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  1. #1
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    Bike lock that lasts?

    Starting next week I will be commuting to work by bike. I've spent the last two hours looking for a bike U-lock. I haven't found a single lock that someone hasn't complained about for jamming up on them and becoming worthless (or worse, permanently locking there bike somewhere). It seems all the key locks stick and eventually don't turn at all. And the combination locks seem to fail over time too.

    I don't need anything super-duty. I'm not in a particularly crime-ridden area. I just need something stronger than a cheap cable that WON'T FAIL on me. Maybe a U-lock isn't the way to go. I haven't looked into chains. Do they fail often?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Insane Member Onions's Avatar
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    This is one of the U-locks I have. Had it for over a year, been in the rain a few dozen times, still works like a charm. I do hit it with some silicone spray every now and again. Speaking of, I need to do it again...

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BL1P3O/

    I also have some Sunlite thing I got for almost free from the LBS when they moved. Not as good, but still works.

    I think this is it.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sunlite-Soft...-/300679022083
    This man is no ordinary man. This is Mr. F. G. Superman. To all appearances, he looks like any other law-abiding citizen. But Mr F. G. Superman has a secret identity...

  3. #3
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    I've only had one On Guard stick on me. Walmart replaced it easily.

    Kryptos and all other On Guards have lasted me many years.

    Are you going to be parking it outdoors, uncovered, for 9-hours a day? If so, lube often and I bet it won't stick on you.

    The crappiest U-Locks are Bell. Do not buy under any circumstances.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  4. #4
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    This article gives you an idea of how much security different types of locks provide: http://gizmodo.com/5922074/the-best-bike-lock

    Regarding keys jamming: you have to oil them periodically, just like with house locks or car locks.

  5. #5
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    Would be cool sometime if they come out with a ulock that had a key fob that would allow you to press a button and it would automatically unlock like on most cars.

  6. #6
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    My Abus granit-X-plus is one of the toughest U-locks made. Hand tools, including big bolt-cutters, bounce off it. I've never had the slightest problem with the lock in several years of use. But nothing that's light enough to carry around will stand up to an angle grinder. All one can do is make one's bike more difficult to steal than those around it. So I use two locks and hope that others are less careful. It's worked so far. I'm always amazed at how poorly people secure their bikes in my local town centre, a child could steal most of them with a set of wire-cutters.

  7. #7
    dazed and confused newkie's Avatar
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    I've never had a OnGuard or Kypto jam on me. As someone else mentioned, you should oil them if they start getting sticky.

  8. #8
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    I strongly recommend Abus U-locks, they can't compete on price, but they are extremely reliable and have the best mounting bracket on the market. Their square keys (from the Abus Varedo 47 model and up) are also extremely strong, unlike some keys from cheap u-locks that seems to break far to often.

    My oldest Abus U-lock (a Junior) is perhaps 10-12 years old. I gave it to a friend 5 years ago, and is has practically lived outside in the rain and snow ever since. It still works. My present Abus Varedo 47 is perhaps 8 years old. I lock and unlock it 2-3 times a day, so it has probably endured around +15000 locks and unlocks over the years, and it still performs perfectly.

    While I usually place the bike indoors when it rains, I live in a climate with year round high humidity and near the sea, so everything tends to rust very fast, but so far both Abus locks have been fine. I do however give them a spray of light oil every 1-3 years to protect them.

    The bracket has developed some play over the years, but it still holds the u-lock firmly in place and it doesn't rattle, so I don't bother replacing it. I just love how easy it is to use the bracket (a TexKF Twin style bracket); the locks is removed or attached in seconds with a very natural movement.

    An Abus "Varedo 47" with a "TexKF Twin" bracket is a very good choice, it is strong enough that it requires motorized tools to cut, while not being too heavy. The Abus "Granit Futura 64" is more secure, lighter, but also more expensive.

  9. #9
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    If a lock is sticking, it may not be the fault of the lock. It may be the maintenance!

    I do volunteer work for the SW PA Red Cross and we have trailers all over the region where we keep stashes of emergency supplies. We were having trouble with the pad locks siticking or even freezing up completely. We assumed that they were rusting up inside. So, I contacted two major lock manufacturers to find locks that wouldn't rust: I discovered that the locks we were using were all brass inside and could not corrode. Instead, we had been "lubricating" them with WD40 a couple times a year. BOTH lock manufacturers told me that that was probably the problem.

    They told me that WD40 works for a short period of time and then the solvent in it evaporates and leaves a sticky residue behind which gums up the inside of the locks.

    Both lock companies recommended "lubricating" locks with graphite only. One of them even sent a tube of dry graphite that you spurt into the lock. We have been using that technique ever since and have not had any more problems with sticky or frozen locks.

    ... Of course, if you buy a cheap lock that will rust inside, nothing will help....
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    In looking around I found that Onguard's dual bolt design seemed to jam more often and Onguard's keys seem to be weaker.

    Kryptonite's single-bolt design seemed to be more reliable.

    Graphite lube or silicone spray is a good idea.

