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Ultra-Light Titanium Ribbon Bike Lock (kickstarter.com)
133 points by thangalin on Apr 29, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 44 comments

Sigh. The arms race with bike locks can never really be won.

If we really want to end bike theft, we need a legal approach. A serial number engraved into frames and all major bike parts. An easy to use web site to check provenance of parts by serial number. Hefty (10yrs+) jail time for anyone possessing, selling, modifying or trying to cross a border with stolen parts. Hell, cryptographically signed RFID tags required for all new bike frames. Hefty penalties for even riding a non conforming frame. That would get the message across real quick.

Basically, get serious about bike theft the way we are about car theft and the crime will be practically eradicated.

The way car theft has been eradicated?

Yes? For all practical purposes? I have never known anyone who has had a car stolen. I know several who have had their bike(s) stolen, often repeatedly.

Looking at the statistics[1], I see that in my country (Australia) there is a less than 1% chance of your car being stolen in any recent year. That seems to be pretty low, a nuisance yes but not all that bad. And that's even though cars are much more valuable than bikes - and very few people use any sort of aftermarket lock with their car.

I would say the law has dealt pretty effectively with car theft and I see no reason it could not be adapted to include bikes, too.

[1] http://ncars.on.net/docs/quick/aus_summary_qtr.pdf

Car theft has been largely eradicated. There are some European organized crime groups that switch out the PCM on cars where this is possible, but the days of teenagers hot-wiring cars has long since been over. If you were to call the police and say your car has been stolen, they will tell you to call your bank and find out why your car was repo'd.


Also, I remember seeing a 60 minutes (or some show) on south american cities where a high percentage of the cars on the road were stolen from the US.

It's not a legal approach, it's a social one. In happy socialist countries like Denmark, bike locks aren't really a problem : they consist of a short hook blocking the rear wheel and that's about it. It's completely inefficient, but it's obviously enough there.

But in London the thieves are using cordless angle grinders.

I'm an avid cyclist, but I wouldn't touch this lock.

Here's what I would use: http://www.lfgss.com/thread17938.html

And sure, this one is lighter, but stopping my bike being stolen is far more important to me than how much it weighs.

End of the day, locking your bike outside is a losing battle. Whether it matches up to an angle grinder or not is not really the point, it just prevents opportunist theft.

The goal of locking your bike is to ensure bits don't go missing. However, what you're really trying to do is protect your investment. Locks stop bits going missing, but they don't protect the investment. My bicycle was locked overnight at Bristol Temple Meads train station (which I wrongly assumed was a secure-ish location). The thieves didn't manage to break the lock, so instead they just vandalized the bike so that I couldn't use it either. I sort of wish the lock had just given way, at least that way the bike might have provided some value to someone, somewhere.

True - In Toronto downtown, locks don't do anything. Thieves come fully outfitted in hex key sets and pedal wrenches - and they steal everything - from rims to forks to pedals to front shocks, and chains (who steals chains??? - apparently the thief had a chain tool handy to break the chain).

Anything less than encasing the whole bike + lock + secure post in a steel case (like a bike locker) won't ensure that your bike will stay in tact.

The answer is to have a shitty bike with a good lock, been using a $200 beater for 4 years and it still got everything except the saddle got stolen once

why not get an ugly girlfriend, too? then you don't have to worry about her cheating on you, right?

Some people have no sense of humor. Thanks for the laugh.

>who steals chains??? - apparently the thief had a chain tool handy to break the chain).

Reusable joining link? No tools required. As to the point of doing it, well, I had the QR skewers stolen off my bike once. Stealing a chain makes at least as much sense.

The solution to having components stolen is being made by a British company at the moment in co-operation with Royce: http://atomic22.co.uk/

They have a Pitlock solution, but it works for everything from Saddle down to chain rings. With 1 key doing the whole bike.

I've been locking my bike up at Temple Meads for years without any problems - I (cynically) always try to lock it up next to a much more expensive looking one, or one with a weaker lock. Failing that, as deep into the centre of the mass as possible.

A co-worker had a vespa stolen by thieves who apparently drove up in a van with power tools and cut down the parking meter it was chained to.

Not a whole lot you can do about a very motivated thief.

His chain must be very big if the thieves chose to cut the parking meter instead.

Most chains (even the big looking ones) can be cracked in under a minute: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VC3hFr8p2ck

Yeah, got me. Seems like it would also be worth more without a pointless chain hanging off it.

Perhaps they'd honed a technique for cutting down parking meters quickly? I also wouldn't rule out the thieves being stupid.

...or the parking meter contained something of value.

This is brilliant, and made me laugh.

I can just see a thief looking at the vespa, the chain, the parking meter and thinking 'It's a crime anyways, may as well get the 15$ in change'.

I think more important than anything else about a lock is the ratio of "how heavy does the lock look" to "how expensive does your bike look".

Light but tough locks are worthless, they're just going to make your bike get thrashed. You want a lock that says "don't even bother trying".

> "how heavy does the lock look" to "how expensive does your bike look"

Bingo. For around town, your best bet is a an old, anonymous looking city bike. Faded paint and maybe even a bit if rust can be plusses. No gearing is a plus too (I don't mean fixed gear bikes though). Many of the fancy locks listed in the guy's comment above cost more than my town bike itself.

One of the sayings I find amusing is that "Your lock gets heavier as your bike gets lighter", an acknowledgement that lighter bikes cost more and require heavier locks.

