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Xtracycle locking strategy?

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Xtracycle locking strategy?

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Old 09-01-07, 10:22 AM
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chocula
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Xtracycle locking strategy?

With the addition of a Free Radical, the value of my battered 1989 Schwinn Mesa Runner has increased 500 percent (maybe more) overnight and I'm thinking I better employ extra security measures. I'm currently using an non-coiled Kryptonite cable lock from a hardware store, which I loop through the front wheel (QR) and frame. My bike is locked indoors at night and spends workdays locked to a rack at work has had a low theft rate (one theft reported in the last four years or so). Otherwise it's locked for intervals of less than an hour, during grocery shopping, etc. I'd appreciate any advice on protecting against theft or particular locking protocols for the Xtracycle.
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Old 09-01-07, 11:17 AM
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Get a good U-lock. Do not delay.
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Old 09-01-07, 11:41 AM
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Thanks, Donna. I figured a U-Lock was in my future. I'll try to make sure it's the near future. Any suggestions on where to apply it? For example, how would Sheldon's method translate to an Xtracycle?
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Old 09-01-07, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by chocula View Post
Thanks, Donna. I figured a U-Lock was in my future. I'll try to make sure it's the near future. Any suggestions on where to apply it? For example, how would Sheldon's method translate to an Xtracycle?
I would get a longer shackle U lock, and use the cable lock. Up to a point, the more and different types of locks the less likely your bike will be the one to disappear. The trick to the U lock is to not leave any room in it to get a prying device inside the U. I use a Krypto NY Fahgedaboudit chain on my cruiser and just carry it in the basket. That lock cost about 10 times more than the bike

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Old 09-01-07, 12:25 PM
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I know this is pure speculation on my part, but the Xtracycle Free Radical is really difficult to remove from the frame, yes? Most likely the average theif wouldn't know where to begin. Something tells me that the majority of bike thieves in Savannah, GA are average, or else we'd have heard about it through the bikey grapevine. So I guess I'd focus on securing the frame and front wheel. Hopefully some Xtracycle owners will see this thread and chime in.

An Xtracycle is a hefty investment, no matter what kind of frame you are using with it. I would not go with anything less than a Krypto Evo (orange) or NY lock (yellow). If Abus were readily available in the US, I'd get one of theirs. That's just me, though.
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Old 09-01-07, 12:42 PM
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I use a U-lock through my frame and front wheel, then run a cable, a la Sheldon Brown, from the rear wheel to the U-lock.

I would do it reverse, as per Brown's advice, but the FreeRad just isn't removable unless you have some time or really need to take it off.

At least with the U-lock and cable, you're still set.

Lately (since Jan) I've even skipped out on the cable. I figure if they really want my rear wheel and are willing to dig under the FreeRad and rassle with a heavy bike locked to a post, they'll be willing to snip any size cable.
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Old 09-02-07, 11:52 AM
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I've thought about this a lot, as an "Xtracylist," Donna and Sabre -- unfortunately, the FreeRadical can actually be removed with an Allen wrench and a couple of minutes of time (if you know what you're doing, anyway). I've done it in about two minutes. There are only three bolts holding it in place. Maybe it looks more formidable to the outside world -- I hope so!

I use locking "Pinhead" wheel skewers on my commuter bike (you need to use a coded key to remove them), and I've been trying to think if there's any way of "keying" the Xtracycle attachment bolts in a similar way... It might be possible to at least source some Torx screws or something slightly exotic like that, to replace the Allen heads, but it would be great to have a little extra security.

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Old 09-02-07, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by ong View Post
I've thought about this a lot, as an "Xtracylist," Donna and Sabre -- unfortunately, the FreeRadical can actually be removed with an Allen wrench and a couple of minutes of time (if you know what you're doing, anyway). I've done it in about two minutes. There are only three bolts holding it in place. Maybe it looks more formidable to the outside world -- I hope so!

I use locking "Pinhead" wheel skewers on my commuter bike (you need to use a coded key to remove them), and I've been trying to think if there's any way of "keying" the Xtracycle attachment bolts in a similar way... It might be possible to at least source some Torx screws or something slightly exotic like that, to replace the Allen heads, but it would be great to have a little extra security.
There a a lot of different security screws available. We use them quite a bit a work. Here is one source I have ordered from in the past.

Aaron
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Old 09-02-07, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by ong View Post
I've thought about this a lot, as an "Xtracylist," Donna and Sabre -- unfortunately, the FreeRadical can actually be removed with an Allen wrench and a couple of minutes of time (if you know what you're doing, anyway). I've done it in about two minutes. There are only three bolts holding it in place. Maybe it looks more formidable to the outside world -- I hope so!
I guess I'm lucky enough to ride/park my Xtracycle where the most likely theft would be of the jump-on-it-ride-it-away variety. In this case, the locking the front wheel to the frame is mostly sufficient.

In any case, there's some discussion about locks and xtracycles on the Xtracycle forums . Do a search there on locks, locking, etc. There's a mod there discussed about drilling a hole to lock down FreeRadical accessories to the FreeRadical frame (to tell you the truth, I get very confused with Xtracycle-speak and what-part-is-what).

