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  1. #1
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    Best Way to Lock Up Bike

    I got my first real bike a couple of weeks ago (Gary Fisher Tassajara) and I have yet to purchase a lock for it. I am going to college so I would like to use it to get to classes faster. I am leaning towards getting a U-lock like a Kryptonite New York or an OnGuard Brute STD. I was wondering if a U-lock alone around the front wheel and the frame is good enough or if I should invest in a chain. Also, how would I go about using a chain/u-lock combo? I don't really know how I would set up the chain and u-lock around the bike and the rack. Any suggestions or tips? Thanks and sorry if this is the wrong forum to post in.

  2. #2
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    Your goal is to make your bike less worth it to steal to steal than other bikes around you. This means not having an expensive new bike, and it means having better security than other bikes around you. Buy the best locks you can. This will mean a u-lock. The best u-lock is the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit. It's $90, but worth it if it saves you from having your bike stolen. You should also consider supplemental security. The best would be a Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit chain. This will give a thief two different types of lock to defeat, and will be a STRONG incentive for a thief to move on to another, easier bike to steal. Other supplemental options would be pitlock skewers on your wheels, or a cable lock. The cable lock can easily be cut, so it's not much in the way of supplemental security. Your bike is more secure with pitlock skewers and a u-lock, and most secure with the Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit chain and u-lock.

    Learn how to secure your bike properly. Always lock it in a well-lit, well-traveled public place. Always lock to a secure rack. The rack should be sturdy, and set in concrete. Never lock to a rack that can be disassembled with common tools, such as a wrench. Never lock to a sign pole-- thieves have disassembled the signs at the top and slid the bike over the top. Sometimes, they disassemble the pole at the bottom, and lift the pole to steal the bike. These are called "sucker poles." Never lock to wooden railing or a tree, or chain link fencing-- these can be cut. Never leave your bike out overnight-- always bring it in.

    Learn how to use your lock properly. The top three factors in bike theft are: 1) the bike was left unlocked for "just a minute"; 2) the bike was locked with a cable lock; 3) the bike was locked improperly. Here's how you use a u-lock:

    Sheldon Brown's Lock Strategy

    MechBgon's Bicycle Locking Ideas

    Good luck!

  3. #3
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    Thanks Blue Order! That was really helpful. The New York Fahgettaboudit was what I had in mind after seeing some great reviews for it, so now I am convinced that I should get it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member littlewaywelt's Avatar
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    After reading this I realize how lazy I've gotten. I never remove the wheels when I lock the bike. Usually I lock throught the rear wheel and rear triangle. I just can't imagine someone taking a wheel in broad daylight infront of other ppl. Guess I should wake up.
    One Less Car
    Conservation begins with you.

  5. #5
    Senior Member cooperwx's Avatar
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    Your lock choice should mesh with the location where you need to lock your bike. I park my bike in two places: at home and at work. At home I leave it unlocked in the carport. At work I use a cable lock, since it's inside a gated parking lot with multiple cameras. If it were stolen, the guards would easily be able to review the tape, see the thief cutting the cable, and get a description.

    I thought I'd add this so that not everyone thinks they need $100-150 worth of locks. On campus, yes, you want your bike to either be uglier than the rest, or secured better than the rest. Given a choice people steal either the most desirable bike or the easiest one to take.
    Last edited by cooperwx; 10-10-07 at 08:28 AM. Reason: gramm-er
    06 Trek 7.5 FX

  6. #6
    Black La Lane GeoLes's Avatar
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    In high crime areas, if you lock the front wheel and frame, you may return to find that your rear wheel and deraileur have been stolen. I have seen the carcasses of inproperly-locked bikes left to the vultures; chain hainging in the breeze. (think cattle skulls in the desert).

    Most likely your bike is equipped with a quick release. Remove the front wheel. Open the U-lock and insert one side in the main triangle of your bike and the other end inside the rear wheel. You can either place the front wheel next to the rear wheel and lock it, or take the front with you. You want everything to be securely attached to the frame. Never leave any wheel unlocked. Take computer heads and any other acessories that a thief may be able to pick up on the fly.

    I once witnessed a theft (though I didn't realize it at the moment. I saw someone walk over to a bike, remove the front wheel and walk away. I didn't think much of it, at the time, until I saw the owner of the bike come out of the adjacent building, look at the bike and say "#%*it!! Someone stole my front wheel". I just saw that guy not 5 minutes ago and it never registered.

    The best lock is your presence. So lock it securely. If you can, keep it in eyesight, and if you must leave it, lock it in a high-traffic area, where a thief has to be very careful how to steal it. He can do anything he wants behind closed doors, but out in public he has to make it look like he owns the bike.

    Bottom line is, if someone really wants your bike, there is little you can do to stop him. You can just up the ante in the hope that he choses an easier mark.

