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  1. #1
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Alarm good idea on a folding bike? A quick review

    Early days yet. I will post more feed back with time.

    My wife showed me that a thief who did not know how to fold a bike could take it if you were not looking, even if you were in a shop ect. I always presumed that I would hear the loud "clank" if someone flicked my Mezzo from half folded to folded. I conceded that I need to fully fold the bike and keep it with me, or lock it outside in busy area. However one of the great advantages is that I can take the bike inside local shops and half fold the bike. I therefore looked at remote bike alarms. Other threads have dismissed the idea of a bike alarm, but on a folding bike it could be just the ticket.

    My search uncovered locks with alarms on and 3 cheap (?) far east versions on Ebay. So I bought the 3 cheap Ebay ones to try out

    Honest remote. £18 including postage.

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Bike-Motorcycl...5#ht_843wt_877

    Works the best, but poor provided mounting system of stick on Velcro strips that is not secure enough. It gives off a moderately loud beep using the remote from several yards away. This feature is a bit of a pose, and possibly draws attention to a bike worth nicking. However it is possible to alarm the bike from a distance without returning to it .This is very useful if I get distracted, or spend longer away from the bike than I originally intended. I am happy with the alarm functionally, other than I wanted to mount it underneath my rack, but it is too large. The only secure way of mounting it has been to the forward racked unique Mezzo stem. See picture 2

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Bike-Motorcycl...5#ht_843wt_877

    The other remote system was about the same price. Runs on 3 AAA batteries. This is infra red and is direction sensitive to activate and disarm because of this. Its range is greatly reduced compared to the other remote version.This system makes it less usable on a folder due to the difficulty of knowing which direction the senser is facing when its folded! It has a cheap mounting bracket, but it does not lock in to place like a light. Blimey! But at least it has a mounting system. I can either tape it to the bike like I do the honest alarm, or use blue tack in the mounting rails ,or duck tape to secure it into a light bracket. Otherwise I could glue it permanent to a light bracket. It is not as long as the other version ,but it is still too wide to fit under the Mezzo rack. I prefer the above one so far to this ,but the mounting system makes this more moveable from bike to bike. Picture 1.


    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Motorbike-Alar...ht_2391wt_1000

    The other alarm was about £5 including postage. This is the neatest package, but functionally I am not sure. It has a wide clamp that can go around the seat post or the stem. I have put mine on my Mezzo stem facing forward. It has a combination type entry. It gives a bleep to tell you the mode it’s in. You just press the “B” button to set, and key in to code to disarm. One problem is that it seems to disable the keypad for a few seconds if you set it off having forgotten that it was set. Runs on a 9 volt battery. I may be able to adjust to this system in time. However I prefer to be able to remote setting it.Picture 3

    So its abit like folding bikes generally. They are all better at different things. The quality of the two remote version is a bit suspect, waterproofing seem a bit of an after thought. The keypad version is the best quality, but it seems a bit of a fussy system, although its quick to set. I will continue to use at least the “honest” remote system for the time being.

    Conclusion worth trying. It gives one confidence to go to the toilet, or counter in a café ,or to leave the bike while shopping.

    We need someone like “Cateye” to make one that works well on a good bracket system with good long term reliability assurance. Let me know if it happens, its Christmas soon!
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    Last edited by bhkyte; 10-21-09 at 04:10 AM.
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Chop!'s Avatar
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    I've looked into fitting a tracker into the frame of my rohloff GoBike (after losing my rohloff Birdy to an opportunistic taxi driver GGGGRRRR!)
    But at present there doesn't seem to be anything like that available, the nearest are the type that velcros under the seat, which, in my opinion, are as much use as an ashtray on a Strida!
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  3. #3
    PDR
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    Hmmmm,
    But what happens when the alarm goes off inside a store (either because someone tries to nick your bike or you forget to disarm it before picking up the bike to leave)?
    People will either think you are trying to steal something or the fire-alarm has gone off.... either way you are going to have security rushing at you and customers panicking trying to get out the store and probably falling over your Mezzo.....
    The next time a folding bike owner tries to take his bike inside the security will say “do you mind leaving that outside please Sir....... we had some idiot set an alarm off last week and caused everyone to panic”

  4. #4
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Its already happened. It did not cause any problems. I only really take the bike into small stores. I have the key fob in my hand so I can disarm it instantly. Not many people take any notice of alarms nowdays unless they know its their own. Panic we're British!

    It seems to work well so far. Proof of the pudding?
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  5. #5
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Aye, the size of the fold you need depends on how far into the heart of the beast you want to penetrate.

