If you have an electric bike you know it is more expensive than a non-electric bike so if you want to leave it unattended at any time, you will need a good locking system. While most of the techniques for bicycle security carry over, there are some factors unique to an ebike such protecting the battery, display, integrated lights, wiring harnesses and the wheel that might contain the motor that you should take into consideration to assure your bike is still there and operational when you return to where you left it.
Effectiveness of Lock Styles
1. Ulocks - are most secure, especially those where both sides of the "U" are locked in place. This requires a thief to make two cuts which takes more time and has more risk of being discovered. These are usually most recommended, a balance of security, compact size, and weight.
2. Chains - a thick, hardened chain is most resistant to angle grinders since it is hard to hold a chain and grind them at the same time. They also require two cuts.
3. Ring locks - permanently mounted near the rear wheel of the bike to prevent the bike from rolling, often used with a plug in chain that you wrap around a bike rack to prevent the bike from being removed. These tend to be heavy but effective.
3. Folding Locks - a series of steel plates that folds into a small package. These are lighter and more compact than a ulock or chain and easy to mount on the frame of a bike if you do use a bike bag or backpack but they can be foiled with one cut of an angle grinder and the pins where the plates connect are a weakness.
4. Cable Locks - strands of steel cable encased in a plastic housing and connected with a combination or key lock. These come in various thicknesses but, in most cases, they can be cut with standard cable cutters and are not recommended as a primary lock.
Bike Locking Best Practices
Following are best practices that apply to all bikes, whether ebike or not:
Unique Factors in Locking Ebikes
Use high security locks - Most lock manufactures categorize their locks by security level so that the heavier, thicker locks are awarded a greater security level than a thin, light lock. Due to the value of an ebike it should be secured with lock(s) at the highest security level.
Consider a chain - Since the frame of an ebike tends to be beefier than an non-electric bike, a ulock may not be able to fit over the frame if it contains an integrated battery. In this case a high security chain is an option.
Heavier the better - while reducing weight is often a goal on a bike without a motor because lighter bikes are easier to pedal, this rule does not apply to ebikes, where the motor and battery will assist in propulsion. Installing locking mechanisms on the bike itself like a ring (also called frame) lock, or carry locks in a bike mounted rack or bag will allow the bike to bear the weight of the lock and enable using heavier, higher rated materials.
Secure the battery - If the battery is removable for charging make sure it has a locking mechanism and that it is locked in place so the battery cannot be removed by a thief.
Remove any accessories - Remove the ebike display and any other accessories you've added when leaving the bike. Pay attention to the lights that are often integrated on ebikes to make sure they cannot be easily removed. If the lights are screwed into the frame, consider replacing the screws with special screws that use security bits.
Make provision for the security of the wheels - If the axle bolt is easily accessible you will want to run an extra cable or chain through the wheels. Besides the risk of losing the motor if you have a hub drive system, the quick removal of a wheel by a thief will break important cables and harnesses that connect to the battery that make the bike work.
Sharon Kaminecki and others comment on adventures in bicycling and other stories