Street Cuffs: L.A. Sees Big Jump In Bike Thefts

April 15th, 2012

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Bike Theft Prevention

L.A. Sees Big Jump In Bike Thefts

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L.A. Bike Impound

Although crime across L.A. is dropping, there is one glaring exception: bicycle thefts, which rose 29% last year.

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Bike Theft

Nearly 2,000 bikes were reported stolen last year — and authorities believe the actual number of thefts was much higher because so many people don’t report stolen bikes.

LAPD detectives believe the increase is due in part to more people using bikes to get around in some neighborhoods.

A Times analysis found the USC campus, downtown L.A. and Venice to be hot spots for bike thefts.

Detectives recently broke up a bicycle theft ring and nabbed two men who swiped bikes downtown and sold them on Craigslist.

At the motel of one of the alleged thieves, they said they found bolt cutters, hacksaws and a Mercedes-Benz equipped with a bike rack.

Some bike messengers last month took justice into their own hands when they caught two suspected thieves, teenage boys who attended a local Catholic high school.

According to police, the messengers stripped down the teens to their boxer shorts before taking their cellphones, backpacks and clothes.

“They meted out street justice. We don’t condone street justice. They never threatened them. But they made it clear: don’t mess with another person’s property,” Los Angeles Police Lt. Paul Vernon said. “This incident and the arrests are the tip of the iceberg when comes to people stealing bicycles.”

Vernon said the two boys told police they were robbed by about 20 men on bicycles at 6th Street and Grand Avenue about 3 p.m. on Jan. 12.

Investigators said they cannot prove the boys were stealing bikes and continue to look for the assailants.

Still, the incident has been the talk of the downtown biking world.

“There wasn’t any violence… They were stripped of their clothes and sent home,” said bike messenger Douglas Forrest, who says the action was the talk of various bike shops and collectives.

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Richard Riordan Library

In the downtown area, the number of bikes reported stolen increased last year by 57% — and cyclists have noticed.

“They’ll take anything they can get these days. It has gotten really bad.” Forrest said.

Downtown, bicycles are most likely to be stolen between noon and 6 p.m. and Wednesdays are the hottest days for theft, according to an LAPD analysis.

The Richard Riordan Library, named incidentally for the cycling former mayor, is a favorite spot for thieves.

Poorly designed racks out of sight from passersby make it easier for thieves, said L.A. cycle activist Steve Box.

Ironically, Box said, some of the worst positioned racks can be found at the new LAPD headquarters.

Some of the upside-down U-shaped racks the city uses have even been cut and the gap covered with stickers, he said.

Bike thieves simply slip out the locked bicycles.

– Richard Winton

Photo: Hundreds of recovered bicycles in an LAPD warehouse downtown.

Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times



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Street Cuffs: Any Bike Lock Can Be Defeated

April 15th, 2012

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Bike Theft Prevention

Bicycle Theft Prevention

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Master Lock Quantum Cuff

Locking Your Bike – Expert Advice

By John Brandt – University of Maryland

Any lock or locking device can be defeated, and Master Lock Street Cuffs are no exception… but there are locks out there that are more difficult to overcome and the Street Cuffs are one of those locks.

Here’s what we’ve found about cable locks:

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Cut Bike Cable

3/8” to 5/8” cable locks (coated or uncoated) just plain don’t work as a primary locking device.

Thinner cables are even more worthless.

Cables can be a good device for preventing opportunistic, walk-off thefts, but if your bike is out of your sight, they’re practically worthless.

Don’t believe any hype from manufacturers or dealers about how “their” cable is stronger or better than all the “others.”

They can all be easily beaten in four ways (two by easily concealable tools):

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    CABLE CUTTER

    They can be cut by a 12-inch long, $12 tool (a cable-cutter) wielded by a 12-year-old. The result is a neatly severed cable that looks like it was cut by a giant pair of scissors. Cut time? 1-4 seconds.

