My University Bike Lock Design - Youtube Video

by fefelarue   May 16, 2014  

Hey folks, I've recently finished my final year BSc Product Design university project, designing a bike lock, and have put it together in a little video.

Any feedback good or bad would be great.


21 user comments

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Initial feedback: moving pictures are evil. Show me a photo and describe how it works.


Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [1099 posts]
16th May 2014 - 15:26


First off - 5 minutes for a video? You're lucky I've got nowt on this afternoon otherwise I wouldn't even have pressed play. Give me pictures and details that I can digest quickly otherwise I'm swerving it. I wont be the only one. I'm watching it for the lock, not to see you mucking about about on a bike.

When destroy testing the lock perhaps get a bigger lad wielding the croppers, I'm more likely to believe that than a slim built lad, if you get me?

Lastly, what;s to stop me just busting the padlock off?

posted by farrell [1695 posts]
16th May 2014 - 15:57


The actual design is pretty nifty though, the ability to wrap it round the crossbar is a decent touch.

posted by farrell [1695 posts]
16th May 2014 - 15:58


Not a bad design really and you would probably sell a few due to the top tube wrapping niftyness (you should show other carrying methods as well, such a couple of loops round the seatpost, or could it even be worn as a belt?)

If you want to convince buyers of serious locks, better take a moment to focus on the thickness and hardness of the chain links. Is it better than average? Using a Dremel is not going to impress many people.

The lock seems to take a bit of time to fold and unfold with flaps and velcro and whatnot. Show us somebody using it quickly and effortlessly. Can you still lock the lock as a small loop without unfolding it fully (time-saver mode)?

Every lock must be a compromise between security, weight, ease-of-use, versatility and price. Make it clear which categories you aim to win at.

posted by chokofingrz [380 posts]
16th May 2014 - 16:53


My suspicious mind says
1. small sharp scissors to cut a section of fluff away then bolt cutters on the chain? (I guess it's some fancy fibres, but they look like they might be vulnerable this way)
2. hope the padlock's sold secure

and my Londoner would have locked it through the rear triangle and covered the wheel too Wink

But interesting, as it might well scupper someone out for a quick job. And I guess the unusual protection would mean a thief would have to plan in advance to get around it, which in most cases I guess they don't.

chrisl's picture

posted by chrisl [43 posts]
16th May 2014 - 18:17


Thanks for the feedback guys.

This is the first ever prototype. As it's a university project, I didn't have the resources to integrate the locking mechanism into the rest of the lock, and I chose to have a functioning prototype for this project, rather than a slightly better design with nothing physical to show for it. But with further development I hope to make the padlock redundant Smile

I have started (and am pending approval for) a Kickstarter campaign, which explains exactly what I want to change about the lock, and the next steps I wish to take.

This is very early days for this project, I haven't even got it marked at uni yet. But as a concept, it seems (after putting this on 4 different bike forums) that there are a lot of bits that people like, with the main problem being the weak padlock (as obviously that can be cut) - which will not be a problem with further development.

As for the video being too long, it's the only way I can show everything clearly, as it's a product that you can't explain that easily with images and text.


posted by fefelarue [3 posts]
16th May 2014 - 19:39


How does it handle a propane pocket gas torch, or one of those fancy turbine lighters?

posted by sq225917 [21 posts]
16th May 2014 - 19:43


The only text missing is FIRE....

But for a prototype, it looks good. Although, it does need to be longer.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9186 posts]
16th May 2014 - 20:32


I know these materials well. It's a good product sir well done.

Like everything, it can be defeated....but unless you have 3 arms, it's a 2 man job, it's also 2 stages/ tools, so it's better than any U Lock none of which can resist the old cordless grinder disc, a single tool operated by one man.

Hope you get the backing you need to develop it.

As for the fire theory, you're going to need a propane torch, which is going make a big smoky mess, will take ages, and you still need to cut the chain...which will be red hot, wrong approach.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [789 posts]
16th May 2014 - 20:42


As proof of concept, looks good. Maybe a bit more badassery on the chain thickness and an integrated lock, but this looks like one of the few Kickstarter projects that I wouldn't end up shouting at my monitor "Oh for [ahem] goodness' sake, we didn't need this!".

posted by Argos74 [322 posts]
16th May 2014 - 21:20


Interesting idea and materials, it would be good to see how it resists fire but I think the top tube wrapping is a bit of a gimmick. It would also interfere with any exposed cables running along the top tube which are common on many bikes.

I do think your video is too long and a bit self indulgent, I bet you could edit it down to about 90 seconds and keep all the salient info in.

Finally, a safety tip. For gods sake, clamp the lock on a work surface and wear some hefty gloves when you're trying to cut it with power tools, especially when the material is designed to snag the cutting edge. You're asking to lose some fingers trying to hold it down and cut it.

H&S brief ends.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [1011 posts]
16th May 2014 - 21:56


I love the portability, velcro to the top tube is really smart.

