SpyLamp and SpyBike GPS tracking device!

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dave1986
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SpyLamp and SpyBike GPS tracking device!

Postby dave1986 » Sat Dec 17, 2011 09:58 am

Hi

I recently had my Cube Ltd Race bike stolen, and wondered if I could have recovered it if I'd has a GPS tracking device installed.

I found these two devices online called SpyLamp and SpyBike (http://www.integratedtrackers.com/GPSTrack/) which I am considering buying for my new bike (as well as a very good lock!)

Has anyone tried or heard anything about these devices? The SpyBike seems to be a better idea because it's hidden inside the bike, but I would be concerned this would be difficult to install in some bikes and may lead to bad GPS reception?

Any info would be much appreciated!

Cheers,
Dave

S-M
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Re: SpyLamp and SpyBike GPS tracking device!

Postby S-M » Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:48 am

Great idea, expensive though..
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dave1986
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Re: SpyLamp and SpyBike GPS tracking device!

Postby dave1986 » Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:40 am

I suppose it depends on the cost of your bike... if your bike is worth over £1000 then I would say it's reasonable, and would be worth it just to catch the bast***s!

My main concern is theives getting to know about the SpyLamp (even though it looks like a regular light) and removing it. The SpyLamp has a vibration sensor, so even if they were to remove it you would recieve a txt to warn you which may give you some minutes to catch them in the act if you were close by. (In the case of my bike being stolen just meters away whilst I was sleeping)

Has anybody tried the more discreet and hidden SpyBike? There is almost no infotmation online about this product. I'd like to know more about the quality of GPS reception, battery life, and ease of installation.

SpyBike : This seems more hidden and harder to remove, but I can't find any info online!?
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SpyLamp : My guess is that this would get better GPS signal as it is not hidden inside the frame??? But can be easliy removed.
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Cheers,
Dave

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Pudseyp
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Re: SpyLamp and SpyBike GPS tracking device!

Postby Pudseyp » Sat Dec 17, 2011 13:25 pm

Wouldn't trust it to be honest, on the site they acn't even spell lock properly...it also says long battery life...how long is there a warning if the battery is low ? how do you know it hasn't run out...just my look it would get stolen when the battery was flat..most bikes get stolen for parts so it's wouldn't take them long to find it...
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dave1986
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Re: SpyLamp and SpyBike GPS tracking device!

Postby dave1986 » Sat Dec 17, 2011 23:53 pm

Apparently the SpyLamp txt's you when the battery is low and you can txt to request battery power information whenever you want. See pdf information file:http://www.integratedtrackers.com/GPSTrack/pdf/Spylamp_Introduction_1.pdf

I still can't find any info about the SpyBike... if it has all the same features and battery life and GPS reception as the SpyLamp then I would certainly buy one but no info is available :(

Pete_H
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Re: SpyLamp and SpyBike GPS tracking device!

Postby Pete_H » Sun Dec 18, 2011 21:37 pm

Dave, I looked at buying a Spylamp a month or so ago - sounds like I'm on the same boat as you, had a pride-and-joy bike nicked a while back. Not only could I not order a Spylamp (out of stock) but the Spybike just didn't exist on the site. So I can only imagine it is brand new.

I agree there's no information about it, in fact one of the top google hits was this thread (but been thinking about joining bikeradar for a while now in any case). Anyway I have just ordered one which admittedly is a bit of a gamble, but I'll post info back here when I form an opinion.

Cheers, Pete

dave1986
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Re: SpyLamp and SpyBike GPS tracking device!

Postby dave1986 » Sun Dec 18, 2011 22:13 pm

Hi Pete,

Thanks for your reply! Did you order the SpyBike or SpyLamp? I emailed the company yesterday to find out information about the differences between the two devices but I've had no reply yet.

I would be very interested to hear what you think of it when it arrives so please keep us posted! I think if the SpyBike does the same as SpyLamp then it will be money well spent!

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Cheers,
Dave

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nicklouse
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Re: SpyLamp and SpyBike GPS tracking device!

