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  1. #1
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    good lock or light lock?

    Got a new expensive bike so I'm shopping for a lock. Should I get a light lock like the Palmy aluminum u-lock or a good lock like the OnGuard Mini Bulldog u-lock?

    In favor of the light lock, I figure ain't no lock gonna stop a skilled thief for more than a few minutes. Lugging around a "good" lock that weighs as much as a spare frame is only gonna make me feel entitled to "fahgettaboudit" and lull me into a false sense of security. You gotta defend that sh*t with your life, especially because locks don't do nothin about component theft and vandalism. Therefore, the purpose of the lock would be to simply give me enough time to grab a jug of milk while the thief is looking for his mini jack and, for this, two pounds of hard steel is probably overkill.

    On the other hand, I'm concerned that even though something like the Palmy would resist cable snips and perhaps fool unsuspecting thieves into wasting time reaching for their mini jacks, it might actually be so weak that casual thieves could actually pop it open by using the frame as a lever without any tools whatsoever. I'm just looking to keep the honest people honest, which means the possibility of theft without tools (or with tools you might find on a leatherman such as cable snips) must be eliminated.

    What do you guys think? I should also mention that I'm using detachable pedals to eliminate the possibility of ride offs and at least take away the opportunity for thieves to steal a fully complete bike.
    Last edited by chucky; 03-04-11 at 11:44 PM. Reason: spl

  2. #2
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Depends on what and where you are locking up. I have a beater Raleigh that I quite often lock up with the Krypto NY Fahgettaboudit® chain...chain cost more than the bike, but at least I know I will have something to ride home. I have other bikes, one I lock with a rear wheel ring lock, but that is where I can see it and in a low risk area.

    I would most likely opt for the strongest lock, that way you have a fighting chance of keeping your property yours.

    Aaron
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  3. #3
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Depends on what and where you are locking up. I have a beater Raleigh that I quite often lock up with the Krypto NY Fahgettaboudit® chain...chain cost more than the bike, but at least I know I will have something to ride home. I have other bikes, one I lock with a rear wheel ring lock, but that is where I can see it and in a low risk area.

    I would most likely opt for the strongest lock, that way you have a fighting chance of keeping your property yours.

    Aaron
    That's just the thing though, you don't have a fighting chance and you don't know you'll have something to ride home. You've just been lucky that no one who really wants your bike has happened to find it yet.

    This is exactly what I'm talking about. If you really want a fighting chance then you have to keep your bike either within eyeshot or hidden from thieves at all times. Once someone with the right tools targest your bike, the difference between the best lock and the worst lock is less than 60 seconds of resistance which is a far cry from "knowing I will have something to ride home" and having "a fighting chance of keeping your property yours".

    The nice thing about weak locks is that they don't tempt us with illusion of security, which encourages us to practice real security via keeping an eye on it, taking it with us, etc.
    Last edited by chucky; 03-04-11 at 08:10 PM.

  4. #4
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Keep your bike inside and you have no worries............
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

  5. #5
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    I figure there are three basic types of thieves:
    1) Opportunists. They see a bike that's not locked to anything, grab it, and either ride away or throw it in a vehicle and drive away. Virtually any lock that attaches the bike to an object will defeat these guys.
    2) Casual/amateur thieves. They've got a set of bolt cutters, so they can go through cables and other weaker locks, but aren't going to bother with a heavy-duty U-lock. Even if they do, they probably aren't going to get very far.
    3) Serious/professional thieves. These are the guys with axle grinders, heavy-duty bolt cutters, bottle jacks, and entire toolsets. If they decide they want your bike, they will get it or the parts off of it.

    Really, security is about making your bike look less appealing and more trouble than the bike next to it (or down the block, or whatever). Choosing a lock that does that depends on having some idea of the type of thieves you get in your area. Where I am, the vast majority are category 1 and 2 thieves. A heavy Kryptonite U-lock and a secondary cable lock are very effective at deterring them. Even just the U-lock is typically sufficient.

