10-07-06, 03:33 PM
I know there are a ton of threads about bike locks already, but I've searched Google, MTBR, and Bike Forums, and I can't seem to find reviews or tests for Planet Bike locks anywhere.
Does anyone know whether the Planet Bike Superguard Chain (http://www.planetbike.com/ulocks.html) is any good?
PlanetBike.com is selling it for $59.99USD, which is odd because MEC (http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442594323&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302692967&bmUID=1160254913752) appears to be selling the exact same lock for $38.50CAD. I'm not sure what to make of that... Is Planet Bike price gouging or something?
If anyone has advice on this, or any other Planet Bike lock, it would be greatly appreciated.
10-07-06, 03:49 PM
Sold Secure of the UK tests and rates locks. There are many "gold" rated locks in the $40 to $80 price range, and many "silver" rated locks in the $25 to $40 price range. The "gold" and "silver" rated locks from Kryptonite and OnGuard at available at most good bike shops in the USA. Therefore, there is not the slightest reason to waste your time or money on a lock that is not approved by Sold Secure.
I looked at the pictures of Planet Bike's locks. The Superguard chain looks decent (Abloy-esque key, lock on bottom ), but not sure how cut-resistant it is compared to the brass/gold alloy that Kryptonite or Onguard use for their high security chains.
For the Super Guard U-lock, it looks OK, and for the price sold by MEC, I may buy one just to take it apart and post observations.
The biggest thing against the Planet Bike locks are the fact that they are sort of unproven. Even if they are the best quality out there, because they have no Sold Secure rating, people have no guarentee or measure how the lock will fare against a good bike thief. The locks could be very good, I just have no knowledge from anywhere but the websites how well they are made.
I also have no clue on if they offer additional keys . Additional keys for Kryptonite are fairly easy to get. Onguard is a bit tougher, but they give you five keys for most of their locks, so its less of an issue. I have no clue on Planet Bike's key replacement policy.
I'm not disparaging Planet Bike's offerings in any way, except that their products are not known to me. Having Sold Secure ratings means they are a known good standard. In any case, if I were seriously worried about how well-made my bike lock would be, I would buy a NY lock or NY chain from Kryptonite, because they are (to me that is) a known good maker. Onguard is also good, though I only have a couple of their locks.
Lastly, locks have to be both engineered for security, but for usability, day to day. I have had one no-name U-lock that was very difficult to get on and off -- it required slight bending of the shackle to get it into position so you could remove the key, and use of good leverage in order to unlock and remove. A high-end U-lock has to be engineered to be able to withstand the rigors of daily use in very crappy weather, for years if not decades. If a commuter uses a bike lock for three years on a daily basis, that's easily 3120  key insertions (at a minimum) with water, road grit, salt, pocket lint, boogers, and other stuff on the key and going in the keyhole and lock mechanism. Bike Locks not just have to protect against thieves, but be resistant to legit users who may be drunk, stoned, tripping, or in a distracted state when putting on and removing the lock. Bike locks have to be resistant to rust (so the lock can be opened even after years of sitting outside in the elements), salt, ice and rainwater freezing inside it, and other weather nastiness.
Some no-name U-locks which used spring-loaded prongs to hold the shackle in (as opposed to deadlocking as on most U-locks where its pretty obvious if the lock is engaged or not -- the key can't come out until the shackle is completely in or out) would seem to feel like they were locked, but unless the person pushed and pulled to make sure the prongs were engaged, a good tug would open the lock.
 Its important for the key to be on the bottom. First, this prevents one type of attack on the U-lock. Second, this allows for the locking mechanism to lock both legs of the shackle down, forcing a thief to either have to make two cuts, or do some serious bending to remove the lock. Both the upper end locks from Kryptonite and Onguard offer this protection.
: Even though most "flat key" (Abus/Abloy double-sided detainer disk lock) keys look the same, they are not. Kryptonite and Master's version are about half a millimeter larger than Onguard's keys, so a Kryptonite key won't go inside an Onguard lock, and vice versa.
: I am estimating by figuring out a rough guess, 52 weeks in a year, 5 days a week, four key insertions per day (one to lock the bike at home/work, one to unlock.)