Decent (Enough) Short-Duration Locks

by Quince   July 23, 2014  

Hello! This is the first time I've made a plea for the road.cc forum's collective wisdom, so I'm sorry if I've done someone silly - but I have a bike problem I'd like advice on ASAP. Namely, what sort of lock to use for short stops on longer rides in which you don't want to drag along a 10 tonne Lock of Doom (and a pannier in which to hold it)?

I do a fair amount of riding on my own, and on the longer rides it's nice to have the assurance of being able to disappear inside a shop for a minute to top up on supplies without leaving the bike naked and vulnerable in the street. I'll own a relatively expensive race bike within the next few weeks, and I'm struggling with the paradox of either; not taking a lock and being limited in how far I can cycle by my inability to stock up of supplies; OR by taking my ultra chunky lock and having the entire point of my racy speed machine cruely nullified. My current solution is to get some sort of lighter, flimsier lock to stick in a jersey pocket (I have a pretty large 'ballast pocket' in which to stick it) and hope it offers enough protection to deter people for the minute or so I may be away.

I'd like to hear how other people manage refuelling stops outside of sportiness or having watchful riding partners, and if there are any lighter, portable locks to recommend that aren't completely awful.

Thank you.

20 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

I use one of these. the cables and the lock fit in a jersey, or the cables can be wound around the steerer tube, or seat post.

https://www.kryptonitelock.com/Pages/ProductInformation.aspx?PNumber=000440

Certainly NOT secure for overnight locking in the Bronx!

posted by wakou [82 posts]
23rd July 2014 - 8:08

3 Likes

For short stops I use a thin cable (combination lock) 'cafe lock'. Easily fits in a pocket or seat pack. If I'm stopping for longer and the bike's out of sight, with a greater risk of theft, I've devised a way of carrying a mini U lock (Abus or Kryptonite do them). I use one of the strap-on (through the seat rails) seat packs, wedge the shackle between the seat and the pack, with the barrel in the seat pack. I put the U lock through the spokes and one of the seat stays (works OK with the average town bike stand); cafe lock to stop someone taking off the front wheel. I recently had a short ride back from a pub and, to save time, just shoved the shackle in a jersey pocket. Didn't really notice it as much as I thought. The U lock is a bit of weight, but then rather that than having the bike nicked.

Shades

posted by Shades [213 posts]
23rd July 2014 - 9:48

1 Like

On the summerbike I have a thin coiled cable combination lock, too. Folded up, its the size of two matchboxes and does not weigh much at all. Only good for stopping the occasional drunk jerk, though. But it's only for café stops and such. The bike has no theft protection for the wheels or saddle, but then the bike and its components are so old and beaten up they probably are of no interest to a regular thief.
Got a heavy-duty folding lock on my winter bike, which one actually might be of more interest to a bike thief. I don't really use the lock that often, usually my winter rides are not long enough to require a pause mid ride. I can't say the weight of the lock have bothered me much the times I've taken the lock with me, but then the winter bike is a chunky 29er that is somewhat heavy on its own already. The lock rides in a pocket that attaches to and reserves for it self a pair of bottle cage bosses.

You might want to look into replacing the quick release skewers on the wheels with lockable ones. I have no experience with such, but the idea seems reasonable.

Zombies don't ride bikes.

posted by Markus [41 posts]
23rd July 2014 - 11:02

2 Likes

Thank you all. I'm really only interested in something that should suffice for a minute or so in broad daylight. I do own a heavy duty D-lock, which gets a lot of use, but I can only really use it when I'm carrying my backpack or panniers. The Kryptonite looks great. I'm under no illusions that it could survive anyone who actually went out intending to steal a bike, but it's still a lot better than leaving up unlocked where ANYONE could take it, tools or not. I'm hoping that if I stop at a small village shop, there will be a decent chance that someone won't walk past with wire clippers in the minute it takes me to buy something.

