Author Topic: Third Incarnation of the n'lock -- clever bicycle security  (Read 1727 times)

Andre Jute

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More about Franklin Diedrich's second incarnation of the n'lock at
http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=3930.0
which describes the n'lock, its purpose, fitting, and experience with it; much more experience passim on the forum.

I like the idea of the n-lock https://n-lock.com/ but need to find out the dimensions.

John, if you go to this page,
https://n-lock.com/product/n-lock/
you will see a large image and a row of selectable smaller images below. Click them one by one. The first and the second images are of the solid n'lock, not angle-adjustable. The third image is the cable fitted to the angle-adjustable n'lock. The fourth image is the quill adaptor which essentially makes the angle adjustable n'lock stem redundant, at least for small height adjustments.

To the right of the images there is a link to a downloadable sheet of measurements. It has technical images of the adjustable n'lock on the same sheet, scale unknown, certainly not to scale with the scaled parts of the page. Compare with the photographs listed above to compare the differences between the solid and adjustable n'lock stems.



The purpose of this sheet is to permit novices to measure their existing components and thereby save the sellers a lot of bother with returned parts, not to give you the measurements of the n'lock.

It is not clear to me what precisely they are selling on this page.
1. The solid n'lock if that is all you buy?
2. If you buy the cable as well, do you get the adjustable n'lock? For the same price?

Now, if memory serves, in Franklin Niedrich's time, the solid n'lock was 100mm centre of steerer tube to centre of handlebar tube, and the adjustable n'lock was 120mm centre to centre. But that is no guarantee that these Danish marketers (who claim to have designed the n'lock!) have maintained the measurements of what is a very tightly packaged piece of Swiss engineering.

It may be worth filling you in on the history of the n'lock. Originally  Niedrich, a manufacturing/machining consultant, didn't contemplate entering manufacturing and marketing for himself. He licensed his design to a French firm. I actually looked at their product and decided they were jumped-up salesmen (a mild expression substituted for my true opinion, which the moderator won't permit) who with such a critical steering part could maim or kill me. OEM's clearly decided the same because makers and product faded from sight. A few years later I discovered that the designer, a Swiss engineer of excellent reputation, had designed a new, improved version, to get around the patent belonging to the French firm, and was supervising production himself. Niedrich told me that he had first organised production in China, but wasn't satisfied with the quality control and wasn't able to enforce Swiss standards, so he bit the cost-bullet and went to the Taiwanese, who he already knew have excellent engineering skills and quality control. (This is a sequence I'm familiar with, having licensed audio designs to be manufactured in the Far East. One of my Japanese licensees was so infuriated by absent Chinese quality control that he went to China in person to throw a complete amp I had rejected as sub-standard, not what I specified, utter cr@p, on the floor.) So the n'lock I have, and Julk and several other forum members, is the second Niedrich design, manufactured in Taiwan under his supervision. Nobody's ever faulted the engineering or manufacturing standards of these n'locks; quite the contrary: our complaint was about the very Swiss tolerances being too tight for amateur assemblers. It's easy to tell the Niedrich n'lock apart from the French one: the French one has fluid rounded curves, the Swiss item has brutal Teutonic edges -- it unfortunately looks like it was designed by an engineer working on his own, who should have hired me to make his great engineering look like the stylish luxury item it is.

The current Danish product certainly looks the same as Swiss n'locks we have but the photographs on the sales page, when compared to the text, causing confusion about what you will actually get, is not very professional.

Someone will have to take one for the team and buy and fit one of these Danish n'locks to discover if they're the real thing or history repeating itself. Looks like you elected yourself, JohnR. What would be ideal is if the Danes simply took over the unsold stock of n'locks and you're getting an NOS Niedrich n'lock, or if they just put in an order for x number to the same standard to the Taiwanese contractors.

On the other hand, the price of the complete kit at 170 euro isn't that much more expensive than it was 10 years ago, though the selection of handlebars with the shorter cable housed inside has disappeared, and I must say I find that cable in the handlebar very convenient -- in fact so convenient that I cannot even tell you without instituting a major search where my long n'lock cable is; I used it once for a photograph for this forum, and never again, but then I live in a low-crime environment.

Most questions about the n'lock are answered at
http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=3930.0
and passim on the forum, reflecting the number of members who use it.

JohnR

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Re: Third Incarnation of the n'lock -- clever bicycle security
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2021, 10:15:35 PM »
Someone will have to take one for the team and buy and fit one of these Danish n'locks to discover if they're the real thing or history repeating itself. Looks like you elected yourself, JohnR. What would be ideal is if the Danes simply took over the unsold stock of n'locks and you're getting an NOS Niedrich n'lock, or if they just put in an order for x number to the same standard to the Taiwanese contractors.
I'll have to contact them and check the length but my Mercury is just right with an 80mm ahead stem and the saddle clamp only 5mm away from the back end of the rails so minimal potential to move the saddle forwards to compensate for a longer stem.

JohnR

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Re: Third Incarnation of the n'lock -- clever bicycle security
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2021, 05:48:02 PM »
I'll have to contact them and check the length but my Mercury is just right with an 80mm ahead stem and the saddle clamp only 5mm away from the back end of the rails so minimal potential to move the saddle forwards to compensate for a longer stem.
And the answer from Cyclops is that the N-lock is 100mm centre steerer to centre of handlebar clamp so that doesn't work for me.

Andre Jute

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Re: Third Incarnation of the n'lock -- clever bicycle security
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2021, 07:43:20 PM »
I'll have to contact them and check the length but my Mercury is just right with an 80mm ahead stem and the saddle clamp only 5mm away from the back end of the rails so minimal potential to move the saddle forwards to compensate for a longer stem.
And the answer from Cyclops is that the N-lock is 100mm centre steerer to centre of handlebar clamp so that doesn't work for me.

I sympathise. I like my bike cockpits to match to within 1mm in all directions, because otherwise my physio dances all the way down to the BMW showroom to chose the trim colour for an even bigger showoffmobile.

There is one more thing you can do before you give up the idea of the n'lock. You can ask Cyclops if they have an adjustable n'lock for you.

I'll forgive you if at first glance you think this is an eminently stupid idea, because clearly the adjustable n'lock is longer than the fixed one, but the n'lock family of components has some hidden virtues, one of which is the quill adaptor which you may or may not need.

The adjustable stem swivels either up or down, so you can mount it higher or lower then your present stem. You then recover the difference in height by angling the stem down or up, which also magically brings it back to your preferred reach.

Before I discovered the n'lock, I used German adjustable stems from a range called Xstasy (I'm not making this up!) and I thought it was particularly aptly named, because they can be adjusted to be shorter than anything else sold by the company, and when straight are longer than anything in the catalogue too.

And, if you run out of height adjustment on your steering tube, with the head tube limiting downward movement, the quill adaptor in the n'lock family will almost certainly see you right.

JohnR

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Re: Third Incarnation of the n'lock -- clever bicycle security
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2021, 10:22:22 AM »
I'm told that the adjustable stem (which is 120mm) is out of stock and they are considering whether to make a new production or a new design.