Best bike GPS tracker: Give yourself the best chance of a stolen bike reunion

Best bike GPS trackers: Just the wheel remains locked to an anchor, the rest of the bike has been stolen
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best bike GPS tracker can make the difference between being reunited with your stolen bike, and never seeing it again. Avoiding theft in the first place is obviously the preference, but if your bike does go missing a bike GPS tracker might just make the difference. 

Like a good Boy Scout, you should start off by being prepared. That means having the best bike insurance that will cover you for the loss of your bike (more on that below). You also need to make sure that your bike is secured when you're not actually riding it. That means having the best bike lock too, either a heavy-duty option or one of the best lightweight bike locks if you want to keep the weight down when you're out and about. And don't forget bike security at home either - we've described lower down a set-up we like to anchor a bike in a garage or shed as a secure bike storage idea.

With bikes being a high-value item, robbery or theft while riding is unfortunately also something to worry about. If you're unlucky enough to have this happen, a bike GPS tracker might help identify where your bike has gone in the period immediately afterwards. 

It's also worth noting that the best bike computers sometimes have ride tracking functionality, so if you've got that turned on there's a chance that you'll get some movement info if a thief hasn't immediately turned your computer off or discarded it. If you've got a location trace for your bike, it's a lead that might help the police to recover it too.

Here's our pick of the best bike GPS trackers.

The best bike GPS trackers available today

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Apple AirTag

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple AirTag

Best bike tracker for iPhone users

Specifications

Size: 1.26 inches round
Waterproof: IP67
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Subscription: None

Reasons to buy

+
Free to use
+
Long battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited detection range
-
Restricted to Apple ecosystem

If you're on the Apple ecosystem, the AirTag will let you track your bike using the FindMy network. Like the Tile tracker below, it requires no ongoing subscription cost, and the easily-replaceable coin cell will give you over a year's battery life. 

If you report your bike as lost, the tracker sends out a Bluetooth signal that gets picked up (anonymously) by iPhone, iPad or Mac devices. These devices then share the AirTag's location to iCloud, which you can then access to find where it is. As a result, it's probably not the best device if you live in remote corners of the world, but it's great for anyone in denser populations. 

Inside, there's an accelerometer built in so you can set up to tell if your bike gets moved and when you're close by, you can ping the AirTag for an audible alert and get a pointer for its direction on your iPhone.

Best GPS bike trackers: the Samsung SmartThings Tracker

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Samsung SmartThings Tracker

Best name brand bike GPS tracker

Specifications

Size: 1.7in square
Waterproof: IP68
Connectivity: LTE on the AT&T network
Subscription: Free for the first year $50/year subsequently

Reasons to buy

+
Cellular connectivity
+
Smart Home Integration

Reasons to avoid

-
Short Battery Life

While the best bike GPS trackers will only be put to work after your bike is stolen, it's worth remembering that most of the time you own it, your bike isn't actually stolen, so whatever GPS tracker you choose, you have to live with, and the Samsung SmartThings has a few neat features that add value here. 

It is a cellular-connected GPS device that does more than track locations. Using the Samsung app, you can track where the device is as well as create zones for notifications when it enters, or leaves, an area, which is useful for knowing when your partner or kids are almost home from their ride.

However, for those who have a smart home, you can use it to trigger automations when you come and go, such as putting the kettle on, unlocking the garage door, turning on the heating and anything else you might want it to do. 

Best GPS bike trackers: Tile Stickers

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Tile Sticker

Best bike GPS Tracker for those who live in densely-populated areas

Specifications

Size: 27mm round
Waterproof: IPX7
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Subscription: Not required

Reasons to buy

+
Huge user base
+
Three year battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited connection range

The Sticker is the smallest Tile tracker in the range but, like all of the Tile products, connection relies on a phone. That means the battery lasts three years and there's no monthly charge, but it also limits its capabilities. It works like the AirTag, in that it uses Bluetooth and the power of community to locate your device, meaning it is a great option for those who want the long battery life, but don't have an iOS device.

Unlike AirTag, Tile is open to all devices beyond the Apple network, ie Android users, which opens the technology up to a lot of people. But the downside is that while AirTag has every single Apple device on the lookout, Tile only works with other Tile users, so undoubtedly a smaller network. As a result, it's likely only going to be useful for those who live in densely populated areas.

Best GPS bike trackers: the Invoxia GPS Tracker next to a phone

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Invoxia GPS Tracker

Best GPS bike tracker for long battery life

Specifications

Size: 105 x 27 x 9.5mm
Waterproof: IP-33
Connectivity: LTE Cat-M1
Subscription: First year included $39.95/yr subsequently

Reasons to buy

+
Long battery life
+
Three year network connection included

Reasons to avoid

-
Low IP-33 ingress rating

How many times have you gone out for a ride and found your cycling computer is nearly dead? Cycling computers are an item you look at constantly and they give you tons of warnings that they are dying, and we still manage to forget. Now consider something you rarely do much with but you need it to work if something goes wrong. That's the idea with a GPS tracker and if it's dead then it's not going to be very useful. The Invoxia cellular GPS tracker is about the size of a USB thumb drive and it holds a charge anywhere from 2 weeks to 4 months depending on use and conditions. 

