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Locking Skewers - Pitlocks? Onguard/Pinhead? Oredon? Zefal?

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Locking Skewers - Pitlocks? Onguard/Pinhead? Oredon? Zefal?

Old 12-07-09, 09:20 PM
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exarkuhn15
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Locking Skewers - Pitlocks? Onguard/Pinhead? Oredon? Zefal?

I think locking skewers are tremendously valuable. I'm trying to get my urban transport bike to be in a state that requires as little "assembly" as possible.

That means, I want to bring one good lock (u-lock, or a good Kryptonite chain lock I have), and I want to ditch the panniers, so I'm adding a basket to the back (with a rack that will take panniers if I really need them).

I'm tired of locking up my wheels! I've got plenty of u/cable/chain locks I can use, but I have having to run something through my dirty wheels. I want to lock the frame, and that's it!

So, I've bought some Onguard locking skewers (also known as Pinhead locking skewers).
Visible here: https://www.rei.com/product/732406

I like them, but I don't know how secure they are. Seems like some vice-grips could defeat them if the thief was determined. Unlikely, but possible. They're probably enough for leaving my bike out for a few hours in daylight.

But I'm considering some for my girlfriend's bike.

Pitlocks? These sound fantastic, but they're so expensive! Unique security bolt, with rotating security cuff around the security nut.
https://www.peterwhitecycles.com/pitlock.asp

Zefal Lock N' Roll skewers?
Neat idea, but can they be defeated with a magnet? Would someone who doesn't understand they're security skewers try to break them while wailing on them to get off your wheel?
https://www.roadcycling.com/reviews/Z...w_002704.shtml

Oredon locking skewers? https://www.oredon.com/produits/en/wh...heelguard.html
These are a recent find to me. I can't tell how sturdy they are, so they seem a lot like the Onguards as far as materials go, but they have the rotating cuff of the Pitlocks.

Anyone who has compared all of these?

Probably not. Opinions on these?
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Old 12-07-09, 09:46 PM
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The only negative thing I've heard about Pitlock skewers is the price. That being said, sometimes you do get what you pay for.
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Old 12-07-09, 09:52 PM
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I work at a shop and we sell the Pitlocks. People have never complained about anything but the price.
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Old 12-08-09, 04:43 AM
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I didn't know there were now so many choices in skewer locks.

I would rule out Zefal because it doesn't require a special tool (key).
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Old 12-08-09, 07:37 AM
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Pitlock sends a message loud and clear"don't mess with my bike.

3 years on street 9am to 7pm, 9 speed ultegra/tiagra build, Ritchey WCS DS wheelset, onguard pitbull mini 5006. no one dare to touch my bike. Hack, even the little plastic thingy on the skewers' tip that can come right off are still staying on.
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Old 12-12-09, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by exarkuhn15 View Post
I think locking skewers are tremendously valuable. ... I'm tired of locking up my wheels! So, I've bought some Onguard locking skewers (also known as Pinhead locking skewers).
Visible here: https://www.rei.com/product/732406 I like them, but I don't know how secure they are. Seems like some vice-grips could defeat them if the thief was determined. Unlikely, but possible. They're probably enough for leaving my bike out for a few hours in daylight ...
I've used the Onguard Wheel and Seat skewers for over a year without problems, but I park in relatively safe areas next to other bikes that are either more valuable, less securely locked, or both. I do not think they are that liable to pliers attacks but do cut off any extra protruding threaded skewer. If you got yours from an REI and you do not need the seatpost skewer, REI Outlet now has a pair of Onguard Wheel Skewers only on sale for $35, a good price particularly if you can use their free shipping to a local REI.

The Pitlock's are, as I recall, stainless which might be good if you leave the bike outside a lot or ride on salted winter streets. I agree not to get the Zefal ones for the reason mentioned; also they can be defeated with a magnet evidently.

