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Bike Wheel & Seat Locks

Bike Wheel & Seat Locks

Last Updated on August 21, 2022 74 Comments

It’s not just your bike that thieves want. They love your wheels and seats too. And your baskets and brakes. And all the other removable components on your bike.

In fact, if you leave your bike for long enough, you’re likely to return to something like the photo above!

But the most commonly stolen bike parts are definitely wheels and seats. One reason for this is that many bikes are now fitted with “quick release” skewers. These are clamps that allow you to easily remove your wheels or seat without using tools...

The enemy: a quick release lever on a wheel

They're very handy if you need to take your wheel off quickly, to repair a puncture or you want to adjust your seat height. But unfortunately, they're also an open invitation to anyone with criminal inclinations…

Because if your bike has quick release clamps, unless you use some kind of additional security, anyone passing your bike can simply push open the clamps, unscrew them, and walk off with your wheels or seat.

No tools needed!

The good news is: there's a lot we can do to prevent this. And from simple and cheap DIY steps up to the latest technological advancements, we're going to cover them all here...

How to stop your bike wheels from being stolen

The most popular way to try to protect a bikes' wheels is to use a thin cable lock like this…

Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2 cable

Cable lassos are often used to protect wheels and seats

This type of long, looped cable is often sold and used with u-locks. The idea is that one end is attached to your u-lock and the other is looped around your wheel or your seat (or both)…

U-lock and cable lock

A looped cable used with a u-lock to secure the front wheel

The problem with this method is that these cables can be snipped through with the most basic wire cutters in a matter of seconds.

And since all bike thieves carry wire cutters, if your wheel isn't stolen while secured like this, it’s only because the thief can’t be bothered!

Surely there’s a more secure option?

Well, for maximum security, your locking strategy should really include two locks. One secures the back wheel and the frame to the bike rack. The other secures either the front wheel and the frame to the bike rack or just the front wheel to the frame.

Securing bike with 2 locks

Securing your wheels with 2 locks

Or, if you’ve only got one lock and have quick release wheels, you could remove the front wheel and lock it together with the back wheel and the frame. I talk about more locking options on the how to lock your bike page.

Securing both wheels with 1 lock

Securing both wheels with 1 lock

However, neither of these methods is ideal. Decent bike locks are heavy and cumbersome, so carrying two locks around can be a pain. As is removing your front wheel every time you leave your bike somewhere!

Surely there must be a more convenient option?

Well, yes there is. In fact, there are several. And they all involve changing the way your wheels are currently attached to your bike.

First of all let's establish how your wheels are currently attached to your bike. It's usually either with the afore mentioned "quick release skewers" (for hollow axle wheels), or with "nutted bolts" (for solid axle wheels)...

Quick release wheel skewer

Quick release skewer (hollow axle wheels)

Nutted wheel bolt

Nutted bolt (solid axle wheels)

To remove nutted bolts, a thief obviously needs a spanner (or similar tool), so they're significantly more secure than quick release skewers.

And if you've got quick release skewers, you could simply replace them with hex skewers, as to remove these, a thief would also need a tool, in this case a hex (Allen) key.

Replace quick release skewers with bolt on skewers

You could just replace your quick release skewers with hex skewers

Both Nashbar and Halo make good quality hex wheel skewers which are easy to fit yourself. They won’t stop a thief with a Hex key! But in my experience, they're an effective deterrent for low value wheels. And they’re relatively cheap.

However, if your wheels are even vaguely attractive, or you live in a high theft area, you’re going to have to do much more than this.

And the good news is: you can now buy secure versions of the skewers or nuts that a thief won't be able to open with regular tools.

These locks use various ingenious methods to stop unwanted hands from unscrewing them. And they’re certainly more convenient than carrying two u-locks around or removing your front wheel every time you want to lock your bike!

How secure are they? Well that depends on which ingenious locking method they use. Broadly speaking, there are four different methods:

  1. those that use “unique” keys
  2. those that use “non-standard” keys
  3. those that use gravity!
  4. those that obstruct hex sockets

I'll provide summary tables here so you can compare the specs of the different wheel locks. Then below the tables I explain how they all work and the differences in security levels.

Click on the names or sizes in the tables to check out the prices of each lock. Some of these may be affiliate links.

