Bicycle "handcuffs" for flexible bike-locking

These "bicycle handcuffs" look like a pretty good solution to a lot of bike-locking problems (though they wouldn't be much help in locking your bike to a telephone pole or wide light-post). I can't evaluate the manufacturer's claims about the material's hardness or the lock's efficacy, but the theory appears sound:

The heavy-duty cuffs attach around the fork and disc rotor so would-be thieves can't make off with your bike unless they’re armed with some kind of Fort Knox-busting wonder weapon. This nifty arrangement means you won’t have to fool around taking off your wheel for full lockdown. You don’t even need to use the keys to secure your bike, just click the cuffs using the integrated buttons.
Link (via Red Ferret)


  1. I think Bike Forums people were saying that this thing is pretty useless against serious bike thieves.

    Remember, if you want to keep your bike, and it will be sitting for longer than an hour, use multiple locks of different kinds. Hexagonal hardened steel chains made by the various high-end makers are recommended.

    And, you get what you pay for.

  2. Street Cuffs (MasterLock’s name for ’em) are awesome! They’re pretty heavy to carry around, but they are a seriously secure way to lock up a bicycle. There’s a 9-link version (longer chain between the cuffs) that can enable the user to secure up to 3 bicycles. Not cheap, but the peace of mind and sturdiness of the locks make it worth it.

  3. It’s a cool looking design, but I don’t like the chain they’ve used. It’d be much better (although less pretty) with a standard bit of chain to make it more flexible. When you’re fighting for a bit of space on a crowded bike-rack, limitations like that are really annoying. Also, I’m wary of anything like this that you can lock without the key. I can imagine accidentally locking it in a position where I can’t get the key into the lock, or even locking my bike somewhere then realising I’ve left the key at home.

    I’m yet to find anything as cheap and versatile as a toughened steel chain and padlock. Mine was sold as a motorcycle lock so it’s a bit hefty, but you can’t be too careful with bikes in London.

    I thread the chain through the front wheel and bicycle frame. Where possible I also put a decent D-lock through the back wheel and frame. There have been two attempts to steal my bike: once trying to saw through the chain, once through the D-lock. In both cases the thieves gave up and left my bike alone.

  4. Actually, there have been multiple reports that these can be opened with a simple bic pen.

    masterlocks’s reply is simply

    “There have been media reports regarding lock with tubular cylinders being opened with common household items. Master Lock’s Street Cuff has a patented, proprietary tubular cylinder that provides maximum security. Your readers can use the Cuff with confidence. Master stands behind the
    product with a $3500 antitheft guarantee. Should a bicycle secured with a Cuff be stolen, Master Lock will reimburse the purchase price up to $3500.

    e-Commerce Team
    Master Lock Company ”

  5. Around the fork and disc rotor? Sounds like you could get it off with a hex wrench. Maybe I don’t understand what they mean, since all the pictures on their site show it locked (more sensibly) to the frame.
    As far as I can tell, any half-decent lock properly used is about equivalent. They’ll all stop casual thieves, but can’t stop dedicated ones who bring the right tools have time to work. A “better” lock doesn’t impede the pro’s much more, and if it’s heavier probably isn’t worth it.
    Better improvements come from picking a better place to leave the bike, and a bike that’s less attractive to thieves (which can still be a nice bike to ride, just not as valuable to sell)

  6. Exactly Twoshort, if this was attached to my fork and disc rotor, three hex bolts are all that’s keeping someone from walking away with most of my bike. I just don’t see how this lock would be a good idea. You need something that will go through both wheels and your frame. for those serious about bike security, use a U-lock (not one that can be hacked with a plastic pen!) AND a cable lock. Even then crafty thieves can still take your handle bars and your seat. The best security is not to let your bike out of our dight for long, or ride a cheap POS when your bike will be locked up all day.

  7. The only way to keep a bike from being stolen around here is to make it look as shitty as possible. Locks, irrespective of type, have little deterrent effect.

  8. FALSE. The only legitimate way to lock up a bike is with a U-Lock. Put the U through the rear wheel and frame if you can get it, and a cable from that around your front wheel, all attached to a solid post, preferably a Chicago Style Bike rack.

    From the Bikers Bible

    yes blah blah there were reports of hacking a Kryptonite Barrel U-lock with a bic pen, but on a locked bike, that is near impossible to pull off, and they have gotten rid of the barrels on all new bikes. No matter, I have been using my barrel lock U-lock for 3 years no trouble, I’m sure someone would try to steal my comps before they would try to hack the lock.

  9. These are terrible. Easily broken by thieves. You should take them off the front page or add an update that you have found out they are terrible.

  10. I routinely see the bicycle cops in downtown Denver Colorado use their handcuffs to chain their bikes to poles etc. while eating lunch in my favorite downtown diner (Sam’s #3 at 15th and Curtis, just one block from the Denver Performing Arts Complex). I thought that was pretty clever (and a good application of multitasking tools) the first time I saw it.

