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how to get a replacement motorcycle key

how to get a replacement motorcycle key?


The ins and outs of motorcycle keys – how to get a replacement motorcycle key

Do you own a motorbike? In this post, we’ll go over the ins and outs of motorcycle keys, key replacement and common key problems. Keep reading for more information!



Types of motorcycle keys available

All motorcycle keys are not created equal. In fact, there are several different types of motorcycle keys that can be used to start your bike. Knowing what kind of key you have and how to use it is important for keeping your bike safe and secure. Here is a look at the different types of motorcycle keys and what you need to know about them.


Traditional metal key

This is the simplest type of key, it doesn’t connect to any onboard electronics or engine immobilizer. It’s easy to copy, but it also lacks the added security of other key types.

Plastic head (non-transponder) keys

Essentially these bike keys resemble a transponder key but they lack the chip inside the plastic head of the key.

Transponder keys

As with newer model car, newer motorcycles have transponder keys with a chip inserted into the plastic head. This transponder chip connects with the bike’s ECU or engine immobilizer when inserted into the ignition. These types of keys can be replaced and made, but the transponder chips require programming in order to turn on your bike. You can read more about: how to replace and program your remote.

Smart keys

Keyless entry is all the rage in security features these days and motorbike keys are no exception. If you have a new motorcycle, or a luxury model your bike may have this type of motorcycle key. These keys don’t have the physical metal ‘key’ but instead only the plastic key fob that sends electrical signals to disable the engine immobilizer and allow the engine to start. These typically use a push button to start.



Motorcycle padlocks and wheel locks

A motorcycle padlock includes any type of lock that can be removed once it’s unlocked. Sometimes people use disc locks or handlebar locks as an added security measure. Motorcycle padlocks give extra peace of mind in an areas where theft may be a significant problem, or you have to park your bike out on the street rather than in a secure garage. However, if you lose your padlock key you’ll find that many locksmiths are unable to deal with padlock key replacements. You will have to contact the manufacturer for a replacement key, or sadly, have the padlock cut off. Then you’ll have to purchase a new lock.



Common key problems

There can be any number of key problems someone could encounter with their motorcycle.


Keys stuck in the ignition

Typically, a stuck or jammed key happens when the key has been in the ignition for too long without being turned or when the bike is leaning at a slight angle. In some cases, weather conditions may also result in jammed keys. Cold weather can increase the chances of things seizing. It’s important to remain calm, assess the situation, and take appropriate action as needed. Before taking drastic action or calling a locksmith you can try thoroughly checking the ignition and trying to wiggle the key back and forth to free it. Don’t force it too much or it may snap, particularly in cold weather.


Damaged or broken keys

This is something that can easily follow having your key stuck in the ignition. However, there are many ways a key can become damaged. If your motorcycle key is damaged you might have difficulty inserting it into the ignition cylinder or getting the engine to turn over. If this is the case then you’ll need to get a new motorcycle key. Keep reading to find out more on how to get a new motorcycle key.


Lost the original key

If you have lost your motorcycle key, it’s completely understandable. One of the main reasons why losing keys is so common is that they tend to blend in with their surroundings. In addition, because most keys are relatively small and shiny, they are easily overlooked when we are in a hurry or distracted by other things going on around us.

While it’s certainly annoying, lost keys don’t have to be a massive drama. It is possible to source motorcycle key replacements, depending on the type of key you have will determine where you can acquire them and how much this costs. However, it’s always advisable to avoid losing them in future. A quick tip is to have a photo of your motorcycle’s vehicle identification number in your phone in case you need to get a motorcycle key replacement in a hurry.

Be aware, in some cases it’s not as simple as just replacing the key you may also need to replace the ignition cylinder altogether. So you’re looking at a new key and a new ignition cylinder, and costs can start to add up.


Get a copy of a motorcycle key made

If you need a spare key for your motorcycle, it’s easy to get a copy made. Almost any professional locksmith can cut a motorcycle key, and you can find blank keys at specialist stores or hardware store. Be aware that if you have a luxury brand of bike you may face more difficulty in getting a key cut, you may have to visit the dealership.


Where to get a spare key made

You can opt to either get the spare key made by a professional automotive locksmith that deals with motorcycles, or have a store cut the key. There are pro’s and cons for both options. A locksmith will likely cost more but you have reliable service and less hassle to deal with. If you go to a hardware store the process is a little more drawn out to make a copy.

Hardware store – First, you’ll need to find a blank key that is compatible with your motorbike and it’s whole ignition cylinder. You’ll need the vehicle identification number in order to ensure you purchase the correct key and for security reasons. A store will only be able to cut keys with a blade, a transponder key or traditional key. Key fobs will have to be purchased separately and programmed. A transponder key will also need to be programmed to connect with your bikes ignition system.

Locksmith – An experienced locksmith will have the equipment to create a duplicate key for most motorcycles, on-site, including luxury bikes. They can provide the full service and even program the key right then and there.



How to get a lost motorcycle key replacement?

If you have a standard key, you can go to any locksmith or hardware store and purchase a motorcycle key replacement . However, if you have a transponder key, the process is more complicated. You’ll often need your bike’s VIN and you’ll have to provide proof of ownership, for security reasons.


