I've fitted a Tracker to my Ducati – this is what it's like
Protecting my unwise investment
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Most people will tell you that the second most expensive purchase you'll make after a house is your car. And that's usually true – but (say it quietly) motorbikes are more fun than cars. And so my Ducati Hypermotard 950SP is by a clear margin the second most expensive thing I've ever purchased. And unlike my most expensive purchase, it doesn't have leaky gutters or contain a screaming child. It just does wheelies.
Given how much it cost and how much I LOVE IT TO BITS, I'm quite keen to protect my bike from thieves. It lives under lock and key, but there's always the idea that if some git really wants it, they'll have it. Which is why I've had a Tracker fitted to it.
Look! It has my name on it! You can geofence an area to get instant alerts should your bike leave it
The idea behind a Tracker is pretty simple – it will let the police find my bike wherever it is in Europe, using a mixture of GPS and cellular signals. It'll ping my phone whenever the bike moves without the ignition being on, and thanks to an app on my iPhone, I can check in on my bike any time of day or night. If my bike gets stolen, I should be able to get it back – and Tracker leads the industry when it comes to getting stolen vehicles back to their rightful owners.
Getting it fitted
A chap called Tony spent an hour fitting the Tracker to my bike at my house. He took my bike apart to find a suitably secure and sneaky place to hide the tiny black box, then wired it into the ignition, fired up his laptop to commission the unit and that was it. I was then given a card with my serial number, and promptly received an email with a link to register. I then downloaded the Tracker Touch app on my phone and I was set.
What can it do?
Through the (soon to be fully revamped) Tracker app, I can not only see where my bike is, I can see a whole list of my past journeys. From ignition-on to ignition-off, I now get a dated catalogue of all my rides, complete with maps, journey times and mileages. I'm a bit of a map nerd, so it's cool to be able to see my ride history on my phone. The updated version of the Tracker app will let you review your journeys, and you'll be able to share them with your riding mates – perfect for reminiscing about summer when you're stuck at home in the January monsoons.
The new version of Tracker's Touch app will let you share rides you've done – though we'd avoid Slough if at all possible
I can also set a geofence area, which will give me an instant alert if the bike goes outside it.
There's also an amusing section which will pull up the crime rating for the area I'm in – it was fun riding from my home in leafy Surrey to a less salubrious McDonald's near Gatwick airport and suddenly I went from 'low' to 'high'. Think of it as a slightly snobby way of helping you decide whether to stick a disc lock on…
Clearly having a Tracker on your bike does mean it drains the bike battery a little faster than normal, so it's reassuring to have a section of the Tracker app that shows you your bike's battery health. It's worth keeping your bike on a charger when you're not using it anyway, but if you can only plug it in for a few hours a week this will help you work out when you're due a charge.
What else do I need to know?
When Tracker's updated app comes out in the coming months you'll be able to manage multiple vehicles with one app login. So when I finally add a McLaren 600LT to my garage, I'll be able to keep tabs on that too. Looking at my bank balance, that may be some time in the 2050s.
Is it worth it?
A Tracker Vantage costs £189 to buy, and that price includes fitting <and your first year's subscription>. Subsequent annual subscriptions cost £130, or you can buy two years for £189 and three years for £299. It's not an inexpensive thing to buy, but in the context of a £14,000 bike, it's worth the money. Just having peace of mind when I'm away from home for a few days is worth it – if you're like me you're probably quite attached to your bike (or car), and knowing that you stand a decent chance of recovering it after a theft is quite a nice thought.
Add in all the added-value aspects of the app and it makes me wonder why I didn't do it sooner…
Get 10% off a Tracker
Use discount code TRIBE10 on Tracker's website to save 10% on a Tracker for a car or bike.