Last edited by Giro; 12-12-09 at 07:17 PM.
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Old 12-12-09, 08:01 PM
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any of these can be thwarted using rudimentary methods for someone intent on stealing wheels. I like the Zefals for their ease of use but they provide a margin less security than the others.
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Old 12-13-09, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
any of these can be thwarted using rudimentary methods for someone intent on stealing wheels.
Very true. Most important is your locking technique and where the bike is left. Although they are definitely a deterrent and not a total solution I feel better (and am able to lock up quickly) using VO Anti-Theft skewers ( https://www.velo-orange.com/voansk.html) and a Ulock while running quick errands. Though cost was a big factor in my choosing the VO skewers, the largest factor was concern over potentially loosing the specialty keys that are used with most of the other options. Although I know that the tamper resistant hex bit used by VO is not the most secure, I like the fact that I can find a new one locally if need be.
Places like school and work where the bike is left day after day for long periods require, in my opinion, require a cable lock as well (regardless of how nice your skewers are) because if someone really wants your wheels badly enough, then they will have plenty of opportunity to figure out how to compromise even the Pitlocks. Much less you should consider that if you have a threadless headset and no tamper resistant top cap a thief could easily circumvent a locking skewer by removing your stem and top cap (this only requires loosening three screws), and then stealing your fork+brake+front wheel.
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Old 12-13-09, 05:13 PM
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It looks to me like the VO skewers could be undone easily by Vise Grips, but the PitLock nut is inside a shroud so it could not be defeated so easily.

Agree in general with the "if someone want <x> badly enough" ... threadless headset scenario, but the PitLock ups the ante on the science project at least an order of magnitude, and well into the "how bad do they want it" zone.
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Old 12-14-09, 01:26 AM
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Originally Posted by slcbob View Post
It looks to me like the VO skewers could be undone easily by Vise Grips, but the PitLock nut is inside a shroud so it could not be defeated so easily.
The photos on the VO site do not show it, but as you can see in my photo the VO skewers are shrouded. Someone would have to be turning the fixed side which would be more doable than the flat convexed fixed side on the Pitlocks, but due to the ridges meant to keep that side from turning it would take a lot of force. I tried before taking the photo, and wound up stripping off some of the chrome-like coating.


Originally Posted by slcbob View Post
Agree in general with the "if someone want <x> badly enough" ... threadless headset scenario, but the PitLock ups the ante on the science project at least an order of magnitude, and well into the "how bad do they want it" zone.
I agree completely that the PitLock has a superior design, and for that matter I am not suggesting that the VO skewers are even direct competition for the Pits, however I would not personally consider relying solely on any sort of locking skewer anytime that a bike is sitting unattended for a long period of time. Your mileage may vary, but since the only time I leave my bike without running a cable through the front wheel is when I am on a short errand I could not justify the extra cost of the PitLocks. VO skewers are therefor a reasonable options for the needs of the many (like myself) who do not have wheels which would be high theft targets, but instead are concerned more with deterring the 'common' thief.
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Old 12-14-09, 05:24 AM
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jfinkly - thanks for the extra info on those very economical VO skewers. With that, I might just snag a pair.

I agree with your advice against relying too much on locking skewers. However, I do not share your faith in cable locks. They are exactly what your benchmark common thief is used to defeating.

I'm a fan of Sheldon's one-two punch -- cable and u-lock. Both are straightforward to defeat for a common thief, but each requires a different bulky tool. In my mind, the locking skewer is so that I can u-lock the rear only and still have a front wheel after I have my coffee. Nothing more.
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Old 12-14-09, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by slcbob View Post
jfinkly - thanks for the extra info on those very economical VO skewers. With that, I might just snag a pair.

I agree with your advice against relying too much on locking skewers. However, I do not share your faith in cable locks. They are exactly what your benchmark common thief is used to defeating.

I'm a fan of Sheldon's one-two punch -- cable and u-lock. Both are straightforward to defeat for a common thief, but each requires a different bulky tool. In my mind, the locking skewer is so that I can u-lock the rear only and still have a front wheel after I have my coffee. Nothing more.
Again I agree with you, but maybe my other posts where not clear enough. The Ulock that I mention in the first post is always around the rim and tire between the rear triangle ('Sheldon' style) and the cable is only used to lock the front wheel to the main triangle or bike rack. Ulock + skewers is while running quick errands, otherwise it is Ulock + skewers + Cable.

Originally Posted by jfinkly View Post
Very true. Most important is your locking technique and where the bike is left. Although they are definitely a deterrent and not a total solution I feel better (and am able to lock up quickly) using VO Anti-Theft skewers ( https://www.velo-orange.com/voansk.html) and a Ulock while running quick errands..........Places like school and work where the bike is left day after day for long periods require, in my opinion, require a cable lock as well......
Originally Posted by jfinkly View Post
Your mileage may vary, but since the only time I leave my bike without running a cable through the front wheel is when I am on a short errand I could not justify the extra cost of the PitLocks.
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Old 12-14-09, 12:27 PM
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Avoid the Pinhead/OnGuard model. I tried to save a buck and bought these instead of the Pitlocks. Poor design, Stupendously expensive replacement 'key' (you only get one), and appalling black-hole like customer service. Easy to cut off, too.

