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Security chains and braided cables

Discussion in 'Riding Gear and Bike Accessories/Parts' started by nikku, Sep 5, 2006.

  1. Hi, I want something to lock my bike down. It can't be anything fancy since I'm renting, but I stand the bike next to a stout steel pole supporting the car-port (yeah, no garage unfortunately).

    So I'm thinking chain or cable. I had a wander through Bunnings and saw some thick (10mm) steel chain, but the fact that you buy it by the metre and cut it then and there with bolt cutters implies that it wouldn't be any harder for a thief to make off with my bike :)

    What about chains specifically made for security though, that boast "hardened manganese alloy" and "square links" and stuff. In practice, beyond the marketing, how much more secure are these?

    And what about security cables? Specifically I'm looking at the Python brand. It's 10mm braided steel cable. However, it I would guess that a cable would be even easier to cut than an ordinary 10mm steel chain. The portability is attractive though...

    What do you think? I definitely want something solid rather than an alarm, since I'm often nowhere near my bike. Overall I think the risk of theft here is low, but I'd like to take the precaution.

  2. I don't use these chains as my bikes in the garage but i've seen those square reinforced specially made chains that your talking about and they're damn sturdy looking. Just hold them and you can feel the weight! I'd much rather trust something that's specifically designed for security which is heavy and thick than something i could easily cut with bolt cutters to the metre.

    But the old saying still stands if they really wanna get to it they will!
  3. Oh yeah, the regular steel chain wasn't even considered. Just threw that in for context.

    I'm curious about the braided steel cable though, since it's advertised as being a security cable for motorcycles. But it just seems like it would be too easy to cut, wondering if anyone knew any better.
  4. I have steel cable encased by plastic, about 1.8metres long and cost $35 from locksmiths. Can't be cut with boltcutters as they will only push the strands of wires within - or that was what Iw as told by the locksmith when I asked for hardened steel chain.

    Don't skimp on the lock as it could become the weakest point.

    Don't know why you don't like the alarm option - I installed the cheap Jaycar one and it works pretty good - one bump and it chirps three times and next bump within 30 secs or so and goes off pretty loud.
  5. I imagine the braided cable sort of squashes in the bolt cutters, they arent really sharp things and would have trouble cutting all the thin strands.

    But a number of attempts and it would be through, might need some tin snips or something to finish it off if the bolt cutters arent very good.

    The square security ones should be as tough as boltcutter jaws, but big bolt cutters would probably still win.

    But combined with an alarm (might need to be one of those fancy proximity ones) either would probably stop them.
    The chain will slow them down enough that they arent going to hang around for a few minutes with an alarm going off.
  6. dunno bout the cables and stuff but example.... at my work... best foolproof thickened covered chain ever... locked with a regular boltcutterable padlock
  7. Interesting perspective on the cable being "squishy" and foiling bolt-cutters. I hadn't thought of it that way. And I assume a locksmith would know what he was talking about, especially since it sounds like he ended up selling you a cheaper solution.

    Originally the Python braided cable caught my eye for convenience, since the locking mechanism lets you feed as much slack through the lock as you want:

    But I was actually considering that xena combo. I figured that even if you could "chew" through the cable one strand at a time, all the mangling would set the "disc lock" alarm off.
    Cheaper and lighter than the chain version.
    And, as toecutter and flexorcist pointed out, the lock shouldn't become a weak point (I can't imagine the disc lock being bolt-cutterable)
    And I'd still have a regular xena disc lock alarm if there wasn't anything to secure the bike to.

    I probably will get an alarm as well, as Toecutter mentioned, but didn't want to rely on just an alarm; I don't want to count on the general public investigating if the alarm goes off.

    With that in mind, I was intending to combine whatever cable or chain I bought with a xena anyway.
    The cost of xena disc lock + Python cable will be pretty much the same as xena disc lock + cable combo. Wish I knew how the Python cable compared to the xena cable... </ponder>

    Anyway, thanks, the advice is much appreciated! :)
  8. Mini rant ahead:

    You know what, why don't these bike review places actually test the chains and cables they review? I've read so many reviews that say something like "we don't know how hard it would be to cut, but it sure looks pretty sturdy"! Gee, that reassures me...

