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Thread: stealing?

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    Senior Member auroch's Avatar
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    stealing?

    question for anyone who has a bike with
    s&s couplings or a ritchey break away:

    Are you ever concerned about someone
    breaking down your bike & stealing half of it?
    I know a smart traveler would be sure to
    lock up both parts, but you know.

    jeff

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    Some folks will steal anything so I will not make light of your suggestion.

    I have a Greenspeed Recumbent trike with an S&S coupling. Disassembly involves quite a bit more than just the S&S coupling. But, a determined thief could certainly manage it. It gives me something to think about late at night.

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    Drive the Bicycle.
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    -- Yes, your concern is well taken but one of the attractions of a folding bicycle is that it can be taken indoors AWAY from the thieves. For that very reason alone I think folders will become more popular in the mean cities, and the manufacturers are inventing innovative designs that are easier to quickly fold and deploy.

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    How often would you leave a $2k road bike chained up outside, without a line of sight to it? Me: never. You know, I never ever see a high performance bicycle locked up. Any S&S bike is going to have a frame worth nearly $1000, since the retrofit costs minimum $400.

    I think that's the biggest hassle with an S&S. It feels great, it rides perfect. No difference from a normal bike. But I can never feel comfortable leaving it out alone, which is one frustration I don't want to have sometimes while traveling.

    Quote Originally Posted by stickerguy
    question for anyone who has a bike with
    s&s couplings or a ritchey break away:
    jeff

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    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Our tandem is S&S equipped. I fail to see how that has anything to do with someone being able to steal it. Even a single, what are they going to do - steal half?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Expatriate
    Our tandem is S&S equipped. I fail to see how that has anything to do with someone being able to steal it. Even a single, what are they going to do - steal half?
    I think that's the point. Their not after the frame but the components for resale. If they get the more valueable half of the bike, they get over half the component value.

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    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    I think it's hardly worth losing sleep over.

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    The people who steal will take anything. I've seen burglaries where the thieves took used toothbrushes and 1/2 TP rolls off of the holder. If they'll do that 1/2 of a bike would be a gold mine.

    SS

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    Senior Member auroch's Avatar
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    true. true. The advantages of a folder far exceed the disadvantages, besides other than nyc & amsterdam I doubt I'll go anywhere with more bike theft than chicago. And you're right I can always bring it in! So does that mean when you all travel you carry around the case too? thanks

    jeff

    Quote Originally Posted by jasong
    How often would you leave a $2k road bike chained up outside, without a line of sight to it? Me: never.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stickerguy
    question for anyone who has a bike with
    s&s couplings or a ritchey break away:

    Are you ever concerned about someone
    breaking down your bike & stealing half of it?
    I know a smart traveler would be sure to
    lock up both parts, but you know.

    jeff
    I was wondering if it is even possible to lock both halves of the bike effectively, and found this thread searching. Note: I don't have S&S on my bike yet. I'm considering getting them installed before a trip next summer, and wonder how much of a problem the difficulty of locking a S&S securely is.

    The front half of your bike is worth a lot. The front triangle of your frame won't be worth much, but they'd still get your fork, your headset, your brifters, your stem, your handlebars, front ract, lights, bell, panache, etc...

    I know S&S bikes come with a special spanner, but from the design I suspect someone could get them loose with a flat head and a heavy object, if not with a strong twist of the wrist. Is it harder than it looks without the tool?

    I guess if you locked around your headtube, they would have to either take your stem out of your fork and maybe cut your cables to get it over your top tube. That or take out your stem and get the fork out of your headset... In any case, you would have to take your bike apart, put something over the threads to protect them, and lock to a post with both the head-tube, your rear wheel (anywhere inside the triangle), and your front wheel in the lock.

    If you have a U-lock and a cable, you could first put an end of the cable through the rear wheel and triangle, then pull the cable through itself, and finally lock your head-tube and the free end of the cable to an object after passing the free end through your front wheel. This way you've locked both triangles (well, technically not the front, but well enough) and both wheels. If you have enough cable length to pass it tightly over the handlebars it will make your front triangle that much harder to take apart and steal.

