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SpyLamp and SpyBike GPS tracking device!

dave1986dave1986 Posts: 61
edited January 2017 in MTB buying advice

I recently had my Cube Ltd Race bike stolen, and wondered if I could have recovered it if I'd has a GPS tracking device installed.

I found these two devices online called SpyLamp and SpyBike ( which I am considering buying for my new bike (as well as a very good lock!)

Has anyone tried or heard anything about these devices? The SpyBike seems to be a better idea because it's hidden inside the bike, but I would be concerned this would be difficult to install in some bikes and may lead to bad GPS reception?

Any info would be much appreciated!



  • S-MS-M Posts: 174
    Great idea, expensive though..
    1999 Specialized FSR Elite MAX Backbone.
    1998 Specialized FSR Ground Control - stripped for parts.
    2011 Boardman Pro HT - SOLD! (low quality, expensive garbage)
  • I suppose it depends on the cost of your bike... if your bike is worth over £1000 then I would say it's reasonable, and would be worth it just to catch the bast***s!

    My main concern is theives getting to know about the SpyLamp (even though it looks like a regular light) and removing it. The SpyLamp has a vibration sensor, so even if they were to remove it you would recieve a txt to warn you which may give you some minutes to catch them in the act if you were close by. (In the case of my bike being stolen just meters away whilst I was sleeping)

    Has anybody tried the more discreet and hidden SpyBike? There is almost no infotmation online about this product. I'd like to know more about the quality of GPS reception, battery life, and ease of installation.

    SpyBike : This seems more hidden and harder to remove, but I can't find any info online!?

    SpyLamp : My guess is that this would get better GPS signal as it is not hidden inside the frame??? But can be easliy removed.

  • PudseypPudseyp Posts: 3,514
    Wouldn't trust it to be honest, on the site they acn't even spell lock also says long battery long is there a warning if the battery is low ? how do you know it hasn't run out...just my look it would get stolen when the battery was flat..most bikes get stolen for parts so it's wouldn't take them long to find it...
    Tomac Synper 140 Giant XTC Alliance 1
    If the world was flat, I wouldn't be riding !
  • Apparently the SpyLamp txt's you when the battery is low and you can txt to request battery power information whenever you want. See pdf information file:

    I still can't find any info about the SpyBike... if it has all the same features and battery life and GPS reception as the SpyLamp then I would certainly buy one but no info is available :(
  • Dave, I looked at buying a Spylamp a month or so ago - sounds like I'm on the same boat as you, had a pride-and-joy bike nicked a while back. Not only could I not order a Spylamp (out of stock) but the Spybike just didn't exist on the site. So I can only imagine it is brand new.

    I agree there's no information about it, in fact one of the top google hits was this thread (but been thinking about joining bikeradar for a while now in any case). Anyway I have just ordered one which admittedly is a bit of a gamble, but I'll post info back here when I form an opinion.

    Cheers, Pete
  • Hi Pete,

    Thanks for your reply! Did you order the SpyBike or SpyLamp? I emailed the company yesterday to find out information about the differences between the two devices but I've had no reply yet.

    I would be very interested to hear what you think of it when it arrives so please keep us posted! I think if the SpyBike does the same as SpyLamp then it will be money well spent!

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 50,675 Lives Here
    looks easy to remove.

    looks easy to spot.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • CFSCFS Posts: 124
    Guessing the antenna must be in the Headset cap for the Spybike one. If it earths to the frame the reception might be better.

    As for signal, If it is pure GPS, signal may not be to good if stolen bike is stored indoors away from a window. if it uses a phone signal then maybe better. Can't see a battery lasting too long GPS receivers and mobile phones don't exactly last long on batteries.
    Shot by both sides...
  • nicklouse wrote:
    looks easy to remove.

    looks easy to spot.
    You're right, the SpyLamp looks easy to spot and easy to remove, but i think if the SpyBike works well then it wouldn't be easily spotted and would at least give you an alarm warning the second your bike is stolen.
    CFS wrote:
    Guessing the antenna must be in the Headset cap for the Spybike one. If it earths to the frame the reception might be better.

