Bike theft mitigation techniques- tips?

So we’re hearing about quite a bit of bike theft recently, be it stealing components off bikes, or taking the whole damn bike.
It got me thinking, are there any special techniques that peeps employ to counter this rising trend?

As somebody who rides a road bike and locks it up on the street occasionally, I’d like to know what is better- removing the front wheel and locking it to the rear. Or should I be buying those ‘anti theft’ hollow hex skewers?

Interestingly, it seems Fitzroy is real a real bike-theft hotspot… obviously, because of all the poor hipster students? :evil:

i piss all over my bike.

Nobody wants to steal a bike that smells like piss.


you seem to like trying to piss on any thing though…

sounds more like a fetish…

and for those who whip skid for days…

In all seriousness though, you could glue ball bearings in your any small Allen key bolts (stem, seat post, binder bolder). The glue can easily be dissolved with Metho etc at a later time if need be.

If I’m looking my bike up for a long time where I cant see it, it’s a U-lock through the rear wheel and frame (seat tube) to a pole and a Kryptonite cable lock through the front wheel.

Or you could just piss on it.

But (touch wood) the worst I’ve heard happening in Adelaide lately is people kicking in wheels, and this is to bikes they have been left over night in the CDD.

There’s a tonne of good reading out there for locking techniques/theft prevention. The trick is working out what extent you want to go to, and weight/nuisance pemalty. this isnt NY/Toronto/SF where people are lifting seats and bars but some care seems to be necessary.

I will say that melbourne locks up way less securely than any north american city ive been to. solely frame locking a nice looking/shiny bike (which i see all the time) in dark areas of the CBD/inner suburbs makes me feel nervous for the owner, but it seems i’m on the over-cautious end of the scale.

simple tips ive seen and learnt:

  • zip tie your QR levers (if you dont want to go to locking skewers)
  • always lock one wheel with your frame… your choice whether its front (easier to remove) or rear (via the sheldon method - more expensive wheel)
  • if you lock your bike in the same place everyday and all-day think about where that is, how visible it is and consider leaving some more ‘serious’ security. i have 6’ foot of marine chain, with an old inner tube covering it that i leave at work. all provided by the friendly folks @ bunnings. it looks pretty heavy-duty and with a good padlock it provide me a lot of mental security (though i recognise it isnt as good as the 6-sided krypto chains).
  • i have one of the 6’ cables that krypto and on-guard make and it comes out for those times when im just not sure i want both wheels unsecured (or for when i have my roadie which wont let me lock frame and front wheel). they are even cheaper if you can convince the shop to separate one of the lock and cable packages that they sell them as :wink:
  • my girlfriend is usually kind enough to lock her (less attractive) bike on top of mine, thus providing a ‘shield’ for those looking for a quick rip-off.
  • its sounds simple, but pulling off all your saddle bags/lights/removables will help you as well. if someone who sees something easy to walk off with comes over to ‘remove’ that and then sees that you may have made another locking mistake then they are encouraged to ‘upsize’ their crime.

ultimately, if someone really wants your bike theres nothing that can be done to stop them taking it. the basic idea is to make it easier/more attractive to look somewhere else as most bike thefts are crimes of opportunity.

Pitlock products will secure your wheels/stem ( and thus fork)/v-brakes/seatpost leaving you free just to lock any part of the bike to a solid object. Saddle is still at risk unless you have a security M6 bolt. Likewise for stem faceplates, bidon cages, etc.

Zefal make QR skewers that only work when the bike is upside down, so you can frame lock the bike and as long as it can’t be rotated you’re golden.

Allen / 5 sided skewers are a deterrent, but those 5 sided tools aren’t hard to come by.

I agree that most thefts are opportunistic, secure it reasonably well and don’t leave it in shady areas for long periods and you’ll be ok. Otherwise, as Nik says, if it’s a target, nothing will stop a battery powered angle grinder with a cutting disc.

I have a pitlock QR on the front, and usually just Sheldon lock the rear wheel, the worst that’s likely to happen is I lose my seat&post, (or someone brings a lockring wrench and takes the front half of my bike. :roll: )

This worked fine in Vancouver/Seattle/Portland/San Francisco, worst thing that happened were kids borrowing my bottles for water fights in downtown SF.

I’d never leave a bike in the city overnight due to all the stomped bikes I’ve seen.

I just checked out that method- it’s funny because you don’t actually put the lock through the frame at all- just the rear wheel.
Is this completely safe- I just can’t get my head around it!

Yeah I thought that too but now I always lock my bike this way, the wheel is locked in the rear of the frame so the frame isn’t going anywhere. But I don’t really have a choice as my frame has an oversized seat tube making it impossible to fit both the wheel and tube in a mini evo

i try to lock through the rearwheel and the seat stays, secures both the frame and hardest wheel to replace. seems very safe to me, and the lock still fits round most stuff. i guess if you locked just through the rim, it wouldn’t be super hard to hacksaw through it. though it sounds prett y major

BSC sells the krypto cables seperately, but i found it was just really awkward and always in the way when locking up, getting caught on stuff, snagging in my bag etc, i lost it somewhere a while ago.

With my potatospoke, even though it’s ridiculously close to the frame, I can’t lock the wheel and seat tube together to a pole, the rim is too deep. I have to lock it Sheldon Style.

read the article… think about it.

take 2 aspirin and if pain persists call an engineer in the morning :roll:

I understand the logic, but it just doesn’t feel right… :expressionless:

I used to lock up via the Sheldon method, until I saw a video of a guy hacksawing through a rear wheel & tyre in about 30 seconds. I can’t find it now, anyone?

I concluded that in all the 1000’s of Sheldon pages, he was wrong once, thus proving both that he was human, and a god of a man.


So it’s true- you can easily saw through a rear wheel?

If they are prepared to hacksaw a wheel then see my previous point… they are taking your bike (almost) however you have locked it. the kind of theif who carries a hacksaw/boltcutters is one that is hard to deter.

Krypto mini-u’s take a few minutes to hacksaw through (depending on strrength and saw ability) or with some long boltcutters can be ‘popped’ in about 5-10mins. i’ve seen both done… (by friends who lost their keys).

The point with the ‘sheldon method’ (to me) is that if can only lock one wheel this is a very good way of locking your rear wheel (if thats your choice/or only option).

horatio: i thought you worked as an industrial designer? surely you have worked with power tools before? you can cut any piece of metal (especially a relatively thin one that can buckle/taco like a rim) with a basic saw.

cutting a tyre would make quite a bang id expect though :-o

Was never my strength… :mrgreen: I like designing for the ‘virtual world’ lol.
Ask Damoh- I studied with him too.

What exactly do you mean by this?