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Old 08-05-09, 06:14 PM   #1
chico1st
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What makes a bike steal worthy?

So I was wondering what makes people want to steal my bike?

I have an ideal bike but I decided it would be very attractive to steal. The problem is use my bike for transport so i have to leave it in ****ty places to too long. What things on a bike makes people want to steal them?

I have thought of getting anti-theft skewers, and making it dirty and rusty looking (rust coloured spray paint).

Ideal bike for reference:
Frame: Long Haul Trucker / Crosscheck
Handlebar: Drops
Shifters something where i can stay relatively close to/keep holding handle bars (and is robust)
Wheels: Something which fits 700x28/32, and has many spokes
Pedals: Clipless
Hubs: Interally geared 7-speed
Brakes: Disk brakes
+ rear rack, chain guard, and fenders
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Old 08-05-09, 06:49 PM   #2
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Anything shiny attracts certain road-rats. Anything new also. If you have the shiniest and newest bike in a given group of bikes - yours will be the one stolen first.

For riding/parking in nasty areas, get a beater-bike. Fix it up so it works and rides well. Just avoid making it look nice.
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Old 08-05-09, 07:17 PM   #3
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Depends on the thief. We interviewed a fellow who had been plaguing us last spring. (He was caught as our detectives were making a pawn-shop "run"....There he was pushing a bike he'd just stolen...

This guy wanted middle-of-the-road mountain bikes. Cheap ones wouldn't get him enough money, and high-end bikes were too difficult to turn over to the crack dealers and such he usually dealt with.

Some more professional thieves specialize in high-end machinery, however.
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Old 08-05-09, 07:24 PM   #4
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I saw a bike tied to a work truck that had been randomly sprayed with brown, black, tan, and green paint. It was the ugliest thing I'd ever seen, painful to look at. It would be hard to tell if any of the components had any quality. It was dirty to boot. It was the best anti-theft application I've seen, I could not imagine anyone wanting to steal it. The entire bike was indiscriminately painted, tires, grips, saddle - everything.
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Old 08-05-09, 08:29 PM   #5
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yeah some theives know their stuff, but to my knowledge its, nice paint, shocks (dual suspension is "better"), disc brakes.
most wont notice your aluminum frame, or sweet crank, or even your potentially over 100$ seat.
ive also noticed brands like trek, giant, or norco give you a bigger target cuz theyre known as "the good brands" but ill assure you (atleast in high crime winnipeg) your 200$ "full suspension" supercycle can be gone just as fast.
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Old 08-05-09, 08:31 PM   #6
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I like that painting thing:
Quote:
For riding/parking in nasty areas, get a beater-bike. Fix it up so it works and rides well. Just avoid making it look nice
The thing is i would love to have a nice bike, but i ride in bad areas, so i think I have to stick to beaters.

As for my ideal bike i think i will have to change it to:
Frame: Long Haul Trucker / Crosscheck
I'll use rust paint or something
Handlebar: Drops
Shifters something where i can stay relatively close to/keep holding handle bars (and is robust)
I think bar-end friction shifters are my best low-cost low-attractiveness option
Wheels: Something which fits 700x28/32, and has many spokes
Maybe I'll use rust paint on my spokes
Pedals: Clipless
Nothing high-end but stick with clipless
Hubs: Interally geared 7-speed
Sturmy archer 3-speed or externally geared
Brakes: Disk brakes
Rim brakes
rear rack, chain guard, and fenders
No chain guard if there is not internally geared or SS/fixie
I'll beat the fenders and rack to add to the ****ty effect
.


Sigh.....
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Old 08-05-09, 09:04 PM   #7
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opportunity.
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Old 08-05-09, 10:07 PM   #8
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opportunity.
This is what I'd go for (if I were a bike thief). I'd look first and foremost for the ease I could steal it, followed by the nicest quality that I could readily get my grubby little hands on. The same with a car.

That said, If i wanted to steal some higher quality bikes, I'd probably find a bike rack (or someplace people regularly lock their bikes, high end or not), and mess with it so I could slip a cable or U-lock off without too much trouble or notice. Most people don't inspect what they lock their bike to if they feel it's something that should be secure.
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Old 08-05-09, 10:48 PM   #9
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Bikewer: What sort of commonalities were you able to see in these thefts? Such as what locks were defeated more often - compared to the the more successful ones? How well lighted? Or were these daylight hits? Did other people being around a deterrent? What might have been a deterrent? Things like this might be a way to take a proactive stance on prevention and safety.

