Since BikeTrac was launched nearly a decade ago, the landscape for bike security has changed considerably.

Ten years ago bike theft was a big issue, but certainly not to the proportions that we witness today. Back then our prime concern was making sure we got the bike back, and while that is clearly the point of any tracking product, due to the increasingly violent nature of bike theft today, tracking has become more relevant now than ever before, for public safety alone.

As tracking has gained popularity, so more products have entered the market. For a consumer it’s easy to be a little confused about the different functions and services offered. And now, to add to that confusion the category ratings have also changed from Thatcham.

So, what does it all actually mean?

Here’s a run-down of Thatcham categories, tracking specific ratings and why BikeTrac is developed the way it is compared to others on the market.

Thatcham Ratings Explained

The first thing to understand is that the Thatcham number ratings do not signify if a product is better or worse. The numbered rating simply denotes the type of security product that has been rated, so for example Category 1 denotes ‘alarm’, whereas Category 2 denotes an ‘alarm with an immobiliser’.

For tracking, the rating has changed to S5 and S7 over the previous Cat 5, Cat 6 and Cat 7. BikeTrac was historically one of the few that offered 6 and 7 ratings, but with the changes to categories, BikeTrac is now ‘S7’, whereas some of our competitors are ‘S5’.

Here’s a concise breakdown of the new Thatcham ratings.

CAT 1 – Alarm 

CAT 2 – Electronic Immobiliser

CAT 2-1 – Alarm combined with Immobiliser

CAT 4 – Locking wheel nut for cars

S5 – Tracking – a combination of GPS or RF and driver fob mainly derived for cars / vans etc

S7 – Tracking – a combination of GPS or RF – No Fob small plant machinery / motorcycles

So, what does this actually mean?

Quite simply, S7 replaces both the old Cat 5, 6 and 7 ratings, so our technology still offers the same levels of protection, including Radio Frequency detection too – unique to our product in motorcycling.

Working alongside our GPS, GPRS and GSM technology, RF is used to track in very tricky locations, giving us the ability to find stolen machines where others simply cannot. RF is the reason that BikeTrac is trusted by the police too, enabling search warrants thanks to our ability of proving where a bike is.

Why not S5?

Where our product differs from the new S5 category is down to rider I.D tags. S5 now requires this, effectively meaning that the rider must also carry a key fob that is used to arm and disarm the tracker. The rationale behind this change is related to thefts where the keys are stolen also. In our ten year history, we have had 5 thefts where the key has been stolen and so because of this, we would rather put our faith and investment into the RF technology. To highlight its effectiveness, we have recovered a large proportion of machines utilising our RF facility, in the region on 25% over the last ten years.

What should I buy?

Naturally we believe we offer the best product on the market and we’re proud of the statistics that back this up. Our recovery rate remains over 90% and for those that we unfortunately do not manage to recover it is 9/10 down to a poor installation, often a self-install. We train all of our dealers and fitters to fit our units properly, in covert locations which then in turn offer discounts from many recognised insurer. On top of this, several motorcycle manufacturers have also endorsed our system and utilise it on their own demonstrator fleets too. It’s also worth remembering that products that do not offer a monthly subscription, will therefore not offer a dedicated monitoring service and therefore any meaningful Police response. For example, Police do not proactively respond to ‘find my iPhone’.

Future Technology?

Thanks to our experience specifically in motorcycle tracking with considerable work on the ground, our team are involved in hundreds of cases each year. This combined with our work in other markets now, including agriculture with ATVTrac means we’re very much up to speed on the latest tactics that thieves are using. Our entire team continues to work hard to maintain our recovery record, while we look to implement new and relevant technology.

We welcome readers to find out more about our system by visiting the main website at www.biketrac.co.uk and by following us on Facebook where we continue to update followers on all recoveries – @BikeTrac.