It’s an infuriating truth that, even if your bike is secured with a D-lock, a passer by with sticky fingers can still relieve your bike of its wheels, seat and handlebars.
But the new Pinhead system promises to keep even these components secure. It does so by replacing the standard parts that your bike’s assembled with. The locks replace the skewers for your wheels (quick release or otherwise), the cap at the top of your forks and your seatpost clamp with locking versions.
Add a D-lock and your bike will be nearly unstealable. Pinhead even has a "bubble" lock coming soon designed to fit the same key, and be more secure against some of the tools that bike thieves now use on standard d-locks.
Take two locks?
The locks are dishes patterned with odd circles and indents – they look like the kind of thing NASA blasts into space to puzzle aliens with. The inverse dish “key” is the only thing that will easily unscrew the locks. So you wheels, seatpost and the top of the fork stay stuck in place.
This approach beats the most common way of protecting components: threading a cable lock through your wheels, the d-lock and through the fork. This involves carrying a fairly long cable to do it, so it either ends up very heavy, or easily cut.
By comparison, the Pinhead system is very lightweight and lets you carry fewer locks. It’ll certainly see off most opportunistic bike thieves (which is the majority), and it’s cheap and easy to install, generally.
Cut it out
Any downsides? A few. The skewers for wheels and seat are built to fit as wide a variety of bikes as possible. On some bikes that may mean taking a hacksaw and file to the end of skewers to stop them sticking out too far from your bike (the seatpost lock on the bike we tested snagged our shorts until this was done).
Also, the key system makes it difficult to tighten the locks with as much oomph as a hex socket or quick release. Which means you'll need to check tightness every ride.
Finally, while there is a key number registration and replacement service, it will be a big pain if you lose your key, then realise you need to change a tyre.