The Strikeback Motorhome Alarm

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I owned my First Strikeback Motorhome Alarm for a year without knowing it. This was over 20 years ago. It had been installed by the previous owner of an AutoTrail van we had bought; they’d left no paperwork. I had the alarm fob and used to alarm it after we locked the van up and it appeared to work. I tested it by opening doors and lockers and the alarm did activate. It also gave me some coded beeps, I had no idea what they meant.

With the previous owner untraceable and no evidence of the maker on the key fob, it looked like I’d never find out. I was aware that people often had car alarms fitted to motorhomes, and it could be one of many hundreds of makes. Then, that year at the Peterborough Show, I happened to see the Vanbitz stand and went and had a chat.

  • “Don’t suppose you could take a look at my van and identify an alarm for me, I don’t have any instructions.”
  • “Has it got a remote?”
  • “Yes, I have it here.”
  • “Yes, that’s one of ours.

VanBitz Alarm warning SignSo I now knew I had a Strikeback Alarm. However, until I could prove I was the new owner by showing a driving licence and log book they couldn’t help further. After proving I owned the van, they booked me into their workshop in Taunton the following week to look over the alarm and re-register it to me.

They produced detailed drawings of my van and knew exactly what was fitted and where. The system was thoroughly tested, and I was given a full demo of its capabilities along with a manual and some new stickers. All for the princely sum of £20. From that day, I was so struck by their professionalism and attention to detail that I have since had three new vans fitted with the Strikeback. The latest van has the Strikeback Growler and this review is about that alarm system.

Why the Growler.

Many people will tell you ‘The alarm is dead – no vehicles are fitted with alarms anymore” We have become a nation of alarm ignorers, and most rely on the factory fitted immobiliser. This much is true; alarms are pretty much universally ignored. When did you last respond when you heard an alarm? So why go through the bother and expense of fitting one, especially as we know that not many people actually have their motorhome stolen.

Well, I fit them because they work, but not in the way that people think. While not many have their motorhome stolen. Plenty of people have valuables stolen from their motorhome, and it’s for this reason that we employ an alarm.

A good alarm benefits us in a number of ways. You can see what constitutes a good alarm in this article. But essentially I will outline my thoughts here.

  • It’s a deterrent. How can it be a deterrent after we just agreed that alarms are ignored? Because they are not always ignored by burglars. They want to steal with the least bother and  risk of getting caught, so given a choice between robbing a van that is obviously alarmed and one that obviously isn’t, then they are always likely to choose the softer target.
  • They secure us while we sleep. The biggest fear of many is to be woken in their motorhome by a burglar. In a properly alarmed motorhome, you will be woken before the burglar is in. The peace of mind this brings is considerable. Especially so as we often sleep in public places like motorway service stations. But a confidence boost at any time, even on a proper campsite we set the sleep mode to protect us while we relax in the van.
  • Loud internal sirens do ensure shorter robbery times. With a deafening internal siren, thieves will be in and out in seconds. They will not hang around and search thoroughly; rather the robbery will resemble a smash and grab which means that in their haste to leave, as long as your valuables are not in plain site then they are likely to be left alone.

So, this is why, before I’d even paid for our new (to us) van, I’d  arranged the workshop time to have an alarm fitted by VanBitz.

Getting the Strikeback Motorhome Alarm Fitted

I know from experience that the fitting takes the best part of a day, so I arrived the night before and had a complimentary night on the rather swish VanBitz campsite. Known as Cornish Farm (in Somerset, not Cornwall,) this is a lovely little site with excellent facilities. If I say it has manicured lawns and piped music in the shower that should give you an idea. I also found adjacent to the site a great walk through orchards to keep my dog happy.

Motorhome Alarm Fitting at Cornish farm

In the morning at the workshop I was met by Ashley, who inspected my RV and asked me a lot of questions about how we use the motorhome, do we tow, do we wild camp, carry bikes, have pets, etc. All the while making notes and ticks on a form.

He then took me for a coffee and left me drooling over expensive gadgets in their well-stocked accessory shop, while he disappeared into his office to work out exactly how best to protect our pride and joy. He emerged after a few minutes, and began explaining what he considered would be our best options.

We decided that we wanted every external locker alarmed. (apart from our waste dump locker) We wanted the external loop to add the cover to our bicycles on the rack; this also comes in handy for securing chairs and our barbecue etc. at night on sites. We definitely wanted the growler upgrade which adds the all important and deafening internal alarms and the intense blue warning lights. However, because we always set the alarm when we are sleeping, and knowing how bright they are, we wanted the option to dim them for when we were on sites.
Lastly because we had a dog they offered the option of disabling the loud internals which means that should we ever leave our pet alone in the van, we could still arm the van and should the alarm go off, we weren’t going to deafen our dog in the process.

