The tactic was revealed by the neighbourhood policing team which covers Burngreave after officers seized a motorcycle ridden illegally by a teenage boy.
He was spotted, along with a passenger, on Lyons Road and neither were wearing helmets.
The illegal rider did not have a driving licence or insurance.
South Yorkshire Police said: “The Burngreave neighbourhood team has been receiving reports of nuisance motorcycles and quad bikes being driven illegally on the roads in our area.
“On March 31 officers from the team witnessed a motorcycle being ridden on Lyons Road. Both the rider and a passenger did not have helmets on.
“Officers managed to stop the individuals and discovered the rider was a juvenile. He was not in possession of a licence or insurance to use the motorcycle on the road.“The motorcycle was seized and a subsequent investigation will take place into driving offences committed by the person in question.”
The force added: “We are continuing our work around nuisance motorcycles/quads in the area and have officers operating in plain vehicles to identify the offenders who are putting the lives of others and their own at risk by riding illegally on our roads.”
To report illegal motorists or those causing a nuisance on the streets or areas of public land call South Yorkshire Police on 101.
In addition to neighbourhood officers, the force has designated traffic officers and an off-road bike team.