How to destroy a lock

Photo by Pixabay on

There is an old saying that locks are for honest thieves. Does this stand up for bike locks? Locks are no substitute for secure bike parking but some are better than others. Not everything sold is of quality. Poor materials or design can weaken the lock. If the bike is not secured to something, any ute could carry it off in a flash.

BikeRadar did a very nice review recently: “Best bike lock 2020: D-locks, foldable locks and chain locks rated“. Have a read – it’s a good article.

“Before we begin, the first thing to realise is that no single lock is unbreakable — armed with the right tools and knowledge, someone who really wants to steal your bike will be able to, no matter what you lock it up with.”

Best bike lock 2020: D-locks, foldable locks and chain locks rated“, BikeRadar, 20 June 2020, accessed 20/08/2020.

Here is how BikeRadar destroyed the locks.

Freeze and hammer: … use of plumber’s freeze spray, which chills the metal. The theory is that it’ll make metal more brittle when struck with a hammer. Our test lab consists of a chiller cabinet that freezes the lock down to -40°C, it’s then struck with a weight simulating a full force sledgehammer blow …

Saw: … an articulated saw. Each lock was cut first with a fresh, standard steel blade. If it survived that test, it was then cut with a high-quality, precision tungsten blade in the same saw.

Bolt crop: The bolt cropper is perhaps the favourite tool of the modern bike thief. Short, concealable bolt croppers are available for very little cash and can get through most budget locks with little fuss. Higher standard locks are much tougher, and those that cross over into motorcycle security stronger still.

Tensile pull: …the bottle jack approach to breaking locks. A small hydraulic bottle uses a jack to push apart the two sections of lock, breaking the mechanism and causing the lock to fail. Our hydraulic test rig does the same by pulling on both parts simultaneously. …

Torsion: The good-old torsion attack, or crowbar to you and me, is a very effective method but the downside is that it usually leaves the bike being stolen with significant damage. Our test rig can torsionally twist a lock to massive pressures, …

Picking: Picking locks is a learnable art, and with many ‘picks’ available online we are seeing a rise in bikes being stolen this way. We used a resident expert armed with an inexpensive homemade pick to try and open the locks on test.

Grinder: Hand-held powerful battery-operated angle grinders are a fast and effective way to cut through metal. However, they do generate a lot of noise and sparks, so if you park your bike in a high traffic area, and not hidden out of sight, you’re less likely to see this method of attack being used in broad daylight. …

Best bike lock 2020: D-locks, foldable locks and chain locks rated“, BikeRadar, 20 June 2020, accessed 20/08/2020.

Photo by Andrew Taylor on
Photo by Andrew Taylor on

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