Monday, January 18, 2010

Avoiding Bike Theft in Singapore

A perennial problem that a bike commuter has is bike theft. It
seriously makes you sibeh dulan when after doing your shopping that
you come back and realise that your ride has been taken away, probably
resprayed and landing up at Sungei Road. Not only does the theft of
your bike annoy you, the inconvenience of having to find alternative
transport will make you totally lose faith in Singaporeans.

I have had two bikes stolen. One cheap Urata and one Wheeler which I
really liked. The former didn't hurt when I realized it was gone. But
the latter did. It made me read up on bike theft an how to avoid it.

There are a few ways you can avoid your ride being stolen, in order of

1. Location

Location is the most important determinant of the risk that you will
have to bear when you leave your bike locked unwatched. There are some
hotspots for bike theft which you should absolutely avoid. MRT bike
racks are one of them. I've heard that Tampines and Pasir Ris is also another hotspot for bike theft. Although it is great to have such a convenient
place to lock your bike, it is also very unsafe. You'd be surprised if
you think only fancy bikes get stolen - I've heard even Uratas and Momokis are not spared. The best places to park are places which is well lit, located in a frequently passed by location and a place where most people do not park their bikes.

2. Bike quality

Don't ride a new bike with no battle scars! It's only a magnet for theft. I have a few bikes, of which I only lock one, a beaten up Trek. Yes - Trek - but it looks so terrible and has a totally unflashy colour (grey), and rust all over its drivetrain. It hasn't been stolen, even though I have locked it outside for quite a while now. Of course, it could get stolen at any point where I am unlucky, but learning from my mistake last time, I'll never ride a new, unscarred bike out ever again.

The good thing is that you can get these beaters at Togoparts for cheap, and they won't have a terrible ride quality for $100 - $200. Unlike if you bought $200 bike new... which would often be heavier and use a lower-quality Shimano derailleur ripoff.

3. Locks

If you have read other websites, you'll probably know that a U-lock and cable lock combo is the highest security combo you can get. Of course, there's a difference between that $20 U lock and the $188 Abus lock. I had both before. The $20 U lock served its purpose well, but totally rusted and jammed, so I had to throw it away. The $188 Abus hasn't been proven in tahaning rain and abuse, but so far, paying that kind of money and protecting a $150 Trek is quite relieving. It seriously takes a big weight off your heart - I used to be quite afraid my ride would be stolen, these days, I feel better.

The double-lock combo, it is proven to keep your bike yours. A U lock can be cut by a bolt cutter, but a decent cable lock would fray terribly. Likewise, a cable lock cutter would not work against a U lock...


  1. I agree with the way you order these three points. I imagine bicycle thieves would prefer locations that provide more choices. Next, they prefer better ones among the choices. Lastly, but I guess seldom they would consider the difficulty in hacking away the locks.

    Interested readers might also check out why no one wants my bike at

  2. The most effective method is #2. It works very well. Even if you have a new one you should paint it as if it is rusty and old. I have heard this from several bike sellers and it works very well for friends around!

  3. Regarding fighting bike theft in's a new global bike registration and theft deterrent system now available in UK, US and soon Australasia -

    The company uses QR tags, social media, smartphones and mobile apps to deter and aid recovery of stolen bikes.

  4. my bike was just stolen today , now I found it was stolen at 11 PM in Pasir ris MRT.
    Such a worst place it is.
    It is a 350$ bike, can I make police complaint?

  5. thanks for the tips