The urban bike magazine

These 7 smart bike locks combine technology and functionality

It’s worth doing some proper research to find the right bike lock. How can you protect your bike from thieves? How much extra weight are you prepared to carry around? And how much should a trustworthy bike lock cost? Let’s take a look at tried and tested locks as well as the new kids on the block.

David Baumgartner
Graduated as journalist in Graz and now mainly writes as freelance journalist for the Kleine Zeitung and Bike Citizens Magazine. He is no real urban cyclist, as he does not live in the city, nonetheless he spends several hours a week on the saddle.

Is the traditional bike lock on the brink of becoming outdated?

The range of bike locks is huge: best known are classic combination locks, although, even novice thieves can crack them without too much trouble. They will set you back around €10. Far more popular now are u-locks, also known as d-locks. They do weigh a fair bit more than plastic combination locks and are bulkier too, though they are harder to cut through.

Solid u-locks cost €40-120 – similar to easy-to-pack-away folding locks. Chain locks can be bought for less, however more secure designs made of hardened steel will set you back a sum in the three-digit range.

Creativity and innovation are also alive and kicking in the bike lock industry. Necessity is a famous driving force of inventiveness; the only trait which security systems born of this creativity have in common with traditional bike locks is that they both aim to keep your bike in your possession. Here are ten examples of innovative ideas for bike locks:

Skunklock

Marketed as “The only lock that fights back”, this u-lock has a mixture of pressurised smelly and noxious gases sealed inside. As soon as the lock is damaged, the gases are released. The resulting urge to vomit will cause would-be bike thieves to beat a hasty retreat. The founder’s crowdfunding goal was quickly reached and the Skunklock will be available from summer 2017.
Price: ~ €100.

Tex-lock

Tex-lock is a textile-based bike lock with a padlock that has a striking advantage: the high-quality, high-tech materials can withstand attacks by fire or cutting. Its size and weight mean that the lock is light, flexible and looks cool too. It is scheduled for release in autumn this year.
Price: ~ €90.

The only lock that fights back. Photo: Skunklock
This lock can withstand attacks by fire or cutting devices. Photo: Texlock

Insect

This is not a lock, but a practical alarm system. The Insect attaches to your bike and is connected to your phone. If someone tries to steal your bike it gets loud: Insect emits a 100 dB alarm and alerts you via a push notification on your phone – what’s more, the “FahrradJäger” (Bike Hunters) app immediately informs all users in the area. Your bike’s location can be tracked by GPS.
Price:
€99

 

Bitlock, U-Lock

There are already numerous bike locks that work by connecting the u-lock to a smartphone app. The lock automatically locks when the user walks away and unlocks when they approach.
Prices: $129 for BitLock and €149 for U-Lock.

Insect Bike theft alarm
The Insect will protect your bicycle with an alarm and community to catch the thieve in action. Photo: Fahrradjäger
Bitlock, the keyless bike lock. Photo: Bitlock

Heimdallr KS-001, Galatea KC-001

More than just locks: when you ride, the Heimdallr KS-001 works as a front and rear light and you can change it back to a lock with few flicks of the wrist when the bike is parked. Galatea KC-001 is a bottle holder and theft protection in one. Price:  €45 Galatea KC-001 and, €50 for the Heimdallr KS-001

Seatylock, Senza Bike Lock System

These designs use parts of the bike which are essential for riding: in the case of the Seatylock, the saddle detaches and transforms into a bike lock. The Senza Bike Lock System is not yet available but is awesome nonetheless: it’s a special, three-piece handlebar. When you detach it from the bike it becomes a lock.
Price: ~ €85

Heimdallr smart bike lock light
The Heimdallr KS-001 works as a front and rear light. Photo: Reallock
Seatylock smart bike lock
The Seatylock bike lock: at one moment your riding on it, and the next moment it changes into a bike lock. Photo: Seatylock

Hiplok

At first glance, it looks like a regular chain lock. However, the Hiplok can be worn as a belt while riding and also lashed down.
Price:  ~ € 80

Bike Lock Hiplock

The bike lock that easily transformes into a belt. Photo: Hiplock

Are smart bike locks the solution?

Whether you go for the stinky option, a lock-cum-bottle holder or a traditional lock, experts and advisers recommend investing 10% of the bike’s value in a lock. Apparently, that’s how much security is worth. Most of the presented products are still in an per-ordering process, so it’s hard to say if they will live up to what they promise.

David Baumgartner
Graduated as journalist in Graz and now mainly writes as freelance journalist for the Kleine Zeitung and Bike Citizens Magazine. He is no real urban cyclist, as he does not live in the city, nonetheless he spends several hours a week on the saddle.

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