Arm Your Bike–or Your Booze

What: Bike Guard Motion Capture Remote Bike Alarm
How Much: $60

Only a crotch-to-stem impact rivals the feeling that strikes when you discover that your ride is MIA. Earlier this summer several friends' downhill and dual slalom rides were stolen from outside their condo. The bikes were locked with a cable, but the thieves cut through it and hit the jackpot. There were plenty of people within earshot but, as it was 4:00 am the night before a race, everyone was passed out. Perhaps, if one or more of the bikes had been outfitted with a Bike Guard Motion Capture Alarm, tragedy could have been averted—maybe.

The Bike Guard is a wireless motion sensor that's completely independent from any type of lock. As far as I can tell, a small rubber-coated wire integrated into the underside of the sensor unit detects the motion, there are no lasers or eyes or anything cool like that. If someone attempts to make off with your ride, a 110-decibel siren sounds, hopefully drawing attention to the villain.

That's the theory. I put three AAA batteries into the Bike Guard and mounted it up. The instructions recommend securing the motion sensor under the saddle, so it's hidden from view but able to function.

It's important to properly mount the sensor, but the Guard's directions are vague. For instance, there is no explanation of which side of the motion-sensing device should face downward—a detail that would have trimmed at least three minutes off the 19-minute initial set-up time, which included a brief attempt at translating the French directions before discovering the English page.

The Guard worked as advertised. Once set up, it sounded every time the bike moved. But the delays between activation and the sounding of the alarm were inconsistent. Once, after thinking I'd deactivated the system (using the included remote similar to a key fob used for a car alarm), I tried to move my bike and it sounded immediately, causing me to hit the deck. Later, I'd taken four or five walking steps with my bike before the alarm went off.

The Bike Guard responds best to sudden jerky movements, as if a thief were quickly trying to abscond with the bike. A patient criminal could pick up a machine outfitted with the Bike Guard and ride away without activating the siren.

The sensor is water-resistant but it's also fairly bulky, making it less than ideal for everyday trail rides. However, it would work well on a commuter that you leave locked outside for most of the day. I do not suggest using the Guard without a cable lock. Though the alarm sound is ear piercing, thieves could cut off the sensor or simply pedal away long before the alarm kicks in.

After an hour of trying to get the Guard to consistently sound, I decided there are more useful applications for this device—liquor security, food security, and scaring the shit out of your roommates. Using duct tape or the included zip-ties, simply attach the Bike Guard to your favorite bottle of booze or snack food. You'll know the moment your roomy goes in for a nip off your Beam. I also suggest taping it to the inside of his car door if you're looking for an early-morning chuckle.