Postby nicklouse » Sun Dec 18, 2011 22:17 pm

looks easy to remove.

looks easy to spot.
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Re: SpyLamp and SpyBike GPS tracking device!

Postby CFS » Sun Dec 18, 2011 22:41 pm

Guessing the antenna must be in the Headset cap for the Spybike one. If it earths to the frame the reception might be better.

As for signal, If it is pure GPS, signal may not be to good if stolen bike is stored indoors away from a window. if it uses a phone signal then maybe better. Can't see a battery lasting too long GPS receivers and mobile phones don't exactly last long on batteries.
Shot by both sides...

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Re: SpyLamp and SpyBike GPS tracking device!

Postby dave1986 » Sun Dec 18, 2011 23:27 pm

nicklouse wrote:looks easy to remove.

looks easy to spot.

You're right, the SpyLamp looks easy to spot and easy to remove, but i think if the SpyBike works well then it wouldn't be easily spotted and would at least give you an alarm warning the second your bike is stolen.

CFS wrote:Guessing the antenna must be in the Headset cap for the Spybike one. If it earths to the frame the reception might be better.

As for signal, If it is pure GPS, signal may not be to good if stolen bike is stored indoors away from a window. if it uses a phone signal then maybe better. Can't see a battery lasting too long GPS receivers and mobile phones don't exactly last long on batteries.


Apparently they use GSM signal if no GPS signal is available which is less accurate (200m) but would give you a rough idea. I'll be interested to see what Pete thinks of it when it arrives.

Dave

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nicklouse
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Re: SpyLamp and SpyBike GPS tracking device!

Postby nicklouse » Sun Dec 18, 2011 23:37 pm

it all depends on the person taking the bike.

if it is some numpty taking because you have left it poorly secured then yes. but if it is someone who know what they are doing then they will know the best deals are for parts and as soon as they find that then the identifying parts will be long gone as will any other evidence.

if you want to get your bike back stop it getting stolen in the first place. and make sure any security device fully complies with your insurance. Because if someone want it it WILL go.
"Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."

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dave1986
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Re: SpyLamp and SpyBike GPS tracking device!

Postby dave1986 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 00:22 am

Nicklouse, you make a very good point. I think if its a professional theif after your bike then unless you're very quick off the mark then you wouldnt stand too much chance. However, if you had this device (SpyBike) installed and activated hidden inside the frame then at least you would be given a txt message warning which may give you chance to track the bastards down before they take the bike to pieces and remove the device from inside the frame.

I know they say you should spend 10% of your bike value on security. If you have a bike costing £2000 or more then I dont see any reason that this shouldnt be a good investment.
2 x heavy duty locks(Sold Secure Gold rated) costing about £50 each + A GPS tracking system for £100.

I absolutely HATE thieves with a passion. I really hope this bit of kit turns out to be good... I'd love to just buy a cheap bike to try and catch the bastards in the act!

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Re: SpyLamp and SpyBike GPS tracking device!

Postby dave1986 » Thu Dec 22, 2011 18:40 pm

I emailed the manufacturers of SpyBike and SpyLamp and received the response below. Does anybody know whether a Cube AMS 130 will have a 25mm steel steerer tube? Is that a standard size?

Regards,
Dave

On 17/12/2011 12:05, david wrote:
Hi there,

I recently had my mountain bike stolen and I'm looking at the option of getting a GPS tracker for my new bike.

I notice that you sell 2 products on your website for bikes; the SpyLamp and the SpyBike. The SpyBike appears to be more secure, hidden, and harder to remove than the SpyLamp, but are there any disadvantages over the SpyLamp system?

I am interested in buying the SpyBike, but have the following questions:

- Is the GPS signal reception weaker than the SpyLamp and if so how much weaker?
- Is the battry life shorter than the SpyLamp and if so how long does it last in standby mode and in frequent usage?
- Can the SpyBike be easily fitted to any bike? If not then will it fit to a Cube AMS mountain bike?
- Are there any other advantages/ disadvantages between these two products?
- Are both products available to buy in the UK now?

