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The Case Of The Mysterious Lost Key

Blog Date - 04 February 2017

By Pocketpete

On Wednesday I went to bed as normal, however the alarm failed to go off or I may have turned it off. I rushed about and and got to work in a fuss. Parked the bike in the car park and rushed into work dumping my waterproofs in the locker room to dry off.

After a 10 hours I return to find someone has moved my waterproofs which are screwed up in the corner. I get dressed and walk to my bike and find I can't locate the ignition key. I spend an hour looking for it without success. Damn, Damn, Damn.

I manage to blag a lift to the tram station and spend an hour on the tram to Ashton and 30 minutes on a bus to get home. Tired and pissed off. Then off to snooker and then I convince Paula I don't wish to leave my bike at work all night so she drops me off with my spare key at 10pm.

A CB500X keyOh key oh key, where for art thou dear key?

Imagine my surprise when I ring the motorcycle dealers and ask about getting a new replacement key. 
The conversation is as follows:

"Oh you lost your key. No problem, what year is it? Oh the one with the new wave key.  Ah yes we don't carry those in stock you can order one from Honda. It will take a week."

"Oh ok then please can I order one then, how much are they?"

"Not sure, no ones ordered one yet, they are new you know. Ah yes that's right they are £49.25 including vat."

"Oh that's fine I do need one please get it ordered" At this point the debit card is requested.

"It will take a week, now when it comes you need to pick the key up and take it to either our recommended locksmith or the Honda Car dealer at Rochdale. They will cut you a copy, they are very difficult to cut. The locksmith charges £18 the Honda dealer £15."

"Oh right that's great then"

"Now don't forget once its cut and works the lock you need to program it, do you have the key number? It's attached to a fob on the spare key."

"Oh there isn't anything on the spare key."

"There should be a 4 digit number on a white tag like A556 or B457"

"Err No."

"Oh Dear well without the code it will be 3 hours labour to get the code from the ECU. It can hold codes for up to 4 keys, that will be £ 75+vat and then we will have to program the new key that takes a further hour so around £ 100 + vat."

"God this is getting expensive."

"Well yes they are pretty complicated and of course if we cant get the code from the ECU and lock assembly then you will have to replace the entire system. Just a moment, that will be £877 + vat and 4 hours Labour. That does include two new keys. I'm not sure if they come as one system or you have to get the two separately."

"Holy s#!t really it's just a key you know!"

"Well these things are very complicated electronics now, your lucky you have a spare key can you manage with one key. It's just a warning don't lose that key or you have to replace the entire system, Oh and I nearly forgot you have to replace the steering lock and the seat lock at the same time I will have to look up the prices for those I'm not sure they come in the set with the ECU. Oh yes that's right they are an extra £ 108."

The moral of this story is why have a bloody key if they are so bloody complicated and expensive to replace why not put a keypad or a finger system on the bloody thing or use a phone app to start the damn thing. Oh and of course don't lose your damn key in the first bloody place.

Reader's Comments

Sharon said :-
At the price of new motorcycles why only give us 2 keys? My cheap Keeway came with 4. My much more expensive Kawasaki only came with 2 the same as your Honda. If they are so complicated to replace and so expensive to replace I think we all need to be demanding at least 4 keys when we buy new.
4/2/2017 7:48:32 PM UTC
Borsuk said :-
Just spent 169 squidlies to replace the key of a Ford. And that was with knowing the code number and having the original keys. One had been washed and tumble dried and sadly never recovered from the experience. Oh forgot the 45 quid while they farted around trying to revive it first.
My bike only came with 2 keys but they are only keys, not sophisticated electronic security devices, so you can get a new one from Timpsons for around a tenner probably. After all, who wants to knick a cheap Chinese bike when you can steal something more powerful and expensive.
4/2/2017 9:20:17 PM UTC
Pocketpete said :-
Thank God I found the white tag from my spare key it was stuck to the separate key that came with the top box.

