How To Check If A Bike Is Stolen: Latest Update In 2021

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Do you own a bike? And wondering the way to ensure its safety? This blog can answer and address your problem, so continue reading!

These days, many people tend to purchase a second hand bike or used bike as it is pretty cheap and it has a unique and vintage design from the 70’s and 80’s. A used bike could be stolen, and a used bicycle will bring trouble to you later. Therefore, be careful when purchasing a used bicycle.

Having your bike stolen is a really bad situation. What to do when a bike stolen is also a hard question. Police report could be a good idea, but there are more ideas.

Today, I will discuss some ideas around this trend and how to check if a bike is stolen! Also, you can determine whether a used bicycle is stolen or not.

The Signs of A Stolen Bike


The Signs of A Stolen Bike
The Signs of A Stolen Bike

The most apparent evidence of a stolen bike is its price. The bike theft might sell it on the black market to pass it quickly to others with a low-priced. And ones who don’t actually know about bicycles can be stuck in these tricks.

Make sure that you are equipped with basic knowledge about cycling and some relevant sources to prevent misunderstanding about the cost!


Outlook Or Appearance
Outlook Or Appearance

When you shop online, you can see numerous photos of the bike that you intend to buy, and it is appealing and gorgeous. However, when you received it, it was a knock-off item that looked old and lousy.

So what is the message here?

The outlook of the bike might be a fake one as the bike shops can steal bike pictures from the Internet and pretend that it belongs to them.

For example, when a mountain bike is stolen, you should the frames, models, and everything carefully with the sellers. Before that, you should know all these features of your mountain bike first. Then, reported stolen to the polices about your stolen property is necessary as I don’t know how to deal with the bike thieves. For sure, they will take care of your stolen property (bicycle stolen, for example) from the bike thieves. In fact, many stolen bikes are recovered thanks to the polices.

Feel free to report to the local authorities when you think a bike was stolen. Law enforcement will be applied to track stolen goods, including bikes.

Serial numbers

Serial number
Serial numbers

First of all, we need to know the definition: Serial number is a particular sequence of digits or letters that is used to identify your items. Why can it be a signal of a stolen bike?

The serial numbers can clarify whether the product is fake or not. Many irregular items can be recognized by the police with no serial number. Some vintage bikes do not have bike serial numbers. Note that serial numbers are very important. Bike serial number will determine your bike.

There are many ways to check your serial numbers:

  • Mostly found under the bike’s bottom bracket.
  • On the front headset
  • On a rear dropout
  • On the inside chainstay
  • On the down/top tube,…

Or you can watch this video for more needed data:

Watch video: How to find your bicycle's serial number

Next time you go to the bike shops, ensure that the serial numbers haven’t faded, covered or disappeared or else you’ll get in trouble with a stolen one.

Plus, with the serial number, you can recover your bike from being robbed by the police department.

No name or mobile number of the seller

No name or mobile number of the seller
No name or mobile number of the seller

Bike theft/sellers will give the customers a fake name and email address just in case that buyers can’t know their identity.

Additionally, they’ll not provide us their phone number simply because they don’t want to contact us after the transaction.

These two signs got us thinking. Why do they have to hide their existence? It is obvious that they are doing illegal things (selling stolen bikes or something like that)

Remember to ask for needed and crucial info before you decide to buy a bike! By the way, you can also test the seller a little bit with some questions related to the bike that you are going to purchase:

  • What genre of the bike?
  • Where can I ride it? Mountain? Park?
  • Can you give me the description document about the bike?

What To Do If Your Bike Is Stolen?

When it comes to hand, we need to react and solve quickly with some following ways that can recover your cycle.

Ask for help and support from the local authorities or police

Ask for help and support from the local authorities or police
Ask for help and support from the local authorities or police

You should report it to the cops right when you realize that your bike has vanished. You can contact them and document everything that happened (time, place, photos of the bike, serial numbers,…)

If you have any cameras at home, give the footage to the force to find out the robbers easier. Please provide as much data as possible!

Having help from the police department can be a great chance for you to get back your bike since they are professional and have the ability to find the bike theft’s trace (like Conan-my favourite detective comic)

Register your bike

Notify that your bike is stolen at Bike Index, Bike Registered. You can be a member of bikes registered companies for $0.99. Most bikes will be inputted to its table for half a year.

These companies have a “bike-checker” service that will warn the purchasers to put your bike’s frame number in. Moreover, cops can collect this helpful data and recover your bike in a short amount of time.

Spread the news

Spread the news
Spread the news

Another way is that you can access the Internet and ask for help from the cycling community or join the bike recovery group where many bikers gather. They can give you many helpful tips that benefit you to find back your bike.

In terms of that, you should post a blog about some info about your bike on social networks: Facebook, Insta, Twitter,… and add a photo of your motorcycle as well.

When everyone sees your post, they will share it and it will spread widely and quickly in society. For that reason, more people will know and look for your stolen bikes, increasing the percentage of recovering.

Require help from insurance companies

Require help from insurance companies
Require help from insurance companies

If you have cycle insurance, you can speak to them right away and tell the story for them to get the hang of it. It should be done within 24 hours when your bike is stolen.

You’ll be called for some additional info (as same as the police things). The insurers will give you a piece of paper with questions. For instance, the thief’s reference number, bike’s receipt, bike’s ownership evidence,…

Once again, file the claim as soon as possible since many insurance companies won’t accept the late reports.

