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Key broke in my lock today...

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Key broke in my lock today...

Old 02-02-12, 11:22 PM
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brawny
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Key broke in my lock today...

...and I had to figure out how to defeat my u lock.

Its a Planet Bike Mountie that I purchased at MEC.

Never having had to break a u lock myself, I wasn't sure how to go about it. I called a couple locksmiths, who suggested using an angle grinder. I ended up renting one from Home Depot and running about 100' of extension cords to get to the bike rack. (Home Depot didn't have any cordless grinders available for rent). The one I rented wasn't anything special - just an older version of this one. I purchased two $3 cutoff blades, thinking that I might wear one out before I got through the lock...

To my amazement, I was able to cut through the u lock in about a minute, just letting the blade do the work.

I'm thankful that my bike is now safely home, but I also have a new respect for how completely trivial it is to cut through a u lock with the right tools. Based on my experience tonight, I'm convinced that the same grinder would be able to get through even a top of the line Kryptonite lock, like the Fahgettaboudit in less than 5 or 10 minutes.

Lessons learned - I'll buy a better quality lock for sure. The Planet Bike Mountie looks like its solid, but cuts like a hot knife through butter. The key and lock mechanism is the real problem though - the key is round like the old Kryptonite locks, but has a little protruding tab which sticks in the lock first. It was this tab breaking off that was the reason I couldn't unlock the bike in the first place. I'll also be much more aware of making sure my bike is locked in a conspicuous location, where a thief would have to be really brazen to steal it.

The experience cost me $27 for the lock (although MEC will refund that as per their policy), and about $25 for tool rentals. Hopefully folks on the forum can learn from my misfortune.

Hope this helps!
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Old 02-02-12, 11:33 PM
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Is THIS the lock you cut through? The description claims the lock is appropriate for "medium to high risk theft areas". I guess Planet Bike make sh***y locks if they consider this maximum protection. A coworker had to use an angle grinder to cut the damaged ulock off his wife's bike with an angle grinder. I'll have to get the details on how long it took and what kind of lock it was. I think it took longer than a minute. This was in downtown San Francisco. Oddly enough, no one stopped to questioned ownership of the bike.
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Old 02-02-12, 11:39 PM
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A professional bike thief once told me that a regular hacksaw with the proper blade(s) and adequate time, could defeat any U-lock.
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Old 02-02-12, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by a1penguin View Post
Is THIS the lock you cut through?
Yep - that's it. It's a solid looking lock, and the diameter of the steel is thicker than most standard u locks. I'm not very impressed with their 'hardened steel shackle and bar'.

Planet Bike stuff is usually pretty good quality, but I would consider this lock not up to their usual standards.
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Old 02-02-12, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
A professional bike thief once told me that a regular hacksaw with the proper blade(s) and adequate time, could defeat any U-lock.
Based on my experience tonight, I believe that to be true.
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Old 02-03-12, 01:43 AM
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Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
A professional bike thief once told me ...
Hopefully he has moved on to being a professional inmate.
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Old 02-03-12, 01:55 AM
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Originally Posted by a1penguin View Post
Is THIS the lock you cut through? The description claims the lock is appropriate for "medium to high risk theft areas". I guess Planet Bike make sh***y locks if they consider this maximum protection. A coworker had to use an angle grinder to cut the damaged ulock off his wife's bike with an angle grinder. I'll have to get the details on how long it took and what kind of lock it was. I think it took longer than a minute. This was in downtown San Francisco. Oddly enough, no one stopped to questioned ownership of the bike.
Just goes to show that locks are only for deterring the slightly more honest. Someone who really wants a locked up bike will find a way. The lock will just slow them down a bit.
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