At the same time as the alarm we had also decided to have the VanBitz Non-Starter fitted, and I have reviewed that here.

No more to do, we were offered a lift to town to go shopping and have a wander around Taunton while the work was carried out. A nice offer but we declined as we’d rather go for a spin on our bikes, and anyway I wanted to get a few photos of the alarm install. Like any fitter, I’m sure they’d have preferred or even insisted I didn’t enter the workshop, especially with a camera but for me they’d make a rare exception as long as I didn’t get in the way.

Motorhome Alarm Fitting

Getting things ready for the alarm loom.

Within a few minutes, you could see that this was no ‘off the peg’ alarm system. One of the fitters studied a copy of the form Ashley had produced and made several measurements of the motorhome. He then started to make the most complicated looking loom I’d ever seen, hundreds of feet of wires, in dozens of colours being attached to the ‘brain’ of the Alarm. This loom took a few hours to make, but while it was being constructed two other fitters were attaching sensors and switches to various bits of the van in readiness to be connected the one of the many wires.

Motorhome Alarm Loom

Part of the Alarm Loom I watched the fitter build.

Then they spent a considerable time, fitting it all together and configuring it. Once finished, and the best part of a full day had passed; it was back to Ashley who’s job it was to explain precisely how everything worked and how to use it in day to day operation.We confirmed operation by activating the alarm several times. He explained how the series of beeps when you disarm after an activation told you exactly what aspect triggered the alarm. How to activate the bike loop, increase or decrease the intensity of the warning lights, night mode for safe sleep, pet safety for the internal alarm, etc. All backed up with a comprehensive manual. I was sorted and very happy.

James working out the best cable runs.

James working out the best cable runs.

Conclusion

I’ve had the Growler alarm fitted for six months now, and it’s been faultless. We wildcamp a lot, and the ‘sleep mode’ gives us great peace of mind. When we leave the motorhome on a site or a public place, the blue LED’s leave people in no doubt that our vehicle is well protected. No surprises really, as a long term user we know they work well. We have never been plagued with those neighbour-annoying ‘false alarms’ that affect so many inferior products.

The Strikeback Growler is the premier motorhome alarm, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

The Motorhome Strikeback Alarm starts at £599.  Exclusively, subscribers to motorhomefun can get a whopping 10% off  VanBitz

Disclosure.

I have no connection with Vanbitz the company other than being a long-time satisfied customer. The review is both honest, my own words and I was not paid to recommend it. I should say; I now know Eddie Jones, the owner well, we are both rugby fans and have shared a beer watching a game or two. However, that in no way colours my judgment when reviewing this product.

Jim Brown

Jim Brown

Jim is a long time motorhome enthusiast travelling extensively in the UK and Europe. Averaging 12000 motorhome miles a year. He has owned many motorhomes both British and Continental. His present motorhome is a 27ft C class RV.
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42 Comments

  1. Tztello jim. I have bought anew moterhome. And was looking at alarms .l notice your blog .and it help to make my mindup. I will be  booking in with vanbitz .in early april.van ready in march. Thanks.

  2. Interesting read. I'm hoping to buy our first MH next week so I'm looking at various alarms/immobiliser/tracking devices etc. I'm drawn to the Outsmart the Thief set up over the Strikeback. I know there is currently some issues with Thatcham approval but for the amount of discount offered by some insurance companies that's not a real issue for me. The overall package of Outsmart the Thief looks to be the better option.

  3. Oh I wish that the skies were that blue over Cornish Farm Touring Park this morning

    It is clear Blue skies that I miss through the Winter

    Having said that it was 14 degrees here yesterday

  4. Jim

    It amazes me that people would think nothing of spending £50k on a Motorhone, but would then not spend a single penny on protecting their investment, their belongings or themselves.

    Robert

  5. It is the same with tracking systems. No doubt someone will be along with a broken link soon, saying that you can buy jammers so what is the point?  But on a daily basis, dozens of people's vehicles and assets are quickly tracked and returned to them undamaged

    People don't realise that you have little say if a vehicle is returned or not, I would rather have it back quickly undamaged, contents intact, than after say a month in a gypsy yard have bits nicked off it before the Police locate it, and return it allowing the insurers to cancel and pending claim for loss

  6. I arm mine every day and night whether I'm out in it or not, though I think I need a re-run through the various aspects of the fob, beeps etc. I've said before that I had the non-starter fitted as well and found out the hard way just how well that works but too long a story for here.

