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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 06-12-09, 11:32 PM   #1
techman
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Security and folding bikes

One of the great benefits of a folding bike is that you never have to leave it out overnight or
for long periods during the day.
But I typically use my bike for errands and still need to lock it up.
Im not sure if the approach to security is any different compared with full sized bikes.

1. Are folding bikes more attractive to thieves?
2. Are thefts of quick release wheels less common due to the less common purchase of folding bikes.
3. My plan is to use a good U-lock to secure the frame and a cable loop through the quick release wheel.
I plan to replace the quick-release seatpost with an allen key bolt.
4. Does registering your bike with public agencies actually help theft recovery?

Please share any additional tips.
Thanks
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Old 06-13-09, 12:08 AM   #2
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1. Are folding bikes more attractive to thieves?
IMO if you lock it folded, it will generally be less attractive because it looks like a "broken" bike.

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2. Are thefts of quick release wheels less common due to the less common purchase of folding bikes.
Doubtful, people steal stuff just cause they can, not necessarily because it's useful.

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3. My plan is to use a good U-lock to secure the frame and a cable loop through the quick release wheel.
I'd fold it and get the U-lock and cable around as much as you possibly can.

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4. Does registering your bike with public agencies actually help theft recovery?
Unlikely (may depend on where you live) but it might be helpful with insurance claims?
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Old 06-14-09, 05:58 AM   #3
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In London, Brompton bikes are a particular target but otherwise folded bikes tend to be low on the shopping list of thieves.
A tough cable lock may be more useful than a shackle U-lock for the odd shape of most folder.
I replaced my QR levers with a simple anti-theft style skewer, just enough to deter casual tampering, not a tooled up professional. Pitlocks are much better but more expensive.
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Old 06-14-09, 06:17 AM   #4
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you can still defeat pitlocks with cone wrenches.
if a theif wants it bad enough, they'll get it.
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Old 06-14-09, 06:26 AM   #5
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you can still defeat pitlocks with cone wrenches.
if a theif wants it bad enough, they'll get it.
Jaa, anything is possible, but just how probable it is another story......thieves don't run around with cone wrenches.....
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Old 06-14-09, 06:48 AM   #6
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well, cars are robbed of their wheels too, so nothing is improbable.
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Old 06-14-09, 06:58 AM   #7
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well, cars are robbed of their wheels too, so nothing is improbable.
Do you really think that thieves are running around with cone wrenches and stealing bog standard wheelsets locked with locking skewers? We can let our minds run wild with 'what ifs' but I prefer to stay grounded in the reality of what is actually happening.

What's the next panic? Getting jumped when unlocking your bike? Maybe we should all be armed......just in case.....
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Old 06-14-09, 07:33 AM   #8
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IMO, if you're leaving the bike outside, folded or unfolded the risks are about the same as with any other bike.

I'd use a good cable lock. I wouldn't worry too much about wheel theft, unless you've noticed it a lot where you are.

As to registration, I think it can help. The main thing is that if it does get stolen, in a few cases it'll end up on Craigslist or a local flea market, in which case you can eminently prove that the bike was in fact yours. Without registration, it might be tougher to make that case.
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Old 06-14-09, 04:34 PM   #9
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Do you really think that thieves are running around with cone wrenches and stealing bog standard wheelsets locked with locking skewers? We can let our minds run wild with 'what ifs' but I prefer to stay grounded in the reality of what is actually happening.

What's the next panic? Getting jumped when unlocking your bike? Maybe we should all be armed......just in case.....
It depends on where you live and work. As for me, anything that is either useful and/or can be sold is up for grabs. Any type of bike is very attractive to these jokers. I have one rule of thumb for any bike I use or own-if I have to run errands or the like that causes or tempts me to lock it up, the bike stays home.

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IMO, if you're leaving the bike outside, folded or unfolded the risks are about the same as with any other bike.

I'd use a good cable lock. I wouldn't worry too much about wheel theft, unless you've noticed it a lot where you are.

As to registration, I think it can help. The main thing is that if it does get stolen, in a few cases it'll end up on Craigslist or a local flea market, in which case you can eminently prove that the bike was in fact yours. Without registration, it might be tougher to make that case.
Nice calm middle income approuches, but where I live, it is a cruel joke. I purchased my folders since they are the only bikes I ever had that survived this long from theft, no matter what locking technique or locks I used. They have been tested in one of the most dangerous and bike theft prone areas in South-Central & East Los Angeles and survived for over 5 years. No other bikes I had ever approuched this.
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Old 06-14-09, 11:29 PM   #10
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It depends on where you live and work. As for me, anything that is either useful and/or can be sold is up for grabs. Any type of bike is very attractive to these jokers. I have one rule of thumb for any bike I use or own-if I have to run errands or the like that causes or tempts me to lock it up, the bike stays home.
It's sad that your fear of theft keeps you from riding as much as you could.
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Old 06-15-09, 02:53 AM   #11
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The whole point of a folding bike, especially something as compact as a Brompton is that you can take it anywhere.

Iíve been using folders for nearly 2 years now and have never carried a lock. I live in England and my covered Brompton has never been refused entry into any building.

If you are constantly having to lock a bike outside, why not get a knackered looking standard bike that would be less attractive to thieves?
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Old 06-15-09, 12:46 PM   #12
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Techman, IMO the answer is that you should lock it up the same way you lock up a regular bike, keeping in mind that some options may not be available due to the geometry of the bike. I like the sheldon brown locking strategy: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/lock-strategy.html

I'm in the process of ordering pitlocks so I won't need to lock my front wheel; this will save me a little bit of time every time I lock the bike.

It's hard to generalize about locking bikes, though, because it is very location dependent. There are a small handful of cities in the US where bike thieves will regularly use tools to steal bikes - NY, Boston, LA, SF...probably a few more cities in CA. There is a developed secondary market in these areas for not just stolen bikes, but for stolen bike parts. In these places you need heavy locks, or are better off just carrying your bike inside with you.

In most of the rest of the country (including, IMO, Chicago) the thefts that occur are more opportunity thefts, and the bike part thefts that occur are more akin to vandalism than to theft. So a bike that isn't locked might be stolen, and a bike that is locked to itself might be tossed into a car or truck. Unlocked seat posts or wheels might be stolen, but this tends to be vandalism; there is no place that a a thief can resell a seat or seatpost or random tire. (Which doesn't put the victim in any better position than he would have been in if the part was stolen for resale). In these locations, hybrids are actually more at risk than road bikes since they can be more easily resold (or, often, used by the perpetrator). Very small cable locks might be cut if the bike is left somewhere overnight repeatedly and the criminal has a tool at home - typically a hacksaw - that will cut it.
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