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Mini U-lock & Sheldon Brown method

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Mini U-lock & Sheldon Brown method

Old 10-28-14, 05:09 PM
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Mini U-lock & Sheldon Brown method

Hello fellow commuters/hybrid bikers!

My first post on this site.

I am considering to go with a mini U-lock and I know about the Sheldon Brown method of using it: Lock Strategy

But I still can't wrap my head around it.

I have Quick Release wheels and want to keep them that way. How can using the mini U-lock only for the rim (inside the triangle of the frame) prevent someone from simply using the Quick Release and taking the frame?

I freely admit I can't think 3-dimensionally well! Thank goodness I'm not a surgeon!

Thanks in advance for any simple explanation you guys can give!

BTW, I live in San Francisco where tons of bikes get stolen all the time and the other thing I worry about -- assuming the Sheldon Brown method will work for me -- is that crooks might see only my rear wheel being locked as an easy mark and attempt to steal the bike, thus wrecking it if not taking it.
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Old 10-28-14, 05:17 PM
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If you can't think in 3D, no amount of explaining is going to make it work. Grab a bike and a piece of rope, tie it up per Sheldon's method, then try removing the wheel. Report back.
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Old 10-28-14, 08:59 PM
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Most u-locks come with a cord as well. I lock the wheel to the rack with the u-lock and then loop the cord through the mini u-lock and the frame so the frame is locked as well.
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Old 10-28-14, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by killian21 View Post
Most u-locks come with a cord as well. I lock the wheel to the rack with the u-lock and then loop the cord through the mini u-lock and the frame so the frame is locked as well.
Can you get the front wheel along with the frame too?
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Old 10-28-14, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by BikeNeophyte View Post
Can you get the front wheel along with the frame too?
Yes. I'll take a picture of how I lock it tomorrow at work so you can see.
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Old 10-28-14, 09:37 PM
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Locking the rim inside of the rear triangle works because the wheel is too big to slip through the triangle. I don't use this exact method because I worry that a thief might sacrifice the rear wheel to steal the bike. (cut the tire and rim with a hacksaw, slip the lock out of the wheel and take the bike)

So I use a similar method but trap one seatstay inside the U-lock also.
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Old 10-28-14, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Locking the rim inside of the rear triangle works because the wheel is too big to slip through the triangle. I don't use this exact method because I worry that a thief might sacrifice the rear wheel to steal the bike. (cut the tire and rim with a hacksaw, slip the lock out of the wheel and take the bike)

So I use a similar method but trap one seatstay inside the U-lock also.
+1 I also use this method for same reason. I also use Pitlocks on tires and seat. On my Tandem , I carry also carry a chain to lock both tires (no Pitlocks). Harden chain better than U lock-better than cable-better than nothing. Reverse for convenience and eased.
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Old 10-28-14, 10:00 PM
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Just try locking your bike that way, then try to steal it. If you can steal the frame without breaking the lock, then you locked it up wrong.
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Old 10-28-14, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Locking the rim inside of the rear triangle works because the wheel is too big to slip through the triangle.
Right. But I thought if you have a Quick Release than the frame will easily disconnect from the rear wheel altogether.
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Old 10-28-14, 10:28 PM
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"Right. But I thought if you have a Quick Release than the frame will easily disconnect from the rear wheel altogether."

Yes, it will disconnect. But then you have a big version of one of those fiendishly clever coffee table puzzles. But there is no clever solution. The mini U-lock connects the wheel to the rack you are locked to. You cannot get the frame over the wheel or the rack. The thief would need to destroy the rear wheel to get the frame.
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Old 10-28-14, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by SparkyBeacon View Post
"Right. But I thought if you have a Quick Release than the frame will easily disconnect from the rear wheel altogether."

Yes, it will disconnect. But then you have a big version of one of those fiendishly clever coffee table puzzles. But there is no clever solution. The mini U-lock connects the wheel to the rack you are locked to. You cannot get the frame over the wheel or the rack. The thief would need to destroy the rear wheel to get the frame.
Yes, but the post is still attached to the wheel through the closed triangle so the frame can't be taken away.

