Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 38
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Posts
    18
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Can't unlock my bike

    I have a pretty thick "Citadel" chain that I use to lock up my bike. Saturday night, I went to the train station to retrieve my bike and I could not unlock it at all. I think someone messed with the lock, trying to get it open. Does anyone know how I can get my bike free? I'm going to go to a bike shop and see if they can help me. If they can't, then I think I will try a locksmith or try to get my hands on a tool to cut the chain, but either way it will probably be expensive. What do you suggest?

  2. #2
    apocryphal sobriquet J.C. Koto's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Star City, NE
    My Bikes
    2008 Surly Long Haul Trucker "The Truckerino"
    Posts
    902
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'm not familiar with the lock - does the key not turn, or turn freely and do nothing. Is there a possibility that someone put glue or some other obstruction in the keyhole? Is there a key at all? Here are my ideas...

    I'd first check for (and remove if applicable) any obstruction in the keyhole.

    If water got inside and froze, thaw it out with a lighter, or with a lock "de-icer" product.

    *If* the keyhole seems to have been glued, get some acetone and soak it. Strong nail-polish remover might work. After soaking for a minute or two, try the key again while it's still wet with solvent. Repeat until it works or you give up.

    If the key turns difficult, *or* turns freely but doesn't engage, obtain a tube of graphite powder and inject that into the keyhole. Then try again a few times. You might have to give the lock a good, hard whack between doses of graphite.

    If these don't work, search the web for any vulnerabilities for your particular brand, type, or model of lock (i.e. shimming, impact, etc). You might be surprised how easy it is to defeat locks this way

    As a last resort, cut it, but be sure to bring proof that the bike is yours!

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    428
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If it's a cable then wire cutters should cut it (you just need the time). If it's a metal chain or u-lock then you'll need bolt cutters. In most cases, breaking and replacing the lock will be cheaper then getting a locksmith to open it.

  4. #4
    Star of the Nursing Home seagullplayer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Southern Indiana
    My Bikes
    Schwinn, Mirada
    Posts
    189
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Round these parts some hardware stores will loan you a set of bolt cutters, some might ask for a deposit if they don't know you...

  5. #5
    on your left.
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    My Bikes
    Scott SUB 30, Backtrax MTB
    Posts
    1,802
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    First off, bring proof when you go get your bike. This will keep you from getting...arrested if it's a really slow day for cops...
    If it's a chain go purchase or borrow some bolt cutters and with some work you can get it. Some really awesome bike shops will (for a fee) get a mechanic to bike out there and defeat the lock for you if you're close enough. At any rate, if the lock isn't destroyed in the process i wouldn't use it again. If it turns out you can do the acetone, even that will damage internal parts, and you could end up having the same problem again.
    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    I learned this the hard way. They say that experience is the best teacher, but I would have been preferred to just read about it on the internet.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Posts
    18
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for the responses. It's a chain with a keyhole. I can put the key in and I think it goes all the way in, but it won't turn. I already tried the lighter. I also tried oil and I even tried oil and fire at the same time. If it was glued, that should have taken care of it, no?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Marrock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,921
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Not unless you could heat the entire lock all the way through to burn off the glue, kinda hard to do with just a lighter.

    Get yourself the acetone/nail varnish remover and have at it, if that doesn't sort it out then you most likely have something jammed in there and cutting will probably be your only real option.
    "Engineering! It's like math, but louder."

  8. #8
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Huntington Beach, CA
    My Bikes
    Cervelo Prodigy
    Posts
    5,202
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The guys at the local fire dept have every kind of tool to break into anything.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,014
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    1) Contact citadel, they might have a suggestion.

    2) look up bumpkey on the internet and try doing that with your real key.

    3) read the many posts on cutting a lock with hand and power tools.

    4) Call a lock smith.

    I like the fire department angle. They might actually be helpful. I once saw the FDNY officers try to fish a woman's keys out of a storm sewer.
    2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
    Strida 3, I recommend it for rides < 10mi wo steep hills.
    2006 Rowbike 720 Sport, I recommend it as an exercise bike.
    1996 Birdy, Recommend.
    Wieleder CARiBIKE (folding), decent frame.

  10. #10
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Dante's Third Ring
    Posts
    7,481
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    One way, that is unfeasible for most, is to immerse the lock/chain in liquid nitrogen. Then smack it with a hammer. The metal will shatter. Know anyone at a university lab?
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  11. #11
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Posts
    18
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    When I said I tried oil and fire at the same time, I mean I sprayed oil all inside the keyhole and then lit it on fire so it should have been burning all the way inside, but that did nothing.

    I can't find the damn Citadel website...

  12. #12
    Senior Member Marrock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,921
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by frugihoyi View Post
    When I said I tried oil and fire at the same time, I mean I sprayed oil all inside the keyhole and then lit it on fire so it should have been burning all the way inside, but that did nothing.

    I can't find the damn Citadel website...
    Yeah, I know what you meant, it still wouldn't have gotten hot enough for long enough to do any good.

    Now if you had a Bernz-o-matic or some sort of butane torch, that might do it.
    "Engineering! It's like math, but louder."

