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Old 07-13-09, 11:01 PM   #1
pedalpedalpedal
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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?
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Old 07-13-09, 11:08 PM   #2
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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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Old 07-14-09, 12:09 AM   #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.
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Old 07-14-09, 01:45 AM   #4
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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.
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Old 07-14-09, 03:53 AM   #5
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Rust Stickers
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Old 07-14-09, 03:58 AM   #6
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Mud.

Oh yeah, and pubes.
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Old 07-14-09, 05:26 AM   #7
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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.
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Old 07-14-09, 05:50 AM   #8
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That is great. Entrepreneurship at work
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Old 07-14-09, 08:47 AM   #9
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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.
+1. Beater bike is the way to go.
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Old 07-14-09, 12:09 PM   #10
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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

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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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Old 07-14-09, 12:41 PM   #11
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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.
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Old 07-14-09, 12:50 PM   #12
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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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Old 07-14-09, 12:57 PM   #13
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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.
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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Old 07-14-09, 03:36 PM   #14
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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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Old 07-14-09, 03:43 PM   #15
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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.
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Old 07-14-09, 05:48 PM   #16
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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!)
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Old 07-14-09, 07:58 PM   #17
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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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Old 07-14-09, 08:01 PM   #18
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I have a beater you can have that you don't need to worry about. Just trade me for yours.
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Old 07-14-09, 08:03 PM   #19
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or smear peanut butter all over it. No one will want to get their chocolate mixed up with it.
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Old 07-15-09, 01:39 AM   #20
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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...
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Old 07-15-09, 02:32 AM   #21
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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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Old 07-15-09, 05:02 AM   #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.
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Old 07-15-09, 08:39 AM   #23
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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
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Old 07-15-09, 11:04 AM   #24
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it looks like something out of the Mad Max movie

nice eBike or is that suppose to be an eRecumbent?

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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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Old 07-15-09, 11:55 AM   #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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