    On the other hand, if I were riding a $4000 carbon bike in New York City, I don't think I'd be inclined to leave it locked up anywhere, no matter what lock I was using. It's too valuable and there are too many professional thieves.

    It comes down to where you are, and just how valuable your bike is (and looks).

  6. #6
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
    Keep your bike inside and you have no worries............
    I've never found any situation that completely stops thieves.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

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    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  7. #7
    Senior Member LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    I'd imagine the time it takes an angle grinder to get through an aluminum Ulock would be 1/3 (or less) the time it takes to get through a Fuhgettaboutit Ulock, or however they spell that.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  8. #8
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    the Krypto NY Fahgettaboudit® chain...chain cost more than the bike, but at least I know I will have something to ride home.
    Here's a video of that chain lasting 29 seconds against a fairly small guy with bolt cutters:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cpf35C7wu6Q

    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    I'd imagine the time it takes an angle grinder to get through an aluminum Ulock would be 1/3 (or less) the time it takes to get through a Fuhgettaboutit, or however they spell that.
    So something like 10 seconds vs 30 seconds? Does it really make a difference? I mean, it's not like anyone's going to catch the guy during that 20 extra seconds.

  9. #9
    Senior Member LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    I think it takes longer than 30 seconds to grind through a New York fugetaboutit Ulock. Not sure on jack times. Even then it's probably what 2 minutes versus maybe 40 seconds (imaginary times for angle grinding) on the Ulocks. I think I'd pay the price and weight penalty.

    The vid of the chain cutting is pretty scary, though.

    Best to have both chain and U-lock of course so you'd have to get hit with someone with two tools and they'd need more time. Chain +Ulock would be pretty cumbersome, though.
    Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 03-04-11 at 11:46 PM.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  10. #10
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    I think it takes longer than 30 seconds to grind through a New York fugetaboutit Ulock. Not sure on jack times. Even then it's probably what 2 minutes versus maybe 40 seconds (imaginary times for angle grinding) on the Ulocks. I think I'd pay the price and weight penalty.

    The vid of the chain cutting is pretty scary, though.

    Best to have both chain and U-lock of course so you'd have to get hit with someone with two tools and they'd need more time. Chain +Ulock would be pretty cumbersome, though.
    It only took this guy 6 seconds to grind through the ABUS Granit X-Plus 54 U-lock. He doesn't seem very professional...he doesn't even know what the damn thing is called!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XTYEcQAurs
    Even if Kryptonite's model is twice as good that's still only 12 seconds.

    I bet you could do both a chain and a u-lock with either the grinder or the bolt cutters. But if you did have both that'd be like 15 pounds of lock for what...maximum 30 minutes of protection while the thief finishes his coffee and fetches his gear from his trunk? Seems like it'd be more secure to arrive earlier on a faster bike and look for a better hiding spot within a larger radius of your destination.

  11. #11
    Senior Member LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Chains are a ***** with anglegrinders, unless you bring a vise also. I don't think better Ulocks are easily defeated with bolt cutters, unless maybe you bring some with 6' arms.

    Sometimes hiding in plain sight is better. If you stash it somewhere off the beaten path thieves might feel emboldened my the lack of foot traffic (assuming they find it in the first place).

    Just like anything in life there are always tradeoffs.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chucky View Post
    That's just the thing though, you don't have a fighting chance and you don't know you'll have something to ride home. You've just been lucky that no one who really wants your bike has happened to find it yet.

    This is exactly what I'm talking about. If you really want a fighting chance then you have to keep your bike either within eyeshot or hidden from thieves at all times. Once someone with the right tools targest your bike, the difference between the best lock and the worst lock is less than 60 seconds of resistance which is a far cry from "knowing I will have something to ride home" and having "a fighting chance of keeping your property yours".

