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  1. #1
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    how to defeat the sheldon brown lock method

    first off, i never really liked this lock method, it looks insecure and might temp a thief to give it a try.

    so here is a strategy to break it, frist let the air out of the rear tire, then take a pair of bolt cutters, cut off half the spokes from the rear wheel, typically there are 18 or 20 to cut, cut the ones closest to the lock position, this will reduce the rim tension. now cut the rim and tire with the bolt cutters. the rim is thin alu and will breek easily. the bead is a thin kevlar and will break easily. the tire and tube is rubber, easy enough. now flex the rim slightly and slip the u lock off. or make another cut and remove that part of the wheel to get the u lock off. now recieve your new bike.

    thoughts?
    Last edited by hule; 08-14-11 at 09:18 PM.

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    Buddy Ratzinger's Avatar
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    Here are sheldon's thoughts:

    "Some will object that felons might cut the rear rim and tire to remove the lock. Believe me, this just doesn't happen in the real world. First, this would be a lot of work to steal a frame without a useable rear wheel, the most expensive part of a bike, after the frame. Second, cutting the rear rim is much harder than you might think. Since the rim is under substantial compression due to the tension on the spokes, it would pinch a hacksaw blade tight as soon as it cut partway through. Then there are the wire beads of the tire, also difficult to cut."

    from here http://www.sheldonbrown.com/lock-strategy.html

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hule View Post
    first off, i never really liked this lock method, it looks insecure and might temp a thief to give it a try.

    so here is a strategy to break it, frist let the air out of the rear tire, then take a pair of bolt cutters, cut off half the spokes from the rear wheel, typically there are 18 or 20 to cut, cut the ones closest to the lock position. now cut the rim and tire with the bolt cutters. the rim is thin alu and will breek easily. the bead is a thin kevlar and will break easily. the tire and tube is rubber, easy enough. now flex the rim slightly and slip the u lock off. or make another cut and remove that part of the wheel to get the u lock off. now recieve your new bike.

    thoughts?
    OK now you have spent 10+ minutes cutting the wheel apart...what are you going to do for a rear wheel, which is typically the most expensive one on the bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ratzinger View Post
    Here are sheldon's thoughts:

    "Some will object that felons might cut the rear rim and tire to remove the lock. Believe me, this just doesn't happen in the real world. First, this would be a lot of work to steal a frame without a useable rear wheel, the most expensive part of a bike, after the frame. Second, cutting the rear rim is much harder than you might think. Since the rim is under substantial compression due to the tension on the spokes, it would pinch a hacksaw blade tight as soon as it cut partway through. Then there are the wire beads of the tire, also difficult to cut."

    from here http://www.sheldonbrown.com/lock-strategy.html
    did you even read my post?

    1) i cut off half the spokes, there is no tension left
    2) get real, only a dumbass is going to use a hacksaw to cut a rim, it would take forever, i have no idea why sheldon would even mention a hacksaw, must have been caught up in his fantasy that his lock method was unstoppable.
    3) bolt cutters will crush and cut the rim easily, it can do it to a thick hardened chain, an alu rim will be like butter.
    4) the bead will not survive repeated attacks from a bolt cutter, i give it 60 seconds at most for the 2 beads, but more realistically it will probably be 20 seconds tops. difficult, but not impossible, give a thief 5 minutes and he can steal a bike and still have time left for a smoke break.


    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    OK now you have spent 10+ minutes cutting the wheel apart...what are you going to do for a rear wheel, which is typically the most expensive one on the bike.

    Aaron
    the rest of the bike is still of value, the #1 frame and #3 front wheel.

    for the rear wheel, a new tube is $3, new tire is $10, as for the rest, you still got the hub and cassette. just need a rim and spokes.

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    Sure you can defeat it and destroy the rear wheel but most thieves aren't going to do it simply because they want a bike they can either ride away in after snipping the lock or being able to flip it fast. They aren' going to want to dump 200+ dollars into getting replacement parts so they can re-sell the bike.

    If they want to do that, fine I guess... but when I go crusing and looking at locked up bikes, at least half of them use cable locks that can be easily cut or u-locked through the top tube. Those are much easier bikes to take, and have a higher 'profit' margin for them.

    To answer the original question now.. defeat is simple and he says so how to do it on the same page.
    A pair of good sized bolt cutters will chew through the rear wheel pretty well given a couple tries.
    If your bike is that expensive though, I'd probably not lock it up unattended.. Those are what beater bikes are for

  6. #6
    Senior Member Loose Chain's Avatar
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    What if the lock went around the lower stays and the wheel?

    If the bike is destroyed stealing it then why steal it?

    Bike theft needs to be a felony offense and taken seriously like stealing a horse or an auto or any other form of transportation.
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    If I were a thief, I'd just look for a bike with an unsecured rear wheel and take that. Lots of bikes out there have QR wheels. So what if the cassette doesn't match the number of cogs or teeth and chatter like crazy? It'll still work, just not very well. Then bam, I have one complete bike. If it runs like crap, so be it, not like I paid anything for it.

