Thursday, November 16, 2006

a different kind of NYC chain

Project-B is already known for being serious about bike security. We rarely lock our bikes with less than two locks, put silicone in our allen head bolts, and (literally) wrote the book on bike security in Vancouver.

While compiling information for that document, Lyle came across something that seems to be popular in New York: a bike chain saddle lock, from the seat rail to the seat stay of the frame. Such a device would force a would-be thief to use a chainbreaker to steal your saddle.

I ended up with a spare KMC 410H heavy duty 1/8" chain while trying to get a drivetrain swap going last month. What better thing to do than chain down my beloved Brooks.

Parts: chain of your choice ($10-12 for a new one), old 700c road tube, electrical tape.
Tools: chainbreaker, old brake cable, scissors.

The heavy duty chain is a good choice because it requires a wider than standard chainbreaker. I started by measuring out how much chain I'd need and then put a couple layers of electrical tape on the contact areas. I like my bike's paint, but I suppose this step is optional.

Next, I threaded the chain through the road tube to figure out how I'd go about putting it together on the bike. The tube leaves little clearance, so there's not much room for the chainbreaker. It's also pretty difficult to thread through the thin tube - an old brake cable would make it easier, but I didn't have one readily available.

After a couple of attempts, I ended up squishing the tube up a bit and working the chainbreaker on the straight section.

The finished product looks pretty decent, and is completely functional. I only used 1/3 of the chain, which means I can do two more bikes with the same $10 chain. Word.

When it comes down to it, bike theft is generally one of opportunity. The smartly locked bike will have a better chance of sticking around longer; this saddle security measure is just another way to keep your bike (and its parts) yours.


nikcee said...

Another option is to not double up the chain inside the tube and instead use more tube creating a big rubber covered 'O'. I guess this means that it would be easier to access the chain, but if the would-be theif has a chainbreaker, I'm guessing they have a shapr enough implement to cut the tube. Still your method looks cleaner/neater.

I think I have some spare chain sitting around so maybe i'll do this on the commuter...

morgman said...

The tube is definitely more a measure of cleanliness than it is one of security. The rubber covered 'O' would protect the paint of the frame a bit better, but as you said, might not look as clean.

Also, I think that if you set up the tube as a U shape with the openings on top, it might fill with water and spill out [rusty water] when you flipped it over.

You could mount the other way, but then end up in the same position with it damaging the paint, which brings us back to the aesthetic advantage of the way I did it.

As mentioned, I have spare new chain, so if you want to use nice clean chain, lemme know, we do it.

tenspeed said...

I didn't notice that any of you use two locks is this still true today?

morgman said...

Lyle uses two locks pretty much all the time in NYC.