  7. @eddievanbitz how long in advance does someone have to book to get the alarm fitted?

    Not sure of our delivery date yet (been told April) and I want a strikeback rather than any other alarm system.

  8. @eddievanbitz how long in advance does someone have to book to get the alarm fitted?

    Not sure of our delivery date yet (been told April) and I want a strikeback rather than any other alarm system.

    We always recommend booking as early as possible to guarantee the date(s) that you want.  March is already pretty full and we have bookings in April and May

    We don't take deposits, as we don't need your money to buy stock so there is not ulterior motive in suggesting that you book a provisional date early and then move it closer to the collection date if necessary, but you will be amazed the number of people who get angry with us, as they phone up on the 1st March and say "Hi I spoke with your people at the NEC show last year, I've got my van when can you install Growler for me, my insurance company has given me 28 days to get it installed"

    "Er Six weeks Sir?"

  9. The other thing worth mentioning is the fantastic ongoing support you will get from the whole Vanbitz team.  Nothing is too much trouble.

  10. The other thing worth mentioning is the fantastic ongoing support you will get from the whole Vanbitz team.  Nothing is too much trouble.

    Which we put to the test just yesterday.

    The van went to our nearest Fiat Professional garage to have the ignition recall sorted. The fitter disconnected the battery which armed the 'Non Starter' so he couldn't start the van. He came to find me and ask how 'that complicated alarm of yours works'.

    No problem, just send it a text says I. But, my 3 mobile service had no signal so we used his phone to text it. Nothing happened so we tried again…..still nowt.

    Rang the lovely Lyn at VanBitz who said they would take command of the system from there but it turned out there was no Vodafone signal at the garage either. Doh!

    The fitter was given instructions on how to find and disable the unit so that he could start and move the van, which he was able to do. Finally VanBitz rang him back to say he could plug it back together and all was now under control.

    Van is now back home and I now know how to overcome the system if I ever need to.

    It would take a very patient and well equipped thief to find and disable the system I think.

    The fitter was quite in awe at how good the whole system was, saying he had never come across anything like it.

    Richard.

  11. The other thing worth mentioning is the fantastic ongoing support you will get from the whole Vanbitz team.  Nothing is too much trouble.

    Post most definately seconded.(y)

  12. Second van with Strikeback fitted……wouldn't be without it. This ones a growler… an acquaintance asked how long a crim could stay inside with the alarm going.. said I didn't think it was long enough to nick anything . Pffft he scoffed let's have a go… He shouldn't have had 12, 23 and 4 off the Wing Lai House Special menu the night before but at least he got out before it returned…..You know, like dogs many humans rarely digest sweetcorn:D

  13. Good choice bb(y)

    Hopefully pick up our new to us Globecar on Friday and as we hope to keep on drive and give up our storage place seems like a good idea.

  14. Hopefully pick up our new to us Globecar on Friday and as we hope to keep on drive and give up our storage place seems like a good idea.

    Excited I bet!:D

  15. Eddie, despite that jammy result at murrayfield yesterday :D, i  intend to bring my MH down to you to have your best alarm fitted , going by the posts, as soon as i have a delivery date for my MH i will contact you guys and we can sort out a booking. at present i was promised a jan delivery date ,last i heard it will be feb , but im having the dealer fit lots of aftermarket parts so hopefully that will give me some margin for booking in.

  16. Can't wait to get my Growler fitted. It's all about managing risk. If mine is protected with an angry Growler then the bad guys should move on to the next, easier target! Do we need a code for the discount at vanbitz or do they automatically apply the 10% discount when we mention motorhomefun? Thanks y'all.

  17. Can't wait to get my Growler fitted. It's all about managing risk. If mine is protected with an angry Growler then the bad guys should move on to the next, easier target! Do we need a code for the discount at vanbitz or do they automatically apply the 10% discount when we mention motorhomefun? Thanks y'all.

    You must be a subscriber and I believe you must mention the discount at the time of booking or you won't get it.   Its a great alarm, I've had one on every van for many years.

  18. You must be a subscriber and I believe you must mention the discount at the time of booking or you won't get it.   Its a great alarm, I've had one on every van for many years.

    Yes Jim that is correct.  To be honest, a 10% discount on say a Oyster Internet system is about £350!

