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SerialCarpins
06-06-2012, 07:34 PM
My 5 year old OnGuard ULock is finally on its way out, and I wanted to solicit recommendations on getting a new one. The lock has always been a bit wonky in regards to the key never quite sliding in right, but it has never failed me (so Far) and the plastic housing is long gone...I was initially going to just get another comparable OnGuard, but I have been reading about the brand having a lot of problems with jammed keys, locksmiths having to cut the bike off and the like...so I hesitated.

I searched the forums, and most threads end up talking about locking technique (Which I am comfortable with, so I hadn't planned on rehashing that) and one type of lock versus another. I already know I am getting a new ULock, so I'm really just curious about real-world experience: What kind of ULock are you using, and what do you think about it?

Thanks in advance!

Dirt
06-06-2012, 07:38 PM
I've got 2 of OnGuard's top of the line U-locks, one of their mini-u-locks with chain and a Kryptonite NYC U-lock. All of them cost $60 or more. The NYC was close to $90. All have been rock solid and haven't been wonky in any way, shape or form.

Mark Blacknell
06-06-2012, 07:59 PM
Yeah, my two u-locks are OnGuard, and have been subjected to plenty of abuse over the years. Zero problems.

(I tend to prefer the mini-ulock b/c I can shove it in my pocket, but the bigger one is def more flexible.)

vvill
06-06-2012, 09:14 PM
OnGuard has changed a bit over the years. My OnGuard from ~5 years ago is still rock solid and the one I leave at the rack at work. I bought a newer one last year and the key definitely does not turn as easily each time. There may be some options to touch it up that I need to explore.

I'm actually tempted to get one of the $100 Kryptonite 10/10 rated Fahgettaboudit chains since I never really need to take my work lock with me, and that way I will have 2x OnGuard U-locks for whatever other errands I'm running.

chris_s
06-06-2012, 09:37 PM
(I tend to prefer the mini-ulock b/c I can shove it in my pocket, but the bigger one is def more flexible.)

Another advantage to mini u-locks: less space to get tools in to lever it open. I'm partial to my OnGuard Bulldog Mini (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004SHJ6EM/ref=as_li_ss_til?tag=dodgersden-20&camp=0&creative=0&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=B004SHJ6EM&adid=0P9XCMDVVQZ8BR7VXSEP&) - you'll run into trouble with it trying to lock up to less conventional items like telephone poles and staircases though. I tend to avoid those anyway.

rcannon100
06-06-2012, 10:06 PM
You guys see how to hack the old krypto locks with the O keys?


http://youtu.be/t8XxcOj3Seo

Knocked Krypto out of the market for a while as I recall. OnGuard got the opportunity to grab market share. Now they all have those little flatish keys.

My key jammed on my OnGuard. I went back to krypto and the lock has been solid. I have a long narrow one, that makes it easy to lock front tire and frame to an inverted U bike rack.

bikesnick
06-07-2012, 07:23 AM
someone told me that it is very important to fill the space in the U-lock, thereby leaving no room for a pry tool. i assume that means filling the U with the bike frame, front wheel, and to whatever the bike is being locked. it seems to me that would be dependent on the bike rack, pole, whatever.
is this a valid concern?

Mark Blacknell
06-07-2012, 07:42 AM
someone told me that it is very important to fill the space in the U-lock, thereby leaving no room for a pry tool. i assume that means filling the U with the bike frame, front wheel, and to whatever the bike is being locked. it seems to me that would be dependent on the bike rack, pole, whatever.
is this a valid concern?

It's a valid concern in that it's a legit strategy to make it harder for a thief to pry it open (as Chris S explains above). But I wouldn't spend too much time looking for just the right space to make it happen (depends on the bike and location, I suppose). I generally lock up around the rear wheel/seat tube/rack, if I can.

RCannon - I quite remember that video (or a version), because I went straight to my own pile of Kryptonite locks, successfully opened them with a Bic, and threw them all away. Very annoyed.

And since we're talking about locks, anyone have the Abus? http://www.abus-bordo.com/html_en/bikelock_bordo_granit_x_plus.html For some reason, I dig the design.

Rootchopper
06-07-2012, 07:50 AM
I just had a similar problem with a Kryptonite U-lock. On a whim, I tried the unused, spare key. The lock worked like a charm. The key I have been using has rounded edges in its nooks and crannies from years of daily use. The new key's edges are sharper and engage the lock mechanism. I ordered a new spare key for the lock instead of getting a new lock.

BTW, I have been using standard black and gray Kryptonite U-locks for over 20 years. Pretty happy with them.

dasgeh
06-07-2012, 09:54 AM
And since we're talking about locks, anyone have the Abus? http://www.abus-bordo.com/html_en/bikelock_bordo_granit_x_plus.html For some reason, I dig the design.

I have an Abus traditional U-lock, and it works fine. I agree the design of that Bordo looks cool!

