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Old 04-22-05, 09:33 PM   #1
alanbikehouston
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When someone buys a nice bike, often their first question is: What is the "best bike lock" I can buy? Or, who makes the "strongest bicycle lock" money can buy?

The April 2005 issue of UK's "Cycling Plus" included the results of their 2005 lock tests. Cycling Plus tested the locks by trying to break them with manual tools favored by crooks and then cutting them with the type of portable, battery-operated power tools used by crooks.

SHORT VERSION OF TEST RESULTS: The Kryptonite New York 3000 U-lock is the "best bike lock" and the "strongest bicycle lock" for high crime areas and an expensive bike.

The OnGuard Bulldog Mini U-lock (just $24 at REI) is the "best bike lock", and for its low price, "the strongest bicycle lock" for average neighborhoods and for less expensive expensive bikes.

The European models: the Squire Paramount Plus, and the Axa-Basta Secu-City Plus model did almost as well as the New York lock. The German-designed mid-price Abus lock, was only "average" against power tools.

LOOONG VERSION OF TEST RESULTS: The tests using manual tools had one scary and surprising result: the locks were so strong that when heavy force was applied to the locks, the frame of the bike got mangled, while the locks remained in good shape.

To prevent damage to the frame, and to fully protect both the frame and rear wheel, position your lock around the rear wheel, just behind (but not around) the seat tube. That locking procedure secures both the frame and rear wheel. If a crook uses a prying method, he might bend the wheel, but he won't damage the frame.


HOW TO CORRECTLY LOCK YOUR BIKE by Sheldon Brown:

www.sheldonbrown.com/lock-strategy.html




RESULTS BY LOCK TYPE:

- CABLE LOCKS: Cable locks are a joke. Most lasted just a few seconds. None lasted long. A cable may have some value for protecting your front wheel or your helmet. They have ZERO value for protecting your bike.


- BARGAIN U-LOCKS: The OnGuard Bulldog Mini U-lock ($24 at REI) was as strong as the top ranked Kryptonite New York 3000 against manual attacks. But, OnGuard locks don't last long against power tools, so the New York 3000 remains the top choice for "high end" bikes parked in Manhattan and other "crime centers".

- KRYPTONITE - The Bad News: Their second best U-lock, the Evolution, failed against manual tools in just 95 seconds, after the application of massive force. The leverage force applied to break the Evolution was so massive that the frame of the bike was mangled during the attempt. A good reason to put the lock around the rear wheel, not the frame.

My personal interpretation of the test results is that NO Kryptonite U-lock using a "single bolt" design is likely to last more than two minutes against a skilled crook.

The Kryptonite New York 3000 is far more effective than other Kryptonite U-locks because it uses two bolts to lock both ends of the "U" shackle, just as OnGuard does with every one of its U-locks. Then, the New York 3000 adds "cut resistent" steel to the shackles, making it about 400% stronger than OnGuard's best locks against (the very rare) cutting attacks using power tools.

MY SUGGESTIONS: If the crooks in your town use ONLY manual tools, and will never use power tools, buy the $24 OnGuard Bulldog Mini (or a larger Bulldog if your bike rack requires a larger lock). A compact lock provides less space for a crook to insert his tools, so buy the smallest version of the Bulldog that will fit around your rear wheel and your bike rack.

But, if you park on a "mega-sized urban college campus, or in a "high crime" area where Pro crooks have been known to power tools against targeted "high end" bikes, there is only one U-lock widely sold in the USA that really works: the Kryptonite New York 3000 Lock.

"Cycling Plus" did NOT test heavy weight chain locks in the April issue. However, in a previous CP test, the 8 1/2 pound Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Chain lock lasted about eight minutes against power tools, compared with ten minutes for the four pound New York 3000 U-lock.

Because the four pound New York 3000 is the stronger of the two, the only reason to buy the eight pound Fahgettaboudit is if you lock your bike to telephone poles or large trees, or other objects that are too large for the New York 3000 U-lock.

