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  1. #1
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    Best Bike Lock?

    So my commuter bike got stolen last night. It was locked with a Trek cable and masterlock padlock. Supposedly the cables are hard to cut because they fray, plus they let you lock both wheels and the frame to something.

    Anyway, I got the bike for $200 and it seemed silly to put a lock on it that was 1/2 the value of the bike.

    What do you guys feel is the best way to lock your bike? Are cables less secure than a "u-lock?" Are the more expensive locks really better, or are they gonna find a way to get your bike regardless of how much you spend on a lock?

    I've seen some of those huge kyptonite chains, seems like they're pretty much bombproof. What are peoples' thoughts on them?

    I'm scared about my expensive bikes now! I've been using that cable lock on them too!

  2. #2
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    Whenever I have to lock up at the grocery store or throughout my errands (I'm car free), I use a U-lock on the frame with a cable ran through the wheels. It's heavy in my bag, but I've yet to have a bike come up missing. I also try to make sure that I'm not predictable in my habits, which would allow a thief (there's a ring of high end thefts here), to learn my patterns and target when vulnerable. If you can bring the bike inside at all, do so.

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    A good quality U- lock is much harder to bust or cut than most padlocks and almost any cable. Like Texan, I use a stout U through the rear triangle and rear wheel locked to a heavy cable securing the front wheel to the frame, locked to something it can't be lifted over the top of.

    The square link chains would be hard to cut with bolt- cutters or hacksaws, should be pretty secure with the right padlock, worthless with a cheap padlock. Around here, the massive chain might be an effective deterrent, just because it looks so much more impressive than the locks around it.

    Your LBS might have a better sense of what locks are working in your area.

  4. #4
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    Chain a Rottweiler to it!!

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  5. #5
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    One wise guy said that all bikes and locks should weigh 50 pounds to be safe. The lighter and more expensive the bike the heavier and more robust the locks.

    Covering logos of more desirable bikes might help some. Mongoose decals might dissuade a bit.

  6. #6
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    Sorry to hear about your bike, but cables are terrible.

    I just use a relatively inexpensive mini u-lock like this: OnGuard Bulldog Mini U-Lock - REI.com

    And I would have mentioned the fancy and pricey TiGr lock, but I just found this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kb8Y...ature=youtu.be
    (it's in German, but the point is pretty clear)

    An angle grinder will go through anything, so no lock is perfect. But cables really provide 0 security and make your bike look like an easy target. A u-lock might at least encourage the thief to move onto the next bike instead (because it's locked with a cable, of course).

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    Let Hal explain it all:


  8. #8
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    Yes! Hal knows how to lock up a bike.
    Bourbon: Because no good story ever started with "So, there we were eating salads".

  9. #9
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    Awww, I'm disappointed that that's the usual NY guy. I was hoping it was going to be a british burnout. "Cor blimey guv'nor, 'at lock is pants, wot."

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skelldify View Post
    Are cables less secure than a "u-lock?" Are the more expensive locks really better, or are they gonna find a way to get your bike regardless of how much you spend on a lock?
    Yes to both.

    The heavy square chains are good, but they are heavy!!! If you can leave it on a rack at work you are golden, but otherwise you will be a hurting pup! I got one for my trail bike, just to lock it to the car, and I went way overboard (online order). It is so heavy it will never be sawed through to be stolen, but the thieves could probably saw my whole car in half more easily and still roll off with the bike! So some balance is needed too. A lock that is sturdier than the rack, post, car roof bars, etc., is not really adding any security.

  11. #11
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    To add to all the above: take a look at what everyone else locking up around you is using. Then, get something bigger. If nobody else is locking anything else, you are the only target. Buy the best you can.

    As mtbexplorer noted, leave the lock on the rack, if you can. Bringing the bike inside somewhere would be best, of course (and many more places than you would think are amicable to this) but if you have to carry something with you on your commute, two u-locks are often lighter than a large 14/15mm chain, and are almost as much of a pain in the ass to cut through.

    While Hal is right, that if someone wants your bike, they'll take it, an angle grinder is noisy, obvious, and still takes 2-3 minutes to get through a hardened shackle of any real substance (and believe me, I've done it, with a bike in a work stand, and the lock properly supported, so it's not sliding around). It's hard to be inconspicuous with something like that, and if you make your bike a pain to steal, they'll probably just go elsewhere. Something only barely touched on in the video is to use as much of the space of the shackle/chain (including u-locks!) as possible. If there's no room to fit something in to pry or cut without potential damage, you're making your bike a less less valuable object to a potential thief.

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  13. #13
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    I should add, local thieves are now targeting even U-locks, with cut down car jacks that allows them to essentially pop the lock open with little effort and in under a minute. One guy was recently caught with a small set of bolt cutters (like for a smallish padlock), and a piston jack while he rode a really nice Tarmac down the road...
    Bourbon: Because no good story ever started with "So, there we were eating salads".