I hope that you can get a new bike

Checking some pawn shops or flea markets in your local area

Checking some pawn shops or flea markets in your local area
Checking some pawn shops or flea markets in your local area

Many crimes would sell their stolen items nearby to pass them instantly to other’s hands. In some countries, there are specific places for the business of stolen bikes. So you can go and search to find out on the Internet.

When you know the shop that had your bike, you can come (with the police) and tell the shopkeeper about your stolen bikes and ask the seller’s history to know some info about the thefts such as phone number or name.


You should follow some websites
You should follow some websites

You should follow some websites and check the transaction forums or online second-hand livestream or some kind of that. It allows you to update the info of your lost bike.

For example, you can access BikeShd, where all brand-new bike-listings.

You should set up “Google Alerts” with your bike details. When you do that, the notifications will automatically send to you through an email address.

Reference video:

Watch video: How to Get Your Stolen Bike Back

Serial Number Checking

Serial Number Checking
Serial Number Checking

As I have mentioned above, a serial number is an indispensable piece of information that can protect your ownership’s right.

After going through and briefly understanding what serial number and where it’s located, we’ll dig deeper in detailed info.

I’ll divide into 6 steps to help you have a better and deeper understanding of ways to check bike’s serial number:

  • Make sure that you find out the serial number first on some spots that I’ve discussed.
  • Take a shot of your bike’s serial number. Of course, it MUST be clear and readable!
  • Take the selfie of you and the serial number to identify that the bike is in possession of you (claim sovereignty)
  • If there are any additional details that are needed to  recognition, shoot it too as it can be useful in some context.
  • Save it to your camera roll in the case for taking advantage of it.
  • Register your bike using Bike Register, Bike Index. These websites are easy to access and FREE.

Or you can register with your local police department.

As the saying goes: “ Prevention is Better than Cure”, so you should follow these steps to say “no” and get rid of being stolen.

Some Ways To Protect Your Bike From Being Stolen

Everyone should raise more awareness to protect their own bike. I’ll provide some methods for you to refer to below:

Lock the bike properly

Lock the bike properly
Lock the bike properly

If you purchase a bike, remember to buy the lock in order to decrease the risk of being taken. You should pick U-locks instead of cable ones as they tend to be more stable and better.

Reminder: you should get a high-quality lock that can save your bike from criminals since they can use tools to break it in a short amount of time:

Watch video: Watch How Long It Takes For A Thief To Snatch A Locked Bicycle

You can also try out the smart lock which can connect with your smartphone. These kinds of locks can make a loud or alarming noise when strangers touch the bike.

How to lock the bike

How to lock the bike
How to lock the bike

Highly recommend that you should use two different locks: steel chain and U-lock.

Thread the U-lock through the bike frame and a wheel. Then lock by the steel chain through both front and back wheel. In this way, you can also save your wheel, too.

Watch the video for detail looks:

Watch video: How To Lock Your Bike - Secure Your Bicycle From Thieves

Paint your bike or make it easy to recognize

Paint your bike or make it easy to recognize
Paint your bike or make it easy to recognize

Can you guess what it is for? Attract the bike thefts? Of course no. A bike with a unique and creative design can make the thefts less likely to steal simply because it’ll be hard for them to sell.

You can draw and decorate everything that you like, making it a limited edition in the world with your creativity and protect your cycle from being stolen simultaneously.

Place your bike in the “right” area

Place your bike in the right area
Place your bike in the right area

Park your bike in the parking lot where there are security men who can look after your bike. When the night falls, PLEASE take your bike inside the house since the bike thefts love to take action at midnight when everyone falls asleep.

Plus, it would be best if you mounted the camera in your living area to look at it when something happens.

Take note your bike’s serial number

Take note your bike’s serial number
Take note your bike’s serial number

I’ve mentioned this serial number thing for thousand times as I want it to engrave in your mind that it is REALLY important. It can be evidence to find back your bike if it is really being stolen.

For more info:

Watch video: Security Hacks For Protecting Your Bike From Being Stolen On Your Ride


Is there a stolen bike database?

Yes, you can access the Bike Register, Bike Index or 529 Garage to lookup data of your stolen bikes.

Does the police officer help me look up my stolen bikes?

Absolutely yes. As soon as you file the report to the police department, they’ll help with all of their heart to recover your bike since that is their mission and responsibilities towards citizens.

How many ways to find a lost bike?

About seven ways, I would say. You can check the CCTV footage, GPS, go to the pawn shops, register your stolen bike, request for assistance from social media, file an insurance claim.

What should I do if I buy a stolen bicycle?

Report to the police to get involved.

Raise your questions on the online forums.

Contact the shops to discuss the issue.


To sum up everything that has been stated, everyone should learn more about their bike to acknowledge the essential data when something accidentally happens and they have to solve it.

After this blog, I truly hope that you can know the ways to “safe” your own bike and what to do when purchasing a stolen bike. Bye for now. Have a great day!

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About Jim Felt

Jim Felt, a man with a genuine love of speed. A man who designed his very first triathlon frame for Johnny O’Mara – the star of Motorcross at “The O-Show” – then got big successes in 1990. In 1994, Felt incorporated with Answer Products to launch his brand, starting a 7-year relationship until 2000. In 2001, Jim Felt relaunched the Feltracing brand in conjunction with Michael Müllmann and Bill Duehring. Our product lines were then expanded into a full line of commuter bikes, cruisers, MTBs, MBX, even road and tri bikes. The total number of models were up to 140 distributed in 27 countries.