    As for signal, If it is pure GPS, signal may not be to good if stolen bike is stored indoors away from a window. if it uses a phone signal then maybe better. Can't see a battery lasting too long GPS receivers and mobile phones don't exactly last long on batteries.

    Apparently they use GSM signal if no GPS signal is available which is less accurate (200m) but would give you a rough idea. I'll be interested to see what Pete thinks of it when it arrives.

  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 50,675 Lives Here
    it all depends on the person taking the bike.

    if it is some numpty taking because you have left it poorly secured then yes. but if it is someone who know what they are doing then they will know the best deals are for parts and as soon as they find that then the identifying parts will be long gone as will any other evidence.

    if you want to get your bike back stop it getting stolen in the first place. and make sure any security device fully complies with your insurance. Because if someone want it it WILL go.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • Nicklouse, you make a very good point. I think if its a professional theif after your bike then unless you're very quick off the mark then you wouldnt stand too much chance. However, if you had this device (SpyBike) installed and activated hidden inside the frame then at least you would be given a txt message warning which may give you chance to track the bastards down before they take the bike to pieces and remove the device from inside the frame.

    I know they say you should spend 10% of your bike value on security. If you have a bike costing £2000 or more then I dont see any reason that this shouldnt be a good investment.
    2 x heavy duty locks(Sold Secure Gold rated) costing about £50 each + A GPS tracking system for £100.

    I absolutely HATE thieves with a passion. I really hope this bit of kit turns out to be good... I'd love to just buy a cheap bike to try and catch the bastards in the act!
  • dave1986dave1986 Posts: 61
    edited December 2011
    I emailed the manufacturers of SpyBike and SpyLamp and received the response below. Does anybody know whether a Cube AMS 130 will have a 25mm steel steerer tube? Is that a standard size?

    On 17/12/2011 12:05, david wrote:
    Hi there,

    I recently had my mountain bike stolen and I'm looking at the option of getting a GPS tracker for my new bike.

    I notice that you sell 2 products on your website for bikes; the SpyLamp and the SpyBike. The SpyBike appears to be more secure, hidden, and harder to remove than the SpyLamp, but are there any disadvantages over the SpyLamp system?

    I am interested in buying the SpyBike, but have the following questions:

    - Is the GPS signal reception weaker than the SpyLamp and if so how much weaker?
    - Is the battry life shorter than the SpyLamp and if so how long does it last in standby mode and in frequent usage?
    - Can the SpyBike be easily fitted to any bike? If not then will it fit to a Cube AMS mountain bike?
    - Are there any other advantages/ disadvantages between these two products?
    - Are both products available to buy in the UK now?

    I should be grateful if you would provide as much information as possible to compare all of the differences in performance between these two products to help me decide which is more suitable for me. I look forward to hearing your response.

    Kind regards,

    Hello David,

    Thankyou for your email and your interest in our products.

    The GPS signal is similar on Spybike and Spylamp
    The battery life is slightly longer on Spybike. Exact length of time is dependant on the mobile phone signal strength in your area (the stronger it is the quicker it connects and the longer the battery lasts). You should expect at least 3 months standby and up to a year in good conditions)
    Spybike is more dificult to install and wont ift all bikes. The current version requires a 25mm steel steerer tube. We will release a 23.5mm version for carbon fibre in Jan
    Only Spybike is currently available

    Kind regards,
  • Another very useful and informative response to some more of my questions from the manufacturers of SpyBike below...

    On 22/12/2011 20:13, david wrote:
    Hi Harley,

    Thanks for your email and your answers to my questions. However, I have a few more questions which I hope you can answer for me.

    •I'm looking at buying a Cube AMS 130 mountain bike. Will the regular 25mm SpyBike fit inside this bike's steerer tube?
    •I'm also considering buying a pinhead headset lock for my bike to make the headset more secure (special headset bolt which requires a unique key to open - see photo below). Will this pinhead headset lock be compatible with SpyBike?
    •Would I be able to use the headset that comes as standard on my Cube AMS bike?
    •Other than the light, does SpyBike have all the same functions and txt message commands that are available as advertised on SpyLamp?
    •What is the weight of SpyBike?
    •Is there a way of setting the SpyBike to stay "awake" permanently in the event that your bike is stored in a high crime area?
    •I assume that the minimum 3 month battery life is when the SpyBike is set to "wake up" for a few minutes twice per day to check whether it has been stolen?

