Bike Rack Theft Protection — Here’s What You Should Know!

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We got a hitch bike rack the other day, but I’m unsure how to protect it against theft. I mean, we are not possibly going to guard hitch bike racks the whole day. So, what’s the plan?

These are some of the thoughts and words I sincerely hoped people with bike racks would blurt out. Apparently, in a recent study, there is an almost 28% increase in bike theft in New York City alone. That’s why hitch bike rack theft protection is all the more critical.

You’re still wrapping your head around the stats, isn’t it? I mean, unbelievable numbers! Especially with the rise of technology. Most of them have been stolen while they were unattended by their owners. Some of the common scenarios may include:

  • Traffic signals. It’s fascinating how fast they could be. Unfortunately, people don’t seem to notice due to the busyness of the road, and that’s how they get away with their theft.
  • You can take a break from driving for a few minutes in retail stores, gas stations, parking lots, and places anywhere. Of course, parks or any hanging spots can be a target too.
  • If you have a yard or garage near your home, there is a chance the thief might steal your bike racks while you are busy packing stuff for the trip.

Sadly, while the police are trying their best to retrieve the bikes, only a handful of bikes have been rescued among thousands.

Again, biking is a popular phenomenon today. I’m not surprised with the statistics anymore:

More bikes + Less theft awareness = More thefts

I’ve researched this, and it is still tough to completely secure your bike if you leave it unattended. Yet, according to bike scientists, there are some convincing tricks to help you save yourself from the damage. 

In this article, you will learn just about that.

What I Did to Ensure Bike Racks are Secure?

Bike Rack Theft Protection

The golden rule of protecting your bike from getting stolen is actually none. The cleverest idea I read on the internet was from Quora. He tried to convince me that if I tangled the ropes or body of the lock enough, the thief would be too tired to detangle and, thus, would finally leave it alone.

As much as I wanted to hate the idea, it did make sense at some point. Detangling is actually tiring, and thieves get minimal time to do the work. The only problem is that the thief might cut the body instead of detangling it, which would end our plan to save our precious bike. 

I started searching for stronger straps that are not easy to cut or to even pierce. 

Fortunately enough, I found tons of them relatable, and they made it into our list of today’s best locks for bike racks. Keep reading to know more about them.

Theft Protection for a Roof Rack

It’s funny how, even though the roof rack is the most difficult one to pull off, it doesn’t apply to thieves. Yet, funnily enough, it is said to be the hardest to get stolen.

My logic says it’s hard to carry your bike up there, so it’ll be challenging for the thief to pull it down. But again, the roof one catches the people’s eye, and expert hands know no limit.

So, I made my choice and methods carefully for this one.

If you want a built-in lock or lock, Thule Upride has a built-in lock system recommended for people who want both a bike rack and a lock in one place.

The system allows you to lock your vehicle to the bike rack and the bike rack to the roof of your car. The lock is pretty decent, it comes from the bike rack, and you have to secure the frame and lock it by tangling the cable.

As per users, this system is not well-perceived, and sometimes the system becomes gritty due to continuous usage. In addition, the cable is said to be soft, which means it can be cut easily by thieves. That’s one drawback here.

But these are different with different models. You need to do your own research. Apart from that, I found that D locks and U locks are the best for these types for racks.

This is for the people who do not have separate locks yet and do not have built-in locks with their bike racks. D or U locks are the same in shape and size, so you can just grab one and get away with it.

The cord or the cable is very thick, unlike the wire ones, so you can rest assured that no one can cut through these cables. You will have to lock the frame with the rack with this stern cable. The lock is firm, too, so it’s a great deal overall.

Theft Protection for Trunk Bike Rack

Whatever I say about the theft protection for a roof rack, the opposite goes for this one. It’s the easiest to install your bike, and hence it’s easier for thieves to steal. It doesn’t have the extra work like the roof rack, so you must be extra careful while leaving your bikes unattended. 

The thick and non-piercing cable is the same for this one, except I have a tip to share here. That is, to tangle the chords as much as possible. Thus, the thieves have a hard time detangling the chords. Thanks, Quora guy.

The locks work, securing the cable within the trunk being closed. You will find a locking head, keys, lock lanyard, and a stiff cable to do your job. Next, you’ll need to install your bike rack and tangle the cords of the lock within the bike. 

The perfect instructions are explained in this video right here. This is just one of the examples of how the best locks for trunk bike rack works. See the instructions for each bike rack lock and follow as per instructions.

A passive strap is easier to use yet harder to remove. This is complicated to install too, but it is worth the effort for safety. This works by looping and threading around the body and legs of the bike. 

Due to continuous loops, it’s harder for the thief to go through constant phases. But you cannot stop an all-prepared thief with all the equipment with lots of time in his hands. 

The best way to save your bike is to free it from the rack and place it in some other place but don’t leave it unattended for too long.

What about Protecting Hitch Bike Racks?

For hitch bike racks, both of these will work. You need to use a longer cable or strap for hitch bike racks. You will find similar-looking logs and cords in the market within your budget since it’s popularly loved by the community. 

Pass the cord through the wheels for maximum safety and lock it. Use chains if you want. Using chains and metals to tangle your bikes could be a better decision since metals are harder to break or cut through or take longer than usual.

Things to Do Besides All These for a Bit of Extra Security

Even after all these locks and protections, your bike is still not safe unless you are taking some precautions. I know it’s hard to attend to or maintain your bikes on vacation days, so I listed some things you need to avoid doing to save your bikes from getting stolen.

  • Invest in your locker and omit material from the cable. Think of it as a one-time investment. So always go for the one with stiff locks and the most rigid non-piercing material for the tube. You’ll find a ton of them in the market. And if it goes well, you don’t have to worry about it for the rest of your life.
  • Free your bikes from the rack if you want to leave them unattended. Place your bike inside your vacation spot or familiar place instead of hanging it behind your trunk. Don’t leave it alone for too long. Don’t lock it with a tree when you are out there hiking.
  • Put a tracker on your bike. So even when it’s gone missing, you can still track your bike and file a report that it has been stolen. The tracker will make it easier for the police to track your bike.
  • Experiment with your locker yourself. Loop your cables with your bike all you want and then see if it’s removable or not.

The steps above will secure your bike if everything goes alright. But with technology advancing and all, you can’t really trust a thief with anything. Give your best shot every time you go out, and keep an eye on your bike if you have the time to do so. Don’t leave it unattended for too long, or don’t go easy on the security. That should do the work.

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Jeff Phillips Racktutor
About the author

Jeff Phillips is the able founder of In his professional life, he has been offering Paintless Dent Repair and Hail Repair services in North Texas since 1990. He is the owner of DentMasters. He is still passionate about outdoor adventures with his family, bikes and cars. So he has first-hand experience on bike racks. He is regularly testing suitable racks for his upcoming trip. His aim is to create a user-friendly free website where bikers can easily read bike rack informations without any hassle.

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