  7. #7
    Black La Lane GeoLes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order View Post
    Learn how to use your lock properly. The top three factors in bike theft are: 1) the bike was left unlocked for "just a minute"; 2) the bike was locked with a cable lock; 3) the bike was locked improperly. Here's how you use a u-lock:

    Sheldon Brown's Lock Strategy

    MechBgon's Bicycle Locking Ideas

    Good luck!
    I usually find Sheldon Brown's advise to be dead on. I have to disagree with him here. In the picture he shows the lock attached to the rear wheel only. Maybe he is showing old pictures of early-generation U-locks, but my U-lock is wide enough to encompass the rear wheel and the lower area of the seat tube. It is also long enough to accompodate placing the front wheel alongside the rear one. This would be the BEST way to lock everything up in my opinion. I would avoid those thin cable locks. The can be easily cut with bolt cutters. Many bikes come with quick release seat posts. If I had one, I would mark my setting and remove it along with anything else that can potentially be removed by someone else, stick it in a backpack and leave only the locked remains.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooperwx View Post
    Your lock choice should mesh with the location where you need to lock your bike. I park my bike in two places: at home and at work. At home I leave it unlocked in the carport. At work I use a cable lock, since it's inside a gated parking lot with multiple cameras. If it were stolen, the guards would easily be able to review the tape, see the thief cutting the cable, and get a description.

    I thought I'd add this so that not everyone thinks they need $100-150 worth of locks. On campus, yes, you want your bike to either be uglier than the rest, or secured better than the rest. Given a choice people steal either the most desirable bike or the easiest one to take.
    One BF member had a bike stolen while parked right in front of a campus security booth, and under the lens of a security camera. Security saw nothing, and the security tape was not helpful. Another BF member parked at work under a security camera, and the tape showed the thief walking off with the bike. Neither BF member got their bike back.

    Security guards and security cameras are not as effective a theft deterrent as a good u-lock, and proper locking technique.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeoLes View Post
    I usually find Sheldon Brown's advise to be dead on. I have to disagree with him here. In the picture he shows the lock attached to the rear wheel only.
    He says that's all that's needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeoLes View Post
    Maybe he is showing old pictures of early-generation U-locks, but my U-lock is wide enough to encompass the rear wheel and the lower area of the seat tube. It is also long enough to accompodate placing the front wheel alongside the rear one. This would be the BEST way to lock everything up in my opinion.
    In your case, yes, because you need to fill the space between the lock shackles to prevent the lock from being leveraged apart with a jack. Speaking of leveraging, however, some bike thieves use the bike frame itself as a lever to force the lock apart. With a cheap u-lock, the lock breaks. With a good u-lock, the frame breaks. That's why Sheldon shows the lock securing the rear wheel only.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeoLes View Post
    I would avoid those thin cable locks. The can be easily cut with bolt cutters.
    Yes, they are cut VERY easily.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeoLes View Post
    Many bikes come with quick release seat posts. If I had one, I would mark my setting and remove it along with anything else that can potentially be removed by someone else, stick it in a backpack and leave only the locked remains.
    Yes, that is another target for thieves. Either remove and secure the front wheel and seat, or use pitlocks.

  10. #10
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/F600/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes/Novato,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Brompton S6L,Dahon Speed Pro TT

  11. #11
    Senior Member cooperwx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order View Post
    Security guards and security cameras are not as effective a theft deterrent as a good u-lock, and proper locking technique.
    So noted: maybe it's time for an upgrade. I guess I'm just too trusting. That, and I love the ease and light weight of the cable locks...
    06 Trek 7.5 FX

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooperwx View Post
    So noted: maybe it's time for an upgrade. I guess I'm just too trusting. That, and I love the ease and light weight of the cable locks...
    It may be that bike theft is not as rife in Asheville as it is in some locales (I don't know.).

    Many people leave a good, heavy duty lock locked to the bike rack at work. That way, they don't have to carry it with them every day. The downside is you may need another lock for other trips.

  13. #13
    Newbie rrsodl's Avatar
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    I use a mini kryptonite U lock + pitlock skewers and also an Alarm.

    But I still don't feel 100 % sure my bike will not be stolen one day :-(

    By the way, I don't agree with Sheldoms theory of using a mini lock either - a set of boltcrop would make mince or a tyre.


    Rick

  14. #14
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    For me, the problem with locks is their weight, what to do with them when you ride, and having to lean your bike up against objects that will scratch the finish. I have a nice bike (I have an old one, also, but prefer to ride the nice one).

    Luckily, most of my riding rarely requires me to lock the bike up. During the day, it goes into the closet in my office. At night, it goes inside.

    If I stop by a grocery store, I take it inside with me (I've never been bothered about this). Once, at a Wal Mart, the guy watching the door agreed to keep an eye on it for me.

    I do need to get a small cable lock for quick errands that require me to briefly lock it outside.

    I have heavier cable locks that I use when I put the bike on my trunk rack (I use a Hunch Rack that doesn't have its own locks - my hitch rack locks, and, when I use it I also use a cable to lock the wheels).

    If I had to use my bike in a place like NYC and leave it outside during the day, I guess I'd get some beater and a heavy lock (you see them all the time in NYC).

    In reality, it is true that, if someone is determined (or in the business to) steal your stuff, there isn't much you can do. My daughter has had her passenger window smashed on her car in NYC twice in less than a year. She uses one of those pedal locking devices, so the perp(s) didn't get the car, and she leaves no valuables inside.

    As for my bike, I try to plan my rides so that I have no need for a lock. Obviously, many of us cannot do that. I yearn for the day when someone comes out with a reasonably effective locking system that doesn't weigh a ton, doesn't scratch up your bike, and can be carried easily. For me, that day has not yet arrived.

    Caruso

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