    I can pawn it off on someone for just enough to get my next fix. If it ends up working well, then I might ride it around some more.

    It really comes down to how much money I'm looking to make. If I want several hundred dollars, then I have some idea of what I'm looking for and I can be picky. If I am substance abuser or a junky, I just want a few tens of dollars for my next fix. A bike without a rear wheel or one that doesn't match might just be enough to get me $20 or $50. Doesn't matter if the complete bike is worth $200 or $1000, $50 will get me by just fine.

    Not everyone it out to make a bunch of money or cares or knows how much the bike is worth if complete.

    Note that I am not a thief. I've stolen some girls' hearts and such, but that's about it.

    How to defeat the Sheldon locking method without cutting spokes.
    Last edited by jsdavis; 08-14-11 at 10:13 PM.

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    The problem with the sequence as presented in the OP is that he has the tire tread, casing, bead, rim tape, and rim being cut individually. In reality M. leTheif has to cut through the whole thing at once. Undoubtedly, thieves have long enough and sharp enough bolt cutters, but if they have bolt cutters that large they will just cut through the locks anyway.

    From the thieve's point of view, yes, it is possible to do this, but there is likely another bike nearby that will be less effort and you do not have to destroy to steal.

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    hypothetically, you can also defeat the sheldon method by taking a hacksaw to the frame.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hule View Post
    first off, i never really liked this lock method, it looks insecure and might temp a thief to give it a try.

    so here is a strategy to break it, frist let the air out of the rear tire, then take a pair of bolt cutters, cut off half the spokes from the rear wheel, typically there are 18 or 20 to cut, cut the ones closest to the lock position, this will reduce the rim tension. now cut the rim and tire with the bolt cutters. the rim is thin alu and will breek easily. the bead is a thin kevlar and will break easily. the tire and tube is rubber, easy enough. now flex the rim slightly and slip the u lock off. or make another cut and remove that part of the wheel to get the u lock off. now recieve your new bike.

    thoughts?
    Just try it out and tell us how it goes. Hypothetical crap is just what it is...crap. Too many variables in the theory. Get right down to the practical matters and see how it goes. Just do it on your own bike or some consenting individual. Because if you do it on some poor soul, I certainly hope you get caught and get the severe beating you deserve!
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    Personally I always run a cable or chain thru the frame and usually the rear tire. Then run another cable thru the seat, trunk, rack other tire, etc.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loose Chain View Post
    Bike theft needs to be a felony offense and taken seriously like stealing a horse or an auto or any other form of transportation.
    Agreed, but don't forget that you live in a society where most people think only poor people use bikes as vehicles, and everyone else just has them as toys. Accordingly, they don't care about either group. And, it obviously makes sense to classify thefts based on monetary value of the stolen goods, regardless of the fact that they may be identical crimes otherwise.

    If it were easier to track stolen bikes down, it might (MIGHT) be a different story. GPS chip in the seat tube?
    Last edited by tadawdy; 08-14-11 at 10:41 PM.

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    Angle grinder + 30 seconds = defeat of u lock. Maybe 60 seconds.

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    We are diverging from the topic but I guess I might as well post thing.
    Skip to 6m 50s or about.


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    I've tested Sheldon's hypothesis about how the rim would be hard to cut because it's under compression. Even with a hand hacksaw, it posed no challenge in real life. With a cordless recip saw, it would take less than five seconds. I've used full-sized recip saws to cut old computer hard drives in half (that's a big block of aluminum) using regular old bimetal Wood & Nails blades. Never underestimate a reciprocating saw.

    The other usual objection is "well, but then they'd need a rear wheel since they destroyed it." Guess what the bike parked next to yours has, and most likely not locked either? Yeah. These are bike thieves, they're not going to balk at swapping stuff around.

    Every locking strategy has a weakest link, but I'll stick with locking the frame with the U-lock, and include the rear wheel whenever possible. I might not walk away chortling to myself for the clever illusion that only the rear wheel is locked, but knowing how easy it is to cut a wheel...

  16. #16
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Put the lock around the seat tube and rear wheel and then you have to go through the lock itself... add a lock to secure the front wheel and you have a less attractive target.

    Locking around the seat tube opens you up to the frame being damaged if someone uses a crowbar and tries to pry open your lock.

    Every time this topic comes up someone says all they would need is a bigger set of bolt cutters or an angle grinder and if thieves take to carrying these nothing will be safe... hell... I could pack a portable cutting torch and could get through the toughest lock in seconds and it would not make much of a sound at all.

    Messing up the rear wheel (as shown above) will get you the bike minus one of it's most essential parts and for many thieves the object of the theft is to get a ride or something they can pawn for a few dollars and without a rear wheel the value of the bike is greatly reduced.

