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  1. #1
    Senior Member tpolley's Avatar
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    What's the best style of bike lock?

    Right now I've got a 5/8 cable and a master lock combination lock. I like the combination lock because this one I can program to the same combination as the lock I use on my locker. That way I only have to remember one combination and I don't have to carry a key.

    The lock its self doesn't seem too secure. I think master locks these days are made pretty cheap.

    I've been looking at the round bar, solid steel type locks. I wonder if they're any more secure? I would be really limiting myself to what I can lock the bike too.

    What are your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    "U" locks like you describe are pretty secure. It'll take a professional thief a minute or two to break it open. Most thieves will pass one up for easier pickings.

    Combination padlocks can be cut with bolt cutters by an amateur in seconds.
    Jeff Wills

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  3. #3
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Eight-foot 5/8" cable secured through the frame and both rims and around the ankle of a 6'3" state trooper.

    Any lock can be defeated given enough time and persistence. As Jeff mentioned, it is more important to make it difficult enough that a thief will move on to something easier. If your bike is valuable enough and your thief doesn't have a better target in sight, your bike will be gone if left unattended for long enough. What amazes me is the number of videos of thieves cutting locks and chains with power tools while people just pass by minding their own business. "Poor guy must have lost his key".
    Last edited by Myosmith; 02-18-13 at 12:39 AM.
    Lead, follow or get out of the way

  4. #4
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    It's best to combine multiple kinds of locks. The heftiest cable can be snipped with long-handled cutters, and a U-lock can be popped open with a jack. But a cutter can't defeat a U-lock, and a jack won't get enough leverage on a cable lock.

    Of course, then a thief comes along with an angle grinder and then all you can say is "well, you got me".
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    I use a relatively light cable lock. It's probably the worst thing possible, but it also lets me secure the hitch rack to the hitch loops designed for trailer safety chains.

    Once again, I have avoided the main question.
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

  6. #6
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
    Eight-foot 5/8" cable secured through the frame and both rims and around the ankle of a 6'3" state trooper.

    Any lock can be defeated given enough time and persistence. As Jeff mentioned, it is more important to make it difficult enough that a thief will move on to something easier. If your bike is valuable enough and your thief doesn't have a better target in sight, your bike will be gone if left unattended for long enough. What amazes me is the number of videos of thieves cutting locks and chains with power tools while people just pass by minding their own business. "Poor guy must have lost his key".
    +2: +1 for the explanation and +1 for the image of cable locking a bike to a state trooper.

    If you really want to go on a bike crime spree, get an grinder and a friend with a video camera. Have the friend record you as you mercilessly cut the locks. Nobody will stop you unless the poor schmuck who owns the bike stops by.
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  7. #7
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    I use a U-lock to secure the back wheel to the frame (and the rack if I can manage it), a heavy chain to secure the bike and front wheel to the rack, and a cable through the back wheel, frame, and seat. It's by no means foolproof -- just like a car, if someone wants your bike badly enough they'll find a way to take it. But by using multiple methods, you at least make it a real pain in the butt (requiring different tools and more time) -- and hopefully slow the person down enough that they decide to look for an easier target.

    But the main thing I do that keeps my bike safe is park it in inside, in a locked room, whenever possible. If you leave it outside long enough, someone is going to take it no matter what you do.

  8. #8
    Senior Member tpolley's Avatar
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    like someone else suggested, i'll probably keep the cable lock (maybe upbrade to a stronger padlock) and buy a "d" lock in addition.

    i've been looking at walmart and target and the reviews on the "d" locks they have in store are pretty bad. i googled "best bike lock" and it pulled up a web site that reviewed various locks. the New York Fahgettaboudit U-lock seems to have the best reviews, but it's $90. i know it's cheaper than a new bike.

    i don't leave my bikes outside. they come in the house with me. i'm looking for ways to keep the bike safe when i go to the farmers market and the grocery store and the gym.

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Hardened security chain , is better than cable , but will be heavy and expensive .

    And you won't find the better stuff at Wally-World.

    Its like 2 guys being chased by a Bear, you dont have to be faster than the bear
    just faster than the other guy.

    same in bike security, just have to be harder to steal than the one with the light cable lock.

  10. #10
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    I just ordered a u-lock with a cable attatched to it. I like the security of the u-lock but the flexibility of the cable.
    Google is your friend.

  11. #11
    Senior Member KD5NRH's Avatar
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    50 feet of detcord and a rabid orangutan with demolitions training.

  12. #12
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KD5NRH View Post
    50 feet of detcord and a rabid orangutan with demolitions training.
    We have a bunch of guys like that around here...they are known as Delta Force

    In answer to the OP, two different types of strong locks are the best choice, I also like the bear chase analogy by fietsbob.

    Aaron
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  13. #13
    GT4
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    I would only use a combination lock if it had at least 5 rows of numbers and I say this because when I was a kid (Still am, I guess), my parents would put a 3 digit combination locks on the TV plug, so I couldn't watch too much of it. Little did they know, I could break into a (3 digit) combination locks in less than 30 minutes. You want to know how? I would start at 000, then 001, 002, 003, 004, 005.... Then finally find the right combination. LOL. And it sure can be done with any other combo lock, depending on how many rows of numbers there were and your patience to go through most of the combinations.

