Are there any bike locks that don't use bulky/fragile plastic keys?
August 12, 2014 8:57 AM   Subscribe

A few weeks ago, my bike lock left me stranded after the stupid plastic key handle broke off, leaving the rest of the key trapped inside the lock (and leaving me trapped four miles from home, in the rain). Similarly, the weird plastic key handles add a lot of unnecessary heft to my keychain. Are there any decent bike locks that use "normal" keys? Bonus points if I can get multiple locks that use the same key.
posted by schmod to Shopping (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I can't see your link, but it looks like at least some of the Abus U-locks have full metal keys. They're pricey but very worth it.
posted by hollyholly at 9:14 AM on August 12, 2014

After a similar thing happened, my bike lock key had enough room left on the shaft that I drilled out a hole and ran the key ring through it. I can use the key ring to turn the handle. When the key starts to deform, I'll throw the damned thing out.

But when I replace it, I'll just get a coiled cable and a padlock.
posted by straw at 9:15 AM on August 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Kryptonites come with three (?) keys, one is bulky (including a useless light) but the two other ones are quite nice.
posted by mathiu at 9:15 AM on August 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you like your lock except for the key, check with a place that makes keys to see if they can make you an all metal version.
posted by soelo at 9:15 AM on August 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

If it's a Kryptonite and you have to get someone to cut the lock because the key broke, keep the bill and the old lock and send it all back to them. Most of the time they'll not only replace the lock, but pay the locksmith fee too.
posted by bonehead at 9:32 AM on August 12, 2014

Are you opposed to a combo U and cable lock?

Sort of pain to set up, but no keys.
posted by 26.2 at 9:39 AM on August 12, 2014

Response by poster: I don't want a combo lock.

In addition to the (terrible, non-kryptonite, and now-discarded) lock that broke, I own a Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 lock.

The keys are still about 4 times as thick as any other key on my keyring, and the lock weighs more than the rest of my bike. The lock also seems to require near-constant fiddling and lubrication -- I'm not particularly happy with it.

Ideally, I'd like to own a "high security" lock (like the Evolution) as well as a lighter and less cumbersome "low/medium security" lock that I can use to secure my bike in less dangerous locations. Ideally, I'd like to be able to use the same key for either.
posted by schmod at 10:07 AM on August 12, 2014

Check out these USC students who set up a Kickstarter for Nutlock, which protects your bike wheels using variations and oddly shaped key/lock combinations. You'd still need a bike lock, but it's an interesting idea.

I've tried combo locks when renting bikes and while I'm not sure if they're necessarily more/less secure, it was nice not having to worry about carrying a key around.
posted by doctordrey at 10:27 AM on August 12, 2014

Nutlock is nothing new. See Pinhead.

Abus is your best choice for bike locks, superior to to the K brand in every way. The K brand is the Bose of the lock world, people who know a lock brand typically only know of them. They are a marketing company.

Abus is a German locksmithing company, making security products since the 1920s. They invented the u-lock. Their German-made locks use ThyssenKrupp steel,

Yes, they do keyed alike. I like the Bordo folding lock myself.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 2:19 PM on August 12, 2014 [3 favorites]

I have a cheap OnGuard U-lock. The key still has a weird plastic thing at the top, but the keyring actually goes through both the plastic and the metal part of the key. It comes with a light-up and a non-light-up key, and the non-light-up doesn't take up much room at all. Comparing to my Kryptonite key, the OnGuard is definitely smaller (still bigger than a house key). Maybe this is what you want?
posted by miyabo at 2:48 PM on August 12, 2014

OnGuard U locks come in a combination version. That's what I'm replacing all of my keyed locks with after I lost a key and had to saw off my lock.
posted by zug at 3:21 PM on August 12, 2014

For a less secure/more secure option with the same key, a frame lock and chain is worth considering. The key can even stay in the frame-lock, so you don't need to worry about forgetting it.
posted by kjs4 at 10:09 PM on August 12, 2014

I've been using this Viro lock, along with a (heavy) chain for 15 years here in bike thief centraal- Amsterdam.
OK, this is the second one, the first one broke after 10 or so years of great service in the great outdoors. The lock is very tough and the key is actually smaller than any of my other keys.
I do see them on, but not Maybe a local lock shop could get one?
And those frame locks are nice as a second lock.
posted by Tunierikson at 11:39 PM on August 12, 2014

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