F650 Keys, Locks and Security FAQ

compiled & edited by Kristian #562
Key FAQ merged by Winter #1935
Please read the Disclaimer before attempting any work in this FAQ.
Last Updated: 21 Feb 2007, by Winter #1935

For other related FAQs:


Securing your bike depends on where you are located. In some towns you may not feel there is a need. In the middle of a major city, you might want some sort of security devices. There are a lot of devices on the market, and plenty of reviews of those devices. This FAQ discusses the security of your F650 bike, including things such as how to re-key the locks for your panniers and top-box. Note: You are responsible for your bike security. You may be required in your insurance agreement to ensure you always use an appropriate locking mechanism.

At The Very Least...
At the very least go out and purchase a disc-lock. These are small and relatively indexpensive devices, and will prevent most "honest" theives. Lock your steering as well. The extra 2 minutes you spend locking your bike may save you many hours later. Besides... if someone does short your ignition to get your bike started, if the steering is locked, they will have trouble going anywhere

Bike Security Suggestions

Theft Warning

7/20/99, Denise of Nederland, Colorado:

"Over the Fourth of July weekend (between approx. 5pm - midnight in a decent neighborhood in Boulder, Colorado), someone attempted to steal my F650 by jamming a screwdriver in the ignition and attempting to start it. The fork was locked so the would-be thief couldn't steal my urban horse, but he/she did cause considerable damage to the ignition and it couldn't be moved. I'm sharing this information because there may be other F650 owners who could possibly experience such attempted thefts.

Interestingly enough, when I hauled my motorcycle down to Foothills Cycle in Lakewood, Colorado for repairs, the rep. told me that someone else in Denver metro area had the same thing happen to him in broad daylight out in front of a store."

Keep those forks locked - Webmasters

General Suggestions

Adamx#1001, Nicola, Randy748, Spakur, Andy Leeds UK, December '01

How do you secure your F650 while away? Does a disc lock do the job? Or do you usually do something more? Most bike thieves are opportunist scum, these items will just put them off. If it's 'professional' thieves, they'll get it if they want it, even if you concrete it onto the ground.


Layer The Defence

Andy Leeds UK #982

Britain leads the world in vehicle crime (we had to be good at something given we get beaten at all the sports we invented)! Basic rule is to layer the defence:

  1. Data tag or smart water puts off the professional thief, but if they want it they'll get it. F650's with Ducati/Fireblade level protection are not worth the effort.
  2. A big chain fastened to a hardened tie down point (or round a lamp post) and through the frame of the bike stops the joy rider. Fill any lock with bike. Don't leave it dangling on the road where they can put plumbers nitrogen on it or get the angle grinder in. Remember wheels can be removed. Locking two bikes together is a second rate defence but you can't carry two bikes into a van. I use a chain with 16mm link thickness through a concreted in tungsten loop. Cable locks are a very poor substitute for chain, as bolt croppers are quiet compared to an angle grinder or sledge hammer.
  3. Alarms are only any use if you are within sprinting distance and are prepared to thump the scum bag with the screwdriver in your ignition. (At least you Yanks get to shoot them). Put your helmet on when attending an alarm incident. A fellow biker will understand and apologise if they just nudged your bike in the parking area. Any one else deserves to get the living whatsit scared out of them.
  4. A tatty cover camouflages a good bike. If in doubt put a GBP3.99 car cover and half a roll of duck tape over your GBP40.00 anti-condensation impregnated, super shield bike protector.
  5. Even if you only stop for a coffee, lock the bike. Disk locks are Ok for this. Never leave a helmet with the bike. In dodgy areas don't lock the ignition if you use the chain. Idiots have been known to force the ignition lock before starting on the chain. The ignition lock takes less than 2 seconds to break with a 50p screwdriver, so save yourself the cost of buying a new lock. If your alarm works through the ignition lock ignore the above.
  6. Bike thieves should be hanged from lamp posts as slowly as possible. If they carry a petrol powered angle grinder, jam its throttle open and jam it in any suitable orifice. Carry a tow rope for this purpose, but remember to keep your gloves and helmet on.