    Apologies for all the questions!

    Best regards,
    Hi David,

    Thankyou for your email.

    I'm sorry, I am not familiar with the Cube AMS 130 exactly. I had a look at a review of the bike.

    The important things to consider for Spybike are the diamter of the steerer tube and then length of unbutted tubing. The current tracker is 25mm diameter and 110mm long. Basically, will it fit in the steerer tube.

    On the review I saw, it said the cube had a 1.5/1.125 tapered steerer tube. That means it is a standard 1 1/8 inch at the top but flares out towards the bottom. I could not see what material it was made our of but I would guess it is aluminium. This would require a 23.5mm diameter tracker as aluminium tubes have thicker walls.

    Regarding the length of the tracker. In my experience of tapered head tubes, the internal diamter either stays the same or actually increases towards the bottom of the steerer tube. If it is constant then you could just push your existing star nut down. If it flares, then you would need to use an expanding steerer plug instead of the star nut. These are easy to come by at bike stores or online. You can pick up a light aluminium one if you want to reduce weight.

    So in summary of your first point, from the information I could find on your bike. I think it would fit, but you will need to wait for the 23.5mm diameter tracker. Since all bikes/steerers are different, it is not possible for us to say with 100% certainty that the tracker will fit a particular bike so we offer a money back policy if you find it is not suitable for your bike.

    The pinhead would not be compatible since the Spybike tracker effectively replaces the headset cap in the same way the pinhead does. So the pinhead would become redundant.

    Yes, you would use the headset. The only difference would be the Spybike would replace the headset cap. However, you can still remove the Spybike and use your original headset cap when you want to. ie. If you needed to preload your headset tension again.

    Yes, the other features are the same. We will also be releasing an Iphone/Android app soon to make configuration simpler.

    The tracker will "wake" whenever it detects movement. In a high crime area (ie public bike rack), you activate Spybike with your keyring after locking your bike. If someone then steals it, you get a warning SMS message when the tracker detects vibrations. The tracker then starts uploading its position to the tracking server (approx 20 second intervals).
    So after you get the warning SMS, you can look online or on your phone and you will see a red line on a map leading from the bike rack back to the theives house. If they subsequenty find the tracker and remove it, you will still have an idea of which house it went to. A very competent theif could pull over half way home and find and remove the tracker. However, in our work with police, bikes are typically ridden straight home. Often by thieves who then sell them on to unscrupulous buyers. Also, surprisingly often, the police have tended to know which house the bike is going before it got all the way there.
    When the thief puts the bike down, it will wait for 5 mins after movement (vibrations) have stopped. It will then go back to sleep. If they go for another ride tomorrow, you get another SMS and can track again.
    The tracker has approx 8 hrs of "tracking time". That is 8 hours of the thief riding your bike. This could be spread out over weeks. It depends how often they ride it.

    Yes, the battery life is based on tracker being asleep apart from periodic wakings. The tracker will also send you a weekly text telling you its battery life and will warn you if it gets low. You can change these intervals if you wish.

    I hope this is helpful

    Kind regards,

  • Hi all,

    Well I got the Spybike device, it arrived right before christmas so did not have a chance to get a sim for it until a couple of days ago. I'll put a bit more detail below but as a summary it appeared to do everything it said on the tin as regards GPS location. But I didn't have time to try to fit the device into the bike, and when I caught up on this thread last night it was with a sense of foreboding that I read about the device likely being too wide for carbon-framed road bikes...

    So first thing this morning I popped out to the garage and had a quick play - sure enough the SpyBike it too wide for the headset on my carbon road bike, so my ultimate conclusion is that it'll be going back, unfortunately. But I'm sufficiently impressed with the gadget itself that I'll be proposing a swap rather than a refund.

