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Why do cable locks still exist?

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Why do cable locks still exist?

Old 05-24-20, 01:44 PM
  #1  
Texboy
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Why do cable locks still exist?

So, there so many YouTube videos that can be easily cut a cable lock with a bolt cutter or cable cutter. Many cyclists and even police donít recommend using a cable lock to lock your bike. Why the local bike shops are still selling cable locks?
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Old 05-24-20, 01:55 PM
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Arthur Peabody
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Stores sell what people want to buy.
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Old 05-24-20, 02:03 PM
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They're fairly compact and a lot of them will go around a larger object than a U-type lock will. A lot of people use a cable lock as a snatch-and-ride preventative. That's where someone grabs an unlocked bicycle and rides away.

I use two cable locks sometimes. One goes through the front wheel and the frame and the other goes through the rear wheel and frame. When those are used the bike is not really out of sight or if it is it's not for long. If I was living in a high-theft rate area I'd use U-type locks.

Then again, there are also a lot of YouTube videos showing thieves using an angle grinder with a cutoff disc cutting a U-type lock in broad daylight on a fairly busy sidewalk.

Cheers
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Old 05-24-20, 05:20 PM
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There are a lot of situations in which a cable lock is all that's needed - suburbs, especially higher end suburbs. On group rides, a cable lock can lock multiple bikes at once for, say, a lunch stop. A U-lock can lock only one bike, and it has to lock a bike to something.
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Old 05-24-20, 05:31 PM
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I've used nothing but a cable lock for more than 40 years, in fact the same cable and lock that long, which means no one has ever stolen my bike. Of course I don't live in NY City, but if I did live there I surely wouldn't lock up a nice bike, I would take a $200 or so used bike and lock it up instead because any lock, no matter what you paid for it, can be broken within 30 seconds, which makes all locks these days not that much better than my stupid cable lock!

So your best defense against getting a bike stolen is simply getting a beater bike and lock it up outside.
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Old 05-24-20, 05:32 PM
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I am looking for a smaller/lighter cable, it's a snatch and grab thing.
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Old 05-24-20, 05:32 PM
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Why do you ask?

A cable lock is simple and cost effective protection from the vast majority of thieves who arrive without some kind of tool. The ones who come prepared with tools, a cordless angle grinder (not much more expensive than a decent sized bolt cutter) will cut ANY lock in only a minute or two. A professionally equipped thief is going to get your bike anyway.
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Old 05-24-20, 05:37 PM
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I use a cable and u-lock combo when I commute in the big city in order to secure the frame and both wheels.

I use a light cable lock when I tour. Not going to carry a heavy u-lock, and it would often be useless in a campground and pointless when thereís hardly anyone (or no one) around.

Contrary to popular belief, there arenít always people lurking behind every tree and lamp post just waiting to steal your bike.
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Old 05-24-20, 05:40 PM
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I hate thieves thievery.
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Old 05-24-20, 05:53 PM
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Stores sell them because people buy them, and because manufacturers provide them. A store that doesn't provide cable locks loses sales on profitable accessories to stores that will carry them.

People who buy them do so because either they (1) are misinformed as to their effectiveness, (2) have a situation where a U-lock would not work, (3) prefer the form factor, (4) make the informed decision that their bike will be safe enough.

I use cable locks to lock my bikes to the wall inside my garage. Someone could easily defeat these locks. But that would have to be someone willing to be recorded by my Ring driveway cam as he approaches the house, and willing to make some noise in the opened garage cutting the lock, all while hoping I don't come through the door a few feet away to resume mowing my lawn.

I also carry a short, fat cable lock when I go to the grocery store out in the suburb in which I live. The grocery has a bike rack adjacent to where workers are constantly pushing carts back into the store. The cable diameter is 5/8ths in thickness, and about two feet total length. Given its size and weight, it may as well be a U-lock, but I bought it in 2001 before I knew that cable locks were inferior to U-locks. I probably wouldn't buy it again. But I own it, and it works well enough for my use-case. I feel safe enough using it for a half hour shopping visit when parked in a high-traffic suburban area.

When I commute to work I lock my bike up in a key-card access cage along with a couple dozen other bikes. Inside the cage we each keep heavy U-locks just locked to the racks. Since it's always there for me, I don't mind that it is heavy and uncomfortable to carry. Additionally, I leave my bike locked up in this cage for 8-9 hours a day. And it's located downtown. In this situation I wouldn't use a cable lock. The security measures at play here are (1) A security guard who walks past and scans a QR code every 20 minutes. (2) A chain-link cage that requires the use of a key card to enter. Only people who have paid for bike storage have key cards to this area. (3) A heavy duty U-lock.