The number is ****.

That's saved me 4 hour labour.

God how could I lose the key.. what an idiot.
4/2/2017 10:56:50 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Pocketpete - I've edited out your key number. I'm not sure it would be of any use to a theif but let's not find out the hard way.

Yes modern key systems are a NIGHTMARE! There is one massive"BUT". Your motorcycle is virtually impossible to hotwire.

Orrible thieving kids can't get them started to go rag them around the local fields. Professional theives steal for parts these days not the whole bike. There is another downside. If someone really really does want your motorcycle in good order they cannot steal it without the key. So they either break into your home to get it or hijack you on the open road.

Argh!! Lose lose situation. Glad you got your code...need to find mine now.
5/2/2017 8:12:41 AM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Of course I don't have this problem with the Sunbeam as it has no keys at all....

My first "proper" bike was a 1947 Norton 16H single cylinder. This required a somewhat arcane starting procedure and I used to leave it parked anywhere with the mag on full advance confident in the "knowledge" that anyone who tried to start it would limp away with a broken ankle.

Sadly this didn't work and it was of course spirited away one day when I was at work. Just the first in a fairly long line of bikes which someone else has felt more entitled to than I did, despite escalating security measures.
5/2/2017 10:14:51 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Eeeeeeeeeeee...when I wur a lad we used fert ava screwdriver that fit any lock so long as tha wacked eet 'ard enuff weet 'ammer. Then thur wur that plonker wot used fert twiddle ees magneto fingy fot stop eet startin. Well wees seen im do dat so we jus twiddled it back agin and whoosh! We wurs orft. An that young laad in Saaafport wot left ees Onda 100 on sum birds driveway wee-aat even puttin steerin lock on. Pillock. We 'ad that n all.

So now we find ourselves in a situation where digital technology can prevent a motorcycle or car from starting unless a key with the right code is present in the lock.

Naaaa I'm an owd mon these 'ere modern machines is reet 'ard fert nick wee-aat key. So wot I does is sen lad raaand th'aaas fert brek in an nick them keys. If e can't geet int th'aaas e jus wets aatside till th'ownur cums aaat an e sticks a knife in't ribs an teks the key anyhaaa.

Not sure how I feel about modern immobilisers really.
5/2/2017 5:42:26 PM UTC
said :-
The dealers just rip you off, my wife lost her handbag while we were in France in September 2015 and it had our spare bike key in it. No problem we'll get one when we get back. When we get back normal life takes over and we didn't get one cut then in June 2016 we plan to go to Germany and Luxembourg during our preparations we remember that we have no spare key, no problem I phone the Honda dealer, we can supply a blank but we can't cut it, they cost £20.00 + VAT. So I decide to go to Timpsons, yes we cut one £12.00 or two for £20.00 (it's not the latest wave)but they don't have any blanks, we can order one in and it will take two days, okay. Two days later I go back, sorry it hasn't come in, this is Wednesday and we go next Tuesday. It will be here by Friday, you've guessed it no blanks so they send me to another branch nearby who have the blanks when I get there I can't find my key! They call the other branch, it's not there. So I call Honda again, you need to take off the ignition barrel then we will send it to Honda who will cut two keys, it takes about a week! I've got the Chunnel booked for Tuesday. You could buy a complete lock kit £475.00 plus VAT we can get that for Wednesday. I get home at around 2:30pm and search Google and came across this guy http://www.ozgoodsautolocksmiths.co.uk who said if I send my igntion barrel by recorded delivery he would cut me two keys for £40.00 plus the return postage. Will I get it all back by Monday? No was the answer, can I drive to you today? Yes of course. So I embark on a 230 mile round trip and Oz cuts me two keys in about 15 minutes and I'm on my way back home. So if you get stuck call him he really is good.

6/2/2017 10:49:24 AM UTC
Del said :-
Sorry I forgot to add my name to the last post!