    Anyway, if you'd like further details of what I found out, read on...
    • When it arrived I was initially quite unimpressed as it comes with no documentation. It wasn't immediately obvious how to open up the device, and the supplied battery appeared to be ever so slightly too big for the supplied (usb) charger.
    • After enough fiddling I was able to work out how to get into the thing, and I ended up getting the battery into the charger just using brute force.
    • At the Integrated Trackers site I found a half decent instruction manual. This is at and I would recommend having a read of it if you are thinking about buying one of these. For those of you wondering what the device will do, the manual contains a list of all the instructions you can send. Note hovewer that some commands are mentioned without being properly explained (e.g.setstatus)
    • My further endeavours were basically just working my way through this manual.
    • Tested the sim in a phone before I started to make sure it could send/receive sms messages
    • Started off by setting the phone number (setphone1) then issuing a whereareyou command. I got an immediate (SMS) response telling me that it was about to work out where it was. Five minutes later I got a positional message - the device had used the phone signal to get an estimate because I was still in the house at this time. The estimated position was a goo half-mile away from where I actually was, so not particularly good at all. Nice thing about the message though is that it contained a link straight into Google Maps.
    • Took the SpyBike out into the driveway and repeated the experiment. This time far more impressive. Proper GPS signal and the position on the Google map was probably within 2m of the actual position. Great.
    • Next, followed all the stuff in the manual about uploading data onto the web (setapn,setuser) and registered myself on the IntegratedTracker site. (Incidentally when I registered it assigned me a customer number which seemed to suggest that I was customer number 300 and something. I may have misinterpreted this but there again it may give a hint at the size of their customer base.) Anyway, sent the necessary commands (pingserver, upload) and sure enough I'm able to log in and see the position on the computer
    • I further onfigured the SpyBike such that it would wake up every hour, rather than the default 6 hours, then I just left it inside the garage in an unarmed state. This is not too far removed from my real life scenario. I don't have to worry about when I'm out because this particular bike, I will never leave alone. But when I'm not out on it, it lives in the garage, and I have had the garage broken into in the past and a bike nicked.
    • Next day I was at work, just for the heck of it I sent it a position request. Because the thing was asleep I didn't get an immediate response. Because of the way I configured it, however, I did expect a response within the hour. In fact I got one about 80-90 mins later. The impressive thing about this response was that even though the bike was in the garage (brick walls, flat wooden roof), I got an accurate GPS-based position. I'll repeat that - I was able to get a GPS signal with the device sitting inside a garage.
    • This was great. As I say this is exactly how I'd plan to use it. Leaving it in the garage I would definitely forget to arm the thing (plus this would presumably make the battery drain more quickly), so I would take a gamble by leaving it unarmed and simply hoping that I would discover the theft sufficiently quickly to be able to send an sms message to the SpyTrack telling it to arm itself (that's why I set wakeup down to 1 hour), and picking up positional information from there. Unlike the lamp, this thing really doesn't leave any obvious footprint on the surface of the bike, so my gamble is basically that any thief would not realise it was there, at least for a long-enough period to get some data
    • so, very impressed apart from the thing not fitting my bike!
  • nicklouse wrote:
    if you want to get your bike back stop it getting stolen in the first place

    Great advice, must remember that. :D
  • Thought I would put my 2 cents worth in as I have demo'd the SpyBike and SpyLamp in the USA. Found both devices devilishly clever with considerable thought put into the hardware/firmware and software.
    In Europe apparently there are numerous providers of data only SIM cards available, these available at a fixed cost and providing a given amount of SMS data transmission that can be used as you need it (over many months).
    In the USA and Canada we are not quite as sophisticated, the best deal on SIM cards is about $5 per month for data only communication.

    Regarding the battery, it is proportionally to the electronics physically large, rated 3.7 VDC @ 880hAh. Will last a good long time. The SpyBike comes with a USB powered battery charger.

    Looks like quite a bit of info regarding the new SpyBike has already be posted in the previous threads.
    Would like to add Integrated Trackers (the manufacturer) URL:
    (if you hunt around you can find quite a bit of technical info)
    More info on the SpyBike can be found at: ... cts_id=168
  • mar_kmar_k Posts: 323
    Great product although I can see a possible negative with it. I think it could get some bike owners into trouble,
    Lets say the bike is stolen and you track it to a house. Now I know some people will call the police and let them deal with it but many wouldnt. some owners may go to the house and kick off resulting in the owner either being arressted for assault or being badly assaulted them selfs.