    Thanks for experimenting with this, but I agree with PDR: how many false alarms will it take before they start asking you to leave your bike on the other side of the front door?

    I personally tried some proximity alarms marketed to prevent kidnapping and found the false alarm rate too high. Since then my personal approach has been to either:
    1. Lock it outside.
    2. Ride something cheaper so it doesn't hurt so much if it gets nicked.
    3. Use a smaller folder.
    Last edited by chucky; 10-21-09 at 10:44 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    I think its good to have the option of an alarm. It gives me more piece of mine on some occasions. I agree care must be taken so as not to trigger false alarms, making sure the bike is securely stood up. Therefore the key code version may get outed. Likewise the infra red remote is more difficult to disarm. The Honest system seems fine,but it needs a bracket system. I would mainly use the alarm in shops I do not visit often, or if lots of people are milling about.I have a small folding bike, its a Mezzo,its also wheelable but I prefer to 1/2 fold it and leave it inside the shop usually.
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Folding-Bikes's Avatar
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    I got my bike into Tesco today, they told me I had to leave it outside.. if I left it outside it wouldnt last long.. the Alarm is a good idea, but it would have to be incredibly loud to make a difference me thinks

  8. #8
    JustFoldIt ChainlessRev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhkyte View Post
    I think its good to have the option of an alarm. It gives me more piece of mine on some occasions. I agree care must be taken so as not to trigger false alarms, making sure the bike is securely stood up. Therefore the key code version may get outed. Likewise the infra red remote is more difficult to disarm. The Honest system seems fine,but it needs a bracket system. I would mainly use the alarm in shops I do not visit often, or if lots of people are milling about.I have a small folding bike, its a Mezzo,its also wheelable but I prefer to 1/2 fold it and leave it inside the shop usually.
    Yes totally agree (provided you can get your bike into the store/venue) that an alarm for bikes is a great idea. Inexpensive & although not 100% full proof (nothing is not even FugettaboutIt chain locks), it will deter the petty thieves looking for a quick+easy job. It's too bad that a lot of stores deny entry if you have a folding bike.

    Recently, I saw a folded Strida parked, folded & chained with a Kryptonite inside a Banana Republic store. I suppose that works too but must be heavy to lug around the chain (unless you're Mr T, foo!)

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  9. #9
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    What actually triggers these alarms (touching, moving, etc)?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Lalato's Avatar
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    You might also look into laptop alarms. We used to use them long ago (10 years)... but they were cumbersome back then. I'm sure they've improved signifcantly in the last decade.

    --sam

  11. #11
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lalato View Post
    You might also look into laptop alarms. We used to use them long ago (10 years)... but they were cumbersome back then. I'm sure they've improved signifcantly in the last decade.

    --sam
    I didn ot find much under these. But i could have another look. I do remember a "Tagus" system that did not look ideal
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  12. #12
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chucky View Post
    What actually triggers these alarms (touching, moving, etc)?
    They have tilt senses inside.
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  13. #13
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChainlessRev View Post
    It's too bad that a lot of stores deny entry if you have a folding bike.
    I have never had this problem. But I do not take the bike into bike supermarkets. Smaller Tescos have been OK so far. there is a "no bikes not allowed in Tesco" thread,that showed them as poor in policy customer care in this issue. Which shops do you have problems with?
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  14. #14
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=_ the Alarm is a good idea, but it would have to be incredibly loud to make a difference me thinks[/QUOTE]

    110 to 120 decibels. However you can muffle it pretty well by cupping your hand over it. This does mean that the thief will not have a hand free to do much else until the alarm stops after 30 seconds. This should be quite a big deterrent.
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Lalato's Avatar
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    This is pretty much the same style of device we used all those years ago...

    http://www.amazon.com/Fellowes-Motio.../dp/B00004Z76C

    Ear piercingly loud, but doesn't have the convenience of turning it off via remote.

  16. #16
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChainlessRev View Post
    It's too bad that a lot of stores deny entry if you have a folding bike.
    Although, if you walk in and just put the bike down when denied access I doubt they would go through the trouble to move it outside. Though with an alarm it would make quite a scene if they did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lalato View Post
    Ear piercingly loud, but doesn't have the convenience of turning it off via remote.
    Not sure how the remote would help though. I mean, if the alarm goes off are you going to investigate or not?

    Frankly, I think I'd rather let the bike get stolen then hoist another annoyance onto society. Car alarms should be outlawed as is, so the last thing we need is more alarms.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Lalato's Avatar
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    I think the idea is that you can see the bike from a distance. Maybe it only tipped over on its own. If so... you can turn it off without running over. Adding to that... there is less fumbling so you can turn off any false alarms more quickly. This should reduce any annoyance that a false alarm might cause.

