Date reviewed: November 2021 | Tested by: John Milbank | RRP: £169 + £32.40/year subscription | monimoto.com
When we first tested the original Monimoto back in 2018, we said it was one of the best self-fit trackers you could buy. Now Monimoto 7 has been released, which combines 2G communication with LTE-M (a higher-bandwidth network), can it offer even higher performance for such a relatively affordable price, and is it better than a premium monitored system like those from BikeTrac or Datatool?
Monimoto is not a Thatcham-approved monitored tracker; that means you can install it for no extra cost but, if you are unlucky enough to have your bike stolen, you’ll need to track it yourself. However, police forces aim – resource permitting – to respond to any active tracking incident if it’s accurate enough, so this could still help.
The two supplied zip-ties are reusable, making it easier to pop the unit off to swap the batteries
You’re free to install Monimoto yourself, and it really couldn’t be much easier.
Opening the box reveals a card with the details of the app to download, which then guides you through the very simple process of getting your account set up, then you’re done.
It’s vitally important that you take your time fitting any tracker – you must NOT put it under the seat as most thieves will rip it off to check for a poorly-installed one as soon as they take the bike. Get some panels off and use the supplied re-useable zip-ties to secure it out of sight.
I’d avoid putting the device directly under the fuel tank as that could restrict the signal, but you can easily check how well it works with the app.
During set-up – and at any time you’re close enough to connect your phone to the unit – you can select how often Monimoto gives you can update on its status. Default is 24 hours, and it’ll be at the same time every day after it goes into ready mode.
The fob keeps Monimoto at rest when it’s nearby
The supplied fob lets Monimoto know it’s you moving the bike around, as long as it’s nearby. That does mean that you need to consider where your keys are kept relative to the bike as it can pick it up through a wall. Again, test it as you want the earliest alert possible if anyone tampers with your motorcycle.
It’s best to keep the fob separate to your bike keys if you can, and definitely don’t keep it on the ignition key so that if someone does get hold of your keys you’ll still be alerted if they ride off.
I’ve been testing the device thoroughly, and haven’t seen any impact on the battery life yet. The communication technology used on this new version is more demanding on the battery life, but instead of the two 3V CR123A cells that the first model used, this has two AA Lithium Cells (Energiser ones are supplied). These are claimed to last up to 12 months or more, but they’re readily available and cost just £5.49 for four from my favourite battery shop, Battery Station.
Edit: The batteries in the Monimoto 7 lasted six months before an alert came up on the app and I had to replace them. This is half of that claimed, but I think it's still a fair amount of time. The only thing to be aware of is that there's no real warning – due to lithium cells having a fairly steady performance, then depleting rapidly at the end, the app showed full, then suddenly empty. The device continued working for more than a week before I got round to changing them, so it's no great disaster, though if I were using the Monimoto for a long trip away and the cells were approaching six months, I'd swap them before I left.
The fob’s CR2450 lasts up to a claimed three years, and only costs £1.75 from the same store so while Monimoto can’t take power from your bike’s battery, it won’t flatten it and it costs very little to run.
While you’re not funding a support team with Monimoto, you do still need to pay a yearly subscription of £34.40 for the SIM card that’s hard-wired inside the unit. This is how the location data is sent to your phone, and also what generates the automated phone call when the device goes into alarm mode. This is better than a text as you’re more likely to hear it, and when you answer, a computerised voice simply says ‘alarm’, then you know to switch over to the app and see what’s happening. Or run outside in your pants brandishing a saucepan. No, don’t do that.
All our tracker tests are conducted in the same way – we don’t tell the manufacturer when we intend to perform a mock theft, and while we won’t waste police time to raise a crime number (if necessary for monitored systems), we expect the device (if it’s self-monitored) or operations centre to demonstrate the full service.
Level one: Stolen and left in street: In cities particularly, motorcycle theft most commonly involves criminals pushing the bike away (typically with an accomplice on a scooter), then hiding it a short distance away while they wait a few days to see if it has a tracker; the last thing they want is to lead police straight to their home or workshop.
In our testing, outdoor accuracy of the Monimoto 7 was very good, pinpointing the location of the bike on the app to within just a couple of metres. The great thing too was getting a call withing less than a minute of the bike being first moved about.
Were you unlucky enough to have your bike stolen in this situation, the unit will phone you almost immediately the bike gets moved about, then – if you don’t get to it before they take it away – you could recover it almost immediately.