  11. I think we’re missing the point – this is master lock entering into a new market, that of bondage gear you can pass off as something else.

    Though I guess it’d make crappy bondage gear too

  12. i have a cuff lock like this and it’s ok, but very heavy, easier to cut than a u-lock, and real chain is the shit… especially the neon stuff the home despot sells (although, sure, the hexagonal thick stuff is the safest)

  13. There are easily obtainable tools that many bikers have for separating bike chain links, the same kind of chain that seems to be holding the two cuffs together. Looks like a gimmick gone wrong.

  14. Handcuffs are not a good lock.

    I did about a day of internet research on locks the last time my bike was stolen. It turns out handcuff type locks are already made by other companies, and they offer extremely poor protection for the weight and price.

    The problem in all cuff type locks is that the link between the cuffs is both not strong enough to resist cutting attacks, and not flexible enough to resist leverage attacks.

    What really resists determined attacks is mass of hardened steel, small size to lower leverage possibilities and weight, and uniformity so there aren’t any failure points. U locks like the Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit U lock (which I got) or the lighter Mini Evolution are a bit better or just as good as the top chain locks like the NY Fahgettaboudit.

    My approach is to use locking wheel skewers and seat leash and then just lock the frame to a pole with the Fahgettaboudit U lock.

  15. Wow. It looks like everyone has already had their hatorade this morning.

    I doubt this posting was made because of the locks anti-theft features, but probably more because of the “cool” and “unusual” factor.

    I have owned the 3 link cuff lock for nearly four years now and have yet to question it’s durability. While I never, ever leave my bicycle unattended for any great length of time, I wholeheartedly trust that my cuff lock will keep my bicycle stationary during our short parting.

    I have also seen a number of courier bikes with wax poured into many of the the hex openings in order to prevent any pertinent parts from being stolen.

    At any rate, if a thief wants your bicycle or any of its parts, they’ll find a way to take it regardless of the lock that you use.

  16. This lock is old, I didnt even know they made it anymore. But after living in NYC for over 30 years and have had too many stolen, I’ve learned the best lock is no lock.

    I’ve gotten to the point that if it’s not safe for me to ride my bike and bring it inside with me, then I didnt take it at all.

    But if i had to lock it, My choice is a hefty “American” lock, and short section of tow truck rated chain.

  17. A friend of mine who was a bike mechanic had a short length of pipe he used as a “universal U-lock opener.” Students at the nearby university would lose their keys fairly often, and he’d charge them 10 bucks to pop it off using the pipe for leverage. Nobody in the area at the time ever said anything or even paid much attention while he did this, and yes he only did it if you could prove you owned the bike.

    Failing that, or in the case of a different style of lock such as these bike cuffs, a bit of liquid nitrogen and a rock will defeat any and all bike locks, and I understand this is the primary reason the kryptonite warranty specifically excluded New York City, since that method was fairly common there (though I’m not sure if that has changed).

    Effective security comes from layering different tactics, not relying on a single piece of technology. Making your bike look ugly and cheap is a great layer, but be sure to make it hard to tell that the components are high-end since a bike thief knows what they’re looking for and are often pros (or an organized group of them) at stripping them off your frame.

    One man was arrested in my town (which has a large university) for bike theft, and police found 2500 or so bikes in his house. Thefts dropped 45% around campus following his arrest. He was exchanging them with a bike thief in a different college town across the state to better avoid being caught selling them, but fortunately both of the scumbags are now in prison (don’t ya love happy endings?).

  18. You’ll notice in masterlock’s carefully worded statement that nowhere do they deny that the lock can’t be defeated by a bic pen.

  19. Come on, these aren’t for locking your bike. They are for waiting in the bushes and ambushing little bike-thieving brats, especially in out-of-the-way locations where you can then sodomize them and steal their money, so you can buy a new lock. Good luck explaining to police why you are handcuffed to a bike rack with your pants missing and a condom next tossed five feet away. “Uh, officer, I was just picking up my bike here, though it seems to be missing, and…”

  20. I bought the original version of this lock 3+ years ago after my 2nd bike was stolen. So far so good, but, like others above, I watch my bike, always. I ride BART to Pleasanton, where the jail is, and every now and then I get to ride home with a car full of guys just let out and on their way home. They find this lock very impressive!
    American Cyclery uses the street cuff to lock their bikes outside during the day, but they won’t vouch for the lock…

  21. I bought the original version of this lock 3+ years ago after my 2nd bike was stolen. So far so good, but, like others above, I watch my bike, always. I ride BART to Pleasanton, where the jail is, and every now and then I get to ride home with a car full of guys just let out and on their way home. They find this lock very impressive!
    American Cyclery uses the street cuff to lock their bikes outside during the day, but they won’t vouch for the lock…

  22. “some kind of Fort Knox-busting wonder weapon” also called a common $30 bolt cutter will bite through than bike chain like a razor blade through a wet noodle.

    trendy and cool looking, just like most marketing cons.

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