Scorpio CYL-200 Motorcycle Security System

Electronic Watchdog for Your Bike

Thirty thousand motorcycles are stolen in the U.S. every year, according to insurance industry estimates. That's one every 18 minutes! So what can you do to improve the odds of always finding your bike where you left it, 18 minutes ago?

There are a bewildering variety of security systems available. Locking the bike, preferably to an immovable object, is one way to go. We've already given our highest ***** rating to Pro Sport Lock.

Alarms use various methods to detect theft-related tampering and when triggered can sound a loud siren to get attention, defeat the ignition and even alert the owner that foul play is afoot via a remote beeper. One of the main appeals of an alarm is ease of use, requiring a lot less vigilance than having to physically lock and unlock your bike every time you park. Also, forgetting to disarm your alarm does less damage than riding away with your disc lock still in place. Obviously, your best defense against today's determined thief is both a substantial lock and a good alarm.

We tried the Scorpio CYL-200TP ($379.95), a complete security alarm system designed especially for motorcycles, which has eight separate components: a "self-diagnosing" microprocessor module, a six-tone siren (claimed 125 db.), microwave perimeter motion sensor, digital pager sending unit, digital remote receiver (beeper), "gyroscopic" tilt sensor module, three-channel remote transmitter key fob, and an LED status indicator. Also available is the CYL-200DX, without the remote pager sender and receiver, for $259.95.

A $29.95 option is the RID-3 Remote Ignition Disable module which allows the ignition to be killed on a time delay via the key fob, and also cuts power to the ignition while the alarm is armed.

We installed our Scorpio alarm on a Suzuki RF600R. Although a reasonably simple do-it-yourself project, it requires thorough reading of the concise instructions. Fortunately, hot-line help is available from Scorpio should you hit a snag. Scorpio claims that the complete job can be done without soldering, splicing, drilling, or special tools, because all wiring connectors and cable ties are supplied. However, we did end up doing a small amount of soldering, splicing, drilling, and fiddling.

 We installed the Scorpio master control module and perimeter sensor next to the existing electronic control module, under the rider's seat. Then we attached the siren, the paging transmitter, and the "gyroscopic" tilt sensor (actually a dual contact mercury switch) below the stock passenger seat.

With all components in place, electrical connections to the bike are few: one wire each to the battery terminals (the master control module is internally fused), left and right turn signal lamps, and the rear tail lamp. Getting the wire clip-ons to crimp and clip positively wasn't always easy. We violated the no drilling rule by mounting the status LED flush with the surface of the plastic light cover over the license plate. Sure, we could have just hung it somewhere with a wire tie as suggested, but how lazy can you get?

In the end, we managed to get everything up and working without calling the hot-line, taking about four hours from start to finish. It was a virtual miracle in the annals of ham-fisted D.I.Y. installations, as the system worked as advertised when the power was connected. Now we were ready to annoy the neighbors.

The CYL-200 system, Scorpio claims, sips only 4 mA of battery juice when armed. The pager receiver can be set for either beeping or vibrating alert and requires two AAA batteries (not supplied). Battery life is estimated to be about 45 days in normal use. Scorpio claims its microprocessor is self-diagnosing and will automatically reload and correct its own software in case of error. The system is warranted for a period of two years, and the modular components reportedly withstand severe vibration, heat, and even water pressure.

 The three-button compact key fob and the bike's ignition switch control the system. The red button alternately arms and disarms the alarm. In auto mode, the alarm is set for you every time by simply turning off the key. Arming and disarming are confirmed via siren chirps and turn signal flashes. The alarm trigger cycle is programmed to last 30 seconds including sounding the siren and flashing the turn signals, after which the system automatically resets and stays armed.

The green button activates panic mode, setting off the alarm and notifying the pager as long as it's depressed. It can also be used to effect a silent alarm, where only the pager would be notified of a theft attempt.

Once the system is armed, the red LED status light blinks on and off and the alarm lies in wait for any of the possible triggers. First trigger is the perimeter sensor, with a claimed range of up to five feet. The second trigger is a tilt sensor, which activates the siren and paging alarm if the bike is lifted off its side stand. The third trigger is activated if the ignition is turned on. System status is shown via flashing LED codes.

Although the system sounds complicated, one quickly learns how to make use of it. In fact, we were delighted with the Scorpio until its siren suddenly went dumb. A hot-line call got us a well-informed tech, and a new siren arrived just two days later. We were glad to find that it was louder than the original. Unfortunately, now both the siren and perimeter disable modes were useless. Another hot-line call, another surprisingly helpful technician. He diagnosed the problem by listening to the sound of the siren over the phone.

This time, we got a new master controller with a new key fob (these are pre-coded to work with each other from the factory), and another new siren just to make sure we had a fully matching set. Thanks to the Velcro mounts and modular quick connectors, it was literally a five-minute job to swap the old components for the new. Thankfully it all worked exactly to spec and we're now back to being impressed with the CYL-200, not just with the alarm itself but with the competence and helpfulness of Scorpio's Technical Support staff. Overall, we give the Scorpio CYL-200 a four star rating.

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