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  1. #1
    Senior Member pedalpedalpedal's Avatar
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    "Uglyfying" a bike?

    So I'm planning to ride my bike (Kona JTS) to campus this coming school year, and I'm worried that it's a bit too attractive for potential thieves.. after I read about jclaine's Krypto NY lock being cut (and my bike looks similar to his in terms of attractiveness, not to mention that I live in the same city), I was thinking of ways to "uglify" my bike, or at least make it less attractive.

    I'm not just talking about locks - I've got a Kryptoflex cable and a Kryptonite Evo Mini u-lock - but things I can put on the bike.

    I was thinking of maybe wrapping something around the top tube (like a plain black top tube pad type thing) and around the logo on the downtube. Possibly an old inner tube secured w/ a zap strap for the latter.

    Obviously if the thief knows what he's looking for, he can see that I have a fancy drivetrain, but I'm just looking to make my bike unwanted at a glance. I don't want to splatter paint or something on the bike, just in case i decide that I want to sell it in the future.


    Then again, if I cover things up in an obvious way like I've stated, won't that make it more obvious that I'm trying to hide something?

  2. #2
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedalpedalpedal View Post
    Then again, if I cover things up in an obvious way like I've stated, won't that make it more obvious that I'm trying to hide something?
    I've seen good bikes wrapped in inner tubes, which is secured with black electrical tape. It might help, but if you're that worried about it maybe you should leave the Kona at home and get a beater for campus. (That didn't help me- they stole my beater, probably because it had good wheels on it.)
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  3. #3
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    My strategy is not so much uglification, as it is customization and personalization to the point that it would be a pain to resell.

    There's a logo somewhere under there, but you'd have to peel off a lot of sticky sunbaked reflective tape to see it.

    I wouldn't consider this an 'obvious cover up', since it looks so darn cool in its own right.

  4. #4
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Please buy a beater and use it for your commuting. I locked my pride and joy to a bike rack on campus. I used the best lock available at the time. The buggers dismantled the rack that I had locked the bike to. It was more than half my summer's pay.

    Someone will know what a fine bike yours is, even if you wrap it in inner tubes, even if you beat it with a ten pound chain. Don't lock it up on campus.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  5. #5
    Pants are for suckaz HandsomeRyan's Avatar
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  6. #6
    Primate Metzinger's Avatar
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    Mud.

    Oh yeah, and pubes.

  7. #7
    Senior Member gurry's Avatar
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    +1 on a beater bike. The only thing better would be to get a second beater bike in case the first gets stolen. Then your not tempted to ride the good one.

  8. #8
    dolce far niente prxmid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HandsomeRyan View Post
    That is great. Entrepreneurship at work
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  9. #9
    Senior Member DX Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gurry View Post
    +1 on a beater bike. The only thing better would be to get a second beater bike in case the first gets stolen. Then your not tempted to ride the good one.
    +1. Beater bike is the way to go.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member GTALuigi's Avatar
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    i just run it through mud, and don't wash it

    it sinks in with the theme of the bike

    it's a MTB after all, with the dirt on, it looks so much sexy!

    at the same time it discourages people from touching it

    Quote Originally Posted by pedalpedalpedal View Post
    So I'm planning to ride my bike (Kona JTS) to campus this coming school year, and I'm worried that it's a bit too attractive for potential thieves.. after I read about jclaine's Krypto NY lock being cut (and my bike looks similar to his in terms of attractiveness, not to mention that I live in the same city), I was thinking of ways to "uglify" my bike, or at least make it less attractive.

    I'm not just talking about locks - I've got a Kryptoflex cable and a Kryptonite Evo Mini u-lock - but things I can put on the bike.

    I was thinking of maybe wrapping something around the top tube (like a plain black top tube pad type thing) and around the logo on the downtube. Possibly an old inner tube secured w/ a zap strap for the latter.

    Obviously if the thief knows what he's looking for, he can see that I have a fancy drivetrain, but I'm just looking to make my bike unwanted at a glance. I don't want to splatter paint or something on the bike, just in case i decide that I want to sell it in the future.


    Then again, if I cover things up in an obvious way like I've stated, won't that make it more obvious that I'm trying to hide something?
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  11. #11
    Senior Member pedalpedalpedal's Avatar
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    The thing about the rust stickers is that my bike is black...


    But yeah I guess a beater is the way to go... although I hate the idea of not riding my shiny new bike... oh well.

  12. #12
    I am Joe's lactic acid. Big M's Avatar
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    You might fool the petty thieves who don't know any better. But the guys you really have to worry about are the types who look at your drivetrain. And they're savvy enough not to be fooled by any tricks.

    I'd say get a beater. A used Walmart bike with some bootleg Shamana derailleurs.
    If you keep it tuned up, it will probably serve you just fine around campus for a few years.
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  13. #13
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedalpedalpedal View Post
    The thing about the rust stickers is that my bike is black...


