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BikeVault: can smart technology combat city centre bike theft? + video

An inch-thick steel bar secures your bike and system will send you a smartphone alert if it comes under attack

British company Admium has designed a new bike rack system called BikeVault that uses smart technology to protect your bike when left in a public place.

The idea is that you download a free BikeVault app that’ll allow you to find your closest parking space. Then you slot your bike in place, scan your BikeVault membership card, and use the manual controls to guide a locking bar through your bike’s rear triangle.

Your bike is then secured until you return and rescan the same membership card.

The Admium team says that the inch-thick steel bar that holds your bike in place is over 15 times harder than the strongest lock on the market.

"The locking bar undergoes a specialist heat treatment, where the steel is heated in a carbon rich atmosphere," says Admium's Michael Evans. "This fills holes in the molecular structure of the steel, bringing it close to the harness of diamond. It is then surface-treated a second time against rust, corrosion and metal on metal contact with the bicycle."


If the locking bar hits anything while it is sliding into place, smart sensors will cut the power until the path is clear, so it won’t destroy your frame or any spokes.

"To secure the front wheel, cyclists can either bring their existing bike cable lock or remove their front wheel and move it alongside the rear wheel, allowing the steel bar to pass through and secure both wheels," says Michael Evans.

"Our production model will incorporate a retractable cable for the front wheel should cyclists wish to use it, and can come equipped with a bank of bike tools and compressed air for pumping up tyres."


BikeVaults are intended to be sited in prominent places to deter theft, but what if someone does decide to attack the hardware?

“BikeVault is fitted with an array of sensors to protect your bike,” says Admium. “When BikeVault’s steel bar recognises the vibration of a cutting tool, its built-in AlarmCore will: trigger an alarm, send your smartphone a notification, and even initiate a full HD video recording of the attacker.”

Admium is scheduled to complete a two month pilot test period from January 2016. Once completed and any necessary adjustments made, it will be available for installations from April 2016.

"There has been a significant number of installation enquiries at everything from UK city councils and university campuses to Silicon Valley technology-giant office complexes and residential buildings," says Michael Evans.

Admium is based in Glasgow. The three designers behind the company - Mason Holden, Daniel Harkin and Michael Evans - met while studying Product Design Engineering at the Glasgow School of Art, where the BikeVault was conceived.

What do you think of the design? Let us know down below.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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