Wheel Locks for Hollow Axle Wheels (to replace quick release)


Skewer Lengths

Locking System

Pinhead wheel skewers

125 mm
160 mm

Unique Key

Pitlock wheel skewers

119 mm
155 mm

Unique Key

95 - 115 mm
128 - 148 mm

Non-Standard Key

Kryptonite WheelBoltz

Kryptonite WheelBoltz

130 mm
150 mm


Abus NutFix Wheel Skewers

120 mm
150 mm


IXOW Wheelguard Gravity

100 mm
135 mm


IXOW Wheelguard Keycode

100 mm
135 mm

Unique Key

Wheel Locks for Solid Axle Wheels (to replace nuts)



Locking System

Pinhead solid axle wheel locks

Wheel Lock

Unique Key

Pitlock solid axle wheel lock


Wheel Lock

M9 (Front Wheel)

M10 (Rear Wheel)

Unique Key

Abus NutFix wheel nuts

Abus NutFix
Wheel Lock


Kryptonite WheelBoltz
Wheel Lock


IXOW Wheelguard Nuts


Wheel Locks with Unique Keys

These work just like normal skewers or nuts. Except that in each set, the heads are a “unique” shape. And you use a special “unique” key to tighten and loosen them.

In actual fact, they’re not strictly unique. But there’s a huge number of different key combinations, so the chances that anyone else will be able to unlock your skewers are very, very small.

Of course, if you want to remove your wheels or seat, you need to have your special key handy. However, to me this seems a small inconvenience.

And at the moment these are the most secure type of wheel and seat locks available. However, there are just four companies offering locking skewers and solid ankle locks with “unique” keys: Pinhead, Pitlock, IXOW and Hexlox.


With Pinhead [Amazon] skewers, there are 11,500 different key combinations. Each key is engraved with a nine digit code that you can use to order replacement keys or more matching locks. And you can even register your key online so you don’t have to remember the code.

Pinhead wheel skewers

Pinhead wheel skewers for hollow axles

They are available for wheels, seats, and even headsets (see below). And they produce versions for both quick release wheels and solid axle wheels.

Do they work? Well broadly, yes. It is possible to unscrew the heads without the special key, but most thieves will not have the know how or the tools.

I should mention that with older Pinhead models, it was possible to unscrew the head relatively easily with a Gator Grip universal socket. However, the skewers now come with POG washers that prevent this happening.

There are also some reports of them coming loose over time. So you should always carry your key with you to tighten them up. But I’d imagine you would always want to have the key handy anyway, in case you have a puncture.

Overall, I think the Pinhead skewers are great. They will never be as secure as a second lock. But they’re far more convenient. And they’re far more secure than any cable lock.

Read my full, hands on review of the Pinhead Complete Bicycle Security System here.


Pitlock skewers boast over 1000 different key combinations. And they have the added security of a smooth shield of steel which surrounds the head to prevent any other tool being used to loosen it.

Pitlock wheel skewers

Pitlock wheel skewer for hollow axles

There are locks for both wheels and seats (see below). And for both quick release wheels, solid axle wheels, thru axels and all the other components on your bike!

Each key comes with a code card enabling you to order replacement keys and further matching locks. And as with Pinhead, you can also register this code online.

Unlike the Pinhead key, the keys that come with the Pitlock have no lever, so in order to use them, you'll need to use a 14 mm spanner or insert another tool such as an Allen key into the hole to get enough leverage to screw and unscrew the nut.

Pitlock even sell their own little tool, that you can attach to your keyring so that you'll always be able to lock and unlock your stuff!

Pitlocks have a slightly better build quality than Pinheads and are a bit more secure. However, they are also more expensive and not quite as easy to use.

But if you’re looking for the ultimate protection, they are probably the safest locking skewers available today.

Pitlock Pit-Stoppers

Pitlock also make little inserts for your hex bolts to stop a thief with a hex (Allen) key, stripping all the components from your bike that are attached with hex bolts.

So those could be your seat, your brakes, your headset or even your wheels. Plus loads of other stuff.

A Pitlock Pit-Stopper!

They're very much like Hexlox (see below). And I talk more about them in the "how to stop you bike seat from being stolen" section, below. Plus you can also read a full, hands-on review of the Pitlock Pit-Stoppers here


While they don’t quite match the “uniqueness” of Pinhead or Pitlock, there are more than 40 different key combinations for the security skewers, nuts (and seat clamps) from IXOW [Amazon].