Zefals are on the way.
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Old 12-14-09, 12:32 PM
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I have been using a pair of cheapo sunlite lock n roll skewers for about 4 years now. No issue whatsoever other than a little rust, but that was remedied with overhaul grease. keep them greased and not over-tightened and they'll do the trick.
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Old 12-14-09, 02:53 PM
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I like the pitlocks myself. Points on resourceful thieves are well-taken but given the class of thief we have in my area, the pitlocks work well.

Another thing to remember is that if you are using track ends or horizontal dropouts on the rear wheel, none of the non-cam-type skewers will give you adequate clamping force to keep the wheel from walking forward in the dropout. Pitlock's own website makes note of this (though it's not too easy to find).

I imagine the Zefals, since they are actually cams and not simply screwed down like the other security skewers, might work.
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Old 12-15-09, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by jfinkly View Post
but maybe my other posts where not clear enough.
Or maybe I just don't read so good.
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Old 12-15-09, 07:25 AM
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The pitlocks are easy to defeat, same way thieves defeat automotive keyed lug nuts. All the others can be defeated with vise grips, the pitlocks are slightly harder but not much. I'm staying with the zip tied QR skewer for now and avoiding parking/locking up in bad areas.
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Old 12-15-09, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr IGH View Post
The pitlocks are easy to defeat, same way thieves defeat automotive keyed lug nuts. All the others can be defeated with vise grips, the pitlocks are slightly harder but not much. I'm staying with the zip tied QR skewer for now and avoiding parking/locking up in bad areas.
Pics? Videos? Otherwise it's just hearsay, unless you are speaking from personal experience in which case I'd be more inclined to take you at your word. I like this video of a Toronto LBS owner defeating her own $100+ lock with a Bic pen:


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Old 12-15-09, 05:25 PM
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I learned the technique when my key for my keyed lugnuts went missing (car). Any professional thief can do it as easily as using a vise grip on the others. Point I'm making is that it's not hard to defeat any of these options.

BTW, I've got two of those 80's era Krytos, the new ones don't have that issue, unfortunately I missed the recall.
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Old 12-15-09, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr IGH View Post
I learned the technique when my key for my keyed lugnuts went missing (car). Any professional thief can do it as easily as using a vise grip on the others. Point I'm making is that it's not hard to defeat any of these options.
You can use vice grips on the ones that have a rotating collar? Isn't that supposed to prevent that?
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Old 12-15-09, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by exarkuhn15 View Post
You can use vice grips on the ones that have a rotating collar? Isn't that supposed to prevent that?
The Pitlocks require a different technique (which I am reluctant to post here). It's slightly harder to do compared to using a vise grip on the other options.
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Old 12-15-09, 05:38 PM
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God I wish this wasn't something that I had to worry about. I hate having to go to such precautions to keep some jerk from stealing something that belongs to me. Oh well...

My guess is that given enough effort, any of these could be defeated - but you hope that it's enough to deter a thief from trying. I don't leave my bike locked in particularly bad areas, and I don't tend to leave it for more than an hour or two, so I guess I don't need to worry so much. But still....
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Old 12-15-09, 05:49 PM
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I've been using the OnGuards for two years without incident on my commuter/grocery-getter. I like them just for the convenience. When I go to the store, I just U-lock my top tube to something and I don't have to worry about the wheels or seat. I think a bike's most vulnerable area is the the handlebars. With the modern stems we have now, a thief could walk off with a nice set of shifters and handlebars in about 30 seconds using only a Park Cable cutter and an allen wrench. I use an old-school threaded headset and quill stem on my commuter for this reason.
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Old 12-15-09, 06:05 PM
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I have a couple of dynamo hubs with QRs so this thread was of interest to me. It's the same old story, thieves combined with a public that doesn't get involved (who can blame them?) means there's not much we can do. If a thief wants my bike, he'll have it, without locking skewers, I'll save my $$ for my new bike.
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Old 12-16-09, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by RaleighComp View Post
With the modern stems we have now, a thief could walk off with a nice set of shifters and handlebars in about 30 seconds using only a Park Cable cutter and an allen wrench. I use an old-school threaded headset and quill stem on my commuter for this reason.
???
That "old-school threaded headset" makes quick access via disassembly harder for your fork and skewer-locked front wheel, but simplifies the cable-cutting handlebar/brifter thief's job to one allen bolt vs. 3. Perhaps 20 sec?
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