Best GPS bike trackers: the Spytec GPS and a phone

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Spytec GPS

Best bike GPS tracker for quick recovery

Specifications

Size: 5 x 4.2 x 1.5 inches
Waterproof: Requires a case
Connectivity: 4G LTE
Subscription: Annual subscription starts at $19.95/month

Reasons to buy

+
Highly accurate
+
Small size

Reasons to avoid

-
Not waterproof without a case

One of the best ways to make sure you get your bike back is to grab it before it gets far. The Spytec GPS tracker requires a monthly subscription but can be set up so that it tracks location every five seconds. Combine the pinpoint accuracy and quick updates with a geofence and you might catch someone within a few minutes of a theft. Once it's gone, the worldwide connectivity and tracking - even when unable to connect to a cell network - should make recovery more likely. 

Best GPS bike trackers: a hand holding the TKStar TK902

(Image credit: Courtesy)

TKStar TK902

Best tracker with a standard SIM slot for flexibility to find your own service

Specifications

Size: 2 x 1.1 x 0.8 inches
Waterproof: IP6
Connectivity: Bring your own sim-card
Subscription: Work with a GSM provider of your choice

Reasons to buy

+
Standard sim card slot
+
Inexpensive

Reasons to avoid

-
No support

Some people prefer flexibility. If you like the idea of buying hardware then figuring out your own connectivity, the offering from TKStar might be a good choice. Inside the unit is a SIM slot and it's up to you to find a provider. The upside, of course, is that there are no contracts and tons of flexibility. If you are traveling and need coverage in a different part of the world, all you need is a new SIM card. 

Best GPS bike trackers: the TKStar TK906 Tail Light

(Image credit: Courtesy)

TKStar TK906 Tail Light

The best hidden-in-plain-sight bike GPS tracker

Specifications

Size: 2 x 1.1 x 0.8 inches
Waterproof: IP6
Connectivity: Bring your own sim-card
Subscription: Work with a GSM provider of your choice

Reasons to buy

+
Standard sim card slot
+
Inexpensive
+
Easy to mount

Reasons to avoid

-
No support

One of the biggest challenges with a GPS tracker on any bike is where to put it. It might seem obvious to stuff it into the frame but you need to be able to charge it in some cases. Even if charging isn't an issue a bike frame will limit signal strength and might even completely block the signal. One solution to the problem is to hide it in plain sight. It's unbelievable how often bikes spend months in the hands of a thief and even accessories like lights never get touched. You just might find that no one bothers to remove a light and is as good a place as any to hide a tracker.

Vodafone Curve rear light/tracker

(Image credit: Vodafone)

Vodafone Curve

Best bike tracker for added extras

Specifications

Size: 121mm x 48mm
Waterproof: IP67
Connectivity: GSM
Subscription: £5.99 per month

Reasons to buy

+
Built in lighting
+
Tracker charged from the light unit
+
Crash alerts

Reasons to avoid

-
A bit bulky at 256g

Another option that combines a bike tail light with a GPS tracker, the Vodafone Curve bolts firmly to your seatpost, with a body that houses a GSM-enabled tracker, with a removeable red light housed at the rear. Cleverly, the tracker is recharged from the light, which itself is rechargeable via a USB cable, so you're unlikely to find it's gone flat.

As well as the GSM enabled tracker that works in over 100 countries, there's a 107db movement alarm that's activated by removing the light unit from the tracker body. You can geofence the Curve so you get an alert if it moves beyond your predefined boundaries and you get ride data from the phone app.

The built-in accelerometer allows the Curve to act as a brake light for your bike and a crash alert for a designated contact too. 

Alterlock bike tracker

(Image credit: Alterlock)
Best GPS tracker for easy bike integration

Specifications

Size: 159mm x 38mm x 9mm
Waterproof: IP66
Connectivity: Sigfox
Subscription: £118.99 plus £3.49 per month

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Slimline
+
Aero

Reasons to avoid

-
Price
-
Sigfox protocol is not a single global standard

Despite its name, the Japanese AlterLock is a bike alarm. It sits neatly under your bottle cage and you can buy security bolts as part of the package to make sure it can't be too easily removed. It's charged via a USB port in its base and set or unset with the accompanying app. Since its GPS chip is only activated if the bike is stolen, AlterLock says that battery life is up to 1.5 months.

Once set, movement will set off an alarm and an alert will be sent to your phone. Over shorter distances it works over Bluetooth, but if your bike does a runner, it uses the Sigfox protocol over GSM to post its position, using WiFi and GPS signals to home in on your bike. AlterLock says that the device is as aero as a standard bottle cage too.

