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Good lock for touring

Old 02-08-22, 07:40 PM
  #1  
Dfunkman
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Good lock for touring

I'm trying to choose a lock for my touring bike and struggling with the balance between weight and security when I'm already hauling panniers full of food and camping gear. I'm leaning toward a chain but how light is too light? How small is too small? Even just riding around town with the crappy hardware store chain I have, ~3' never seems to be enough. Cinch chains look like an interesting way to get extra length with less weight, but I'm not sure if you gain all that much if you wrap the cinch around a rack and have to make a loop at the other end to lock through your frame and rear wheel. I have yet to find a useful tutorial explaining it. I've also seen some novel designs like the LiteLok, which look pretty interesting. But Lockpicking Lawyer on youtube got through one with a pair of long wire/cable cutters in just a few seconds, though supposedly he did it the easy way by using the ground for leverage. But things like the LiteLok are also real expensive. Meanwhile, the OKG brand lock on Amazon (BF won't let me post the link) is pretty inexpensive, rated Sold Secure Gold, pretty heavy duty, conveniently sized if cinch chains are to be believed (I won't be convinced until I get to use one), a decent price, and fairly light for what it is. Is this a good choice? Am I missing something obvious? A cable or a skinny chain aren't going to cut it and I flat out dislike U-locks. Halp!
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Old 02-08-22, 09:17 PM
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This has been discussed in the past and someone brought up the option of one of the smaller lighter locks attached to a really loud audible alarm that will go off when dislodged.
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Old 02-09-22, 04:45 AM
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Where are you touring that you need so much protection?

A bike can be stolen from anywhere, but you are always playing the odds, in safer areas you don't need much of a lock and in the less safe areas you need either (1) a really good one or (2) to go elsewhere where the risk is less.

When I toured Florida Keys with a friend, he was really worried about theft of his titanium bike. He carried a massive chain, in the photo.



Most trips I have just carried a light duty cable and padlock. But there are occasional places where I did not feel it was safe so I kept going instead of locking up my bike. Or, if traveling with someone else, one watches the bikes while the other goes into the store.



When touring I use bolt on skewers instead of quick release, I feel better about leaving a wheel unlocked. I use ones that take a 5mm allen wrench. And besides my other tools I also have a 5mm allen wrench packed with my spare tube just to make sure a flat does not strand me. I skipped a photo.

My titanium bike is not my most expensive bike, but it looks very expensive. I paid over $100 for a Bordo 6100 link type lock. I prefer combination locks so I do not have to worry about a key being lost. They come in two lengths, I got the longer one.

Before I bought the Bordo, when I toured on my titanium bike, I carried a better cable, as in the photo below. I think that cable is 1m long (~~3 ft).



If I am going into a restaurant where there is good visability out the window, or a convenience store for only a few minutes, I might use a skier type lock,one that is only designed to slow down a thief. It is very fast, I keep in in my handlebar bag where it is handy.



But it is all about situational awareness. When I toured Iceland, they have almost no theft there, I often did not bother with a lock. Even in the crowded campground below, I did not bother to lock it. My tent is the gray one slightly to the left of the center of the photo, my bike is behind and to the left of the tent.



You occasionally hear of theft of a bike on a tour, but the best thing you can do is try to avoid the areas that look less safe.
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Old 02-09-22, 06:43 AM
  #4  
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The way I figure it is: as long as you have something that will stop people from just walking away with your bike as if it's theirs, that's all you really need. Any chain or lock can be compromised. I rarely lock my bike up anywhere, but my bike is...let's just say...heavily used. I use a cheap, light chain that anyone could cut with a decent cutter, but at least they'd have to cut it, which will stop most casual thieves. Pretty hard to cut a chain and have it look like it's your bike to anyone around. A heavier chain will slow down a serious thief, but you'd have to haul it. I assume most serious thieves are in urban areas, and I almost never tour there.
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Old 02-09-22, 08:03 AM
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I am inclined to carry a very light (just a few ounces) cable lock or no lock depending on the tour. I take a level of care with where if I leave the bike unattended depending on the locale. I generally don't get into largre cities much and if I do I am likely to get a room or stay with someone. I ma pretty much of a weight weenie and begrudge the extra weight of a heavy lock.