    Perhaps you could design a clever braze-on that adds a closed loop to your front triangle for locking purposes. Maybe the loop could even serve multiple purposes... Mount for Bannana Guard? Sturdy bottle holder that is brazed to the frame? Ornate pump peg?

    Can anyone with an S&S bike comment on how you lock it up and why you do it that way? Any anecdotes of partially stolen frames, or is this whole issue as yet a theory?

    Drew
    Last edited by awagner; 10-06-05 at 12:24 AM. Reason: editing for clarity

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    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Ourt tandem is coupled so that we still have 2 triangles. Not an issue for us.

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    Hmm well it is cheap and lo tech idea and certainly not full proof but i would maybe get some sort of covering (BMX thingies, hose) To pull over the Couplers when parking the bike. It won't fool close inspection but the opportunist thief will likely not see the Bling/shiny couplers when he walks by and hence will hopefully not get ideas.

    But at the end of the day i feel S & S couplers are almost never worth the outlay or better than a good folder. The exceptions would be if you are a pro racing cyclist, you have real reasons for wanting full size geometry (despite the advantages of smaller wheels/frames) etc.

    Remember you can get a whole lot of complete folding bike for the money just a decent frame and S & S couplers & retrofit go for!! Since folders have become so good and are have been convincingly used for anything from Traithlon, to setting speed records to the longest most gruelling tours the choice seems obvious...
    http://www.rhizomes.nl/twenty.html
    My Tweaked and modded Raleigh Twenty. Lots of pictures and lots of general info on for example a different & Cheap Bottom Bracket solution as well as fork solution.

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    Well Stickerguy, there are plenty of places that bike thieves work in-like Los Angeles, San Fransisco, Portland-Eugene OR, Seattle-Tacoma, you name it. As you can see, the more any bicycle becomes more valuable as the fuel and cost of living squeezes more people from previous levels of activities-like motoring-any bike from beater to prize $4000+ showpiece will be stalked and stolen equally. Don't let location or any other one factor lull you into complacency. I agree that the portable (folder) will become more and more popular as time goes on for theft as well as crowding in public transportation.

  14. #14
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    I am worried about ANY bike I own being broken down and parts of it stolen. To that end, I have the Kryptonite chain with the Multilock padlock on one part of the bike, and the OnGuard u-lock on the other end of my bike. The wheels are always locked with the frame to some solid, nonmoving surface, and if I'm in a real bad part of town, I have a third chain with another multilock padlock that will loop around everything. Rarely do I use that third lock, though.

    Koffee

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    Quote Originally Posted by awagner
    Can anyone with an S&S bike comment on how you lock it up and why you do it that way? Any anecdotes of partially stolen frames, or is this whole issue as yet a theory?
    I may have written this before, but how often do you see a $2k road bike locked up outside? I never have. That´s what you´re doing with an S&S. Almost all S&S frames are $1000 investments (at least $400 in the couplers + frame value), and usually people with that investment aren't throwing cheap components on them either.

    I left mine outside only in eyes view and it was constantly on my mind, just like a $3000 anything else would have been. These just aren't bikes you leave outside. Which means they're not bikes that lend themselves well to commuting/touring in environments where theft might be a possibility, unfortunately.

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    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    I just found it it would cost about AU$12k to have my frame replaced locally. Never been locked up outside, as it's never been more than 1 metre from my wife or me when outside.

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    Can y'all say paranoia? If you're worried about theft, don't buy / own an expensive bike / car / (insert name of any other western consumer culture luxury item here).