    One other thing, Is this insurance approved?
    will it lower the premium
  • Pete's experiences with the device were moreosiyive than mine.

    I bought it Sunday, and despite spending several hours trying to communicate with the device Sunday, Monday and Tuesday it seems I must have a faulty unit. It rarely responded to text messages, going "radio silent" after some I itial success. Although I was able (briefly) to ping and upload battery state to the remote ever, not once has the device achieved a GPS lock, despite sitting outside staring at the open sky. If it worked as advertised, it would be great; as it is, my experiences have so far not been very positive (and my unit certainly couldn't be relied upon to grant any sort of security or piece of mind).
    They use their cars as shopping baskets; they use their cars as overcoats.
  • Well what do you know - a replacement unit sent out to me behaves exactly the same way. 30 minutes of initial activity, then the thing turns itself into a paperweight. Grrr.
    They use their cars as shopping baskets; they use their cars as overcoats.
  • Any more reviews/opinions of these - there are very if any long term reviews of the product and its not exactly cheap!
    Road Bike: Scott CR1 Pro - Ultegra 6700 and 3T carbon, Fulcrum 5 (will have to wait for the Chris King Hubs and 35mm sections)
    Road bike: Bianchi Via Nirone 7 - Ultegra 6600, Fulcrum 5

    MTB: Kona Five 0 2009 - Stolen 03/12/12
    MTB: Scott Aspect 620 2013
  • After several moths of troubleshooting, I think that I'm finally ready to transfer my Spybike to the bike and use it in anger. That's right - it's taken weeks and weeks for me to work out where the weaknesses in the system lie, and to get to a point where I'm reasonably confident that it might actually work reliably. Although I haven't tested it inside a metal steerer tube, since my initial miserable failures with the device.

    The problems I ran into were many and varied, and with little or no clue as to what particular problem was causing the unit not to perform as expected on any given day. But they include the following:-

    Battery life/capacity - I have accumulated half a dozen 16340 3.7V lithium ion rechargeable batteries. Some I purchased off ebay, some arrived with the Spybike and its replacement. And the quality control is clearly none too impressive. One cell (labelled "Palight", 880mah) refuses to charge. Two cells ("Trustfire" 880mah) charge, but don't perform. And of the three unbranded cells I got with the Spybike units (all claiming 700mah), only two seem to work. Of course, figuring this out when encountering the other issues listed below wasn't easy, as five of the six cells *appear* to charge and *appear* to work, but only two *actually* do. Now how long they hold charge for is anyone's guess, as using the Spybike to track flattens the battery within a few hours. And I can't find any other way to tell if the device is working or not, because it has a nasty habit of ignoring any texts I send it for status updates. Changing batteries every two or three days is impractical, but that's the only way *I've* retained any confidence that it'll work when needed. I might try some more, slightly bigger batteries if I can find *reliable* ones, but it uses a type which only comes from shockingly dodgy ebay sellers from China.

    Mobile phone (GSM) reception - shockingly bad on my corner of the street at the best of times (I need to run to the end of the garden to take a call on *most* mobile phones), and the rides I do on the bike are often into signal-free areas as well. Combined with a very small antenna on the Spybike, it struggles to get a GSM signal a lot of the times. Which it deals with in the time-honoured mobile phone fashion - drain the battery faster.

    GPRS transmission - has to be set up right with your carrier's settings. Hunting around on the web, my carrier had three different settings - only one of which worked. Finding out which was the right set of parameters with flat batteries, poor GSM reception etc wasn't easy (hint - it's the last set of the three I tried).

    GPS reception - it needs a decent view of the sky. Which it *probably* isn't getting in my garage. Or maybe it is, but with no GSM reception in there, I'll never know. Out and about in my car, it seems fine. Most of the time. Until the battery dies. Did I mention that the fabled 3-12 months battery life is on the proviso that it's not actively tracking? when it is, the battery life is measured in a few hours.

