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Newby question on bike security

Old 03-19-21, 06:09 AM
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FlatWater
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Newby question on bike security

My wife and I just bought two Lectric XP bikes. We are not (yet) avid bikers but more casual, just for fun bikers. We would like to be able to reduce the frequency of our car use by using our bikes to run small errands like going to the grocery store. I have read many comments in the forums and watched numerous YouTube videos about bike locks, all of which are less than 100% secure to a motivated thief. It seems to me that part of the defense system should be to avoid the attention of a thief to begin with. This can be done to some extent by riding a cheap-o, stripped down bike. This is not going to happen for us because we live in a hilly area and are not athletes. So, to avoid a thief coveting my bike, I thought about carrying a bike cover in my panniers that I could put over my bike and lock into position. The logic being that a person couldn't see what was underneath so wouldn't risk the time, effort, and possible legal issues that could come with stealing the bike if they don't know ahead of time that it would be worth their trouble. Of course I would also lock the bike to a rack or whatever. Maybe even install a cheap-o remote controlled vibration alarm to warn them off if they decide to try and take the cover off.
So has any one tried this? I haven't found any stories of people using this method of deterrence. Is there an obvious reason why this wouldn't work that I am missing?
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Old 03-19-21, 09:07 AM
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No idea, but I have my doubts.

I have a Kryptonite that weighs several pounds. In your situation, I'd find a couple decent locks that don't cost a ton, and use both on your bike.

https://www.bikelockwiki.com/best-cheap-bike-locks/
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Old 03-19-21, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by late View Post
No idea, but I have my doubts.

I have a Kryptonite that weighs several pounds. In your situation, I'd find a couple decent locks that don't cost a ton, and use both on your bike.

https://www.bikelockwiki.com/best-cheap-bike-locks/
Agree, locking both front and rear wheels is the best deterrent. E-assist makes their weight less of a concern than with conventional bikes. And you generally only need the smaller size U-lock on the front wheel.

As far as electronic protection goes, a hidden GPS unit might be your best bet.
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Old 03-19-21, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by andychrist View Post

As far as electronic protection goes, a hidden GPS unit might be your best bet.
That is a fantastic idea, how much does it cost?
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Old 03-19-21, 09:53 AM
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If a thief wants your bike, they are going to get it. If it's an opportunistic theft, that is something you can prevent. Your bike needs to be harder to steal than the bike next to it. Removable pedals help (see MKS brand) as it's hard to pedal away without them.
Taking the seat post with you helps, although they can ride standing up (but not if there's no pedals, lol). Two locks, both of which require TWO cuts (no u-shaped ends!!!!), will help. Don't be predictable, don't lock in the same place at the same time. Thieves watch your behavior and figure out when to steal your bike. And check with your homeowners/renters insurance to see how much a rider to the policy would cost for theft of the bikes. It's often not very much at all and is the best "protection" against loss.
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Old 03-19-21, 09:58 AM
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On the other hand, going to the trouble of covering sort of indicates that you have something "worthwhile". Also, in some areas (like busy stores) there may be a team of thieves that includes a spotter who will see what you have before you cover it. You need a hefty lock (2 is better). Enlist the help of the store's security too.
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Old 03-19-21, 10:12 AM
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I don't leave my bike anywhere (includes taking it into banks or wherever) or it's parked nearby and I'm watching it (then it's locked with something minimal). However if I did, it would be with a lock that is a deterrent against small bolt cutters, and should be safe unless parked in a remote area. Covering up as an additional step can't hurt, IMO. Better choice, forget the locks and have one of you watch the bikes or go to places where you can lock them inside where they will be watched.
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Old 03-19-21, 11:03 AM
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I donít have much concerns using my ebike for grocery shopping. But mine allows for easy battery and display removal.
I bring these with me, and lock the bike by the frame to an immovable object.
W/o battery and display, the resale value of the bike goes way down. And with that, hopefully the risk of theft.
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Old 03-19-21, 11:34 AM
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Wow! I love how active this forum is! Thanks for all of your answers. Some great points and great suggestions. I'm afraid I don't quite understand how to quote those who've offered suggestions so I don't know if that will work here.
Unfortunately the location of the bike area at my grocery store is around the corner from the entrance and has no cameras. I'll see if they will let me bring it inside as that would be the best option I think. Good ideas about the removeable pedals although the existing pedals are foldable so that the bike can be folded, not sure if anyone makes removeable foldable pedals, I'll look into it. As far as multiple locks goes, this may be what I end up doing. Does anyone else own a Lectric XP? Ours haven't arrived yet and I want to be ready when they do. They have a rather unique body design that I think may make it difficult for some U-locks. I've heard this is the best style of lock though. So if anyone has a Lectric XP I'd love to hear what they currently use and why. Thanks everyone!
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Old 03-19-21, 12:19 PM
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MKS have a lot of quick-release removable pedals - here's a link. I don't think anyone makes folding removables - If you can remove them, you don't need to fold them to get out of the way. Certainly ask if you can bring the bike into the store. I have a buddy who persistently complains to stores about the location or robustness of their bike racks. If he is not satisfied, he convinces them to let him bring his bike into the store. They usually do, if only to get him out of their hair. Some have used the argument that they don't want him making tracks everywhere, to which he asks how different is it from their carts making tracks.