  • They can be beaten by a $2 pair of needle-nosed pliers, in 90 seconds, by a teenager. All they need to do is clamp the cable (even plastic coated cables) in the wire-cutter portion of the pliers and then rotate the pliers while applying squeezing pressure. The cable gets severed one strand at a time and the result is a medusa-looking mess.
  • Thieves can also use a standard bolt-cutter, but attack the combination locking portion instead of the cable. In essence, they crunch the lock until it literally falls apart. This takes 10-30 seconds and was the M.O. of one of UMCP’s most prolific bike thieves.
  • If your thief is high-tech, they can also use a battery powered corner grinder and just grind through the cable in about 5-15 seconds. Of course, this one is noisy, shoots sparks, and attracts attention so the thieves tend to avoid it.

Cable locks are a nice secondary lock, when used with a u-lock.

Most thieves won’t bother defeating them just to steal your front wheel (unless it’s REALLY pricey).

There are just too many unsecured front wheels lying around on bike racks.

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New York U-Lock

Here are the key facts we’ve found about u-locks:

You generally need power tools to defeat a u-lock and that makes them less likely to be attacked, but they’re not a perfect solution to bike theft and the bike owner is still their own worst enemy when they don’t use the lock properly.

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    Angle Grinder

    U-locks can be defeated by corner-grinders (noise and lots of sparks), spreader-tools like old Volvo screw-jacks (not well-known to thieves and unwieldy), and portable electric-hydraulic rebar cutters (very expensive and almost unknown to thieves, also very heavy and not easily concealed). There are also circular-shaped drill bits to drill the locks out, but again, they’re not well known, they lose teeth quickly, and they need a drill so they’re sort of obvious.

  • U-locks are only as good as what you attach them to and how you attach them.
  • The best you can do is to lock your u-lock through both wheels, your frame, and a substantial bike rack. Almost no one does this because they don’t want to take the time to remove and replace their front wheel. When you do this, all this stuff in the u-lock makes it very difficult, even for bike thieves who use ‘spreader-tools’, like screw-jacks, to defeat the u-lock. There’s no room to get any tool in the right place without damaging what you’re trying to steal. In 30 years of police work, I’m unaware of ANY bike ever stolen on my campus if it was locked with a u-lock, through both wheels and the frame, to a real bike rack. o If you attach your u-lock through your frame, but not any wheel, your bike can still be ridden off if what you’re secured to can be defeated. People ride around with u-locks hanging from their frames and handlebars all the time. Cops don’t pay any attention to this.
  • If your u-lock is through your bike frame and at least one wheel, your bike is less likely to be stolen than almost any other bike around. Every other bike is easier to steal and get away with so that’s where the thieves go. To be honest, I accept this as my best compromise on my campus.
  • If you choose to include only one wheel in the u-lock, putting a cable through the other wheel also makes your bike more trouble to steal.

Yes, an old model of Kryptonite u-lock could be defeated with a Bic pen, but I’m unaware of any new u-lock model that has this particular flaw.

Yes, I’ve seen the video on the web.

Here are the most common locking mistakes we see:

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Stolen Bike Front Wheel

Locking only the front wheel allows the thief to steal an unsecure front wheel from a similar, nearby bike and attach it to your bike.

You’re left with your front wheel and your lock.

Someone else, nearby, has a bike, but no front wheel.

The front fork is not a frame element.

If you lock your bike through the front fork, the thief will remove the bike from the front wheel and pull the fork up and out of the lock.

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Stolen Bike

The bike and wheel are then re-connected and they ride away, leaving your lock, alone and empty, on the rack.

If you lock your bike at an inverted-u rack, but the rack has become loose in the ground, the thief will just pull the rack out of the ground to free your bike to steal.

Trust me, they’ll put the rack back in the ground and hope to get more bikes off it in the future.

If you have this style of rack, please check them occasionally.

If you see someone shaking one of these racks, they’re probably a thief, trying to break a new rack loose for future use.

If you lock your bike to something other than a bike rack and whatever you’re locked to can be defeated easily, don’t expect your bike to be there when you return, unless you’ve run your lock through at least one wheel.

