If you want to stop your motorcycle from getting stolen, the best way is to chain it to something solid so that it can’t be moved. Chains and disc-locks will slow a thief down, but unless the bike is physically shackled to an immovable object, then it’s easy for them to simply lift your motorcycle into the back of a truck. Once they’ve done that, they can move it to a place where they can cut through any locks with no risk of getting caught.
But what do you lock the bike to? It needs to be something that can’t easily be cut through or moved, otherwise it’s pointless. You need a ground anchor – a hardened steel loop that you can chain your bike to, permanently secured to the ground, or a wall, so that it cannot be moved quickly or quietly.
There are plenty of ground anchors on the market, but how do you know which are strong enough to protect your motorcycle? One of the toughest standards for motorcycle security products is run by the UK’s Sold Secure. This independent testing lab was originally set up by the British authorities to help consumers choose locks and other security equipment that would offer a better level of protection.
So, ground anchors which have received Sold Secure certification are a safe bet.
There are a few different types of anchor. Some are designed to be sunk into wet concrete that then permanently sets to hold them into place, and these are most commonly placed in the ground. Others can be secured into place using masonry bolts that can attach the anchor either to a concrete base or wall.
Kryptonite Stronghold Anchor
This bolt down ground anchor has a Sold Secure Gold rating for motorcycle security, making it about the strongest you can buy. It’s designed to be bolted to the ground or a wall, and comes with two masonry drill bits (a small one for a pilot hole, and another for the correct bolt size) to help you fit it.
Because the bolt heads are sunk into the body of the anchor itself, they are extremely difficult to remove – the heads cannot easily be ground off with an angle grinder. Once this thing is fitted, it’s not going to come out with a lot of noise and mess.
The surface of the anchor is rounded and the shackle folds down flat so that it can safely be ridden/driven over without damaging your tires. It’s just 1.65inches high with a diameter of 7.5inches. The shackle itself is made of 16mm hardened steel-carbon alloy, so it’s not going to be easy to cut through.
Oxford OF440 Anchor Force Ground Anchor
This Sold Secure Gold rated bolt-down ground anchor uses two hardened steel plates to provide a dual-layered hard target for thieves. The plates are secured to the ground or a wall with four anti-tamper expansion bolts.
Once firmly screwed into the base, these bolts then have a ball bearing and steel plug attached to their heads, which makes it all but impossible to remove them quickly and quietly. If a thief tries to take the bolts out, the plugs just spin harmlessly leaving the anchor securely fastened. Even drilling them out would be hard – the only way to get through is to cut through the two separate plates, which would be noisy and slow.
The advantage of this ground anchor is that it’s large enough to run at least two chains through. So if you need to secure a couple of bikes, or you just want to put extra chains on the same bike, this is idea.
Oxford OF442 Terra Force Ground Anchor
Another Sold Secure Gold rated anchor, the OF442 is designed to be sunk into concrete, making it even harder to attack. It’s pretty easy to install this type of anchor, as you can buy a small bag of ready-mix concrete from most hardware stores. You just need to dig a suitable hole, mix up the concrete and then just set the anchor while it’s still wet – within 24 hours it will be ready. Pro-tip – buy more concrete than you think you need, it’s not expensive and it’s far better to have too much concrete than too little for this kind of job.
The shaft of the anchor has two protruding steel bars running through at right-angles, so once it’s all set into hard concrete there’s no way any motorcycle thief is going to be able to pull it out of the ground. The loop at the top is made of 1 inch thick case-hardened steel, which should resist most kinds of attacks, and the inner loop is a little over 2 inches in diameter so most chains should fit through easily.
Choose this anchor if you want the additional ultra security of having an anchor sunk into concrete, or you just don’t want to do the drilling required for a bolt down anchor.
Thieves love motorcycles, they’re popular with both joyriders and professional thieves because they’re relatively easy to steal and resell. The best way to protect yourself is to make it as hard as possible for the bad guys to move your bike.
A good chain and lock will slow them down a lot, and thieves hate being slowed down because it increases the risk of getting caught, so a lot of the time they’ll leave your bike alone and find an easier target. The Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit 1415 Chain and Lock is one of the best motorcycle security products currently on the market, as it provides a highly visible deterrent as well as being extremely tough.
Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain
The chain itself is made from manganese-steel, a hardened alloy that is much more resistant to abrasion and impact than ordinary steel. This means that it’s harder to cut through with an angle grinder, and to shatter with a hammer and chisel. The steel used in the chain links is 14mm thick and six-sided rather than round, and this makes it better at standing up to attacks from hacksaws and bolt-cutters.
