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Can You Add GPS Tracking To Your Electric Bike?

Okay, so you’ve just purchased an expensive e-bike. What are you going to do to protect your investment? A bike lock can only do so much and can be broken with the right tools. If you can’t keep your bike locked up inside all the time, a GPS tracker may seem like the perfect option.

You can easily add a GPS tracker to your e-bike for safety. Plenty of trackers designed for bikes exist in all shapes and sizes. You can even enlist the help of everyday trackers like AirTags if you choose, although they won’t sport the same kind of features, such as extended battery and range.

GPS trackers are a great way to add an extra layer of security to your e-bike. In conjunction with proper bike storage and appropriate locks, you can help mitigate the risk of theft by quite a lot. But which trackers are the best? What do you need to know about GPS trackers before you make any purchases? Let’s explore those questions and more; just read on!

Benefits to Using a GPS Tracker on Your Bike

High angle shot of a cyclist adjusting his bike s GPS

We’d all love to live in a world where theft is not an issue we have to worry about. But let’s be realistic; it is. This is especially the case if you’re living in a dense urban area where you may have no choice but to lock your e-bike up outside in the open. One of the best ways to add another layer of safety to your bike is by installing a GPS tracker.

GPS trackers are becoming more and more of an everyday tool. Look at Apple’s AirTag — a simple product that has been around for quite a while, only now with a fancy new look and price tag. So if you’re looking to add a GPS tracker of some kind to your e-bike, what are some of the benefits you can expect?

What are the Benefits of Having a GPS Tracker on your Bike?

  • Extra security: While most GPS trackers need to be hidden to be most effective, advertising that you have a GPS tracker on your bike can do a lot in terms of preventing theft. You might not even need the GPS itself; a very convincing sticker (on Amazon) might do just the trick.
  • Easier to recover e-bike if stolen: Even if we do our best, sometimes bikes get stolen. But we can add to the probability of getting the bike back if we install a GPS tracker.
  • Safer for you: If you use your e-bike quite frequently, it may be a good idea to install a tracker for your own safety. If you’re lost, making it possible for someone to find your bike will increase their chance of finding you.
  • Cheap: GPS trackers are dropping in price nowadays. Adding an extra layer of security and peace of mind to your daily ride is becoming easier and less of a burden on your wallet.

These are just a few reasons to get a GPS tracker on your e-bike. At the end of the day, you’ll want to use your GPS tracker in conjunction with other habits to help protect not only your e-bike but also yourself. We have a whole separate article on how to get the most value out of your E-bike, but it’s worth noting that you only get that value if you still have the bike and it doesn’t get stolen!

Do Some E-Bikes Have GPS Tracking Built-In?

Okay, so now you’re generally on board with the idea of a GPS tracker, right? It can certainly be beneficial for your e-bike and you. But is it possible for you to find an e-bike with one already installed? If you’re on the hunt for a new bike, this might be a good question to ask when deciding between models.

While you can find plenty of high-end e-bikes with many added features pre-installed, universal GPS tracking is not a typical standard feature. In the future, as the price of trackers continually decreases, you may have better luck finding e-bike models that include them. But currently, only a select few models on the market come equipped with it.

It makes sense, too. While GPS trackers are getting cheaper, they are still an additional cost. So if you consider all the other expensive components in an e-bike, like the battery, you can see why manufacturers will exclude GPS trackers to bring the overall price of the bike down.

That’s not to say you can’t find e-bikes with GPS trackers built-in; they’re just rarer. Some companies, like Vanmoof, offer off-the-rack e-bikes with trackers installed, but they are quite expensive. You’d be much better off purchasing a decent e-bike and installing a GPS tracker yourself. But, if you are more focused on convenience, there are some options for you.

How to Put a GPS Tracker on an E-Bike

One of the tricks when dealing with GPS trackers and bikes is finding the right spot for placement. The first thing you’ll need to do is find a quality GPS tracker that won’t stick out like a sore thumb.

Luckily, you can find all kinds of products that fit the bill. Some trackers, like this TKSTAR GPS Light (on Amazon) looks just like a brake light. Others, like the Spytec GPS GL300 (on Amazon), are a bit bulkier but come with extra features like extended battery life.

As you can see, you can find all sorts of trackers in all kinds of sizes and shapes. Regardless of which tracker you opt for, consider the following:

  • Is the location hidden? — Hiding your GPS tracker will ensure it isn’t removed before it can perform its job.
  • Easy to charge?  — You’ll need to charge the battery for your tracker; make sure you can easily get to the location.
  • Protected? — While you’ll find most trackers built for bikes will be waterproof, it’s always a good idea to make sure you aren’t placing the tracker somewhere where it will get exposed to damage.

When it comes to how to install your tracker, it’s going to depend highly on the brand. Some brands are designed specifically for bikes and will have bike-specific installation.

For example, one clever brand builds GPS trackers that fit inside the hollow tube of the handlebars. Other brands will utilize strong magnets to keep things in place. As you can imagine, this will affect where you can put the tracker on your bike.