Thanks for the advice.

posted by Quince [153 posts]
23rd July 2014 - 11:10

2 Likes

I wrestled with the same dilemma a few years back, and then gave in and decided not to carry a lock at all. I frequently stop in village shops and, in the small villages you mostly encounter in the countryside, there's nothing to worry about from a theft point of view. Leave the bike somewhere near the door, pop in and out and you're done. In busier areas, I stop on garage forecourts where there's big windows (so the attendant can see all the pumps) and lots of CCTV. Again, low theft risk for those reasons. Ultimately, I didn't want to carry anything more than I really needed, and sticking to the plans above I feel pretty comfortable that my bike won't go anywhere without me!

posted by step-hent [694 posts]
23rd July 2014 - 13:25

3 Likes

Unfortunately the garage forecourt scenario is one where bikes often are stolen. I'm yet to be that unlucky, but I did once come back to my bike after leaving it for about a minute to find the seatpost toolbag open. Multitool, patches and spare tube taken, some people are real pikeys!

The amazing thing is, I would have been in sight of it, I just had my back to it to use a cash machine.

It would be nice to see some more integrated solutions for this sort of use. I vaguely remember some design that had the cable integrated into the seatpost, which seems quite a good idea.

posted by bikebot [641 posts]
23rd July 2014 - 13:51

3 Likes

I bought a retractable wire lock for my kids to use at primary school but it was prone to sticking and the plastic case doesn't look very robust; one sharp tug and it may fall apart.

I would suggest a coil cable combination lock, you can wind it round the seat post or head tube when not in use:

http://www.halfords.com/cycling/accessories/locks/halfords-resettable-co...
http://www.wiggle.co.uk/abus-numero-1300-cable-bike-lock/

Anyone thinking that their bike won't get nicked in rural areas is kidding themselves, I have heard about a number of bikes being nicked after being left for just a few minutes. And bear in mind that any insurance will be invalidated if you didn't bother locking it to something.

How upset will you be if it disappears? If you value it then lock it up.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2000 posts]
23rd July 2014 - 14:44

4 Likes

Yes, I can't really bear the idea of leaving something unlocked entirely. While I'm unhappy with even using a flimsy lock for a few minutes, I suspect the probability of someone walking past in those few minutes with a pair of rudimentary wirecutters and an incentive to steal, while not 0, is significantly smaller than the probability of ANYONE walking past with an incentive to steal.

I've had too many bikes stolen over the years to feel comfortable leaving my bike pretty much anywhere. I've got a £100 Kryptonite 10/10 Gold Standard blah blah blah mini D-lock for my normal use, and my main faith in using in London for any period of time is that there are probably more expensive bikes with cheaper locks for people to pick on.

The idea of using a flimsy lock on a carbon racer feels like leaving a baby in a buggy on the edge of a cliff, but it's surely better than nothing. At least the few seconds someone would have to contemplate breaking into it are an advantage.

posted by Quince [153 posts]
23rd July 2014 - 19:25

2 Likes

Quince wrote:
The idea of using a flimsy lock on a carbon racer feels like leaving a baby in a buggy on the edge of a cliff

So don't do it!

The coiled cable locks aren't much heavier but, while they don't provide maximum security, they are considerably more substantial. If nothing else, they show more clearly that the bike is locked to something.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2000 posts]
25th July 2014 - 12:39

2 Likes

I have a Kryptonite coiled cable lock - it's 600grams, but can be mounted on the seatpost which is a reasonably out-of-the-way place for it. It's strong enough to resist casual impact attacks but as you say, if someone happens to have bolt cutters with them there's not much you can do.

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

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [897 posts]
25th July 2014 - 13:30

2 Likes

You could try one of these.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Targus-Defcon-Anti-Theft-System-PA400E/dp/B002EA...

I use it along with a fairly light weight coil/combination lock. It's loud enough to make you aware somebody is messing with your bike. It has both motion sensor and cable tamper. It'll sit in a jersey pocket along with your gels or whatever.

posted by AWP [77 posts]
25th July 2014 - 14:25

2 Likes

Simon E wrote:
Quince wrote:
The idea of using a flimsy lock on a carbon racer feels like leaving a baby in a buggy on the edge of a cliff

So don't do it!

The coiled cable locks aren't much heavier but, while they don't provide maximum security, they are considerably more substantial. If nothing else, they show more clearly that the bike is locked to something.

