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Tail it Bike is a tracker that makes use of GPS, Wi-Fi and GSM to enable you to trace your bike if it is stolen. It works very well, always giving out a signal from wherever I tried to hide it, plus it offers decent battery life. Just be aware it won't fit every handlebar on the market.
Even with your bikes included on your home insurance or a specific cycling policy, it is still nice to have a bit of extra protection, and that is where the Tail it Bike comes along. It fits neatly into your handlebar, and Tail it says you can find your device and bike anywhere in the world, with no range limit.
It achieves this by using a mixture of GPS satellites for outdoor locations and wi-fi routers to get a location indoors, and if your bike is in a position where there is no satellite or wi-fi it uses a GSM antenna which transmits a signal at a specified frequency.
The 200mm-long tracker is flexible thanks to being 'hinged' in two places to create three sections, which means it can pushed into your handlebar, fitting flush with the end just like a bar tape plug. Tail it also includes a dummy bung to go into the other side of your handlebar so that both ends look the same – so as not to give away the fact that the tracker is there.
On flat bars it works a doddle, and it will do too on most road drop handlebars. I tried it on a selection of test bars I've got at home from the likes of Ritchey, Easton, Genetic and Zipp. The Tail it Bike worked fine on all of this – some with a bit of a push, but at least this gave a secure fit inside the bar so that it won't vibrate its way out.
The one bar it wouldn't fit into was the Zipp SL-70 Aero fitted to my B'Twin. No matter how much I tried to shove it in, it couldn't get past the moulding for the internal cable routing.
It won't be an issue on most bikes, but it's worth bearing in mind if you have a carbon bar with internal routing or interesting bends and shapes around the drops. Tail it does offer a 30-day trial, so if it doesn't fit you can always return it.
The Tail it Bike comes with a SIM card and once that is registered and you've downloaded the app, you are pretty much ready to go. I set everything up through the app really easily. You can also set up contacts so that they can see where you are while out riding.
Testing it has been a touch difficult, what with a global lockdown, but I've tried bunging it in the boot of my wife's car while she's been out and about and tracking it through the app.
I've also hidden it in all sorts of places around the house, like in a metal cash box or inside the fridge, and the app would always locate it. Accuracy is pretty good too judging by the map, constantly within a couple of metres of where the device actually was.
Battery life is a claimed eight weeks and I was comfortably achieving that – unless you want to use the live tracking option, which shows you real time movement every five seconds or so. You'll receive a text from Tail it letting you know when your battery is running low just in case you forget to check it. It charges via a micro-USB port in the bar end bung.
Tail it is based in Norway and is currently in the process of sorting distributors within the UK, but for now it is possible to buy it directly from Tail it's (its?) website.
It'll set you back around £84 (current conversion from 999 Krone is £83.89) plus a subscription plan. There are three options: a monthly, one-year or two-year contract, with the possibility to cancel or freeze at any time.
The prices for English speaking countries is in USD on the website, but they equate to roughly £8, £6.50 and £5.60 respectively.
How does that compare with other devices on the market?
We haven't tested it yet, but a similar design is the Sherlock, which also sits inside the handlebar. Buying direct from Sherlock's website it'll set you back €149 – around £135 – but delivery on top bumps the price up to €168/£153. (Tail it delivers free to the UK.)
The Sherlock differs slightly to the Tail it in that it doesn't use a SIM card, but you do get two years of free internet connection included, so there is no subscription fee as such.
Battery life is much shorter, though, at just seven days, and it only uses GPS/Glonass for tracking, which covers Europe and the USA.
The new See.Sense Air is a small box that sits underneath your saddle so it's not as discreet as the Tail it. It is yet to come to market but is currently available for pre-order at a 26 per cent discount for £89. A yearly subscription is likely to be around £12 a year.
Looking at the overall package, the Tail it Bike does deliver a lot even though the monthly subscription is quite high. It still doesn't exactly break the bank, though, and if you have a bike worth a lot of money to you then it makes for a good investment, especially if you also travel around the world a lot – at least you'll know when the airline has left your bike behind!
Overall, the Tail it gives complete peace of mind that you're going to be able to track your bike should it be stolen, or if members of your family want to keep tabs on you when you are out for a remote ride. The subscription might not be as cheap as some, but it's worth it for the lack of worry.
Discreet and easy to use tracker that delivers impressive results wherever your bike is
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Tail it Bike GPS tracker
Size tested: n/a
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?
Tail it says, "Hidden and flexible GPS Tracker for bikes. Fits all handlebars. 8 weeks battery life on a single charge."
It performs very well at tracking your bike, giving a precise position, but it won't fit every handlebar on the market.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Tail it lists:
Global range. Without distance limitation. Locate your bike world-wide.
Realtime bike tracker tracker. Location updates within seconds.
8 weeks battery
Enjoy safety on your bike, with 8 weeks battery life on a single charge.
The Tail it Bike is flexible, so it fits all types of bikes.
Hidden in handlebar
The Tail it Bike can easily be hidden inside the handlebar.
Shock resistant and waterproof (IPX7)
SIM card: Micro SIM, supports GPS and GPRS
Antenna 1: GSM, built-in
Antenna 2: GPS, built-in
Antenna 3: WIFI, built-in
GSM / GPRS 4 frequency:
850 + 1900 + 900 + 1800MHz
Included in the box is a "dummy" tracker to install on the other handlebar, to disguise it to look even, so the thief won't suspect a GPS Tracker is installed.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
You can located your bike, wherever it is.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Easy to use app showing an accurate position.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It might not fit fancy shaped aero style handlebars fitted to many expensive top end bikes.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The actual device is cheaper than others in the marketplace like the Sherlock and the See.Sense Air at full price, but the subscription is higher.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
As long as it fits your handlebar (it'll fit the majority), apart from charging, the Tail it Bike is literally a fit and forget item. It's another monthly subscription to come out of your bank account, but the performance and accuracy are worth it.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!