    SIM card credit - yup, although having purchased a pay as you go SIM card with £10 credit on it, somehow that credit magically vanished. Or the device blew through its allowance inside of a fortnight. Either way, radio silence. Since I topped it up over a month ago, prior to the latest batch of testing, I've used exactly 20p of credit, so goodness knows where that first £10 went. I suspect a dodgy ebay seller conned me.

    Now I've finally got to the point where I trust two batteries out of the six I have, I've set up a reliable way of monitoring the SIM card's credit (you can't simply send a text from the Spybike to check on credit remaining as you would your mobile phone), believe I can tell the difference between no GSM and no GPS reception, I think I'll try it in the bike. But the battery life issue has been a real nuisance - my Spybike is *not* sending me any text alerts when the voltage drops too far, it simply turns itself off. Usually on any day when it's had to do some GPS tracking.

    In theory, this is a great device - much cheaper than the equivalent car-based trackers, with no expensive subscriptions for one thing. The technologies are all pretty mature. But they are combined in a way which isn't very user-friendly, and there are many potential failure points, which in my case cascaded to the point where I really struggled not to hurl the thing out of the window. Remember the old adage of never buying version 1.0 of anything?
    They use their cars as shopping baskets; they use their cars as overcoats.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,599
    Or the short form, it's a load of censored .
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

  • No, when it works it works fine, and beats the heck out of carrying a five kilo chain (because pretty much anything lighter is going to get cropped). But to be worthwhile, it needs to function 100% of the time, with a pretty clear diagnostic route if it doesn't.

    Some of my initial problems were user error, but I can't for the life of me work out why one day it'll track my car all the way to my front door, then the next day track up to the final mile, then another day not track at all (with good, fresh batteries each time). And when I tried it inside my metal steerer tube, metal frame, it really didn't want to play ball.

    "Not buying version 1.0" might have a workaround - the version 2 Spylamp. Although I like the idea of something hidden within the bike (espeically as I've had some theiving oik nick one lamp just for the batteries inside), I hear that the Spylamp has better GPS/GSM coverage. And if it works reliably, I'll be sure to sing its praises loud and clear.
    They use their cars as shopping baskets; they use their cars as overcoats.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,599
    Your obsession is touching.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

  • EH_RobEH_Rob Posts: 1,134
    No, when it works it works fine, and beats the heck out of carrying a five kilo chain (because pretty much anything lighter is going to get cropped). But to be worthwhile, it needs to function 100% of the time, with a pretty clear diagnostic route if it doesn't.

    Some of my initial problems were user error, but I can't for the life of me work out why one day it'll track my car all the way to my front door, then the next day track up to the final mile, then another day not track at all (with good, fresh batteries each time). And when I tried it inside my metal steerer tube, metal frame, it really didn't want to play ball.

    "Not buying version 1.0" might have a workaround - the version 2 Spylamp. Although I like the idea of something hidden within the bike (espeically as I've had some theiving oik nick one lamp just for the batteries inside), I hear that the Spylamp has better GPS/GSM coverage. And if it works reliably, I'll be sure to sing its praises loud and clear.

    It's good that you've satisfied yourself, and this will no doubt be of help to others who (for some reason) think this might be a good idea.

    But as you say, without 100% reliability it's an expensive, useless and worthless piece of rubbish unfortunately.

    There is no such thing as 100% GSM or GPS coverage either, any system relying on either of these will suffer the same problem.
  • They've sent me the new Spylamp 2.0 to test, and so far I'm much happier with the new Spylamp. I still want to check a couple of variables (not least the relative strengths of two competing mobile phone GSM networks, in case there is any important difference), but I'm reasonably confident in saying that the Spylamp 2.0 does the job properly. There are so many small ways in which it *looks* and *feels* the better product, and I believe on the basis of a ride I did today that it's a better performing product, and one which I would be happy to endorse. More importantly, it's one which I'm happy to leave on my bike, making the bike that much more recoverable in the case of a theft.

    Yes, there will always be GSM and GPS drop-outs. I seem to live in a little coverage black-spot, for example, and no matter how much the networks insist that they have 95% coverage or whatever, the signal's often not been strong enough for the Spybike to pick it up (the antenna in the Spylamp2.0 must be bigger/better). If you are out in the sticks, I wouldn't set much store in it. But in towns and cities at least it should work well. And that's where most bikes are nicked.

