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I have a Trek 3500 that I need to lock up when I ride city trails, but I have been nervous as both of the wheels are incredibly easy to remove (flip a switch, rotate a lever a few times and they detach in seconds.)

I purchased a cable lock assuming it would be sufficient, but the more I read here about how easy cable locks are to remove I'm getting a little nervous as bike theft is a pretty big problem in my area.

Is a combination of a cable and a U-Lock the best? I purchased a decent (but not high end) cable lock, and I reviewed most of the suggestions for locks found in Best bike lock and the other threads. However the cost of a combination of these locks is around $120+.

In the end, its not the money (as having to buy a new bike obviously wouldn't be good), but is it worth it to invest so much into a combination of lock systems?

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  • Rather than purchasing both a cable lock and a U lock, purchase a U lock and a cable. Thread the U lock through the cable. Depending on how much security you feel you need you can get a lightweight cable put together at a hardware store, or invest in a heavy-duty cable. Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 22:52
  • Lots of possible duplicates: bicycles.stackexchange.com/search?q=Best+available+lock
    – zenbike
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 3:11
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    If the wheels are quick release, you could always detach the front one, put it alongside the rear one, and have your lock run through both (and around the frame as well, of course!)
    – GordonM
    Commented Jan 21, 2013 at 14:25

3 Answers 3

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Perhaps you might swap your current quick-release skewers by one of the many "anti-theft" alternatives (listed in my perceived order of security):

  1. Pitlock (www.pitlock.com): these require a special shaped key to open. You carry the keys with you, and no thief could take the wheel. Neither yourself if you lose the damn key;
  2. Velo Orange anti-theft skewers: a 5mm allen bolt with a pin inside. Need a special 5mm allen key with a drilled tip, to open. VERY clever... No thief in the world would have this drilled key;
  3. Gravity-activated skewers, like this one by Zéfal: there is some moving part inside the skewers acting as a lock on certain bike positions. When your bike is locked to something else, it cannot be turned upside down so it's impossible to take the wheels away;
  4. "Numbered padlock" style skewer: these have those infamous numbered dials. You have to match a secret code to open the skewer. Although one can try to guess the number, there are 1000 combinations on the 3-digit models. Don't know how they react to weather and dirt, though...

There are a number of other alternatives. The main idea is to replace the quick-release skewers for some anti-theft ones, so the wheels (and maybe seatpost) don't need to be locked, only the bike frame.

Hope this helps.

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  • nice answer. i'm thinking about picking some of these up myself. do you have any of these?
    – fady
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 17:03
  • @fady actually I have a front hub with generator. It came with a regular 5mm allen skewer. Not so save as the Velo Orange special one, but for quick errands I think I am safe. Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 17:13
  • Thank you! I didn't realize this was an option!
    – Mellissa
    Commented Apr 13, 2012 at 19:12
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    "No thief in the world would have this drilled key" I wouldn't rely on that. I'd like to find out more about the Gravity-activated skewers as they sound like the best option to me. I wonder if the moving part could be 'released' by a sudden jerk of the bike?
    – PhilJ
    Commented Apr 14, 2012 at 17:26
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    I'm very tempted to buy a couple. I'd spray paint over the logo and 'anti-theft system' so they look like normal skewers
    – PhilJ
    Commented Apr 14, 2012 at 17:41
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my bike was stolen recently (in SF) with a basic ulock, so i decided to get a chain lock & and abus ulock for the front tire/frame. (abus locks our light but with no compromise to protection) If one were looking to have maximum protection, i'd think both of these locks would do the trick.

OnGuard Beast 5017 Bicycle Chain Lock

Abus Granit Futura 64 Mini Shackle Bicycle U Lock - 150mm

edit: well, i would recommend the abus lock, as it has the same protection level as kryptonite / on guard locks, but is a lot lighter in weight, which is nice. i had my previous kryptonite lock broken into, so i decided to try another brand. the on guard chain is a little overkill, but it will certainly get the job done.

i would use the ulock for the front tire and frame and then loop the chain lock around the back tire and through the ulock. the chain is heavy, so i recommend wrapping it around your waist when riding, NOT around your shoulder.

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  • We're looking for answers with more detail. Please give us some reasons and explanation, not just some links. Why are those a good solution?
    – freiheit
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 20:42
  • sorry about that freiheit. i added some more info :)
    – fady
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 21:01
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I present to you the Modified Sheldon Brown Method which I use regularly on most of my bicycles.

Sheldon Brown’s Lock Strategy is often referred to as a preferred method for ease and security. It involves using a mini u-lock to lock the rear wheel to a bike rack between the rear triangle of the bike frame. This accomplishes two things, it secures the rear wheel (2nd most expensive part of the bike) and the frame cannot be stolen unless the rear wheel is completely sawed through. See Sheldon’s page for detail.

[…I use] an OnGuard mini u-lock securing the rear wheel, frame (via one chain stay) and front wheel using a 4′ accessory cable. It is locked to a 2″ pipe, the same diameter tubing used for most bike racks. If you lock your bike like this, chances are it’s going to be the most securely locked bike on the rack.

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  • This this this. Probably doesn't mean buying a new lock for most people, or screwing around with different skewers. You might need to buy an extra cable (or chain, depending on where you live) for the front tire, but that's it. Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 17:55
  • recommend you lock that higher. some people actually steal bikes with a brick and hammer. place brick under lock, hammer the lock, walk away on your bike.
    – gcb
    Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 18:12
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    @gcb how is this any different than hammering the lock against the bike rack? In any case, I'll take my chances. Whenever possible I always lock my bike next to one that is nicer and less securely locked. Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 2:53

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