    The nice thing about weak locks is that they don't tempt us with illusion of security, which encourages us to practice real security via keeping an eye on it, taking it with us, etc.
    Which is why the bike I lock up with the heaviest and most expensive lock is plug ass ugly, no one will want to steal it. Also the part of town it gets locked up in is not one that a thief in search of good bikes would be frequenting. The harder you make it for them to steal the more likely they are to find easier pickings, unless it happens to be a high end bike that they really want. FWIW the only thing that has ever been stolen off my bike when it was parked in that part of town has been the bungie net that goes over the front basket. There is no way I would lock up a more expensive/better bike in that part of town, unless it was inside where I could control access to it.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  13. #13
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    The truth is that the first lock that you put on your bike, regardless of how cheesy, is about 90% effective because it makes it necessary for the thief to use a tool to break it.

    As you go from 90% effective to 99% effective you engage in a progressively heavier and more expensive, high tech contest which you will ultimately lose. There is no 100% effective lock.

  14. #14
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    I live in the rougher (not roughEST, won't go there even in daylight) part of town, ride a $2K bike, and don't have trouble. I think some of it is the fact that my bike is never locked up in a public area for more than a half-hour (percentages are with me vs. a good thief being in that area at that time), and that most of the miscreants in the area think I'm a cop. (I guess having the stones to ride that bike in that neighborhood just automatically = 'cop' to thugs)

  15. #15
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I appreciate the Combination, of a frame mounted ring lock, I got an AXA Defender,
    and it's associated Lock Up Chain, which is held in a pin receiver, opposite the key.

    Lock is always there, it's mounted on the front side of the seat stays..
    Bike NL/Dutch, Koga Miyata, has fittings in the frame to bolt it on.

  16. #16
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    All this jabbering about this lock or that lock is nonsense since we all know no lock will save your bike if the thief really wants it. The best thing to do is to insure your bike for full value on either your renters policy or your homeowners policy. The bike may be gone but the money you had in it won't be.
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
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    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

  17. #17
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    I appreciate the Combination, of a frame mounted ring lock, I got an AXA Defender,
    and it's associated Lock Up Chain, which is held in a pin receiver, opposite the key.

    Lock is always there, it's mounted on the front side of the seat stays..
    Bike NL/Dutch, Koga Miyata, has fittings in the frame to bolt it on.
    I like the AXA Defender and use several of them. They don't have the security of a Kryptonite NY type lock, but do great under most conditions.

    As far as adding a bike to my homeowner's insurance...in NC from most companies I cannot get full value, they specifically exclude bicycles and most portable sports equipment. I did get one company to quote me full value, but the cost of the policy was high enough that I could afford to buy a quality bicycle every couple of years.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
    All this jabbering about this lock or that lock is nonsense since we all know no lock will save your bike if the thief really wants it. The best thing to do is to insure your bike for full value on either your renters policy or your homeowners policy. The bike may be gone but the money you had in it won't be.
    Of course the insurance company is planning to make money on the deal, so this is only cost-effective if you have reason to suspect that your bike has a greater than average chance of being stolen. Plus you're still faced with the inconvenience of getting home without your bike, filing insurance claims, and having to buy a replacement bike. I don't like to deal with insurance companies so I take the opposite approach - take the highest possible deductible to lower my premiums and accept that I won't be able to make claims on most thefts.

    The problem with the really good locks is that they're so heavy you'll be tempted to leave them home on many rides, counting on always having the bike within sight. Of the recent bike thefts I'm familiar with personally only two have been due to a thief cutting poor quality locks. Three have been cases of unlocked bikes stolen while they were within sight of the owner - but they were outsprinted by the thief. And two others were stolen while inside a locked house or garage. I'd go with something light and convenient enough to always carry on a ride and also have a heavier lock to be used for situations where the bike will be left unattended for a longer period or in a questionable area.

  19. #19
    I'm Carbon Curious 531phile's Avatar
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    No Lock is the best policy. If your bike is supah dupah expensive. Don't even lock it just bring it with you everywhere you go, I go to public bathrooms with mine if the place doesn't say anything. This does limit what you do with the bike, say going out to see a movie etc etc, but that's what beater bikes are for.

    Quote Originally Posted by avner View Post
    I loled. Twice. Then I cried. Then I rubbed one out and cried again, but thanks for sharing.

