Rarely a week goes by without hearing of a bike—or bikes—being stolen. Personally, I’ve tried to solve this by owning bikes so shitty that nobody else would want them, but for the rest of you, the Scout Tracker may offer some peace of mind. Weighing in at just 1.23 ounces, and about a third the size of a deck of cards (2.5” x 1.7” x .55”), it’s black (or bright yellow, but why would you pick that unless you’re Editor Surj?) plastic shell (waterproof and impact resistant) packs quite a punch, with serious technology inside: a GPS chip, cellular radio, and Bluetooth, plus an accelerometer, magnetometer and rechargeable battery.
The Scout Tracker “can be hard-wired and hidden in less than 10 minutes on any motorcycle,” brags the advertising copy, and it’s a good thing they’re right, because in early testing the battery lasted less than 24 hours for me. With such a disappointing showing, I swung by CityBike World Headquarters to install it more permanently. When I showed up, Surj handed me a cup of coffee and pointed me towards the garage. After pilfering a couple of his ring terminals (the included power adaptor comes with bare wire ends), I had the tracker’s included hardwired power source installed on my bike before my coffee was cool enough to drink.
The tech-side setup was only marginally more complex, taking less than half an hour. The device itself just has a button to turn it on and status LEDs—all other interaction is either through their website or app. From either of these, you can view the current position on a map, set up alert zones and how often the device checks in, view map history, and other information to help you keep tabs on your bike.
Of special note is the ability to “arm” the device. With this mode activated, the Scout will send you a message whenever it detects movement. Squaring up the bars with the bike still on the kickstand is enough to trigger the warning—excellent for parking in dodgy areas.
I took the Scout on a trip to Southern California and set my friend Tam up with the app, but gave none of my itinerary. When I texted her to ask where I was, she sent back the name and address of the hotel in Morro Bay I was at, as well as a screenshot pinpointing the exact campsite I’d stayed in the night before. Impressive!
Viewing movement history on the map it seems connectivity remained strong, despite traveling through some very remote areas. Scout claims 95% coverage—though cell coverage is required to send GPS data back.
Looking at the map as I write this, the tracker’s location is probably about 20 feet off—in my kitchen instead of my driveway. Not the 3-6 feet of accuracy the manufacturer claims, but 20 feet isn’t bad. I do live in a warehouse district—maybe the surrounding buildings are throwing it off? That seems logical—the map point from work today, when I was parked in downtown SF for nine hours is about a block off. Less impressive, but I was tucked in under four stories of scaffolding.
But yesterday’s map point, from the basement of a parking garage in East Oakland? Exactly where I parked.
All in all, the Scout’s ease of setup and operation were a pleasant surprise—it’s not something I’ve found common in motorcycle-adjacent technology. At $149.99 for the device—with charger, USB cable, and hardwire charger—plus $19.99/month for the monitoring, it’s not cheap, but if you ride a nicer bike than me (you probably do!), the peace of mind might be worth it.
If you’re in the market for a GPS tracker for your bike, the Scout is definitely worth a look.
$149.99. Learn more and get your own at FindMyScout.com.
This story originally appeared in our May 2018 issue.