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8 Ways to Make a Bike Less Attractive to Thieves

Bike theft is one of the most prevalent problems in most countries, and locks offer little protection from tech-savvy criminals. A determined burglar carries most of the tools required to cut any bike lock. You must thus think creatively, look beyond physical locks, and test some subtle psychological deadlocks. 

You can add fake rust to your bike or spray paint it. Adding stickers and making some parts look worn out can also help. It is also advisable to avoid adding high-end components to your bike that can make it stand out. Make sure your bike is less appealing to steal than other bikes.

So, in order to deter criminals from even wasting their time trying to hack the lock, we’ve produced a tutorial on how to make your bike less attractive to thieves.

stolen bike with seat removed

How to Make Your Bike Less Attractive to Thieves

Below, we’ve listed some of the ways you can make your bike less attractive to thieves. 

1. Adding Fake Rust

Any bike’s deadliest enemy is rust. The oxidation can appear as a fake finish. The best method is the toothbrush splatter method. A second coat will make things appear worse and further your goals. It won’t take more than ten to fifteen minutes to complete, but be cautious while selecting the brush.

2. Get Creative With Paint

Bikes come in great colors and fashionable designs, but it won’t take much paint—just a few hundred ml—to ruin it. Imagine a bicycle that is in striking contrast to the image of a bicycle typically linked with orange, brown, or bright yellow. Again, you only need a little to invest in spray paint and five minutes to spray it.

3. Worn out Parts

It is extremely easy. Simply destroy the seat or make it appear to have been destroyed. All you need is a couple of scrapes and some improperly applied tape. The same applies to other accessories.

4. Add Some Stickers

There are countless ways to make a bike look bad, but we can only choose the one that is most offensive and efficient. A few of them have stickers. Make the burglar consider how much time it would take him to get rid of all that rubbish, and then steal it without drawing attention to yourself. 

Anyone who sees you riding it every day will be able to identify you as the owner, thanks to all those silly stickers that have turned it into a staple piece. 

5. Pull Off Front Wheel

Any thief will benefit from a bike seat’s easy-release button. Replace it with a standard bolt and replace all the other bolts with Torx heads so that just the Allen key remains. It should be a surprise because this tool is not frequently kept in a toolbox.

The wheel’s fast release may then be held firmly to the frame by tightening a hose clamp. That will buy you some extra time. It goes without saying that not everyone will enjoy the concept of having to remove their front wheel each time they secure their bike, but it’s still a smart choice.

6. Avoid High-End Components

One of the initial things you should do is refrain from equipping your bike with expensive and extravagant parts. Thanks to these accessories, your bike will frequently look more expensive than it actually is. Instead, choose simpler, more subtle components.

7. Buy Time

Make your bike less appealing to steal compared to other bikes. Lock it in a way so that it takes more time to steal than other bikes. This means using several locks and making sure you can’t just pick uip the bike and load it into a van.

If your bike takes more time to steal than others, it will be ignored. All locks can be picked but the more time it takes to pick, the less attractive it becomes to thieves.

8. Remove the Seat

Since removing bike pedals isn’t an very convenient, removing the seat is your best option. This will stop thieves that need a bike for a short commute and then discard the bike somewhere. Removing the saddle makes your bike less appealing and uncomfortable to ride. It also makes it harder to sell as it requires the thieve to buy (or probably steal) a seat.

How do I Make My Bike Harder to Steal?

We’ve listed some of the ways you can make your bike harder to steal, even if it comes under the radar of thieves.

Do check out this video below to learn some other creative ways of making your bike harder to steal:

Don’t Park in The Same Place Every Day 

You can get a false sense of security if you leave your bike in the same open space because nothing has ever gone wrong there, right? In reality, you are helping criminals in their mission since they can easily organize a flawless operation by seeing where your bike is when no one is looking.

Are you aware that “professional” bike thieves frequently operate in three-person teams? The first person examines the bikes on a rack, selects the one that is the most appealing and/or convenient, and decides what tools are required. The second one arrives with the tools, releases the bike, but leaves without taking it. 

The third person just takes off on the bike; observe that none of them individually aroused much suspicion. If you leave your bike in the same spot every day, you can draw some unwanted attention.

Make Your Bike Look Cheap 

For the majority of riders, this undoubtedly seems counterintuitive. Yes, you care deeply about your bike and want it to look its best. However, this most likely means that the burglar will enjoy it and choose it over other nearby bikes.

If you must leave your bike parked in a public area, keep it from being too shiny and in excellent condition. Adding some dirt or duct tape might appear less appealing to thieves. To make your bike’s components appear used and worn out, tape your seat post, handlebars, and other points on the frame. Alternatively, you can place goofy stickers all over your bike’s frame to make it appear less valuable and make it more difficult for thieves to flee unnoticed.

Some claim that the easiest method to prevent your bicycle from being stolen is to buy an outdated and inexpensive model. While this is true, you should still make it difficult for a thief to escape on your bike. So, keep in mind additional bicycle safety advice at all times.

locked mountain bike

Lock Your Bike Even on a Balcony or in a Closed Garage

Be careful to lock the bike even if you put it on a covered balcony or in a garage if you truly have no option to bring it inside. When they find their target, bicycle thieves can be surprisingly inventive. Terraces and balconies on the first and second floors are particularly risky. 

Meanwhile, robbers may readily enter a supposedly “safe garage” or basement of an apartment complex if they follow one of your neighbors via a door.

Always cover your two-wheeler if you can in order to deter robbers from being enticed to steal it. Remove bike attachments and think about carrying the front wheel with you if you want to leave your bike in an office storage area while you go to work for improved bicycle protection.

Do Bike Covers Deter Theft?

For thieves, bicycles and even more E-bikes left on car racks, inside the vehicle, or in the trunk are prime targets. Leave that bit out when you’re actually riding, no matter how much you love your bike and want to show it off to everyone. Select a complete bike cover to conceal your bike from prying eyes and shield it from dust, sand, and scratches while carrying it in a car.


Bike theft is a problem that many bikers can, unfortunately, relate to. Thankfully, you can learn how to make your bike less attractive to thieves. We hope the tips in this article will prevent any potential bike thefts.