    At least that's the logic behind it... I think.

    --sam

  18. #18
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lalato View Post
    I think the idea is that you can see the bike from a distance. Maybe it only tipped over on its own. If so... you can turn it off without running over. Adding to that... there is less fumbling so you can turn off any false alarms more quickly. This should reduce any annoyance that a false alarm might cause.

    At least that's the logic behind it... I think.

    --sam
    Yeah, well it certainly makes more sense for a folding bike than a nonfolding bike because for a nonfolding bike the thief can just ride off before you can get back to the bike.

  19. #19
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    I have got the hang of the stem mounted version now. So this version will stay on my backup mezzo. The black "honest version" stays on my main mezzo,and the other infra red remote is unused for now.
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  20. #20
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Stem mounted version would not disalarm the other day so I now am using just the two remote versions. These continue to give good service epically the "honest" version with the longer range remote.
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  21. #21
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Thanks again for experimenting with this bhkyte. However, I was thinking about this and it made me wonder, "If this works well then do you really need a folding bike at all? What difference does it make if the bike is inside or outside the shop window?".

    I guess it depends on how you use your bikes/folders. I use mine in several ways:
    1. Multimodal travel. The alarm doesn't help here and although you don't always need a folder for multimodal travel, if you have one then you always have the option of traveling via multiple modes. This is what I use my Downtube for: it's a nice workhorse that I can treat like a regular bike (locking it up, etc) while still having the option to fold.
    2. Errands...popping in and out of shops without locking up. The Carryme is perfect for this, it makes shopping around the neighborhood feel like shopping at a mall with everything seemingly right next to everything else. Here I think the alarm would only slow me down and although it's probably great for larger, slower folding bikes like the Mezzo why bother folding/having-a-folder just to get inside the shop window?
    3. Commuting/storage. Alarm doesn't help much here and neither does having a folder. IMO if you have a spot with your name on it ("chucky's desk", "chucky's room", etc) then you should be able to fit most bikes.
    4. Long rides. Let's face it if you're riding centuries the time spent on the bike basically overrides all other factors. For this I ride a recumbent...nonfolding because recumbent folders suck as both folders and recumbents.

    So adding it all up although I guess I could see an alarm as being a nice substitute to locking a nonfolding/unfolded bike for quick errands, I don't really see the utility for a folded folding bike.

  22. #22
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    There has been a few situations where the alarm and folding bike has been useful. They usually involve being more relaxed when picking up children from school vists or if stopping off unexpectedly. The combination of a bike that stands independently and gives warning is great if you can not lean the bike.I guess i could buy a stand! I dont agree about the lack of need for an alarmed folding bike. I will fold the bike or half fold and sometimes set the alarm,either way the bike either way its relatively secure. Its good to have both options on one bike.
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  23. #23
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhkyte View Post
    There has been a few situations where the alarm and folding bike has been useful. They usually involve being more relaxed when picking up children from school vists or if stopping off unexpectedly. The combination of a bike that stands independently and gives warning is great if you can not lean the bike.I guess i could buy a stand! I dont agree about the lack of need for an alarmed folding bike. I will fold the bike or half fold and sometimes set the alarm,either way the bike either way its relatively secure. Its good to have both options on one bike.
    Personally the only time I really multimode anymore is when I take the Megabus (and I only have to fold for Megabus because the other bus companies allow bicycles in their larger luggage compartments) because with my improving fitness local transit has begun to feel like a waste of money. Besides, carrying tons of shopping in addition to a folded bike onto another vehicle is so torturous that they probably made the prisoners do it at gitmo.

    So I'm not really in much need of being able to simultanously ride long distances, do lots of quick errands, and fold. Two out of three works for me and I couldn't be happier with the Carryme for the later two. YMMV; I'm just saying that if the alarm works well for you then I think I'd personally get more use out of it on a nonfolder than a folder.

  24. #24
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chucky View Post

    I'm just saying that if the alarm works well for you then I think I'd personally get more use out of it on a nonfolder than a folder.
    But my folder rides just as well as most bikes!!!
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  25. #25
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhkyte View Post
    Stem mounted version would not disalarm the other day so I now am using just the two remote versions. These continue to give good service epically the "honest" version with the longer range remote.
    I have this alarm and like it. Once you have problems arming or dis-arming it, it's a sign that the battery is starting to die on you. (When you change the battery, or if it goes low, the unit will default to the factory code setting. You'll need to reset a personal alarm code.)

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