    For £350 its worth claiming when you book, rather than us asking everyone and then upsetting the unenlightened who haven't joined the best motorhome club(y)

    Facts? Sorry you get diddly squat lol

  19. adventure before dementia on

    Just had a Strikeback fitted and very pleased with every aspect of the work and was struck by the friendliness of all the staff encountered, including cleaner. My only quibble is to do with the ten percent off for Motorhomefun members. I was not aware that one had to claim discount at the time of booking.Perhaps future clients could be asked if they are a member during the initial booking procedure?Nevertheless, had a good day out and pleased with the job completed.

  20. Our Strikeback and no-start system are great. Thanks Eddie and team.

    Jemima didn't start but sent me a text message when he put the keys in the ignition to check mileage!

    Not a cheap system but the best.

  21. Got the Growler and nonstarter fitted to my motorhome, great bit of kit, the only thing I wish I had done was an extra led fitted to the near side of the van as I can't see whether it's set when parked on my drive, also having a few glitches with the nonstarter, when I set it it takes a few texts to unset it, waiting for a reply from Vanbitz

    re this but no doubt they will sort it or explain what I may be doing wrong, there after sales service so far has been excellent.

  22. Jo-ca,

    We called in to have our lot fitted on the way back from a weeks holiday and they didn't ask us to remove anything, they either worked round all my stuff or removed it and put it back.

    With the exception of a few visible contacts, lights and switches you wouldn't know they had been near it.

  23. Having mine fitted September. Staying over night, do I need to empty lockers etc.

    No, we had ours fitted a few weeks ago and just left everything where it was with no problems.

  24. Just had a Strikeback fitted and very pleased with every aspect of the work and was struck by the friendliness of all the staff encountered, including cleaner. My only quibble is to do with the ten percent off for Motorhomefun members. I was not aware that one had to claim discount at the time of booking.Perhaps future clients could be asked if they are a member during the initial booking procedure?

    Nevertheless, had a good day out and pleased with the job completed.

    From the page where you get the code, I don't think they could make it much clearer.

    "VANBITZ give a 10% discount to Subscribing Funsters You must claim the discount when you make your booking/purchase and the discount cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers. http://www.vanbitz.com You will need the following code

    THIS VANBITZ CODE IS ONLY VALID AT THE TIME OF BOOKING. IF YOU DONT PRESENT THIS CODE AT THE TIME OF BOOKING THE DISCOUNT WILL NOT APPLY. "

  25. Well I must be the only person who is less than impressed with my Strikeback and Non-starter system. The fob for the alarm fails on many occasions to activate the pet mode and the non- starter ignores my status texts  occasionally. To wake it up I have to deliberately set the alarm off and leave going for more than a minute and then it phones me and all my status texts tumble out. I have never dared to arm the system for fear it will not disarm.

  26. Well I must be the only person who is less than impressed with my Strikeback and Non-starter system. The fob for the alarm fails on many occasions to activate the pet mode and the non- starter ignores my status texts  occasionally. To wake it up I have to deliberately set the alarm off and leave going for more than a minute and then it phones me and all my status texts tumble out. I have never dared to arm the system for fear it will not disarm.

    Have you talked to Vanbitz about this? We were impressed with our run through and have had no problems with our Strikeback and immobiliser. They emphasised that we only had to call if we had a problem.

    Also as others said they worked around the stuff in our van and all went very smoothly after a small initial misunderstanding about start times for the work

  27. Well I must be the only person who is less than impressed with my Strikeback and Non-starter system. The fob for the alarm fails on many occasions to activate the pet mode and the non- starter ignores my status texts  occasionally. To wake it up I have to deliberately set the alarm off and leave going for more than a minute and then it phones me and all my status texts tumble out. I have never dared to arm the system for fear it will not disarm.

    have you been in contact with the office with regards to your concerns?

    You can PM me or ring the office direct on 01823 321992 where we will be happy to discuss your concerns

    regards James

  28. Another enjoyable visit to Vanbitz was nice to meet  you Eddie and put a face to name but I thought you would look like Eddie Jones.;) Thanks again to Ashley lovely to deal with.(y)

  29. Another enjoyable visit to Vanbitz was nice to meet  you Eddie and put a face to name but I thought you would look like Eddie Jones.;) Thanks again to Ashley lovely to deal with.(y)

    It was great to meet all four of you lol X

  30. What is the Vanbitz discount code #?

    Thanks

    Now that you are a subscriber…….go to quick links and down to subscriber discounts…….Top of the list.

  31. have you been in contact with the office with regards to your concerns?

    You can PM me or ring the office direct on 01823 321992 where we will be happy to discuss your concerns

    regards James

    Hello James, I have sent a message regarding problems I am having.

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