    It is also hard to run while carrying a bike... it negates the ability for a speedy escape.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8Fishes View Post
    We are diverging from the topic but I guess I might as well post thing.
    Skip to 6m 50s or about.

    gotta love 10:02, gotta be stupid to jump off a bike like that
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  18. #18
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    Messing up the rear wheel (as shown above) will get you the bike minus one of it's most essential parts and for many thieves the object of the theft is to get a ride or something they can pawn for a few dollars and without a rear wheel the value of the bike is greatly reduced.
    But the point is that the "Sheldon Brown" method is not particularly secure (not that anything is, but it's far from the best.) Sheldon says it is, that wheels are hard to cut, but this is easily disproven.

    Really, if you can put the lock around the back wheel inside the triangle, you could also have it go around one or both of the chainstays -- also locking the frame. So I see little benefit to locking the back wheel and not the frame, since you can just as easily lock the frame *and* back wheel.

    Yes, thieves usually don't cut back wheels. But they're even less likely to cut frames (even if it's not particularly difficult.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsdavis View Post


    How to defeat the Sheldon locking method without cutting spokes.

    thank god i don't lock my bike with sheldon's (stupid) method. he should really take that piece of bad advice off his site.
    Last edited by hule; 08-15-11 at 08:19 AM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    But the point is that the "Sheldon Brown" method is not particularly secure (not that anything is, but it's far from the best.) Sheldon says it is, that wheels are hard to cut, but this is easily disproven.

    Really, if you can put the lock around the back wheel inside the triangle, you could also have it go around one or both of the chainstays -- also locking the frame. So I see little benefit to locking the back wheel and not the frame, since you can just as easily lock the frame *and* back wheel.

    Yes, thieves usually don't cut back wheels. But they're even less likely to cut frames (even if it's not particularly difficult.)
    Agreed, I see no reason to skip locking the frame too.

  21. #21
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    I'd like to see how well a thief gets away with either a large set of bolt cutters on a bike, or a cordless cip-saw... Maybe if it's in a desolate area, with no eyes looking, for a 10 minute period at least.

    Huge bolt cutters, or a cip saw being used on a bike will quickly draw attention. And, that's the one thing a bike thief doesn't want. And, the ride away, rolling down the street with giant bolt cutters. Would be stopped by most cops rather quickly (Possession of burglary tools).

    So, he'll just take the bike next to it with a flimsy cable lock, or not locked at all.

    And, I wonder how many cip-saw blades one would go through cutting though AL rims. My experience shows cip-saw blades gummed up after about 10 seconds of being used on AL.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by UberGeek View Post
    I'd like to see how well a thief gets away with either a large set of bolt cutters on a bike, or a cordless cip-saw... Maybe if it's in a desolate area, with no eyes looking, for a 10 minute period at least.

    Huge bolt cutters, or a cip saw being used on a bike will quickly draw attention. And, that's the one thing a bike thief doesn't want. And, the ride away, rolling down the street with giant bolt cutters. Would be stopped by most cops rather quickly (Possession of burglary tools).

    So, he'll just take the bike next to it with a flimsy cable lock, or not locked at all.

    And, I wonder how many cip-saw blades one would go through cutting though AL rims. My experience shows cip-saw blades gummed up after about 10 seconds of being used on AL.
    There are several videos on youtube showing people cutting locks in broad daylight and the general public ignoring it.

    Hypothetically you approach me cutting off a lock and I say, "Thanks for your concern, but it's my bike, I lost the key...." what are you going to do then? By the time the cops arrive, if they show up at all, I'm long gone. I seriously doubt a cop is going to stop me for riding around with bolt cutters. Hell, I've wittnessed hit & runs and the cops never showed.....

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimi77 View Post
    There are several videos on youtube showing people cutting locks in broad daylight and the general public ignoring it.
    While, I'm sure there are MANY examples of such things, by and large, the crook will just move the the next bike, that is unlocked.

    Hypothetically you approach me cutting off a lock and I say, "Thanks for your concern, but it's my bike, I lost the key...." what are you going to do then? By the time the cops arrive, if they show up at all, I'm long gone. I seriously doubt a cop is going to stop me for riding around with bolt cutters. Hell, I've wittnessed hit & runs and the cops never showed.....
    Again, by and large, it's a matter of effort vs. return. If someone is doing something that brazen, most likely it IS their bike. Because a crook will just take the one next to it, that he could get in a fraction of the time.

  24. #24
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    Gees. thanks guys for telling everyone how to steal our bikes... A little common sense, please?

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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    OK now you have spent 10+ minutes cutting the wheel apart...what are you going to do for a rear wheel, which is typically the most expensive one on the bike.

    Aaron

    **** makes no sense, bikes get stolen all the time without front wheel, not having a marginally more expensive rear wheel is not a big deal, as long as you got the front one. still gotta walk away with it anyways, unless you got a vehicle. not having a ridable bike doesn't deter thieves.

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