How Motorcycle GPS Trackers Work & How Safe are they?

Motorcycle theft is a very common occurrence as they are small and they have expensive parts. As a result, they are targeted by thieves looking to make a nice profit out of it. This makes it important that we safeguard our motorcycles from this situation by using safety devices. 

While buying these devices for my 08 Fatboy, I came across motorcycle GPS trackers as an effective way of preventing motorcycle theft. I was intrigued by how such GPS trackers work?

If the motorcycle starts to move with or without the ignition turned on, then the GPS tracker starts searching for the key which will be with the owner, and if it does not find the key nearby. It will then send an SMS or a notification to the owner with the real-time location, speed, and other related information.

There are many motorcycle GPS trackers available in today’s market with features that help prevent theft. They also have other additional features that can be helpful while riding. 

These GPS trackers can be installed in other vehicles you wish to track as well. The technology has also evolved to allow you to track your kids or elders by putting small trackers in their bags or pockets. 

Do read on as we discuss the exciting and useful applications of motorcycle GPS trackers in this article.

Types of GPS trackers

Now there are various uses of GPS trackers, and that is why there are various types of GPS trackers available. And here are the major categories of GPS trackers available:

  1. Personal Trackers

Personal trackers are small GPS tags that can be carried around by people. It helps track kids, elder people, and pets who may get lost in large spaces like malls and parks. 

It also helps prevent crimes like kidnapping as you can track the exact location that the person or pet has been taken to and inform your local authorities promptly.

While some trackers come embedded in products like dog collars and chains, other trackers are often made small enough that you can slip them into your pocket or bag without noticing its presence.

Apple recently launched a new GPS tracker that you can attach to your personal belongings, like wallet, bag, pets, or put it into the bags and pockets of your loved ones. It works very efficiently, it doesn’t need to connect with the GPS satellites. It can connect with nearby Apple devices, such as iPhones, iPods, laptops, etc. 

And then it sends the location to the owner’s device with the help of the GPS sensor available on the other Apple devices. This will be perfect for those places where there are no signals like in subways, underground places.

  1. Asset Trackers 

Asset trackers help you keep your devices like wallets, smartphones, and laptops safe. These miniature trackers can be attached with the device you want to track, with products like the Apple AirTag and Tile Mate coming with accessories like bands and slots to accommodate keychains. 

Trackers help you trace the location of items that may have been stolen or lost, helping you protect your data and protect expensive items

  1. Vehicle Trackers

Vehicle trackers are used to monitoring the position of cars, motorcycles, bicycles, ATVs. They are designed to be discreetly installed such that thieves who decide to steal your vehicle can be caught red-handed by local authorities without putting the vehicle or yourself at any harm.

Vehicle trackers are of two types. The first type of tracker requires it to be connected to the battery of your vehicle. As a result, it requires extra wiring and some effort from your side when it comes to hiding the tracker, as you must also conceal the wiring. 

The second type of tracker is a single unit that comes with its battery. As a result, they are compact and smaller in design, making them easier to hide within your vehicle. While some models come with a rechargeable battery, other models usually must be replaced when the battery runs out.

GPS trackers for vehicles are further classified depending on the type of technology they use. 

  • Cell-based GPS trackers transmit location data through phones and the cell towers surrounding the location. While it is a cost-effective option, it may be rendered useless if you are in an area with low cellular connectivity. 
  • Satellite-based GPS trackers are much more effective in tracking your location as they transmit the data directly to positional satellites located in space. These satellites have global coverage allowing you to find out the location no matter where it is kept.
  1. Cellular Trackers 

Cellular trackers are regular positional trackers that are integrated into the chipsets of our smartphones. 

While the primary use of the sensor is to provide navigation data and help us locate our position, it can also be used to locate other people or send SOS messages in the case of an unforeseen event.

Where can you hide GPS Tracker on a Motorcycle?

Your GPS tracker is most effective when its presence is unknown to anyone with bad intentions. Ideally, you must put your GPS tracker in a place that is hard to reach. 

However, there is no thumb rule that you must put your tracker in one specific position as motorcycles vary in shapes and design.

An ideal position to place your tracker is amongst the various electronics of your motorcycle. Since the tracker will blend in with other similar components, it will make it hard to spot, helping you secure your motorcycle. Doing so will also help you avoid issues due to varying shapes of bikes like bobbers and naked motorcycles.

Most motorcycles have plastic bodywork that can be removed to access the internal components of your ride. If you decide to place it in this location, you must ensure that you can put the bodywork back on securely to prevent it from coming apart while riding the motorcycle.

A good practice to ensure that your GPS tracker is well positioned is to place it wherever you think is ideal and then try to spot it. You can also take the help of a friend or family member with no knowledge of where it is placed. This will help you figure out exactly how well hidden the tracker is. 

However, you must ensure that once your tracker has been installed in the given location, you must ensure that you receive a tracking signal on whichever device you are using to monitor the tracker.