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    All cable locks are basically just keeping people honest. Yes the cables fray, but that actually makes them more vulnerable because a small pair of wire snips can cut almost any cable.

    U-locks are the most cost effective reliable solution. Best bet are U-lock that lock on both ends.

    The heavy duty chains can match a U-lock but the key word is heavy. I bought one to lock my bike to my car. A U-lock wasn't an option (nothing to lock it to) so it meant cheap cable or massive chain. I went for the chain.

  15. #15
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    I use a two lock approach - a cable with a shackle lock through the rear wheel, frame, and around the locking point. I also use a u-lock around the frame and locking point. While neither lock is terribly secure by itself, the use of two different types generally deters thieves as they are looking for the quick and easy get away. Two different types of locks generally means that they have to have two different tools to get through them both and that takes longer than a single lock.

    Anchorage has a fairly high rate of theft, particularly in the summer time. I've never had a bike stolen yet, so... I usually also try to lock up next to a bike that is clearly worth more than mine.

    Fortunately where I am working at right now we have a webcam on the bike rack so I just watch my bike all day long. Almost as good as bringing it in the office with me.

  16. #16
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    I've been locking up with U-locks for years and not had a problem yet. If your time is worth any money (and replacing a bike is a definite time-consuming hassle), then you probably owe it to yourself to get a U-lock, even for a cheap bike.

    Something to think about as well is using Pinheads to secure your wheels and seat. At least where I am, so long as I secure the frame with a good u-lock and use Pinheads, the rest is safe. I did this after someone tried to run away with my wheels when they were quick-release. Haven't had a problem since I started using the Pinheads for wheels and seat. This way one lock does it all - convenient and quick!

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    Skell, this thread made me wonder wtf happens to stolen bikes. And I just read this interesting article: This Is What Happens to Your Bike After It’s Stolen | Seattle Crime | Seattle Met.

    I've only had one bike stolen, so far, but I try not to ride my nice(ish) bikes anywhere I can't lock it up somewhere that I can watch them. Anymore, if I'm going to ride and lock my bike up, I only do it with my cheapo fixie scatante and a u-lock through the front wheel and the frame. I've locked my Cervelo up outside of the old version of where you got your bike stolen, and I'm surprised it didn't get stolen. At least your bike wasn't a great bike, but it's still a bike that was your ride.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheKetchupMan View Post
    Interesting article, but from the first paragraph:

    U-locks? Routinely opened with a Bic pen jammed into the keyhole.
    U-locks certainly aren't invincible, but it's been a decade since the bic pen issue. I can't believe how lazy the media are.

  19. #19
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    All of the new U-locks use disc tumbler locks which aren't easily pickable and not shimmable. U-locks and large chains will be the most difficult for a thief to cut through, but also the heaviest.

    I use a Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboutit chain which uses a disc tumbler lock. I also have a locking skewer on my front tire. I leave the chain at work so I don't have to carry it back and forth every day.

  20. #20
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    I am gonna have to agree on the use of a ulock, with the addition of something else. I use a ulock through back wheel and rear of triangle and a square chain lock through front wheel and frame. Lock-chain combination - Locks / Bike safety and security In the end locks are deterrents,buy time or if your lucky thief moves onto something easier. Maybe we need a 3 lock approach? I try to lock up infront of an entry way, just in case there is a camera, another layer.

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    Showing a would be thief that it's going to take 5 to 10 mins to get anything whether it's a wheel or whole bike (grinders aside), that's what you have to work on and if that costs the value of the bike or more to make them keep walking, you will probably get to keep it.

    Don't rely on other people (look for the youtube vid of "What would you do").

    Make it look used, worthless, less shiny, cover stickers etc.

    Because to some owners $200 is to them the same as $2,000. Pay the price or lose it (unfortunately).

  22. #22
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    Also maybe if someone invented a headset lock so bike can't be steered, like on a motorbike. Just another layer. That way thief would have to carry bike or risk damage to ride it away.

  23. #23
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    ^ it's a little sad that with any reasonably modern bike (threadless headset, external bb) you can strip the whole thing down in maybe 10 minutes using 2 or 3 hexkeys.

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    Bonking ... not feelin' well

    If anyone has any doubt, I would re-iterate, do not waste your money on any cable lock, they can be cut so easily in a very short space of time. I thought that I had my bike covered with a good quality cable lock and locked right outside gym entrance. I was wrong and learnt a hard lesson, there are bike thieves everywhere in the UK.

  25. #25
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    A metal door with a dead bolt in it.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    A metal door with a dead bolt in it.
    This ^^

    Or you and a sawn off 12 gauge sitting next to it on a comfy arm chair, in a dimly lit room!

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  27. #27
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    U lock for sure. Kryptolock makes a neat one that has a curved end, so it's even sturdier harder to get in to.

