Cycloop GPS anti-theft device review in a sentence: A neat innovation that offers peace of mind if you want added security on top of a traditional bike lock.
There are endless options out there when it comes to buying the best bike and almost as many choices when it comes to locks for keeping them secure. That’s a good thing, but with bikes becoming increasingly appealing to thieves, having a bike without a lock is just plain crazy.
However, even if you arm yourself with one of the best bike lock options money can buy, determined thieves might still decide to have a pop at stealing your pride and joy. Enter the Cycloop GPS, developed by Monimoto, a company that already produces smart security solutions for motorcycles out of its base in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Cycloop GPS review: Price and availability
The Cycloop GPS is new to the market, having been in development for a while now. As such, it’s now available to buy via a dedicated product website, with an initial special price of just £99/US $99. Normally, the Cycloop GPS will retail for £150/US $149, which still seems pretty reasonable if you’re looking to fit it to a bike that could, possibly, be worth thousands.
Cycloop GPS review: Design and features
The Cycloop GPS anti-theft GPS device has been designed to work with standard pedal cycles and e-bikes. Monimoto already produces a smart motorcycle tracker, one of the top 3 sellers in this space, making it well-placed to use the same technology in a product aimed at cyclists. It's compact, too, with dimensions of 3.11 x 2.44 x 3.19 to 3.54 inches. The latter measurement depends on the thickness of the frame tube you're mounting it to.
What you get inside the box is, in essence, three core components. There's the Cycloop GPS device itself, along with a keyfob, which is supplemented by an accompanying app.
The main components feel chunky, durable and well made, which is good as the 8.78oz Cycloop GPS is designed to be mounted to your bike frame or saddle tubes, from between 0.98 and 1.49 inches in diameter. There are a couple of different rubberised mounts supplied to let you do this, so there's no risk of scratching either.
However, the instruction sheet notes that care is needed when fitting to a carbon frame to avoid damage through overtightening. It's also got an IP67 water and dust resistance rating for good measure.
In that respect, the choice of materials seems reasonable, and this has the look and feel of a product that should be able to cope with the elements well enough. There are a couple of suitable options with the kit, allowing it to be attached to most frame sizes, while you also get the screws and a small hex key that let you fix it to your bike. The unit comes equipped with a 3.7V battery that can be recharged via a USB-C port protected by a rubberised, weatherproof cover.
Really determined bike thieves could, of course, probably smash or break off the Cycloop GPS if they wanted to. It’s well made, and the fixing screws are discreetly covered by the casing, but it’s not entirely impregnable. Then again, there’s not really any lock out there that can fend off the most desperate of bike thieves, either. The good thing is all these deterrents do slow the process down.
Cycloop GPS review: Technology and innovation
As you’d expect from a gadget that needs to inform you of the whereabouts of your prized bike reliably, the Cycloop GPS setup uses e-SIM and LTE-M (LTE Cat-M1) connectivity. Naturally, the easy way to make use of this is via the accompanying app, which can be installed on your smartphone and can duly be paired with the Cycloop unit. There’s an e-SIM pre-installed, by the way, with the option for a $ 49-a-year subscription service once the initial two months of free provision runs out.
The great thing about this gadget is that it’s pretty smart, making it a convenient experience to use and keep track of. That’s mainly because of the Key Fob unit, which Cycloop looks out for, and when it knows you’re in the vicinity of the bike, it will become automatically disarmed. The same thing happens in reverse when you move away from your bike, with the anti-theft GPS kicking into gear automatically.
Cycloop GPS review: Performance
The Cycloop works well enough under most circumstances. You've got to be sure you've charged it before fitting it to your bike for optimum performance. The app, which is essentially the same one used for motorcycle monitoring - you just tweak the settings during setup, is pretty good too. Once configured, it seemed pretty responsive to me and even perhaps a little too on edge, sending alerts when the bike was moved by accident.
A bonus with this tracker is that while it sends you message alerts, which also have GPS information and maps as part of the package, you'll also get a pretty rapid call from the system if your bike is pinched - in around a minute based on my experience with the unit.
Of course, the map and location information also makes it easy to go and find your bike, but the downside is who or what you'll find when you get there. People in my neighbourhood would be inclined to say, 'Yes, I've got your bike. What are you going to do about it?'. That is perhaps the only real downside of this idea, and that's nothing to do with the quality of the product either.
Cycloop GPS review: Verdict
There's a lot to like about the Cycloop GPS. It's easy to fit onto your bike, and everything is included to do just that. The supporting app has been honed through its use for protecting motorcycles, so the principle is much the same here. I've found it easy to use and effective, too, with the alert system working well when my bike has been moved around during the course of the review process.
Usefully, the app also allows you to monitor the battery life of the Cycloop tracker, which is a practical addition because, without power, the device is rendered useless. I like how the GPS unit has been designed and built, too, with admirable attention to detail on the fit and finish, plus there's a two-year warranty for good measure. If you can get the Cycloop GPS with the initial money-off deal, then this looks like an excellent idea.
Unfortunately, if you live in broken Britain, the biggest issue with this is what to do when you get the alerts, locate your bike and want to get it back. You either risk trying to retrieve it yourself or get the police involved, which might not result in the outcome you'd like. Other countries with functioning authorities may find it ideal, however. The Cycloop GPS itself is great, and it works. It's what happens next that doesn't.
Cycloop GPS review: Also consider
If you fancy something more traditional to keep your bike secure, check out the LiteLok X1 bike lock. The D-lock designs feature a dazzling three-layer construction, with a magical material called Barronium making life harder for thieves and their angle grinders. The LiteLok X1 is topped off with a brilliant eco-rubber outer layer, which guards against scratches and rub marks. Read my full LiteLok X1 review today.
Alternatively, the ever-so-durable New York M18 U-Lock from Kryptonite is a chunky and rather heavy D-lock, designed and built to fend off cycle thieves by using quality materials. If you want a visual deterrent backed up with solid engineering, this makes a great bet, even though the price tag is a premium one. Read my full Kryptonite New York M18 U-Lock review for more info.