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View Full Version : Advice About Locks


jyl
04-16-2007, 07:20 PM
I'd like some advice from experienced Portland bicyclists - about locks.

Most of the time, my bicycle is locked up in the garage, or locked (U-lock) to a bike rack in the underground parking garage in my building, in view of the parking attendant 30 feet away, who says there's never been a bike theft problem there. So I feel kind of okay there - tell me if I shouldn't . . .

But I'd not sure about when I'm running an errand, say at the grocery store. Is a single Kryptonite U-lock around the seat tube, rear wheel and bike rack "enough". Should I add a huge chain? A second U-lock? I just don't know what makes sense.

rainperimeter
04-17-2007, 12:24 PM
i have four different locks (2 heavy chains and 2 u-locks. how did that happen?) but i don't double any of them up at all. as long as you're not locking up outside overnight i'd say you're alright.

JayS.
04-17-2007, 01:05 PM
I recently installed an old (1950s or 60s) Chinese Wheel lock on my (tandem +child seat) bike. I use it for school drop off and pick up and quick trips into a store. I love it!! All I do iis pull up slide a lever and pull out the key. No rack necessary. When I return I pop in the key and open the lock. The key can only come out if I lock the bike so I cant forget my lock (it is attached to the bike) or key. This bike is also big enough that I don't worry to much about someone picking it up and tossing it in their truck or van. I still carry a u-lock for stops at the Grocery store or Freddies or anywhere that I can't pretty much see my bike. I think in europe and asia many commuter bikes come standard with this type of lock. It would be great to see a slightly beefier version for domestic use.

Oh I guess the question was about your situation. That sounds like a fine set up to me.

JayS.

nuovorecord
04-17-2007, 02:17 PM
That sounds like a fine set up for what you describe. I just use a Krypto Mini on the frame and take my chances with the wheels getting pinched. But, I'm pretty selective where I park - always try to park where there's lots of people around. I'd chain it and U-lock it if I had to leave it out overnight.

jwdoom
04-17-2007, 04:40 PM
I just make sure my u-lock holds onto my front wheel as well as my frame. I carry a cable to secure my rear wheel if I'm going to be leaving my bike somewhere that's sketchy for a while.

I, of course, never rely on the cable solely.

I also carry a heavy duty padlock in case I need to leave my bike in one of those public lockers at MAX stations.

fetishridr
04-18-2007, 08:42 AM
i'd do it where lots of people were present. no one pays attention. a lone person with bolt cutters at a bike rack is suspicious.
that being said. a u lock is fine around the rear wheel and seat stays. if you are really worried, get a locking skewer for the front wheel and throw a 15 mm wrench from the hardware store in your flat bag. thats lighter and easier than always carrying an "extra" cable.
wheels do get pinched, and while they yield 10 bucks to the tweaker who stole it, its a supreme pain in the ass to ride a wheelie all the way home.

ask yourself this. would you rather have to deal with buying a new wheel/tire for an astronomically high price, or buy the locking skewer or cable lock for 20 bucks.
i'd much rather have my mt bike and 50 dollars less in my bank account for the lock i should have bought, than to have no bike and 50 bucks to spend on a tire for a non existant bike.

vseven
04-18-2007, 09:48 AM
Anyone had experience with the locking skewers ? As I understand, there are only three (universal) key combinations for these so if a thief has a key there is a chance it may work. I'm paranoid about losing my wheels with disc brakes.

BillD
04-18-2007, 10:04 AM
vseven,
I have the PITLOCK locking skewers. They have 256 different keys. I'm sure a determined thief can defeat any lock.

vseven
04-18-2007, 10:11 AM
Guess I purchased the wrong brand, bummer. Thanks for the info on the other brand for the others out there !

fetishridr
04-18-2007, 12:24 PM
i feel that most tweakers either have bolt cutters, or nothing to steal parts and bikes. no one rides a spendy bike around and locks it up, just the average bikes.
i feel that most parts thieves present at the fred meyer are looking to score a wheel or seat with incredibly easy to steal quick release attachments. if they go to the trouble to have one of those keys, they are more likely going to steal the better parts, but since those rarely get locked up or left unattended, one needn't worry. a locking skewer is far better than no skewer, or just get a bolt with 15 mm nuts. that stops 99% of the population from changing their own flats, and probably stops the tweaker looking for a quick grab.

mizake
04-18-2007, 01:03 PM
i carry one with me at all times. it is well worth it.

fetishridr
04-18-2007, 01:59 PM
but, are you a tweaker stealing cheap wheels off old bikes, i think not, otherwise, everyone on this forum who has had parts stolen is going to kick down your door, or worse, put a stick through your front wheel adam sandler style. :)

the point is, make the thing a pain in the ass to steal. requiring tools makes the act of theft harder. one could go steal all of the nice suspension forks too with a couple of allen wrenches, but those same theives generally shop for seats and wheels.

i'm amazed that cheaper wheels get stolen with V brakes and slicks. and my cross wheels with knobbies and canti's are left alone. the harder it is or (more time it takes to steal), the less likely it'll get stolen while you're in buying milk.

mizake
04-18-2007, 02:46 PM
no no no, hehe, i was merely pointing out that it is really easy for one to carry around a 15mm wrench for your regular nut and axle skewers. rather than carry around a kryptonite new york chain to protect my fancy quick release wheels.

i have disturbing fantasies where i catch bike thieves in the act of stealing my bike and do mean things to them. very mean.

so rest assured, my wrench are for my 15mm nuts alone :)

jwdoom
04-23-2007, 04:29 PM
Can someone explain these locking skewers to me? I found some inages on Google but I'm still unclear.