  • Thieves just rip bicycles up and off of most landscape items.
  • If your lock fits over the parking meter head, they can just lift your bike off the meter (or sign post).
  • Wrought iron is actually quite weak at each weld-point; you may not even notice that it’s already broken and bends easily.
  • Chains that stretch between bollards are horrible. The chain can usually be cut or just pulled out from one end and every bike along that chain is now loose.
  • Arms and legs of decorative lawn or patio furniture are easy to separate. Our thieves then push them back together so they look secure for the next bicyclist.
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A Recurring Theme

Of course, most bike thefts could have been avoided if the owner had just run their u-lock through at least one wheel.

Thieves don’t want to CARRY a bike away, this attracts unwanted attention, they want to RIDE it away and blend in with every other nearby cyclist.

This is why I say that encouraging bicyclists to use a u-lock through their frame and at least one wheel is a compromise that I’ve decided I’m willing to accept.

They may not be willing to take off their other wheel each time they lock their bike, but it only takes a moment more to make sure you include one wheel with the frame as you lock up.

In the past few years we’ve given away hundreds of u-locks and sold hundreds more at wholesale cost.

The theft rate for bicycles on my campus has dropped dramatically, but the remaining thefts still have one thing in common, around 93% (it varies) some of them were only using cable locks.

Many of the remaining thefts were unsecured bikes taken from inside buildings, cars, etc.

I’m aware that there are probably other factors that reduced the theft-rate, like CCTV cameras, the economy, etc.

I can’t factor those into the equation, but it seems obvious to me…

lots of good racks and lots of u-locks = less theft of bikes.

P.S. If you’re a bike thief, please forget everything you just read; there’s just no way to beat any bike lock. Find another profession. There’s no profit in stealing bikes because the cops recover EVERY bike and arrest EVERY thief; EVERY time.



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Street Cuffs: How To Lock Your Bike So It Don’t Get Jacked

April 13th, 2012

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Bike Theft Prevention

Bicycle Theft Prevention

How To Lock Your Bike So It Don’t Get Jacked

 

PARKING & LOCKING BASICS

The first rule:   Always Lock It.

Never, never leave your bike unlocked–even if you’re leaving it for only half a minute.

A thief can grab your bike in seconds.

Some parking basics:

Security:

Lock your bike to something that’s permanent and not easy for a thief to take.

Lock to a bicycle rack, a parking meter, a metal fence post, or a large tree.

Don’t lock to another bike, a door handle, or small tree.

And if you keep your bike in a garage, basement, or on a porch, lock it.

Visibility:

Park in open areas where many people pass by and your bicycle can be seen easily.

Thieves usually don’t like an audience.

Keep It Close By:

Put your bike where you can get to it fast.

Thieves like to steal bikes whose owners are far away.

WHAT LOCKING HARDWARE SHOULD YOU USE?

U Locks:

As has been in the news recently, many Kryptonite locks have been easily broken.

There are similar brands sold which have a different locking mechanism inside, although they may look similar outside, and are less easily broken.

Some U locks are stronger than others; make sure you buy a strong steel alloy lock.

If the manufacturer offers a warranty or insurance, register the lock and write down the lock’s serial number and when you bought it.

One drawback to U locks: you can’t lock up to thick objects such as street lights; so for these, carry a thick cable.

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Sterling Street Cuffs

Padlocks & Chains:

Look for anti-theft security chains, the thicker, the better.

Chain links and lock clasps should be at least 3/8 of an inch thick.

Look for locks and chains that are case-hardened–a process that makes them harder to cut.

Cables:

Some cables are actually harder to cut than chains, because they don’t snap and thieves can’t pry them open.

Use a cable at least 3/8 of an inch thick with a lock as thick, or thicker.

Ugly Bikes:

In busy commercial areas, where thieves have lots of bikes to choose from, your bike is less likely to be stolen if it looks old or just ugly.

HOW TO LOCK UP

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But The Street Cuffs Held

A thief with enough time and the right tools can break any lock.

But you can discourage many thieves if you follow these tips about locking your bike:

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Street Cuffs Plus

Lock the Whole Bike:

You should put your chain, cable, or U locks through your frame and both wheels–taking the front wheel off if you have a quick-release hub.

