Co.Design

Bike-Lock Handlebars: Break Them, And The Bike Can't Be Ridden

It's convenient and makes the bike impossible to ride if it does get stolen.

New York bike thieves don't play. They have Mission: Impossible-level skills and enough balls to steal your wheels in broad daylight... while being filmed. So when Savannah College of Art and Design student Jaryn Miller was told to design a solution to bike theft as a class exercise, he knew that throwing more iron at the problem wouldn't work. " If even the most durable lock is vulnerable, I figured I had to find a way to make it more trouble than it's worth to steal the bike," he tells Co.Design. His Senza lock actually functions as the bike's handlebars, so even if you destroy the lock, you'll have a hell of a time riding away.

Like any good designer, Miller informed his design with user research. "People hate carrying locks, and sometimes they forget them," he explains. Even more galling: "Some locks leave the seats and tires vulnerable, and if they are broken, the bike is still in perfect condition." Miller's lock kills both birds with one stone: you literally can't leave home without it, and defeating the lock results in seriously damaged goods. Sure, a determined thief could just heave the bike onto his shoulder after breaking the lock and buy a new handlebar. But why would he bother, if there's an easier mark to be had on the next block? (It should be noted the Biomega makes a bike, produced for Puma, whose lock renders the frame unrideable as well.)

Raising the "pain in the ass" factor of bike theft is a strategy many lock designs employ, but the Senza still has that clever built-in convenience. For instance, I rarely lock up my rear wheel in addition to the front one because carrying an extra chain is so tedious. Miller's lock takes care of that too, with a rear ring attached to the seat that clasps the wheel in an iron grip. Combined with the lack of handlebars, this whole rig screams "not worth it" to any bike thief with half a brain.

The Senza is just a concept for now, but Miller is graduating soon and will be looking for manufacturing partners to make his lock a reality. Any takers?

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