Where To Hide a GPS Tracker on Your Bike

TKSTAR GPS Tracker Designed for Bicycle Small Vehicles Hidden Real-time Track Long Standby SIM Card GPS GSM GPRS Tracking Devices with LED Tail Light Lifetime Free Platform - TK906

As we touched on earlier, finding a place to hide your tracker is half the battle. While you can find super small trackers that will fit almost anywhere, you’ll be sacrificing some of the typical benefits for form. In this case, battery life and longevity. Keep in mind that these are electronic devices and require power to operate, so think about that when making a purchase.

So, once you’ve got a tracker, where should you put it? Some common spots, like behind your reflector, are the first to come to mind.

Some trackers come built with a specific area in mind, like the in-handlebar tracker we mentioned earlier. Others will require a bit of creative thinking. Think about the easiest areas to hide things on your bike. Which spot is the most inconspicuous? Which spots are the hardest to get to?

These questions can help guide your decisions. To help you on your journey, here are some common areas used when trying to hide a GPS tracker.

  • Under the seat
  • On the frame of the bike
  • Behind lights or reflectors
  • In the seatpost/frame

As long as you can fit the GPS tracker into the area and you can still get to it later for charging, you should be more than good. Since not all bikes and not all trackers are built the same, there really isn’t a standard answer to this question. Get a little creative, and you’ll find the perfect spot in no time.

How Much Do GPS Trackers Cost?

Alright, now onto the question that’s probably at the front of most people’s minds. How much do these things typically cost? With what seems like thousands of brands on the market, how can you find the best value for money?

Generally speaking, you can find a decent GPS tracker within the $25 to $100 range. But keep in mind that some features are only available with higher-end models. This includes things like extended battery life and range.

There is no denying that the price for these trackers has fallen in the last few years. As the price drops, you’ll need to do some extra work to find brands that are reputable and won’t sell you something that will break in a week. Also, keep in mind that some trackers just aren’t built for use with bikes. The most popular trackers you see today help people track their keys inside their house or help them find a lost gadget.

While you might be able to get away with using one of these lower-end devices, it won’t offer the same kind of protection and safety. If the battery runs out or the device is out of range, you’re pretty much out of luck. That’s why we recommend going with a brand you trust that has a history of building parts for e-bikes.

Which GPS Tracker is Right for You?

GPS and GPRS modul tracker for car and bike

So you’re set on getting a tracker for your e-bike, but which tracker is the best one? Since we’ve already looked at GPS trackers, you should have an idea of what one is and why they are important, but how do you know which one should go on your bike?

The reality is that not all trackers are created equal. Some offer high-end subscription services or geotracking, while others are just simple fobs that give you access to location data. Find which options work best for your purposes and budget.

To help you on your journey, let’s explore some of the most popular options for e-bike GPS trackers on the market today:

  • Galeo GPS Bike Tracker (on Amazon) — Not only does this tracker help you locate your bike, but it also sports an alarm system that can help keep potential thieves at bay.
  • XOSS G+ GPS Tracker (on Amazon) — This tracker comes packed with all sorts of bike-specific features like e-bike computer support, distance and heart-rate tracker, and more.

These are just a few great options for e-bike GPS trackers. You can find all sorts of products online that come with their own advantages and disadvantages. Always do your own research when trying to find the best product for your needs.

Lastly, let’s talk about AirTags (on Amazon). They are, most likely, one of the few mainstream trackers on the market you’ve heard of. So can they work in this situation?

The short and sweet; they will, but with some downsides. First, they are certainly easy to use and can track for a while at a long-range. They are also small and easy to conceal. Additionally, they can hold a charge for around a year.

The major downside is that they play a noise when activated. This means the thief would know immediately that they are being tracked and can easily locate the tracker in these situations. Overall, though, it can be a great choice, especially if you are already onboard with Apple products and aren’t looking to break the bank.

Other Thoughts

Before we leave you to go find the perfect GPS tracker, what else should you be aware of? Below you’ll find some common questions that surround e-bikes and GPS trackers.

Can My E-Bike Battery be Stolen?

Of course, your battery can be stolen, but will it be? That’s a different question. While the battery on an e-bike is expensive, not many thieves may be aware of this fact. Additionally, batteries aren’t universal, meaning you can’t just steal one and expect it to work on another e-bike.

If you are worried about having your battery stolen, why not just attach your tracker to the battery itself? This will solve both problems.

Consider Just Advertising GPS on Your Bike

Like we talked about earlier, sometimes all you need is to deter potential theft. Much like sticking a security company sign in your front yard, adding a GPS sticker onto your bike can be an effective tool to keep thieves from snatching your expensive e-bike.

Keep in mind that if this doesn’t work, well, you’re out of luck as you won’t be able to track your bike. If you do choose to go with this strategy, make sure you place the sticker somewhere very obvious, so the thief looks right at it before making off with your bike.

Mitchell A. Jaurena

Thursday 24th of February 2022

Tracking and alarm! A layered defense that works.