I tend to tour with a bike and gear that I could afford to replace without too much pain if they did ever go missing and accept the possibilty that jsut maybe that could happen at some point in my life. I figure that on a long tour I could be back under way in a few days. I don't tend to do really short tours, but would just have to bail on one if all my gear and bike went missing. I figure I am careful enough I'll probably never have to deal with that, but accept that I might.

Depending on where and how you tour and how risk tolerant you are about loss to theft YMMV.
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Old 02-09-22, 08:45 AM
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With the relatively recent advent of cordless angle grinders, no lock is really good enough any more. I also just carry a few ounces of cable/combination lock and depend on situational awareness. And flexibility. I always keep my money and ID with me. Ditto the above: I also ride an old replaceable bike with old replaceable gear. If the bike gets stolen on tour, it'll probably be in a city with an airport or bus station and I'll go home and start again with slightly newer stuff.
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Old 02-09-22, 08:51 AM
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The old adage goes that a bike and its lock together weigh 40 pounds. 20# bike, 20# lock; 30# bike, 10# lock, etc.

A lightweight cable lock is enough to keep honest people honest; that's about as far as I go. If you're in a sketchy area, like a college campus, keep the bike in sight (or in hand!). If you're going to leave the bike unattended for a while, try to lock it to something solid out of sight. If there are two or more bike tourists together, one stays with the bike while the other goes shopping if necessary. If you want to take a day sightseeing, consider leaving the bike in a motel room.

But don't let fear of losing the bike dominate the emotion of touring on a bike!
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Old 02-09-22, 12:16 PM
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INSURANCE... locks, chains, and alarms alike are good but peace of mind from A GOOD INSURANCE POLICY is hard to beat. Check your policy if you have a renters or homeowners policy it may ALL be covered already bike and all the goodies too. If you need a policy call a agent and get a quote, if you can afford to tour you should be able to be insured. A rider on a policy may cover your butt for far less than the you think if needed. No lock in perfect no matter the cost or weight but an insurance weighs nothing and can bail you out.
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Old 02-09-22, 05:47 PM
  #9  
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Insurance:

Originally Posted by mbusky View Post
...insurance weighs nothing and can bail you out.
However, if you could get an insurance settlement and replace your bike & gear and bail out the tour on which you suffered the theft, you could color me impressed. I think it's more likely that even with good insurance you'll kiss off the rest of the tour, futz around getting the theft properly documented, ride the Dog home, invest some time in claim processing and eventually get your bike and gear replaced.

I tour with an aluminum u-lock. It's light and looks the business.
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Old 02-09-22, 05:48 PM
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I generally use a ski lock like Tourist in MSN shows in his last photo. Weighs nothing and really only there to keep an opportunistic thief from riding off on your bike. The wire can be cut easily I'm sure. Now, if I don't have this with me and I stop somewhere to eat, I'll always take my helmet off and pass the straps through the spoke of a wheel and snap, such that again, someone couldn't just hop on the bike and take off without removing the helmet first which might give me more time to act. Gloves fastened around the spokes will work as well (and then you won't leave them somewhere like some idiot I know has done on more than one occasion ; )
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Old 02-09-22, 11:24 PM
  #11  
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If a thief really wants to steal a bike, they will do it regardless of the lock. A battery grinder and a van can take any bike in seconds. Some brazen thieves will wear masks or full face helmets and steal the bike right in front of you.
What one wants to avoid is the casual bike thief who sees an easy opportunity. Avoid cheap locks that are easily breakable. A chain or a cable are usually strong enough to withstand force. The lock itself is weakest link..
I recommend 2 locks. Front wheel/triangle and real wheel/triangle to a solid anchor. If more than one bike, a daisy chain of bikes is also a deterrent.
Of course I don't believe there are hi tech thieves around every corner, but again, a casual thief sees easy pickings...
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Old 02-10-22, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
However, if you could get an insurance settlement and replace your bike & gear and bail out the tour on which you suffered the theft, you could color me impressed. I think it's more likely that even with good insurance you'll kiss off the rest of the tour, futz around getting the theft properly documented, ride the Dog home, invest some time in claim processing and eventually get your bike and gear replaced.
That is the problem to my way of thinking. I am not so much worried about the loss of $$$. I ride a bike and use gear that I could pay cash to replace. I wouldn't like it but it wouldn't be the end of the world either.

