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  1. #1
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    Theft: chain vs steel fiber cable?

    Two questions:

    1. is a vinyl-covered steel chain or a typical curly lock better for security? Size isn't really a problem since I have panniers on my bike.

    2. I saw a man today riding a bike while balancing a second bike. Is that theft, most likely?

  2. #2
    Allez means go. bengreen79's Avatar
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    1 - that question is too general. There are good AND bad cables AND chains

    2 - On one occasion, I stopped at a rummage sale on my bike and purchased another one and brought it home this way.

  3. #3
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    Most cables are junk. Essentially, all the bikes stolen from our university over the last two years have been "locked" with cable locks. Even a cheap bolt-cutter will take but one snip.

    The only cable-type lock I'd recommend are the very thick ones, and even they are no match for a good cutter.
    Garden-variety chains and padlocks are no better.
    Buy a good U-lock.
    At last I read, the best lock tested in Kryptonite's "New York Chain". A massive 20-pound item with square links (in a sheath) and a very hefty padlock. High security, but who wants a lock that weighs more than some bikes?
    If you can leave it at the place you secure the bike, it's fine.

  4. #4
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    2. Not likely, but possible. On many occasions I have ridden one bike and pushed another, and there are many legitimate reasons for doing so if you own more than one bike.

    Also, riding while pushing a second bike is sometimes a tricky balancing act, and not great for quick getaways.

  5. #5
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    Get a chain, square-linked or trapezoidal-linked; stay away from the round ones, they can be bolt-cuttered. (snicker)

  6. #6
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    I was wondering this too, actually. Simply because I have a hefty chain (good for lifting 2000lbs) and one of those round locks sitting in my garage. I was thinking it would be good to use because you could easily put a chain and lock in one of those little under seat pouches. I've heard nothing but bad things about cable locks, not much on hefty chains with good locks.

  7. #7
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    The advantage of a really thick chain link is that nothing but the very largest bolt cutters will open wide enough to accept them. Not many thieves carry around a three-foot-long tool...
    However, chains vary in quality too. The Kryptonite model I mentioned is case-hardened as well; lots of hardware-store chains are quite soft, even if heavy. They are meant for lifting and towing, not tool resistance.

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    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    While there are better cable locks, some of them are truly pathetic. I once locked my bike up with a cheap one, and forgot to bring the key. While I was trying to borrow a cutter, my friend came over with the lock in hand, he had just squeezed the locking piece in his fist, and the locking pin sheared off.

  9. #9
    Senior Member djetelina's Avatar
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    NEVER lock any bike that you would like to keep with ANY cable device. When the bad guys go bike shopping, they are coming w/ chinee bolt cutters, usually 30-36" and they will dispatch any said cable within seconds. OR they come w/ wire snips, this will dispatch many cables in a very few minutes. Only use a case-hardened security chain (will have trapezoidal links), Don't use a typical chain from the hardware store, (which they cut from bulk w/ the store's bolt cuter) said chinee bolt cutter will snip it. Use a monobloc style padlock to secure said security chain (typical MasterLock has exposed shackle), said cutter will dispatch conventional padlock.

    Also make use of one of the no-charge public BikeRegistry services off the net BEFORE your bike rides off without you. Whichever one you choose, make sure to TAG your bike w/ multiple decals such as shown here.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Snowsurfer's Avatar
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    The wire locks, and those braided steel cables can be defeated in about 10 minutes with a toe nail clipper and a Bic lighter. Why is Bic so popular in defeating bike locks?



  11. #11
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    A bike thief we arrested recently showed us how he breaks cable locks with no tools whatever; he just puts a foot in and stomps...

    While I can see how a dedicated fellow could use a nail clipper, I must say that in 40 years of police work I've never heard of such a thing. It would take a while, and time is not what thieves want to spend.
    The people we've arrested over the years favor bolt cutters by far, some even cleverly cutting off the "head" part and leaving short stubs for the handles. They carry a couple of pieces of pipe to slide over the stubs, making a compact package.
    Regular wire nippers are popular, so-called "dykes". One entrepreneur brought along a battery-powered angle grinder...Witnesses saw him.