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    Don't get a normal U-Lock. Only a NY Kryptonite or Abus, or don't bother. Chain is better as it is way harder to saw or grind on, but can be heavier.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mZfczmGll0

  29. #29
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    Cables are useless. I would not even use one to protect my front wheel. It may be good enough to protect a seat. Not a good seat though.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P32x3RqsNmY

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    I talked to representatives at Kryptonite, Abus and Rocky Mounts during Interbike last year. They all stated their product was no match for an angle grinder. The better locks will deter a "casual" thief, if a pro wants it, he'll get it.

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    It is true that an angle grinder can cut anything given time, noise, and sparks, but the best locks will deter professionals because they can cut 95% of locks with a bolt cutter and not make any noise, so they will look for easier targets. But one should probably not lock up a bike worth over a few hundred dollars in a major city because someone may strip parts off it. My XTR pedals would cost me a lot to replace.

  32. #32
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    If they want the bike, they'll spend the 10 seconds to at most a minute to cut through the lock. My son had a bike stolen and the thief needed to get through a locked gate into a locked garage and cut a plate that was cemented into a wall to get his bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fos'l View Post
    If they want the bike, they'll spend the 10 seconds to at most a minute to cut through the lock. My son had a bike stolen and the thief needed to get through a locked gate into a locked garage and cut a plate that was cemented into a wall to get his bike.
    Some locks can be cut in 10 seconds or less. I recommend a better lock.

    It would probably take four minutes or longer with a cordless angle grinder to cut my lock or chain, and good luck holding the chain still when you grind on it. It could be cut in about two minutes with an AC-powered angle grinder if you lock the chain in a vise. It would make a lot of noise, and a huge plume of sparks. Most likely, they would just cut the lock on the bike beside it, in, as you said, 10 seconds.


  34. #34
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    Here is a video in a vise. Now imagine doing this with the chain suspended in the air and flopping all over the place when you try to cut it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQqVD7p2nnU

  35. #35
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    And here is what happens when you try to cut my chain with high-end 49" bolt cutters ($220):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84xZkCSkLO8

    And here is a smaller version of my chain (2mm thinner) being not cut:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE1NeAEBk6U

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skelldify View Post
    Anyway, I got the bike for $200 and it seemed silly to put a lock on it that was 1/2 the value of the bike.
    I know you post is old, but for other people who read this. The bike I have that I would use in the city is an aluminum MTB that I got free at the dump. Maybe it is worth $150. For that, or your bike, I would suggest a $25 Stanley 24/70 50mm lock and three feet of 7mm Pewag chain ($35). And then a steel cable to protect the front wheel so you don't have to remove it each time you park. $70 budget should handle all of that. If you wanted a U-Lock, I would get the $130 Abus 540, as it is lighter than the good Kryptonite, and it is ok that it costs more than half the price of the bike because you can use it on other bikes in the future.

  37. #37
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    generally I use a U lock as it's relatively light and small enough to carry in a bag with good security. If I was more concerned I would bring along my kyrptonite chain lock as well, but that thing is heavy.

    thieves will generally go after the easiest bike to steal unless they are pros. i just don't leave my expensive bikes anywhere except home.

  38. #38
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    Now the picture is more evident, seems like you have the perfect solution; have a bike that nobody wants. Also, I talked about Kryptonite, Abus and Rocky Mounts locks.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by fos'l View Post
    Now that the picture is more evident, seems like you have the perfect solution; have a bike that nobody wants.
    Were you talking about my Giant X 0 29er with Easton Arc 30 wheels, 2.6" NN tires, XTR pedals, and Stages XTR power meter?



    Giant Trance X 29er 0 review - BikeRadar USA

    https://www.pinkbike.com/news/Giant-...irst-look.html

    Unusual comment considering you ride a Nashbar e-bike (your pic from another thread):


  40. #40
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    Who gives a rats ass about an e-bike since it's got enough power for any frame? Why don't you learn to read? I made my statement about three companies which generally are known to make decent locks and reported what they said to me. Obviously no thief wants your bike because if they did, they would have it.

  41. #41
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    Cutting through that lock with a grinder on the trance would be pretty easy but still a huge deterrant compared to a normal lock and chain, youre only cutting it if no ones around and have a battery grinder you would have to really want it, would be easier to just ride one out of the store.
    Only time my mountain bikes are chained up is when they are at home and insured anyway, why not just buy a $500 commute bike?

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by fos'l View Post
    Now the picture is more evident, seems like you have the perfect solution; have a bike that nobody wants.

    That's the best solution IMO^ Just because nobody wants to steal it doesn't mean it can't be nice though.
    I brake for stinkbugs

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    If they don't want to steal it, they don't know bikes. Just the replacement cost of the wheel set is $1000. And these are even 30mm wide rims.

    $600 for the rims, spokes, hubs. $50 for the discs. $120 for the tires. $200 for the titanium cassette. $40 for the speed sensor. $450 for the power meter. $100 for the pedals.

    It would be fun to build a bike that is actually good, but designed to look bad. Maybe with Deore components. Then use spray on finishes to age everything. Maybe strip the frame, rust it, and then clear-coat over the rust.

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