Author Topic: Current views on locking skewers?  (Read 245 times)


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Current views on locking skewers?
« on: April 03, 2021, 10:30:18 PM »
Whatís everyoneís thoughts on locking skewers like pit locks for example ? Saw another interesting one by Abus nut fix

I read some old stuff but wondered what current opinions are

Also wondering if all of these locking skewers are compatible with rohloff

I read that pit locks are supposed to be greased up but rohloff and son Dynamo hub donít like grease


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Re: Current views on locking skewers?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2021, 03:05:38 AM »
TLDR: No security solution is perfect but mixing types can slow a thief, preventing a theft in the time available to them. This includes security skewers.
1) Security devices are easier, faster, and cheaper to defeat than develop.

2) Both Rohloff hub gear and SON dynohub axles incorporate central pressure-equalization/vent holes in the axles; grease can clog these, so you should not grease q/r skewers used with these hubs. The locking mechanism can be greased or oiled as needed because it is outside the hub.

3) All locking skewers I know of are compatible with the Rohloff hub if they directly replace a quick-release skewer. Pitlocks are a popular option among Forum members.

4) All the locking skewers I know of can be defeated, sometimes very quickly and easily. While all can ultimately be defeated, they can also slow down or inconvenience a thief long enough to thwart a more immediate theft. Mixing security methods forces a thief to be more prepared and some that are less prepared may pass by a bike instead of stealing it. Parking a bike for long periods in the same place and according to a schedule (commuters at work parking or overnight in the outside racks of an apartment complex) makes you predictable and allows a thief to scope out your bike and prepare to steal it more readily.

I live in an area where there is a lot of bike theft driven by drugs and made worse by underfunded and understaffed police departments who have made clear they will no longer register bikes or investigate property crimes regardless of value and will not even respond or make a report for insurance purposes (victims must do so themselves). The most common form of theft where I live now involves cutting the frame in two using a portable angle grinder and cutoff wheel or even just a hand hacksaw. The two halves of the bike are then moved to a "chop shop" (or over the riverbank) where the components are removed at leisure and sold on eBay and Craigslist while the broken frame is discarded. The frame has a serial number but parts do not, can be turned quickly without being identified, and a thief has no sentimental attachment to your bicycle to inhibit their actions.

It is good to ask oneself where you need security, what you want to protect, and at what cost in weight, convenience, and money.

My own strategy at home is to store my bikes out of sight in an attached, secure garage with a number of security features of its own. Inside, each bike is locked to itself and to others by a variety of means and each is fitted with an alarm programmed to a common remote. All this to combat garage-clearing thefts that are on the rise here.

For day rides and touring, most of my bikes are fitted with frame-mounted ring-locks and choice of optional plug-in 10mm cable or 6mm or 8mm link chains as well as a remotely armed alarm. The ring-locks secure the rear wheels (and front wheel and frame to a post if the plug-ins are used) and are most often used alone if I am off the bike but standing next to it, as grab-and-go thefts are common. A seemingly innocent walker, passerby or sightseer can suddenly turn into an opportunistic bike thief and make a grab after pushing the owner to the ground (two attempts of this type on my Nomad and another where someone tried to grab it and ride off while I was dining next to it at a park picnic tablewere thwarted by my locked ring-lock). The key in my area is to not leave the bike for long and to always lock it whenever you do leave it.

That said, someone could still cut all the spokes to remove the Rohloff hub because I don't use wheel locks; it has happened to some Dutch friends of mine who live in Rotterdam.

When touring in populated areas I take pains to avoid leaving the bike alone, preferring instead to lock it at, say, a busy petrol station after asking an attendant to keep an eye on it -- and buying them a coffee and pastry from the onsite store for their trouble. In lodging, a concierge can best advise on secure parking and I've sometimes had my bike secured in the kitchen where there was always someone to monitor it, in a staff lounge and a staff locker room. I take my bike into public restrooms -- in a stall if possible -- and lock it and set the alarm.

Perhaps these are some ideas you will wish to ponder besides wheel locks.