    Will it work if the bike is thrown into the back of a van? I believe so. The basis of that belief is my having driven round with it in the back of my car. But I'll test that aspect some more over the next few days. Will it work if Light-fingered Larry takes the lamp off the seatpost? Nope. But it is secured with an anti-tamper bolt, and otherwise looks - and functions - like a normal rear light, so there's a good chance that Larry will have taken the bike back to his home/garage/lockup before removing the lamp. And I reckon if I can point the police to within fifty yards of his location, they'll know exactly where my bike it if Larry does decide to nick it.
    They use their cars as shopping baskets; they use their cars as overcoats.
  • Having used this thread to help guide me as to whether I should buy one of these little beauties, I thought it would be worth giving some user feedback now that I am in possession of one.

    I am the proud owner of a spylamp 2 which arrived within a couple of days of ordering. I went out and bought myself a simple pay as you go SIM card with £5 on and proceeded to set it up. I admit that I did need to contact their help desk to get assistance with this, mostly because I wasn't being very bright! The setup is really not that difficult but, in any case, I can confirm their helpdesk is exceptionally helpful so any problems can be ironed out very quickly.

    Now, the device.....the ironic thing with this device is that we will never know how well it works until some little vagrant actually tries to steal my bike. Nonetheless, I have tested the scenario. Once "activated" the device will send you a text message as soon as the tracker senses movement (a vibration), this happens straight away assuming the bike has reception (as so do you)! It then proceeds to upload its position every 20 seconds so that you can track it online. When I have tested this outside (as if my bike was being ridden away somewhere) in London the positions are fairly accurate, probably to within about 50m (at worse) and sometimes spot on. When I have tested inside, this is much worse and it often does not get a GPS lock and just provides a GPRS triangulation which can be a few hundred metres out.

    So, you need to think about how this may be useful....If you are near to where your bike is locked (in a pub etc) then the vibration detector should alert you quick enough to get there and prevent the theft in the first place. If they get away with the bike then you will be able to track them pretty accuratelt whilst outside, but once they get to a destination (inside) you may only their last position (which could be 50m) leaving you with a reasonable amount of room for error (ie. if it is a council estate then it could be in any one of numerous flats). This is not ideal, but I still think it is a vast improvement on nothing at all and I know from first hand experience that (in London at least) the police are nowadays far more interested in helping track down bicycles and so are likely to actively support this and go and seek out the little buggers.

    That's about short, I would recommend it. Paying £100 once is less then insurance after a couple of years and there is no excess. If you have any specific queries, I would be happy to help
  • mcnultycopmcnultycop Posts: 2,143
    My first post on a forum is usually "hello" or something. Not obvious advertising spam.
  • No idea if jecwells is connected to Integrated Trackers, who make the Spylamp/Spybike, but I have no reason to believe he is any different to me - a happy customer.

    I've given up on the Spybike1.0 that I purchased. It would occasionally work well for me, but most of the time it either failed to work (for a variety of reasons) or failed to work well enough. And for a security device, where what you are chiefly buying is piece of mind, it didn't give me much. Your mileage may vary, but I found that a lot of the time it struggled for a GSM signal (needed to transmit data "home"), and struggled for a GPS signal (needed to send *meaningful* data). Removed from the bike.