One thing you should do is make contact with other cyclists in your area. Join a group or just ask around the bike shops. The local crowd will have a good grasp on the theft problem and where the hot spots are. Perhaps your city has an alternative transportation coordinator.

Also, if a U-lock won't fit, consider a chain Like this one
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Old 03-19-21, 12:22 PM
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That bike is very difficult to lock-up. Your best bet is to carry a hefty chain and lock it to a solid object. Chain through the rear wheel is probable the only option.
A lot of theft depends on the location. At my neighborhood grocery store, a basic U-lock is plenty. In downtown San Francisco, I don't know how much I'd trust a heavy Kryptonite chain. The only thing that consistently works against a good chain is a cordless angle grinder, which defeats basically every lock in existence (the Altor SAF is an exception). So the question becomes, what is the probability that someone walking by A) has a cordless angle grinder, and B) wants to steal your bike. That's a really rare set outside of some major cities.
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Old 03-19-21, 03:53 PM
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Thanks for the info on the Altor lock. A guy from Bicycling actually cut through one in 100 minutes, two angle grinders, six batteries and at least four cutting wheels. The lock weighs about 14 pounds so will help with ballast. BTW, most pedals can be removed pretty quickly if the need arises.

Last edited by 2old; 03-19-21 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 03-20-21, 07:00 AM
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I don't think the bike cover idea would be effective. Might actually call more attention to the bike.

there are GPS trackers that will call your cell phone if the bike is moved. Have read stories where people have claimed to guide the cops to their bike as the thief is riding away. You can even get kits with cameras and speakers so you can talk to the thief as they are attempting to steal your bike. With so many electronics on an ebike it is pretty easy to hide this stuff.

I looked into building such a kit, but don't want to pay a cell phone contract to have it function. I was thinking of building something that hooks through the store wifi. Some sort of warning that the bike is being moved so I can run out.

Personally I fall into the camp of minimize exposure and if I must leave the bike, two smaller yet super secure Abus locks beats one large Kryponite. I pull the battery and take it into the store with me, have the Luna unit held on with magnets. If you are always riding with your wife just have one stay with the bike while the other goes into the store. If you stop to eat try to get a table with a view of the bikes.
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Old 03-20-21, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by gsa103 View Post
That bike is very difficult to lock-up. Your best bet is to carry a hefty chain and lock it to a solid object. Chain through the rear wheel is probable the only option.
A lot of theft depends on the location. At my neighborhood grocery store, a basic U-lock is plenty. In downtown San Francisco, I don't know how much I'd trust a heavy Kryptonite chain. The only thing that consistently works against a good chain is a cordless angle grinder, which defeats basically every lock in existence (the Altor SAF is an exception). So the question becomes, what is the probability that someone walking by A) has a cordless angle grinder, and B) wants to steal your bike. That's a really rare set outside of some major cities.
The latest bike theft tool of choice is a ramset nail gun. Small, very concealable, and the youtube videos of these thing popping even expensive locks is impressive.