  11. #11
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    I have two OnGuard u-locks. Neither has ever been oiled/etc. The older one (at least 5 years old) works great, and is still used daily. The newer one jams easily and I keep it at home now. I need to try some lube/spray but unfortunately there is a definitely quality decrease between them.

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    Get a decent OnGuard, Kryptonite, or Abus U-lock. Put a few drops of chain lube in the key slot and the shackle once in a while - I remember about once a year. Use lock. This is what I do commuting year round through rain and snow, and it works out fine. If you leave the lock outside on a bike rack, maybe a few drops of chain lube once a month.

  13. #13
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    Unless it's ABUS, I'd stay far away from combination locks. They're usually cheap, cheap, cheap components.

    I've had one lock sieze on me. It was a seriously heavy duty, braided, cable lock manufactured by Giant that I used for winter commuting. The barrel keyway seized up, even though I lubricated it.

    I've been using a fairly cheap Specialized cable lock for my everyday commuting. It seems to be good enough to stop any theft attempts to this point.

    I also have a Kryptonite Fagghaboutit, but it's far too heavy to be a practical commuter lock, so I only occasionally use it.
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    It seems everyone is big on Abus. They seem to deal mostly in Europe though? I found a few models via Amazon, but most were more than I'm willing to pay. As I said, I'm not looking for heavy-duty protection. Just moderate protection, and no planned obsolescence. I don't want to have to buy another lock in 6 months.

    I found this model: http://www.amazon.com/Abus-Facilo-St.../dp/B005F3GXIK , but only one review. It's about my price point though, around $30. Does this key lock follow Abus's 'square key' design, which is supposedly better? Btw, I also plan to buy graphite to prevent key lock-ups.

  15. #15
    Senior Member skycomag's Avatar
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  16. #16
    Senior Member irwin7638's Avatar
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    I'm a big fan of Abus also. Their combination lock is the only one I will trust. I like the Bordo link lock for any long term parking. They seem to be getting into more local shops. Since I bought mine on line two LBS' have started stocking them.

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  17. #17
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    Well, as I said, Abus can't compete on prices, they excel in reliability and ease of use (and safety of course). If I had bought another u-lock 8 years ago with a bracket system that was 10 seconds slower per locking or unlocking manoeuvre, I would have spend +40 hours extra of my life, constantly locking and unlocking my bike. I am never tempted not to lock my bike when going into a shop for 1 minute because it is so easy and fast to get my Abus Varedo 47 off the bracket and lock it.

    The Abus Facilio 32 lock is pretty low in the Abus hierarchy, so it probably isn't better than any other u-lock in that price range. OTHO reading through Amazons reviews of other u-lock brands, is quite depressing with keys breaking in the lock, plastic brackets that fails within a week, or locks that suddenly freeze up. (Edit: if you buy the Abus u-lock, make sure it comes with a bracket like the USH-bracket, since they are sometimes sold without bracket. )

    A little maintenance will probably go a long way when it comes to prevent that the lock cylinder freezes, no matter what brand you choose.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by interested View Post
    Well, as I said, Abus can't compete on prices, they excel in reliability and ease of use (and safety of course). If I had bought another u-lock 8 years ago with a bracket system that was 10 seconds slower per locking or unlocking manoeuvre, I would have spend +40 hours extra of my life, constantly locking and unlocking my bike. I am never tempted not to lock my bike when going into a shop for 1 minute because it is so easy and fast to get my Abus Varedo 47 off the bracket and lock it.

    The Abus Facilio 32 lock is pretty low in the Abus hierarchy, so it probably isn't better than any other u-lock in that price range. OTHO reading through Amazons reviews of other u-lock brands, is quite depressing with keys breaking in the lock, plastic brackets that fails within a week, or locks that suddenly freeze up. (Edit: if you buy the Abus u-lock, make sure it comes with a bracket like the USH-bracket, since they are sometimes sold without bracket. )

    A little maintenance will probably go a long way when it comes to prevent that the lock cylinder freezes, no matter what brand you choose.
    Which Abus do you have?

  19. #19
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    82% of u-lock brackets get thrown out immediately after purchase. A further 13% never get used and sit in drawers all over the world. Those things really should be sold separately.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    Which Abus do you have?
    On my commuter bike I use a Abus "Varedo 47" with a "TexKF Twin" style bracket (its older predecessor). I also use a frame lock like this Abus Protectus 5000:
    http://www.abus.de/images/prod/zweir...us_5000_dt.jpg

    Both locks are extremely fast and easy to lock and unlock. Something that is important for me.

    The frame lock locks the rear wheel, while the u-lock is used to lock the frame to a lamp post or similar. Where I live, the most important locking strategy is to prevent someone easily nicking the bike and drag it to a "safe" area where the thief can use motorized tools on the locks. The second most important locking strategy is a lock that is sturdy enough not to be defeated by non-motorized tools that can be carried in a backpack. Since the Abus Varedo 47 fits the bill here, I find that it is a good compromise between price, security and ease of handling (weight).

