Win a REFLECT360 Cycling Jacket from Proviz Sports

November 18, 2019

Enter to win a REFLECT360 Cycling Jacket from Proviz Sports! To reflect on a stand-out year at Project 529 we have teamed up with Proviz, the world’s #1 high-viz sports brand. The premium British brand is renowned...

Bike Theft Victim Do’s and Don’ts

December 19, 2018
/   About Us

Bike Theft Victim Do’s and Don’ts We hope you never have to deal with having your bike stolen but if you do, here are some tips: DO… Report the crime to police either in...

Vancouver Police Media Event – Monday 10/29/18

October 26, 2018

Vancouver recognized as global leader in fighting bike theft VANCOUVER, B.C. (Friday, Oct. 26, 2018) – Members of the media are invited to this important announcement that will detail how Vancouver has been recognized...

GPS – The bike theft silver bullet?

July 25, 2017
/   Annie Answers

Dear Annie,  I left my iPhone on the bus last winter and recovered it using the “Find my iPhone” feature from my computer. Seems that doing the same kind of thing for bikes would...

Unlocking the lonely U-lock mystery

July 11, 2017
/   Annie Answers

Annie –  I’ve been trying to a better job with my bike locking since my brother’s bike got stolen last year. I think I have a pretty good sense for how thieves take advantage...

Our Next Step in Attacking Bike Theft

January 31, 2017
/   529 Team

Today we’re announcing the merger of the largest and longest running online bike registry on the Internet — the National Bike Registry —with our modern bicycle registration, reporting and recovery platform, the 529 Garage. The merger...

Project 529™ Acquires National Bike Registry

/   529 Team

National Bike Registry and 529 Garage have joined forces to fight bike theft, creating the largest and most advanced bike registry in North America. January 31, 2017. Today, Project 529 announced the acquisition and...

Have You Seen Our Bike (Round 2)

July 27, 2014
/   Event Announcements

Bicycle theft is an epidemic, and it’s time we, as a community, come together to squelch it’s free reign. That’s why we developed the 529 Garage website and app: to enable local cyclists to work together...

It’s a Wrap!

December 8, 2014
/   529 Team

We wrapped the petition up last Tuesday with the final tally coming in at… …supporters asking eBay and Craigslist to require serial numbers on bike listings. Whoa, that’s sounds like a lot. Just how big...

Our Next Step in Attacking Bike Theft

January 31, 2017
/   529 Team

Today we’re announcing the merger of the largest and longest running online bike registry on the Internet — the National Bike Registry —with our modern bicycle registration, reporting and recovery platform, the 529 Garage. The merger...

Bike Theft Victim Do’s and Don’ts

December 19, 2018
/   About Us

Bike Theft Victim Do’s and Don’ts We hope you never have to deal with having your bike stolen but if you do, here are some tips: DO… Report the crime to police either in...

Engineering the future of bike security

April 16, 2015

While we may only have a small crew this year at Sea Otter (they are on the road right now), we do have a pretty big announcement: we’re working harder than ever to help...

GPS – The bike theft silver bullet?

July 25, 2017
/   Annie Answers

Dear Annie,  I left my iPhone on the bus last winter and recovered it using the “Find my iPhone” feature from my computer. Seems that doing the same kind of thing for bikes would...

Summer of SRAM Instagram Contest (pt 1)

May 29, 2015
/   Giveaways

Summer is about to get better for 2 lucky riders real soon thanks to our friends at SRAM. Whether you are a single-track junkie or gravity addict, share how you spend your 5 to 9 in the dirt...

Unlocking the lonely U-lock mystery

July 11, 2017
/   Annie Answers

Annie –  I’ve been trying to a better job with my bike locking since my brother’s bike got stolen last year. I think I have a pretty good sense for how thieves take advantage...

Dear Annie,

I just moved to Austin after graduation from a small New England school where I rode my bike everywhere. It’s clear that bike theft is a big issue here and I definitely need to upgrade my lock. I’ve spent some time on Amazon and the web researching U-locks and I’m more confused than I was when I started. What’s the difference between a $25 and a $250 lock? What the heck do all of these security ratings mean? Help!

– Confused in Austin


Confused,

You’re hardly alone in your confusion. There’s a lot of options in the bike lock category and a lot of companies playing in the space. While I could write a full chapter on this topic, I do have a couple of basic suggestions that might help.

The first thing that we need to get out of the way is that any lock can be defeated with the enough time and the right toolsSo, when you’re shopping for a lock, you’re basically looking to maximize the “time to defeat” within your budget.

When it comes to the ratings on the packaging – these are determined by the manufacturer and really only help when comparing locks from the same company. On the Kryptonite scale, we recommend a rating of 6 or higher. For ABUS, start with at least an 8. There are other rating from independent testing houses – Sold Secure, ART and Thatcham are the most popular, but little is published about their methodology or the actual testing or results of the product. So, mostly, these are useful from knowing that the manufacturers have done their diligence with independent testing agencies.

The second thing to emphasize is to never rely on a cable lock as a primary security device for your bike. Cables take only seconds to cut through with $20 bolt cutters. We see over a third of bike thefts reported to us resulting from a compromised cable. Never trust a cable under any circumstances!

I would suggest looking at U-locks or folding locks in terms of the lock design. While every design involves compromise, these offer a good balance of protection, convenience and price. Assuming you primarily will be securing your bike to a bike rack, these types of locks will generally do the trick and have seen the most engineering evolution.

In terms of price, generally there are 3 design factors which contribute to “time to defeat” – material, strength and pick defense.

Look for a lock made of hardened steel and a diameter of at least 12mm. Under 12mm and the U-lock can often be cut with large bolt cutters! From a strength perspective, you’ll want to make sure that the shackle of the U-lock “double bolts” – meaning that both sides of the “U” lock into the base. This means that the thief will need to cut the lock twice to release the bike. Another consideration is shackle length (or the length of the “U”). I recommend buying the shortest shackle compatible with locking your frame and wheel to a bike rack – this limits the space the thief has to work with. Combining these factors, our minimum lock recommendation for urban settings is the ABUS 410 Mini.

In terms of key design, you’ll want to go with a keyed lock and avoid combo locks. While combo locks are convenient, and the 9,999 possible combos sound difficult to defeat, there’s techniques that allow thieves to unlock these quickly (have a browse around YouTube if you need more convincing). Many of the higher-end locks will come with more sophisticated keys making the lock more difficult to pick, but lock picking is a pretty rare thing out on today’s streets.

Finally, convenience is also an important consideration. Think about how you’re planning to transport the lock. Will it generally be in a bag? Do you want to have it mounted to the bike? Do you plan to use it with multiple bikes? Does shaking the lock cause it to rattle and will that bother you? If your bike has water bottle braze-ons that you’re not using, we really like the mounting design of the ABUS Bordo line, it’s a very convenient mounting system, quiet and you can even order additional mounts for multiple bikes.

Hopefully this is a good start on navigating the complicated world of bike locks. I definitely recommend getting hands on with the products out there at your local bike shop and getting some additional advice from the local experts. And always make sure to register your bike so that you have everything you need to get the word out if they do defeat your lock.

– Annie

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Annie Answers

Each week 529’s very own Annie Rhyder answers your questions about bike theft and bike security. To get your question featured, drop her a line at: annieanswers@project529.com.

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Press

Cool stories about Project529 in the press

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