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The Curbside Lock Review

Posted on 21 February 2017

We visit the Abus Plant in Wetter, Germany

If you've ready our Bike Theft 101 post you'll know that the largest majority of bikes are stolen on the street by street-drug users. That means no matter what bike you buy, make sure you buy a good lock. Because it's the security of the lock - not the bikes value -  that determines whether it will get stolen or not. 

But, what determines security? To put it in the most essential terms, a lock is made of metal, and metal can only have two kinds of strength: tensile and yield. Tensile strength refers to cutting attacks, whereas yield strength has to do with the metals pliability, which we call a leverage attack. A good lock must have both, because high tensile strength doesn't override yield strength or vice versa. 

Leverage attack: bent lock, broken hearts.

To put this in concrete terms, a cable has low tensile strength because it can be easily cut with nothing more than a bolt cutter. That means you should never, ever buy a cable. Ever. When the U-Lock was first invented (by Abus, in 1971) the goal was to solve the problem of low tensile strength. And, it was a smart move. Cable locks are made of thin strands of wire, a U-Lock is solid metal. So, a U-Lock always has great tensile strength. 

But, back in the 80's neither Kryptonite or Abus realized their locks being bent. Back then all of their locks were made of highly pliable carbon steel, and that meant easy leverage attacks (we see this constantly with Kryptonite Kryptoloks (and lower), which no store in Toronto should ever sell to a consumer. To solve this, each company began heat-treating and alloying the steel (with boron, maganese, vanadium, etc) to increase density and yield strength. It took a lot of money and R&D, but it worked. The only two companies invested in producing high security locks are Kryptonite and Abus. 

Our man Aaron (right) with Abus tour-guide Axel Rosler deep in the Ruhr Valley. 

The fight between Kryptonite and Abus is not over security but quality. Abus are made deep in Germany's Ruhr Valley and feature highly engineered steel that is both stronger and lighter than Kryptonite, as well as rust-proof interiors. Kryptonites are made in China, they rust like crazy, and they're heavy - really heavy. Plus, Abus costs the same. No one does it better than the Germans. 

Plus, no one except Abus builds a lock that can defeat a bolt-cutter, a crowbar, and the tool of the professional: the grinder. Unlike the street-user who looks solely for cheap locks for cheap drugs, the professional is calculating risk versus reward. The longer the lock takes to grind, the more risk there is. And, if the lock destroys tools in the process, the reward disappears. Unlike other U-Locks, the 540 is square rather than round. Because the lock won't pivot under a single cut, the thief needs to cut though both sides of the U-shape in order to steal the bike. That's two grinder blades and over half an hour. Not going to happen. 

Let's take a look at U-Locks. U-Locks are great because they are very easy to use and are also very transportable, since they come with brackets that mount to your bike. Note: due to rapid rusting and the competitiveness of Abus on security, quality and price, we no longer carry Kryptonite locks. 

 

ABUS GRANIT 540

  • GRINDER ATTACK RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • LEVERAGE ATTACK RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • BOLT-CUTTER ATTACK RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • RUST RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • TRANSPORTABILITY: 5/5
  • WEIGHT: 3.2 LBS
  • PRICE: $199
  • MADE IN GERMANY

ABUS GRANIT 640 & 470

  • GRINDER ATTACK RESISTANCE: 3/5
  • LEVERAGE ATTACK RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • BOLT-CUTTER ATTACK RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • RUST RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • TRANSPORTABILITY: 5/5
  • WEIGHT: 2.62 LBS
  • PRICE: $149
  • MADE IN GERMANY

KRYPTONITE NEW YORK

  • GRINDER ATTACK RESISTANCE: 3/5
  • LEVERAGE ATTACK RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • BOLT-CUTTER ATTACK RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • RUST RESISTANCE: 1/5
  • TRANSPORTABILITY: 3/5 (terrible brackets!)
  • WEIGHT: 4.35 LBS
  • PRICE: $159
  • MADE IN CHINA

ABUS ULTIMATE 420

  • GRINDER ATTACK RESISTANCE: 3/5
  • LEVERAGE ATTACK RESISTANCE: 4/5
  • BOLT-CUTTER ATTACK RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • RUST RESISTANCE: 1/5
  • TRANSPORTABILITY: 5/5
  • WEIGHT: 3.30 LBS
  • PRICE: $99
  • MADE IN CHINA

KRYPTONITE EVOLUTION

  • GRINDER ATTACK RESISTANCE: 3/5
  • LEVERAGE ATTACK RESISTANCE: 4/5
  • BOLT-CUTTER ATTACK RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • RUST RESISTANCE: 1/5
  • TRANSPORTABILITY: 3/5 (terrible brackets!)
  • WEIGHT: 3.75 LBS
  • PRICE: $119
  • MADE IN CHINA

KRYPTONITE KRYPTOLOK (DO NOT BUY!)

  • GRINDER ATTACK RESISTANCE: 1/5
  • LEVERAGE ATTACK RESISTANCE: 2/5
  • BOLT-CUTTER ATTACK RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • RUST RESISTANCE: 1/5
  • TRANSPORTABILITY: 3/5 (terrible brackets!)
  • WEIGHT: 2.85 LBS
  • PRICE: $69
  • MADE IN CHINA

 

A good hardened steel chain locks is great because they're flexible, which means a thief will cut their finger off before the blade gets any purchase. However, they aren't terribly transportable and good ones are heavy. If you own a cargo bike, this is your choice of lock. 

ABUS CITYCHAIN

  • GRINDER ATTACK RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • LEVERAGE ATTACK RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • BOLT-CUTTER ATTACK RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • RUST RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • TRANSPORTABILITY: 1/5
  • WEIGHT: 5.29 LBS
  • PRICE: $199
  • MADE IN GERMANY

KRYPTONITE NEW YORK CHAIN

  • GRINDER ATTACK RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • LEVERAGE ATTACK RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • BOLT-CUTTER ATTACK RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • RUST RESISTANCE: 1/5
  • TRANSPORTABILITY: 1/5
  • WEIGHT: 10.8 LBS (!!!)
  • PRICE: $259
  • MADE IN CHINA

Recently, Abus introduced a radically new idea in security called a folding lock. It offers the best transportability with the security of an Abus U-Lock. They're especially great for folding bikes!

ABUS BORDO GRANIT

  • GRINDER ATTACK RESISTANCE: 4/5
  • LEVERAGE ATTACK RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • BOLT-CUTTER ATTACK RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • RUST RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • TRANSPORTABILITY: 5/5
  • WEIGHT: 3.48 LBS
  • PRICE: $229
  • MADE IN GERMANY

ABUS BORDO 6000

  • GRINDER ATTACK RESISTANCE: 3/5
  • LEVERAGE ATTACK RESISTANCE: 4/5
  • BOLT-CUTTER ATTACK RESISTANCE: 4/5
  • RUST RESISTANCE: 5/5
  • TRANSPORTABILITY: 5/5
  • WEIGHT: 2.27 LBS
  • PRICE: $159
  • MADE IN GERMANY

 

 

 

 

 

 

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$399.99 CAD

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$199.99 CAD

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GRANIT X PLUS 540 U-LOCK

$199.99 CAD

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