Never lock through your wheel without locking the frame, because thieves can remove your wheel and steal the rest of the bike.

Cross Locking:

A good way to foil thieves is to use more than one kind of lock.

For example, put a U lock through your frame and rear tire, and put a cable or chain through your frame and front tire.

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Cross Locks

Placing the Lock:

Thieves may break a lock by putting it against a wall or sidewalk and smashing it with a hammer.

If you use a padlock, try to put it where it’s not close to the ground or against a wall or another solid surface-leaving little or no slack in your cable or chain.

When using a U lock, leave little or no space in the lock’s middle to prevent prying.

Removable Items:

When you leave your bike, remove any parts you can’t lock and a thief could steal easily: a quick-release seat, horn, bike bag, pump, cycle computer, or lights.

If removing quick-release parts is a hassle, replace them with permanent ones.

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How To Lock Your Bike

WHERE TO PARK

Parking Meters:

Lock your bike to a parking meter if you’re using a U lock.

Never lock to a meter with only a chain or cable–a thief will slide your bike over the top.

Bike Racks:

Look for thick, immovable bicycle racks installed outside of many buildings.

Some building owners and local governments have provided ribbon-shaped racks and inverted-U-shaped racks, which are very secure places to park your bike.

Special note: there have been cases where a rack has been unbolted from the sidewalk, or the bolts have been loosened enough so the rack is easily pulled out and the locked bike removed.

It may not be obvious at first, so pleasebe aware.

Sign Poles:

Sign poles aren’t the best places to lock your bike.

Before locking to a pole, check whether you can pull it out of the ground.

Also check how easily a thief could remove the sign and slide your bike over the top of the pole.

Parking Lots:

In San Francisco, all public and private garages with 10 or more spaces are required to provide bicycle parking.

Not all garages are in compliance.

Some garages charge a minimal fee.

See a list of garages with bike parking.

If you find a garage that is not in compliance, please call 311 and request to speak to the Planning Department since they are responsible for enforcing bicycle parking codes for garages and lots.

Indoors:

A good way to avoid theft–park your bike indoors.

Some stores and buildings allow bikes inside, if only for a short time.

When parking indoors, lock your bike securely.

CUTTING YOUR THEFT LOSSES

What’s the first thing to do when you get a new bike?

Write down the serial number and keep the number in a safe place.

Look for the serial number stamped on your bike’s head tube, seat post tube, under the crank, or on the frame’s rear wheel mount.

Identifying Marks:

You can discourage thieves by engraving your name or driver’s license number in an obvious place on your bike frame.

Or put a card with your name and phone number inside the handlebar tube–so if you find your stolen bike at an auction, junk shop, or flea market, you can prove it’s yours.

If Your Bike Is Stolen:

First, find your bike’s serial number if you have it.

Then call your local police and tell them where your bike was stolen.

Try to get a police report number that you can use for an insurance claim.

Also find out how police will contact you if they find your bike.

Looking for Your Bike:

Sometimes you can find your bicycle at places like pawn shops, auctions, or resale shops that might deal in stolen merchandise.

But if you find your stolen bike among other property that someone’s selling, remember that they won’t just give it to you; you must prove it’s yours.

Keep your serial number or use identifying marks as described above.

Call your local police to learn whether they auction off recovered, unclaimed property.



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Street Cuffs: Bike Theft Is At An All Time High

April 12th, 2012

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Bike Theft Prevention

Bicycle Theft Prvention

Unfortunately, bicycles are very easy to steal because they make the perfect getaway vehicle.

Understanding the most common types of theft can help you protect your bike and lock it with confidence.

Type of Theft and What You Can Do

Residential garages

Where thieves can take their time sawing through locks…

Store your most valued bicycle inside your home, not your garage.

If you must store your bike in a garage, use a high-quality U-lock or motorcycle lock (Street Cuffs) and lock your bike to something.

In commercial garages, park within sight of an attendant.

A cable lock is not enough!

