The new Scout from Australian brand Knog is marketed as an alarm system and tracking device for locating your bike. Thanks to an integrated battery, the gadget is supposed to offer a runtime of up to six months and, with a price of around 50 Euros, it is quite inexpensive – especially when you look at other alternatives for tracking bicycles. Enough reasons to put the Knog Scout to the test!
Many mounting options: this is how the alarm system is fitted to the bike
With dimensions of 10.7 x 2.5 x 0.8 cm, the Scout is not only quite compact, but with a weight of 25 g also very light. Thanks to two holes in the housing, it can be mounted on almost any bike frame — namely exactly where the mounting points for a bottle cage are located on the frame. Thanks to its flat design, the Scout can then also be mounted directly below such a bottle holder, making it barely visible.
Alternatively, it can also be mounted on the frame on its own, as seen here in the pics. Depending on the color of the frame, the black case is of course more conspicuous — but this can be increased significantly with the included silicone cover. Its bright yellow color attracts attention, in the hope that potential thieves will immediately refrain from their plans when they see the device. However, those who prefer a more discreet look can also use the Scout without the yellow cover — the technology in the casing is waterproof even without it.
In order that the Scout itself can not just be removed by anyone, Knog provides two special screws with an appropriate tool for mounting. A small detail that shows that one has quite thought about it at Knog! Finally, of course, you could also consider making the Scout completely invisible inside the bike to disappear — for example, under the motor cover of an e-bike or similar, which then depends on the particular model.
40 seconds siren: this is how the bike alarm works
The gadget is controlled entirely via Knog’s free smartphone app. This is only available for Apple’s iOS devices, which has to do with the integrated tracking technology. But first, let’s take a look at the alarm system: it always has to be activated manually via the app and works with a motion sensor that is integrated into the Scout. If it registers a movement, the alarm goes off. By the way, the sensitivity for triggering an alarm can be adjusted via the app.
In the event of a slight and brief movement, the Scout beeps only once — as a warning, so to speak. The same happens with a second short movement. At the third movement, however, the Scout’s alarm triggers fully and continuously emits an 85 db loud warning signal. In quiet surroundings, this is indeed very loud and still noticeable even in the normal soundscape of a city center.
This warning signal sounds for 40 seconds and can only be deactivated within the app. So if you have accidentally triggered the alarm yourself, you have to quickly pull out your smartphone — depending on the situation, these 40 seconds can otherwise feel very, very long 😉
A triggered alarm is then also reported on the smartphone, which takes place with push notification, flashing app screen and optionally also with an individual smartphone alert. However, the alarm message is only received when the smartphone is close enough to the Scout to establish a Bluetooth connection between the two devices. In reality, however, this range is usually so short that you have the bike in view anyway. Consequently, you can disregard this notification function in most cases, since it does not work anyway. More importantly, however, the alarm system itself always works reliably, regardless of whether you are close by with your smartphone or far away!
Find my (vike)? The bike tracking with Knog’s Scout
One reason why the notification function only works via Bluetooth is that Knog uses Apple technology for the Scout’s second feature – tracking and locating the bike. The Scout is certified for the Californian company’s “Find my” network and thus corresponds almost 1:1 to an Apple AirTag.
The function of this type of tracking is based on the fact that the tracker (here the Scout) does not have to be permanently connected to the smartphone – which would cause a high technical effort and, above all, an enormous power consumption. Instead, the tracker constantly registers when another Apple device with iOS is in the vicinity or passes by. Based on this information, the last known position of the tracker is then transmitted and can be viewed in Apple’s “Find my” app. Accordingly, the Knogs Scout app also forwards you directly to the Apple app if you want to see the bike’s position.
How well or how regularly the bike’s location is updated is thus directly related to how often an iPhone user is nearby. Thanks to the enormous spread of Apple devices, however, this happens surprisingly often — at least in the city — and thus works quite well!
In addition to the advantages, there is also a disadvantage to using Apple’s system: the AirTags are equipped with an “anti-stalking function” that is supposed to prevent the unauthorized tracking of strangers. So if an AirTag is always close to a stranger over a certain period of time, it will beep to alert itself — so that the person notices the tracker. In the case of a bicycle theft, however, this would mean that the thief would be alerted by the Scout itself after a while. But at least until then you have the possibility to locate the stolen bike via Scout..
Knog states the battery life as up to six months, which is only half the runtime of an AirTag. However, the latter does not have an alarm system function with a correspondingly loud speaker and is also only powered by a non-reusable coin cell. The Scout, on the other hand, is equipped with an integrated battery that can be recharged via a USB-C port — which is easiest done with an external power bank, so it does not have to be removed from the bike.
Conclusion: Is the Knog Scout worth it?
With its combination of an alarm system and its tracking functionality, Knog’s Scout offers a lot of features for comparatively little money. The alarm system works reliably and is loud enough to attract the attention of passers-by nearby. The tracking technology is identical to Apple’s AirTag and thus offers the same advantages as well as disadvantages. Thus, you cannot expect a permanent tracking signal here, but the system nevertheless works surprisingly well especially in environments with many people. For the price of around 50 Euros, the Scout is definitely worth a recommendation. And if you are considering securing your bike with an Apple AirTag anyway (we’ve already covered the topic in detail here), you’d better go for the Knog Scout right away for the small extra charge!