Every cyclist’s nightmare: The bicycle frame is securely locked to a lamppost, but the wheels, pedals or saddle have been removed and taken away. There is such a thing as a “bicycle component thief” and he is lurking around with his eyes set on your bicycle parts.
Our readers know what our best recommendation against e-bike theft is: The GPS tracker BikeTrax, combined with a high-quality bike lock, is a must. However, as it is not uncommon for individual accessories to be stolen as well, we are going to focus our attention on the best comprehensive theft protection for bicycles and e-bikes, with good reason. What is the best way to protect your wheels, seat post, light systems, pedals, bicycle bags or e-bike battery against theft? And why do we also seal our customers’ e-bike motors with the HexLox security system? One important point in advance: you can never invest enough in security.
Which bicycle components are popular among thieves? For organised gangs, high-quality components are definitely an object of interest because they bring in the most money on the black market. Be it the ergonomically adapted mountain bike pedals by SQlab or the Brooks leather saddles for city bikes – if high-quality bicycle parts are not secured, they can quickly end up in the hands of “component thieves”. But some people might simply take the opportunity to steal something spontaneously: extra lights, mobile phone holders, bicycle pumps, bicycle helmets or bicycle bags are an easy target.
Ever since e-bikes have been on the road, e-bike batteries have also become vulnerable to thieves. After all, the battery is the most expensive component of the e-bike, and it is easy to make money with it.
Bicycle and e-bike equipment can increase the value of a bike considerably. Anyone who takes a look at these figures and is not already familiar with them will immediately want to know how they can most effectively protect these valuable components.
High-quality saddles for e-bikes, mountain bikes, racing bikes etc. are manufactured by companies like SQlab. When designing their saddles, SQlab takes the anatomy and bodyweight of cyclists into account from a medical point of view, and uses this information to produce special components. The price of a SQlab saddle ranges from EUR 40 for one-size saddles to EUR 230 for specially measured, ergonomic carbon variants.
Saddles from one of the world’s leading leather saddle manufacturers, Brooks England, are also popular for vintage city bikes. In the Brooks Online Shop, you will pay between EUR 120 and 230 for a leather saddle.
Pedals are classified as so-called platform pedals and system pedals, i.e. clipless pedals that are attached to the shoes by means of brackets. Of course, simple platform pedals made of plastic, for city and touring bikes, are cheaper than milled aluminium pedals or those with a click-in mechanism. Prices for the former start at EUR 20.
But if you want to buy a high-quality mountain bike platform pedal, you can spend anywhere between EUR 30 and EUR 250. Pedals by Crankbrothers, for example, cost between EUR 60 and 450. The Tyrolean company Magped develops high-quality safety pedals for cross bikes, racing bikes, mountain bikes etc., which are equipped with a magnet. Depending on the requirements or bodyweight, the pedals are equipped with magnets of different strengths. They are available in the Magped Online Shop for between EUR 90 – 190 per pair, depending on the model.
The battery is the heart and soul of the e-bike, and it is also the most expensive component of an electric bike. The quality and price of a battery increase along with its performance and therefore also the range of kilometres it can cover. The capacity, service life, charging speed and size are also decisive factors for the price. Bosch batteries, for example, are available online from EUR 600, while batteries for Specialized E-Bikes are much more expensive. You will need to cough up between EUR 1,000 and 1,200 for a battery from this manufacturer.
For anyone who commutes to work, does the shopping or goes on holiday on a bicycle, bicycle bags are essential accessories. Ideally, they are robust and waterproof – features that make the Ortlieb bicycle bags popular. Ortlieb sells 25 to 30 litre bicycle bags separately, or as a set, at a price between EUR 80 and 280.
Vaude bags, for example, with the same dimensions, for either the front or rear wheel, cost between EUR 90 and 160.
Vaude bags, for example, with the same dimensions, for either the front or rear wheel, cost between EUR 90 and 160.
The quality of the materials used determines the price of the wheels. Are we are talking about aluminium or carbon rims or disc or rim brakes? All of these are decisive questions that can raise or lower the price. Wheels from the bicycle dealers themselves, e.g. Rosebikes wheels with Shimano systems, begin at EUR 80. By comparison, the manufacturer DT Swiss sells their top of the range wheelsets for between EUR 600 and 2,300. There is also a selection of wheels for e-MTBs, e-racing bikes and e-gravel bikes for between EUR 400 and 2,000 per set.
