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SpyBike GPS Tracker - Worth the Money!

maxedoutmanmaxedoutman Posts: 8
edited January 2014 in MTB buying advice
Evening all, first post here but thought I'd share my experience, as it was another post on BR that made me decide to buy the SpyBike.

I thought I’d post a review about the SpyBike as there doesn’t seem to be much info about it online and I'm hoping this may help those that are not sure whether to buy one. This is a lengthy review so you might want to grab a cuppa!

First and foremost, I have no involvement in the SpyBike whatsoever. I’ve just purchased two expensive bikes and wanted some degree of protection when the summer ‘silly season’ starts in my area and sheds and garages get broken into. A colleague at work also wanted one for his new bike.

Delivery was quick, efficient and cheap. The package also included a couple of Tesco Sim Cards free which was a nice touch (although I have a fantastic Orange signal in my area so I stuck with them).

In all of the excitement, I made my first mistake….I put the sim card in the tracker without adding any credit….so out it came and credit was added. Once I’d done this, I set it up using the guide provided on the SpyBike website. The guide is not the easiest to follow, but I managed to muddle through and set the tracker up. Once I did this, I then set up an account on the SpyBike website so I could track my bike should anything happen.

Now ready to go, the first thing I did (like a big child) was to run around the garden shaking it… phone gave out a text notification….and there it was…..’vibration detected’. So I ran back indoors, checked the tracking site, but was disappointed to see that it wasn’t showing anything. A bit stumped, I waited 5 minutes and did it again….checked the website….nothing.

It was at this point my better half wanted to go to Tesco. Not one to miss a testing opportunity, I put the tracker on my dashboard and drove the 10 miles round trip to Tesco. As soon as I got in, I was straight on the computer to check…..and there it was….a red line depicting my trip to Tesco and back.

Now two things I should point out now:-

• The ‘whereisit’ function on the website utilises Google Maps to track your bike. The standard setting was the normal map. In this instance the red line disappeared into an industrial estate and so proved slightly difficult to pin it down. Little did I realise (until I contacted SpyBike) is that you can still change the Google Map to Satellite or Hybrid using the ‘+’ on the right side of the screen. This made viewing the tracker location so much easier.
• As I was driving at 60mph in my car, the red line ‘cut corners’. I would say this is because the tracker pings back its location every 20 seconds or so and it’s not intended that the bike is ridden at 60mph (unless it’s in the back of a van)! Although this happened, it was still very clear the route the tracker had taken and where it was when it stopped.

So after this, I got the fitting bolt and lowered the headset crown the correct distance to allow the tracker to fit correctly. I screwed it in and tightened it up with the special tool. It was at this point that I have to say how convincing the tracker looked. To the untrained (or even the trained) eye you would not have any clue it was there!

After using it for a few weeks, we decided to conduct a little test. All three of us were to cycle into town, swap bikes and one rider would shoot off for 5-10 minutes somewhere, then call us to tell us they had stopped. Then, using the mobile version of the website, we’d go track them down. We did this with all three bikes and I’m glad to report that we tracked down ‘the stolen bikes’ – one was within 20 metres of the end location, one about 7 metres and one almost spot on!

Any problems? If I’m honest just a few:-

• The tracker came with a rubber top cap. Now this was a right pain to fit. It does fit though so persevere. I did speak to SpyBike and they are modifying this (in fact a new one they sent out to me fitted perfectly with no effort).
• Do not forget to turn the tracker off when you go out!
• Having had it fitted for two months, there was one instance where I got a text mid-morning at work to say ‘vibration detected’. Now to say I started to panic might be an understatement! I logged on to the site, but could see no movement. I called my better half but she hadn’t had a text from her bike (which was secured to mine). I sent a text to the tracker to check and all seemed ok. It wasn’t another hour until my better half could get home and check. I was relieved when she called to say it was still there. I should say I have the sensitivity set to max so it really could have been anything that set it off….at least I know it works. I’ve adjusted the sensitivity and not had this problem since.
• I was getting a text every night to tell me the battery level. This was annoying to say the least! A quick email to SpyBike and they instructed me how to amend the frequency of the notification (now set to seven days).
• The website is not perfect but I believe this will be worked on in the future. I have to say it was the average looking website that made me doubt the authenticity of this product in the first instance.