    I also have the much heavier and more secure Abus "Granit X-Plus 54" with the "EazyKF" bracket, but I almost only use it to lock my racing bike in the basement. It is too heavy for handy everyday use for me.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    82% of u-lock brackets get thrown out immediately after purchase. A further 13% never get used and sit in drawers all over the world. Those things really should be sold separately.
    Not here in northern Europe where Abus locks are common. The Abus u-lock brackets are superior to everything else I have ever seen when it comes to both easy of use and durability, so people actually use them. IMHO, nothing is as fast and convenient as a using a u-lock bracket; no rattling, on and off in seconds. It easily beats carrying the lock in the pocket, or dangling on the handlebar, or bungee corded to the rear rack.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by interested View Post
    On my commuter bike I use a Abus "Varedo 47" with a "TexKF Twin" style bracket (its older predecessor). I also use a frame lock like this Abus Protectus 5000:
    http://www.abus.de/images/prod/zweir...us_5000_dt.jpg

    Both locks are extremely fast and easy to lock and unlock. Something that is important for me.

    The frame lock locks the rear wheel, while the u-lock is used to lock the frame to a lamp post or similar. Where I live, the most important locking strategy is to prevent someone easily nicking the bike and drag it to a "safe" area where the thief can use motorized tools on the locks. The second most important locking strategy is a lock that is sturdy enough not to be defeated by non-motorized tools that can be carried in a backpack. Since the Abus Varedo 47 fits the bill here, I find that it is a good compromise between price, security and ease of handling (weight).

    I also have the much heavier and more secure Abus "Granit X-Plus 54" with the "EazyKF" bracket, but I almost only use it to lock my racing bike in the basement. It is too heavy for handy everyday use for me.
    Thank you for the info. They look pretty neat. I love the: http://abus.de/us/main.asp?ScreenLan...=4003318229756

    Tell me, do they offer any protection of a thief does break it?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    Thank you for the info. They look pretty neat. I love the: http://abus.de/us/main.asp?ScreenLan...=4003318229756

    Tell me, do they offer any protection of a thief does break it?
    Not quite sure what you mean; any lock can be defeated by a determined thief with enough tools; diamond cutting blades on angle grinders or similar can cut though all practical bike locks. The Granit 54 is better than most locks; it is so stiff you have to cut it two different places to get it off, it is so strong you can't use a 6 foot steel bar to open it without destroying the bicycle frame at the same time, AFAIK it is rated to 10-12 tons of separation pressure, so I don't know of a portable hydraulic jack small enough to be carried in a backpack that can open it, AFAIK no one has succeeded in lock picking it. AFAIK, no easily portable non-motorized tool can defeat it within a reasonable time frame. This really reduce the amount of bicycle thieves that would steal it, since most bicycle thefts are done by opportunistic prowlers, using cheap and easily portable tools.

    While angle grinders or similar can cut it, it can be quite difficult to do. Most youtube videos showing people cutting bicycle locks, aren't done on locks in actually use on a bicycle, but on locks safely in vice grips or similar. The point is that when people use angle grinders to cut sturdy steel bars, they almost always overshoot when going through, but the bicycle frame is instantly ruined if the cutting blade touches it. So not so easy to do IRL.

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    I have an OnGuard PitBull Mini. I like the mini U-locks. You have to push the key all the way in until you hear a click, then turn it. Some people don't do that and mess their lock up in the process. I'm positive that people aren't even aware that it clicks. I dropped my U-lock once, and the plastic sleeve piece broke, whatever that is. I put it back together, and you'd never guess it ever broke by just looking at it. I can now turn the key hole of the sliding dust cover 360 degrees. Before breaking it, I couldn't do that. The steel shackle is still fine of course, and I really don't understand what purpose the plastic part serves anyway. Within days, I took off the mounting bracket because of the rattling noise. The keys are plastic. The Abus keys are metal I think, but I'm not entirely sure. For maintenance, submerge in kerosene overnight and apply light machine oil. Use compressed air inside the cylinder.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeBMac View Post
    Both lock companies recommended "lubricating" locks with graphite only. One of them even sent a tube of dry graphite that you spurt into the lock. We have been using that technique ever since and have not had any more problems with sticky or frozen locks.
    Which companies and when was this I'm just wondering? OnGuard states to not use graphite in any form as it causes the locking mechanism to stick.

  25. #25
    dazed and confused newkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by interested View Post
    Not quite sure what you mean; any lock can be defeated by a determined thief with enough tools
    I think he just means some locks come with insurance. This varies country to country so check out the mfg website and email them. I've been using Krypto NY Std which is a Sold Secure Gold rated.

    http://www.amazon.com/Kryptonite-Sta...+york+3000+std

    This says it covers up to $3000 in the US:
    http://www.kryptonitelock.com/Pages/...PNumber=180104

    See here about testing agencies and try to find one that has good ratings with more than one agency. If a lock is Sold Secure Gold I take that to mean it will take longer than 5 minutes even with an angle grinder.

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