Worried about your bike getting stolen while you are working? Worry no more because here are two bikes you can use for commuting to outsmart the thieves!
What are the best ‘anti-theft’ bikes for commuters that won’t get stolen? Currently, it’s a choice between the VanMoof smart bikes or a foldable Brompton. Although these are two very different bikes, they are both excellent options if you are worried about your bike being stolen from outside your work during the day.
Please note that only brand names are used below because both brands offer all their bikes with the same ‘anti-theft’ features to help cycle commuters.
VanMoof’s Smart Bikes
VanMoof is a Dutch brand which offers the first ‘almost unstealable’ bike thanks to its integrated smart technology.
Their distinctive bikes have been on the market since 2008 with continual updates and better features.
They have offices in several major cities around the world, including New York, London, Amsterdam and more.
Features to beat the thieves
In terms of features for commuters worried about bike theft, the VanMoof bikes all come with an inbuilt alarm, just like a car alarm!
Added to this is that the integrated lights (which also cannot be stolen) will flash if anyone is attempting to steal the bike.
A further feature in their most recent models is that of locking the wheels when the alarm is activated. This means that any would-be thieves would have to carry the bike away.
This is activated when someone who is not the owner tries to move the bike. It recognizes the owner through connection to the app and a smartphone.
If the owner has not approached the bike, it will light up and start to give warning signs to any would-be thieves!
But that’s not all there is to this ‘maximum security’ commuter bike: the best anti-theft device in the VanMoof bikes is yet to come.
As an added security feature, VanMoof bikes also come with in-built GPS trackers, meaning that your bike can be tracked by a member of the VanMoof team and returned to you.
VanMoof actually have a group of staff called ‘Bike Hunters’ who will go out (complete with bolt cutters!) and find your bike and bring it home to you.
This means that you can leave these bikes on the street outside work and not have to worry about them being stolen as they currently offer the most advanced security features for any bikes on the market.
As such, VanMoof bikes are currently the best option for preventing theft of your bike when cycle commuting if you want a full-sized bike that you can lock up outside.
What’s the catch?
OK, so you might be wondering how this all works.
Well, the bike hunting service is not free or included with the bike. VanMoof offer this upon purchase with their bikes as ‘peace of mind cover’ for 1 or 3 years.
1 year of cover starts at $100 with 3 years at a discounted rate of $240 (prices correct at the time of writing). If you are a UK bike commuter, then the prices are the same, just in pounds (so it’s a fair bit more!)
Remember that this ‘cover’ is essentially a form of insurance, if not worded as such.
The other catch is that VanMoof will offer to retrieve the same bike a maximum of 4 times per user. This sounds a little off-putting until you consider the chances of the same bike being stolen 4 times!
No doubt you will know the likelihood of this happening but it is another point to consider if you are looking for an anti-theft commuter bike.
One other downside to VanMoof bikes is that some owners have said that they are quite specialized to get fixed, so it’s not always easy to find a bike mechanic willing to look at them.
This means that VanMoof bikes are probably more suited to commuters who live within close proximity to a VanMoof store as servicing them could be something of a problem at present.
What about riding VanMoof bikes?
Well, obviously you will need to ride the bike for it to be any good for you, so let’s consider the right type of commuter for the VanMoof anti-theft smart bikes.
There’s also a big difference between the electric VanMoof bike and the standard versions. I had a go on the VanMoof Electrified S2 and it was a blast!
The thing I liked about it the most was that it has a boost button, which is awesome for a standing start at the lights.
The in-built horn button also gets drivers attention as it is quite distinctive. I liked the sound for that reason but some online commenters have said that they found it a bit annoying.
As for gears, VanMoof bikes come in single speed, 3-speed or 8-speed.
Basically, shorter commutes on flat terrain mean that a single speed should be fine, whereas longer rides with hills would likely need an 8-speed VanMoof.
The 3-speed VanMoof would be the in-between option for a few hills and a medium distance ride.
Brompton’s Folding Bikes
OK, so if you haven’t heard of Brompton bikes, you are in for a treat.
Not only are Bromptons likely they the world’s most compact folding bicycle, they are also a British brand which has almost all of its operation in London (something which I am obviously fond of being British!)
They also have a dedicated team of highly skilled engineers who use the bike as commuters themselves on a daily basis.
Brompton team members have noted that it is part of their ethos to keep operations in London because this means that they are forced to keep using the bikes themselves, and therefore constantly identifying ways to improve the overall design (which is already a sight to behold!)
Features to beat the thieves
Now, in terms of Brompton’s as an anti-theft bike for commuters, they are ideal in that, given the ease of folding and design, they can be carried anywhere.
They fit under desks and come with trailer wheels for easier transporting once folded.
They were for a long time the only bike allowed on the Underground in London, which says a lot for how compact they are once folded!
As such, with a Brompton on your cycle commute to work, you don’t even really need to have a lock and can stash the bike right next to your work station.
They also fold pretty quickly so you don’t need to worry about a Brompton adding time to your cycle commute.
Bromptons also come in a range of single-speed, 3-speed and 6-speed. The prices reflect the added gears, so these are recommended for those with a hilly commute.
The quick folding time also means that you can combine riding a Brompton with public transport or driving your own car. I say this for those of you who have a long commute – you could simply split it between a Brompton and your other transport option.
Bromptons are extremely popular in London for those traveling on the Underground on a regular basis for this reason.
Downsides to commuting on a Brompton?
So, Bromptons provide a surprisingly powerful ride given how small the wheels are. People even go touring on their Bromptons around the world.
However, Bromptons are suited to cycle commuters with shorter commutes or those who would like to make a journey involving other forms of transport (perhaps tube or train, or even part of the way by car).
They make for a comfortable ride but, if commuting over 5 miles on the bike itself, it’s likely best to opt for a VanMoof, or other bike over the Brompton.
Summary of Best Anti-theft Bikes for Commuting
So, if you have a slightly longer commute or just have to leave your bike outside all day then any of the VanMoof bikes will likely be your best option given their smart anti-theft protection features.
If you have a shorter commute and can stow a bike under your desk or in a small space in your office (think the same size as most bags), then a Brompton will be the better option!
Hope it helps and happy commuting!