Pegase tracker review | Full theft test of subscription-free tracker

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Date reviewed: October 2022 | Tested by: John Milbank | RRP: £269 | smtperformances.com

 

The Pegase tracker is a simple-to-fit device that, once purchased, requires no ongoing subscription at all – not even a SIM card. It’ll alert you of movement and vibration, and call you if the bike is taken away. I fitted it to a 2001 Honda VFR800 to find out what it’s like day-to-day, and how it performs in our full theft testing…

 

Pros & Cons
  • No subscription cost
  • Easy to fit
  • Very compact
  • Needs manually disarming with phone app
  • Some glitches need addressing
  • Consider waiting for next generation?
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The unit comes with Pegase stickers… I wouldn’t recommend advertising that you have a tracker

 

Features

The standout feature of the Pegase tracker is of course that it requires no subscription. The SIM card is already fitted and doesn’t need any form of topping up or replacement. While listed as costing £269, you’ll also be charged around £50 in import duty if bought from the website as it’s shipped from the European Union. UK sellers do appear to be available though, thanks to Motodirect / Bihr handling UK distribution.

  • Push notification and/or email for vibration alerts
  • Push notification and/or email for suspicious minor movement alerts
  • Push notification and/or email and/or phone call and/or SMS for full movement alerts
  • Option to automatically arm 10 to 60 minutes after end of ride
  • Tracking can update as regularly as four times/second
  • Internal backup battery
  • Lead acid or lithium battery versions, depending on bike (next gen will be selectable)
  • Rides are automatically recorded, with option to export as GPX
  • Automatic track lap timing
  • Uses GPS and 2G (next gen will use 3G and 4G)

Being a DIY-fit unit, Pegase is not Thatcham-approved and therefore does not attract any insurance discounts. However, the value of any tracker is in getting your bike back quickly, and discounts due to any device cannot be guaranteed.

 

You can peel the ‘P’ sticker off, but the tracker still needs hiding properly. I don’t think the ‘Central Digital Ignition’ sticker will fool anyone

 

Fitting

Pegase is very easy to instal as it requires just a direct connection to the live and neutral of the battery. It’s also very small, so quite easy to hide, though you do need to ensure it’s positioned with the top kept uppermost, and that it’s not underneath any metal. The side of the box has a label with an arrow and the word ‘Haut’, meaning top.

Several YouTubers and even Pegase itself suggest fitting the unit under the bike’s seat, but it’s very important that you DO NOT do this; thieves will generally push a bike away and leave it for a while, to see if it has a tracker, but they’ll usually rip the seat off to check for a poorly fitted one.

Given that the design of the box is no secret (there’s a reason that Biketrac, Datatool etc won’t ever show a photo of their trackers), a thief will soon spot this if you don’t hide it properly, even if you do peel off the ‘P’ sticker, or fit the supplied ‘Central Digital Ignition’ sticker. And certainly don’t put the ‘Pegase’ stickers on your bike!

 

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Day-to-day use

Day-to-day use of the Pegase tracker isn’t as slick as it could be. With only a power feed, I assumed it would recognise the change in voltage when the bike’s started, but to disarm it you need to open the app on your phone and click the unlock button.

The app’s well designed and easy to use, and you’ll likely be reminded quickly as the vibration alert is quite sensitive (it goes off a lot if the bike’s parked outside on a windy day), but it is frustrating to have to dig your phone out. Fortunately the next generation unit is said to know when the rider’s present, like Monimoto, which will automatically disarm it.

You also have to remember to arm the Pegase tracker, again using the app, but there is the option to have it automatically re-arm after a ride. There’s a flaw with this though in that it takes a while before the device realises you’ve stopped riding, then the minimum time selectable before it’ll arm is 10 minutes, which is more than enough time for someone to have your bike away – for instance as you pop into the shops – and it not realise it’s not you riding it. Either a rider present fob, an NFC link to your phone, or tapping into an ignition live circuit really is quite a major omission here.

 

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That lack of alert for the first ten minutes or so after parking could be the difference between you getting a notification it’s being tampered with and running out to stop it happening, or coming back to find the bike’s gone. Fortunately, even if it doesn’t tell you it’s been stolen, you can still track it once you find out.

To disarm the device, it needs to be able to get a phone signal, as does your own smartphone, though if you are out in the sticks you won’t get a call either, so it’s likely the commands would get through once the signal is re-established.