So my overall impression? I’m seriously impressed with this. It does look a bit fragile when you take it out of the packet, but once fitted, you wouldn’t even know it was there.

Is it expensive? Personally I’d say no. My lock wasn't far off the £100 mark, and I have to say the peace of mind I have with this fitted is priceless. In no way would I substitute this for a lock, but it offers that extra-level of security that most opportunist thieves would not have any idea about (or at least for the time being).

I will also say the support received from Harley at SpyBike has been faultless. Every time I emailed with a question (and there were quite a few), a response was received. He also handled my criticism very well!

If anyone is thinking about buying one then do it. I highly recommend it. You will not be disappointed!

If anyone has any questions about it then give me a shout.

Cheers all.


  • YeehaaMcgeeYeehaaMcgee Posts: 5,740
    This has to be spam.
    You create an account just to post this?
  • No I created an account last week. Not too sure how to prove I'm not associated in any way with the company, but I'm sure the mods will be able to determine that.

    I'm new to MTBing and so finding my feet. As I was very concerned about the security of my bike, I did a lot of homework into buying a decent lock, securing it in the shed it's kept, security whilst out and about, etc.

    As my initial post states, I was desperate for any info about the SpyBike on the web but details were not easy to come by. I was hoping this post would help those others out there who may be in the same position as I was a couple of months ago, wondering whether it was worth the money or not.

    Apologies if this comes across as spam but I'm not sure how to prove otherwise.
  • benpinnickbenpinnick Posts: 4,148
    What do you ride?
    A Flock of Birds
    + some other bikes.
  • Trek 4900 (2012) - got it in May from Evans Cycles in MK for £585 with a 10% discount.

    Not a bad bike for my first proper 'non-supermarket' MTB.......and much lighter!

    Got the better-half a Trek Skye SL.....and she hasn't stopped smiling since!
  • waby1234waby1234 Posts: 571
    No posts, new account, lots of glowing praise for a relatively unknown product, and advice for us all to buy it?

    Does look a bit odd to me!
    2011 Carrera Fury

    Earn cashback at CRC, Wiggle, Evans, Rutland, Hargroves, Halfords, and more at Quidco
  • Waby, you've hit the nail on the head. It's a relatively new unknown product that hasn't got too much mentioned about it on the web. Hence my post.

    The purchase of my Trek (and my girlfriends) was probably the best buy I've made in a long while and I want to protect them. That's why I was initially interested in the tracker. But due to the limited info and rather poor website (which I've refrained from naming) I was reluctant to part with the cash. Now I have I'm glad I did. I'm praising it because it is good...simple as that.

    What I was hoping to achieve was if anyone was in the same position then give a fair review.

    Seriously, if it's too much of a problem I can delete the original post.
  • YeehaaMcgeeYeehaaMcgee Posts: 5,740
    How much did it cost?
  • Spam issues aside
    who knows?

    I was looking at this product a couple of weeks ago and nearly bought it.
    With stolen bikes having a very low chance of ever being recovered this is certainly the way to go!
    If thieving scum bags knew or suspected tracking devices were fitted I doubt they would even try stealing.

    The minimum of 250mm insertion length needed for fitting means I don't think it will work for my bikes.

    I think the whole device could be made smaller even built into frames during production, something manufactures should consider industry wise.

    Car manufactures had to beef up security, whilst trackers are common place in high value vehicles.
  • I presume if has to be located where it is for it to obtain a good signal and to remove it easily to recharge the battery.