I should be grateful if you would provide as much information as possible to compare all of the differences in performance between these two products to help me decide which is more suitable for me. I look forward to hearing your response.

Kind regards,
David
**************************************

Hello David,

Thankyou for your email and your interest in our products.

The GPS signal is similar on Spybike and Spylamp
The battery life is slightly longer on Spybike. Exact length of time is dependant on the mobile phone signal strength in your area (the stronger it is the quicker it connects and the longer the battery lasts). You should expect at least 3 months standby and up to a year in good conditions)
Spybike is more dificult to install and wont ift all bikes. The current version requires a 25mm steel steerer tube. We will release a 23.5mm version for carbon fibre in Jan
Only Spybike is currently available

Kind regards,
Harley
***********************************
Last edited by dave1986 on Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

dave1986
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Re: SpyLamp and SpyBike GPS tracking device!

Postby dave1986 » Fri Dec 23, 2011 16:12 pm

Another very useful and informative response to some more of my questions from the manufacturers of SpyBike below...


On 22/12/2011 20:13, david wrote:
Hi Harley,

Thanks for your email and your answers to my questions. However, I have a few more questions which I hope you can answer for me.


•I'm looking at buying a Cube AMS 130 mountain bike. Will the regular 25mm SpyBike fit inside this bike's steerer tube?
•I'm also considering buying a pinhead headset lock for my bike to make the headset more secure (special headset bolt which requires a unique key to open - see photo below). Will this pinhead headset lock be compatible with SpyBike?
•Would I be able to use the headset that comes as standard on my Cube AMS bike?
•Other than the light, does SpyBike have all the same functions and txt message commands that are available as advertised on SpyLamp?
•What is the weight of SpyBike?
•Is there a way of setting the SpyBike to stay "awake" permanently in the event that your bike is stored in a high crime area?
•I assume that the minimum 3 month battery life is when the SpyBike is set to "wake up" for a few minutes twice per day to check whether it has been stolen?

Apologies for all the questions!

Best regards,
David
*********************************
Hi David,

Thankyou for your email.

I'm sorry, I am not familiar with the Cube AMS 130 exactly. I had a look at a review of the bike.

The important things to consider for Spybike are the diamter of the steerer tube and then length of unbutted tubing. The current tracker is 25mm diameter and 110mm long. Basically, will it fit in the steerer tube.

On the review I saw, it said the cube had a 1.5/1.125 tapered steerer tube. That means it is a standard 1 1/8 inch at the top but flares out towards the bottom. I could not see what material it was made our of but I would guess it is aluminium. This would require a 23.5mm diameter tracker as aluminium tubes have thicker walls.

Regarding the length of the tracker. In my experience of tapered head tubes, the internal diamter either stays the same or actually increases towards the bottom of the steerer tube. If it is constant then you could just push your existing star nut down. If it flares, then you would need to use an expanding steerer plug instead of the star nut. These are easy to come by at bike stores or online. You can pick up a light aluminium one if you want to reduce weight.

So in summary of your first point, from the information I could find on your bike. I think it would fit, but you will need to wait for the 23.5mm diameter tracker. Since all bikes/steerers are different, it is not possible for us to say with 100% certainty that the tracker will fit a particular bike so we offer a money back policy if you find it is not suitable for your bike.

The pinhead would not be compatible since the Spybike tracker effectively replaces the headset cap in the same way the pinhead does. So the pinhead would become redundant.

Yes, you would use the headset. The only difference would be the Spybike would replace the headset cap. However, you can still remove the Spybike and use your original headset cap when you want to. ie. If you needed to preload your headset tension again.

Yes, the other features are the same. We will also be releasing an Iphone/Android app soon to make configuration simpler.