I guess you could install a semi-permanent short cable lock between the frame and the FreeRadical frame (i used something like this on a saddle/seat-post/quick-release combo). Not sure, it may be possible to mount a European-style frame-lock onto the freeradical (which keeps the wheel somewhat secured to the frame).
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Old 09-02-07, 04:42 PM
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I lock my frame to a "no parking" post with a U-lock and run a cable lock through the front wheel, frame, Xtracycle frame and around the pole. Fortunately, where I park it is a relatively low crime area. In fact, "abandoned" bikes have been left at the bike rack, unlocked, for months at a time and are still sitting there when campus police do their Fall cleanup of abandoned bikes.

I haven't really worried that somebody would steal the Xtracycle off the back of the bike. Most people think it's something I built myself. And since mine is heavily modified and most people on campus know its mine, I don't worry that someone will steal it. I think it's too "geeky."

One thought to help prevent theft of the Xtracycle is to modify it/personalize it so it's less attractive to a thief. Also, get some mud on it. Leave it out in the sun so it gets faded. Make heavy use of it and get it dirty and worn-looking. Put some duct tape in strategic places. Make it look like its your only mode of transportation. Maybe put some pink "My Little Pony" appliqués over the Xtracycle logo... then again, maybe NOT.


Oh, and take pictures of it so you have documented its existence in case it does get stolen. It's easier to show the police a picture of what was stolen than to say, "Yeah, it was an Xtracycle, X.t.r.a.c.y.c.l.e. I bought it off the Internet. It was connected onto the bike...yadda yadda yadda."

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Old 09-02-07, 10:55 PM
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Multiple locks is always a good strategy, in my opinion. A small U-lock through the seat tube and rear wheel, followed with a heavy cable woven through the front wheel, frame, and U-lock. All attached to a sturdy, tall anchor of course. Two locks won't save you from someone lifting your bike up and over a parking meter.

Think of it like old camping wisdom: you don't have to run faster than the bear, you only have to run faster than your slowest friend. Make your bike seem like more of a hassle to steal than the bikes around it, and you're OK. If you can live with yourself knowing that you may have inadvertently caused the theft of many other people's beloved bicycles, that is.

Then again, I'm sort of a security freak. I don't want anybody stealing my bicycle...
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Old 09-02-07, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ong View Post
I've thought about this a lot, as an "Xtracylist," Donna and Sabre -- unfortunately, the FreeRadical can actually be removed with an Allen wrench and a couple of minutes of time (if you know what you're doing, anyway). I've done it in about two minutes. There are only three bolts holding it in place. Maybe it looks more formidable to the outside world -- I hope so!
I think you hit the nail on the head - very few thieves are going to know what to do about the FreeRadical. Considering your environment is important in predicting bike theft, IMO. The OP is in Savannah, GA. I suspect none of the bike thieves there are going to have a clue.
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Old 09-03-07, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by johann View Post
(to tell you the truth, I get very confused with Xtracycle-speak and what-part-is-what).
Roger that. I had to read that manual many, many times before I picked up the lingo.

Originally Posted by johann View Post
I guess you could install a semi-permanent short cable lock between the frame and the FreeRadical frame (i used something like this on a saddle/seat-post/quick-release combo).
That sounds like a pretty good idea. Offers another layer of defense against any perp who's determined to separate the Free Radical from the frame.

Originally Posted by Frankenbiker View Post
Maybe put some pink "My Little Pony" appliqués over the Xtracycle logo... then again, maybe NOT.
My wife still has her childhood sticker collection. Perhaps she will let me have some examples from the unicorns and rainbows department.

Originally Posted by donnamb View Post
I think you hit the nail on the head - very few thieves are going to know what to do about the FreeRadical. Considering your environment is important in predicting bike theft, IMO. The OP is in Savannah, GA. I suspect none of the bike thieves there are going to have a clue.
Great point, Donna. Bike thefts appear regularly in the college newspaper's crime blotter and I suspect many more instances go unreported. Still, I think many of these are crimes of opportunity in which the bike is stolen, ridden (and trashed) then abandoned. I'm not sure that our local thieves would discern the difference between a Roadmaster and a Rivendell. On the other hand, an Xtra does have novelty value that might make it attractive. I've seen only two others.
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Old 09-03-07, 11:38 PM
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Here in Portland, I am starting to see a couple other Xtracycles almost every time I ride, so I suspect thieves will be boning up on resale values and removal techniques before too long. The security screws sound like a great idea, wahoonc... I will check into those.

Off-topic, but I run full cable housing between shifters and brake levers and the brakes and rear derailleur (no front derailleur) -- one unexpected benefit is that I can completely remove the bicycle frame while leaving all my cables attached (as I recently had to so I could remove a stuck bottom bracket). It literally took about five minutes with nothing more than an Allen wrench to strip my frame bare (a bit longer to put it back together, of course!). It made me a little nervous about locking up outside for long periods.
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Old 09-19-07, 09:40 AM
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I own one of two Xtracycles in my town, and am very friendly with the local gendarmarie's bike squad. If anyone were to steal my X, where would they sell it? Everybody would know whose it was. That being said, I do lock it when I have to leave it out somewhere, but I'm more worried about my Trek 500, a much more generic machine.
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Old 09-19-07, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by ong View Post
It might be possible to at least source some Torx screws or something slightly exotic like that, to replace the Allen heads, but it would be great to have a little extra security.
Get a Canadian to send you some Robertson screws. I've been told they aren't used in the US. My dad's company used to ship things in wooden crates, and if the customer had pissed off the shipping department they'd get Robertsons... with a matching wrench thoughtfully included... inside the box.... very passive aggressive but funny nonetheless!
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