Bike Locks You Can Love

September 10, 2014

I enjoy everything about bicycle commuting – except the need to carry a clunky bike lock. Standard U-bar models weigh about five pounds and hog up room in your backpack, or rattle annoyingly on your bike rack. Fortunately, clever designers are coming to the rescue with some entirely new concepts:

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The Yerka project is a bicycle frame that comes apart on hinged joints to become its own lock. It’s being developed by three chilean engineering students: Juan José Monsalve, Andrés Roi and Cristóbal Cabello, who got sick and tired of having bikes stolen and set out to make an unstealable ride.  “The only way to steal it is to break the lock, which implies breaking the bike,” they say.  You can secure it around a post or tree in less than 20 seconds, they say, about the same time it takes to tie shoelaces. Whether this one makes it to market is not yet clear.

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Denny, winner of the Oregon Manifest design challenge, features a rectangular handlebar that doubles as a heavy duty lock. You can pull the handlebar open and lock it around a post or remove it completely and use it like a regular U-bar to secure a wheel and the frame to a parking rack. Seattle design consultancy firm Teague and custom bike maker Sizemore Bicycle came up with the idea for their ultimate urban utility bicycle, a challenge taken up by design teams in five cities. Fuji Bikes has committed to produce the Denny for retail sale.

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The TiGr system uses a light but strong titanium bow instead of a steel bar. It stores unobtrusively on the top tube of your bike.  The titanium bow comes in sizes long enough to secure the frame and both wheels of your bike. It flexes so you can lock it around structures up to about 5 1/2” in diameter. Inventors John Loughlin and Joshua A.C. Newman wanted “a really secure bike lock that’s actually sexy.” They raised $100,000 via Kickstarter in 2011 to bring the idea to market.  The standard model costs $200.

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