    What I've been much happier with is the performance of the Spylamp2.0. I'm told that it has a better GSM aerial and a better GPS aerial, and I believe it. Until I finally lost patience with the Spybike1, I tried several journeys where I "stole" my own bike, by leaving the devices armed when I went out for a ride. The Spybike1 often failed to work; the Spylamp2 has occasionally glitched, but works much, much better, giving more accurate location traces, uploading those traces to the web server, and sending SMS texts to my phone much more reliably. It is worth noting that these devices are not intended as recreational GPS trackers - smart phones and GPS computers do that job far better, not least because they are designed for it. The Spy devices draw quite heavily on their batteries while actively tracking, so the battery needs charging after every ride or two (depending upon distance) if you insist on leaving the thing armed and on during a ride. I also noticed that once we were out in the sticks, it would struggle for a GSM signal to upload data or send SMS messages (which in turn uses more battery power, as like most mobile devices it draws more current when the GSM signal is weak). Not an issue as a security device, though, given that most bikes are nicked in - and are likely to be taken to - urban locations. I've found the GPS trace will usually put the bike within 2 metres of where it actually is; right now, mine is reporting as being in the house across the road from me, but that's almost certainly good enough for the Police to be able to retrieve it if it had been stolen - they tend to know who the bike thieves and fences are. Even the GSM positioning (which it will report if it can't get a GPS signal, like if it's indoors and you don't have a trace to the doorstep because it arrived at the thief's lock-up in the back of a van) will put it in the right "cell" (usually 300-500 metres) and again that will help the Police to work out which of the local lowlives have it; and if that isn't good enough, they're eventually going to take the bike outside, at which point it will get a GPS lock and can report that. Like Trackers for cars, no system is perfect (jammers are probably being used by those who steal high-end cars), but it's good enough IMO.

    I would recommend the Spylamp2 - it works as designed, and gives me more piece of mind than I would get from either a D-lock alone or even simply storing my bike in my own locked garage. I *think* my garage is reasonably secure; I *know* that it isn't totally secure. But with the Spylamp2 on the bike, I can leave it in the garage and be pretty confident that if it isn't still in the garage when I've got home from a day at work or a weekend away, I'll be able to work out where the bike was taken to. And although it's taken some tweaking to get the vibration sensor's sensitivity settings right - set the threshold too high and the Spylamp2 might not recognise when the bike is in motion; set it too low and you get endless false alarms (which if nothing else can burn through the SIM card's credit) - I'm happy that I'm there now. On the subject of SIM cards, I'm told that a multi-network data SIM is ideal (the more networks it connects to, the better the chances of it being able to "phone home" if the bike is nicked); I haven't found a package I like the look of yet, but I have found a very cost-effective SIM-only deal, which provides 100 free SMS messages and 400mb of data each month *without* needing a top-up. That should be more than enough of each for the Spylamp2 (one problem I had previously experienced was the mobile phone provider disabling a previous SIM card if it wasn't topped up each month, and £10 per month on top of the purchase of the Spylamp2 would add significantly to the expense; but now I get the required texts and data free!). Just leave the device "armed" when you park up somewhere (or put the bike away for the night), and disarm it when you're actually riding the bike so as to preserve battery life. I'm told that the battery is good for 3 months on standby, but it's probably best to charge it every month (you don't want to be on the last little bit of battery life when the bike goes walkabout, after all). And if you forget to arm it and the worst happens and the bike does go, you can still get a position fix from it or arm the Spylamp2 remotely.

    I'd like something a bit more stealthy - the Spybike was a better idea IMO, as it was hidden. Some bike thieves strip stuff like lights off a bike pretty quickly (of course, some thieves trip everything - and would even find something like the Spybike, hidden in the steerer tube). The designers have thought about that, and the Spylamp2 attaches with a tamper-proof Torx bolt, and not everyone has one of those in their tool kit (I now have several, as the lamp has to come off the bike for charging). In addition, although the Spylamp2 would make a pretty poor rear light, it does actually function as one - a thief looking at it is going to see a normal light, and it turns on and lights up like a normal light too. So I'm reasonably happy that if the bike got nicked, the Spylamp2 would be on it and tracking for long enough to tell me where it's gone. Nothing's ever going to keep a bike 100% safe, but the combination of good D-lock, stout chain at home, frame tagging and the Spylamp2 means that I'm as confident as I can be that my "bike for life" will remain mine so long as I'm sensible about it.

    FWIW, I am not affiliated to Integrated Trackers, the makers of the Spybike/Spylamp. In the interests of full disclosure, I paid the full retail price for the Spybike1 but received the Spylamp2 free of charge after having had so much trouble from the Spybike1. Would I recommend the Spylamp2 to others? Absolutely, and I'll probably buy a second one for my wife's bike at some point in the near future.
    They use their cars as shopping baskets; they use their cars as overcoats.
  • 97th choice97th choice Posts: 2,222
    Copy & paste from another thread, most definitely spam.
    Too-ra-loo-ra, too-ra-loo-rye, aye

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