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Review: DataDot DNA bicycle kit

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DataDotDNA-bike-kit-rating$49.95

For the owner, the theft of a bike is a distressing, often expensive and inconvenient experience—a reality that may well have been behind DataDot’s decision to expand their inventory into the bicycle market.

DataDot was first developed 15 years ago for the automotive industry, as a means to help police identify stolen cars, counteract theft and increase repatriation with a vehicle’s rightful owner.

In its simplest form, DataDot is hundreds of unique serial numbers on tiny plastic dots which you brush onto a number of different locations on your bike. These are all but invisible to the naked eye—they can only be read under a UV light and magnifying device.

It’s virtually impossible to locate and remove all DataDots, which means that it’s harder to thieves to sell your bike, or parts, without getting caught.

Think of this as an extension of jotting down the serial number, or taking photos of your bike—both of these are two pieces of information police ask for when trying to get your property back to you—and having a third identifier only helps police further.

The DataDot DNA Bicycle kit package consists of a small plastic vial filled with little black dots, a second vial filled with glue, and a cotton-tipped swab. To install, it’s just as simple as mixing the dots with the glue provided, applying it to key discreet areas of your bike with the applicator and leaving it to dry. Once it’s dry and in place, the dots disappear into darker surfaces and are challenging to remove. The visual results are far less impressive on light surfaces, resembling small swarms of ants, so heed DataDot’s advice about putting them somewhere inconspicuous.

Installation took about five minutes and was very straightforward. Registration was also a breeze, with online and telephone options.

This technology has been in the market for a while. It has been widely adopted by automotive manufacturers such as Subaru, the marine and heavy industry, and as such there’s a level of awareness with law enforcement that in turn means you have a higher chance of getting your bike back. DataDot have also set up a national bike registry for law enforcement to access when they come across stolen bikes.

While it’s no replacement for a sturdy lock, at a retail point of $49.95, it seems like a small outlay if it helps get your loved one back.

Review by Stu Moysey

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