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Re: Current views on locking skewers?
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2021, 08:58:19 AM »
I am lucky to live an an area with relatively low bicycle theft and virtually no bike theft physical violence (snatch and grab rare here).

Instead of locking skewers I got Allen-key skewers. Compared to quick release these will slow an opportunist wheel thief, and no possibility for me to lose the special tool required for locking skewers, I always have an Allan-key in my toolkit.

For security on my touring bike I have a permanently-fitted ring lock and generally carry a U-lock. With the same key, to make things a bit easier (ABUS Yourplus system). I have the cable security fitting on my Ortleib panniers and generally carry a small, light and ancient cable-lock to secure the rear panniers to the rack. If carrying both front and rear panniers, I use this small cable lock for the front and secure the wire loops from the rear panniers with the ring lock, which is a bit more fiddly to do.

On tour I try and keep my bike in sight when camping, or parked somewhere "safe" if using hotels/hostels. This is sometimes a nuisance, and was less of a concern when I used my old mountain bike as a tourer, a drawback of using an expensive bike. Now that my tourer is 9 yours old I am a bit less paranoid about leaving it locked up somewhere.


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Re: Current views on locking skewers?
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2021, 07:56:34 PM »
Iíve used quick release skewers for years but recently it only dawned on me how flimsy or potentially dangerous they ďseemĒ to be

Saying that Iíve never actually had a problem with them. I think maybe only once I remember one had Come slightly loose, but not loose enough to fall off. It takes quite a few turns to make it loose enough which I suppose is unlickley or impossible? But then I thought thorn promote the thru axle coz disc brakes can cause quick release problems?

What other options are there?

Can you have a skewer/axle/bar (sorry I donít know the word for it) with bolts on the end for more peace of mind that itís more stable ?
« Last Edit: April 05, 2021, 08:01:30 PM by ourclarioncall »


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Re: Current views on locking skewers?
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2021, 09:34:03 AM »
When I owned a Rohloff Thorn I used Pitlock wheel skewers. Excellent in my opinion.
Other bicycles? Normally allen key type skewers, but I do have a new unused as yet set of Pitlock skewers I intend fitting (should I ever be able to cycle again) on one of my cycles.
I also own a Moulton TSR and Brompton which I do not use any form of security either wheels or actual cycle. I simply (?) stand/lean cycle against wall/fence/shop front/cafe etc and watch over it. If when again able to use Public toilets the bike whichever type goes in with me .

The original question was/is about wheel locks. My answer if you so desire to try to be extra careful with security is indeed to use the Pitlock skewers.


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Re: Current views on locking skewers?
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2021, 12:30:06 PM »
+1 on Abus ring lock for back wheel. That'll make it harder for the rear wheel to disappear when left locked but unattended if used in conjunction with locking the frame to an immovable object.

Many riders will have a decent Shimano or Son dynamo hub up front. Not cheap to replace either if stolen.

I have regular QR skewers on my bike so always have to make the effort to lock front wheel to frame and engaging ring lock on back wheel when parking bike up. Saying that, I'd probably still lock front wheel and frame to something solid even with locking skewers. At the end of the day, a determined thief prepared to cut through a heavy lock is not going to be off put by locking skewers. But your casual opportunist seeing an easy to remove wheel might be tempted if wheels are not obviously secured.
If only my bike shed were bigger on the inside...


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Re: Current views on locking skewers?
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2021, 06:42:02 PM »
I had some Pitlocks on my Raven, certainly secure, even more so if they seize, I had the rear undo a couple of turns and then spin, couldn't tighten it, couldn't get the wheel out. I rode it the rest of the way to work like that and got an engineer to grind some flats into the dome - I couldn't bear to watch.
I now use the type with a pentagon head and key, they're branded Trans-X but available under several other brands.  Nothing like as secure as the Pitlocks, hopefully enough to deter the casual thief and they're good skewers in their own right.  There's a decent review of some options here


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Re: Current views on locking skewers?
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2021, 08:35:53 PM »
These look kinda cool.

But again, I would be scared something goes wrong