SerialCarpins
06-07-2012, 10:09 AM
Thanks for the replies....certainly is helpful to know that, like everything else, a few bad reviews don't mean that a product is shot...

RCANNON-Yeah, I saw that video awhile back...luckily, I have never had any of those locks, so I was happy to not have to deal with that...and thanks for the recommendation...

ROOTCHOPPER-Yeah, I thought it might be the key, but like I said, I have always had problems with the key getting caught up and having to jiggle it to get it to work...I moved on from my original key to one of the spares, and have the same issues...It's one of those things that I have been fine dealing with for years, but watching it degrade a lot recently has pushed me towards getting a new one...

DIRT, CHRIS, MARK, and VVILL-Thanks for your input...it helps to have some real world people weighing in...

And congrats on your recent 2000th post, Dirt. :)

FFX_Hinterlands
06-07-2012, 11:53 AM
I have an Abus keyed chain lock (8mm chain I think). I use it in combination with an Abus Ring lock (aka wheel lock) with plug in cable. My other lock is a 3-year old OnGuard mid-level U-lock. No issues with any of them. I use them alone or in combinations as needed out here in the suburbs.

brendan
06-12-2012, 08:11 AM
The few times I've dealt with jammed keys on my own or other locks it turned out that the key jammed because it wasn't seated all the way down in the cylinder before it was turned. The application of patience and multiple people always ended up solving the problem: backing out, reseating the key and disengaging the lock. Not fun at night in the rain, though. A reminder to unlock your lock slowly and deliberately...

Folding plate locks haven't held up well to test attacks, I wouldn't recommend them.

Brendan

KLizotte
06-12-2012, 09:48 AM
Remember that the insurance provided by most lock companies only lasts three years from the purchase of a lock. Yeah, it's a frustrating way for them to force you to replace a perfectly good product but they set the rules.

Has anyone ever had any luck collecting on the insurance after a thief broke a lock?

hencio
06-12-2012, 02:18 PM
Has anyone ever had any luck collecting on the insurance after a thief broke a lock?
Unfortunately my lock was older than 3 years and was not eligible for the insurance. Kryptonite did give me an upgraded lock as u-lock to replace the cut one at least. I now use an evolution 4 for carry and a 10 pound on-guard beast chain for the office. That said, sadly, I'll be replacing those in 3 years to get the be eligible for the insurance.

SerialCarpins
06-18-2012, 12:17 PM
Thanks again for the replies, suggestions, and conversation...I decided to stick with OnGuard, though I went a bit heavy-duty...it also came with a cable that I can loop through the seat and other tire...I use this all in conjunction with another heavy-ish cable lock...I figure, a couple different designs couldn't hurt to have. Thanks again, everyone!

rcannon100
06-18-2012, 12:39 PM
sadly, I'll be replacing those in 3 years to get the be eligible for the insurance.

You might want to do a bit more research. I am not sure.... but at least ask this question. Isnt your bicycle covered under either your homeowners or your rental insurance policy? Alternatively, if you bike is worth enough that you care about insurance, ask your insurance agent about coverage.

If you care about insurance, its probably better to directly insure rather than indirectly rely on a marketing program.

hencio
06-18-2012, 04:01 PM
Isnt your bicycle covered under either your homeowners or your rental insurance policy? Alternatively, if you bike is worth enough that you care about insurance, ask your insurance agent about coverage.


The bike was covered under my homeowners, but the deductible on my homeowners is hefty and subject to policy review if too many claims are made. It simply was not a cost effective option. I also looked into the cost of standalone bike insurance, and it was about $150 a year. Not crazy expensive, but still more expensive than replacing a lock every 3 years.

lordofthemark
06-18-2012, 09:30 PM
Would a cable lock be adequate for leaving a bike for a few minutes?

TwoWheelsDC
06-18-2012, 09:54 PM
Would a cable lock be adequate for leaving a bike for a few minutes?

Maybe in some suburban areas where the threat of lurking thieves is low, but in DC, I wouldn't recommend it...they are just way too easy to defeat. But I live in Ward 6, ground zero for DC bike theft, so I'm a little paranoid.

bikesnick
06-19-2012, 07:10 AM
Would a cable lock be adequate for leaving a bike for a few minutes?

at a recent "two wheel tuesday (http://www.bikearlington.com/TWT)" meeting of bike arlington, a police officer stated cables and chains are not sufficient in arlington county. the officer stated that all cables can be cut in minutes with a tool that fits in a pocket and last year all [if i remembered correctly] bicycle thefts were those locked with cables.

Mark Blacknell
06-19-2012, 07:30 AM
and last year all [if i remembered correctly] bicycle thefts were those locked with cables.