Try this -- have a friend make a circle with his arms. Reach through and take hold of a bicycle wheel. Now ask your friend to step away without opening his arm circle. Go ahead and offer him $50.00 if he can do it. (warning some people with big arms can earn the dough, but it's rare)
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Old 10-29-14, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I don't use this exact method because I worry that a thief might sacrifice the rear wheel to steal the bike. (cut the tire and rim with a hacksaw, slip the lock out of the wheel and take the bike)
This ^. The thief isn't really sacrificing the rear wheel, just the rim, tire and tube. The hub, cassette and spokes are undamaged and reusable. It would be totally easy to steal a bike locked with the 'Sheldon Brown method': battery powered reciprocating saw, two seconds. I really have to classify this as a low security option for low threat environments.
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Old 10-29-14, 06:37 AM
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can't stop a thief from using power tools, use a reasonable lock but park you bike in a busy area, if you are leaving it overnight, don't expect it to be there the next day if your bike is nice. I use a chain and lock for motorcycles and smaller chain to loop the front wheel. Unfortunately the setup is heavy, about 10 pounds, but I wouldn't leave it overnight.
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Old 10-29-14, 08:35 AM
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Sheldon's article admits the possibility that a thief could hack through the rear wheel, but points out that this never happens in reality because the thief would have to sacrifice the second-most valuable piece of the bike, the rear wheel, in the process. Too much work/risk for a ruined reward in his opinion.
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Old 10-29-14, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
So I use a similar method but trap one seatstay inside the U-lock also.
+1 - me too, if your lock will reach then why not?
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Old 10-29-14, 09:26 AM
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Conceptualize it this way. Looking at the picture on Sheldon's site, imagine the wheel as a door, hinged at the U-lock and the "doorknob" at the extreme back of the wheel. Now, pretend that the axle is free and open the door toward you, so that the wheel is parallel (in line with) to the U-lock and post. It's not attached to the bike or frame, but it still forms a non-removable barrier (the solid immovable post on one side, and a wheel too big to fit through the triangle on the other. Doesn't matter whether the "door" is open or closed, the result is exactly the same.

The only way to remove the frame is to release the post, the U-lock, or the wheel. No other way.
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Old 10-29-14, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by BikeNeophyte View Post
Right. But I thought if you have a Quick Release than the frame will easily disconnect from the rear wheel altogether.

It's hard to understand for some people without trying it. Try the advice above. Tie your rear wheel to something though the frame triangle. Then try and remove the frame. You will not be able to do it without untying or cutting the rope.
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Old 10-29-14, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by icepick_trotsky View Post
Sheldon's article admits the possibility that a thief could hack through the rear wheel, but points out that this never happens in reality because the thief would have to sacrifice the second-most valuable piece of the bike, the rear wheel, in the process. Too much work/risk for a ruined reward in his opinion.
Yeah, but that's silly. I mean, I'd be happy to have a sweet bike that just needed a rear wheel; I'd either just buy a new wheel or steal it from another bike. Speaking Devil's advocate, here.
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Old 10-29-14, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
Yeah, but that's silly. I mean, I'd be happy to have a sweet bike that just needed a rear wheel; I'd either just buy a new wheel or steal it from another bike. Speaking Devil's advocate, here.
In theory, a thief could do that, but in practice, it's not common. In fact, I haven't heard of it happening, though I'm sure it has happened. They would have to bring a saw and cut through the rim and tire. It would be easy enough, but it seems that thieves don't carry saws. Strange but true. The point is don't measure likelihood of theft by how long it takes. You have to know what tools the thieves carry. They have bolt cutters and cable cutters, but they don't have saws.
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Old 10-29-14, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by modernjess View Post
+1 - me too, if your lock will reach then why not?
The idea behind Sheldon's method is to carry the smallest, lightest U lock. The Kryp mini is too small to get wheel, frame, and most bike racks.
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Old 10-29-14, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
Yeah, but that's silly. I mean, I'd be happy to have a sweet bike that just needed a rear wheel; I'd either just buy a new wheel or steal it from another bike. Speaking Devil's advocate, here.
Thieves don't like work, or projects. They want a fast turnaround. So they aren't likely to cut a wheel to steal a bike which needs more parts before they can sell it. (they want cash, not bikes).

In fact, one of the best ways to keep a bike from being stolen is to render it unrideable either by taking the front wheel with you, or by some other means.

This is why locking by the seat stay is better than by a main tube is better. Stays are weaker and easily damaged in obvious ways by many brute force methods to break locks. Thieves know, that while they'll get the bike, it's less saleable if at all, so move on to a better target. The key to bike security isn't to stop a thief, it's simply to move him to a better target. In this way it's similar to the logic of outrunning your buddy rather than the lion.
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Old 10-29-14, 04:46 PM
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Here's Sheldon's own illustration. Could someone explain the down side of using that very same lock like this?
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Old 10-29-14, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
In fact, one of the best ways to keep a bike from being stolen is to render it unrideable either by taking the front wheel with you, or by some other means.
Then there's the broken window theory as applied to bicycles: a bike missing parts is more likely to be stripped of other parts.
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Old 10-29-14, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I don't use this exact method because I worry that a thief might sacrifice the rear wheel to steal the bike. (cut the tire and rim with a hacksaw, slip the lock out of the wheel and take the bike)
He will fail, but still wreck your wheel.
Rims under compression cannot be cut with a saw.
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Old 10-29-14, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
He will fail, but still wreck your wheel.
Rims under compression cannot be cut with a saw.
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