The tracker will "wake" whenever it detects movement. In a high crime area (ie public bike rack), you activate Spybike with your keyring after locking your bike. If someone then steals it, you get a warning SMS message when the tracker detects vibrations. The tracker then starts uploading its position to the tracking server (approx 20 second intervals).
So after you get the warning SMS, you can look online or on your phone and you will see a red line on a map leading from the bike rack back to the theives house. If they subsequenty find the tracker and remove it, you will still have an idea of which house it went to. A very competent theif could pull over half way home and find and remove the tracker. However, in our work with police, bikes are typically ridden straight home. Often by thieves who then sell them on to unscrupulous buyers. Also, surprisingly often, the police have tended to know which house the bike is going before it got all the way there.
When the thief puts the bike down, it will wait for 5 mins after movement (vibrations) have stopped. It will then go back to sleep. If they go for another ride tomorrow, you get another SMS and can track again.
The tracker has approx 8 hrs of "tracking time". That is 8 hours of the thief riding your bike. This could be spread out over weeks. It depends how often they ride it.

Yes, the battery life is based on tracker being asleep apart from periodic wakings. The tracker will also send you a weekly text telling you its battery life and will warn you if it gets low. You can change these intervals if you wish.

I hope this is helpful

Kind regards,
Harley



Pete_H
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Re: SpyLamp and SpyBike GPS tracking device!

Postby Pete_H » Sat Dec 31, 2011 09:25 am

Hi all,

Well I got the Spybike device, it arrived right before christmas so did not have a chance to get a sim for it until a couple of days ago. I'll put a bit more detail below but as a summary it appeared to do everything it said on the tin as regards GPS location. But I didn't have time to try to fit the device into the bike, and when I caught up on this thread last night it was with a sense of foreboding that I read about the device likely being too wide for carbon-framed road bikes...

So first thing this morning I popped out to the garage and had a quick play - sure enough the SpyBike it too wide for the headset on my carbon road bike, so my ultimate conclusion is that it'll be going back, unfortunately. But I'm sufficiently impressed with the gadget itself that I'll be proposing a swap rather than a refund.

Anyway, if you'd like further details of what I found out, read on...

  • When it arrived I was initially quite unimpressed as it comes with no documentation. It wasn't immediately obvious how to open up the device, and the supplied battery appeared to be ever so slightly too big for the supplied (usb) charger.
  • After enough fiddling I was able to work out how to get into the thing, and I ended up getting the battery into the charger just using brute force.
  • At the Integrated Trackers site I found a half decent instruction manual. This is at http://www.integratedtrackers.com/GPSTrack/pdf/Spybike_Instructions_2.pdf and I would recommend having a read of it if you are thinking about buying one of these. For those of you wondering what the device will do, the manual contains a list of all the instructions you can send. Note hovewer that some commands are mentioned without being properly explained (e.g.setstatus)
  • My further endeavours were basically just working my way through this manual.
  • Tested the sim in a phone before I started to make sure it could send/receive sms messages
  • Started off by setting the phone number (setphone1) then issuing a whereareyou command. I got an immediate (SMS) response telling me that it was about to work out where it was. Five minutes later I got a positional message - the device had used the phone signal to get an estimate because I was still in the house at this time. The estimated position was a goo half-mile away from where I actually was, so not particularly good at all. Nice thing about the message though is that it contained a link straight into Google Maps.
  • Took the SpyBike out into the driveway and repeated the experiment. This time far more impressive. Proper GPS signal and the position on the Google map was probably within 2m of the actual position. Great.
  • Next, followed all the stuff in the manual about uploading data onto the web (setapn,setuser) and registered myself on the IntegratedTracker site. (Incidentally when I registered it assigned me a customer number which seemed to suggest that I was customer number 300 and something. I may have misinterpreted this but there again it may give a hint at the size of their customer base.) Anyway, sent the necessary commands (pingserver, upload) and sure enough I'm able to log in and see the position on the computer
  • I further onfigured the SpyBike such that it would wake up every hour, rather than the default 6 hours, then I just left it inside the garage in an unarmed state. This is not too far removed from my real life scenario. I don't have to worry about when I'm out because this particular bike, I will never leave alone. But when I'm not out on it, it lives in the garage, and I have had the garage broken into in the past and a bike nicked.
  • Next day I was at work, just for the heck of it I sent it a position request. Because the thing was asleep I didn't get an immediate response. Because of the way I configured it, however, I did expect a response within the hour. In fact I got one about 80-90 mins later. The impressive thing about this response was that even though the bike was in the garage (brick walls, flat wooden roof), I got an accurate GPS-based position. I'll repeat that - I was able to get a GPS signal with the device sitting inside a garage.
  • This was great. As I say this is exactly how I'd plan to use it. Leaving it in the garage I would definitely forget to arm the thing (plus this would presumably make the battery drain more quickly), so I would take a gamble by leaving it unarmed and simply hoping that I would discover the theft sufficiently quickly to be able to send an sms message to the SpyTrack telling it to arm itself (that's why I set wakeup down to 1 hour), and picking up positional information from there. Unlike the lamp, this thing really doesn't leave any obvious footprint on the surface of the bike, so my gamble is basically that any thief would not realise it was there, at least for a long-enough period to get some data
  • so, very impressed apart from the thing not fitting my bike!

