles heel?

Post by ilu » Jun 15 2021 3:23pm

I live in an area where bikes are stolen often, but I have managed to keep mine with a cheap foldable lock. Most important is to have a lock that is sturdy enough that you need either power tools or hydraulic cutters to break it, as it is enough to deter all opportunistic thieves. And always lock the bike attached to something as strong as the lock.

Your DIY ebike has only a fraction of the resell value compared to a factory made brand ebike, and thus professional thieves won't take any big risks trying to steal it. The more noise and time it takes to break the lock, the bigger the risk involved is. And the pro guys definitely know this, so try to use it to your advantage.

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Re: E-bike Achilles heel?

Post by dogman dan » Jun 15 2021 4:37pm

Ugly bike is a good strategy.

But my primary strategy is to shop early. If you think about it, the tweaker gets up at noon, spends all day stealing, planning to steal, fencing what he stole last night at 2 am, and all night finding the drugs.

Just do your shopping before 9 am, and you just avoided 99% of the thieves, as they sleep off what they scored last evening, or crashed out exhausted at 4 am after a hard night of cutting off catalytic converters.

Its a real problem though, if you plan on a evening at the brew pub, having dinner and a few beers at 6 -10 pm. For that, you have your butt ugly bike. Its got a spray painted front hub, dirt all over it, painted and rolled in the dirt while the paint was wet. Looks stolen 5 times already. Bring that battery inside in a knapsack.

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Re: E-bike Achilles heel?

Post by nicobie » Jun 15 2021 5:37pm

Having an electronic lock on your controller that locks your motor from turning and a bike that's too heavy to carry far helps a lot.
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Re: E-bike Achilles heel?

Post by E-HP » Jun 15 2021 6:27pm

nicobie wrote:
Jun 15 2021 5:37pm
Having an electronic lock on your controller that locks your motor from turning and a bike that's too heavy to carry far helps a lot.
I like this idea, but I think it needs a controller with that feature?

I'm too lazy to lock my bike and don't like carrying a bulky lock. Most of the time, I'm usually only pick up food or donuts, but not real shopping in my bike. I go to places where I can order or pick up the food within about 15 ft of the front door where I park, so I can watch it. I turn off the controller (button on the handlebar), the battery (switch on the side) and breaker, on my wiring junction box. I leave the bike in high gear, and the 3-position switch to high.

I figure that they will take a while to figure out how to turn it on in the first place, and if they do and hit the throttle, they'll probably flip over backwards. If they don't and try to ride/pedal away, good luck trying to pedal an unpowered rear hub in high gear before I catch up and drop kick the perp. If they can carry my bike, then they must be pretty strong, and I probably need a weapon of some sort or just let them go. One thing I've been thinking about is a small wheel lock, to stop the perp from rolling the bike away, like this:

https://www.amazon.com/IOSUA-Lightweigh ... 3301974514

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Re: E-bike Achilles heel?

Post by MadRhino » Jun 15 2021 6:58pm

A disc lock does good, and cutting it would damage the disc enough to make it jam in the caliper.
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.

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Re: E-bike Achilles heel?

Post by 99t4 » Jun 16 2021 1:27am

Disc lock (w/ loud alarm) + quality u-lock seems to do pretty good. Although u-locks are quickly and quietly popped by a small bottle jack. Thinking about two disc locks, F/R. They are small and easy to carry.

My best e-bike was stolen from a vestibule within about 60 seconds.

ALL the homeless encampments around here have piles of bikes. Some of those rough-looking guys ride $3,000+ bikes. But it seems most swap parts around and then sell the bikes when they are virtually unrecognizable from before.

While shopping for a donor (on offerup for example) I am amazed at amount of photos of high $$$ bikes for sale with tarps, tents, and piles of garbage in the backgrounds. Pretty obvious "what is wrong with this picture?"

The early-morning-as-the-safest-time tactic is not reliable. Real tweakers are up and running 24 hours for several days straight. Think Energizer bunny.

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Re: E-bike Achilles heel?

Post by E-HP » Jun 16 2021 9:06am

MadRhino wrote:
Jun 15 2021 6:58pm
A disc lock does good, and cutting it would damage the disc enough to make it jam in the caliper.
Ya, works well to help the bike from being stolen, but then carrying the bike home after an attempted theft would be major drag. I guess keeping a hex wrench handy to remove the caliper might be part of the plan.

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Re: E-bike Achilles heel?

