In keeping with similar security technologies, Alpha Dot won’t stop a thief half inching your steed, but coupled with stout locks and other sensible security the set makes bikes and components much harder to sell-on and more likely to be returned to their rightful owners. it can also reduce insurance premiums.
Our test kit consisted of instructions, a nail varnish sized tube of lacquer and two warning stickers. The lacquer contains microdots with a unique code linking owner and machine courtesy of an electronic database. The lacquer takes just a few minutes to apply but set aside a couple of hours when the bike(s) won’t be used-overnight; a warm room is ideal as the solution requires time to cure. Start by giving the machines a good wash to remove any dirt, grease or contaminant before drying. You need to shake the lacquer for about a minute before applying creatively around the frame and components using the brush. In the event of interruption, reapplication is possible so long as you complete within seventy-two hours of opening. The dots initially appear milky white but dry as a clear coat. While curing, register your particulars and unique code on the Alpha Dot website. Affix warning stickers and you’re done.
Thieves love shiny, anonymous kit that’s easily sold on with no questions asked but with Alpha dot it’s riskier - they’re can't be sure of removing all trace. The system works particularly well on bikes with expensive accessories such as tagalongs and trailers - products using transponder systems are fine but typically treat only one machine. If you sell your bike you can transfer registration to another party with a £15 administration fee.
Being critical, the dots are easily removed without trace using solvents; putting details such as name, address, date of birth and/or other distinguishing particulars on laminated card inside handlebar ends, seat tubes etc costs nothing and can be equally effective. However, it’s much less invasive than having components etched/engraved and any deterrent to the light fingered has to be welcomed.
By no means foolproof but a useful additional deterrent.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Alpha Dot Cycle Kit
Size tested: Std
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It is a unique security marking system caried in a lacquer which is the applied to frame and components meaning evben if broken for parts/otherwise sold on they can be identified. Not a substitute for good locks and other security but anything that makes a thief's life harder has to be a plus.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Applied in minutes using a mascara type brush, it has a shelf life of 72 hours once opened and takes an hour to cure at room temperature. Works on the basis that a theif cannot be assured they have removed al trace.
I hope never to require it but past experience and generic research suggests it is quite effective-can also reduce insurance premiums.
I have this system on another machine and everything still seems fine after ten years and four season's on/off road riding, but the stickers could be removed with solvent
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very simple and quick to apply, weighs nothing, can reduce insurance premiums but no substitute for good physical security and if the warning sticker is removed there would be no indication it was tagged. Therefore, pop a laminated card with personal details in the seat tube/handlebars just in case you should be unlucky enough to have your steed swiped and later recovered.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Stickers can be removed with solvent.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? As part of wider security measures, yes.
About the tester
Age: 35 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)