USE YOUR HEAD: No lock lasted much more than ten minutes against power tools. Park at locations where only the dumbest crook would employ power tools for ten minutes. Lock your bike next to the ticket booth at the movie theatre, not in the dark alley behind the Theatre.

For "over-night" parking in a high risk area (never a great idea) consider combining two or three good locks. Most criminals are too lazy to work hard for twenty or thirty minutes. If they were willing to work that hard, they would not be criminals. A crook facing TWO New York locks might see the advantages of going out and finding "honest work".

Last edited by alanbikehouston; 05-02-05 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 04-22-05, 10:02 PM   #2
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Good info - thanks! It's a shame Krypto won't make a "New York mini LS" - I vastly prefer the longer, narrower shackle!
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Old 04-24-05, 01:20 AM   #3
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Kryptonite used to make that very lock. It was the Rock Lock Mini LS. I have one and love it. Big like the New York, but narrow like a Mini. But it's the older lock, like the K-4's with the vulnerable extension on the key end. I still can't decide if I should send it back, as the older locks don't seem to be Bic Pic prone like the newer Evolutions.
Let's get Kryptonite or anyone else for that matter to bring back a mini-massive lock. Nice narrow New York locks would be great!
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Old 04-24-05, 01:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
The tests using manual tools had a scary and surprising result: the locks were so strong that when someone applied heavy force to the locks, they ended up mangling the frame of the bike, rather than breaking the lock.

Is that surprising??? Frames are hollow and thin, locks aren't.
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Old 04-24-05, 06:57 AM   #5
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No mention of Abus locks?
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Old 04-24-05, 08:17 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by jeff-o
No mention of Abus locks?
For some strange reason Abus was left out of the testing.
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Old 04-24-05, 10:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LV2TNDM
Let's get Kryptonite or anyone else for that matter to bring back a mini-massive lock.
Onguard makes mini-LS versions of their high-end locks, though they don't seem to advertise them, and I had to special order. I just don't LIKE them as much as I like the Kryptos, mainly because of the design of the bracket meant to mount them on the bike. Check out the Brute Mini LS, http://www.bicyclebuys.com/Items01.a...T=118&P=1&D=NP - which seems VERY strong, but which weighs nearly as much as a Krypto New York chain, at nearly 7 pounds.
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Old 04-24-05, 10:55 AM   #8
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Maybe the abus wasn't mentioned because it's not as readily available in the USA (yes, I know it's UK's version, but maybe it was targeted to US consumers?). I heard the abus was the best out there, and I can't wait to pick one up when I get back to Europe.

I had the Kryptonite lock they talked about, but both of them failed- the first one only worked for 48 hours before it konked out and the second one only worked for about 3 months before it konked out. My only fear is that the lock may stop working while your bike is locked to it, then what are you going to do?

I have the kryptonite chain with a mul-ti-lock, and that works for me, but the kryptonite company is pretty disappointing to me overall. All that money I spent on locks, I just don't think they're effective.

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Old 04-25-05, 06:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koffee brown
Maybe the abus wasn't mentioned because it's not as readily available in the USA (yes, I know it's UK's version, but maybe it was targeted to US consumers?). I heard the abus was the best out there, and I can't wait to pick one up when I get back to Europe.

I had the Kryptonite lock they talked about, but both of them failed- the first one only worked for 48 hours before it konked out and the second one only worked for about 3 months before it konked out. My only fear is that the lock may stop working while your bike is locked to it, then what are you going to do?

Koffee
The April 2005 issue of "Cycling Plus" article about their lock tests does includes some European brands such as Abus, Squire, Telock, and Axa. I have posted the "cut times" for the best European models in a post further down in this same thread.

Koffee, your problems with the newer Kryptonite locks might be the same problem I experienced when I first got my 2005 New Yorker lock. It is certainly a bit more difficult to get the NYL to lock than older Kryptonite models. However, after I practiced locking and unlocking the new design New York lock, and got the technique figured out, the lock works well.

