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Zefal’s Lock n’ roll security skewers are something of a missed opportunity to produce an imaginative and inexpensive deterrent to opportunist thieves when locking in the street, outside the café’ and other situations where bikes are left unattended for shorter periods. Standard quick releases in my experience invite unwelcome attention from the light fingered who may snatch a skewer should the bike, wheels and seat post be locked to an immobile object.
A locking skewer should offer the security of a lock combined with the convenience of a quick release, plus there’s no keys to loose or combination to forget and they’re quite pleasant to use. However, ours rolled over like the proverbial labrador puppy when faced with some heavy-duty pliers.
Available in the standard 100mm/135mm lengths the Lock 'n' Roll's black anodized finish looks classy while the Cro-moly rods have enough rigidity for successful pairings with wheels and forks up to and including suspension forks. Familiarise yourself with their operation, practicing locking/unlocking as the diagrams printed on the reverse could be more helpful. Grease them lightly before installing as usual; locking the skewers shut by turning them forty-five degrees. To unlock, raise the bike 45 degrees in the air and open the lever as usual. Purchase against the frame ends is generally very good and some off road singletrack sauntering couldn’t reveal any obvious problems with wheel retention.
In locked mode, attempts to prise them open with my hands proved reassuringly futile. However, a wander round the web suggested they were readily defeated using heavy-duty pliers or a magnet… The latter worked but I later discovered slight play in the skewer permitted this. Fully home and it wouldn’t budge but pliers demolished them in 48 seconds, freeing the front wheel Similarly holding the acorn end with pliers and rotating the cam also induced release. Configuring each so they open in a different position might slow ignorant, opportunist thieves to the point they go in search of easier pickings but regrettably the existing design is too easily overcome.
Nice idea but very vulnerable to attack using simple tools
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Make and model: Zefal Lock 'n' Roll skewers
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"Keyless antitheft system for wheels and saddle
Easy and quick mounting, no tool required.
The wheel antitheft substitutes the quick-release of the wheels
The saddle antitheft substitutes the quick-release of saddle clamp."
Our test set were too easily overcome using commonly available tools.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Alloy/resin and cro-moly skewers, locks by rotating the skewer forty five degrees and closing shut. Effecting release requires the bike raised 45degrees and opening the cam as usual.
Easily overcome using heavy pliers.
156g per set.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
When locked the cam wouldn't open by hand regardless of how hard I tugged but lifting the bike forty-five degrees and the system allows normal, smooth release-almost as if by magic. However, a quick internet search suggested certain weaknesses, including the use of a magnet. This tactic didn't work but our front skewer rolled over in twenty-six seconds like the proverbial Labrador when attacked with beefy pliers.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Novel idea, nice, smooth cam action.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Our test sample offered very little security.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, until the weaknesses became apparent
Would you consider buying the product? Not on the strength of our test set.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
The UK importer were very surprised by my findings and have requested their return for further testing so as to determine whether ours were simply a rogue set, or whether there is a specific weakness in the design.
Age: 36 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)