Immobilisers and Alarms

There are several devices on the market that can be used, however many people experience problems with some alarm systems causing battery drain, bad connections and short circuits etc. Note: Some Insurance Agents will require an alarm to be professionally installed.

OEM / BMW Alarm Systems

I do not know of anyone that has one of these installed, however the plugs for these devices should in theory already be on your bike. So they should simply plug-in to your bike. For example on the GS you get an additional wiring harness that appears to connect "between" your normal wiring harness and certain sensors / switches etc. [Ed note: If anyone has the BMW alarm installed, can you please let us know how it connects into the bikes electrical system...]

Aritronix Systems

Website: http://www.aritronix.com/

Scorpio customer support: I initially planned on having my dealer install this alarm. However, my dealer was very reluctant to do so and advised against it due to potential battery problems (excessive battery drainage). My dealer claimed that if I installed this alarm, I could expect a 3 volt drop in three days if I did not start the bike. I contacted Scorpio and was able to speak to a technician who told me that it was physically impossible and was able to give me various worst case voltage drop scenarios in several alarm settings. I was pleased with this information and decided to install it myself. Having bought this alarm on ebay, the seller neglected to include documentation for the perimeter sensor. I contacted Scorpio once again, who sent me the information I requested in a reasonable amount of time. I contacted Scorpio for a third time when the plastic antenna cap fell off my handset; they were quick to send me another. Overall, Ive had a good experience with customer support.

Range: Scorpio claims that you can get up to half a mile range. If you look at other reviews online, most people report a fraction of that, depending on the geographical surroundings (buildings, concrete, etc). I tend to get about half a km range (about 1/4 mile), which I think is sufficient and likely due to the placement of the antenna and lack of metal around it. I am able to park my bike in an underground parking lot, walk 500m to another building, and receive a decent signal from the 3rd floor.

Overall performance: There are a few sensors that can be set to trigger this alarm: 1) Shock sensor; 2) Tilt-sensor; 3) Perimeter sensor. You can arm these sensors independently or combined. In the daytime I will usually set the first two, adding the perimeter sensor at night. You can even set the bike to silent alarm where it will page you, but the alarm will not sound on the bike. I found this to be useful when you want to catch kids snooping around your bike but you dont necessarily want to scare them off before you do.

I bought this alarm primarily for the perimeter sensor feature and as a reaction to recent act of vandalism which was not prevented by a Xena alarm that failed to go off. I was curious to see how this feature would work. The perimeter sensor can thankfully be adjusted to encompass a range around the bike from about one to four feet. The adjustment is very sensitive so you need to tinker with it until you get it right. I am pretty happy with how it works. You can also adjust the sensitivity of the shock sensor. The sheer volume of this alarm is startling (your ears will be ringing if you stand too close for more than a few seconds) and is likely to get the attention of people in a hurry. The best feature of course is that the bike will page you if the alarm goes off. Similar to a cell phone, you can set the handset to vibrate or ring.

Battery drain: One of the big concerns for me was battery drainage. Due to this concern (and the extra effort that would have been involved), I neglected to install the hijack disable kit, preferring to use my Xena disk lock as an additional deterrent. Another good feature on the handset is that it will let you know when the bike battery drops below 11.5 volts. So far it has not dropped below this, but then again, I ride my bike nearly every day. The longest I had my bike parked with my alarm armed is 3 days and it started up fine. Even if the battery craps out, or the power is cut, the unit has a built in backup battery to keep it operational.

Final thoughts: I have used this alarm now for a month and a half and am very pleased with the performance. The only thing that I dislike is that you cant set a silent perimeter alert (alerting you when people are getting too close but not triggering the alarm) while still having the tilt/sensor alarm active (the alarm sounds when the bike is being touched or moved). Overall though, I would give this alarm a 9 out of ten and would recommend it to others. If you live in the inner city and youd like to have that extra piece of mind, then this alarm is the ticket. The reality is that if someone has the cohunes and manpower to pick up your bike with an alarm going off in their ears and throw it into the back of a truck faster than you can answer your handset page well then I guess they deserve a hero cookie and perhaps your bike too.