Cable locks are just too easy to cut…

Always lock your frame with a high quality U-lock or a heavy NYC Chain and secure your wheels.

Get rid of any U-lock with a round barrel key.

These locks can be broken into easily by an experienced thief.

Make sure to fill up as much space inside the “U” as possible with poles, posts, and your frame and wheel.

Leaving empty space gives room for a thief to pry open your lock.

Improperly locked bicycle

Find an appropriate fixed object to lock your bike to.

Don’t lock your bike to a pole or post that is loose in the ground.

Theives may have loosened it themselves.

And don’t just lock the wheel.

Theft of bike parts

Such as lights, wheels, seats, seat posts…

Remove lights and speedometers when parking your bike.

Replace quick-releases with other types of skewers.

Protect your bike by registering it.

While registering your bike won’t keep it from being stolen, it greatly aids in its return to you if it is recovered by the police.

The police will not give you back your bike unless they have proof that it belongs to you.

In addition, it helps the police identify and locate the proper owner.

Options include the National Bike Registry and the Stolen Bicycle Registry.

Self-register your bike.

Record your bike’s serial number and other descriptive info and store in a safe place.

Use our freezer registration form to record the serial number and description of your bicycle.

Then store the form in a safe and memorable place (such as in a zip lock bag in your freezer.)

What to do if your bike has been stolen.

Report it to the police.

You can file a theft report online.

Or, you can call 415-553-0123.

Provide simple descriptive information and your serial number.

The San Francisco Police Department is linked to the national database of stolen property, so if your bike were to turn up in the hands of any law enforcement agency in the nation, you’ll receive a phone call.

Post the theft as STOLEN: on craigslist.

Sometimes cyclists are happily reunited with their bicycles by other craigslist viewers who have seen (or even accidently bought) the bicycle online or on the street.

You can also monitor EBAY, and post the bike missing to online email lists within the bike community.

It always helps to have other eyes out searching!

Stolen bikes have also been recovered at Bay Area flea markets and the notorious San Francisco Civic Center Plaza.

 



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Street Cuffs: Master Locks Street Cuffs Rock

April 8th, 2012

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Master Locks Rock

May 14, 2008   By J. Batcheller “The Urban Man”

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This Bike Is Cuffed

Street Cuffs are a pretty sweet lock.

Heavy duty!

The only reason I didn’t rate it 5 stars is that they are heavier than I expected and they can be a bit cumbersome at first.

I’m a bike commuter so I use it everyday.

Now I actually have a pretty slick system where I can leave it locked to my bike 24/7.

When I ride, the lock is latched on my bike’s cross-tube and down-tube so it’s out of the way.

It’s super easy when locking my bike — I just unlatch it from the down-tube and lock it to the bike rack.

It’s a bit pricey if you don’t get it on sale.

Mine was 60% of MSR — worth every penny!

 

The Street Cuffs Held Strong

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Cut Bike Chain

This is a great lock.

I know my bike is safe with this one.

Unfortunately I found out how good it is the hard way.

Was in San Francisco over the weekend.

Brought two bikes to ride with a friend.

She was tired at the end of the night and we had to lock the bikes downtown and cab it home.

Next morning the bike with a Specialized lock was gone.

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Street Cuff Strong

The Street Cuffs held strong.

The other thing I like about the thing is what another reviewer said was a drawback.

You have to push the buttons to actually lock it.

But you can shut the lock without doing that.

Thats great to me for when you’re going making a quick stop and want to get in and out.

Middle of the day, no one is going to try to steal that bike when they see the street cuffs on it.

When I get back to it it’s unlocked and ready to go in 10 seconds.

So that’s my review.

Buy it!



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Street Cuffs Bike Lock



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Street Cuffs: Scares Bike Thieves Away

April 8th, 2012

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Street Cuffs Are The Way To Go…

August 1, 2011   By Anthony B

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Street Cuffs Bike Lock

The Street Cuffs are heavy as other reviews have stated.

But that is exactly what I want.

I feel safe with my bike secured using this device.