    My only concern would be if this does become known in the 'criminal circles' then it could be the first place a potential cycle thief may look. Saying that, it comes with a special tool to fit it, but I reckon a good screwdriver may remove it!
  • I'm glad someone is getting some joy from this. I'm on my second unit, and all I seem to be able to achieve is an outrageously large bill for SMS texts sent, and after the first 20 minutes of use, censored all in the way of any replies from the Spybike. Frustration levels are off the chart here. Especially as with my luck this year, the bike it's supposed to protect is due to be stolen any day now :(
    They use their cars as shopping baskets; they use their cars as overcoats.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,599
    So it's rubbish and you are on your second one?
    That makes sense.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

  • How are people getting on with their spybike? Bit more of a long term review is needed as one of my concerns was and is reliability over time rather than the first couple of weeks of purchase, as its not cheap at £120.
    Indeed a ground anchor and d lock and chain can be cheaper especially if you have a few bikes to secure.
    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
  • EH_RobEH_Rob Posts: 1,134
    Insurance is easier to install.
  • Bit of an update now I've had it for 7 months.

    Still liking it....had a bit of a problem with one of the trackers whereby the battery died very quickly and it just wouldn't track. Turns out a download and a new battery did the trick.

    In 9 out of 10 instances, when disturbed, I get a text message within a minute. I've had a few instances though where it's been a bit longer....max time about 10 minutes.

    I also had a couple of instances where movement had been detected but I was 20 miles away at work. I checked the map for movement, which there wasn't any thankfully. Turns out it was a false alarm so I put it down to the weather, adjusted the sensitivity setting, and haven't had any probs since.

    But most importantly, it does work. Some work-shy bar-steward tried to steal my bike when it was securely locked to railings (outside a pub). To see the look on the chaps face when I offered to unlock the D-Lock for him was well worth the £100!
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,599
    If you say so.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

  • seems like the product is alike a used jonny to me
  • I've been using a Spybike for a similar amount of time, and haven't had a lot of success with it (I've posted about it elsewhere in the MTB forum sections). Lots of *potential* for problems (many of which probably come down to "user error"), and it just hasn't been reliable enough. Sometimes it will work fine on one day and not on another; I can work out *why* some of the time, but most of the time I've have no idea what's gone wrong; why it's stopped tracking reliably (or never started).

    I've recently received the new Spybike2.0. In many ways it looks and feels like a more "mature" product, and preliminary tests suggest that it works better as well. Of course, it has to be pretty much 100% reliable to be worth using; I'll report back when I know more. FWIW, I "stole" my own bike from my garage this morning with both the Spybike1.0 and the Spylamp2.0 fitted, charged, armed and with working SIM cards. The Spylamp2.0 performed pretty much as you would expect, getting a GPS fix about 5-10 minutes after the bike first moved and tracking the bike accurately to my final destination.
    They use their cars as shopping baskets; they use their cars as overcoats.
  • Well, I've given up on the Spybike1.0. 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 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.
  • mcnultycopmcnultycop Posts: 2,143
    The spam thread that will never die.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,599
    Double spam threads you mean.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • chrisw333chrisw333 Posts: 695
    How come everyone who has positive things to say about this insists on writing an essay?

    I've never seen any reviews on this site so lengthy and in depth about other products or even whole bikes. They usually follow the same formula, a few things aren't perfect, but its great - buy it. More often than not they are reviews from people with 1 or just a few posts. Or the Cycalist of Catalan fellow.

    CD quickly picks up it's spam, then I foolishly bump the post by agreeing with him. We're going round in circles here...
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,599
    Not me. I just ignore these posts, although I disregard any advice from people who obviously have no idea what they're talking about.
    gebeleysis wrote:
    First and foremost, the body is made of plastic. It replaces a useful part of the bike: the headset bolt, which is there for a reason, to keep the headset tight so it doesn't wobble.

    No it isn't.
    gebeleysis wrote:
    The way you install the spybike means you need to extra-tighten the pinch bolts. However the pinch bolts are there to give a grip on the front fork and not keep the headset tight:

    Yes, they are. The stem keeps the headset tight.
    gebeleysis wrote:
    the force needed to keep the handlebars from spinning is much lower than the force needed to keep the headset from slipping off.

    But the stem has a dual function.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,599
    Note I did not mention spam once.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,599
    Two posts, two fails. Try harder.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

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