Bike lock that hoists your bike up a lamp-post

The German toy/model company Conrad ran a TV advert featuring an amazing Rube Goldberg bike lock that used motorized skateboard wheels to raise your bike several meters off the ground and up a lamp-post; here's a making-of video showing the R&D that went into this fantastic gadget.

Die Bauteile zum Fahrradschloss aus dem Conrad-TV-Spot (Thanks, Stelb, via Submitterator)


  1. I love it but all I have to do is show up with another one on the same light pole to ruin your day.
    How are you going to get your bike down with mine under it?
    Very clever for a small run though.

    1. Well, how clever of you to come up with a way to dismiss the cleverness of this clever new thing.

      Thing is, though–who the hell would bother to put another one on the same light pole?

      I mean . . . really?

      What kind of concern troll ARE you, hmm?

      1. ‘s a valid point, tho, exactly what i thought when i saw it. not to say it’s not a great idea, but that’s a definite issue. as is, what’s the safety features to stop it dropping on someone’s head?

        1. “‘s a valid point, tho, exactly what i thought when i saw it. not to say it’s not a great idea, but that’s a definite issue. . . .”

          Huh? I don’t get why this is a valid concern. Seems to me it’s about as valid an issue as the idea that you should think twice about locking up your bike because someone might come along and put another lock on it while they’re locking up their bike.

          I mean really, who would ever do that? It’s never even occurred to me that someone else might do that.

          1. “I mean really, who would ever do that? It’s never even occurred to me that someone else might do that.”

            Igor Kenk, that’s who. In the ’90s in Toronto I once came back to my locked bike just in time to catch Igor placing a second lock around it. I think his plan was to wait until the middle of the night, or some other obscure time of day, to crack my lock at his leisure. He pretended it was an honest mistake, that he hadn’t noticed the topology.

            Your point is taken, though, that an equivalent attack on conventional bike locks already exists and is just as likely.

          2. Happened to me too – luckily, it was very badly locked, with a cheapo cable that was long enough that I could fit it up over the sign that I had locked it to (my U-lock wouldn’t have fit around the sign part). Then it took 5 minutes with some wire cutters to get it off the bike. Rather annoying though, and I doubt I could have lifted the bike up and over the sign on my own – I climbed up and others lifted the bike to me.

            Lesson learned: people are jerks, especially when someone else’s bicycle is involved.

    2. Well sure you could do that, just like you could put a second regular bike lock on someone’s bike that’s locked up with a standard bike lock.. so what?

  2. Conrad is not a toy/model company. They sell a huge variety of components and are geared towards DIY-ers. Their own description on the Internet describes them as the ‘no. 1 choice for electronics in Europe.’

  3. So, they watched some episodes of the BBC show Technogames from 10 years ago. Rope climbing robots were one of the categories, and devices that looked pretty much exactly like this were always the winner.

    1. I remember that. Blimey that was a long time ago- I’d completely forgotten about it. Some of it was very impressive (To me as a 10 year old anyway)

    1. @5 (essex green):

      quite right: “rauf, runter, disco”, meaning “up, down, disco”.

      and at 1:06: “that’s an orgasm, it’s totally kewl”.

      i love the car lock bleep at the end, but i’m sure it got added by the agency filming the action part.


  4. A good example of the corollary of Murphy’s Law that states, “All bicycles weigh at least 40 pounds”.

    ie: a 38 lb bike only needs a 2 lb lock and chain to keep it safe from being stolen, while a 15 lb bike needs a 25 lb lock and chain.

    1. My bike of choice in college cost $5. I locked it up with a $6 cable lock. Until I realized nobody is going to steal my POS bike. It was missing half its spokes, the tires were so worn that the innertube was showing, had only one brake and couldn’t shift gears. It spent the next 2 years never being locked and was never stolen.

      That’s security and convenience at its best.

      1. Seems to me you are lucky or your bike thief population is different from ours.

        In German cities with lots of riders (here in Oldenburg even bankers use ’em) lots of bikes get stolen for convenience, not for parts,

        So bike that look like they fall apart are safer, but not really safe.

        1. I should have mentioned it was stuck in high gear. Anybody with enough leg strength to go more than a few meters on our hilly campus was probably an avid rider who would recoil in horror at the condition of my bike. I on the other hand was a cheapskate with thighs larger than my waist.

  5. Boy, there are some grumpy people out today. Perhaps a squad of elite ninja coffee-pissers has gotten hold of boingboing’s user database.

    Hm, now I’m having second thoughts about getting a coffee. Thanks a lot.

  6. If you add up Conrad’s prices for all the items needed for this build it would set you back more than 700 euro’s. I think I’d rather spend that on a couple of extra bikes and cheap locks.

  7. Are lamppost diameters standardized?

    (Or is it diametre? Inform us, o British mugabo unfamiliar with the concept of regional variations in a language. Also, you might want to look up the Battle of Yorktown and the Battle of New Orleans for why we don’t care how the Queen thinks we should spell things.)

    1. Are you kidding? This is Germany. There’s probably a 150 page technical document (released by the Federal Ministry of Transport in 1953, updated 1955, 1968, 1972, 1990 and 2002) explaining why lampposts should be this and only this diameter. And there’ll likely be an article on the German wikipedia as well.

