19 March 2009

Use Steel Reinforced Epoxy Putty to Stop Thieves From Stealing Your Bike Parts

Losing your bike to a low-life thief sucks; losing your bike parts comes pretty close. Personally, I recommend the New York U lock by Kryptonite, if you harbour any thoughts of hanging on to your bike in the big city. Lock it to something that can't be cut or easily broken; remove the front wheel and lock it to the back wheel and frame; old school. If you don't want to remove your front wheel, then use secure stays, like Pinheads, or get used to living without your front wheel. Use the smallest lock possible. The New York Standard (SD) is a good side, unless you're a messenger. Avoid cables or chains; even the best of them can be easily cut with the right bolt cutters; they're generally a waste of time and money. Carry an extra quick release stay in case someone takes the one from your front wheel. Replace quick release back stays with something less removable.

Anyhow, I didn't really want to write about how to lock a bike. What I'm interested in presupposes you already know how. What I'm interested in is securing your bike from thieves who know they can't take the whole bike (since you locked it as suggested above); so, they're willing to take whatever parts they can easily remove, but you're about to make things not easy for them.

Thieves will steal anything that has an allen key hole in it. You can spend big bucks and get the Pinhead headset, seatpost and wheel stay locking system, but, besides being expensive and a nuisance, that still leaves lots of parts to take, including your handle bars.

Lots of people recommend filling the allen keyholes with glue. The question is "what sort of glue". Some people say "wood glue". But forget it. That stuff will run all over the place, make a mess, and it's too easy to chip out. Avoid silicon, which is also easily removed with your bare fingers, if easier to apply.

What I suggest is that you get an epoxy that is meant for filling steel! There are a number of products around that do this. I used a Steel Reinforced Epoxy Putty. The brand I used was Tech Steel, but there are lots of other makers. You can find it in a well stocked hardware store. Nobody is going to steal your parts unless they have all day to do it, because this stuff isn't coming out easily. Make sure you don't put it on your brakes or anything you need to adjust regularly. Steel Reinforced Epoxy Putty is pretty cheap ($6-$7). It dries into a grey putty that looks a bit like a dental filling. Anyhow, it's a very cool solution that I wanted to pass on. Be safe!


Derek said...

Looks like a good visible deterrent, also read about sticking a ball bearing (supposedly invisible when buried) inside so there's not as much glue to remove when you actually need to. Only thing I can think of that a thief might use to get your handlebars / shifters / levers quickly would be cable snips and needle nose vise grips to grab the sides of the allen bolts.

BTW: I have that same Lambert ding bell from urbane, mine faces forward to flick easily with the index finger.

Philosopher Dog said...

Hi Derek,
I had to chip this out the other day to swap out the forks and it can be chipped out in a few minutes. It's more of a deterrent for casual thieves. It's not going to stop anyone with a bit of determination. I was using my thumbs with mitts on the Bell. :) The bike did come from Urbane recently. It's a fixie. I'm very happy with it. Thanx for your comment.

Binh Nguyen said...

How would you take the epoxy out? I'm thinking of securing my bike with bb and superglue, but I kind of like your idea better. I'm just worried that I won't be able to take the epoxy out whenever I decide to change parts on my bike.

Thanks :D

philosopherdog said...

Hi Binh,
You can chip it out in about 5-10 minutes using a small flat screw driver. It won't prevent you from servicing the bike. Not a worry. It's just a deterrent. It won't stop someone from taking your parts if they really want them. It will prevent them from quickly taking something though and that might just save your parts from being stollen.

Binh Nguyen said...

5-10 minutes to take out is much better than 20+ minutes with the ball bearing + superglue. I think I will use the epoxy method. Maybe, I'll add a ball bearing inside so that I don't need to use that much glue. Probably doesn't matter too much though. THANKS FOR THE ADVISE!

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