Anti theft GPS

Discussion in 'Parts and Accessories' started by Chicagoland Ebikes, Sep 4, 2014.

  1. Chicagoland Ebikes

    Chicagoland Ebikes New Member

    Protecting our awesome and value electric bikes is always an issue so I wanted to share this info. There is a pretty cool device by a UK company available for direct purchase online called Spybike:

    Spybike cost $150-160 and comes in either a seat post installation, a taillight, or top cap in the handle bars. I have pasted info below on the handlebar version.

    The Skybike is cool in that you can use you own SIM card with a pay as you go fee (not a monthly fee…as it is unlikely to use much data)

    There is also a start-up out of Chicago (where I am from) called BikeSpike. It is a similar concept but looks like a water bottle cage….and with the BikeSpike you have a monthly fee for tracking….which can add up ($5 a month I think, but unit costs $129)

    If theft is a concern for you…like in downtown Chi-town…you may want to consider one. I live in the burbs, and have accidentally left my garage open all night a few times without issue :)

    Whenever I am in the city however I am totally paranoid because I know bike theft there is a big problem.


    What is it

    Spybike is a covert tracking device that is hidden inside your bicycle steerer tube. The device is disguised to look like a normal head set cap to avoid suspicion. If someone steals your bike, you can use SpyBike to track their movements online and on your mobile

    Free Online Tracking Service

    Should your bicycle be stolen, this vibration activated tracker will begin uploading its coordinates to our free online service. You can log into the Tracking page and see where your bicycle was taken

    Cheap to run

    Install a pay-as-you-go SIM from your country. We do not charge for our tracking service. It is free to use.
    The tracker does not send an SMS each time it uploads. Tracking is very cheap with only a small amount of data being sent during tracking

    Anti-theft key

    Spybike comes with a special installation key. This lets you install and remove the tracker

    Vibration armed

    When you lock your bicycle up, you can arm the tracker with your arming keyring. Should the bicycle then detect movement, it will send you an SMS to alert you. It will then automatically start uploading its position. You can then logon and track your bike.

    GSM fallback

    Should your bicycle be inside a building it may not be able to obtain a GPS lock. In this case it will fall back to GSM positioning. This is less accurate but will give you an indication of where your bicycle is until it can obtain a better lock


    The tracker contains a rechargable lithium battery and comes with a charger. The tracker can go for months between charges so long as you remember to disarm the tracker before riding your bike


    The trackers main defence is disguise. It is designed to look inconspicuous. It appears as a regular headset cap.


    Initial configuration is done by sending the unit SMS text messages. Once it is installed, you should not need to send it SMS messages again. It is armed and disarmed with your Spybike Keyring


    Your tracker requires a SIM card. Since it will use very little credit it is usually most cost effective to buy a pay-as-you-go SIM and just top it up occasionally


    The Spybike tracker fits inside the steerer tube of your bicycle. You bike must have an "AHeadset" (it has a cap similar to the above photo). The tracker has a diameter of 23.5mm which fits steel, aluminiumm and most carbon fibre steerers. The tracker is 110mm long. This typically means your steerer must be minium 250mm long.
    Rusty likes this.

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  3. a4tech

    a4tech New Member

    good device details. cheers! but still im good with my tracker using a Trackimo 3G GPS tracker :)
  4. I have one of these and was never able to get it to get gps lock on. Only gsm data. The company is located in England so calling them was out of the question and my emails were never replied to. It is now doing a good imitation of a paper weight on my desk. If Court would like to have a go at it I'll send it to him to review. Maybe he'll get it to work. I really wanted it to work! Very disappointed!
  5. Mr. Coffee

    Mr. Coffee Active Member

    I like the boomerang bike cyclotrack. In general I think it will work pretty well. Although I fervently hope there will be enormous improvements in the phone app and website as time goes on.
  6. Thomas Jaszewski

    Thomas Jaszewski Active Member

    Some really cheap and actually workable devices from Banggood. Cheap enough to almost consider throw away. I suggest playing with these sheep seats before deeding to dig in a spend the serious dollars,
  7. Mr. Coffee

    Mr. Coffee Active Member

    I don't know... most of the less expensive devices I have seen work through bluetooth or RFID and have limited range and, in my opinion, extremely limited practical value. The ones that use a crowdsourcing will only work if you have a crowd. Some of the other less expensive ones do not include a SIM card or airtime, so aren't really a fair comparison.

    Whoever wins in this space is likely to do so with better software. At a minimum, "find my bike" should put you in google maps with directions to your bike, and at short range (say less than 100m) the app should act like a handheld GPS and direct you to your bike. Another aspect of "better software" would be much more intelligent power management on the gadget -- I ran the battery down leaving the bike in the back of my truck in the garage, since it couldn't get a cell signal it exhausted itself trying.
    Thomas Jaszewski likes this.
  8. Thomas Jaszewski

    Thomas Jaszewski Active Member

    Excellent insights!
  9. I've been using Spot Trace for a week now and have to say I like it. Got it home, went on the website to activate it and then it was tracking me. Cabelas will sneak these on sale evey few months for a few days and then jack the price back up to $99. I got mine for $54.59 after taxes, thats half price! Service is still $99 but it's worth it to me for the peace of mind it affords.
    Thomas Jaszewski likes this.
  10. Jeff Backes

    Jeff Backes Active Member

    The thing I like about the boomerang is the visual blinking lights and the movement alarm. I feel that blinking and beeping at thieves helps deter them.