    But yeah I guess a beater is the way to go... although I hate the idea of not riding my shiny new bike... oh well.
    Keep the shiny new bike at home. If you don't- someone will enjoy it.

    Many moons ago- a mate and I built up a beater bike for his daughter at uni. An Old Raleigh frame that we knew worked- but we left it outside for a month to rust up. A set of old Alloy wheels that were perfect but did not look it. Ran 7 speed cassette and an old beat up steel crank. Took all the stickers off the XT deraillers and put thumb shifters on it. You would not look at it twice. BUT- that bike worked. 10 years later and it is still running and is a joy to ride.
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  14. #14
    Pro Paper Plane Pilot wunderkind's Avatar
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    sometimes I wonder the reason to get a good bike is so that your cycling experience will be an enjoyable one. What's the point of getting a $50 beater or some cheap Wal Mart hunk-a-chunk for commuting? I hate thieves. They ruin it for everyone.
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  15. #15
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    It doesn't have to be a hunk a junk. It can be a $300 bike from ten years ago. You know, respectable but not blissful. When my pride and joy was stolen, my roommate loaned me his old faithful boring bike for the rest of the school year, since he never rode it. It was a wonderful gesture, very helpful, and I learned to appreciate cheap bikes. I rode his bike to get to class and everywhere else useful. I rode my racing bike on weekends for fun. Oh, yes, I did replace the pride and joy with a high end used racing bike.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  16. #16
    Senior Member JonnyHK's Avatar
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    Cover your main tubes with larger sheets of stick on vinyl (from a sign writer, the stuff they cut the letters from) in an ugly colour - even a reflective one for safety and dork factor.

    +1 on the mud
    +1 on the rust stickers (clever!)

  17. #17
    Zan
    Zan is offline
    Senior Member Zan's Avatar
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    you can cover the tubes with inner tubes.

    you can also try putting something sticky, like oil (work with me here) and get some dust/dirt in it to create a grime, and smear that on your components. Just cosmetically - nothing that'll affect the functionality of the bike. Y'know, on the crank arm, on the derailleur cages (not gears).

    If you put a pos seat on the bike, that'll definitely make the thing look like a pos from afar.
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  18. #18
    Senator from Secret Ivandarken's Avatar
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    I have a beater you can have that you don't need to worry about. Just trade me for yours.

  19. #19
    Senator from Secret Ivandarken's Avatar
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    or smear peanut butter all over it. No one will want to get their chocolate mixed up with it.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big M View Post
    But the guys you really have to worry about are the types who look at your drivetrain.
    Would removing 2 or 3 of the rear cluster sprockets spray painting them a different color from the rest, and putting them back in help? (or stripping the paint off a few if they're all already black)
    So it looks like you have an old drivetrain with mix and matched sprockets...

    Similarly, if your particular derailer was made in more than one color variant, mix and match parts between 2 perfectly good ones...

  21. #21
    Junior Member Amberwolf's Avatar
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    You could make it look like mine, and I can pretty much guarantee no one would steal it (assuming they can even lift it):

    http://evalbum.com/2691

    My other bike doesn't look any prettier, but it's a regular upright (Columbia 2005 "comfort" road bike). Heavy customization is a deterrent to anyone that would be reselling the whole bike, but if they're after just specific parts they might take it anyway.

    Everything on mine looks like junk because it *is* junk, and a significant percentage of parts came from trash. It does work fine, and is a real comfy ride, but you wouldn't know that looking at it.
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  22. #22
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    would grinding/sanding the shimano/etc names off componets helps deter "savy" theifs? I agree, if you have a good "purdy" bike, why would you want to ride around a beater all the time. but i also agree that if you live on campus/go to school/etc, I wouldnt want to be riding around a nice purdy bike for all the ****heads to steal. I'd keep it for fun and weekends where I wouldnt need to lock it up.

  23. #23
    Opt-in Member GreenGrasshoppr's Avatar
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    I was planning on asking a welder friend of mine to make me "weld beads" I can glue on my frame

  24. #24
    Senior Member GTALuigi's Avatar
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    it looks like something out of the Mad Max movie

    nice eBike or is that suppose to be an eRecumbent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amberwolf View Post
    You could make it look like mine, and I can pretty much guarantee no one would steal it (assuming they can even lift it):

    http://evalbum.com/2691

    My other bike doesn't look any prettier, but it's a regular upright (Columbia 2005 "comfort" road bike). Heavy customization is a deterrent to anyone that would be reselling the whole bike, but if they're after just specific parts they might take it anyway.

    Everything on mine looks like junk because it *is* junk, and a significant percentage of parts came from trash. It does work fine, and is a real comfy ride, but you wouldn't know that looking at it.
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  25. #25
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    Wrapping a bike's frame in a sturdy, thick inner tube, is a brilliant idea!

    I would do this just to protect against every use, regardless of potential thievery!

    Then, on weekends, I would take the inner-tubes off, and revel in the bike's long-kept, pristine glory!

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