6/2/2017 10:53:05 AM UTC
Pocketpete said :-
The mysterious missing key has turned up....

It appears we have a police situation. Several items have been recovered from being dumped from the works locker room.

Apparently someone entered the lockers and stole assorted mobile phones and other items. Most of these unwanted items were dumped on the dockside where they were recovered by the road gritter who was out due to the frost this morning.

However 200 lorries travel over this spot each day and squashed most of these items including my key. I have bent it back and it will unlock the bike but won't start it I presume the code has been slashed flat as well.

The police have been called and they examined cctv and have actually arrested someone who has been charged with burglary as an ex copper I'm pretty amazed. Not only have they caught someone I didn't actually lose my key someone took it. I'm not going mad afterall.
6/2/2017 8:18:52 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Blimey!! I reckon you might be lucky in that the thieving scumbag didn't have it away with ya bike. S-he had the key for some reason.

Will you ever find out what happens to the theif? The gentleman who almost killed me in my crash went to court and got done. I never knew anything about the case till someone showed me the Bolton Evening News.
6/2/2017 9:33:34 PM UTC
Pocketpete said :-
Yes looks like he just emptied everyone's lockers and pockets. Then kept 3 phones a couple of wallets and chucked everything else out of a rear window onto the dockside road.

He then walked out but probably didn't know he was on video.
6/2/2017 10:44:47 PM UTC
pocketpete said :-
It seems that you can steal 2 IPhones a Samsung S6 phone. £ 100 in cash and 2 wallets,
Throw one phone out of a window along with 3 jackets and my motorbike key (which will cost nearly £ 100 to replace) and receive a Police Caution.

Crime doesn't pay or what.
8/2/2017 12:10:55 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
WHAT!! No criminal damage, no theft charge? FFS that's it. Sharon, we're becoming criminals. No real work and if we get caught we just cry a bit and we'll be told nicely not to do it again, and again, and again.

Of course Pocketpete you could always go round to his place and take £100 of anger out on his face. You wouldn't get a nice caution though, you'd get 4 years.
8/2/2017 6:37:55 AM UTC
pocketpete said :-
Dont worry, wheels are in motion as we speak. The old star trek saying goes, 'Revenge is a dish best served Cold'

Or was that another film.

Good job I still have a few friends on the force. I feel a dish being served up in the very near future.
8/2/2017 6:09:59 PM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
I hope your comments were meant ironically Ren. This site is one of the few bike-oriented ones which doesn't seem to encourage the more neanderthal responses and I've always seen it as hosting the more reasonable and rational view.

And I'm quite saddened by Pete's response. I'd hoped we'd come a long way from the days of the Birmingham six, Hillsborough etc where the police acted as a law unto themselves. But maybe I'm over-optimistic.

None of us know the full details of the case so it is pointless trying to second guess what the reasons are for what happened.
9/2/2017 11:02:41 AM UTC
Bob said :-
Trying to steer this thread back on topic.
Yet another reason I love my FX650, the key is just a key.
I think all this immobiliser business is a waste of time - they steal bikes by lumping them into vans, not riding them away.
The secret to avoiding having your bike stolen is to have a bike nobody wants to steal, that's another +1 for the FX650....
9/2/2017 12:21:38 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Immobilisers stop the casual thief Bob but not the professionals, ie those with vans. The price of stopping the screwdriver and hammer thief is a HUGE increase in the level of complexity in the ignition system making problem diagnosis very complex.

We have to ask ourselves whether or not that complexity is worth it. Of course we don't actually get much choice these days, only the basic Chinese motorcycles don't have immobilisers. I expect that will change soon as anything over 125cc requires ABS which requires a computer and if you're going to put a computer on board then I guess you might as well fit an immobiliser too.
9/2/2017 1:03:26 PM UTC
Pocketpete said :-
Hi Ian I'm retired from the fuzz so no more Birmingham bombing stich ups for me.

