CRAIG'S LATEST RAMBLINGS AND WORDS OF SEMI-WISDOMLiving Off the Slab Blog
One of the most common questions I receive from new motorcycle travelers is how I go about securing my bike when traveling. While I have seen and heard a lot of wild things, from bringing your bike into the room, to carrying 40 pounds of chain in your saddle bag, the truth is that I do not do anything I consider to be special or out of the ordinary.
Here are the three simple steps I use to secure my bike while traveling.
Watch Where You Park the Bike:
This is by far the most important and effective way to make sure you bike is not messed with. If you are parking you bike in places where you believe you need 40 pounds of chain, then you probably should rethink where you are staying for the night.
I choose hotels or motels that are a bit more upscale, but not 5-star establishments. These locations generally have lighted and monitored parking lots. In addition, if you ask nicely, they will often allow motorcycles to park under the covered entrance. Of course, not always, but I have found that more often than not, they will let me park my bike under cover.
Cover Your Bike:
The old adage, “out of sight, out of mind” is 100% true. Most crime is one of opportunity, so if you keep your bike covered, you remove the easy opportunity.
Obviously, bike covers take up a good deal of room in your saddlebag, so look for something that packs small and is not flashy. Gray or black with no logo is perfect.
Use a Brake or Disc Lock:
The last think I do is to use a lock that immobilizes the bike, or at least limits it movement unless there are a couple guys picking up the front wheel. This comes in most handy when I am traveling on my smaller bikes like the Yamaha WR250R or my Yamaha Super Tenere. When traveling on my BMW, I generally do not use a lock because the motorcycle weighs just under 800 pounds and the average opportunity driven thief will not be capable of moving it alone.
Motolatch Brake/Throttle Lock:
In the past, I have used a disc lock, however recently I was asked by a company named "Motolatch" to test and review their brake/throttle lock. Given that this has been a common question, I decided to go ahead and do the review.
While my disc lock has been a good product, one of the gripes I have is that I need to bend down to install the lock and of course to remove it every morning. In fact, it is quite common for me to try and move the bike before I remove the lock. There is a bright orange cord that I am supposed to link between the lock and my handlebar, to remind me that it is there, but this is just another little thing I need to carry and honestly a bit of a pain. I generally just leave the reminder cord at home. For me, I want my travel to be simple and carrying the lock and cord is not simple.
In contrast the Motolatch is a one-piece unit that clamps to your throttle and front brake, so you don’t need a reminder cord. You also do not have to bend down to install it, something that is especially important to us old guys.
To install the lock, you simply position it on the brake lever and then clap it around your throttle. The front brake is then applied, and the bike cannot be rolled. Combine this with the ignition lock and the motorcycle is pretty much immobilized.
For a more detail example, please see the associated video.
The lock is amazingly simple to use and in fact no written instructions came with the lock. Fortunately, it was so simple that none were needed.
The one complaint I have about the lock is that it comes with some rubber sizing pieces. While these spacers are easy to install, they come with a small piece of double-sided tape to keep them in place. I think this could have been done better and I have added additional tape to my personal lock.
Overall, the MotoLatch seems to be made well and the locking mechanism turns, locks, and unlocks very easily. Two keys are provided with the lock.
While the Motolatch looks rather beefy, it is actually slightly lighter than the disc lock I have used in the past. The one thing I do like about the disc lock it that it contains an alarm, but I am sure it adds to the weight.
Important Purchase and Shipping Options:
While I appreciate the good folks at Motolatch sending me this lock, I had to let them know that my first obligation is you, my viewers. I need to be upfront and honest with you above all. Given that fact, I did some research into the lock itself and found that the same lock is marketed under several different names. The source manufacturer is a Chinese company called "Garris." It can be found on Amazon for between $24 and $34.
Motolatch markets the lock on their website for $89.99, on sale for $44.99. Fortunately, they have provided a discount code for my viewers/readers that will bring the lock down to $24.99, which is right in line with Amazon prices.
One additional thing to research is shipping times. Motolatch sources the lock directly from China and thus shipping time can take from 10 to 18 days. If you need the lock faster, take a look at the Amazon options.
Below are a couple of options for purchasing this lock:
As always, use your own personal descretion, when purchasing any product.
Motolatch $24.99 with discount code:
Discount Code (apply code at checkout): THESLAB50
Amazon: Monster Fairings $34.99
Amazon: Motorcycle Grip Lock Handlebar Throttle Security Lock ($28.00)
In summary, I really like this lock for its simplicity and ease of use. While it may not be a big deal for everyone, the fact that I do not have to bend down to out it on, is a real plus and means that I am more likely to use the lock than the standard disc lock. At $24.99 I think the Motolatch is a well worth the small investment.
Ride safe my friends!