I lock my (very expensive) bikes out on the street fairly often, though never overnight. I only ever use 1 lock and a component protection system.

I use the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit it secure the frame to some fixed street object of equal strength (newish iron railings are good, otherwise some London lamp-posts will fill this lock so perfectly that there's no leftover space for a leverage tool).


I pair that with Pitlock to protect the wheels, though will be moving to Atomic 22 when that system is fully released.



And my saddle is secured by a chain that goes through the rails and chain stays.


I'd be curious to see how this lock holds up to similar testing. It's probably not going to compare favorably to much heavier/thicker U-locks, unfortunately, though it does have some advantages...I use a U-lock through the rear wheel plus a rope cable to attach the front wheel. The front wheel would be easy pickings if it had significant value and a thief with a bolt cutter happened upon it. I've seen people use two U-locks, but that's a lot of hassle.

Anyway, it's a cool idea, but I have to agree I wouldn't trust it without some evidence of its abilities to withstand modern bike thieves with power tools.

It seems to me that this lock might be easily defeated with a forged steel C clamp and a wide-angle wedge. Hammer in the wedge between the titanium bows near the lock. Clamp the C clamp so it clamps together the wedge and the far end of the lock. Then start turning the clamp until the bows snap. About $10 in parts from a hardware store.

I have a different strategy for locking my bike: it has no lock. Rather, it is foldable and has a built-in "shower cap" cover. I fold it, cover it, and take it inside. This strategy has worked for me even in Washington DC (where I live) -- I once had to figure out how to get it into the NSF -- and in Rome, where I lived for six months and commuted each day.

Anyone else bothered by the fact that there are no pictures of a bike actually locked to something?

It appears to be locked to the vertical black pole next to the middle of the bike frame.

There's some kind of pole in one of the photos, but yeah, looks like a pretty tight fit.

An important aspect of lock design is not having anything you can easily grab onto.

Get a 4 foot piece of 1" pipe and slip it over the lock end of that bow. One hand close the the lock and the other pushing on the opposite end.

35 pounds (an accepted average human push/pull force) x 6 (mechanical advantage of a 4 foot pipe) = 210 lbs of force. The website lists the thickness of the titanium (which is what would matter here) as 40mm.

I wonder if something like Graphene would have any applications for bicycle locks? I would love a lock made from this Graphene paper, which is allegedly 10 times stronger than steel:


New materials are giving us great opportunities to re-think old problems, which is why I regularly enjoy browsing http://www.inventables.com/

With bike locks, you're not looking for tensile strength, you need to resist shearing & shock loads.

Carbon fiber, for example, may be considered to be almost as strong as steel, but it breaks pretty easily when subjected to shear and shock forces, i.e. a bolt cutter.

Quickly skimming the article, graphene is only twice as strong as steel in this regard. Although this is still great, you have to be careful.

It will, once we have a process that can produce it at an industrial scale which appears to be forthcoming [1].

[1] http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100119111057.ht...

Interesting product, but the fellow really needs to work on his elevator pitch. What can it do? Why is it better? What will make me want it and remember it?

  The TiGr is our titanium lock system, it’s secure,
  versatile, elegant, light, easy to use and easy to
  store. A really secure bike lock that’s actually sexy.
I think that's a good enough elevator pitch.

Cut the bike and steal the lock!

I feel like it's pretty rare that I'll find something as convenient as a pole to lock my bike to and other than that, I don't see how this can be used.

Too big for my taste. Something like titanium white mini-handcuffs would pick my attention. And cheaper to produce.

There are portable cutters available now that can go through all of these in seconds. They are meant for rescue/construction workers to cut the bars in reinforced concrete beams (rebar).

So none of these locks stand a chance if it's a pro-thief, you are only stopping the amateurs.

Well yeah, that's a problem but really there is nothing to stop professional thieves - at the tail end they can just point a gun to your head and have you hand over the key.

I am not really concerned with professionals though because it is a simple matter of sending them to prison for a long enough time - say 30 years - so that the cost outweighs the benefit. That is something the politicians should look into, as they all want to be hard on crime.

The danger is those who steal a bike because they need to get home because they are drunk or those who just deface them. Tougher sentences will not prevent them, because they don't consider all the ramifications in the first place.

Maybe rigging the bike to give an electric jolt if they take it? Not enough to be damaging, but enough to make them stay away?

So none of these locks stand a chance if it's a pro-thief, you are only stopping the amateurs.

So then you pay the deductable on your renters/homeowners insurance and get a new bike. Hardly a crisis in the one in a million chance that a professional bike thief wants your bike.

You have to chain your bike to something immobile, though.

He doesn't even mention the most important part in the video:

"Testing in our workshop demonstrates that the 1.25” titanium bow survives a 48” bolt cutter attack and that sawing is extremely difficult and time consuming due to the ‘springy’ nature of the titanium bow at a third the weight of a common U-lock."

I bet I can cut through that thing with a sawzall in about 5 seconds or less. Titanium, unlike steel, can't be case hardened, and it cuts like butter. Case hardened steel is hard to cut because the outside is as hard as the saw blade.

They know that lock doesn't stand up to a sawzall, so they aren't marketing it based on the security, because it will quicky be proven insecure.

this is really important, you can actually buy a u-lock that has parts built to be flexible just for that reason. This thing would be naturally hard to saw through

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