An Amusement & Diversion for The Genteel Cyclist. Daily.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Cuff style locks: Love 'em? Hate 'em?


Those hyperbolic Brits claim that Firebox cuffs are the toughest bike locks on the planet, and I have my doubts. After all, the Brits at Sky News don't actually appear to, uh, know what they're talking about.

The heavy-duty cuffs attach around the fork and disc rotor you don't have to faff around taking off your wheel for full lockdown.


Attached around the fork and disk rotor? Can't quite figure out how that would work, but I'm pretty sure you start by locking your frame to a large immoveable object. I haven't seen a lot of disk rotors that would allow a lock to pass through (other than the sort of disk locks you see on motorcycles, of course).


I've never been particularly interested in handcuff-style bike locks. They look like a tradeoff to me from your standard U-lock, what with the extra moving parts -- the chain that connects one cuff to the other. To the positive, I suppose the idea is you don't have to scratch hell out of your frame and fork trying to get it close enough to the parking meter or the cyclone fence to loop that Evolution through with enough room for locky. Another bonus -- after beating a would-be theif into submission with these things, you could cuff him to a light post while you fetch the local constable.

But this leads inexorably to some ruminations on street locking technique. The quick-dash messenger approach: Just lock front wheel to frame. If I were an evil person, I'd drive a pickup around town looking for bikes locked this way, and throw 'em in the back -- if there were a market for hipster fixies anymore.

Actually, a few months ago I struck on an even lighter/faster messenger method: Take the tiniest U-lock from Krypto's New York chain -- the one that fits in your front pocket -- and lock a spoke to your seat stay. True, easy to get away with just one broken spoke. But it would be fun to see somebody try. On someone else's bike, of course.

It's been said before by smarter people than me: A bike lock simply buys you a little bit of time, but never an eternity.

The bottom line on cuff locks? They look like a literal pain in the ass to deal with in transit.

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