    That being said, I just carry a U-lock (Krypto NY Standard) that uses a key. Chain locks are good as well, but NEVER use a cable lock.

  14. #14
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    These threads make me appreciate the advantage of living in a city without a strong bike culture. Most of the bikes are much cheaper than mine but almost no one even locks their bike up and the thieves don't have much market fquality bike. Wally world mountain bikes and bmx bikes are the norm and are rarely locked up. My quality cabalock is like a bank vault by comparison

  15. #15
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GT4 View Post
    I would only use a combination lock if it had at least 5 rows of numbers and I say this because when I was a kid (Still am, I guess), my parents would put a 3 digit combination locks on the TV plug, so I couldn't watch too much of it. Little did they know, I could break into a (3 digit) combination locks in less than 30 minutes. You want to know how? I would start at 000, then 001, 002, 003, 004, 005.... Then finally find the right combination. LOL. And it sure can be done with any other combo lock, depending on how many rows of numbers there were and your patience to go through most of the combinations.

    That being said, I just carry a U-lock (Krypto NY Standard) that uses a key. Chain locks are good as well, but NEVER use a cable lock.
    That was the slow way to pick those locks... I used a paper clip and felt for the slots, I could go through any of the roll type combo locks in less than a minute.

    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. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

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    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
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    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Multiple locking methods. For my all-around bikes, I usually use a U lock for the main frame/back wheel, and a smaller cable for the front wheel, etc.

    My fatbike tire is too large for a U lock, so I just use a big, thick cable and a maximum security lock. They're heavy, but then again, on a fatbike, an extra kg isn't going to make much difference.

    Finally, if you're that concerned, get a folding bike. I just fold up my Brompton and carry it inside - takes up only slightly more room than my backpack.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    This is a highly arguable subject, but the fact is that any lock can and has been defeated by various methods. If you have a $500 bike there is no need to use $500 in locks, however you may reconsider that if you have a $5,000 plus bike. The best defense against theft is to have two bikes, a junker you lock up in areas you would be worried about parking the good one, and save the good one for training and racing if that's what you do. And lock theft warranties are rarely paid out on! So don't expect those to work for you either. And the cops could care less about your bike, though they care more if someone steals a $1 new Pic pen out of a store then they do about your $10,000 bike!! Go figure.

    If you must lock up an expensive bike and have no desire to lock up a junker instead then get two locks not one. Get a really nice D or some call U lock and a thick armored cable lock. Two locks will require two different tools most of the time. And here is the best way to use a U lock; see: http://www.missinglink.org/page/how-lock-bike Then take the second cable lock and run it through the same way as the U lock. Or instead of a armored cable lock there is a lock called the Master Lock Street Culfs, or if price is no object there's an even better foldable lock made by Abus called the Bordo Granit X-Plus 6500 but that thing is expensive.

  18. #18
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    There are magnetic plastic Keys , used in Hotel Room Doors, these days , maybe a magnetic Key Bike Lock
    is out there .. down side of combination locks is seeing the numbers in the Dark.



    OP in KC Mo has higher security needs than I do in a small town on the Coast, I expect ...

    one Bike I have a Chain and frame Mounted Ring lock, AXA of NL made, they work together,
    1 Key, it stays in the lock while Riding..

    another, I have 2 locks, a chain , and a folding link lock, they were made by Abus , Germany.
    keys are on a cord around my neck, so I won't lose them, (again)


    A couple different types of locks make the nefarious tool up for all possibilities..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 03-21-13 at 12:05 AM.

  19. #19
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    2013 Trek 7.2FX with Disc Brakes

  20. #20
    Senior Member spectastic's Avatar
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    I just use a regular combination lock - one that you can easily clip open with a wire cutter. I personally believe in habit more than bike security. Well I don't live in a big city; that's another thing. But I think it's better to exercise good common sense, like NEVER leave your bike outside over night, or leave bike outside whatsoever.
    5/20

  21. #21
    Senior Member tpolley's Avatar
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    none of my bikes are expensive. the giant, i paid $450 for 8 years ago when i was 22, we paid $400 for the wifes 5-6 years ago. the tandem we bought at a junk store for $200, it was brand new, the 1980 schwinn i bought for $25 last summer and threw $50-$60 in parts at it. i find as i get older i have less money to spend on bikes.

    i store my bikes inside. the only time i need a lock is this summer when the wife and i start riding our tandem to the gym, or when i ride one of my bikes to the grocery store. fuel is ridiculous and i'm wanting to start trying to avoid driving when i can.

  22. #22
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nermal View Post
    I use a relatively light cable lock. It's probably the worst thing possible, but it also lets me secure the hitch rack to the hitch loops designed for trailer safety chains.

    Once again, I have avoided the main question.
    This is what I do when the bikes are on the rear rack:

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