Both the EUR 80 and EUR 2,300 are substantial prices for bicycle equipment. If you don’t secure these components when you park your bike or e-bike somewhere, you make it very easy for thieves – especially outdoors. To ensure that you don’t have to dig deep into your pockets for nothing, and so that you can keep your saddles, wheels, bags and batteries for a long time, we have compiled a guide on the most common and important methods and systems for securing your bike components.
One very obvious option, so that you don’t have to deal with special security systems for bicycles, is to use several different locks. If the bike is fastened to a fixed object with a folding or U-lock, for example, additional cable and spiral cable locks can protect the wheels, saddle and bike bags from thieves.
Their main advantage is their flexibility. Depending on the length, they can be used to tie both wheels or the saddle to the frame or another fixed object. Their light weight is also advantageous.
One example is the ABUS Cobra cable lock, a sheathed steel cable with loops on both ends, which is available in different lengths. The ABUS Cobra 12/180 version is 1.80 m long and weighs around 500g.
Another simple option of securing your helmet or your bags is the steel cable Quick-Lock2 by Ortlieb. The set consists of two cables (of two different lengths) that can be attached to the support brackets for the bicycle bags. This means that the bags can be left on the bicycle if you need to pop into the house or a store for a short time. Cable and U-locks fit through the loops, and the helmet can also be secured through the loop.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Cable and Spiral Locks
Although cable and spiral cable locks are not known for comprehensive theft protection, they can make theft more difficult. In general, the following applies: The more different types of locks you use to protect the bike and its components, the more time will pass before anyone can steal the bike.
Quick-release skewers are practical if you get a flat tyre, because it enables you to remove the wheel quickly. But they are also practical for thieves, who can remove them from the bike just as quickly if it is not being monitored. If the wheel set is on the expensive side, it’s better not to save on the time it takes to remove a wheel if you need to change a tyre or a casing. It makes much more sense to make it a harder for thieves instead. Thru-axles are much safer than quick-release skewers, which require special tools to remove them from the frame because they are fastened with bolts. Thru-axles or seat posts, for example, can be fastened with Allen screws (hexagonal or pentagonal).
Approx. EUR 10 per set
Certain safety screws, such as Torx screws or hexagonal Allen screws with a pin in the middle, ensure a small upgrade in terms of protection. They are inexpensive and the tools required for them are also available from specialist retailers.
Approx. EUR 0.10 – 1.50 (excl. key)
Of course, all the screws and their corresponding keys that can be bought cheaply, without any restrictions, from specialist retailers, can also be bought by thieves. Nevertheless, these screws at least protect the equipment against casual thieves without tools.
But there is a more creative and, above all, effective way: Whether for securing wheels or seat posts – there are manufacturers who have made a name for themselves with gravity locking systems for bike equipment.
Why not make use of gravity to protect your bicycle components? Let us introduce you to some of these ingenious systems.
These quick release axles can only be opened with a 5mm hexagonal Allen key – attention – but only when the bicycle is upside down!
Approx. EUR 42
If you have secured your bike to a fixed object with a primary lock, so that it cannot be turned upside down, the wheels will remain securely on the bike. If, on the other hand, you want to change the tyre yourself, you can easily turn the bicycle over and unscrew the axle with the special tool. This also applies to Kryptonite’s full-axle solution, the Security WheelNutz. Their internal “lock-out” function prevents them from being opened when the bicycle is upright.
Approx. EUR 33
This security system is suitable for wheels and seat posts. One special feature is that the quick-release skewers can only be opened when the bike is in a horizontal position. This is ensured by a ball located on the inside, which blocks the lever. With this system, it is also essential to lock the bicycle with a primary lock, so that it cannot be tilted.
Approx. EUR 30-35
IXOW’s safering is another locking system with a gravity locking system for the seat post. The a title=”gravity” href=”https://www.ixow.com/en/e-shop/safering-gravity/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>”gravity” version can also only be opened when the bike is upside down and the screw is loosened with an Allen key. The extended safering mitgelieferter Schlüssel nötig.”keycode” model requires a special key, which is included in the delivery.
With the ABUS stainless steel NutFix gravity lock system, gravity is also the most important factor. In order for the system to work, the bike must be upright, therefore it is also essential to secure the bicycle or e-bike firmly to a fixed object with a folding or U-lock. The nut can be screwed to the bolt of the seat post with an open-ended spanner.
Approx. EUR 30-35
Advantages and Disadvantages of Gravity Locking Systems
The Pitlock system is made up of special nuts and bolts, depending on what needs to be secured: front or rear wheel, seat post or other components such as headlights and brakes. The ingenuity of this system lies in the individual keys for the nuts. Pitlock sells more than 1,000 different combinations, which the buyer can only purchase by submitting a special code.
