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Old 10-21-11, 05:03 PM   #1
MiniPops7
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U-lock problem

My key broke off in my U-lock today. It's a real old (and unfortunately sturdy looking) model that I got from my friend, no brand. The end of the key is stuck in there really good (there IS a spare key) and sticking the unbroken end of the key in to turn it only strips things badly and gets the other in stuck in further.
I'm not above destroying the lock to get at my bike, but it's in a very public place and I have no tools. Ideas?

Thanks.
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Old 10-21-11, 05:17 PM   #2
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maybe you can take a small pin, put a really tiny dab of CA glue on it, put it in the key hole so it touches the stuck part of the key. Wait to dry and then pull the pin out hopefully pulling the key out too.

If that does not work, you can always use a hacksaw or an angle grinder(~$10 at Harbor Freight Tools).
I bought this angle grinder a while a go and it easily cut an old U lock I had: http://www.harborfreight.com/4-1-2-h...der-95578.html
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Old 10-21-11, 05:19 PM   #3
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from here?..
first , a locksmith, or go directly to a metal cut off blade
one will fit in a small cordless trim saw,
cut the lock shackle.
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Old 10-21-11, 05:58 PM   #4
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Or the New York method; take a the small scissors jack from your car and just wrench it apart with that.
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Old 10-21-11, 06:58 PM   #5
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@pmt Won't that really screw up the frame?

@fishymamba Tried the glue bit with the latter half of the key, might have just made my problem worse.

Can it really be done with an angle grinder? (That seems far too easy). I'll borrow one, I can't wait to see the faces of passers by on Sherbrooke st. as I saw away at my lock.
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Old 10-21-11, 07:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by MiniPops7 View Post
@pmt Won't that really screw up the frame?

@fishymamba Tried the glue bit with the latter half of the key, might have just made my problem worse.

Can it really be done with an angle grinder? (That seems far too easy). I'll borrow one, I can't wait to see the faces of passers by on Sherbrooke st. as I saw away at my lock.
You should get a video of what people do when they see you doing it. It has been done and videoed before, but what the heck.
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Old 10-21-11, 08:14 PM   #7
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You could talk to the police. Here in Boston they have cut locks off for people that can prove ownership and have had other people place locks on their bikes for nefarious reasons.
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Old 10-21-11, 09:08 PM   #8
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Get a pair of eyebrow tweezer (yes, you have to go to the makeup section of the store). I had the same problem in a Kryptonite cable lock; I was able to remove the stuck key (which was fully embedded in the key hole).
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Old 10-22-11, 12:01 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by MiniPops7 View Post
My key broke off in my U-lock today...I'm not above destroying the lock to get at my bike, but it's in a very public place and I have no tools. Ideas?

Thanks.
You have a major problem; if the bike is locked in a public place you should get the lock off ASAP as some thief could come by and "unlock" it for you while you're away looking for tools...If possible have someone watch it while you get a grinder (18v cordless will work) with a carborundum or diamond cut-off wheel, which should cut through the shank in 10 minutes or less. Wear eye protection. You will draw attention, but it's your bike and you want to keep it that way.
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Old 10-22-11, 12:13 AM   #10
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Go to the nearest ocean and throw the u-lock and spare key as far off the pier as you can. If it's stuck in there too deep, the only people that can get it out is probably the lock manufacturer or a locksmith.
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Old 10-22-11, 01:55 AM   #11
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Grind the lock apart. Then take a look at some threads on how to really lock your bike. There are some ideas on youtube that are pretty good.
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Old 10-22-11, 03:21 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by MiniPops7 View Post
@pmt Won't that really screw up the frame?

@fishymamba Tried the glue bit with the latter half of the key, might have just made my problem worse.

Can it really be done with an angle grinder? (That seems far too easy). I'll borrow one, I can't wait to see the faces of passers by on Sherbrooke st. as I saw away at my lock.
Sadly, if any of the experiments are true, they probably won't say or do anything.
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Old 10-22-11, 08:33 AM   #13
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It's easy with a angle grinder, I cut up an old U lock I had pretty easily, it's easier if you use a diamond cut off blade instead of an abrasive blade.
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Old 10-22-11, 08:45 AM   #14
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it's easier if you use a diamond cut off blade instead of an abrasive blade.
priced out the difference between them lately.. ?
i believe a controlled feed speed and a lot of cutting fluid matters on a Diamond sintered blade.
to keet from the blade being single use at a couple hundred+ , a pop.
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Old 10-22-11, 11:49 AM   #15
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Wow, thanks a lot guys. I think I'm gonna go with the angle grinder/videotape bystanders approach. Here in Montreal bike theft is pretty rampant, so it'll be a good social experiment.
Though I do have a theory, I see tons of bikes around here that are improperly locked. The other day I saw one u-locked to a pole around the seatpost, and the seatpost was quick release! How much of bike theft do you think is just due to idiots who don't know how to properly lock a bike?
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Old 10-22-11, 06:57 PM   #16
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Depending on the design of the lock, you might need to make two cuts. Some locks the U portion has one end that is bent and the other end has a notch for the bolt to catch and others have notches at both ends that are captured by a bolt. If you have the first kind, then you only need to make one cut. The second kind you'll need to make two cuts because the shackle will not rotate or come off since it's captured by the bolt.

Wear eye protection if you use a grinder and possibly some leather gloves. Sunglasses may work in a pinch but it will be better to have safety glasses or goggles. You'll throw a lot of sparks. Be careful about other people and property like cars and such. Unlikely to cause damage, but they might get mad at you if you throw sparks at their car for several minutes.
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Old 10-22-11, 08:30 PM   #17
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Every locksmith has a tool to remove the broken part of the key. It's basically a thin saw blade with no set in the teeth. You could make one from a jig saw or scroll saw blade, if you had a grinder to grind the sides of the teeth down.
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Old 10-22-11, 08:42 PM   #18
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priced out the difference between them lately.. ?
i believe a controlled feed speed and a lot of cutting fluid matters on a Diamond sintered blade.
to keet from the blade being single use at a couple hundred+ , a pop.
I used this: http://www.amazon.com/DEWALT-DW4701-...ref=pd_cp_hi_4

It cut the lock pretty quickly.
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