Sherlock bike tracker

(Image credit: Sherlock)

Sherlock bike tracker

Best hidden GPS bike tracker

Specifications

Size: 120mm x 18mm
Waterproof: Not specified
Connectivity: GSM SIM
Subscription: Free for first 2 years, then €3/month

Reasons to buy

+
Well integrated with bike
+
Movement and theft detection

Reasons to avoid

-
Short battery life

The Sherlock bike tracker lives in your bar end, so it's well integrated with your bike, and untrained thieves are unlikely to notice it and quickly throw it in the bin. It has a GSM SIM integrated inside and the upfront cost includes two years subscription, so you've got a while before you need to think about monthly fees.

Battery life is claimed to be seven days, after which you're going to need to plug the Sherlock's USB port into a charger. There's a motion sensor built in to alert you if your bike moves and the Sherlock includes Bluetooth for short range comms with the phone app. With a GPS chip onboard you'll get precise location info even if someone takes your bike to Antarctica . 

Best GPS bike trackers: the Hiplok ANKR paired with an ABUS 770 SmartX U-Lock

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Hiplok ANKR paired with ABUS 770 SmartX U-Lock

A high-tech, high-security, combo solution to keep you from needing to follow your stolen bike on an app

Reasons to buy

+
Piece of mind in a high-risk location
+
The lock is usable on the go as well
+
Ultra-secure

Reasons to avoid

-
Still requires a solution for tracking

You came to this article looking for a GPS tracker so that when your bike gets stolen you can track it. However, more often than not, bikes are stolen from home rather than the street. This is especially true of some of the most expensive bikes that never find themselves locked on a street, so here's another solution to the same problem

Garages, or sheds, are easy targets for a bike thief and they are places where owners often have relaxed security. When you get your bike home, even if it has GPS tracking, consider locking to the Hiplok ANKR using the ABUS 770X smart lock with an integrated alarm. Sleep soundly knowing that you won't come out in the morning to a broken garage door and a missing bike.

How you should be prepared in case your bike gets stolen

What insurance details should I check?

Most people rely on their home insurance to cover their bike. Compared to dedicated insurance for a bike, it's often inexpensive and you probably already have it. There are a few details to consider though. Those kinds of insurance policies are not designed for expensive bikes. In fact, unless you ask the right questions of the insurance company you might get incorrect information. 

Homeowners' insurance regularly has maximum coverage for personal property. This writer's happens to have $109,900. Bikes fall under that coverage and it often applies even if your bike isn't at home. Call your insurance company and ask them about it and they will confirm this. 

If you ask for more details what you will find is that most coverage has a max per item coverage. In some cases, electronics, jewellery, and sports equipment will even have their own special per-item limits. A nice bike, or for that matter a nice laptop, will quickly blow through that max coverage. Most of the time all you have to do is make clear how much your bike costs new then make sure the max per item coverage is enough. Don't stop there though. 

You also want to ask the details about the determination of bike values and what proof you need. The last thing you want to do is get into a haggling war with your insurance company about your bike's value. Make sure the coverage is for replacement cost, not depreciated cost, and what proof they need of that. You will want to have whatever proof of ownership and cost ready before a bike gets stolen. 

What records of ownership do I need?

Ask any police officer what information they need about a stolen bike and they will tell you the serial number. Without the serial number, even if by some miracle your bike gets recovered it might not ever make it back to you. Don't be slow about it either, once the bike is gone it's probably impossible to find the serial number. There's a chance the shop you bought it from has a record, but there are no guarantees. It's your bike, it's your responsibility. 

You never know who a bike thief is but there's a good chance they are criminals in other ways too. Your local law enforcement may, or may not, spend resources on investigating bike theft, but even if not due to bike theft, criminals have a way of finding themselves into the hands of law enforcement. They might come in for some other charge and if you've got your serial number on record as stolen it will turn up with a quick search. Just having the serial number, and including it on the police report, makes it much more likely you will get it back.

What help can I expect with a stolen bike and what should I do?

This one goes both ways. For a lot of people, the moment a bike is missing there's an expectation it's gone for good. On the other hand, there are other people who expect law enforcement is going to search day and night to get your bike back. Another common misconception is that bikes are instantly broken down into components and resold piece by piece. Or that bike theft is either highly professional or completely random. 

What we've seen over and over is a complete mix. Sometimes law enforcement will have an entire division and tons of resources committed to bike theft. Other times you will be completely on your own. Sometimes bike theft is highly organized and efficient. A lot of the time it's completely random and bikes turn up months later in almost the exact condition they were last seen. Even accessories like lights and bags will sometimes be there. 

Instead of expectations, do what you can and move on. Move quickly to mobilise any organisation in your area to help. Pictures and serial numbers will help. At the same time know that it might be gone and you've got to take steps to move on. 

Josh Ross

Josh hails from the Pacific Northwest of the United States but would prefer riding through the desert than the rain. He will happily talk for hours about the minutiae of cycling tech but also has an understanding that most people just want things to work. He is a road cyclist at heart and doesn't care much if those roads are paved, dirt, or digital. Although he rarely races, if you ask him to ride from sunrise to sunset the answer will be yes.
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 140 lb.
Rides: Cannondale Topstone Lefty, Cannondale CAAD9, Enve Melee, Look 795 Blade RS, Priority Continuum Onyx