The Chainlink

I want your busted or unwanted bike lock to tell for sure what works best.

It's winter and I'm bored because bike mechanics don't have as much to do this time of year so I am going to try and compile some real data on which locks take the longest to defeat.  I have already destroyed some old locks we had here or did cut off for customers but more locks = more data.

If you have a broken lock, chain or cable or one you just don't want get it to me and I will destroy it and post the results here.

All locks are being attacked the following ways:

  1. Wire cutters; believe it or not this will defeat most cables in 30 seconds or so.
  2. Normal bolt cutters.
  3. HUGE bolt cutters with 4' handles.
  4. Battery operated angle grinder with cut off disc.

Defeat times will be posted.

Disclaimer: Cutting in a shop environment with the lock held in a vice does not take into account the difficult position but it is a pretty good demonstration of how strong a lock is.

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I remember back in the day, at least before New York locks became super popular, it seemed like lock picking was a real issue with bike u-locks.  I've seen enough video's of an angle grinder being taken to a u-lock to know that it takes 15 seconds to about a minute and a half or so to defeat most of them.  

Anyone know if lock picking is still used a lot to defeat locks?  I would be interested to see how locks fare against picking and prying.  

I have it on good authority (a very solid policeman with a long-time interest in cycling and fighting bike theft) that lock picking is very much still being used to steal bicycles. We've also had a few reports where surveillance video showed a thief in and out in way less time than it would take to defeat a lock otherwise.

There is little to no information being shared about this on the 'net.

Could be that the shop sold primarily On Guards. I'll ask for clarification.

notoriousDUG said:

We see far more Kryptonites coming back with a frozen key than On-guards.  I think the steel of the Kryptonites is better but they fail lock wise more often.

Duppie said:

I am an On Guard lock guy. I own 5 of them in various sizes. Been using them nearly daily for 5 years. Never had that kind of problem. I didn't do much maintenance either. In the 5 years I have lubed them maybe 3 times

h' said:

I understand from a friend who managed a bike shop that On-Guards would frequently have failures of the lock mechanism and the owner couldn't open them.  This might be a good thing to try in those instances...

Jim said:

Dug,

I swear I opened an on-guard lock by jamming a screwdriver into the keyhole and twisting with a pair of vice grips.  Ozug is my eye-witness and can confirm. 


Sam V. also used this method to defeat an On-Guard some years ago...

It's hard to say because most times the locks are not left with the bike.  

I, personally, do not believe that is a common attack.

Zoetrope said:

I remember back in the day, at least before New York locks became super popular, it seemed like lock picking was a real issue with bike u-locks.  I've seen enough video's of an angle grinder being taken to a u-lock to know that it takes 15 seconds to about a minute and a half or so to defeat most of them.  

Anyone know if lock picking is still used a lot to defeat locks?  I would be interested to see how locks fare against picking and prying.  

Hey Dug, I've been pretty busy and haven't been near Wicker in a week or so. Maybe I can stop by this Sunday with the lock. My buddy might also need to drill out his front brake pinch bolt that is seized up and get a replacement. I'll let you know.

i seem to recall some report comparing locks that nobody could find any lock that existed that couldn't be angle ground in under two minutes 

I don't doubt that.  It's hard to beat physics.  Not many materials are hard and durable enough to resist a diamond disc or an abrasive disc and still be able resist things like pry bars and bolt cutters while being light enough to carry around.  

The game is to make the actual theft as long as possible and hope the thief decides to try it in the first place or gets noticed when they're breaking the lock.


Peenworm Grubologist said:

i seem to recall some report comparing locks that nobody could find any lock that existed that couldn't be angle ground in under two minutes 

Dug, did you ever test the New York Fahgettaboudit lock discussed in this thread?

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