The Yerka’s downtube separates to lock itself, meaning that breaking the lock would render the whole bike useless.
The Yerka’s downtube separates to lock itself, meaning that breaking the lock would render the whole bike useless. (Photo: Yerkabike)

How to Make Your Bike Theft-Proof

Crowdsourced innovations promise to replace the old bike lock for good

Nick Davidson

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Bike thieves (damn them!) steal somewhere between 800,000 and 2 million rides every year, and those numbers continue to grow as bike commuting gains popularity. 

A portion of those thefts could have been prevented with a simple lock, but many on the market won’t stand up to a pair of bolt cutters, and expensive components like wheels or saddles remain vulnerable.

Good thing for us, a slew of entrepreneurs have hit the crowdfunding market with a range of remarkable anti-theft inventions that could save your favorite steed. Here are the best. 

Yerka Bike

(Yerka Bike)

Even the best cable and U-locks are merely obstacles at day’s end—adding bulk and poundage to your commute to boot. That’s where the Yerka’s logic trumps would-be thieves: The bike doubles as its own lock with a sleek, convertible frame. Break the lock and you break the bike, rendering it useless. To rig it, the Yerka’s down tube separates and swings outward, and the quick-release seat tube slides into the lock’s joints to accommodate posts or trees up to eight inches in diameter. Your wheels are safe, too, with specially designed proprietary nuts. The company is also working on Bluetooth control via smartphone. 

About $600,

Fortified Bicycle Payback Seat Clamp 

(Fortified Bike)

When a friend’s expensive bike seat was stolen one night, the team at Cambridge, Massachusetts–based Fortified took it personally. The result is Payback, an anti-theft seat clamp and saddle bolt set forged from lightweight aluminum and secured with proprietary bolts paired with an anti-theft tool to install them. The lifetime guarantee means that if your seatpost or saddle is ever stolen, Fortified will replace it free of charge. Pair the Payback with Fortified’s previously crowdfunded Aviator and Afterburner anti-theft bike lights ($99) to illuminate dark commutes. 


Connected Cycle Pedals

(Connected Cycle)

This autonomous smart pedal thwarts thieves with an internal movement-detection system. If your bike is moved, the system alerts your smartphone via an app, and GPS tracks it down. The pedals stay secure with a coded screw, so only you can remove them. Every ride is logged to the cloud (or automatically synced to Strava) with stats like speed, route, incline, and calories burned—even when you leave your phone behind. Better still, the Connected Pedal self-charges and generates its own Internet connection anywhere in the world.


Seatylock Bike Seat Lock


The Seatylock transforms the most comfortable element of your bike—the saddle—into the most secure. Once detached from the adapter, the saddle accordions out to a meter-long chain of six hardened-steel links molded with plastic to prevent scratches and rust. It’s secured with a tough key lock that protects both your bike and saddle. Choose between trekking or comfort models, both designed with three spring points for easy riding. 


Skylock Solar-Powered Smart U-Lock


The Skylock’s accelerometer notifies your smartphone anytime a would-be thief so much as shakes your bike. The same function can also alert your contacts if you’ve crashed, and it’s capable of discerning the severity of the accident or distinguishing it from theft. Keyless entry with the Skylock app means you don’t need to keep track of keys or codes, and you can even create your own bike-share network by giving access to friends or family from anywhere. Power it via USB or its efficient, built-in solar panel for a long-lasting charge.


Vivid Bike Lock 

(Vivid Lock)

The Vivid Lock, live now on Kickstarter and as-yet unfunded, pulls double duty as a wearable strap with built-in front and rear LED lights to keep you seen and safe. Sling the padded strap across your shoulder while you ride, and ignite the swath of 60 battery-powered LEDs, white in front and red in back, with nine modes that last up to 70 hours—or flip it over to use the reflective backing. The Vivid Lock’s two fiber-core steel cables with PVC coating fasten to a solid combination lock to keep your bike safe when parked. 


Lead Photo: Yerkabike