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  1. #1
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    Need opinions on Pinhead-based locking skewers

    After seeing a number of posted questions about bike locking, I'm gathering information, giving credit where its due, and working on a semi-usable guide for people who want information about locks, locking techniques, and such. It won't be perfect, and it is mainly a lot of links to other people's excellent information resources, but the guide is intended as a place to start for people to find information who want their bikes to remain theirs. I'm trying to be as objective as I can and avoid recommending/endorsing any products, instead offering a list of items that do the job.

    If people don't mind, and are using Pinhead-based locking skewers on their bikes (Kryptonite used to sell rebranded Pinheads under their name, and I think Onguard sells them now at local shops), please post what you like and hate about them. I want to give them a more accurate review in what I'm attempting to write other than the current information I have on them, which is "don't bother with them, buy Pitlocks."

    I have some answers on a thread I posted (but was more of a difference thread than asking for reviews on specifics) here -- Pinhead seat skewer locks, but I'm trying to gather specifics (good and bad) on Pinhead locking skewers. Another good thread is here: Bike theft countermeasures

    I'm trying to make sure my guide is as objective as possible, and I have obtained a good number of solid reviews on Pitlocks, so I'm trying to get a number for Pinhead's products.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Paul L.'s Avatar
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    I presently use them on my recumbent and they are great. My only beef would be the one key you get and how much it costs to get a backup. Leaving my bike at a rack until a replacement key arrives just isn't an option. I am eagerly awaiting their U-Lock that is keyed the same. That would be a really cool system.
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  3. #3
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    I am new to these forums, but I don't understand the concept of locking skewers. What prevents someone with a Dremel tool from slotting the nut, then sticking in a screwdriver and unscrewing it?

  4. #4
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    Time. What would you think if you were walking down the street and saw someone with a Dremel grinding on a locked up bike? 'Yup, that there's a dumb slow bike theif.'

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by nilrim1980
    I am new to these forums, but I don't understand the concept of locking skewers. What prevents someone with a Dremel tool from slotting the nut, then sticking in a screwdriver and unscrewing it?
    I think college campuses and other places are going to be a lot more wary and willing to intercept people doing odd things especially after the carnage after last week.

    Yes, you can cut anything given time with proper power tools, but a Dremel cutting hardened steel sometimes slips and kicks, cutting into other things. Unless you have a very good steady hand (I don't, so if you can cut well with a Dremel, you are a better man than I), you may end up messing up the bike more than what you are cutting off.

    One brand of skewers will take more than just a slot on the nut to take off, due to the locking ring, you will have to find a way to cut the outside spinning ring, then cut enough of the nut so it splits to get it off. Another brand of locking skewers, you will have to know exactly when to stop, as you will stop cutting nut material, start cutting bicycle frame in a place where it would seriously weaken the bicycle's roadability pretty quickly if you don't be very careful on what type of cuts you are doing and how you are doing them.

    All locks can be cut off, but its a lot easier to sit and cut off a set of Pitlocks off a bike in a workshop than trying to yank them off in a campus already on alert for anything odd. I don't have any Pitlocks or Pinhead skewers (yet), but I'm pretty sure that removing them without a key is about as time consuming if not more than trying to pick a 5-6 pin tumbler lock (which can take almost no time for some, 15 min for others.)

  6. #6
    duh-river foe
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    I love my locking skewers. I have the Kryponite-branded ones and I haven't had any problems with them for several years. The key comes in my cycle repair baggie- because if I don't have the parts to repair a tube with then I obviously don't need the key, right? I've used them on long rides and racing also, giving my bike that super urban feel. I'm not that much of a weight weenie to care that they're a little lighter than QR skewers, but they're a lot easier to remove and tighten with my little girly hands than the QR.