So I do think there are uses for cable locks. I agree they are not as secure as U-Locks. But I keep seeing youtube videos of people defeating U-Locks too. At least with a cable lock I know all I'm doing is discouraging opportunists. I'm not thwarting serious criminals. But neither is that U-Lock.
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Old 05-24-20, 05:56 PM
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Locks keep honest people honest. If someone wants your bike, they're gonna get it.
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Old 05-24-20, 06:17 PM
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Because it's a cost effect "good enough" solution for a majority of people and their situation.
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Old 05-24-20, 06:28 PM
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I don't sell them. At my last shop where the people who bought for the bike shop weren't cyclists and didn't know enough to do it right they chose to sell them. I told a lady 'Don't buy that cable it won't protect your bike, it will get stolen" and she said "well I am buying it anyway" she of course bought it and then her bike was stolen and she was back a week after saying "I want a free bike because they stole my bike with YOUR lock" and we had to tell her again clearly "we told you not to buy that lock we told you that would happen and you didn't listen".

If were ever to sell a theft deterrent cable to a customer it would be in addition to a good secure lock or for some roadie who is with the bike 99% of the time but may be not in touching distance.

Simply put if people stop buying cable locks shops will stop selling them. I sell the ABUS Bordo Lites if someone needs that light duty lock but actually wants a small modicum of security but generally I don't sell low security where I work, it just isn't the place. Even some "high security" locks are poorly made and easily defeated probably in a lot of cases due to inferior steel or poor hardening and tempering practices.
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Old 05-24-20, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
Because it's a cost effect "good enough" solution for a majority of people and their situation.
Donít understand why thatís not obvious to some. Maybe they have limited experience with/knowledge of different situations and/or are imbued with irrational fear?
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Old 05-24-20, 06:37 PM
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As long as there is a demand for cable locks, shops will continue to sell them.
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Old 05-24-20, 07:04 PM
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I have one of these and only take it on long rides when I know i'll need to take a meal break.

It's so someone can't just walk away with it. The bike cost $$,$$$ and is covered by my home owners insurance if stolen.

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Old 05-24-20, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
They're fairly compact and a lot of them will go around a larger object than a U-type lock will. A lot of people use a cable lock as a snatch-and-ride preventative. That's where someone grabs an unlocked bicycle and rides away.
Cheers
For snatch n'ride (as you phrase it), wouldn't a simple padlock put around say the rim of your wheel, accomplish the same thing, yet be much more un-snippable?
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Old 05-24-20, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
For snatch n'ride (as you phrase it), wouldn't a simple padlock put around say the rim of your wheel, accomplish the same thing, yet be much more un-snippable?
>>> further to your padlock ... i keep a smith & wesson gun lock cable looped to my seat > its light small extra convenient & can wrap to parking meters bike racks & street signs ... i ride fix/ss in urban & i use this for convenience and only to stop bike snatchers > i consider it a "back up lock" that can also secure my back pack if needed
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Old 05-24-20, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
For snatch n'ride (as you phrase it),
I also use my helmet strap to attach the bike to a pole of chair so somone can't just walk away with it.
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Old 05-24-20, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
For snatch n'ride (as you phrase it), wouldn't a simple padlock put around say the rim of your wheel, accomplish the same thing, yet be much more un-snippable?
They'd then be most likely to just leave the wheel and walk of with the rest of the bike. I saw a guy with a really nice 700C front wheel, walking around a department store. I asked him if he was looking for someone to fix his wheel. He told me he just took the wheel of his UNLOCKED bike so no one would steal the bike whilst he was gone from it.

Cheers
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Old 05-25-20, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
They'd then be most likely to just leave the wheel and walk of with the rest of the bike. I saw a guy with a really nice 700C front wheel, walking around a department store. I asked him if he was looking for someone to fix his wheel. He told me he just took the wheel of his UNLOCKED bike so no one would steal the bike whilst he was gone from it.

Cheers
Yeah, but a lot slower walking a bike with one wheel and a lot more obvious than just riding away. Same padlock I guess you could also run around your chainstay plus a spoke, though more likely to see some damage as a thief figures out it's there.
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Old 05-25-20, 07:42 AM
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... and if you have $$$ to burn these bags are great for pre covid urbanizing bars shops etc > the strap can double as a cable lock & it takes a dedicated thief to cut thru
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Old 05-25-20, 07:47 AM
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I've been told the weight of the bike is related to the weight of the lock. The heavier the bike, the lighter the lock. The lighter the bike, the heavier the lock.

Or just don't leave it anywhere.
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Old 05-25-20, 07:52 AM
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I think cable locks still have value if used sensibly.

Even worse, I use an 18Ē 145gram Ottolock. Weíve all seen those cut with scissors on youtube.
But it serves its purpose as a coffee shop lock, if I can watch through the window.

Barry
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Old 05-25-20, 08:38 AM
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Cables keep the grab and run types from stealing your bike! Singling out cable locks is not honest. First of all the snatch and run types dont carry around a large pair of cable or lock cutters. Second a bike thief will carry a battery powered cutting tool, and no matter what kind of lock you put on it can cut thru and cable or lock in less than a minute.

As someone suggested a cable of any sort will keep the semi honest bike grabber honest.
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