The 2005 model of the New York lock has a "double locking" design. That means that the "cuts" at the bottom of both ends of the "U" shackle must be facing the revolving bolts inside the crossbar for the bolts to engage the shackle. If the "U" is facing away from the bolts, they can not close, no matter how hard you turn the key.

So, if the key does not turn easily, just flip the shackle around and insert it again with the "cuts" in the ends of the shackles facing the bolts inside the crossbar.

Still getting resistance when turning the key? Both shackles must be seated deeply and evenly into the crossbar for the key to turn. If there is any resistance when you turn the key, give the round end of the shackle a slap with your hand to seat the shackle deeply into the crossbar. The key should then turn easily.

Most hardware stores stock lubricants made just for locks, and a drop of lock lube in the keyway and on each bolt will make the lock work smoother, especially in cold weather.

Last edited by alanbikehouston; 04-27-05 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 04-25-05, 07:15 AM   #10
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A few weeks ago I bought the mini OnGuard lock (to use with my massive thick chain) and four OnGuard cable locks. For the most part, they seem effective, but unlocking them can be a pain. Often they stop the key from entering all the way and I have spent several minutes trying to insert the key fully in order for the release to activate.

Recently, I saw something about bike alarms (think it was on the net). Does anyone have info on these and whether they are a sound investment or not?
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Old 04-25-05, 07:24 AM   #11
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Recently, I saw something about bike alarms (think it was on the net). Does anyone have info on these and whether they are a sound investment or not?
Unless you are within earshot of the alarm and are willing to confront a thief, then forget the alarm. Get a good lock instead.
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Old 04-25-05, 07:48 AM   #12
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Recently, I saw something about bike alarms (think it was on the net). Does anyone have info on these and whether they are a sound investment or not?
I'd be stunned if they had any effect; car alarms have been proven to have none whatsoever - people are so used to hearing sirens and horns that they just tune them out completely. Unless you're always going to be less than 30 seconds from your bike and prepared to come running when you hear the alarm... in which case it might be useful - but you're the only person who's likely to respond to it.
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Old 04-25-05, 08:04 AM   #13
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I'm having trouble finding any useful info on the AXA locks. Does anyone know of a site that gives a complete product list? Even the manufacturer's site is pathetic.
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Old 04-25-05, 08:10 AM   #14
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Nevermind, is this the one that got the really good rating (this site says Gold)

http://www.wheelspincycles.com/produ...d=m2b31s93p147
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Old 04-25-05, 09:27 AM   #15
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Because folks are curious about how the European locks compare with the Kryptonite New York locks, I'm listing the "cut times" for the best locks in the "Cycling Plus" test. Each of the "best" locks survived a full five minute attack with manual "prying" and "leverage" type tools...and if a leverage attack fails after five minutes, it is likely to also fail after an hour...pry proof is pry proof. However, no lock lasts forever against a "pocket sized" battery operated cutting tool used by crooks in some cities.


The longest "cut" times in the "Cycling Plus" test are:

1. The Kryptonite New York 3000 lock. 1757 grams. Lasted more than ten minutes. Sold at your LBS. (The Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Chain lock lasted eight minutes against power tools in a prior CP test.)

2. The Squire Paramount Plus. 2047 grams. Lasted nine minutes. A leading UK brand.

3. The Axa-Basta SecuCity Plus. 1604 grams. Lasted eight minutes. A UK and European brand.


After the Axa-Basta, there was a huge drop-off in the resistance to power tools. The next group of locks all lasted less than three minutes against portable power tools. Among the "medium time" group was a "low priced" lock:

The Magnum UL1 ("bargain priced" brother of the OnGuard Brute) 2,335 grams. Lasted two 1/2 minutes.

(The "Magnum" brand is the lower priced line sold by OnGuard locks. Available in the UK and I THINK I have seen some at bike shops in Houston.)