    Somebody's also a lot less likely to walk off with the whole bike since I can use a shorty U-lock, too. There's less chance of cutting them and almost no hope for someone who tries to pry.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8bit
    I love my locking skewers. I have the Kryponite-branded ones and I haven't had any problems with them for several years. The key comes in my cycle repair baggie- because if I don't have the parts to repair a tube with then I obviously don't need the key, right? I've used them on long rides and racing also, giving my bike that super urban feel. I'm not that much of a weight weenie to care that they're a little lighter than QR skewers, but they're a lot easier to remove and tighten with my little girly hands than the QR.

    Somebody's also a lot less likely to walk off with the whole bike since I can use a shorty U-lock, too. There's less chance of cutting them and almost no hope for someone who tries to pry.
    My thinking exactly. I use them on my commuter bike. I use the seatpost lock, too, and I believe they also make a locking cap for threadless headsets (not an issue on my bike). The key resides permanantly in my underseat tool bag. I use a shorty OnGuard U-lock. It's so much easier and faster to lock up without having to worry about locking up the wheels.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    1) They come with only one key. Replacement keys are quite expensive.

    2) They rust easily.

    3) Difficulity getting the key to engage in the skewer. The key easily slips.

    4) On one of my bikes the size of the head of the skewer made it very hard to mount a rack.

  9. #9
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    I had a problem with the seatpost cap fitting over the original seatpost collar so that I could wrench open the keyed nut. Finally got it to work by buying a different seatpost collar.

  10. #10
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    I personally have doubts about how well they work, or if they work better than allen key skewers. If theft is a real problem you are better off taking the seat post with you, and maybe the front wheel, the locking skewer just gets in the way of that. They may discourage thieves that intend to resell, as they would need new skewers. But I do not see any evidence they work in real world situations. They may work at things like club meets where there are many bikes in a friendly atmosphere and someone walking around with a wheel will not be that suspicious.

    Bike thefts are often from unlocked bikes, or bikes with the chain around the frame and nothing else, or locked to an insecure object.
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  11. #11
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    I had pinhead skewers for a while and liked them. Pitlocks are, however a lot nicer.

    Pinhead pros: cheap, fairly easy to understand, reasonably secure (certainly way more than a quick-release!)
    Pinhead cons: included key has a jump-ring to fasten to your keyring. This is a joke and opens up within days, likely dumping your precious key when you aren't looking. Very easy to pop the key off as you're torquing it, leading to bashed knuckles.

    Shared cons with Pitlock: not suitable for use on any non-vertical dropout. You will not get enough torque on the locking skewer to secure a wheel to a track end or a horizontal dropout. So pinheads & pitlocks will not work for most (dedicated, frame built for it) single-speed, fixed, or internally-geared hub bikes. (That's from Pitlock's own website, and good on 'em for being clear about this. But both pitlock and pinhead need this info on the package!!)

    And of course, you have to remember to hand the key to the mechanic if you're having your bike serviced!
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  12. #12
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    Pinhead components

    Quote Originally Posted by mlts22 View Post
    After seeing a number of posted questions about bike locking, I'm gathering information, giving credit where its due, and working on a semi-usable guide for people who want information about locks, locking techniques, and such. It won't be perfect, and it is mainly a lot of links to other people's excellent information resources, but the guide is intended as a place to start for people to find information who want their bikes to remain theirs. I'm trying to be as objective as I can and avoid recommending/endorsing any products, instead offering a list of items that do the job.

    If people don't mind, and are using Pinhead-based locking skewers on their bikes (Kryptonite used to sell rebranded Pinheads under their name, and I think Onguard sells them now at local shops), please post what you like and hate about them. I want to give them a more accurate review in what I'm attempting to write other than the current information I have on them, which is "don't bother with them, buy Pitlocks."