IXOW wheel skewers

IXOW wheel skewers for hollow axles

The key is a small cylinder with a recess that fits a hex key at one end and a series of protruding spikes at the other. These spikes fit into a matching series of holes on the heads of the skewers or clamps.

So if you stick a hex key in one end and the spikes in the holes, you’re able to tighten or loosen your skewers and clamps. Easy!

Each set features a slightly different distribution of spikes and holes which makes this solution more secure than the simpler non-standard key option.

And you get a service card which enables you to register your specific key so that you can order a new one should you lose the first.

While they won’t be as secure as Pitlocks either, these skewers are certainly likely to deter the vast majority of wheel thieves.


Hexlox are a bit different to the other options. Instead of providing skewers or nuts with specially shaped heads that match special keys, Hexlox work with regular, hex skewers. Hence the name!

They are essentially tiny, hex shaped nuts that slip into the hex sockets on your skewers (or any other components). By filling the hex socket like this, they prevent a thief inserting a hex key and unscrewing your components!

A Hexlox

A Hexlox!

The base is strongly magnetized, so as long the hex socket is magnetic, it can't be removed by tweezers, screwdrivers, gator grips or other tools. And since the top of the Hexlox isn't magnetic, it can't be pulled out from above by another magnet.

The Hexlox are inserted and removed with a tiny key that will only work with your Hexlox. Like the other options, they keys are not strictly unique, but there are enough combinations to stop anyone successfully trying a selection of keys on your lock.

Hexlox wheel skewer

Hexlox wheel skewer

The great thing about Hexlox is that they'll secure any components that are currently attached to your bike with hex nuts. So you won't have to buy completely new clamps etc.

The come in a variety of sizes (4, 5, 6 mm). If your hex sockets aren't magnetic, you can buy magnetic inserts. And they also sell skewers, nuts and and seat and saddle bolts if you need those too.

So you can secure all the components on your bike with just a handful of these tiny bolts! What's not to love?!

Read my full, hands on review of the Hexlox here.

Wheel Locks with Non-Standard Keys

These work just like the previous locks. Except that they all have the same, albeit non-standard shaped heads and keys.

Delta Hublox with non-standard key

This means someone with a standard tool set shouldn’t be able to unscrew them. However, since all the keys are the same, anyone who owns the same brand as you, will be able to unscrew them.

So a thief who bought one would have easy access to all the wheels and seats locked with the same brand. On top of this, they can usually be opened easily with a Gator Grip universal socket.

All this means they’re obviously less secure. And while they’re also much cheaper, I’m not sure that they provide much more protection than standard Hex skewers or nuts.

And don’t forget, you only get the one key, which you’ll need to keep with you and if you loose it, it’s usually impossible to get a replacement (without buying another set!).

In the US, the Delta Hublox Security Skewers [Amazon]  are probably the best of these non-standard skewers.

While in the UK, ETC [Amazon] and Trans-X [Amazon] are reasonable quality, although there are some reports that they can be unscrewed with pliers from the other end!

But if you’re concerned enough about your wheel and seat security to consider upgrading your standard skewers or nuts, then maybe it’s worth spending the extra money on one of the other methods?

Gravity triggered Wheel Locks

There are few brands making gravity triggered skewers and nuts. And they all work in more or less the same way…

Gravity triggered Wheel Locks

While your bike’s upright, they’re locked and can't be unscrewed. In order to remove them, you need to turn your bike upside down. At this point, the gravity based mechanism is released and you’re able to unscrew the component.

How is this secure? Well, if your bike is locked up properly, it should be very difficult to turn it over into a position where the mechanism is released and the component can be removed. Clever!

And what's great about these gravity triggered locks is that there's no special keys that you need to carry around with you (and are likely to forget when you most need them!).

Kryptonite WheelNutz and WheelBoltz Locks

Kryptonite locks are available for both solid axle wheels (as WheelNutz) and hollow axle wheels (as WheelBoltz).

Kryptonite WheelBoltz skewers

Kryptonite WheelBoltz gravity skewers for hollow axles

They are fitted and removed either with a 15 mm wrench (WheelNutz) or a 5 mm hex wrench (WheelBoltz), so they don’t look anything like quick release skewers.

Although they can be fitted and tightened with the bike upright, in order to unscrew them, you need to turn the bike over completely.