But there are other ways to skin a cat which require a much more skilful and subtle route.

For example an anonymous note to a persons wife boss etc

A county court summons to get the cost of my new key back.

Etc etc lol

You do not have to say anything unless you wish to do so but what you do say nay be taken down abd written in pencil so we can change it later
9/2/2017 4:02:57 PM UTC
Sharon said :-

I am sorry if any comments on this post offended you.

I guess even the most rational of us can lose our rationale when upset and feel justice was not served as we hoped. We all however tend to regain our usual equilibrium given time and a cup of tea.

Now let us no longer discuss cops or robbers but get back to the subject we all love best.... Motorbikes

9/2/2017 11:23:27 PM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Hi Sharon.

It's very hard to offend me.

However I do get very depressed when people whom I've thought of as civilised seem to adopt a vigilante attitude. It just reminds me of the way that we seem to be descending into intolerance, nationalism and isolationism.

However, I will assume that the cup of tea (and hopefully a biscuit) has restored normal service and will say no more on the subject.
10/2/2017 1:23:17 PM UTC
Doug said :-
Just to keep the reasonable and rational view balanced, I feel 5 minutes with a sledgehammer and soldering iron would be more beneficial than a police caution :-)
10/2/2017 11:56:43 PM UTC
pocketpete said :-
I feel much better about my missing key today. Went to the bike shop to pick up my replacement key.

The blank cost £ 47 I took it to the locksmiths who kindly cut it for £ 10 cash instead of fifteen and the bikes shop programmed it adjusted my chain and did my bike Tyre pressures and charged me £ 15 so it wasnt to bad.

Also the person who stole the key was in fact a vending machine repairman who attended work to fill up the coffee machine his boss has sacked him so justice is done.
11/2/2017 1:26:27 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
£15!!! They must think the sun shines out of your backside I tell you. I wouldn't have thought a shop would even look at your bike for less than £30. Go you.

I would have thought a vending machine company would vet their engineers as it is a position of trust going to various businesses.
11/2/2017 5:06:16 PM UTC
Ted said :-
This didn't cost me to buy a new key, but I was making a delivery for a friend to one of his friends(always the way eh?)

Only had my old Transit, three different keys, One for the drivers door....well worn, another for the back and side sliding door and the other was the ignition key.

Sooo, back door and side door are locked, I get out of the van, lock the drivers door, walk round to the other side, unlock the sliding door and because I need both hands to get this large box out of the back....
I put the key down on the van floor....

Oh dear, silly me.

I put the box down on the ground beside me, casually flip the sliding door lock (like you do)
Give the door one almighty HEAVE to slam it shut when I spot my keys on the van floor.

it was one of those OH POO moments,

I can see the speed the door is traveling but have no way to stop in and these are the ONLY keys I have with me.

Little wifey of the day has spares in her handbag about 10 miles away at home.
I found out the hard way I was about 2 miles walk from the nearest cab office and told them I would have to go indoors to get some money to pay them.
Sounds dodgy already.....

I could see me having to walk that ten miles home.
This was the days before I even owned a mobile phone and most of the red boxes were either broken or being used as a urinal.

We live and learn.

EBAY sellers do a nice line in 40mm carabiner clips.
I keep a curly bungee clipped to my belt and ALWAYS take my spare key out with me.
OH, and the house keys....they usually live on the inside of the locked front door, so When I take them out of the door to lock it from the outside, it goes on one of these little clips !

No good getting old AND stupid.


pocketpete said :-
Dont worry, wheels are in motion as we speak. The old star trek saying goes, 'Revenge is a dish best served Cold'

Going back to this REVENGE thing....

If revenge is a dish best served cold....


Revenge is Sweet....




just asking;-)
27/7/2017 5:20:00 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I used to rent a house with a Yale lock on the front door. Never again. How many times do you pull it closed and just as the Yale goes "snick" you think "keys?". Dammit.