    I mean, either
    a) they were given test units to review, so why not try your hardest to wreck them? or
    b) they bought the unit for their own personal use and decided to write up a review on the side, but, if you bought it for personal use wouldn't you be even more interested in testing it? :)

    Ah well. Don't mind me :)
  9. Steel cable is much harder to cut with bolt cutters - but much easier to cut with a hacksaw. When it comes down to it all a chain/cable is for is to act as a deterent, professional thieves will always find a way to steal it.
  10. Or (c) - they got a press release from the importer, and lifted a couple of paras from it to fill a couple of column inches. :roll:
  11. Not that you have actually suggested that you would look at these, but I would suggest steering away from disc brake locks. cos I have a mate who used these untill some bastard tried to make off with has bike and use some sort of hammer to knock the lock off. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) the brake rotor was bent in the process so they couldn't make off with the bike.

    Anyway as I was saying stay away from disc brake locks.
  12. I used to sell locks and yes, would always go the cable over a solid steel type. have a look at the motorcycle locks and also check out the local bicycle store as many use the same supplier and have different stock or different mark ups resulting in lower price.

    My advice, get a couple of short cables rather than one big long one. They have to cut twice then.

    As has been said, they are really only a deterent. I know of a harley that was stolen out of a shed where it was locked up, and it was lifted over a 6ft fence! If they want it, you won't stop them, but that's what insurance is for.
  13. i can confidently say that steel rope is a pain in the ass to cut... i used to use it for my car audio stuff - theifs ended up breaking my speakers apart and tearing apart a padlock instead

    it's stil cuttable, but will slow anyone down a bit
  14. Disk locks are just to stop someone casually rolling it away, though your bike will take damage from the attempt so best to always have a warning cable up to the handlebar so they notice its on. Also stops you forgetting, I just have some yellow string on mine :grin:

    Just medium stranded cable is probably better then a disklock and about same price, but needs more room for storage.
  15. Well, my current thoughts are thus:

    I'd rather have a bike with a pranged disc than no bike at all, so I'm not put off the downsides to disc locks.
    I'm thinking a Xena disc lock for when I can't secure it to something solid.

    And so, given that I'll buy a Xena anyway, I'll pay another $20 to get the Xena cable lock combo, which essentially transforms it into a shock/motion sensitive alarmed cable lock. That sounds vexing for a thief to deal with to me.

    Doubling up on the cable would be a good idea, but I think the above should be enough deterrent for my little bike, whilst still being convenient to carry around :)

    Thanks for the advice everyone!
  16. Have heard a few winges about the xena alarm disc-locks. Not saying don't buy one, as I haven't tested one myself. Reportedly they don't like being dropped or getting wet... so, err, don't drop it or get it wet. :)

    As someone advised earlier, get a couple of locks. Perhaps get a length of security chain from a locksmith with a good padlock AND get a cable style lock with your alarmed disc-lock.

    I use the 2 chain theory that they may have breaking tools for one type but not the other.

    Is the pole the weakest link? Is it a good steel pipe or that light zincline stuff. If the top of the post is open then mix up some concrete and pour into it - fill it about halfway up, you won't need much concrete.

    Don't forget to make the chain short enough so it sits up off the ground when the bike is locked up. It's easier to cut through a chain/cable if it can be braced against the ground. Put a cover over the bike too, sounds stupid but makes it tougher for the steal-to-order bike thiefs.
  17. In truth, the main reason for picking the Xena is for the disc-lock and cable-lock functionality. If the alarm part is sketchy, it'll still serve its main purpose.

    Two locks/chains/cables sounds sensible, and if I were to escalate the security beyond what I outlined, I would do exactly that.
    But I think the basic cable lock will serve its purpose for my current bike (low value) at my current house (quiet neighbourhood). I'm pretty sure that any thief that was prepared to cut the cable and lift the bike onto a truck would have to be after my bike specifically, and as everyone says, not much I can do then.
    Though now I think about it, I'd add a chain and padlock if I were to leave town for a few days.

    Yes, the pole is secure; it's a welded structural beam of the carport. And because the bike is outside it's covered by a nondescript tarp anyway :)