I've found thieves tend to thrive on adrenaline and fear more than desperation. What do you think?
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Old 08-06-09, 12:14 AM   #10
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Take your seatpost with you. Perhaps QR skewers too.
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Old 08-06-09, 12:45 AM   #11
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I live in a college town. Supposedly the prime targets here are new hybrids / mountain bikes: straight bars, quick-release wheels, nothing custom.

I'm sure that a nice bike would attract a type of thief, but in general, the thief is not riding it; it's all about how fast the thief can get rid of it. A top-of-the-line-bike with unusual gears and drop bars... not something a college kid would be looking for at a pawn shop, and something that the owner would definitely keep an eye out for around town. Not a good target for a thief.

A cloned mountain bike that can be bought at every local bike shop or Wal Mart within 200 miles: perfect.

Painting a sexy bike ugly to avoid theft is sort of ruining it, in my opinion. Sure it's not all about the pretty colors.. but it is a little. Lock it up with a few U locks and right next to some mountain bikes, and take the seat with you.
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Old 08-06-09, 01:11 AM   #12
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Maybe if we put as much money into education and job-training as we do into paying $250 per prisoner/ per day/ to privatized prisons - this would make it okay to let your bike look nice? I doubt the Judge getting his kick-back would agree though.

Inner-cities are prisons. The government makes sure that won't change. And that is the true face of American conservatism.
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Old 08-06-09, 02:29 AM   #13
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Here, years ago, there used to be a lot of public rest rooms which were underground, and reached by going down a flight of twisting stone steps. I was amused one day to see a man going down to one such place with his bike over his shoulder. He wasn't going to have that stolen. The truth is that some people will steal absolutely anything, no matter what it looks like.
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Old 08-06-09, 03:30 AM   #14
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Maybe uglify the bike with stickers instead of paint? Should be easyer to remove if you want to do that later.

Around here (especially in the capital) professional bike thievs get the mid or higher end stuff. One guy was interwieved in a paper. He said most of them would be contacted by peopel that wanted better than medium bikes but would notpay for one. The thief would steal the bike and deliver to the costumer.

Just now there is a bike minus wheels lying in the ditch approx 400 mtrs from my house. has been there for 2-3weeks. I think somebody stole it for the wheels and left the rest.

I think a lot of peopel steal to find an easy solution, not becouse they can not afford. They do not want to pay the price or learn how to repair.
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Old 08-06-09, 04:22 AM   #15
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I'm intrigued by the bike lying in the ditch minus wheels. I saw a bike a few months ago, on a vacant lot not far from here. It was a ten-speed, and didn't look bad except for having no wheels. I've beaten myself up ever since for not picking it up and bringing it home. The police here can't be bothered with something like that. I spoke to somebody who had a bike dumped in his garden overnight. He rang the police, and they told him to take it to the dump. He gave it to me instead, and I salvaged some parts from it, but it wasn't as good as the one which, for some perverse reason (misguided honesty?), I didn't pick up. Somebody else soon took it. Who would pick up something like that if they saw it, and who wouldn't?
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Old 08-06-09, 04:39 AM   #16
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Makes me wonder if there are bike theft rings operating that are looking more to sell parts as opposed to fencing hot bikes. Just a decent suspension fork sells for a lot, and there is no serial number registry for those. Similar with drivetrain components. Perhaps even hubs and higher end pedals might fetch a premium to some buyer.

I don't think any bike shop in a city would buy used parts, but I'm sure there is a market somewhere, for "used" components at good rates, no questions asked.
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Old 08-06-09, 04:52 AM   #17
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Here, years ago, there used to be a lot of public rest rooms which were underground, and reached by going down a flight of twisting stone steps. I was amused one day to see a man going down to one such place with his bike over his shoulder. He wasn't going to have that stolen. The truth is that some people will steal absolutely anything, no matter what it looks like.
Bingo!

We have some people in our area that will steal things just to steal them. Old guy lives down the road from me and rides whatever he can get his hands on. Current ride has been an old pink Roadmaster "MTB". He does lock it with a simple cable lock. Some ******** broke the lock and took his bike. We found it a couple of days later tossed in the ditch less than a 1/4mile from the store. This is his ONLY form of transportation. We have gotten him a better quality cable lock (heavier) and got him on to a Schwinn that I had lying around. That poor Roadmaster was a goner.

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Old 08-06-09, 05:22 AM   #18
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I've attended three police auctions and by far, the most common type of bike was children's bikes. I suspect that these bikes are usually not locked.
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Old 08-06-09, 09:04 AM   #19
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Panthers0007: We (I'm in campus law enforcement at a major university) have for years made high-end Kyrptonite locks available to the kids at discount prices. Over the many years I've been there, we've had maybe 3 or 4 of these locks defeated.
Of all the bikes we've had stolen, almost all have been equipped with cheap cable locks, or no lock at all.