BillD
04-23-2007, 10:55 PM
Can someone explain these locking skewers to me? I found some inages on Google but I'm still unclear.

There is a good explanation of how the Pitlock skewers work here (http://www.urbanbiketech.com/index.html).

hikkyburr
09-14-2007, 09:51 AM
I wanted to install locking skewers on my relatively new bike, and OnGuard/Pinhead was the only choice in town. In case you haven't seen them, they code three nubs inside a cup-shaped wrench that is small enough to fit on your keychain. The key also has a bottle opener attachment as a consolation for being so heavy. The nubs inside the cup of the wrench are designed to fit into three pits on the top of the dome-shaped locking nut. The nubs in the keywrench must line up exactly with the pits on the nut in order to provide enough grip to loosen it.

Not long after I installed the skewers, I took my bike into my LBS for a minor adjustment and realized that I had forgotten my keys. At first, the tech wasn't concerned about this because he figured he could "borrow" a similar OnGuard/Pinhead key from unsold merchandise and it would be a close enough fit if he wiggled it a bit. No such luck. There's really no wiggle room with these keys because a single nub in the wrong place will cause the wrench to slide around on the nut and never grip. Back to the drawing board.

Then he decided to abandon the unsold keys and instead try a variety of tools to finesse the locking nut off the skewer. He had access to every tool in the shop and still couldn't come up with a way to loosen the locking nut without destroying it (grinding a new groove for a flathead screwdriver was one option).

By that time, my wife had responded to my trouble call and arrived at the shop with my keys, so we didn't need to spend anymore time trying to outsmart a little round nut with three holes in it.

So, if you're wondering about the protection offered by locking skewers, this should be encouraging news. Someone else's key is not going to loosen the nut. These keys are coded, and there are far more than three combinations mentioned by another poster in this thread. An entire bike shop full of tools gave us no easy way to quickly loosen the nut, so your average tweaker (who we believe isn't even bothering to carry a 15mm wrench) isn't likely to make quick work of this either.

Armed with this newly earned knowledge, I've stopped carrying the cable lock I used to use to lock my front wheel, and am only using a single U-lock from now on.

bikerinNE
09-14-2007, 02:47 PM
This is indeed good news, Thanks, about the locking skewers, and more then three combos.

beelnite
09-14-2007, 03:05 PM
What's amazing to me is that there is a market for bike parts. Does anyone know where these things are being sold? Who's buying?

I could see a pawn shop taking a whole bike no questions asked, but bike parts? Used bike parts?

Where's the used bike parts store where I can find my stolen rims?

If anyone has some insight on that side of the coin please share!

beelnite
09-14-2007, 03:08 PM
Almost forgot - here's a link to Sheldon Brown's advice on bike locks... as many of you know, this guy's amazing.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/lock-strategy.html

rubbish heap
09-14-2007, 07:14 PM
What's amazing to me is that there is a market for bike parts. Does anyone know where these things are being sold? Who's buying?

I could see a pawn shop taking a whole bike no questions asked, but bike parts? Used bike parts?

Where's the used bike parts store where I can find my stolen rims?

If anyone has some insight on that side of the coin please share!

http://portland.craigslist.org/bik there's your market.

BillD
09-14-2007, 09:20 PM
What's amazing to me is that there is a market for bike parts. Does anyone know where these things are being sold? Who's buying?

I could see a pawn shop taking a whole bike no questions asked, but bike parts? Used bike parts?

Where's the used bike parts store where I can find my stolen rims?

If anyone has some insight on that side of the coin please share!

One recently arrested bike thief (http://bikeportland.org/2007/07/12/victim-detective-nab-web-based-bike-thief/) was selling parted out bikes on ebay.

fetishridr
09-15-2007, 10:01 AM
they check ID, but they know when something is lifted or not. they cant be blunt and accuse someone of theft now can they. i'd look at city bikes part store to see if your stuff is there. if its easily identifiable you may find it.

ong
09-20-2007, 03:56 PM
I use them on my commuter. I had a similar incident where I needed to remove the seat bolt, and I had installed it incorrectly, so I couldn't use the key -- I just cut a groove into the bolt with a Dremel cut-off wheel, used a flathead, and then ground it smooth again. But yes, that's much more than your average bike thief is willing/able to do.

beelnite
10-03-2007, 08:05 AM
Craig's List... of course! OK that does it for me. I'm serializing everything and when/if it happens I am tracking those mofo's down.