  20. #20
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcanum View Post
    2) Casual/amateur thieves. They've got a set of bolt cutters, so they can go through cables and other weaker locks, but aren't going to bother with a heavy-duty U-lock. Even if they do, they probably aren't going to get very far.
    So the question is, what is the minimum amount of security to prevent this category of casual thieves?
    -Top rated U-lock?
    -Any rated U-lock?
    -Any U-lock whatsoever?


    Whatever it is, trying to use a lock to protect beyond this level of thief sophistication is a waste of weight and money. That's not to say we should give up to sophisticated thieves, just that beyond the casual level we need to use more active protection measures than locks.
    Last edited by chucky; 03-05-11 at 04:56 PM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    There's a solution to the heavy/light issue. Leave your lock at your destination, and only carry the key.

    I have several U-locks in the different towns I ride to. They've been there for months. If you're lucky, you can find a bike rack that is covered. I get used U-locks at garages sales for a few bucks each.
    My Book: Drive, Ride, Repeat: The Mostly-True Account of a Cross-Country Car and Bicycle Adventure

  22. #22
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    UK based Bike Radar has reviews of locks and all sort of stuff.
    http://www.bikeradar.com/
    Last edited by fietsbob; 03-05-11 at 05:48 PM.

  23. #23
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chucky View Post
    Got a new expensive bike so I'm shopping for a lock. Should I get a light lock like the Palmy aluminum u-lock or a good lock like the OnGuard Mini Bulldog u-lock?

    In favor of the light lock, I figure ain't no lock gonna stop a skilled thief for more than a few minutes.
    But a poor lock won't pose a challenge even to an unskilled thief - he'll just pop it off with an improvised lever or hammer. Are you sure that your light lock is better than that?

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    Being in "campus" police work for the last 30 years, I've seen a fair bit of bike theft.
    The above post about the types of thieves is right on. Most of our thefts are mid-level mountain bikes locked with cable locks. The tool of choice is the small bolt cutter. You can cut an inexpensive cable quicker than you can unlock the lock with the key.
    We have a "program" with Kryptonite and we sell the kids a good-quality Kryptonite lock at 20.00. (heavily subsidized... these go for about 50.00 retail) Over the years, we have lost only a handful of bikes that have been properly secured with these locks.
    Why would the thief bother? There are dozens of similar bikes in the same area with cheesy cables?

    It's true that heavy-duty tools will defeat even the best locks, but at the expense of noise and attention-grabbing ruckus. An angle grinder is noisy and throws a lot of sparks. If the bike is in an easily-observable public area, this is not going to be a prime tool for the thief.
    Nor are bolt cutters with four-foot handles. Most bolt cutters won't even open wide enough to accept a U-lock shackle.
    Thefts vary by area. Around here, you can't give away a roadster. Thieves want easy-to-sell or pawn mountain bikes, and not very expensive ones at that.
    Somewhere else, a high-end roadster may be easily re-sellable. Here, the pawn shop will look at you funny.

    If you have a high-end bike, do not leave it locked up somewhere for extended periods, and certainly not in an area that's easily observable. If you're going to have a daily-commute sort of bike, consider a beater.

  25. #25
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    But a poor lock won't pose a challenge even to an unskilled thief - he'll just pop it off with an improvised lever or hammer. Are you sure that your light lock is better than that?
    I'm not sure, with inner shackle dimensions of 3"x5" it's the smallest mini u-lock on the market. So I don't think it'd be possible to fit a lever or hammer in there. Also, despite the soft material the shackle diameter is 16mm (as large as the NYFU)...so pocket bolt cutters won't fit even if they could cut through like butter and thieves may be deterred just by the beefy appearance.

    What concerns me is that the lock may pop open quite easily if the thief uses the frame as a lever. That would make it worse than even a cable, which is too weak for my taste. Although tests show that with a regular medium security (steel) u-lock the frame breaks before the lock when levered...so perhaps the Palmy would still be strong enough?
    Last edited by chucky; 03-06-11 at 11:58 AM.

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