Online – it’s possible to purchase a motorcycle key online, however it comes with a larger range of risks. Make sure the seller is reputable and ensure you know the exact type of key you need. You may need to program it yourself as well.


Hardware store – Hardware or specialist motorcycle parts stores should be able to replace a transponder or fob key. Depending on the model you need. in most cases they should be able to program it for you to, otherwise you’ll have to program it yourself. If you need a simple traditional key cut and don’t have the original key, you’ll require motorcycle key blanks to cut the new key from.


Locksmith – A local locksmith will be able to source a replacement transponder key or key fob and can program. You might need to check with your locksmith to ensure they can supply and program the exact key you need. If you’ve lost your key and are stranded somewhere this is an excellent option to get you on your way quick smart. If you find a mobile locksmith they’ll come to you for this service.


Dealership – Naturally you can purchase a motorcycle replacement key from a local dealership directly. Potentially even the same dealership you purchased the bike from.



Programming a motorcycle key

Start by determining which type of ignition cylinder code your motorcycle key uses. There are three types of systems- fixed code, rolling code, and encrypted code. Most newer motorcycles use either a rolling code or an encrypted code system. On the ignition cylinder you’ll find this 3 or 4 digit key code, in some cases this ignition code may not be clearly visible and you’ll have to loosen the ignition cylinder a little.


Rolling code system – If your motorcycle has a rolling code system, you’ll need to purchase a special device called a “key cloner.” This device is used to copy the signal from your existing key so that you can program a new one.


Encrypted code – If your motorcycle has an encrypted system, you’ll need to purchase a new transponder key from your dealership. This key must be programmed by an authorized dealer in order for it to work with your motorcycle.


Dealership, locksmith or DIY programming

When it comes to programming a motorcycle key, there are a few different options available. Many dealerships have the equipment and expertise necessary to program keys quickly and easily.

A dealership may be your only option of course if you have new motorcycle keys with an encrypted key code. Visiting the dealership however, can also be the most expensive option.

The second option is to use a locksmith. While not all locksmiths will be able to program keys for motorcycles, many have the necessary tools and know-how and can always redirect you to the right place. This can be a more affordable option than going to a dealership, but it may take longer to find a suitable locksmith in some cases.

The third option is to program the key yourself. This can only be done with some models of motorcycle, but it is generally not recommended unless you have experience with programming keys. If you do attempt to program the key yourself, it is important to follow the instructions carefully to avoid damaging the bike or the motorcycle key.



How to store your keys safely

Many motorcycles have a master key type system, where the same key works for both the steering lock, ignition switch, gas tank and the rear seat. This does make it more imperative to store your motorcycle key in a secure location at all times. Lose your motorcycle key and you’re faced with the time consuming hassle of sourcing a new key. When really all you want to be doing is spending more time on the bike. Here’s some quick tips that will hopefully help you avoid problems.


Get a spare

Make sure you have spare keys, so you’ll have two keys, or even a third key is a good idea. You’ll have that spare handy for future use, should you ever lose your motorcycle key. Then you should leave the spare in logical places, like with a family member or friend. That way you can access that spare key in a timely manner when you need it most.


Keychains and tracking technology

Motorcycle key chains may sound a bit old fashioned but they’re a really helpful. Your motorcycle key is a small, but important item and it’s pretty easy to lose. If you have a keychain with a clip, you’ll avoid the risk of it falling out of your pocket.

In terms of high-tech options you can purchase and attach a Bluetooth tracker to you keychain. In the event you forget where you sat your keys down you will be able to identify the location with the ease of a smartphone app.





We have compiled a few of our most frequently asked questions.


Are motorcycle keys universal?

Motorcycle keys are not technically universal in that they can be used on every bike. Your motorcycle key code and cut will be unique to your bike.
However, your key will work in the rear seat, gas tank cap and ignition switch.


How much do replacement motorcycle key cost?

Replacement motorcycle keys can vary widely in price depending on a number of factors. Traditional metal keys tend to be much cheaper than a transponder or smart key. Additionally, the retailer you choose and any associated fees that may apply, such as shipping costs and handling charges, will also affect the overall price of your motorcycle key replacement.

If you want to get an accurate estimate of how much repairing or replacing your motorcycle key will cost, it is best to contact a few different dealerships, locksmiths or specialty stores. In general, you should expect to pay anywhere from $100 and much more for a completely new set of replacement motorcycle keys (it is always better to have a spare key!).
Want to know how a locksmith make a new key? – This page will give you an idea.


How many keys should you have for a motorcycle?

If you have a motorcycle, you should have at least two keys- a primary key and a backup. However, it doesn’t hurt to also have a third spare key. If you purchase a brand new motorbike you’ll be provided with three keys.

If you have more than one motorcycle, you should have a separate set of keys for each one. This will help to prevent confusion and ensure that you always have the right set of keys with you when you need them.


Do motorcycle keys have a ‘chip’ like with modern car keys?

The answer is yes, some motorcycles do have keys with chips. However, this is not the case for all motorcycles. Some models still use a traditional key that do not contain a chip. In general, whether or not a motorcycle has a key with a chip depends on the make and model of the bike. However, it is becoming more common for newer models to come equipped with this type of key.


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