The Knog Scout is an 85 decibel motion detection alarm, coupled to Apple’s “find my” app, which also makes it a tracker. In this product, Knog the Australian company best known for making lights and bells, appears to have solved a personal problem I have with utility cycling.
- Brand: Knog
- Product: Scout Bike Alarm & Finder
- From: Silverfish
- Price: £49.99
- Tested: by Charlie, 7 weeks.
My problem is…
I live almost 1,000 feet and a 25 minute constant climb above town, which makes my E-bike the preferred choice for nipping out to the shops. Once down in the Calderdale valley, I then need to lock my bike up. However it sometimes feels more like a trench of feckwits and thievery than a beautiful wooded valley full of terrific trails. We seem to have a lot of bike theft round here. You can read about the time Hannah and Amanda had their bikes snatched and dragged up the road behind a car here.
I am uncomfortable leaving a £6,000 bike locked up out of sight. So, I find that I can only leave it locked to railings that are in sight. This now limits my shopping trips to only the Vocation bar, with its convenient railings and 20 variations of excellent beer. Whilst this is a nice problem to have, it is not exactly the healthy cycling infrastructure nirvana I had in mind. In fact, at Vocation with the bike locked up with a chunky Abus Bordo lock/alarm combo, only 20 feet from me, in daylight, on a busy street, its vulnerability was checked out by a gang in a blacked out car and balaclavas. They skidded up to it, saw the lock, decided against it and sped off. The risk is very real.
What does it do?
The Knog Scout offers you a loud 85db motion activated alarm that will alert the thief and anyone nearby that evil malarkey is a foot. When scurrilous behaviour occurs it will alert you via your iPhone.. You can then locate your bike via the Apple “find me” app. Yes, only iPhone users should read on.
Set up and installation
This was dead easy, but let me give you a little advice. The extended bottle cage mounting bolts are located in the side of the box, rather than inside it. It is really easy to drop these when you open the box. However they are rather clever and have a simple but non standard tool interface… what I mean is, it’s a weird two prong fitting, rather than an Allen key fitting, to stop the device being easily removed.
You do not get a charging lead in the box. But you probably already have a drawer full of USB C leads.
One simply mounts the device under your bottle cage, downloads the app, synchs the device with the app, and you are in business.
They also include an optional bright yellow cover. This is intended to work as a visual deterrent. I suspect in time bike thieves will recognise the Scout and look for an easier bike to nick. Actually that is one great anti theft strategy… always make the other guy’s bike look easier to nick.
In the app you can adjust the sensitivity of the movement sensor, alarm volume and tone, and also choose if you want it to flash a small LED when set off.
Living with it
It charges via a USB lead, so there is no need to replace the batteries. Knog claims the charge can last for up to 6 months. Recharging is easy, but not as easy as a bike light for example. As it’s mounted on your frame you need to get the bike near a USB socket. Using a remote battery pack is easier than carrying your bike up the stairs of the Singletrack office, and leaning it against a PC.
To set the alarm or disarm the device simply push a single button in the app. Very easy.
It’s super easy to carry compared to lock as it’s already on your bike. But don’t forget your phone.
It’s waterproof with an IP65 rating. That means it’s got top notch dust protection, and can handle low pressure spray.
Will it stop a thief?
Yes and no.
Mary from the band Gaye Bykers On Acid used to live in Rio, Brazil. I asked him if he was still cycling, and he told me it was too dangerous and three people had been killed for their bikes in recent weeks. My point being, sometimes you are going to lose the bike, and maybe a lot more, no matter what.
Would it have stopped Hannah and Amanda’s snatch? No, if you are willing to drag two bikes up a road, a bit of beeping would be drowned out by the whole nasty drama of sparks flying and wheels spinning.
Would it stop the gang in the car outside Vocation bar? No, for the same reason it wouldn’t have stopped Hannah and Amanda’s heist. I am pretty sure it was the same gang. If I had been inside the bar, heard the alarm go off, run outside, and then what? What can one guy do against a gang of heartless ****ers? Reason with them? “You don’t want to nick this bike, it’s a got a press fit BB and the geometry is bit dated now, and that saddle… it will cut you in two”.
Will it stop an opportunist thief? Yeah, they may well panic, drop the bike and run off. And in this scenario, a very common scenario, is where the Scout can make a difference.
Will you get your bike back?
Maybe. You see whilst you can track the device, a thief with an Apple phone will also be notified they are being tracked. This is to prevent misuse of Apple Airtags to follow people home. Your thief will now either find the Scout and smash it off, or remove it with a Scout tool, or dump the bike.
However if your thief does not have an iPhone then you can follow the online mapping, which will lead you to your bike, and the thief, and their mates, in their lock up, where they keep the baseball bats, shooters and hydroponics.
But bear with me… it is a great product.
So where will it work?
The Knog Scout backed up with a chunky lock gives you the great combination of a physical barrier, plus an audible alarm, plus a method of tracking. And I reckon that is about as good as its going to get for now. With this combination you have done everything you can. Oh, don’t forget insurance, because when all else fails… insurance is all you have left. (Singletrack Members get a nice Discount at Yellow Jersey Cycle Insurance).
This all sounds rather negative. However I absolutely love it, as it undoubtedly significantly reduces risk, and gives the owner a bit more peace of mind. It is an awesome product, you just need to use it with a lock and understand its limitations.
Protecting a £6,000 bike, whilst delivering increased peace of mind… all for £50. It’s incredibly good value. What’s more there must be other uses for this beyond bikes. Parenting perhaps? Do you want to know what time in the afternoon your teenager actually wakes up? Simply balance the Knog Scout on them while they sleep, and you will receive a notification when they wake up. They also receive 85 dBs, and everyone knows that teenagers love loud things. Win:win and everyone is happy.
I think we have almost seen the future with the Scout. What we need now is for this style of tech to be incorporated into an E-bike as standard. It could be hidden deep in the frame, trickle charging off the main battery. Add the option to immobilise your E-bike from the app and you have everything covered.
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|Tested:||by Charlie for 7 weeks|
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