Other Alarm Manufacturers

If you have comments on any particular alarm system, please let us know. This is just a list of other manufacturers.

Cyclone Alarm

I am replacing my old and broken alarm on my 1999 F650 classic. You can find the schematic of the alarm here. What I think I figured out is the following:

  1. The red wire from the alarm goes to the positive battery terminal. (does not need to go through the ignition)
  2. The yellow wires connect to the wires coming from the battery that connect to the left and right flash light respectively.

Alarm Installation

Check out the Classic Documentation and the GS Documentation for schematics of the electrical systems of these bikes.

How to find the ignition/engine control wire?

I'm doing an alarm install that is pretty straightforward but it comes with an ignition disable feature that requires that I find and cut into the "ignition/engine control wire." I'm having a hard time identifying this wire using the repair manual. I think it is one of the wires coming out of the starter relay, but I would like to make sure I'm splicing into the right one. Has anyone done this before or does anyone have any suggestions? Mr Pink BBG#77

Where is the best place to put the alarm unit?

Scorpio SRi-500 SE with perimeter sensor

The following was installed on a F650CS. Special thanks to Mr Pink for the details and pictures.

Cost: $269 (frequently sold for this price on ebay).

Note: I am not affiliated in any way with Scorpio alarms and have tried to be as objective as possible in this review and installation guide. I am not a licensed technician. This is the first real "hands on" thing that I have done to my bike, so please follow this guide at your own risk.

Scorpio Alarm on a F650CS
Instructions and general setup: This alarm consists of a main control unit with two wiring harnesses (main and accessory)... ... and the FM handset.
First have a look under the seat and find a place to put the MCM unit. There is not much room under there, but I found a place that will work in the left rear fairing. A word of caution: be careful that your placement of the MCM unit and wires does not cause them to be 'crushed' by the seat when you get it back on there.
The wires that you need are in the tail section of the bike. You need to find the wires for the left and right rear turn signals, the license plate light, and a ground wire (all conveniently wired into a nice little connector just waiting to be tapped into).
These are the wires that you will tap into from the HAR-1. Before you start, remember to disconnect the negative battery terminal. I chose to tie into these wires "post-connector" just in case I screwed something up (in which case I would only have to purchase the tail end wiring harness). There is not a whole lot of wire to work with, but it is certainly managable and made easy with the provided t-tap connectors. Each of the four wires from the MCM unit gets its own t-tap connector. You stick one wire in the female end of each connector and then clamp it onto the appropriate wire.
After I tapped into the correct wires (see diagram), I bundled them with electrical tape and tucked them out of the way.
Here you can see the general setup, and pretty much the only place on this bike to stick the MCM unit.
It was important for me run the antenna wire where there was little metal in order to get the best possible signal. Once the seat is on the bike, you can see where the antenna sticks out from the MCM unit to the back of the bike. Pretty inconspicuous, and it provides a decent signal.
Once the main unit is installed, you can install the perimeter sensor, which is only a small plastic-cased device that can be stuck pretty much anywhere with the double-sided velcro that was provided. Once all of this is completed, you can connect the positive lead from the MCM unit to the battery. The alarm with make a couple "chirps" to let you know that the unit is functioning. Now just connect the negative terminal, and you're all set to try it out.

Alarm Failures

Locking Devices

Kryptonite Disc Lock

Misc. Padlocks

Locking Your Helmet

I have been looking for a helmet lock for my Dakar. I have limited space left on the bars and would rather it lock somewhere else (maybe attached under the seat or something). Are there any decent options? I have looked around town at the motorcycle shops here but all I've found are the chromed ones that mount to your handlebars. nabenson

BMW Keys and Locks

General Questions

Has anybody had his or her BMW top case re keyed by the dealer to match their ignition key?

