We all hate a thief, right? Having your bike stolen is always a traumatic event, but having safeguards can make it less so. The Monimoto Smart Tracker location tracking app is one such safeguard. This device uses a SIM card, GPS antennae, and a smart phone app to track your bike in real time if it’s ever stolen. How did it perform for us? Total Motorcycle reviews, come find out…
Monimoto Smart Tracker
- Reviewed By: Eric and Carrie Leaverton
- Review Dates: August 19th to October 2nd, 2020
- Price as Tested: $229.00 USD
The Monimoto Smart Tracker is a GPS tracker designed to help you recover your motorcycle if it’s stolen. It uses a cellular connection driven by a SIM subscription to send coordinates to a connected app, and the app is available for both Android and iOS devices. The subscription is free for the first two months, and then $40 USD annually going forward. You’re also welcome to shop around for a less expensive SIM subscription from your preferred provider, but $40 annual is pretty competitive.
The Monimoto consists of just three components. There’s the transponder device itself, a small round key fob, and the app. The transponder uses an accelerometer to sense motion, and when it does, it searches for a signal from the fob. If Monimoto finds the fob, it goes “back to sleep”. But if it doesn’t find the fob, it sends a notification to the location tracking App and starts sending GPS coordinates, driven by Google Maps.
“If you’re going to recover a stolen bike, you want to recover it immediately, before it’s been messed with.”
For ease of installation, the Monimoto is battery powered and the transponder uses the CR123A battery, while the fob uses a CR2450. Both of these batteries are readily available anywhere batteries are sold and can be had for just a few bucks. The location tracking app will notify you when the batteries need replacement, so no surprises.
Setting Up the Monimoto Smart Tracker
Setting up our Monimoto Smart Tracker was a breeze. You start by downloading the app. Once that’s done, you just pull the plastic isolating tab from the transponder battery and you’re off. The app finds the device and pairs up the fob, you name your device and provide the serial number, and you are done. The whole process took less than five minutes from unboxing to live connection!
During setup, the app didn’t ask us for any payment information to set up our account. My assumption is that it will notify us when our free subscription has run out, and at that time we’ll have to set up a payment method. I’ll update this article when that happens to describe how it went.
Monimoto Smart Tracker Installation
The Monimoto comes with two heavy-duty zip ties for installation, and the transponder has two channels on either end for the ties to pass through. You could use other mounting methods if you’re not keen on zip ties, such as glue pads or hook-and-loop fasteners, but the zip ties are totally sufficient.
“It’s small enough that stashing it should be fairly easy.”
What you’re really trying to do when you’re installing the Monimoto transponder is to stash it. It needs to be well hidden enough that a potential thief wouldn’t immediately find it. It can’t just be rattling around in a side case or zip-tied to a luggage rack, because a thief might see it, guess it’s purpose, and remove it before making off with your bike.
It’s small enough that stashing it should be fairly easy. It’s roughly a cylinder, 5″ (13cm) long and 1.5″ (4cm) in diameter. It weighs less than a typical smart phone. I was able to attach the device to some frame tubes under the seat of Carrie’s Honda CTX 1300, behind some plastics. It was completely hidden with the seat on, and would take a minute to locate with the seat off. It took less than five minutes to get that done.
Using the Fob
To get the most effectiveness out of the Monimoto system, you have to be smart about where you carry the fob. If you attach it to your motorcycle key ring, and a potential thief is fortunate enough to steal your keys with the bike, the device wont immediately start notifying you. There’s a failsafe for that, but more on it later. Point is, you have to get in the habit of carrying the fob somewhere that it’s unlikely to be taken with the bike. The flip side of that is, it has to be somewhere that you’ll remember to take it. It’s habit you’ll have to develop. We’re all pretty good at doing that right?
Monimoto Location Tracking App in Action
So you’ve got the transponder stashed on the bike and the fob in a manageable location. You take your fob with you and go somewhere on your bike, like any normal day. The Monimoto senses movement and “wakes up”, it finds the fob in close proximity, and it does nothing.
But, if someone makes off with your bike and doesn’t have the fob, it’s a different story. Within five minutes the device will call you and send a notification to the location tracking app. The phone call is just to get to get your attention, there’s no message or anything. The notifications, though, are dynamite.
Using Google Maps, the device will send you GPS coordinates every five minutes. If the situation warrants, you can switch to “Live Tracking”, which will send an update every minute. This reportedly drains the battery faster though, so it should be used sparingly. Notifications will continue to roll in while the vehicle is in motion, and once it’s stopped, it will tell you it has stopped moving and provide final coordinates. In our tests, those coordinates are accurate to about 20 feet, or 6 meters. That’s easily close enough to help an officer recover your vehicle.
Below, you’ll see some pictures illustrating the accuracy of the GPS. The first picture shows the final GPS tag from our test run, with the actual parking stall highlighted in yellow. The next picture is the photo Carrie took on location, with the same parking stall highlighted. If a parking stall is 8′ wide, the final tag was only off by 16′. I can spit that far on a good day!
Monimoto does an excellent job of protecting you from yourself, too.
In the event you forget to take your fob with you, you can “sleep” notifications when the app starts to send you alarms. If, instead, you’ve accidentally left the fob with the bike and it’s stolen with the rest, you can force the device to start sending coordinates even though it found the fob. Of course, you wouldn’t know to do it until you’ve realized your bike was stolen.
Anyone who’s ever recovered a stolen motorcycle can tell you, time is of the essence. In the case of a professional thief, it only takes a couple of days for your bike to be in 100 little boxes shipping out across the country. For thieves who intend to keep your bike for their own uses, you can expect at a minimum spray paint and awful stickers after less than a week. If you’re going to recover a stolen bike, you want to recover it immediately, before it’s been messed with.
The Monimoto Smart Tracker makes that a very real possibility. Immediate notification of the theft, minute-by-minute GPS tracking, pinpoint accuracy. And at $229 USD to get started, and a pittance of $40 a year to keep your service, it’s wildly affordable. Your insurance company probably offers a discount if you have a tracking device like this, too. Depending on how good that discount is, the subscription at least will likely pay for itself.
What’s really impressive about this whole package, though, was the ease of setup. From the box to the bike to notifications, everything was seamless and painless and simple. The app works well, and it works like it’s supposed to.
All that combined with the simplicity and accessibility of a battery-powered device, and it’s really not hard to decide how to rate the Monimoto Smart Tracker. This is an Editor’s Choice product all day long, and we’re pleased to award it. We’d like to say thank you Monimoto for the opportunity to work with them, it’s been a pleasure.