Pinhead Locking Skewers

1 11 2010

2 skewer and seatpost Pinhead set...

Quick release skewers are convenient when you need to remove a wheel, but they are also easy to steal.  I’ve been meaning to try out a set of locking skewers for a while and grabbed a set of Pinhead locking skewers from Bow Cycle this summer.  I finally got around to installing them a couple days ago on my Surly Big Dummy.

Security key and coded end of skewer...

The principle is simple you get set of skewers with a unique coded end and a security key that matches.  With the key installing removing a skewer is easy…without the key it’s pretty tough.  Pinhead sells sets of skewers in various configurations depending if you want a seatpost lock and/or a headset lock or just skewers for your wheels.

Smooth side of skewer...

Installation is easy.  Just remove your QR skewer and slide in the Pinhead skewer.

Locking end of Pinhead skewer coded to your key...

Then use the key to turn the locking end of the Pinhead skewer until it is tight.  You’re done.

Seatpost skewer...

The Pinhead seatpost skewer works with my Surly seatpost clamp, but it looks fugly for sure.  On my Big Dummy I don’t care – fugly is kinda what I am going for, but on a less franken-bike I might not be okay with it.  Even with this skewer in place someone can unbolt my Brooks B17 so I’ll add a short steel wire cable to the saddle itself…err…when I remember where I put it!

Omm and Pinhead don't play well in the front...

I couldn’t use the front Pinhead skewer due to the fact my OMM rack needs a really wide skewer – essentially a rear skewer.  I could order an extra rear skewer coded the same as my key, but frankly my front wheel is not anything special…just a cheap machine built Shimano unit I can replace easily without any heart ache.  I’ll replace the zip ties in the image a above with a hose clamp when I’m at the hardware store next time.  That will provide enough security for the quality of my front wheel.

My Pinhead set up close...

So the question is are locking skewers worth the [~$70usd] cost?  Well when your rear hub is worth $1500+ not having to bother locking it up with an extra cable is nice.  I use my Big Dummy a lot and the ability to lock just the frame is a real benefit for me.  I think you’d have to weigh the cost/benefit vs. something cheap like hose clamps on your wheel QRs.  The right answer really depends how much the parts on your bike are worth, how often you have to lock up your bike and how much you care about having to carry/use extra cables to secure your wheels.

Just a few Pinhead tips:

  • you can buy sets or individual parts from Pinhead that are coded the same as an existing key which is handy so you don’t have to carry several specialized keys and key them with the correct bike.
  • if you register your key with Pinhead [free at their website] you can order replacement keys if you lose yours.