I tour with an aluminum u-lock. It's light and looks the business.
These look interesting. The Palmy weighs 12.6 ounces. Is that the one you have? Do you usually find something to easily lock to in camp without a cable? In town? The shackle doesn't look very long.
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Old 02-10-22, 08:30 AM
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I am of the school that most bike thefts are opportunity thefts, i.e., someone just comes along without the intent of stealing your bike but sees it and then takes it. On tour, I take a ~10' 1/8" vinyl coated wire with a small combo lock (think a heavy duty suitcase lock) that my local hardware store makes. I also shrink wrap the cable ends so they don't scratch anything. Around $20 I would guess but mine is at least 10 years old so not sure. I can wrap both wheels around a pole, wrap multiple bikes together, or lock it to something that is something relatively far away. It weighs under a pound. For my next touring bike, I am strongly considering getting an Abus Frame Lock but may not as I would still need the cable. To me, the big plus of this one is that it is very simple to lock every time so would get me to lock the bike more often.

As others have mentioned, if they want to steal a bike, the bike is stolen regardless of the lock and chain. In my 45+ years of touring, I have not had a bike stolen while touring and only worried about it being stolen a handful of times. Unfortunately, I recently had my Co-Motion Americano stolen from my garage from an opportunity thief (garage door was open).
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Old 02-10-22, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by John N View Post
I am of the school that most bike thefts are opportunity thefts, i.e., someone just comes along without the intent of stealing your bike but sees it and then takes it
Mostly true for touring, but it depends on where you are. I think that the large majority of the time where most of us tour it is absolutely true. In bike friendly towns and or major metro cities there may be times where it may not be the case. In those places extra care needs to be taken. For me that still means a minimal lock, just extra care in the more risky places wrt leaving a bike unattended.
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Old 02-10-22, 09:25 AM
  #15  
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A guy that commuted by bike to where I used to work had a front pannier rack on his bike. He would pull the front wheel out of the bike and lock the front wheel with the back wheel to the bike rack that was attached to the pavement, his front pannier rack gave better support to hold his bike upright than a fork does, so the bike stayed upright.

This way, a thief would have to cut the lock AND then take the time to put the front wheel into the fork and attach, plus hook up the brake. I am not suggesting this for touring, just relaying what I have seen.

I have commented before that when touring, if you really were worried about theft in a campground, if your tent has a vestibule you can probably remove your front wheel and put your front wheel in the vestibule. Not many thieves would want to steal a bike that is missing a wheel. I have never pulled the front wheel off the bike to do that, ... yet.


Originally Posted by robow View Post
..., if I don't have this [a lock] with me and I stop somewhere to eat, I'll always take my helmet off and pass the straps through the spoke of a wheel and snap, such that again, someone couldn't just hop on the bike and take off ... ...
That is a very good idea, I never thought of that. I typically hang my helmet from the top tube by the strap, could use a wheel instead. And could to that when I lock it, since I am still strapping my helmet to the bike when I lock it.
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Old 02-10-22, 09:47 AM
  #16  
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When I use a lock while touring it's this one. Not as heavy as it might look.

I have always wanted to test the helmet strap thing, which I have done lots of times in town. Wonder if the buckle would simply come loose. I may try it this spring with an old helmet that is ready for the trash.

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Old 02-10-22, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
When I use a lock while touring it's this one. Not as heavy as it might look.

I have always wanted to test the helmet strap thing, which I have done lots of times in town. Wonder if the buckle would simply come loose. I may try it this spring with an old helmet that is ready for the trash.

Our small group used a couple of 6' ones on our TA. If I remember correctly the 6' one was a bit under 12 ounces. I sometimes use a flimsier version these days, but this one is a reasonable choice I think it comes in 4' and 6' lengths. and is pretty inexpensive. Fine for protection from spur of the moment theives.

FWIW it doesn't take too long to open these 4 digit code lock by just sequentially trying all possible combinations, but this isn't a lock to keep a determined theif away. If you put it away in storage for 6 months or more and forget the combination you can sit down and figure it out in a reasonable time. I have done it a few times with mine over the years. Same with laptop locks at work over the years when our staff forgot theirs.
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Old 02-10-22, 10:55 AM
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Dfunkman Framelocks are very convenient -- it quickly becomes second nature to flick the lock so you are much less likely to leave your bike unlocked while running in/out a convenience store.