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Old 03-25-21, 03:40 PM
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Safest is a 3/8" wire cable with two loops and a good combination lock. It will protect the frame and the wheels (wheels are often stolen). The battery is something I would remove and take inside with me. With two e-bikes with a combined weight of 110 or more pounds if they are "chained" together it is not going to be easy for someone to grab and run with them.

At the University of California at Davis where there are over 10,000 bikes in racks during the day there is a lot of bike theft and in one instance a rack wtih a dozen bikes locked to it was lifted up and put in the back of a flat bed truck and stolen. After that the University moved the racks so they were further away from the roads on campus.

I used to do 1000 mile bicycle trips with a friend and one of us would go into the store and the other would wait outside and watch the bicycles. That is the best approach even if not the most convenient.
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Old 03-26-21, 04:40 PM
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Buddy system. Take two bikes to store. Your buddy watches both while you shop, or vice versa. You can carry 2x more too.
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Old 03-26-21, 10:38 PM
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Wait did someone post that the safest lock was a cable with a combo lock? I guess it is safe in the middle of nowhere but you wouldn't need to lock there. Cable locks are the equivalent of saying "pretty please don't steal me".

It is true there really isn't a lock on the planet that is 100% secure but that isn't a reason not to get a lock or just go with whatever who cares. Get a good lock and it will help more than a bike cover or vibrator. A lot of the more decent bikes will give you the ability to use ABUS keyed alike battery locks and other locks that way you can have a total security package. Using good locking practices will also help as well but trying to hide the bike with a cover will likely make it stick out more and make it more of a target. I would want to know what is under that tarp myself. You rarely see a locked up bike under a tarp so they must be hiding something worth stealing, no?
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Old 03-26-21, 11:14 PM
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Considering that many ebikes cost as much as motorcycles, you could try a disc lock with alarm
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Old 03-27-21, 12:34 AM
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What you need to do depends a lot on your situation.

In Australia, when I take my bike to a shopping center, I leave it where there is a security camera. At a small shopping center, I leave it where it can be seen through the window from inside.

In Asia, I only stay in places where the bike can be taken inside. I have been swimming at the beach, and locked it to a tree, still within my line of sight.

So the key is to leave it in safe places.

I know there are some people who need to leave bikes in higher risk places.
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Old 03-27-21, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
Considering that many ebikes cost as much as motorcycles, you could try a disc lock with alarm
So they take the bike with this thing on the disk, and swap the disk in the convenience of their garage.
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Old 03-27-21, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by klevin View Post
So they take the bike with this thing on the disk, and swap the disk in the convenience of their garage.
It's very loud.
You could watch a few Youtube reviews of bike locks and this alarm and make your choice.
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Old 03-27-21, 10:53 AM
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Seems to run counter to everything I've read/heard

Everything I've read (almost), says the cable lock is the least effective locking mechanism, and I can crack a combo lock with ease myself, although using a cable in conjunction with a u-lock or chain seems like the best way to secure the seat post or front wheel if you have a quick release (other than replacing the quick release!). Also I'm concerned that chaining the two bikes together just means a good thief will get two bikes by cracking one lock.

I thought about getting a disk alarm, and haven't ruled it out, but how often do you hear a car alarm going off and nobody pays any attention? The u-lock in addition to an alarm may be a bit more of a deterrent though, for not much more money or weight.

Unfortunately the grocery store I shop at has the bike parking around the corner, out of site and no cameras (I might have to have a talk with them).

My wife and I both going to the store together every time seems unlikely so having one of us watch the bikes is out.

From what I've read in this post, It seems the best path forward is to set aside a good chunk of cash to purchase two locks of different types (like a chain and a u-lock), replace my quick release clamps, and get good insurance.
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Old 03-27-21, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by FlatWater View Post
Everything I've read (almost), says the cable lock is the least effective locking mechanism, and I can crack a combo lock with ease myself, although using a cable in conjunction with a u-lock or chain seems like the best way to secure the seat post or front wheel if you have a quick release (other than replacing the quick release!). Also I'm concerned that chaining the two bikes together just means a good thief will get two bikes by cracking one lock.