Also in the "medium times" group was a lock from Germany's BEST name in locks:

The Abus Varedo. 1132 grams. Lasted 1 minutes and 13 seconds. The highly regarded German-designed Abus Granit-X-Plus was not tested by Cycling Plus this time, but the Granit-X-Plus has done very well in all prior published tests, and in tests by "Sold Secure" and the ART Foundation. The Abus Varedo shows that even a company as outstanding as Abus can sell some mediocre products that should NOT be compared with their best products.


MINI LOCKS: Most folks don't want to take an eight pound lock on a short ride or when grabbing a cup of coffee. So, "Mini" locks are popular for everyday use. The only tested "Mini" lock that protected as well as the Kryptonite New York 3000 lock against manual attacks was the OnGuard Bulldog Mini lock:

The OnGuard Bulldog Mini. Under two pounds. Lasted 1 minutes and 16 seconds against power tools.

The 2005 model OnGuard Pitbull Mini has a similar design, and should do as well (the Pitbull costs about $35 compared with $24 for the Bulldog - they are essentially the same lock).

Please consider "hunting down" and buying a copy of the April "Cycling Plus" at Borders Books or Barnes and Noble Books or a larger size magazine store. "Cycling Plus" is well worth its expensive $9 price. CP usually includes at least five times the "content" of America's leading cycling magazine. If this "lock test" issue sells well, the editors of "Cycling Plus" will be encouraged to continue their very expensive and time consuming lock testing program.

Last edited by alanbikehouston; 04-27-05 at 12:23 AM.
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Old 04-25-05, 10:43 AM   #16
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The Abus Varedo 47 has an Abus rating of 9 on a scale of 1-25. It seems to be one of their low end locks.
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Old 04-25-05, 10:46 AM   #17
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I recently saw a bike lock from China that is supposed to be un-pickable. Its key has a tip like a philips head screw driver and four regular key serrated edges up the shaft that operate four separate cylinders in the lock head itself. The opening in the lock to insert the key looks like a four pointed star. Some guy in our bike club was offering to bring some back at $5 a pop but it seems that duplicate keys are hard to get here. Is anyone familiar with this type of lock (did my description make sense)? I can just see myself losing the keys and not being able to get replacements.
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Old 04-25-05, 11:12 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayakado
I recently saw a bike lock from China that is supposed to be un-pickable. Its key has a tip like a philips head screw driver and four regular key serrated edges up the shaft that operate four separate cylinders in the lock head itself. The opening in the lock to insert the key looks like a four pointed star. Some guy in our bike club was offering to bring some back at $5 a pop but it seems that duplicate keys are hard to get here. Is anyone familiar with this type of lock (did my description make sense)? I can just see myself losing the keys and not being able to get replacements.
At 5 bucks a piece, buy 2-3 locks from your friend, throw them out when you lose the key. Heck keys cost $3.
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Old 04-25-05, 11:55 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by MERTON
how'd the old onguard brute do?
Did you read the article???
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Old 04-25-05, 12:10 PM   #20
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is there a link to this article???
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Old 04-25-05, 01:11 PM   #21
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is there a link to this article???
Best Bike Locks - 2005 Tests

Quote:
Originally Posted by MERTON
it never talked about the brute.
It talked about, "every lock from OnGuard..."
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Old 04-25-05, 05:17 PM   #22
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Merton, "Cycling Plus" did not test the OnGuard Brute. I apologize for my "test summary" being unclear regarding the "Brute". CP tested the Brute's massive "twin" that is sold under the Magnum name. It equaled the performance of the Kryptonite New York 3000 against manual attacks, but failed after 2 1/2 minutes against power tools, compared with the more than ten minutes it took to cut the Kryptonite New York 3000.

The $24 OnGuard Bulldog Mini U-lock tested just as highly as the Kryptonite New York 3000 against manual attacks. It is light and compact, the ideal "everyday" lock.