I called the parts dept at BMW of SLC about having that done for a new top case and they said it couldnt be done for an F650GS. I find that hard to believe. Is this correct? The installation manual for the top case talks about a lock barrel conversion kit for same key locking, but gives no part #. Am I better off just to go with a locksmith?

Do I have to pay the BMW price for a new key blank?

Alternative source of BMW Keys?

What about Replacements Locks?

Key not turning in the Ignition?

Removing the GS/Dakar ignition lock?

  1. Remove the bars and upper fork clamp / triple tree. You will need to disconnect the lower part of the lock using the two screws.
  2. Mount the upper fork clamp in a vice. You should see two "non removable" screws securing the ignition lock to the upper clamp.
  3. Using a drill and a 5mm drill bit, drill at least 6mm into the center of the non-removable screws.
  4. Now using a 8mm drill bit, drill at least 5mm into the center of the non-removable screws.
  5. Finally, you may need to use a little force to break the lock out of the upper fork clamp.

    Re-keying a BMW luggage

    Removing a Type 1 Lock
    This is the type 1 lock in a pannier. You will find these locks in the BMW panniers and BMW top box.
    Start by unscrewing the pannier as shown in the red circles in the image. Once you have removed all three screws, simply pull out the "locking" component of the pannier. Insert the key into the lock.
    Remove the plastic latch part of the lock. You can see the small metallic wafer. Using a small screwdriver, push this wafer in, and simply push the lock out.
    Removing a Type 2 Lock
    Using a small hammer and punch or small screwdriver, drive out the small pin holding the black plastic catch to the lock. Before progressing to the next step, Insert the key into the lock.
    Using a small screwdriver or something similar, push back the small metallic wafer - this is what prevents the lock from coming out. With the wafer out of the way, simply push the lock out!
    Removing the Topcase lock
    The key is in the lock position in this view and the cylinder is on the left. On the top of the cylinder, there is a spring-loaded tumbler, or 'keeper' that prevents the cylinder from being removed. If you could remove the cylinder with the key in the lock position, it would be easy. But you can't. The key must be in the unlock position. Fauster #1833
    Guess where the keeper went.... facing down, or away from your view. However, there is a slot on the cylinder that shows the back of the keeper. You need to find a way to depress the keeper from the other side so that it sticks out of the slot as shown. I used a dental pick and it worked like a charm. What I did was depress the keeper while the key was in the lock position and then slowly turned the key while keeping the dental pick on the keeper. After a few tries, I was able to depress the keeper while the key was in the unlock position and the lock cylinder slid out without significant effort. Fauster #1833
    Rekeying the locks
    On the left is the type 2 lock, and on the right the type 1 lock. The type 2 lock has a smaller "nib" with a hole in it to insert the pin to hold the plastic latch on.
    When removing the key from the lock, place your fingers over the wafers as shown. Gently remove the key. If you do not do this, wafers and really tiny springs will shoot all over the place.
    This is an empty lock and all the wafers. There are three kinds of wafers, and one final "catch" wafer. What you need to do is move the wafers around until your key works effectively. You can see the small springs - a spring needs to be inserted into the little holes before sliding in a wafer. Finally, insert the "catch" wafer into the final slot.
    Here are two locks. On the left is a lock with a key that does not fit, and on the right is a lock correct for the key. In the red squares are the wafers that are incorrect, and in the gree circle you can see the "catch" wafer. This always sticks out.
    Additional Notes
    1. Take your time - once you have done one lock it is quite easy.
    2. Even if you do not have enough of the correct wafers, 4 or more of the correct wafers should be enough - and still makes picking the lock tricky.
    3. Leave the key in the lock where possible. This keeps the wafers from springing out. Trust me - looking for five small springs on your carpet is really hard.
    4. You may need to push the "catch" wafer in when sliding the lock back into position. Again, put the key in the lock to make it easier.
    5. Once the lock is back in position, check it rotates correctly before putting everything back together.

    Don't forget to tell your insurance people if you are
    using a different lock or more locking devices.
    You never know, they might just ask for less $$$!