After the number of bikes I've gone through - even with half-decent locks - I'm prone to view anything less than a £100 D lock as flimsy. Wink

Do you think the combination locks you've recommended would outperform the original Kryptonite recommended?

posted by Quince [153 posts]
25th July 2014 - 19:17

2 Likes

Quince wrote:
Do you think the combination locks you've recommended would outperform the original Kryptonite recommended?

The product page says the Krypto is 10mm, so a similar thickness. That bracket bolts to the bike, which looks convenient but takes up a bottle cage bracket. And it's 840g, which isn't light.

The Halfords lock weighs less than 300g. More importantly, I'd choose it because it's simpler - I can wrap it where I want, drop in my rucksack or swap it between bicycles. And no key to carry... or leave behind on the kitchen table.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2000 posts]
25th July 2014 - 22:28

3 Likes

AWP wrote:
You could try one of these.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Targus-Defcon-Anti-Theft-System-PA400E/dp/B002EA...

I use it along with a fairly light weight coil/combination lock. It's loud enough to make you aware somebody is messing with your bike. It has both motion sensor and cable tamper. It'll sit in a jersey pocket along with your gels or whatever.


Is that anything like this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SITYhXlE8GQ

posted by truffy [368 posts]
25th July 2014 - 22:43

2 Likes

As an additional back up measure when using a lock you aren't fully happy with, why not unship the chain as well? This will give you an extra bit of time if someone does try to jump and pedal away-just remember to put it back on before you try to pedal off as well though!

Otis Bragg's picture

posted by Otis Bragg [123 posts]
26th July 2014 - 1:24

3 Likes

wakou wrote:
I use one of these. the cables and the lock fit in a jersey, or the cables can be wound around the steerer tube, or seat post.

https://www.kryptonitelock.com/Pages/ProductInformation.aspx?PNumber=000440

Certainly NOT secure for overnight locking in the Bronx!

+1 for the Defcon 1 if out for a 'fast' run. Enough security for a quick run into a shop / cafe / toilet. Plenty noise if someone so much as touches it. Very sensitive!

Would only be my tourer I would be leaving locked in town / station for anything up to a few hours, and use a heavy shackle + armoured steel cable then.

posted by kennethsross [16 posts]
26th July 2014 - 10:23

2 Likes

truffy wrote:
AWP wrote:
You could try one of these.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Targus-Defcon-Anti-Theft-System-PA400E/dp/B002EA...

I use it along with a fairly light weight coil/combination lock. It's loud enough to make you aware somebody is messing with your bike. It has both motion sensor and cable tamper. It'll sit in a jersey pocket along with your gels or whatever.


Is that anything like this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SITYhXlE8GQ

That's an earlier version. I've double checked mine and that hack does not work.

Thanks for pointing it out though.

posted by AWP [77 posts]
28th July 2014 - 17:02

2 Likes

Those Defcon locks look like they're good fun & compact.
I think I'll check those out.
Cheers

Noelieboy's picture

posted by Noelieboy [92 posts]
29th July 2014 - 10:27

1 Like

Otis Bragg wrote:
As an additional back up measure when using a lock you aren't fully happy with, why not unship the chain as well? This will give you an extra bit of time if someone does try to jump and pedal away-just remember to put it back on before you try to pedal off as well though!

That's a great idea. Could also try winding out the brake barrel adjusters to lock the brakes on. Only takes a few seconds to put right afterwards.

posted by step-hent [694 posts]
29th July 2014 - 13:04

1 Like

truffy wrote:
AWP wrote:
You could try one of these.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Targus-Defcon-Anti-Theft-System-PA400E/dp/B002EA...

I use it along with a fairly light weight coil/combination lock. It's loud enough to make you aware somebody is messing with your bike. It has both motion sensor and cable tamper. It'll sit in a jersey pocket along with your gels or whatever.


Is that anything like this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SITYhXlE8GQ

[[[[[ So---avoid avoid avoid the "Targus-Defcon Anti- PA400Etheft....see YouTube demonstration. Ridiculous!

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [293 posts]
29th July 2014 - 13:35

1 Like