The chain is wrapped in a protective nylon sleeve so that it won’t scratch your bike’s paintwork when you lock it up. It’s available in different lengths, but the most common is 5ft. This is ideal for shackling your bike to a ground anchor or other solid object, whereas the shorter versions will probably won’t work well with motorcycles.
The New York Fahgettaboudit Disc Lock
The lock can be used to shackle the ends of the chain together, or as a standalone disc-lock. The lock features an oval, hardened steel crossbar which is 15mm thick, designed to resist leverage attacks – where a thief uses a crowbar to try crack open the shackle.
The body of the lock is also made of hardened steel, and is made to be highly resistant to picking and drilling. It’s been tested and approved by Sold Secure (a security product testing lab set up by the British police), as well as Thatcham (a testing lab set up by the British insurance industry). These two standards are internationally respected, and provide a high degree of confidence in the New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and Lock’s quality.
Like any chain, this Kryptonite product is not 100 percent thief proof – but the point is that the amount of time and noise it would take somebody to break this lock is more than most professional thieves would risk. Kryptonite rates its own products on a scale between 1 and 10 for security, and the Fahgettaboudit is its highest rated lock and chain.
The total weight of the lock and chain is 15.25 lbs, so it’s quite substantial but not so heavy that you couldn’t carry it around on the bike in a backpack. It comes supplied with three stainless steel keys, one of which has a built in LED light, making it easy to unlock the chain at night. You can register your lock with the company’s KeySafe program, so that if you lose all of the keys you can simply order news ones using a unique code.
This is one of the most popular locks on the market for motorcycles and cyclists alike, and with good reason. If you want a solid lock and chain that will make thieves think twice about trying to take your bike, the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and Lock will do the job.
Kryptonite is one of the most trusted brands for cycle and motorcycle security products. Founded in 1971, the company invented the concept of the U-lock and has refined its products over 40 years.
The whole point of riding a bike is that you get to wear a bad-ass motorcycle jacket. But even though looking awesome is obviously the most important point, there are other things to consider when you’re buying a new jacket.
If you should crash, it plays an important role in keeping all of your soft squishy bits intact and stopping your brittle bony bits from breaking. This one of the main differences between a proper motorcycle jacket and a flimsy biker-style fashion jacket, and is achieved in two ways.
Firstly, there’s impact protection, which stops your elbows from shattering into a million tiny pieces when you get bounced onto the tarmac. This is provided by body armor inserts in the jacket’s shoulders and elbows. Some also feature padding or armor in the back to protect your spine from being hit.
To state the obvious, armor works by absorbing energy from an impact, so less energy is transferred to your body and the risk of broken bones is reduced. It’s important to pick a jacket with good quality armor, but how?
The Europeans have created a strict standard for motorcycle body armor and, while it’s not legally required in America, it is widely used and provides a good indication that the jacket you’re buying will protect you properly. Armor which meets this standard should protect you from broken bones at typical street speeds. There are two versions of the standard:
EN-1621-1 (also called CE Level 1) covers body armor intended for any part of the body except the spine, so for motorcycle jackets this standard is most relevant to shoulder and elbow armor.
EN-1621-2 (CE Level 2) is a tougher variant of the standard specifically for armor intended to cover the spine, which needs extra protection, so jackets with built in back protectors should meet this standard.
So, If you’re buying a motorcycle with body armor (and you should) look out for these standards – the jacket or its packaging should have these numbers displayed somewhere. There’s no equivalent American rating system at present.
Does this mean that motorcycle jackets which don’t have these standards markings won’t offer enough protection? Not necessarily, but there’s simply no way to know. If you choose a jacket that does comply with these standards, then you can have a much higher level of confidence.
The other thing you need to worry about when you get bounced off your bike at 70mph, is what happens to your body while it’s sliding and rolling down the tarmac. Without proper protective gear, big chunks of skin and flesh are going to get badly shredded.
This is why you need abrasion protection. Traditionally, leather has been a popular material for motorcycle jackets because it offers good abrasion resistance. But not all leather is created equal, and for any motorcycle gear it should be at least 1.2 millimetres thick in order to offer enough protection. Believe it or not, kangaroo leather is the best and strongest available, so a lot of manufacturers use that.
Leather is not very waterproof, once it gets wet it is heavy and uncomfortable to wear and takes forever to dry. You can treat leather jackets to improve their water-resistant, but this doesn’t always work very well. A better option is to wear a waterproof jacket or oversuit on top of leather when it’s raining.
The other disadvantage of leather jackets is that they are not great in very hot or cold weather. In the cold you can at least wear extra layers to warm up, but in hot weather leather can be very uncomfortable – especially if you’re stuck in slow moving traffic on top of a hot motorcycle engine.
