Who is trying to steal your bike (and what tools are they using)? | best bike lock (2023)

Good question! Because to defeat them, we must know our enemy. So, in this post, we will first look at the two different types of bike thieves.

Who is trying to steal your bike (and what tools are they using)? | best bike lock (1)

And then we look at the eight most popular tools they use to steal our bikes. I also added some videos of real life thieves stealing bikes using these tools.

Who are these bike thieves?

So, broadly speaking, there are two different types of bike thieves. The first and most common is the"opportunist"Thief who will certainly be carrying a pair of wire cutters, maybe medium sized pliers, maybe even a crowbar.

Opportunists look for wired bicycles, flimsy U-locks, and insignificant chains and padlocks. No bike is too cheap or too dirty to escape their attention.

But the good news is, a decent U-lock or padlock is usually too much for your limited tool kit, and they run over your bike for easy selection.

The second type is this"professional"Bicycle thief who will certainly use very powerful pliers and may have access to a variety of power tools such as handheld angle grinders and bottle jacks.

Pros target the most expensive bikes and may even steal to order. They can overcome any barrier given enough time.

So, if you have a bike that a “pro” might covet, you need a high-quality lock.eYou have to be very careful where you park your bike and how long you leave it.

The 8 most common tools used by bike thieves

OK, let's take a look at these eight thieves' favorite tools...

1. Your own hands!

Who is trying to steal your bike (and what tools are they using)? | best bike lock (2)

Yes, believe it or not, many cheap bike locks can be picked by hand. And you don't have to be built like the Incredible Hulk! We're talking about cable locks in general here.

don't believe me Check out this video...

2. Wire/Cable Cutters

Who is trying to steal your bike (and what tools are they using)? | best bike lock (3)

A pair of hand held cord cutters will cut mostcable locksin seconds. Inexpensive, discreet and easy to carry in your pocket, this is the tool most used by bicycle thieves.

And it bears repeating: they cut through almost any cable snag in seconds. Here's a video of a thief cutting a cable lock with small wire cutters...

Who is trying to steal your bike (and what tools are they using)? | best bike lock (4)

Just like a wire cutter, a hacksaw is inexpensive and fairly easy to carry around unnoticed. And just like the cable cutter, it rips a cable lock very easily.

Given enough time, a hacksaw will also cut poor quality materials.padlocksetwo of uswhich are usually made of thin, soft metal.

This video shows a thief using a saw to steal a bicycle. It takes seconds...

4. Hammers

Who is trying to steal your bike (and what tools are they using)? | best bike lock (5)

Cheap, low-quality mechanisms can be smashed with a hammer. It is much easier for the thief if he can slam the mechanism against a hard concrete floor. So with agood blocking techniqueKeeping the latch as far off the ground as possible is important.

However, they don't always need soil. It is even more important not to buy a cheap lock that can be broken with a hammer...

5. Grab bars / scaffolding bars

Who is trying to steal your bike (and what tools are they using)? | best bike lock (6)

Crowbars, scaffolding posts, and other long pieces of metal are often used in leverage attacks in U-locks. Of course, the longer ones are a little more noticeable! But they are very effective even on mid-range U-locks.

ONEsmaller padlockegood blocking techniquecan make this considerably more difficult for the thief.

This is a great video of a scaffolding pole thief in action...

6. Screw cutters

Who is trying to steal your bike (and what tools are they using)? | best bike lock (7)

Bolt cutters come in a variety of sizes (generally 8″, 12″, 18″, 24″, 36″ and 42″). The smaller pliers (8 and 12″) are easy to hide in a backpack and shred all cable snags.

What do you think this man has in his pants? 🇧🇷

Medium sized clippers (18 and 24″) are often carried under a long coat and hung from a piece of rope around the thief's neck. They defeat weaker chains, U locks and folding locks...

The larger pliers (36″ and 42″) are typically only used by serious bike thieves. But they can cut mid-range and sometimes even the most sophisticated locks and U-chains. This onestrongest bike locksbut it will be pliers proof...

To ensure that a lock cannot be cutanyHand screwdrivers, you will need a properly hardened high-quality steel lock with a diameter of 16 mm.

But remember, not everyone can cut a high security lock less than 16mm thick with 36" or 42" pliers.

It takes a thief of considerable skill (and weight!) to maneuver the latch into a convenient position where he can use the ground as leverage.

then again,good blocking techniquecan minimize this risk.

7. Hydraulic bottle jacks

Who is trying to steal your bike (and what tools are they using)? | best bike lock (8)

Hydraulic bottle jacks are used by some of the most serious bike thieves. Inserted into the cavity of a U-lock, they can exert enough force to open even the most secure locks.

Who is trying to steal your bike (and what tools are they using)? | best bike lock (9)

For this reason, smaller U-locks are generally more secure: there's less room for a bottle jack. For this reason, good blocking technique is to always try to fill as much space in your U-lock as possible!

8. Portable angle grinders

Who is trying to steal your bike (and what tools are they using)? | best bike lock (10)

Battery powered portable angle grinders are only for the bravest of thieves. They make a lot of noise and produce a lot of sparks. So that youhe mustdraw a lot of attention.

However, we continue to see passers-by ignoring thieves stealing bicycles. So maybe they don't need to be so bold!

Angle grinders cut through any lock given enough time. However, the thicker the lock, the longer it takes. And the greater the risk that the thief will be disturbed.

With the thickest curls like thisNova YorkFahgettaboudit, they might even need to carry a spare battery to get through. However, as battery technology continues to improve, this is (sadly) becoming less and less of an issue.

Forward-thinking brands like Altor (who created the first "Grinder proof bike lock") and SkunkLock, (whoseU lock trapwill give any angle grinder wielding a thief a very nasty surprise) do your best to fight back.

And from 2022 there will be more regular looking U-locks likeLitelok X1and Hiplok D1000, which (due to the ceramic compounds used) offer such high resistance to angle grinders that they are very unlikely to be cut on the road.

But in the end, an angle grinder cuts through every lockultimately🇧🇷 So make sure you park your bike in the most public places you can find for the shortest possible time.

Here are some CCTV footage of a bicycle being stolen with an angle grinder in an underground car park. At 1:20 min the sparks start to fly...

Wrap up

Then you have the most popular bike theft tools. Used by opportunistic and "professional" bike thieves.

Of course, there are other ways to trick bike locks. They can be chosen. They can be frozen with aerosols, and then crushed with a hammer. They can be treated with a blowtorch. However, these methods are not commonly used by bicycle thieves. Probably because they are more difficult, less effective or more expensive.

And what can we learn from this? Well, the most important lesson is:Never use a cable lock.

if you usedecent padlock, will not be hit by wire or cable cutters. No one will tear it off with their bare hands. It will take an incredibly long time to cut with a hacksaw. It cannot be crushed with a hammer. And small or even medium-sized screw cutters cannot cut it.

It's commongood blocking techniquethat keeps your lock as far off the ground as possible and leaves little room to insert bottle jacks or bits of metal used for leverage attacks, you can greatly reduce your exposure to these other methods.

An angle grinder will always be able to get through your lock. But there's not much you can do about it. If your bicycle is attractive enough to attract a thief with an angle grinder, you must take steps to ensure that your bicycle is never left where such a thief can gain access.

If you think your current bike lock might not be up to the task, take a look at minebike lock instructionsHere I show you the three simple steps to find the best lock for you and your bike.


How to lock your bike (correctly).

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