When you first use the Pegase tracker, make sure you have a good look through all the options in the app, as many of the essentials – like phone call alerts and auto re-arming – are off by default.

The automatically recorded rides are interesting, and do accurately show your route, but the promise of maximum braking and acceleration doesn’t seem to work for me, and the lean angle only shows average and peak, not the direction of lean. It’s a little inconsistent, and not as good as the excellent BMW Motorrad Connected app, for instance, but it’s a nice addition.

 

The unit does not have any waterproof seal on the case, so be wary where you place it, despite there appearing to be a conformal coating on the circuit board

 

Pegase does not have any alert when it’s disconnected from the bike’s battery, which is surprising. It also won’t tell you when its own internal battery is running low.

Pegase claims that its internal power – which comes from a very small 3.7V lithium-ion cell – will last up to two months when the bike’s stationary, or two weeks when it’s moving. This seemed optimistic, so I tested it and found it lasted 19 hours while moving.

On the day of the theft testing, a glitch showed itself that gave me real cause for concern. Driving off with the bike loaded up, I had no calls or alerts, but the app showed nothing wrong – the bike was still supposed to be in the same place.

I tried contacting the support team, who after a few hours sent me a link to a PDF that explained how to reset the Pegase, which requires opening up the box to get to a small reset button. It was only after the third attempt, when I’d tried holding reset while the unit was unplugged from the power, that it started working again.

It appears that I might have missed that the unit had frozen for a few days. I hadn’t noticed that it wasn’t giving me vibration alerts when I moved the bike around in the garage, and it was only when I was away from home with the bike in the back of the van and checked the app that I found out it wasn’t updating its position.

Pegase really needs to alert the owner if the app’s failing to establish communication, as while this might have been an unlucky one-off, it’s worrying that it just happened to occur when I was running a theft test after about a month of ownership.

 

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When the unit ran out of internal power, it stopped tracking after 19 hours with no warning

 

Theft test

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: Any vibration to the bike (even wind) will trigger an alert on your smartphone. These will continue as long as vibration, and small movements, occur. When the bike’s taken away, it will prompt a phone call that disconnects when you answer it, or after timing out. The call only happens once.

In my testing, the phone call came through when the bike had been taken less than 200 meters; an impressive result.

Tracking of the bike was accurate, so in the most common of scenarios, which see a motorcycle pushed away then left (often quite close by), there’s a very good chance you’ll be able to find the bike. You can also call the police direct from the app if you want to. It uses the 112 number, but this works in the UK the same as 999.

 

Level two: Stolen and hidden in a building: It will depend on the building’s construction, but I found Pegase to still give an accurate location when hidden inside a brick-built garage with a second story above it.

The Pegase app allows you to link out to Google maps in order to find your way to your bike, though when you exit the app, the location you’re heading to will not be automatically updated if the bike’s still on the move. The Pegase app’s mapping is fine though, as long as you know the area as it only shows the tracker’s location, not you and your phone’s.

 

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Level three: Stolen in a van with steel bulkhead: In testing, while the call came through after about a mile travel, the location was still shown clearly, despite the bike being in the back of the van.

A ‘dead zone’ was found though, where the tracker clearly couldn’t communicate, which meant it was still showing as being some distance from its actual location. As the Pegase app will not tell you when the location was last updated, this makes it hard to know how accurate it is at any given point.

 

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This screen grab was taken while I was parked with the bike in the van, yet Pegase still though it was where I’d turned around in the village

 

Bike jacking

If you are unfortunate enough to be robbed of your motorcycle, even if the device doesn’t know that it’s been stolen, you can still easily track it.

 

Support

I used the support within the app and did get a response regarding the fault within a couple of hours. However, this is not a 24/7 monitoring team as found on the high-end subscription-based trackers.

 

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Pegase tracker review: Verdict

I was very surprised with the accuracy of the Pegase tracker; it’s certainly better than Monimoto in that respect, and the fact that it’s absolutely free to use after purchase is a huge benefit.

However, while the app’s polished and it does allow accurate tracking of the bike in many circumstances, there are issues that need to be ironed out before I’d totally trust it.

It also really needs to know when the bike’s running, or have a ‘rider present’ fob, or even use your mobile phone’s NFC proximity to disarm and arm it.

Pegase is, in many ways, an impressive product, but I’m more interested in what the next generation will be like, which we’re told is due early to mid 2023.

For more information on tracking systems, click here.