For example, you might decide to hide the GPS tracker within your gas tank to hide it from the naked eye. This will ensure that it is hard to spot, which would likely help you protect your motorcycle.

However, doing so can obstruct the tracker’s antenna and reduce the strength of the signal emitted. This will prevent the GPS satellites from locking onto the signal emitted, making it ineffective in precisely pointing out the location.

Another issue with this is that the gasoline in the tank can end up sloshing around on bumpy roads, which can lead to the tracker getting spoiled as the fuel may end up spoiling the electronics within the tracker. 

It will also be difficult to remove the tracker and check for issues once you have installed it, which could cause problems in the long run. Here are some common places where most motorcycle riders use to put GPS trackers:

Common places to hide a GPS tracker

  • Under pillion seat

Most motorcycles come with removable pillion seats that allow you to store items like a first aid kit, emergency toolkit, and so on. Installing a tracker here can be done with ease as there will be more than enough space.

  • Inside the faring

Most of the aerodynamic bodywork consists of plastic or carbon fiber external shells with hollow spaces inside. This makes a good spot to hide GPS trackers as they are easy to remove and install back. 

However, if your trackers get loose, they may end up rattling while riding at high speeds, forcing you to stop and secure them again.

  • Inside the headlight compartment

The headlight compartment has more than enough space to accommodate the wiring and electronics connected to the handlebar as well. You can comfortably install a tracker here without worrying about it getting loose or being detected.

  • Inside tail light cover

Similar to the headlight compartment, you can also install a GPS tracker within the tail light. However, be sure to secure the tracker as it could end up breaking the light if it becomes loose, which could result in you getting pulled over and fined due to broken tail light.

  • Under the gas tank

Installing the tracker under the gas tank hides it the best from prying eyes wanting to steal your motorcycle. However, it could get quite hot here due to its proximity to the engine. 

Look for the maximum temperature your tracker can withstand to prevent damage or improper functioning in the future.

Not so Common places to hide a GPS Tracker

  • Inside the seat foam

A novel idea of hiding your tracker is by installing it inside the seat itself. You can cut up a small portion of the pillion seat foam and place the tracker there. 

You can then cover up the tracker with the foam you took out and then seal the seat. While it may take some additional work, it keeps your tracker well hidden.

  • Inside the airbox

This is another location that people may not associate with keeping a GPS tracker. However, you must keep it stuck to the walls of the box with duct tape or other means. 

If it gets loose, it can cause damage to the airbox especially while riding at higher speeds.

  • Inside the mirrors

Another great way of hiding your GPS tracker is by placing it within the mirrors of your motorcycle. However, it is best to use battery-powered trackers if you intend to do so, as you will not have to worry about connecting the wires to your motorcycle battery.

Also, ensure that your mirrors are properly sealed and fixed to prevent the mirror from coming loose or allowing water to accumulate in wet weather conditions.

Advantages of Having a GPS Tracker

If you are still confused about buying a GPS tracker, then you must have to know what are the different kinds of benefits of having a GPS tracker:

  • Secures the motorcycle from thieves

The more expensive your motorcycle is, the more likely it is to be the target of thieves looking to make a quick buck by selling the parts or the motorcycle itself. 

how motorcycle GPS tracker work

Installing a GPS tracker can save you from the unfortunate outcome as you can inform the local authorities immediately and track the exact location to which your ride has been moved by the criminals. 

This will help the police nab them red-handed and prevent you from losing your ride altogether.

  • Live location tracking 

If you own a motorcycle rental or decide to lend it to a friend, you can keep a tab on the exact location they are at. 

If you own a rental service, it will help you ensure that your client honors the terms of the agreement and does not take the motorcycle too far, and allow you to bill them accurately.

  • Monitor the health of your motorcycle

Some advanced trackers come with the feature of monitoring the health of your engine, exhaust, and other critical systems. As a result, you have live data on how well your motorcycle is performing. 

This will also help you detect problems beforehand, helping you make repairs and changes before your ride comes to a screeching halt due to some sort of failure.

  • Route Tracking

If you are part of a riding group, there is a slight chance that you or a fellow rider may take a wrong turn or choose a different route. As a result, it can confuse the riders as to the exact location of each other. 

Having a GPS tracker will help solve that problem and give everyone in the group an exact idea of each other’s location. This can help simplify the ride and save time in such situations.

  • Lower Insurance Rates

Insurance companies tend to increase the premium if they believe your bike is at a high risk of getting stolen. This is especially true of imported bikes or exotic models that are hard to come by. 

If you are someone looking to reduce the premium paid on your ride, installing a GPS tracker will solve your problem. It helps assure the insurance companies that you can retrieve the motorcycle, which will reduce the cost they may have to cover on your ride due to damages.

Relates Question:

  • Is there any motorcycle GPS tracker without monthly or subscription fee? The revenue source for the GPS tracker manufactures is the subscription model of the device, and that is why there is no GPS tracker that doesn’t have subscription plan, but there are some which has more affordable plans.