500 dollar bike...5 dollar lock. We were recently shown (the fellow we arrested) how these cables can be defeated with no tools at all, though they're very easy to cut with a cheap 12 buck bolt cutter.

We've even had them defeated with a pair of dykes; just nibble away....

Fear and desperation? Here, it's drugs, pure and simple. The guy I spoke of turned his bikes directly over to his crack dealers.
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Old 08-06-09, 04:03 PM   #20
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Maybe if we put as much money into education and job-training as we do into paying $250 per prisoner/ per day/ to privatized prisons - this would make it okay to let your bike look nice? I doubt the Judge getting his kick-back would agree though.

Inner-cities are prisons. The government makes sure that won't change. And that is the true face of American conservatism.
No, the true face evil is 50 years of LBJ's and the Democratic party's war on poverty and the continued enslavement (via entitlements and social welfare) of the poor and those who get paid for their votes with federal and state programs. The Union Army and the Republicans freed the slaves, the Democrats have have put them back into bondage by providing for them and allowing them to become dependents, not free men.
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Old 08-06-09, 05:06 PM   #21
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I take my chances regarding bike theft, I have a good lock and I try to lock as many removable components depending on what i'm locking to. So far I refuse to do the uglify thing. It's like "i bought a ferrari, now i have to spray paint it poop brown so no one steals it" or "i have a 15lb racing bike, but i have to ride this 35lb junker just so someone doesn't steal my 15lb racing bike. while for all i know someone might be breaking into my apartment while im out riding the junker anyway! or if I decide to ride the litespeed to the store i have to negate all it's liteness by carring a 20lb monster lock to keep it secure." ugh. there's a guy that drives his lamborghini to the office almost every day. he says he's proud of it and wants to show it off, he even parks right up front with all the other cars. one guy asked him "what if someone tries to steal it?" he said "that can't be done, and you better hope I don't catch you" and then the guy asked "well what if someone accidentally door dings it?" and he said "again, you better hope I don't catch you". haha
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Old 08-06-09, 05:42 PM   #22
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This is where we need lateral thinking. If you habitually commute to the office, you leave your monster lock there permanently, and just take the bike home (where, presumably, you have another lock in case you go somewhere else).
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Old 08-06-09, 06:18 PM   #23
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As I recall, the very best bike lock tested by Bicycling magazine a few years ago was the very stout New York Chain by Kryptonite. This is a very hefty piece of hardware, however; few want to lug this baby around.
As Proofride says; if you have a daily commute from your home, just leave it at work or school.

Oh, a bit of preaching... If you're at school and they have the service, register the bike. If not, write the serial number, model number, and specs down somewhere safe. You would not believe how many reports I've taken over the years where the victim could furnish none of this information.

And, if we find the suspect in possession of a bike and we can't identify it...He skates.
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Old 08-06-09, 06:25 PM   #24
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Panthers0007: We (I'm in campus law enforcement at a major university) have for years made high-end Kyrptonite locks available to the kids at discount prices. Over the many years I've been there, we've had maybe 3 or 4 of these locks defeated.
Of all the bikes we've had stolen, almost all have been equipped with cheap cable locks, or no lock at all.

500 dollar bike...5 dollar lock. We were recently shown (the fellow we arrested) how these cables can be defeated with no tools at all, though they're very easy to cut with a cheap 12 buck bolt cutter.

We've even had them defeated with a pair of dykes; just nibble away....

Fear and desperation? Here, it's drugs, pure and simple. The guy I spoke of turned his bikes directly over to his crack dealers.
Thanks for the input, Bikewer. I lump drug-dependence in the 'desperation' category, so we do agree here. It's a big problem everywhere. One that I address in other venues than a bike-forum. One thing though - if you think crack-addiction is fun, wait until you see what methamphetamine does to people's brains. It's a dose of paranoid schizophrenia. Ik!
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Old 08-06-09, 09:43 PM   #25
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Makes me wonder if there are bike theft rings operating that are looking more to sell parts as opposed to fencing hot bikes. Just a decent suspension fork sells for a lot, and there is no serial number registry for those. Similar with drivetrain components. Perhaps even hubs and higher end pedals might fetch a premium to some buyer.

I don't think any bike shop in a city would buy used parts, but I'm sure there is a market somewhere, for "used" components at good rates, no questions asked.
There is a free public registry available called BikeRegistry where you can register your bike's ser # and tag your components to assist w/ recovery if they get stolen.
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