5 Things Bike Lock Companies Don’t Want You to Know
The loss is real when you return to where you left your motorcycle or expensive bicycle to find it missing. Police departments don’t actively pursue bike thieves, and the best you can do when your property is stolen is file a report.
Unfortunately, even locking your bike doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe. Here are five things that the companies who manufacture even the most highly rated locks don’t want you to know about their product.
1) It takes only seconds and an easily purchasable tool to cut through almost any bike lock.
A lot of people think bike or motorcycle thieves pick locks. But that only works for simpler locks — the kind you can pick with a pen. In most cases, it’s faster and easier to cut directly through the surrounding mechanism while avoiding the actual lock. Hand-held cable cutters will do the job quickly on cable locks, and hacksaws take care of chains, cheap U-locks, and cable locks.
Some people think thieves use fancy hydraulic bottle jacks to pop locks. That’s a slight misconception: only a portable, battery-powered angle grinder will cut through any lock. In fact, innovation in power tools is making them faster, stronger, and more portable. Angle grinders are available at most hardware stores, and these power tools have far outpaced the technology behind most bike locks.
2) Smart Locks don’t deter determined thieves.
An increasing number of companies are leaning on electronic lock features, like alarms, Bluetooth connectivity, smartphone-enabled features, and even fingerprint readers to deter thieves. Unfortunately, all these pricey techno-toys don’t really work.
It’s easy for most thieves to hack smartlocks. And the angle grinders most thieves use are louder than most locks’ alarms, so it’s unlikely that anyone will actually recognize that there’s a problem. (The angle grinder alone isn’t an indicator of trouble — cities are full of strange noises, after all.)
By the time your smartphone notifies you your bike or motorcycle’s been tampered with, it’s likely your ride is already gone. And disabling an electronic system’s GPS is easy — oftentimes all it takes is an inexpensive taser to short out the device. To add insult to injury, many smartlocks take even less time to cut than one you’d find at your local Target. All these locks offer is a false sense of security.
3) Bike theft is a virtually risk-free crime …
If you know cyclists, you probably know someone who’s had their bike or motorcycle stolen. It’s even less likely you know someone who’s ever gotten it recovered, and you probably haven’t heard of any bike thieves getting caught.
Stealing bikes (and even motorcycles) is, unfortunately, one of the safest crimes there is. There are rarely any witnesses (if the crook’s smart), and they get away from the scene of the crime lightning-fast (on their brand new bike) and leave no real evidence.
Police departments take reports of bicycle thefts, but they rarely pursue them, because it’s so unlikely they’ll ever find the culprit. One of the incidents that inspired the SKUNKLOCK, the victim even provided a photo obtained from a bystander of the bike thief doing the dirty deed… but there was nothing the cops could do. The cold hard truth is that if your bike or motorcycle is stolen, you may have a better chance of winning the lottery than you do getting it back.
4) The “Sold Secure Gold” Standard isn’t a guarantee.
Stealing bikes and motorcycles is fast and efficient for career bike thieves that are equipped with the right tools. The difference between a “Sold Secure Bronze” lock and a “Sold Secure Gold”, other than the price tag, can be as little as just a few seconds of cutting time with a top-of-the-line angle grinder.
The Gold classification brands locks that can withstand an attack for “five minutes with a wide array of tools”, while the bronze requires only “a minute with basic tools”. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for experienced thieves or someone that knows their way around an angle grinder.
5) Making a claim on an anti-theft protection offer is nearly impossible.
Bike or motorcycle theft insurance is reliable, but costly. In light of that price tag, most people opt for the anti-theft protection that comes with their lock.
But if your ride is stolen and you try to make an anti-theft claim with the bike lock company, it’s very unlikely that you’ll succeed. Most lock companies don’t want to admit that an angle grinder is unstoppable.
What’s more, most companies create a long list of requirements you must meet to be eligible for a claim. Here are a few items on most companies’ lists:
- You must register the lock online within two weeks of purchasing the lock. In some cases, there’s a “registration fee.”
- You must report the theft to the police within 72 hours and send the lock company all the required paperwork within seven days of the theft.
- You must submit (via certified mail with return receipt at your expense) your lock receipt, your bicycle or motorcycle’s receipt, proof that you reported the theft to the police, your lock registration confirmation, and the broken lock with at least one key. (Thieves generally take the lock with them — it’s bad form to leave evidence at a crime scene, after all.)
- The theft protection is only good for one year.
- Some bike lock manufacturers blatantly refuse to honor any guarantee if there’s evidence that “torches, battery operated tools, or any power tools, including hydraulic tools, were used to open or cut the lock.” Unfortunately, power tools are just about the only thing that thieves do use.
The majority of companies don’t like to acknowledge that angle grinders exist, much less that they can cut through their toughest recommended bike and motorcycle locks in seconds. It’s bad for business to admit that bike locks don’t protect against theft — but ineffective locks are good for business, because you’ll keep buying more once you replace your bike.
To really keep your transportation safe, you need access to a different category of deterrent lock. The SKUNKLOCK DT-Lock is a practical solution to theft that’s far less expensive than paying through the nose for insurance. It doesn’t come with the extra weight or complicated mechanisms of other premium bike locks. SKUNKLOCK releases noxious chemicals when thieves try to cut through your lock, which makes it a bad idea.
Don’t rely on traditional, easy-to-beat locks. By choosing SKUNKLOCK, you’ll make the theft of your valuable property too difficult and unpleasant for thieves, and you’ll be riding your bike for years to come.
CEO | SkunkLock, Inc.