Pete_H
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Re: SpyLamp and SpyBike GPS tracking device!

Postby Pete_H » Sat Dec 31, 2011 09:38 am

nicklouse wrote:if you want to get your bike back stop it getting stolen in the first place


Great advice, must remember that. :D

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RichardK2
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Re: SpyLamp and SpyBike GPS tracking device!

Postby RichardK2 » Sat Jan 14, 2012 16:28 pm

Thought I would put my 2 cents worth in as I have demo'd the SpyBike and SpyLamp in the USA. Found both devices devilishly clever with considerable thought put into the hardware/firmware and software.
In Europe apparently there are numerous providers of data only SIM cards available, these available at a fixed cost and providing a given amount of SMS data transmission that can be used as you need it (over many months).
In the USA and Canada we are not quite as sophisticated, the best deal on SIM cards is about $5 per month for data only communication.

Regarding the battery, it is proportionally to the electronics physically large, rated 3.7 VDC @ 880hAh. Will last a good long time. The SpyBike comes with a USB powered battery charger.

Looks like quite a bit of info regarding the new SpyBike has already be posted in the previous threads.
Would like to add Integrated Trackers (the manufacturer) URL: http://www.integratedtrackers.com/GPSTrack
(if you hunt around you can find quite a bit of technical info)
More info on the SpyBike can be found at: http://www.bikeregistry.com/estore/prod ... cts_id=168

mar_k
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Re: SpyLamp and SpyBike GPS tracking device!

Postby mar_k » Sat Jan 14, 2012 16:50 pm

Great product although I can see a possible negative with it. I think it could get some bike owners into trouble,
Lets say the bike is stolen and you track it to a house. Now I know some people will call the police and let them deal with it but many wouldnt. some owners may go to the house and kick off resulting in the owner either being arressted for assault or being badly assaulted them selfs.

One other thing, Is this insurance approved?
will it lower the premium

The Cyclist of Catan
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Re: SpyLamp and SpyBike GPS tracking device!

Postby The Cyclist of Catan » Thu Oct 04, 2012 15:09 pm

Pete's experiences with the device were moreosiyive than mine.

I bought it Sunday, and despite spending several hours trying to communicate with the device Sunday, Monday and Tuesday it seems I must have a faulty unit. It rarely responded to text messages, going "radio silent" after some I itial success. Although I was able (briefly) to ping and upload battery state to the remote ever, not once has the device achieved a GPS lock, despite sitting outside staring at the open sky. If it worked as advertised, it would be great; as it is, my experiences have so far not been very positive (and my unit certainly couldn't be relied upon to grant any sort of security or piece of mind).
They use their cars as shopping baskets; they use their cars as overcoats.

The Cyclist of Catan
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Re: SpyLamp and SpyBike GPS tracking device!

Postby The Cyclist of Catan » Thu Oct 25, 2012 19:45 pm

Well what do you know - a replacement unit sent out to me behaves exactly the same way. 30 minutes of initial activity, then the thing turns itself into a paperweight. Grrr.
They use their cars as shopping baskets; they use their cars as overcoats.


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