The AmazonBasics Folding Bike Lock can be easily picked in three seconds

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Even faster than that:


While I’m sure it’s a PoS lock, saying it can be picked in three seconds by the lockpicking lawyer is like saying your car can get around the Nürburg Ring Nordschleife in under 8 mins when driven by Horst von Saurma.


What sort of skill multiplier are we applying here?

Let’s say that your average bike thief (who isn’t simply going to take a portable angle grinder to the whole thing) is 20 times less skilled than the lockpicking lawyer. That means it would take our hypothetical nefarious evil-doer a full minute to make off with the bike.


The man frequently wins lockpicking competitions, so I’m going to say it’s more like a 100-1000x multiplier on your “average bike thief.”

That said, if anyone’s actually going around with lock-picking tools in their pocket, they’re not an average bike thief, so we can scale that back down.

On a related note, I got a similar lock, not Amazon Basics, but a reputable brand. No idea if it can be picked easily. But I stupidly, so stupidly, snapped my key off inside it when it was frozen shut, and discovered that a medium-sized bolt cutter will go through it in literally seconds:

So… I went right out and bought the same one, because it will still stop your opportunist kid who might take an unlocked bike, but will allow me to open it if I ever lose my keys.


Fair point on the multiplier.

Perhaps bike locks should be chosen based on a ratio of cost of lock to cost of replacement bike. If you’re locking up a $20 beater, you might not bother with a lock at all – my school was home to the Orange Bike initiative, which hypothesized that if you make a cheap bike distinct-looking and ugly enough, no one is going to go to the effort of stealing and repainting it.

On the other hand, if you’re trying to secure, say, a Hightower CC X01 Reserve (worth around $8K), I wouldn’t be surprised to see an armed guard trailing you.

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As the Lockpicking Lawyer points out, at that point they’ll probably cut the rack if they’re really determined - or just steal all the components and leave the frame behind.

If I’m riding my fancy bike, I lock it up with a cheap cable lock and don’t let it out of my sight (i.e. lock it where I can see it from the cash register at the café). If I’m running errands where I can’t keep my bike in sight, I ride a bike I don’t mind losing and lock it up with a standard Kryptonite U-lock.

The only bike I’ve lost was burgled from a garage.


But if you DO happen to buy it – please use the handy affiliate link provided!


He also says that a novice lock picker could do the same
And given the attacks he is right.

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Are we talking about proportions of bike thieves who go around with lock-picking tools or portable angle grinders in their pocket or proportions of folk going around with lock-picking tools or portable angle grinders in their pocket who are bike thieves?



The bike thieves in buildings where I have worked seem to be regular tradesmen who occasionally knock of the occasional bike. They have the appropriate tools for their regular jobs.


The total weight of the lock and the bike together will add up to about 40 pounds.


I was totally going to post this, dammit


Gulp. I hope the regularity of the tradesfolk pertains to their craft and not to a tendency to nick bikes. Would you say the bike thieves who are regular tradesmen were average bike thieves?

Only asking since I still don’t have a sense of whether or not an ‘average bike thief’ carries sufficient materiel to bypass these pieces of sh-amazonia.

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Have you tried lock picking? It is surprisingly easy on the really low security ones.

Smart thieves can get a set of bump and jiggle keys and open tons of locks. And people don’t really get suspicious when you’re fiddling with a key vs bolt cutters.

As he points out, it doesn’t have to defeat HIM, but it should be secure enough someone with low skill can’t open it in a few seconds.

The next video it recommended was his EDC kit. He had pack of 3 tensioniers which I went out and bought. I got a starter set of lock picks. He actually reviewed the set I have or one very similar to it and said for the most part the pics were fine, though they could use some sanding to make them slide in and out easier. The tension bars, though, aren’t great and are starting to bend. So I got a new set on the way. Now I need to find some harder locks to try.

I see some potential complications at both ends of the distribution.

If you have a ludicrously heavy bike (or a really poorly designed e-bike), your lock would have to have a negative mass. Though maybe that’s the point – “the medium is the message.” The bike is the lock once it weighs so much.

At the other extreme, if you’re riding a ludicrously expensive ultralight carbon fibre bike, your security detail is going to have to be very diminutive. Possibly an employment opportunity for irate ghosts?

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I have, yeah. Standard padlocks are ridiculously easy to open, as you say. Even with no skill and just a rake.

Pretty much. For them there is a community benefit in getting a bike commuter off the road, for which they will receive praise, and they get a bike to give to their kids, or whatever.

My impression is that there are not “Bike Thieves” as such. Just not enough money in it vs the risk. I think people who steal bikes are either junkies who need some quick cash or assholes who just do it occasionally when they get a chance. Tradesfolk happen to have angle grinders, hydraulic shears, etc with them when they see a bike. Assholes going to work in an office just don’t have that kind of opportunity.