I also learned that with a piece of that plastic banding used on parcels you can open a Yale lock. This taught me that the old "snick" type Yale locks are not secure.

I would not own a property now where you don't need the key in your hand to secure the doors. The same applies to cars. The same applies to locks on the motorcycle. My disc lock does not close without the key, the steering lock cannot be locked without the key. The top box - well that will lock shut without the key but it's rather too easily bypassed.

As for revenge being Ice Cream. Urgh
28/7/2017 7:10:11 AM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
re closing doors with the keys inside.

In the 1970s I worked as an AA patrol for a year or so (a job where you meet lots of interesting people.....) At that time, many cars could be locked by pressing the sill button down with the door open then just slamming it (before central locking, remote keys etc). And of course people often did this and left the keys in the ignition. Ford Escorts were particularly prone to this for some reason.

Although it wasn't covered in our 3 week training course I quickly became a dab hand at breaking in without causing damage. The only cars that defeated me were VWs where the only way in was breaking the quarter light.
28/7/2017 9:13:35 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I suspect the Escort was prone to this problem because...there were an awful lot of Escorts!

Oddly enough today's technologically modern cars have a peculiarly similar problem.

When you get into some models of car and drive away after a short while the doors lock automatically. This is a safety feature to stop vagabonds from opening your doors and dragging you out of the car at traffic lights. This happens because modern immobilisers render the car useless without the keys so it's easier to forcibly remove the occupant and take their keys rather than break in and hotwire the vehicle during the dead of night.

Imagine then if you've parked up leaving the motor running and step out of the vehicle to perhaps chat with a friend. Soon after you're locked out and the motor is still running. I've seen this happen at a car dealership. Twice.
28/7/2017 1:03:22 PM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Yes you're probably right.

My Land Rover has that sort of "speed locking" system but fortunately, having the necessary computer to interface to its body control system I've been able to disable it.

Another endearing feature of the Discovery is that it has a feature called super-locking which disables the interior handles if so configured so that people can't smash a window and open the door.. Unfortunately if the lock motor fails there is no way of opening the door without an angle grinder....

Again disabled on mine as quite frankly it isn't worth stealing.
28/7/2017 1:57:27 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
The idea that the doors can't open from the inside would rather scare me. I'd have visions of being locked inside forever and starving to death. This all suggests to me the computer controls everything and if the computer so decided it could keep you within the car.

Imagine a crash. Imagine a fire within the engine compartment. Imagine the fire shorting some wires out. Imagine these wire control the doors. Imagine not being able to get out of your burning car.

I'm sorry but not having a physical manual override to actually get out of the vehicle bothers me. A lot.

There's an internet tale of some guy calling the emergency services claiming that the cruise control on his car is not switching off and he can't stop. Allegedly he dies crashing into something. I do NOT know if this is true but every ignition key should physically disconnect the electricity from the computer. If there's no ignition key there needs to be a big red STOP switch.
29/7/2017 10:30:13 AM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
You can only superlock it by setting the alarm, which includes volumetric sensors so if there's anybody inside it won't work (and of course, without the engine running).

The door locks on most modern cars are in fact controlled by electronics so unless you're in one of those Ford Escorts you're at their mercy anyway.

I read the report of that tale which IMO is nonsense. First of all, if you switch the ignition off the engine will stop either because current to the ignition system will be cut or (if a diesel) the fuel pump will be disconnected. And if you leave the key in position 1 it doesn't lock the steering wheel. Second, I don't believe there is a car on the market whose brakes will not stop it regardless of how fast the engine is trying to push it. Third, s/he could put it in neutral.
29/7/2017 11:20:43 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I quite agree Ian - it seems *almost* inconceivable that there were no options whatsoever. I sure hope that when (not if) the self-driving cars come into everyday use that there is some nice big fat lever that just disconnects everything as well as an option to steer and brake if required even just to stop safely.
29/7/2017 12:07:04 PM UTC

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