I thought about getting a disk alarm, and haven't ruled it out, but how often do you hear a car alarm going off and nobody pays any attention? The u-lock in addition to an alarm may be a bit more of a deterrent though, for not much more money or weight.

Unfortunately the grocery store I shop at has the bike parking around the corner, out of site and no cameras (I might have to have a talk with them).

My wife and I both going to the store together every time seems unlikely so having one of us watch the bikes is out.

From what I've read in this post, It seems the best path forward is to set aside a good chunk of cash to purchase two locks of different types (like a chain and a u-lock), replace my quick release clamps, and get good insurance.
Locking two bikes together isn't a bad thing so long as they are also locked to something that a thief cannot lift the bikes over. Motorcycle rotors are rather large so I don't know if you will have enough space to mount one of those disc brake locks. Plus at that point your weakest link is a rotor which probably could be sacrificed to remove a lock. Also it could be a very forgettable lock since it is not common for bicycles. If you want a secure U-lock the ABUS Granit Extreme 59 is a good way to go. If you want a super secure chain for both bikes the Granit Power Chain 14KS is a great option and you can order other locks with it that are keyed alike (though keep in mind the power chain will loose a tiny bit of security as the key number will be shorter so less to pick) if you do order the Power Chain they will not be able to key alike afterwards unless you key alike to something lower in the line that is also Plus keyed. Those are two serious options for locking. Not lightweight but serious like you won't be able to get into them without spending a lot of time at the lock cutting it and bringing extra cutting wheels and your time will have long been up. The Granit Bordo 6500 or 6405 (if you do keyed alike) is a great choice for travel as it comes with a way to hold it and is super easy to use. It gives you the flexibility of a chain with the rigidity of a u-lock without taking up a ton of space.

If I am looking to lock up QR stuff I will likely go to Pinhead or better yet Pitlock. The ABUS NutFix is another option but honestly I am not a fan of the gravity stuff as much.
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Old 04-06-21, 10:26 AM
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Congratulations on your new-ride purchases! Frankly, I think thieves will be much more likely to go after much more expensive and especially marketable bikes. But, I can see a cover being a barrier, especially those that feature an adjustment/securing cable and lock (I may be thinking of motorcycle or scooter covers.) Another disincentive is that ebikes tend to be heavy, and two together would really be a load. My ebike is about 50 lbs, and I hate to even put it on my repair stand. I don't think most thieves would be able to tell whether my beautiful ebike was worth stealing. Good luck and enjoy the riding!
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Old 04-06-21, 11:54 AM
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A thick cable lock makes it so someone with bolt cutters cannot cut the cable and ride off. Removing the front tire is commonly done with road bicycles as this also means the thief has to take the bike to a car or truck to leave the area. But unless you are at a target rich location as at a park or school playground. People can think that because there are many other people around that their bike is safe and people will notice it being stolen and this is not the case. There is no bicycle lock that I cannot remove in less than 2 minutes with my 18v grinder and a cut-off wheel. I have removed trailer hitch locks this way when friends have misplaced the keys.

I was very careful when I was hundreds of miles from my house and the loss of the bike and my gear would have been quite serious but if I am 20 miles from my house and the bike is stolen it is far less serious. I would not put my bike at risk to go buy a few groceries or some items at the hardware store. I minimize my carbon footprint by buying in bulk so the grocery store and hardware store visits are a twice a month occurence. I know too many people who will drive 10 miles to a store to spend $10 on items and not realize that the true cost is the $10 plus the $15-20 in auto expense.

In China I was struck by how the majority of scooters in use were electric ones. The scooters were more practical for taking people to work or to get groceries or to transport a passenger. I understand the appeal of the electric powered bicycle but an e-scooter may be a more practical alternative to an automobile for shopping trips. The Vespa Electtrica is not something that is likely to be stolen with its weight of 287 lbs. or one of the Discover Mobility EW-36 3-wheel scooters. No thief is going to run off with a 300 lb scooter.
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