Rohloff Security Tip

23 09 2009
Put the shifter into 14

Put the shifter into 14

I’ve been riding my Rohloff equipped Thorn Nomad around town a fair bit lately.  Often I have to stop at a shop and grab something quickly.  So I leave the bike leaned up against the store window where I can see it. This still leaves the possibility someone jumps on my bike and rides away with it.  You can’t catch up to someone stealing your bike if you are on foot – trust me been there and it’s a bitch watching your bike rolling away on you like that…=-(

One option is to lock it to itself so it can’t be ridden.  That works, but even a simple cable lock is a pain to get out, put through the front wheel and frame – plus you gotta unlock it and take it off the bike.  When all you need to do is run in for 60 seconds to grab some milk that’s too much overhead.

Well I’ve come up with a strategy that’s super easy and much faster than locking your Rohloff bike, but almost as secure for short dashes into a shop.

  1. put the Rohloff in 14th gear [hardest] = 1 second
  2. unscrew thumb screw on external shift box pull off of hub = 5 seconds

Your bike is now in the hardest gear and if some punk gets on it and tries to ride away he’ll get all of 4ft before you deck him.  Nobody who doesn’t have a Rohloff will know what to do and even if they did it would take them a lot longer than an experienced Rohloff owner so you’d have time to notice someone messing with your ride.

If you are the paranoid type you can make this even more secure by rotating the Rohloff shifter back to 1st gear once the external shift box is off.  This way even if somebody manages to reinstall the shift box the shifter will be maxed out and they won’t be able to get it out of 14th gear.

External shift box removed from hub.

External shift box removed from hub.

Don’t worry if I leave my bike for any length of time and/or it’s out of my sight I lock it to something with an uber beefy lock.


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18 responses

23 09 2009
jdmitch

wow, that’s… almost sadistic… be honest, when some part of you hopes that someone will jump on your bike and try to ride off just so you can laugh at them… ;)

23 09 2009
Duncan Watson

Ha, doing that to my Rohloff equipped raptobike would be cruel. The odds of anyone being able to ride away on it would be near zero. -

23 09 2009
WT

A buddy of mine used to wedge a small piece of bark or stone, or whatever he found nearby that was handy, to clamp shut the front brake on his bike by wedging the object in the gap produced between the brake lever and the other part of the brake.

That way, in the very least, the potential bike thief was slowed down – or even better, flips over the handlebars when trying to pedal away.

23 09 2009
bikeboy999

Well it is a good thing that Sam W. is on the good side. As he starts he Varna in 133 gear inches. Which is more than likely what 14th gear on you Rohloff hub is. That does look like a good idea for a quick stop, for someone riding it away. What about a pickup truck job? I would rather take the time to fasten the bike to an object. After all what is a minute?
Thinking about this idea, is a story from Bicycling away back. Christopher Reeves left his bike standing outside the bar where he could see it. He popped in for a quick beer. As he was drinking someone started to ride off on his bike. He caught up to the guy, and the guy said “jeeez superman if I knew this was your bike I would not have taken it”.

B

23 09 2009
thelazyrando

Well the fact is if I had to lock my bike up securely to an object every time I needed some milk it would mean spending more than a minute securing the bike for a 60 second dash into a store. Ultimately a bike is only useful if the overhead you spend on it makes sense relative to what you do with it.

Rather than spend the 2 mins+ it would take me to properly lock my bike [not to mention the 7lbs of lock] in order to get some milk I’ll just walk to the store. The walk is pleasant and I don’t have to lock up my shoes when I get there!

Ultimately I choose to worry about the likely risks and then stop worrying. Sure there are ways for my bike to get stolen, but at some point it’s no longer being cautious and starts to become paranoia.

23 09 2009
Duncan Watson

Vik – I agree with you on evaluating likely risks and taking chances to improve you quality of life. I live in a reasonably safe area and have no problems leaving my bike outside to grab milk, of course, someone trying to ride a fwd lowracer without experience won’t get far.

The only problem for me is that I can’t go into a grocery store without buying a lot more than just milk.

23 09 2009
jdmitch

Duncan,

You’ve got a Rohloff Raptobike? Wow… I’m jealous. You’re not planning on putting a Schlumpf Speed Drive on that, are you?

23 09 2009
Gerco

Why not mount a ringlock on the frame near the rear wheel… That only takes seconds to lock…

http://www.mammoet.nl/store/catalog/popup_image.php/pID/7436

23 09 2009
Zyzzyx

Nice trick. Quite similar to what I’ve done with standard geared bikes for years. Roll up in a decent gear (middle ring, low gear), then park it and put the shifters into big ring, high gear. Pedalling the bike off immediately makes the chain and derailers go nuts, often making a mess, and causing a bit of a delay. I’ve also done the ‘jam something in the brakes’ trick as well.

On the Xtracycle bike, i’ve thought about doing a center stand with a hidden catch that could lock it in the down position, but be easy enough to release, if you knew it was there.

For the Quest… well, I’d be impressed if someone could even figure it out. But, it still gets locked up more often than the other bikes. could be something to do that it cost more than all my others combined. ;)

23 09 2009
Duncan Watson

@jdmitch
Not planning a speed drive on it. But it does have Q-rings.

23 09 2009
alan

wow Vik! with all due respect, i think i would leave one of the most badass bike builds ever at home when i go for milk! i started rebuilding a clunker for this same purpose, but then i started the pug. nearly have all the parts for the clunk tho.
i put my ulock thru my rear wheel if there isnt a rack. but i think your method is just as effective, plus you get to punch him!
i also drip wax in my hex skewers seatpost bolts as a deterrent. bike theft is rampant here in Portland, as is component theft. it’s a likely enough risk for me, anyway.

23 09 2009
Chandra

Vik,
I have been not been locking my bike when I go to REI (bike kept inside REI) or to the Indian Supermarket. I think I need to be more paranoid and lock it. The trick for the Rohloff sounds great.

Now comes the hard question: Should I buy a ring lock or a Rohloff equipped Silk Road? :)

Peace :)

24 09 2009
2whls3spds

Ring locks were designed for the quick in and outs. I have them mounted on any bike that I am likely to use for that purpose. The AXA Defender has the ability to take an optional chain or cable to allow you to lock to something, but can be used as a simple ring lock. One think I really appreciate about the ring locks is that the key is stuck in them until you lock it, makes it easier to keep up with.

Aaron

29 09 2009
Patrick in Chicago

The easiest thing I know of is to just lock a small lock or in a pinch, a carabiner to the top of your drive chain. If someone one hops on and tries to take off the chain will jump. It’s small and I think that people just don’t notice it. It’s saved me 1 bike and is quick when you’re in a hurry.

29 09 2009
jdmitch

@Patrick,

You, if you’ve got open space on your chain ring, you could clip around the chain ring and the chain… that’d let them get a stroke in and then send them over the handlebars when it locked up after the bottom portion of the revolution.

29 09 2009
thelazyrando

My goal is to keep things as simple as possible so adding a lock to the equation is just one more thing to remember and carry. Using components that will always be on the bike is really convenient.

3 11 2009
Chandramohan

I would rather put it in 1st gear and leave it.. It takes much longer to ride in 1st gear a given distance than in 14th.. Or am I missing something?

3 11 2009
thelazyrando

I think either 14th or 1st would work. You have a real hard time getting anywhere fast in 14th because the acceleration would be tough from a stand still.

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