Post by ZeroEm » Jun 16 2021 9:23am

I'm stressed about this also. A lot of trucks in Texas, been thinking that heavy would be good. I have a Trike so most around here do not know what it even is. The trike is locked when in the store. Still stress about it, maybe several bikes then I could take a taxi home and get on the next one.
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Re: E-bike Achilles heel?

Post by efMX Trials Electric Freeride » Jun 16 2021 9:47am

hidden tracking chip inside the frame seat tube etc??.. and locked in public.. if it goes missing, track and direct the authorities (or you're crew) to it's location for recovery before it gets stripped or sold..
I sometimes find people waiting outside the store to ask about my bike.. all friendly so far;) I'm also a quick shopper, just in and out with one basket..
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Re: E-bike Achilles heel?

Post by neptronix » Jun 16 2021 6:22pm

When considering a protection mechanism, think of this:

1) The bike is useful for parts and does not need to be ridden away or taken whole.
2) Compact lithium powered angle grinders exist.
3) It's safe to assume that nobody cares if your bike is stolen or not.

..that's why i keep my bike in my sights, or i don't park. It is way, way, way too easy to steal a bike.
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Re: E-bike Achilles heel?

Post by TricycleMichael » Jun 16 2021 6:59pm

First post didn't show up, so here goes. Make a lot of noise and irritate the thief. I had a scoundrel rifle through my pannier bag and he ran like crazy when the alarm went off. Had a video from the store, but, well, face mask! The alarm was purchased for under $20, look up bike alarm on Amazon.

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Re: E-bike Achilles heel?

Post by Eastwood » Jun 16 2021 9:29pm

raylo32 wrote:
Jun 15 2021 9:03am
I have a hardtail MTB converted to e-bike with TSDZ2. It has a rear rack that along with a backpack could make the bike pretty good for running some basic errands. But I am afraid to park it and leave it, even locked up. Not that I am in a high crime area but we all know how quickly someone can cut a lock or cable and be off with a bike. So short of just using the bike to commute to work where one has safe parking (I am retired!) or run the coffee shop where you can sit at an outside or window table what do you guys do?

I feel the same I don’t like parking my bike and leaving it anywhere. I did just install an Apple AirTag so I can at least track it

What about installing an alarm?Get something that’s really loud lol

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Re: E-bike Achilles heel?

Post by Eastwood » Jun 16 2021 9:44pm

E-HP wrote:
Jun 16 2021 9:06am
MadRhino wrote:
Jun 15 2021 6:58pm
A disc lock does good, and cutting it would damage the disc enough to make it jam in the caliper.
Ya, works well to help the bike from being stolen, but then carrying the bike home after an attempted theft would be major drag. I guess keeping a hex wrench handy to remove the caliper might be part of the plan.
Yep, I had to remove my caliber the other day on a trail not because of attempted theft but because I bent the rotor lol
I never ride without my tools

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Re: E-bike Achilles heel?

Post by TDB » Jun 16 2021 11:02pm

Bicycle theft is as much a business and not exclusive to addicts and homeless.
TricycleMichael wrote:
Jun 16 2021 6:59pm
First post didn't show up, so here goes. Make a lot of noise and irritate the thief. I had a scoundrel rifle through my pannier bag and he ran like crazy when the alarm went off. Had a video from the store, but, well, face mask! The alarm was purchased for under $20, look up bike alarm on Amazon.
Masks. In another time someone covering their face would be viewed suspiciously and stopped by police. Covid has changed that.

I have two WSDcam alarms on mine. Plus a TKstar 905 4G Tracker and my old iPhone 7 (use find my phone for location) with long life sims, both on the trailer which has plenty of hiding places. It has been tested once by someone who was tempted. Alarm went off and tracker notified me of movement almost immediately although I think the latter was a fluke.

It takes four U-locks to secure the bike and trailer. That on its own should usually be enough to deter all but the most determined thief. Seat post has a cable inside the frame running down around the bottom bracket to prevent removal. Good thing I don't need to remove batteries because they are a major pain to remove from the trailer. Two pieces of bike chain around them and they are hot glued into their tray. Just give up! lol
Panniers cover the hub motor and controller to make them less obvious and have 3mm cable and locks... easily cut, but will stop someone from casually removing them. Some bolts have heads filled with epoxy to keep parts attached. Yes, it is a PITA when I need to do work and I often replace the bolts. Security bolts are not so secure these days. There is a bag full of bits I take with me.
When I leave it in a public space, it is where everyone can see it, not hidden and I am never more than 30 seconds away.

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