    I have some answers on a thread I posted (but was more of a difference thread than asking for reviews on specifics) here -- Pinhead seat skewer locks, but I'm trying to gather specifics (good and bad) on Pinhead locking skewers. Another good thread is here: Bike theft countermeasures

    I'm trying to make sure my guide is as objective as possible, and I have obtained a good number of solid reviews on Pitlocks, so I'm trying to get a number for Pinhead's products.
    I have bought 2 sets of Pinhead locks - pinhead duo and Pinhead 4 so far so good.
    The main niggle is the limited leverage one can achieve with the key but not too much of a problem, better than no wheels on the bike!
    My main problem is with the company after sales service. I ordered an extremely overpriced service kit and was supplied with just the key not the spares. I contacted them again............ This could go on and on. So, I ordered the kit on 19/04/2010 it's now 11/06/2010 and still nothing has been received from them despite countless assurances that the remainder of the kit has been sent. My advice would be to look for an effective alternative to Pinhead because despite the product being good the staff are epsilon-semi-morons incapable of doing what they are paid for. There's a possible explanation for this. Looking at a map of Canada the company is in the middle of nowhere probably more Moose and Elk than people so perhaps over time they have become part **** sapien/moose-elk hybrids.

  13. #13
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    Yeah, the after sales service is "minimalist". I ordered a headset skewer to be keyed same as my wheels and seatpost. (Pricey, but they sent along a spare key without my asking. So that's a bonus.) I emailed them once to get a tracking number on my order, and got a response a few days later that was about one sentence long. After I got the package in the mail, they sent me another email that said the status of my order was SHIPPED. Minimalist, eh. Unusual these days. But I can't argue about the result =)

  14. #14
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    I picked up an off-brand set on eBay, for about half the price of Pinheads on Price Point. This set has a key that's basically a pentagonal nut that fits inside the sleeved end. 2 years now, and no problems.

  15. #15
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    PINHEAD? Great! Head Office staff? Lazy and indifferent

    Quote Originally Posted by mlts22 View Post
    After seeing a number of posted questions about bike locking, I'm gathering information, giving credit where its due, and working on a semi-usable guide for people who want information about locks, locking techniques, and such. It won't be perfect, and it is mainly a lot of links to other people's excellent information resources, but the guide is intended as a place to start for people to find information who want their bikes to remain theirs. I'm trying to be as objective as I can and avoid recommending/endorsing any products, instead offering a list of items that do the job.

    If people don't mind, and are using Pinhead-based locking skewers on their bikes (Kryptonite used to sell rebranded Pinheads under their name, and I think Onguard sells them now at local shops), please post what you like and hate about them. I want to give them a more accurate review in what I'm attempting to write other than the current information I have on them, which is "don't bother with them, buy Pitlocks."

    I have some answers on a thread I posted (but was more of a difference thread than asking for reviews on specifics) here -- Pinhead seat skewer locks, but I'm trying to gather specifics (good and bad) on Pinhead locking skewers. Another good thread is here: Bike theft countermeasures

    I'm trying to make sure my guide is as objective as possible, and I have obtained a good number of solid reviews on Pitlocks, so I'm trying to get a number for Pinhead's products.
    Both my wife (sorry, partner!) and I use them and think the priciple is great, no more bendy cables or additional locks and the usual paranoia if one is late getting back to where you hope that the bike still is, no problems, only praise.

    The service staff: well that's an entirely different matter. How could such a collection of intelectually sub-strata morons be employed by a company that's produced such an inspired product? They are a lazy couldn't care less bunch of wasters. I can only surmise that they are either all family members of the inventor or these are the best that you can get in the middle of Nohopesville, deepest forgotten Canada. Looking at the place on google earth I think that all of the opulation is quite closely related which would explain the "You're not from round here boy, so why should we care?" attitude.

  16. #16
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    I have a problem with the seatpost skewer not being tight enough to keep the seatpost from gradually sliding down. I've reverted to the Quick Release for now. Otherwise, the wheel and headset skewers are working fine.

  17. #17
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    I have posted on this issue before and my opinion of the components is unchanged - great product, enjoying paranoia free bike parking, 10/10. After sales service? The worst, most indifferent I have ever encountered in my life (Including 12 years lliving in la belle France) minus -10/10. The absolute pits!!

  18. #18
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    when i was comparing locking skewers, i remember reading pitlocks were a bit better. can't remember exactly why though

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