How does a motorcycle steering lock work?

Have you looked at your steering lock and wondered how it works? Is it completely mechanical, which makes breaking the lock a simple process?

Motorcycle steering locks are installed during the build process. Mechanical and electrical steering locks are used in steering locks; mechanical locks prevent steering, and electrical locks act as a kill switch should the lock be tampered with.

Is a motorcycle steering lock effective?

It depends on who wants to try and steal your motorcycle! A decent steering lock will deter some thieves. They are effective for an opportunistic thief who never really set out on his journey to steal your motorcycle.

However, if a thief wants your motorcycle, a steering lock is not much of a deterrent on its own. Steering locks predominantly use a standard key barrel with flimsy key wafers that can be broken with force.

Once the lock barrel is free, a few turns and the bolt that locks the steering are free. You can steer. 

If you think your key code will save your motorcycle, think again. Key codes are easy to find, so don’t rely on this technology.

The electrical part of the switch can be so essential that it has a turning shaft from the key to rotate the electrical connection to send power to your ignition. Your motorcycle has now been stolen.

How does a handlebar lock work?

The mechanical aspect of the steering lock could be the weakest point on some steering locks. Imagine a standard type barrel lock you push your key into.

The shaft running through the barrel lock has a cam that pushes a steel rod, maybe a ¼ inch in diameter, into a receptor for the bolt. The bolt is quite decent, but again, with force can be snapped.

The fact is handlebar locks are not enough to deter a determined thief.

Can you break a motorcycle steering lock?

Yes. You can break a cheap motorcycle lock in seconds and a more expensive lock in a minute or so.

It would be irresponsible to tell you how easy it is to break your steering lock, but there are plenty of forums online that will give you a blow by blow account of how it’s done.

You only really need one tool to be successful in breaking the lock. It’s fair to say that more expensive locks can be challenging to break.

How do you fix a steering wheel lock on a motorcycle?

Even on modern motorcycles, you can find your ignition and steering lock not working, you can try and lube the key and the locking mechanism with a light lube like graphite, but to be honest, this is a hit and miss approach.

Sometimes the reason for your steering lock being defective is it’s full of crap. A decent carburettor spray should be able to dislodge debris and get you back on the road quickly.