There are a lot of options for man-made textiles instead of leather, with many of the big manufacturers using their own brand of special materials. These are usually waterproof, breathable and a lot more comfortable in warm weather.
The disadvantage of textile motorcycle jackets is that they often do not offer the same level of abrasion resistance as good quality leather. But the fact that they are much more practical and comfortable in different weather conditions means that this is a tradeoff many riders are willing to make.
Whatever material is used, it’s important that the different panels that make up the jacket are double-stitched so that it will hold together in a crash. Even the best leather will be useless if the seams tear apart due to weak stitching.
Jackets for all Seasons
Most motorcyclists won’t want to buy more than one jacket, so they need one which will work well in all seasons. If you frequently ride in the rain you should probably avoid leather, and pick a textile jacket with good waterproofing.
It’s also worth thinking about how the jacket’s cuffs work. If you ride in the rain, you want the cuffs to fit over the sleeve of your gloves so that the water runs off, instead of into the glove. Most good jackets feature zippers which allow the cuffs to be opened wide enough to fit over gloves, and often Velcro straps to help keep the jacket cuff sealed tight over the glove so that wind doesn’t get in.
If you often ride in very hot weather, conventional motorcycle jackets tend to get uncomfortably hot, so mesh jackets are a good compromise. These are made out of a man-made mesh textile that allows air to flow through whilst still providing a degree of abrasion resistance, as well as the usual armored padding on the shoulder and elbow joints.
If you ride all year round, through winter and summer, it’s a good idea to find a jacket with a removable lining that will provide extra insulation when you need it. Trying to keep cool in warm weather can be tough, but many jackets feature vents on the chest, arms and back which can be opened (usually with a zipper) to let air flow through.
Finally, make sure you pay attention to the collar of the jacket. If you need the jacket to keep you warm, then the collar should fit snugly around the neck so that heat doesn’t escape and cold air doesn’t blow in.
Popular Men’s Motorcycle Jacket Styles
Classic Leather Biker Jacket
Made popular in the fifties, this is what most people picture when they think of a motorcycle jacket. These days they’re more of a fashion statement than practical motorcycle gear, as they’ve been replaced by more modern designs and materials.
All the same, the classic style is hard to beat if you want to look good. Remember, make sure the jacket is constructed from good quality leather (at least 1.2mm thick) with double stitching. Avoid jackets which look the part but don’t offer any real protection.
Motorcycle Racing Style Jacket
A more modern, sleeker looking variant on the classic biker jacket, this style has a sportier look. This type of jacket usually has more safety features and is more likely to include body armor inserts on the elbows and shoulders, as well as a spine protector.
Like the classic jacket, these are most likely to be made from leather so it’s important to choose a good quality one. Good leather offers better abrasion resistance than most other materials. This type of jacket is best suited to motorcyclists who only use their bikes for leisure in good weather. For commuters or tourers who need to ride in a all weathers, there are better options.
Motorcycle Adventure Touring Jacket
Designed with comfort, convenience and weather protection as priorities, these jackets are designed for riders who spend all day on their bikes and have to cope with lots of different riding conditions.
They can also be great for commuters, but bear in mind that for the sake of comfort some touring jackets might not offer the best levels of crash protection. That said, many of them do feature CE rated armor and good abrasion resistance, so if you find the right one it should do the job well.
Touring jackets tend to feature lots of pockets for storing phones, maps, wallets and other bits and pieces because, if you’re riding on long journeys, you don’t want to rummage around in your bag every time you stop for a coffee break.
Modern Textile Motorcycle Jacket
Built as a practical all-round jacket using modern design and materials. A good textile jacket will provide great crash protection as well as a reasonable level of weather-proofing so if you get caught in a downpour on the way to work you won’t get soaked.
They usually have removable linings and zippered air vents to help you stay cool in the summer months. Textile jackets often have safety features that you won’t find on their leather counterparts, such as high-visibility patches and reflective piping.
Although they might not look as cool as leather jackets to most people, modern textile jackets are great for everyday practicality and that makes them ideal for commuters who need to ride their bikes to work.
As with all motorcycle safety gear, don’t be tempted to cheap out and save yourself some money. That instant we all hope will never come, when something goes wrong and you feel yourself being thrown off your bike at speed, you’ll be glad of every last dollar you invested in your gear.
A motorcycle jacket is supposed to protect you from death or serious injury. So don’t buy a cheap jacket just because it looks good. Spend a little extra on one with the best protection you can afford.
And if you are unlucky enough to have an accident, always get your jacket checked out by a professional – if it looks damaged and you can’t get it safely repaired, then replace it with a new one.