  13. #13
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Salsa, Cannondale, Surly.
    Posts
    2,527
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by frugihoyi View Post
    When I said I tried oil and fire at the same time, I mean I sprayed oil all inside the keyhole and then lit it on fire so it should have been burning all the way inside, but that did nothing.

    I can't find the damn Citadel website...
    Did people see you do that?

  14. #14
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Posts
    18
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by kuan View Post
    Did people see you do that?
    I'm not sure I don't think so

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    IN
    Posts
    77
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It won't burn inside the lock. There is no oxygen inside the lock a split second after lighting

  16. #16
    Senior Member Marrock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,921
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It'd probably be easier to hacksaw through whatever you have it chained to.
    "Engineering! It's like math, but louder."

  17. #17
    tilt head to right Alpha52's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    on your left
    My Bikes
    Trek, Specialized, Atala, Kona
    Posts
    145
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by frugihoyi View Post
    Thanks for the responses. It's a chain with a keyhole. I can put the key in and I think it goes all the way in, but it won't turn. I already tried the lighter. I also tried oil and I even tried oil and fire at the same time. If it was glued, that should have taken care of it, no?
    Before you cut the chain, try spraying some carburetor cleaner in the keyhole. Get the aerosol can with the red spray tube, as you can force it down into to keyhole. Then work the key in and out a few times. Repeat if necessary.

    I had a padlock that wouldn't open, and this loosened up the tumblers, which must have been stuck.

    Good luck.

  18. #18
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Highland Park, NJ, USA
    My Bikes
    "Hildy", a Novara Randonee touring bike; a 16-speed Bike Friday Tikit; Dahon Curve D3 folding bike; a green around-town cruiser; and a Specialized Stumpjumper frame-based built-up MTB.
    Posts
    3,779
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'd contact the cops and let them know ahead of time you're gonna cut/jimmy the lock. They may even have some suggestions for you on how to do this. +1 on bringing proof of ownership.
    Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

    I'm in the celtic folk fusion band Baroque and Hungry. "Mended", our new full-length studio album, is now available for download.

  19. #19
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Parkville, Md
    Posts
    7,693
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Marrock View Post
    It'd probably be easier to hacksaw through whatever you have it chained to.
    Which still leaves the bike locked but at least you could carry it home. The odds are good the user does not own whatever it is locked to though. I wouldn't cut a bike rack or sign that belonged to someone else whether that be a company, individual, or municipality.

  20. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    249
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Do you have a plug nearby? I would try an angle grinder with cutoff wheel. If it can cut a car in half, it could surely get through the chain.

  21. #21
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    201
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I vote for setting a thermite reaction to melt the chain.

  22. #22
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Posts
    18
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Actually, one of the first things I tried was not cutting the piece of metal the chain is attached to, but unscrewing and removing it. But the screw was too corroded or whatever. Anyway, today I tried the acetone and it didn't work.

    I noticed now that my key is a bit crooked. I don't know if that is the reason the lock won't turn or if this happened after my bike got stuck. I just tried to straighten the key with a clamp and a hammer. I think it's straighter now, but I messed up the teeth a bit. I'll try again tomorrow, but it probably won't work, so I'll see if I can get my hands on a bolt cutter.

    I'm thinking of buying a kryptonite chain next (www.kryptonitelock.com/). They seem pretty good. What do you think, are those the best? I was thinking also of getting one with a combination lock so I don't have this problem again, but I read about how easy it is for thieves to figure out the combination. Or is that a problem only with the cheap ones?

    I'm getting really tired of riding the bus...
    By the end of this ordeal, I will be an expert in stealing bikes so watch out.

  23. #23
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Dante's Third Ring
    Posts
    7,481
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by mike_s View Post
    I vote for setting a thermite reaction to melt the chain.

    Ahahahahahaha!! Watch him burn through the lamp-post and leave a 5' crater in the street - but the lock remains. Next Up: Semtex!
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  24. #24
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Georgia
    My Bikes
    Schwinn Heavy Duty , Schwinn Cross-Cut, Raleigh Olympian
    Posts
    155
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Battery powered Dremel tool with a cut-off wheel . Make sure you wear some safety glasses. I bought a bike recently from a yardsale, that had a Master lock cable lock , locked through frame and the guy's daughter couldn't remember the combination . It took longer to install the cutoff wheel on the Dremel than it did to cut the cable . Take an couple of extra wheels , a chain may take a little more to cut . kirby

  25. #25
    Star of the Nursing Home seagullplayer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Southern Indiana
    My Bikes
    Schwinn, Mirada
    Posts
    189
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by kirby999 View Post
    Battery powered Dremel tool with a cut-off wheel . Make sure you wear some safety glasses. I bought a bike recently from a yardsale, that had a Master lock cable lock , locked through frame and the guy's daughter couldn't remember the combination . It took longer to install the cutoff wheel on the Dremel than it did to cut the cable . Take an couple of extra wheels , a chain may take a little more to cut . kirby

    +1 Tool of all tools!

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •