I'm looking for a bike (road bike) in Paris, to move around and avoid train and subways. The only thing that I don't want, is to see my bike stolen a week after I bought it.

What are the good ideas to keep it's bike when riding in town ? What equipments can be put to avoid parts to be stolen (like the seat, the wheels etc.) ?


Are there any cheep brands that sell bikes with equipment that cannot be taken from the bike ?

  • The main things that can be stolen off a bike are the wheels (especially the front), the seat, and, sometimes, the pedals. These parts can be removed, locked somehow (eg, a cable lock through the seat rails), or secured with tamper-resistant fasteners. Jan 19, 2016 at 20:08
  • Take the time to lock it properly, every time you leave it. Don't leave it outside at night, ever, even if it is locked.
    – Criggie
    Jan 19, 2016 at 20:30
  • I changed the title because you seem concerned with stuff being stolen rather than bits falling off.
    – Móż
    Jan 19, 2016 at 20:48
  • @DanielRHicks I've had handlebars (with shifters etc) stolen once.
    – Móż
    Jan 19, 2016 at 20:49
  • @Mσᶎ See my answer. More reason for SS.
    – paparazzo
    Jan 19, 2016 at 20:54

5 Answers 5


There are various proprietary brands of security hardware such as pinhead and pitlock. I use the former on both my bikes, for the wheels (QR and nutted), headset, saddle and seat post. Pinhead fittings at least are stocked both side of the Atlantic (I suggest with either that you buy a spare key at the same time).

The bike I keep outside has further features: wherever possible, accessories (such as the bottle cage and pannier rack, even the bracket for a removable light) are attached using anti-tamper torx screws (picture is of the tool).anti tamper torx driver The tool is readily available if uncommon, so it is mainly a deterrent against casual thieves but so far so good. I had a whole front light attached this way and half the light was taken/vandalised shop that may give you an idea of the limits to this approach.

You need a good locking strategy. I use a D-lock through the back wheel, both chain stays and a bike rack, work a separate cable lock through the front wheel, front triangle, helmet and rack. This means both wheels are protected by locks not just security fasteners.

Consider not always locking the bike on the same place. I have a choice of racks outside the station overnight, but lock it inside the station for weekends or longer (it takes long enough getting it out of the station that it would be quicker to walk than do it every day).

I use a cheap bike for this, which is a further deterrent. We have questions here about how to make bikes (and by extension their components) unattractive to thieves.

I have failed to find lights etc. designed for secure mounting, instead the manufacturers have gone the opposite way and made them easy to remove. I've had some success modifying clip-on lights to fit with screws (e.g. glue the 2 parts of the clip together)

  • I'll try to add some links when I'm not on a flaky mobile signal.
    – Chris H
    Jan 19, 2016 at 17:44
  • Thank you very much with all your advices. Is it possible to have a cheap bike (not more than 200€/$) that can be a good bike, and well equiped ? Thank you again for the links, and the different posts.
    – Vincent G
    Jan 19, 2016 at 23:50
  • @VinceG "good" is the hard part here. My cheap bike cost less than that (second hand of course) including some parts and the locks. It's good for not getting stolen, and good for not depreciating in value when kept outside. I actually find it quite a nice ride on poor quality urban roads, but it would be dreadful on day-long rides. This (winter, northern hemisphere assumed given the context) is a good time of year to pick up bikes (new and second hand) if you're looking for value
    – Chris H
    Jan 20, 2016 at 8:47

For those of you that want to commute on a nice bike in bad neighborhoods, let me give you a few tricks that have served me well.

  1. Replace all quick release fixtures with tooled fixtures. This is generally a small investment.
  2. Take a black marker to all component markings, making all those Deore XT's look at first glance like no-name-brand cheapo components.
  3. Either give your bike a crappy paint job -- spray paint some garish, noticeable color. Dont' bother making it beautiful, but make sure any brand markings or indication of quality of bike disappear. An easy alternative here is to wrap the frame in packing tape, which will make your bike look like a beater, but preserve the original finish if you ever want to resell it.
  4. Use a good lock, but it should look old and beat up, not like you take your bike too seriously.

In my experience, which is sadly rather high, bike thieves tend to look for shiny, and easy targets of opportunity. Camouflaging your bike as a beater will cause most to simply scan right over it.

Incidentally, the following happened to my roommate in Paris, with a brand new $3K mountain bike: He pulled up to a fixture of some sort, leaned his bike against the fixture, and started fishing around in his bag for a lock. Whilst doing so, a thief road up on a beater bike, sprung off said beater, sprung on roommates fancy pride and joy, and road off while my roommate looked on in shock and horror.

Probably wouldn't have happened if his bike looked like a beater.

A further tip is to look for a good locking place -- somewhere with nice bikes on parade, in view of gendarmarie, or in view of many cyclists (where a thief might suppose you are among said cyclists) are good choices, as is underneath a security camera, such as those typically found in car parks. Finally, workplaces often have a sheltered area where you can lock your bike in relative safety.

Last but not least, you can leave the QR for your bike seat, and take the seat with you when you are leaving the bike for an extended time. This tends to be quite discouraging as it both makes your bike look like an abandoned beater, and makes riding off on your bike uncomfortable.

  • Suggestion for point 3 - take photos of the bike before doing the paint job. The "matt black paint" trend (mostly in BMX) makes them super hard to identify later.
    – Criggie
    Dec 6, 2017 at 22:16

This has to be a dup.

First step is get the cheapest bike that does what you need. One it is a lower theft target and two if it gets stolen it hurts less.

Buy used.

Single speed is cheaper, less to steal, and rear wheel is already semi secured.

This is my $400 used city commuter - add $80 big u lock. Just remove the front wheel and lock it all to something solid. Take the lights with you. If they steal the post and seat I can still ride home and I am out all of $40. And this bike is a very nice city ride. enter image description here

  • 1
    That has to be the nicest commuter I've seen.
    – RoboKaren
    Jan 20, 2016 at 0:43

Some ideas to keep the equipment on the bike are:

  • superglue small ball bearing in any hex heads to deter quick removal of that particular part, and
  • wrap a section of old bicycle chain through the seat stays and a rail of the saddle to prevent the saddle and seatpost from being removed.

I would highly advise to just get a cheap second hand bike and a good lock. A new bike is the main target for casual robbers which are the most and there isn't much you can do against professional ones(who go for expensive stuff manly in order to sell in pieces). So getting a cheap in first place and second hand(dirty old looking) in second place will make them just unwilling to make the effort to steal it and even more if it have a quality lock on it.

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