What are the best GPS trackers for electric bikes? To avoid having your bike go down the road without you. A GPS tracker lets you permanently locate your bike, whether it’s electric or muscle. There are different models of GPS trackers for bikes: here are the best ones.
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In addition to an excellent anti-theft device, a GPS tracker will be handy to protect your precious bike. E-bikes are more expensive than muscle bikes, especially if you have an electric bike. They are also more often stolen.
Even a cheap electric bike deserves all your protection. That is an excellent reason to do everything you can to avoid the painful experience of having your bike stolen, especially for real investments like electric cargo bikes. We have gathered the best tips and products to prevent stealing your bike.
Trackers are small GPS beacons, cleverly hidden on (or in) your bike, that work in conjunction with your smartphone. Via an application, you can check the location of your bike and follow its path if it moves.
So what are the best GPS trackers for bikes? We’ll tell you everything in a moment.
INVOXIA Bike Tracker – our top choice
This GPS tracker is designed to go unnoticed on a bike since it takes the form of a reflector. The GPS beacon is hidden in a commonplace reflector, to be fixed to the frame, under the bike’s seat, for example.
The screws provided have a specific head, a simple screwdriver will not be enough to detach the beacon. The marker is waterproof and designed to stay on your bike outside (certified IP 67).
The app provided by Invoxia (Android and iOS) is very well done. When you open it, you can see the approximate location of your bike. Then, by moving closer to 10 or 15 meters, you can see precisely where your bike is, thanks to Bluetooth.
When you make a trip, you can choose the frequency of emission of the beacon, from 3 to 10 minutes. You can also define specific areas and be notified if the bike leaves them.
Thanks to its tilt sensor, it can detect suspicious movements when stopped with the “anti-theft” function. The application will then send you a notification. You can also find the history of your positions or the tracking of your journey.
For this small tracker, you can count on 3 months of autonomy. It uses the low-power LoRa network and does not require a SIM card. When you buy it, you get a 3-year subscription. After this period, the subscription, which was previously charged 9.99 dollars or euros per year, will now cost you 24.95.
Invoxia also offers other trackers: the GPS Tracker and the Mini Tracker, which are a little cheaper than the particular bike model. So if you see another way to hide your GPS tag in your bike, you may as well turn to these models.
HOOT 500: the discrete GPS tracker
Hoot is a specialized European startup that offers two types of GPS trackers specifically designed for bikes. Although its products are not cheap, they have the advantage of being well-hidden on your bike.
The Hoot 500 is fixed in the pivot of the handlebar fork (whether it is made of aluminum or carbon). A special tool kit, which is supplied with the purchase, is needed to install or remove it. It is thus perfectly hidden, with a plastic cover that makes it unnoticeable.
Note that it still requires a little help to install, at the risk of unbalancing the steering. If you are not exceptionally comfortable with the different parts of your bike, a trip to your local bike store to install it might be preferable.
Unlike Invoxia products, the Hoot tracker uses the GSM network to operate, thanks to an eSIM card. That obviously has its advantages, especially the international coverage, but it also has drawbacks. The tracker must regularly tag on the network, so its autonomy will be impacted.
The Hoot 500 has all the features you would expect. Its anti-theft function will alert you in less than 30 seconds to the slightest movement, thanks to the presence of an accelerometer and a gyro meter. The accuracy of the location is excellent, to within 5 meters.
Regarding autonomy, it varies between one and two months. The recharge is done on an external battery that is provided.
HOOT 800: the network tracker
Hoot has also launched the Hoot 800, disguised as a cup holder, and is, therefore, easier to install yourself.
It is a black brick about ten centimeters long, wedged under the cup holder. It is similar to the Hoot 500, which works on the GSM network with an eSIM.
The application to be used, as well as the functionalities, are thus the same. However, this model has an additional function that can make a difference depending on your activities: it will send a message to your loved ones, indicating your position, in case of a fall.
That can be particularly useful if you often go cycling in the wilderness.
Apple AirTag: the alternative solution for trackers
You will probably think the Apple AirTag is not made to go on a bike. Although it is not designed for this function, it can be used as a GPS tag. To do this, you will need to invest in a small bracket specifically designed to hold the Apple product and be attached to the frame of a bike.
You can then use the beacon function of an AirTag to check the location of your bike. However, there are better solutions than this for several reasons. For example, real-time position tracking is impossible, so you will only be alerted if your AirTag (and, therefore, your bike) moves with you being close to it.
Not to mention that if the thief of your bike has an iPhone, he will be warned that an AirTag is nearby once back home.
Several models work on different principles regarding the supports to fix it on the frame. Often the easiest would be to find one on Amazon.com.
You can also find clever variants where the AirTag is installed in a bell.
This solution can be relevant if you already have an AirTag and don’t know what to do with it. Moreover, an AirTag costs 39 dollars or euros and can be a more economical solution than a specialized GPS tracker.
Another advantage: it does not require a subscription, and its autonomy is one year. On the other hand, you will not have access to alerts on the movements of your bike, for example.
Finally, suppose you have an Android smartphone. In that case, you’d better forget about this solution because most of the functions are not accessible.
An Apple AirTag solution is not specific to cycling but can help.
How to choose a GPS tracker for your e-bike?
How to choose a GPS tracker?
To make your choice, different parameters are to be considered:
- The accuracy of the GPS and the features
- The discretion and ease of installation
- The autonomy
- The type of network used
- The total price (including subscription)
What type of network should I choose (GSM or low frequency)?
There are two types of functioning for a tracker. The latter will use either the GSM network (2G) or the LoRa low-frequency network.
The low-frequency network has the advantage of having a very low energy consumption: the autonomy of the beacon will be better. The coverage, however, could be limited. On the other hand, a beacon that relies on the GSM network will have almost international coverage (like a telephone), and better quality, especially in non-urban areas.
Where to place a GPS on the e-bike?
There are several possibilities. Some trackers are designed to be camouflaged and therefore look like reflectors. Others can be inserted into the handlebar fork; others still take the form of a water bottle holder on the frame.
Of course, you can always be creative and place your beacon where you want, the important thing being that it is waterproof and that a thief does not easily spot it.
A GPS tracker does not prevent theft: why use one?
Indeed, the presence of a beacon, unlike that of a solid anti-theft device, will not prevent a thief from detaching your bike and taking it.
However, it is beneficial. For example, if you are not far from your bike (in a café, for example), and you receive a notification of movement, you can quickly go to the place: a thief disturbed in his misdeed will most likely run away.
But above all, a beacon can be helpful because it allows you to warn the police, who can follow the trail of your bike and recover it. So the goal is not to prevent it from being stolen but to find it. The other solution to help you secure your property is bicycle insurance.
In addition, a tracker also allows you to share your position with your friends and family. Finally, go on a mountain bike expedition in the mountains or the forest. That can always be useful for your safety, especially in an accident.