Seat posts approx. EUR 34 Euro, and front and rear wheels between EUR 60 and 90
Similar to Pitlock, the Pinhead system also works with special combinations of nuts, axles and keys. A repeat purchase is also only possible upon submission of a code. Pinhead also sells complete sets that include a chain wheel lock. One universal key, which is compatible for wheel lock, axles and nuts, is supplied with each product.
The HexLox special security system for bicycle components is quite something. With HexLox, all e-bike and bicycle components can be intelligently protected from theft: Rear wheel, front wheel, saddle and saddle clamp or stem.
HexLox is inserted into Allen screws (hexagonal sockets) with an individual key, thereby blocking the access of an Allen key to open the screw. HexLox works on all magnetic steel screws or titanium and aluminium screws that have a magnetic insert glued into them.
If you want to remove HexLox again, you need to use the HexLox key. To do so, press it lightly into the insert. There is no other method of removal possible, not even with a strong magnet.
The manufacturer supplies the necessary installation parts for the Allen screws of the wheel, together with a special coded HexLox key, which is part of the set. The sizes of HexLox vary from 4 to 10 mm. For your individual key, additional HexLox keys can be ordered by submitting a three-digit code that is included in the packaging.
True to the “HexLox anything” principle, this security system is not only used to protect bicycles and e-bike components from theft. It can also be attached to furniture in public places, car and motorcycle parts, trade fair stands, solar cells or GPS transmitters.
Advantages and Disadvantages of HexLox:
The main reason why we chose HexLox as the best anti-theft device for bicycle components is because it was specially developed for e-bike and bicycle components, and at the same time, it also offers maximum security for GPS transmitters.
Why do we also trust HexLox as the best theft protection for bicycle components? Our GPS tracker BikeTrax is a cigarette lighter-sized tracking device that is mounted inside the motor housing of the e-bike, which makes it invisible to the thief. However, in order to open the motor housing of the e-bike, you have to remove the pedal crank. This crank can be secured with an 8mm HexLox insert.
With over 10,000 BikeTrax installed in bicycles, we are not aware of a single case in which the GPS tracker BikeTrax was found and removed by the thief. However, if an e-bike owner is aiming for 110% security, and wants to make his motor compartment with the integrated GPS tracker inaccessible, he can secure his pedal crank with a supplementary 8mm HexLox insert.
This means that the engine compartment is not only sealed! With HexLox, it is also impossible to sell a stolen e-bike, because its true owner can see its location at all times, as long as the GPS tracker remains active in the e-bike’s motor compartment. BikeTrax and e-bike are inseparable, naturally, only for e-bikes from which the crank has to be removed in order to open the motor housing.
According to our recommendation, the combination of a mechanical lock (immobiliser), a digital theft protection (BikeTrax GPS tracker) and HexLox component security is by far the best solution when it comes to protecting an e-bike from thieves.
Investing in security pays off for cyclists and e-bikers, especially when you consider that the price of wheels, seat posts, saddles and e-bike batteries adds up to several thousand Euros. However, theft protection for bicycles means much more than just securing the bike with a lock.
If you want to start small, you can make do with several locks, e.g. a folding or U-lock as the primary lock for the bike and a supplementary cable lock for the bike parts. However, this type of security does not guarantee protection against theft.
Special gravitational technology – bolts, nuts, quick-release skewers or nuts that can only be unlocked when the bike is turned to a 90-degree angle or upside down – offers considerably more security against the theft of bicycle parts. These can be purchased with either a special compatible key or a standard key.
The HexLox security system seals Allen screws with light, almost invisible magnetic components that can only be removed with a special key. But the elements used not only protect all kinds of bicycle parts from theft; they can prevent bicycle thieves access to the motor compartment. If a GPS tracker, such as BikeTrax, is installed in the motor compartment, to enable unhindered real-time tracking, it is impossible to remove the tracking device, even in the event of theft, and the security of the e-bike is guaranteed.
Since the GPS tracker BikeTrax has been around, things have become much more difficult for e-bike thieves. The theft protection system sets off a motion alarm every time the bike is moved without permission. But still, owners often neglect to secure e-bikes and bicycle components. Bicycle saddles, wheels, pedals, e-bike batteries etc. are seldom well protected against theft. What are “bicycle component thieves” on the lookout for? And what is the best way to protect your bicycle components from these pilferers? Let us introduce you to the best theft protection for bicycles and e-bikes.