Accuracy in the open can be very good. Hit the ‘live tracking’ button and Monimoto will update its location every minute
Level two: Stolen and hidden in a building: With the bike hidden in a shed, or a basic stand-alone garage, accuracy can still be very good, but more dense structures quickly limit the performance of the Monimoto 7; in my own home, for instance, the rear half of the garage has the second story of our house above it, but the front is just a pitched roof. In this scenario Monimoto cannot get a GPS fix, so uses triangulation to give an approximate location, though unfortunately in my testing that was a radius of 0.8 miles, which meant an area of about two square miles – the chances of finding the bike here (and it was actually on the very edge of this circle) is very slim.
Monimoto is equipped with the tech to use WiFi to more accurately locate itself when indoors, but this wasn’t enabled at the time of testing – as soon as it becomes available we’ll update this review.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any location data when the bike was in a van with a steel bulkhead
Level three: Stolen and hidden in a shipping container: A call came through to my phone alerting me that something was happening to my bike within 30 seconds – before I even got it loaded into the van – but unfortunately once the Mercedes Sprinter’s doors were shut, the device couldn’t get any location at all – not even an approximate one.
When I stopped and opened the van doors half-way through the journey, it took around five minutes to update, but it did then give a good approximate location – the radius was still 0.8 miles, but the centre was almost pin-point accurate.
Once I unloaded it and put it in the container, everything was lost, but it pinged one more approximate location. This still had a radius of 0.8 miles, but the centre point was just 40m out. In some circumstances, that could be good enough, though in extremely built-up areas it might not.
Of course, if the unit gets a clean satellite link while being unloaded, it should pin-point the bike, so while it didn’t help in our test, it’s possible that it could in other scenarios.
It is worth keeping in mind that whatever tracker’s being used, police attendance can’t be guaranteed, and if the bike’s on someone’s property, officers will need to be very sure of its exact location in order to obtain a warrant.
If Monimoto can get a fix on cell towers, it will give an approximate location
Additional function – car use: You can use Monimoto in a car too – it even has the option to alter the sensitivity to movement for car use – but its accuracy will depend where it’s placed. In the boot of a saloon car I could only get approximate locations, which again give that two square mile area. With it in the glovebox it got GPS and sometimes gave an approximate location with a radius of 100m, while other times it was accurate to within a couple of metres. With it on the seat of the car it was accurate almost all the time, so careful positioning is important; fortunately you can easily test it by checking on the app.
If you have your fob separate to the bike keys, Monimoto will automatically go into alarm mode and allow you to track it. However, if the thief does get the fob, you can go into the settings and select ‘start active tracking’, but this can take between 5 minutes and 24 hours, depending on when you have the update interval set and when it’s next due. Most people will have it for 24 hours, but if you’d put it to the maximum – 40 days – it could take up to that before you get a ping if the fob has been taken with the bike. By then even the most fractionally-witted thief will likely have found it and ditched it.
Monimoto is based in Lithuania, so while you don’t have a 24/7 UK team to call, you can email for technical support or use the webchat function in the app. There’s a very good FAQ section and really useful videos, but I also tested webchat and got a response within just 33 minutes when contacting on a weekday afternoon.
The first thing most thieves do when they steal a bike is rip the seat off to see if a tracker has been poorly installed, so DO NOT put it there – take your time to remove panels and find a good spot (ideally not buried under the metal and liquid of the fuel tank as this can block the GPS).
Monimoto offers good value for money, but you must be aware that it doesn’t give the performance of some premium trackers, or the backup of a dedicated team monitoring your bike 24/7. At £34.40 to pay for the SIM each year it’s a lot cheaper than the premium brands, but remember that being self-fit it can’t be Thatcham approved, which means it won’t count where an insurer demands a tracker, and most underwriters won’t offer a discount for it. But discounts shouldn’t be why you buy security, though remember that a subscription to Biketrac or Datatool, for instance, gives you a 24/7 monitoring team that will liaise direct with the police. In the case of BikeTrac, you even get access to a private security company that can assist in securing your motorcycle for a subscription of £99 each year.
Where Monimoto excels is in its very quick alerting of a possible theft, and when I have a borrowed bike locked up outside a hotel I really appreciate the peace-of-mind that it can offer. It does struggle in some of the theft scenarios that our testing includes, but for the most common city-centre theft of a push-away, it offers a real level of protection, giving you a great chance of recovering your own bike.
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