Am I alone in thinking that seroius cyclists don't tend to use the flimsy brackets provided e.g. by Kryptonite, but instead lock their d-lock, chain, whatever, around a bit of frame / rack? has anyone else noticed this? IMHO there's a correlation between "using the manufacturer supplied bracket" and "new / occasional cyclist". (Though I know some bike shops will fit the bracket if you buy a lock at the same time as a bike).


Please don't design out the Abus disc tumbler lock! Keep it!

I have one of these padlocks, it's awesome, but the chain i use with it is a beast to carry. (lives in the bike trailer, so weight not really an issue). Think twice before integrating some second-rate shackle.

The strongest chains all use a separate lock, e.g. this Abus. They also have one slightly longer link on one end, which you tuck the other end through, then lock only to the short link. This is proven stronger than locking two links with a padlock.

For more info than you could ever need about chains (*digs through browser history*):

As others have said, you DON'T need a 5 minute video to promote this. Maybe a 30 second one to show it in use, and a separate destructive testing one for those who are interested. THen some pictures and most importantly some specs! Having a long indulgent video just puts off intolerant bike snobs like me, when we see more than we bargained for / womeone riding the "wrong" way according to our own narrow definitions.. (e.g. riding down steps when there's probably a accessibility ramp right there, makes me sad, poor bike).

All that said - it looks like a really good design. Just a bit more detail needed!

PJ McNally's picture

posted by PJ McNally [592 posts]
17th May 2014 - 8:56


Clever design and thinking.

Light weight
The use of fibre to snarl up cutting blades (not new, but it is clever)*
The use of a core chain to prevent the lock being defeated by the simple application of heat (again not new, but it is clever)
If the main aim of a lock is to make the casual thief look for an easier target elsewhere. Then I think you have succeeded.

However. Padlock is still the weak link. That said, it is easier to carry about an extreme padlock than an entire extreme lock.

All in all a very promising idea that should prove to have legs with a bit of further development. I think at this stage you should be approaching a lock manufacturer. This type of product that only needs a little bit of tinkering with to get it on the shelves is a manufacturer's wet dream.

Well done and get on with it.

* Protective trousers for people using chainsaws etc.

posted by levermonkey [492 posts]
17th May 2014 - 11:05


You better be able to explain with text and images if you want to get it to market. The people with the backing you need won't spend 5 minutes watching a video for no reason.

posted by Malaconotus [51 posts]
17th May 2014 - 11:37


In my defence, this video was made to be played in the background on a loop at my degree show. I wanted a video for that and for Youtube, so I'm using the same one. Yes it could have been shorter, but It's a university project, it's meant to be a bit self-indulgent.

posted by fefelarue [3 posts]
17th May 2014 - 11:54


fefelarue wrote:
In my defence, this video was made to be played in the background on a loop at my degree show. I wanted a video for that and for Youtube, so I'm using the same one. Yes it could have been shorter, but It's a university project, it's meant to be a bit self-indulgent.

Stop defending the points we've rubbished and get on with making the improvements. I think it's a good product that could be a winner. I'd be willing to invest and I'm sure others would as well.

posted by darrenleroy [184 posts]
17th May 2014 - 16:18


fefelarue wrote:
In my defence, this video was made to be played in the background on a loop at my degree show. I wanted a video for that and for Youtube, so I'm using the same one. Yes it could have been shorter, but It's a university project, it's meant to be a bit self-indulgent.

Degree shows mostly consist of people wandering around looking for the next glass of cheap wine and sausage roll. You'll be doing well if you can keep their attention for 2 minutes so cut it short.

Anyway, good luck with it but you should definitely try it out on some non-fixie bikes like most people ride and see if the design still holds up.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [1011 posts]
17th May 2014 - 20:41


I like the idea of a velcro sock to carry a chain on a bicycle frame. Possibly this part of the design is the cleverest and most innovative?

I'm tempted to stitch together just such a sock to carry my f'in massive motorcycle chain that I use to lock my bicycle. Is this despicable patent infringement?

posted by severs1966 [168 posts]
17th May 2014 - 21:03


fefelarue wrote:
In my defence, this video was made to be played in the background on a loop at my degree show. I wanted a video for that and for Youtube, so I'm using the same one. Yes it could have been shorter, but It's a university project, it's meant to be a bit self-indulgent.

Not sure why everyone on here is so focused on the length of your film - they all seemed to watch it to the end! As someone who makes films for a living I could give you a long exhaustive list of how to improve it but it articulated the main points well and the product looks like a great idea. The film is not a commercial and does a perfectly adequate job of proving your concept - when you get to the stage of marketing it then you will need proper films of an appropriate length but until then don't worry.

Personally I like the padlock approach as detailed by PJ McNally above.


posted by jasecd [210 posts]
17th May 2014 - 21:05


Hey guys, I'm pleased to say that I'm now on Kickstarter Smile

posted by fefelarue [3 posts]
27th May 2014 - 16:03


Do I have to like Krypton Factor music to join the kickstarter?

Kevlar wrapped chains, great work. Not so keen on all the velcroing, the double-length half-thickness chain, or the padlock weak spot. Good effort though, top marks for kevlar.

posted by vbvb [365 posts]
27th May 2014 - 23:13

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