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    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    I'm not one to deny myself or my family personal luxury items. My aim is to deny others from becoming the new owners of said items.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasong
    I may have written this before, but how often do you see a $2k road bike locked up outside? I never have. That´s what you´re doing with an S&S. Almost all S&S frames are $1000 investments (at least $400 in the couplers + frame value), and usually people with that investment aren't throwing cheap components on them either.
    I certainly share your frustration with the exclusivity (and resulting loss of usefullness) of this part. If it were my company, I'd be selling a cro-moly version that can be welded and brazed with standard processes, and pushing them hard to production frame builders. Unfortunately, they probably have patent protection that will keep affordable tube couplers off the market for many years, despite this being a pretty obvious and easy to pull off design. I thought up the same design before finding it on the internet, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. The designer talks on the S&S website about how it worked marvelously their first try.

    Based on numerous anecdotes and partially ripped off bikes I've seen, it seems that theft is a function primarily of visible bling, the actual value of the bike. I suspect that a S&S coupled bike that is suitably camoflauged with bad spray paint un-uniformly applied, with midde of the road standard components that are not polished lovingly every morning, locked up properly with a lock that is not too expensive, will pass under the radar of thieves in most situations. Even if the theif knows you put a huffy sticker on a bianchi, the resale value will still be greatly lowered by the ugliness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by awagner
    not polished lovingly every morning, locked up properly with a lock that is not too expensive, will pass under the radar of thieves in most situations. Even if the theif knows you put a huffy sticker on a bianchi, the resale value will still be greatly lowered by the ugliness.
    I don't know - I think it's pretty much impossible for us to think/predict like thieves since we're not.

    Randya - I think this is a poor analogy (any western luxury item). Bikes are their own getaway device, and are often protected by things that are very simple to cut. They have no real identification mechanism, etc. Cars are vastly different. I see $50k cars parked all the time in public. I never see even a $1500 bicycle.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by 77Univega
    -- Yes, your concern is well taken but one of the attractions of a folding bicycle is that it can be taken indoors AWAY from the thieves.
    an s&s bike can't be easily disassembled and taken inside. Takes quite a while to take apart and you have a bunch of loose pieces to wrangle.

    there is no such thing as 100% security as others have mentioned. and as noted above, there is no really good way to lock up the front half of the bike. remove the stem and it's bye-bye front end.

    Remember, though, it takes a special spanner to loosen the couplings - a tool few thieves are likely to have handy. If the couplers are properly tightened (i.e. really, really tight) they can't really jimmy it off. anyway, few people are likely to have any clue whatsoever that your bike "unscrews" - they just look like funny lugs to the unknowing.

    I had an s&s coupled bike that I would lock up outside to the same extent I would do with any other comparably priced bike.

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    biker4life
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    Supermuzzle

    Ive taught at a University in Russia and 2 things
    1-expensive bikes arent locked on streets in RF because no one can afford them. I take my folder inside everywhere in Russia.
    2-If they WERE locked on the streets of Mosc/St P they would dissappear even faster than in the west

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    @ Randya: I totally second the sentiments expressed by Jasong. Furthermore Paranoia and Realism are not at all the same thing. Having had at least 4 or 5 bikes stolen in NL (and my friends probably about 40 all told) made me savvy,.. this -for me at least- is not an imagined problem. I think it isn't paranoia but wisdom for anyone in a theft prone area to give this thought. Additionally i personally am not worried about theft because of the counter measures i take. I am aware, not worried.

    @ Jasong: I do think like a thief ha ha. That's because my hobby (squatting) of many years involves rapid breaking and entering, risk assesment and the weighing of the -is it worth it- equation. I have also opened many bike locks with different methods (for their owners when they had lost keys for example). However, I never ever steal bikes though. But i have read extensively on the subject and spoken to many professional bike thieves as i find it interesting.