There was a thread a couple of years ago in which IIRC there is a single instance of first hand theft. You may want to get in touch with the victim and ask how the bike was secured. But bottom line, theft is not highly prevalent (unlike on university campuses, schools or downtown Amsterdam
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Old 02-10-22, 11:58 AM
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I just weighed my Bordo 6100 (longer version) combination link lock. Without the bracket to hold it to the frame, it is 2 pounds 5 oz. Rated slighly worse than most U locks but I wanted somthing smaller.

That said, I have not taken that lock on a tour, I only use that lock on my titanium bike. But, if I tour on that bike, that lock and a 3 or 6 foot cable is coming along.

***

Nobody here has mentioned Bike Index. That will not prevent your bike from being stolen or even reduce the likelihood of that happening. But, if it is, that may help get it back. I listed my bikes with them last summer and have stickers on my bikes citing Bike Index.
https://bikeindex.org/
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Old 02-10-22, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
FWIW it doesn't take too long to open these 4 digit code lock by just sequentially trying all possible combinations, but this isn't a lock to keep a determined theif away.
There are 10,000 possible combinations. 0000-9999. Even if one could try a different one every 3 seconds (those numbers don't spin easily) it would take over 8 hrs. non-stop. And it comes with a metal tag with the combination on it. I tucked mine away for safe keeping.
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Old 02-10-22, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
There are 10,000 possible combinations. 0000-9999. Even if one could try a different one every 3 seconds (those numbers don't spin easily) it would take over 8 hrs. non-stop. And it comes with a metal tag with the combination on it. I tucked mine away for safe keeping.
I isn't hard to do about 1 per second and odds are pretty good that you will hit it in way less that the total number of possible tries. I start 1/4 of the way from the lowest number and fully expect to hit it before the 3/4 point. I figure that If I sit down to watch tv Ill always have it done in an evening. I find it kind of satisfying.. Yeah the tag is great, but they also have a set uour own combo version. Mine have been loaned out to friends or family and combos and tags lost track of by them or myself

Oh, and FWIW, the laptop locks were 3 digits I wouldn't have taken the time for a 4 digit lock on a work lock. Also eventually we figured out that the sockects that the lock plugged into were strong enough that we could just break the locks off without damaging the laptops.
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Old 02-10-22, 02:43 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
There are 10,000 possible combinations. 0000-9999. Even if one could try a different one every 3 seconds (those numbers don't spin easily) it would take over 8 hrs. non-stop. ....
Couple years ago I found a lock next to the curb, must have fallen off a bike. I could always use another lock.

Cracking that took a couple of mindless tv shows where I was not even watching the wheels, was watching the tv show. I just kept spinning the wheels until it opened. Usually use that one on my errand bike at the grocery store.
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Old 02-10-22, 03:51 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
There are 10,000 possible combinations. 0000-9999. Even if one could try a different one every 3 seconds (those numbers don't spin easily) it would take over 8 hrs. non-stop. And it comes with a metal tag with the combination on it. I tucked mine away for safe keeping.
Back when I was a teenager, I quickly figured out only one of those disks was holding the tang in. Try up to 10 numbers, one would let the tang move a little. Figure out which disk was next, and repeat. I could open our locks inside a minute.

Maybe Master has better QC than those cheap bike locks, but I'd think a professional bike thief would have a better feel for the lock than a bored teen.
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Old 02-10-22, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Back when I was a teenager, I quickly figured out only one of those disks was holding the tang in. Try up to 10 numbers, one would let the tang move a little. Figure out which disk was next, and repeat. I could open our locks inside a minute.

Maybe Master has better QC than those cheap bike locks, but I'd think a professional bike thief would have a better feel for the lock than a bored teen.
The cheaper locks are like that, the better ones are not. I have one like you described.
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Old 02-10-22, 05:29 PM
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I use a cheap combo cable lock ($10 version). Keeps the bike from rolling off on its own while sleeping or in a store. A good strategy is to lock it near other bikes that aren’t locked, so it would be the least likely to be stolen. I usually ask to bring it inside while grocery shopping, and most of the time the store manager has no problem. In a restaurant, I try to lock it where I can keep an eye on it.
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