    My wife does not like the iPhone app, she would like a more pronounced "Your Bike Is Being Stolen" indicator that fires no mater the state of the iPhone.

  11. Matt A

    Matt A Member

  12. Jamfan

    Jamfan New Member

    Where do u attach the device
  13. I put it under my controller box which is under the battery behind and under the saddle. The signal bounces off the pavement and up to the satellite and back. The unit gets wet but is waterproof(in theory) and I have replacement insurance so I'm not too worried. I can also put it in the mesh pouch on the lid of my top tube bag where it is barely visible as a small rise in the lid. Only thing tgat I don't like is that the messages that I get on the app and in email only give gps coordinates not a street address. I have to ask google where those coordinates are or put them into my gps to find them. They also put them on google maps but without the address. Wish the app could do all of that.
  14. Mr. Coffee

    Mr. Coffee Active Member

    How well does the Spot Trace perform when you are in an adverse situation? E.g. will it still track your bike if it is indoors? In a vehicle? Or someplace where you have a limited view of the sky (e.g. in a big city or a narrow canyon)?

    My own experiences with Iridium and Globalstar is that it can be difficult getting them to work unless you have a lot of sky visible from your location. I love 'em both and they both have quite literally saved my life but they do have their limitations.
  15. No, it won't track after entering structure and I'm ok with that. If it can get me in the ballpark with its last position report I at least have a place to start looking. If the thief makes it to his secret lair much after the last postion fix then I guess I'll be calling Velosurance to make a claim. It's a win win senario, if I can track my bike and get the cops to get it back and nab the thief great. If not, then I get to buy a new bike withe the insurance money. Personally I'd like to see bikes come with complete theft prevention solutions built into the bike just like when you buy a car. Someday!
  16. Oh, Spot Trace does work in my truck stuffed into the cubby hole that used to hold xm radio. No view of the sky there but it works non the less.
  17. mrgold35

    mrgold35 Well-Known Member

    I've been using Boomerang for my two eBikes since Oct/16. I agree about the phone app needs a little work along with the web based app. Seems to do a good job of tracking my bikes using either the phone or web apps. I can get around 2 weeks in standby mode; but, only a few days if the bike is moving and the system is reporting.

    I recently took a trip to LA from NM and placed my Boomerang in my SUV hatch as a poor man's LoJack. I have a 12v plug in the hatch to keep the power topped off when driving.
  18. Jamfan

    Jamfan New Member

    think of getting this device....where do you attach it?
  19. Roseville

    Roseville New Member

    I've started looking at a gps tracker. What are the challenges with the phone app and web site? Thx
  20. mrgold35

    mrgold35 Well-Known Member

    I've had my two unit for almost a year and it is almost time to renew the coverage with them in October. I think there has been about 3-4 smartphone app updates with my iPhone 6S Plus during that time. The smartphone app still mostly looks the same with every update with slight improvement in functionality or responsiveness. I don't think there were any changes to the web based apps I've noticed in the last year.

    Boomerang Unit:

    - Sometimes drops communications and you have to reset unit. It will not re-establish the cell tower link on its own once it drops. You can only tell if you look at the smartphone or web based app to see the last time it reported. I just reset weekly and hope that keeps it on-line.
    - no silent alarm mode when armed. I would like to have the option of smartphone notification only (text/email) with no unit alarm from bike when locked at public bike racks.
    - no silent mode. The unit does beep occasionally (I think when it wakes up from sleep or when the unit is in motion). I wouldn't want a thief hearing the beeps while stealing my bike riding down the road.
    - uses micro USB to recharge unit. Had to replace one unit because the charging port broke off from mother board. I can see how it can be easily damaged if you bump the USB cord too hard or force the USB in upside down.

    Boomerang Website: (can only view unit in real time on google maps, review unit info, and review/download past trip data only)
    - can't arm or disarm alarm from website
    - can't change password, UserID, rename bike(s), or personalize ID photo(s)
    - can't change email or text alert notification contact info from website

    Boomerang iPhone App:
    - iPhone app only give you "set Alarm" or "Find Bike" buttons for options. It can provide the Boomerang battery %, trip data (calories burn, carbon offset in kg, Gas saved), and previous trip data.
    - Trips start automatically and can't start or stop trips with an one button push to track your ride. A simple 60 minute ride might be divided up into 1-3 separate trips depending on your stop durations (more trips if load your bike on your vehicle and drive your bike to a location before riding). This makes any trip data useless because it is tracking every-time the bike is in motion instead of when you are riding.
    - can't change password, UserID, rename bike(s), or personalize ID photo(s) for bikes
    - I test every once in a while and sometimes the alarm notifications works immediately, other times it takes a few minute to notify my smartphone, and other times no alarm at all.
    - can't change email or text alert notification on the fly from smartphone (Boomerang folks enters the data one of each)
    - I have two unit on his/her Radrovers; but, I can only input one email and one text number for alarms. Wife would have to take my phone if she wanted both notifications at the same time. I haven't been able to get both units to response to either iPhone at the same time (arm with one and disarm with the other). I think the Boomerang system is made for one bike and one phone situations.

    I've been lucky and had no issues with someone trying to steal my bike(s) with +3300 miles between them in the last year. I view the Boomerang unit as the very last level of defense in a 3-4 layered security approach.
  21. Roseville

    Roseville New Member

    Thanks for the info.

    Losing connection to a cell tower is a bit troubling.

    I emailed boomerang a few days ago, but they haven't answered yet- I was asking what the monitoring charge is after the first year

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