    The thieves themselves recommended most of the measures (as well as the locks) i employ (see also this thread: how expensive of a bike would you leave locked up on a rack? as the best chance of defeating them. Nothing is fool proof but i do my utmost to get as close to it as possible and consider myself very fortunate that i chose to own a E 370 Folder that looks like it is worth E 50 and rides like comparable machines worth E 600 or more.
    Last edited by v1nce; 10-30-05 at 08:56 AM.
    http://www.rhizomes.nl/twenty.html
    My Tweaked and modded Raleigh Twenty. Lots of pictures and lots of general info on for example a different & Cheap Bottom Bracket solution as well as fork solution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Super_Socks
    Remember, though, it takes a special spanner to loosen the couplings - a tool few thieves are likely to have handy. If the couplers are properly tightened (i.e. really, really tight) they can't
    Yes, I think they take a proper tool if you want to disassemble them nicely. If not, well, a monkey wrench/pipe wrench will work just fine. It might not even be bad for a one time removal (or emergency tightening!) that allows someone to pedal away. That tool's probably in any thiefs arsenal, because it's the best way to grip something small and with a lot of force (ie. holding a chain link while cutting it with a portable cutoff tool).

    I don't think it, in terms of theft or tamper prevention, is even analogous to how Torx were years ago or square headed bits were.

    edit: I was thinking more along the lines of channel locks above
    Last edited by jasong; 10-30-05 at 01:24 AM.

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    Below are the locks i use (i have never seen on lying broken on the streets in NL unlike pretty much 80% of other locks). They both recently tested as the best locks available by the 'Dutch Cyclists Union'. (Fietsersbond).

    For some people that i pointed to the test it was pretty much shocking reading. The test mantains that all locks (especially wire/cable/cheap chains) are pretty much useless here except for hardened chains and some of the best U-Locks.

    The ABUS chain tested way better and harder to cut than a Kryptonite chain (Kryptonite KRF2 CH100l) which was had much thicker links and was a lot heavier (not hardened very well). The Abus tested as being harder (pounds per square inch needed to cut it) than even the most hardened bolt cutter. So in theory trying to cut it with boltcutters would only result in the thief breaking his expensive tool.

    The Axa SL-7 is a very convenient secondary /quick stop lock when you can actually still see your bike. It runs in NL for about E 17. The Abus costs about E30 to E 37.

    The AXA is a tested dutch design refined over decades and used by many people in NL. The Abus was designed for the NL market. The dutch bike theft situation (particularly in the major cities) is suppossed to be one of the toughest/worst in the world, about on par with New York. The reasons for this are varied, for example it is no big thing to steal or buy a stolen bike for quite some people. It is almost part of the culture students do it all the time and people offer you bikes on the streets fairly often. This cultural thing has lead to people adapting by getting the best possible locks or old, cheap (but usually decent) beaters with cheap locks. Then when it gets stolen they are not bothered and get a new (stolen) clunker.
    I am not saying this is a good system or that i approve it it all, just describing it.

    I always use both locks if i am locking my bike for longer than a few minutes or it is not in my line of sight. So far i have been bike theft free for about 7 years. Before i adopted these strategies i used to get bikes stolen on a fairly regular basis.

    Anyway, the Axa is mounted on my front fork when locked it immobilizes and locks my front wheel and the Abus lock goes through the frame, back wheel and some real sturdy fixture on the street. May sound like hassle but it isn't it is very quick actually as both locks 'click' shut and i can very rapidly y (un)wrap my Abus around my seatpost.

    Despite my locks i steel feel it is prudent to 'ghetto' my bike. The most proffesional thieves use battery powered side cutters (gives lots of noise and sparkes though) or even Liquid Nitrogen to freeze the cylinder untill it is so brittle the inner part can be shattered. This type pf thieve is rare/"elite" and only spends their time and effort on the nicest bikes that fetch the highest prices. That means (mountain) bikes that have a lot of branding and logos and that look/are high end. So no problem there for me.

    Hope some of that info is helpfull.
    Last edited by v1nce; 10-30-05 at 09:30 AM.
    http://www.rhizomes.nl/twenty.html
    My Tweaked and modded Raleigh Twenty. Lots of pictures and lots of general info on for example a different & Cheap Bottom Bracket solution as well as fork solution.

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