A brake on thefts

A brake on thefts

SINGAPORE - This duo wants to put the brakes on motorcycle caliper theft.

After one of their friend's motorcycle brake calipers was stolen last year, the two students racked their brains on how to stop it from happening again.

This kind of theft is particularly insidious because motorcyclists may end up in accidents if they are unaware of the lack of brakes before moving off.

Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students Hafiy Al-Haziq Norazani and Muhammad Hilmi Mohd Sudirman's solution is an alarm system for the part.

Their invention was one of 11 final-year projects showcased at ITE College Central's Technical Engineer Diploma (TED) fair last month.

Mr Hafiy and Mr Muhammad Hilmi, both 21, took about nine months to brainstorm a solution and come up with a prototype.

The brake caliper, which controls braking the front tyre, is usually screwed into the front fork of the motorcycle.

Their device covers the screws, preventing would-be thieves from removing the part.

It is also fitted with an alarm that will sound if it is tampered with.

Mr Hafiy, who has been riding a motorcycle for three years, said they were inspired to come up with this after realising the danger their friend might have been in.

He said: "It was a relief that my friend noticed that his front caliper was missing before he rode off. Otherwise, he would have crashed."

While team mate Mr Muhammad Hilmi does not ride, he loves motorbikes.

Said Mr Muhammad Hilmi: "This was a chance for us to help keep motorcyclists safe. The device also serves as a form of deterrence."

They also incorporated ideas from the police into their final design.

The police even supplied the alarm for the prototype after the pair approached the cops with their initial design.

The device is meant for bikes with engine capacities below 400cc, because most of the bigger bikes already come with an anti-theft feature for the part.

HIGH DEMAND FOR PART

They hope to find a company to further refine their device and manufacture it for sale. They estimated that each device would cost less than $100.

Brake calipers are commonly targeted because there is high demand for them at repair shops. Second-hand calipers cost only $80 to $100 and new ones can cost up to $600.

Mechanics The New Paper spoke to said that brake caliper thefts are common and easily done.

A mechanic in Ang Mo Kio Autopoint, who wanted to be known only as Mr Tan, said he sees about six cases of such theft a month.

"Anyone can unscrew the calipers with a screwdriver and cut the tube connecting the calipers to the handlebar-brakes," he said, adding that it can be done within two minutes.

Last January, police arrested two men for stealing brake calipers at Changi Airport.

This article was published on April 5 in The New Paper.

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