      Off to find it, back in a minute…

  8. For a so-called “sicherstes Fahrradschloss”, this is actually very insecure. Climbing up a Lamp-Post is not too difficult even for the less sportive thieves.

    Greetings, LX

  9. 700€ for a device that will not even prevent someone with 1$ worth of twine & a rock from stealing both the bike & this device… I often seen dumb ideas in BB but this is easily in the top 10

  10. If there was a nobel peace prize for fucking awesome, these guys should have it.

    I love the whole ‘process’ clips – where even the failures of the early models are shown. It’s nice to see the genuine effort put forth by the makers alongside even their early failures laid bare just to show how well they pull off the final construction in the end.

  11. The thing is, kids in Germany regularly kick lampposts to switch off the lights. It’s kind of a sport to do this while walking home from a party/pub.
    Atleast back in my days.

  12. Although it’s a bit over-specified for my taste, I wonder if there’s potential in a similar, simpler idea. Most people can lift the weight of their bikes – is there something in a wheeled/roller lamppost wraparound that you can lift up but not down? You could attach it, lift as far up the lamppost as you can, a bit like the way people climb trees with a loop of rope or a ratchet system.

    Not sure how you’d get it down, mind. ;)

  13. As someone who bought an oldish BMW oilhead motorcycle a while back, and have been driven crazy by how ridiculously mechanically complicated they have become..I can attest that this level of overengineering is more or less par for the course for Germany.

    1. I can attest that this level of overengineering is more or less par for the course for Germany.

      Yeah my wife has a VW Jetta with a seven speed DSG transmission. Its horrible to drive. The only time the gear box knows what gear to use is at high speed on the freeway where it uses top gear. If you press the throttle when stopped it sits in neutral for half a second before dropping into first gear.
      The three speed corolla we sold was a far better car.

    2. I concur. I have a ’95 Mercedes. The transmission shifts better when the tire pressure is correct! Yes, really, the thing has been so carefully engineered, the automatic transmission will only shift smoothly when my tire pressure is within about 1 PSI of the recommended number! That said, it was a nice car in its day. A recent model Corolla or Subaru is actually a better car. (For half the money!)

  14. For all you haters, it’s the fun and impractical projects that offer insight into new and better things.* It’s also great practice (see how they failed a couple of times?) and, hell, it’s a lot of fun. They’ve got plenty of time to make boring, practical things later on when they’re middle-managers at some firm.

    *Like the Linux kernel, the light bulb, manned flight, and the Apple I.

  15. i agree. great process idea. nt v useable but could give new ideas/perspectives on other problems/issues.

    for example they could just put seats on ALL lightposts..why not? wud just be more seating…

  16. I couldn’t tell from the video, but I hope that thing has a mechanism for clamping the bike, so the bike’s not just sitting up there on a hook. Otherwise, some kid with a basketball can get themselves a free bike!

  17. Oh, noes. What if somebody [insert some half-baked highly improbably scenario here], something awful might happen (though, it’s really, really, really unlikely). Bad trolls, BAD!

    Though, the person that said the bike holder should clamp to the top bar has a good idea – this would possibly also be a way to carry the bike holder thing inside the front frame triangle while riding your bike.

  18. I think you’re missing the point here. The point should be, how do I get the job of making stuff like this?

  19. Rube Goldberg? All it does is climb the pole, which keeps the bike out of the hands of thieves. I would use this.

  20. Millie Fink @35: It has happened to me twice this year (someone locking their bike to my bike). Some folks just got no consideration, or are not paying attention.

    Anon @28: Ja!

  21. Can any German speakers explain why the guy says “precision engineering” in English about halfway through?

    1. My deutche is nonexistant, but I think “precision engineering” is a joke because he proceeds to knock the part in his hand against the table a couple times.

      1. Mein deutsch ist sehr gut! (At least I hope so, being german).
        And yeah, you’ve pretty much nailed it!
        So no secret german thing going on here or something!
        Move along!
        Nothing to see!

  22. Hey Cory, it hurt a little bit the soul of the enthusiastic electronics fan when you read Conrad is a toy shop. It mainly sells electronics as well as parts and equipment in the spectrum hobbyist to professional. It is really a great store, and all we guys in technical jobs know we have kept this children boy side of fun and play within us- essentially being big boys playing with their toys. But they aren’t called toys any more.. and we want to be proud of it:)

  23. Hi everyone. Nice to read our unusual bike lock enjoys more and more popularity even outside germany. We’re simply lucky with our engineering teams which made all the new inventions almost two-weekly…at least the walking coffee table, awesome guys –
    I want to add that there’s no plan to convert the idea of the lock into everyday life, it really would be too insecure like you have already noticed. See it as a kind of an interpretation of the commercial slogan “You have the fun, we’ve got the technology for.”

  24. This would be great for coconut trees. Not to hide your bikes up there. To get up there to pick the … erm … nuts.

  25. Well it’s pronounced “meet-urr” in both the US and Britain. If it was “met-ree” maybe we’d flip the letters around.

    The Germans spell it “Meter”, too. You Brits and Canucks have fun with your met-ruhs. Germany and ‘Merkuh will carry on spelling words they way they’re pronounced.

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