No crook in my town is going to bother using power tools to go after any of my herd of twenty year old bikes. So, my OnGuard Mini lock will continue to be my "everyday" lock, due to its compact size and portability.

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Old 04-25-05, 09:51 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
The April 2005 issue of "Cycling Plus" article about their lock tests does includes some European brands such as Abus, Squire, Telock, and Axa. I have posted the "cut times" for the best European models in a post further down in this same thread. Two European locks had "cut" times that were just a tad behind the "winning" ten minute "cut" time of the Kryptonite New York 3000.

Koffee, your problems with the newer Kryptonite locks might be the same problem I experienced when I first got my 2005 New Yorker lock. It is certainly a bit more difficult to get the NYL to lock than older Kryptonite models. However, after I practiced locking and unlocking the new design New York lock, and got the proper technique figured out, the lock works very well.

The 2005 model of the New York lock has a "double locking" design. That means that the "cuts" at the bottom of both ends of the "U" shackle must be facing the revolving bolts inside the crossbar for the bolts to engage the shackle. If the "U" is facing away from the bolts, they can not close, no matter how hard you turn the key.

So, if the key does not turn easily, just flip the shackle around and insert it again with the "cuts" in the ends of the shackles facing the bolts inside the crossbar.

Still getting resistance when turning the key? Both shackles must be seated deeply into the crossbar for the key to turn. If there is any resistance when you turn the key, give the round end of the shackle a slap with your hand to seat the shackle deeply into the crossbar. The key should then turn easily.

The "downside" of this design is that it makes you work a bit harder to lock your bike. The "upside" is that this design is at least twice as strong against certain types of attacks as the Kryptonite "fast locking" design that uses a bent foot on the end of one shackle and only one bolt in the crossbar.

Most hardware stores stock lubricants made just for locks, and a drop of lock lube in the keyway and on each bolt will make the lock work smoother, especially in cold weather.

So, with both the new OnGuard and Kryptonite New York lock, just remember: face the shackle cuts toward the lock bolts, and "slap" the shackle to seat it deeply into the crossbar before turning the key. When unlocking, don't let anything "push" on the shackle (such as the post you are locked to) and if the key will not turn, just "slap" the shackle down into the crossbar to release it from the pressure of the lock bolts. Then, the key turns easily. With a day or two of practice, the technique becomes fast and easy.

I have the old Kryptonite locks. They don't lock. I've taken them to a locksmith, and they are dead locks, from what the dude said. I don't know what happened, but they just stopped working shortly after I got them. But thanks for the update. If I ever decide to get a kryptonite again (unlikely), I'll be sure to keep the method of opening them in mind.

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Old 04-25-05, 09:57 PM   #24
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Cycle Plus has such high quality writing that I think I will just pick up a subscription. It is hands down so much better than Bicycling (my current subscription). Thanks again for publishing the results of the lock test.

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Old 04-27-05, 10:45 AM   #25
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It seems logical that the eight pound Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit chain lock would "outperform" the lock that "Cycling Plus" rated as "best": the four pound Kryptonite New York 3000 U-lock. But, when I hunted down the CP test of the Fahgettaboudit chain, I was surprised by the results.

That massive chain lock lasted an impressive eight minutes against power tools. But the New York 3000 lasted ten minutes against power tools. So, unless someone MUST lock to telephone poles, or other objects too large for a U-lock, there is no good reason to haul around eight pounds of chain. The New York 3000 U-lock provides better security.

It is rare for crooks in most towns to use power tools against "average" bikes. (As opposed to a skilled Pro who has "targeting" a particular "high end" bike.) About 99% of the crooks use manual tools. The $24 OnGuard Bulldog Mini U-lock is just as strong against manual attacks as the Kryptonite 3000. So, for most folks, a compact two pound mini lock provides a high level of security. (When correctly attached to the rear wheel, just behind the seat tube).


HOW TO LOCK YOUR BIKE by Sheldon Brown:

www.sheldonbrown.com/lock-strategy.html
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