Skepticalface. I doubt they keep stats like that. (Doubting them, not your recollection)

In any event, it's really an individual judgment call with every spot. There are [secret!] places where I rarely lock my bike up with anything at all. Not a best practice, to be sure, but I think the Thieves Around Every Corner approach is a bit overwrought. That said, if you lock it up like there *is* a thief around every corner, I suppose your chances of being disappointed go way down.

(And just get U-locks, people. Cable locks are better than nothing, sure, but they offer significantly less protection for very little increase in convenience.)

PotomacCyclist
06-19-2012, 08:15 AM
Next summer, when Capital Bikeshare expands to Montgomery County, you may not need a lock at all for many trips. Since CaBi started up, I haven't used a bike lock once. For fitness rides, I start and end at home. For errands, one-way trips and some commutes, I use CaBi.

consularrider
06-19-2012, 09:27 AM
Next summer, when Capital Bikeshare expands to Montgomery County, you may not need a lock at all for many trips. Since CaBi started up, I haven't used a bike lock once. For fitness rides, I start and end at home. For errands, one-way trips and some commutes, I use CaBi.
Of course first CaBi has to be in your neighborhood. The closest CaBi station to my house is just about two miles away and there are no immediate plans to come any closer, not enough population density to make it feasible.

As far a cable locks for "just a minute," I think it goes back to the real estate adage, location, location, location. What you are doing with a cable is making sure the bike doesn't walk away. Are you somewhere that it is likely that someone is walking around with a pocket tool they can use to cut your cable? Even after five years of riding all over the DC metro area, I'm not sure I know where that is.

brendan
06-19-2012, 02:27 PM
Skepticalface. I doubt they keep stats like that. (Doubting them, not your recollection)

In any event, it's really an individual judgment call with every spot. There are [secret!] places where I rarely lock my bike up with anything at all. Not a best practice, to be sure, but I think the Thieves Around Every Corner approach is a bit overwrought. That said, if you lock it up like there *is* a thief around every corner, I suppose your chances of being disappointed go way down.

(And just get U-locks, people. Cable locks are better than nothing, sure, but they offer significantly less protection for very little increase in convenience.)

I wouldn't be *too* skeptical, Mark. I've noticed that Arlington County police have started tagging bikes left for longish periods of time (and I assume they are log booking them as well) with tags like this one:

12261227

I find it contradictorily heartwarming and also somewhat clever to put such a friendly face on what is, essentially, continued policing of the area for abandoned bikes on public right of ways. :)

But yes. Get a U-lock. Or two. Plus a cable for your wheels. And really, you don't usually have to have the best locking strategy, you just need to not have the worst. :)

Brendan

brendan
06-19-2012, 02:34 PM
As far a cable locks for "just a minute," I think it goes back to the real estate adage, location, location, location. What you are doing with a cable is making sure the bike doesn't walk away. Are you somewhere that it is likely that someone is walking around with a pocket tool they can use to cut your cable? Even after five years of riding all over the DC metro area, I'm not sure I know where that is.

That's anywhere nice bikes might be locked up. The tools needed to get through a cable lock quickly are pretty lightweight (heavier if you want to do it faster). Cable locks are like door locks, they "keep honest people honest" (usually in this case "the kids"). On the other hand, good U-locks help keep dishonest people (the pros) moving on to the less well locked up bikes.

Brendan

lordofthemark
06-19-2012, 03:44 PM
A friend has found an old U lock he no longer needs - but thanks to all for your thoughts.

PotomacCyclist
06-19-2012, 05:59 PM
Of course first CaBi has to be in your neighborhood. The closest CaBi station to my house is just about two miles away and there are no immediate plans to come any closer, not enough population density to make it feasible.

As far a cable locks for "just a minute," I think it goes back to the real estate adage, location, location, location. What you are doing with a cable is making sure the bike doesn't walk away. Are you somewhere that it is likely that someone is walking around with a pocket tool they can use to cut your cable? Even after five years of riding all over the DC metro area, I'm not sure I know where that is.
CaBi will be in Bethesda next year, which is where the original poster lives.

Bilsko
06-19-2012, 08:02 PM
One U-Lock tip I came across a few years ago that stuck with me: when you're using a U-Lock, make sure to lock up with the crossbar of the lock up against the frame (as opposed to whatever you're locking up to).
If a thief is going to pry the lock open, they're going to need leverage to pop the crossarm and if its against the frame, that leverage will need to be against the frame. The idea is that rather than dent and ruin the frame, they'll hopefully move on to the next bike.

Of course this wont help if they're going to use an angle grinder...or if they're just out for parts something. But since there's really no extra effort involved, I try to remember to lock up with the crossarm up against the frame.

Something like this:
1228

jopamora
09-24-2012, 11:37 AM
Watch out for shady characters (http://www.popsci.com/diy/article/2012-08/gray-matter-how-science-helps-bike-thieves) walking around with cans of compressed air. Seems like more work and attention, but it works.