  12. #12
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    Many padlocks can be defeated by laying them on the ground, and smacking them with a hammer on the flat-side. They pop right open. Pathetic.
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  13. #13
    Senior Member Waxbytes's Avatar
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    An older but still true video about bicycle theft.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7zb8YXrmIA

    Yes, chain is better than cable but don't expect anyone
    to stop a thief from stealing.
    Uhmm...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by adlai View Post
    Two questions:
    2. I saw a man today riding a bike while balancing a second bike. Is that theft, most likely?
    IMO no, I do that sometimes if I pick a bike up at the shop. I also have picked bikes out of the garbage.
    2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
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    Wieleder CARiBIKE (folding), decent frame.

  15. #15
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    I guess I should have prefaced this: I already have a U-lock, and am considering a cable or chain lock to secure the wheels.

  16. #16
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    Not a bad idea; they sell a number of fairly hefty cables with loops at both ends. You secure front wheel and frame with the U-lock, and run the cable through the rear wheel with the loops through the U-lock.
    Most thieves see a bike well-secured like that, they'll likely look for something easier.

  17. #17
    Senior Member DX Rider's Avatar
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    Not all cable locks are the same. They make kevlar cored, triple layered, reverse braided cables that you aren't going to cut with a set of cable cutters. I had one and the bike thieves gave up on it since they couldn't cut through it due the reverse braiding.

    If your only concerned about securing your wheels, invest in some locking skewers.
    Quote Originally Posted by stronglight View Post
    There is just no cure for stupid.
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  18. #18
    Sparkles2
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    "They make kevlar cored, triple layered, reverse braided cables"

    Sounds good. Where can I get one? I could not find anything like that on the internet.
    More signal - less noise.

  19. #19
    perpetually frazzled mickey85's Avatar
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    The thickness of the cable is where it's at. With a good set of bolt cutters, I've cut through many a chain (not bike locks, but others), yet it's hard to cut through wire, as it moves around, etc. Any bike is steal-able, but it's all about time. If it takes 10 minutes to cut through a cable, that's a long time for you or someone else to go up to whoever it is and ask what the f*** they're doing.


    And as for the second - I was given a bike a couple months ago that I strapped to my rear Wald baskets and carried home, and just Tuesday I was given a Kabuki that I pushed home while biking my fixie Peugeot.
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    Master of the low end garbajj!

  20. #20
    Senior Member DX Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkles2 View Post
    "They make kevlar cored, triple layered, reverse braided cables"

    Sounds good. Where can I get one? I could not find anything like that on the internet.
    Mine is a specialized brand, but I've had it for about 10 years, so I don't know if they make them anymore. It's a great lock.
    Quote Originally Posted by stronglight View Post
    There is just no cure for stupid.
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    1997 Cannondale F-400
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  21. #21
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    Eh, the thing about the security cable (which actually I think was stolen from my bike...) is that if you defeat the u lock, the cable slips right off.

    So I'm thinking getting a second locked cable for the bike. Probably somethign combination so I don't have to worry about keys.

    I wonder if there are any products which use the same key for a u lock and cable lock. yes, I'm paranoid.

  22. #22
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    Very Interesting question and i read all the answers. I think vinyl-covered steel chain is much better. But it is not solution of theft. Monitoring is necessary to keep your things safely.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by adlai View Post
    Two questions:

    1. is a vinyl-covered steel chain or a typical curly lock better for security? Size isn't really a problem since I have panniers on my bike.

    2. I saw a man today riding a bike while balancing a second bike. Is that theft, most likely?
    1. Most genuine bike thieves laugh at both of those......

    2. I would bring it to the attention of the authorities immediately with the high bike theft rate going on.

    ( I wouldn't be certain though, just suspicious)


    - Slim

  24. #24
    Senior Member oban_kobi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adlai View Post
    Two questions:

    1. is a vinyl-covered steel chain or a typical curly lock better for security? Size isn't really a problem since I have panniers on my bike.

    2. I saw a man today riding a bike while balancing a second bike. Is that theft, most likely?
    1. Depends on the cable and chain being compared

    2. No, I did this myself a couple months ago to get a frame from a yard sale home.
    This is super seriously.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    "2. I saw a man today riding a bike while balancing a second bike. Is that theft, most likely?"
    2. I would bring it to the attention of the authorities immediately with the high bike theft rate going on.

    ( I wouldn't be certain though, just suspicious)
    Which is exactly why I would be almost certain that it's not a case of bike theft. It's very conspicuous and thieves do not like to be noticed. As others have already stated, there are many legitimate reasons for carrying a second bike and I have done this on several occasions when buying a bike or taking one to the LBS for repair.

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