The links between the cuffs surpassed my expectations in appearance and strength.

This bike lock looks as good as it is.

Totally happy, would recommend this to a friend (and I already have).

 

Scares Thieves Away And Looks Good Doing It

September 26, 2011   By Mickey Kay

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Street Cuffs In Holder

Street Cuffs are a great item that fits in a saddlebag or backpack.

Folds for easy storage.

Has a daunting look that makes thieves look elsewhere.

Everyone asks where to get one.

Great novelty item that really works.

Use it on my Harley and Indian when riding and lock the two together at night fork tube to fork tube.

Great item



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Street Cuffs: Finally A Perfect Bike Lock!

April 8th, 2012

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Super Street Cuffs

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Finally, A Perfect Bike Lock!

August 2,2004   By atreyu “atreyu”

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Cut Lock

After a thief defeated my $45 U-Lock to steal my my $1,500 bike I started researching alternative security measures.

I learned online that U-Locks can be defeated a number of ways… the easiest way is to straddle the “U” part with a small jack, and then bend the shackle until the lock can be compromised.

My research has convinced me that Street Cuff locks are THE best option out there… there’s no place for a thief to even PUT a jack, and no way for him to get any leverage to break it with his weight or with a crowbar, sledgehammer, etc.

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Street Cuffs Detail

Most thieves will have a jack handy for U-Locks and/or a bolt cutter for cables… they’ll give up on these at first glance!

Any experienced thief will move on to something he can steal easily with tools on hand.

I wouldn’t waste your money on the SS version, by the way… not much extra security for a lot more money, and they’re heavier and more likely to scratch your finish.

But having the 9-link version’s extra reach really helps for those times you can’t get your bike *right* against an anchor.

The 9 links also make it very easy to lock a friend or spouse’s bike up at the same time.

 



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Stainless Steel Street Cuffs



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Street Cuffs: $3500 Master Lock Anti-Theft Guarantee

April 8th, 2012

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$3500 Master Lock Anti-Theft Guarantee

June 30, 2008 By Big Kat “Big Kat”

I purchased this for my Harley Motor cycle and it worked great.

Then my son took it and started using it on his $1500 road bicycle.

This lock is very easy to use and the “STAINLESS STEEL” chain, 9-Links are very strong.

(for the guy that said it is “Pot Metal” all metal is melted in a pot?)

I went to the Master Lock website and found the $3500 Master Lock Anti-Theft Guarantee.

Master Lock is putting their “money where their mouth is” on this lock.

We own a few 8290DPS Master Locks now and use them on all of our bikes.

Good work Master Lock.



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Stainless Steel Street Cuffs



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Street Cuffs: Master Locks Bike Cuffs

January 4th, 2012

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Master Lock Street Cuffs Dirty Little Secret

August 15, 2004  By Jorge

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Street Cuffs

This is a great lock for that cool look and ease of storage and mobility.

It is also great because there are many ways to lock your bike with the street cuff.

Especially when you have to lock your bike onto bike rails on campus, etc.

Sometimes that traditional U-lock gives you a headache trying to figure out how to lock your bike.

Overall,for the first impression part of this product I give it an A+.

But….

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Cut Bike Chain

From what I understand, a security locks main purpose is to secure your investment.

In this case it would be our bikes.

So what is the point of having a security system if it doesn’t protect your investment?

Masterlock did do a good job by innovating a security system based off traditional handcuffs.

But did they know that there is a very fatal weak point in this product?

The actual incident I encountered….

I have had my bmx for roughly one month and I used the Master Lock Street Cuff for my security.

One day I didn’t feel like hauling my bike 3 flights of stairs to my apartment.

So I cuffed my bmx to a 6 foot master lock street chain that was securing my motorcycle.

Next day my bmx was gone.

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Bike Theft

The thief had cut right through the link of the street cuffs.

(I have made a website in order to show some pictures of the street cuffs cut in half.)

In conclusion….

The main purpose of a security system is to secure our investments.

If the product can’t serve the main purpose of a security system.

Then it fails to even be considered a worthy product to purchase.



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