The gravity triggered bolt will then drop out of the way, allowing them to be loosened as normal.

Abus NutFix Wheel and Seat Locks

The Abus locks are similar to the Kryptonite gravity locks in that they’re available for both solid and hollow axle wheels. However there are important differences too.

Abus NutFix wheel skewers

Abus NutFix gravity skewers for hollow axles

Unlike Kryptonite, Abus offer seat locks as well as wheel locks. And they’re available in a range of snazzy colors. You use a 5 mm spanner to fit both the solid and hollow axle models.

But most significantly, to release the gravity mechanism, you turn the bike on it’s side rather than upside down. To me this seems a little less secure and it’s definitely not as practical when you’re trying to change a tire.

However, they’re so easy to fit and work so well, I think they’re a great choice [Amazon] if you’re looking to replace a secondary cable lock.

Read my full, hands on review of the Abus NutFix wheel locking skewers.


As well as the “unique” keyed solutions, IXOW also provide gravity protected skewers [Amazon] and nuts. Plus a seat clamp!

IXOW gravity triggered wheel skewers

IXOW gravity skewers for hollow axles

They work in the same way as the Kryptonite solution in that they’re tightened and loosened with a hex key and the bike must be completely upside down to release them.

As long as you remember to lock your bike so that it can’t be turned upside down, then I find this method works really well and you’re very unlikely to suffer a theft.

Read my full, hands on review of the IXOW wheel skewers here.

How to stop your bike seat from being stolen

I’m sure there’s loads of things in life more annoying that having your bike seat stolen. But when it happens to me, I’m hard pressed to think of any.

I’m not sure if it’s the public humiliation of riding a seat-less bike back home, the physical effort of a journey without being able to sit down, or the pettiness of the theft itself.

Whichever it is, it’s enough to make a peaceful person harbour violent thoughts. But what can we do to prevent it?

Wheel and seat locks

Not comfy

The most extreme solution is to remove your seat post and take it with you every time you leave your bike. This will certainly stop anyone stealing it. But what a pain. And for me, this option stinks of defeat.

It’s an admission that the thieves have won. We are reduced to carrying around a grubby, cumbersome piece of metal everywhere we go. This is not why I ride a bike.

There has to be a better option. Surely?

You could thread a cable lock through the seat rails and then around the space between the seat stay and the seat tube. This anchors the seat to the bike frame. But cable locks are very easy to cut.

Using an old bike chain rather than a cable lock provides much more security, as a chain is more difficult to cut. And this is an increasingly popular option.

However, it does connect your seat to the bike frame more permanently. So make sure you’re happy with your seat height first!

And be aware it may interfere with any bike seat cover or cushion that you might have fitted over your saddle.

Bike chain seat lock

A seat secured with an old bike chain

You can stop the bike chain from damaging your frame by encasing it in an old inner tube. It’s pretty simple to do the whole thing yourself and there are videos explaining how on YouTube…

Or many bike shops will now do it for you for a small fee.

Of course, bike chains can still be cut and some thieves may even carry chain breakers. So a further option is to make it more difficult for a thief to loosen the seat post clamp. There are two main ways to do this:

  1. make a standard clamp difficult to unscrew
  2. buy a special secure skewer for your clamp.

Make a standard seat clamp difficult to unscrew

If you’ve replaced the quick release lever on your seat post clamp with a standard hex screw, it's a little bit more secure. But a thief with a hex key can still steal your seat very easily.

So you can make a standard hex screw impossible to loosen by filling the socket with something that prevents a tool being used to loosen it.

Whatever you use, it should be difficult to remove. But don't forget: the more difficult it is for a thief to remove, the more difficult it will also be for you to remove, should you want to change the seat height!

What to use? There are a few different options. For example, super gluing a ball bearing into the socket is a popular choice. Simply find a ball bearing that fits snugly into the socket, slather it in super glue and press it into the socket…

Ball bearing in seat clamp

Ball bearing in seat clamp

Should you later need to remove the ball bearing to make adjustments, you can use acetone or Z-7 Debonder to dissolve the glue.

Other materials you could use to fill the socket include steel epoxy, solder, Sugru [Amazon] or candle wax. Each one provides a different level of security, depending on how difficult it is for a thief to remove.

Don’t forget, the more secure it is, the more difficult and frustrating it will be when you need to remove it! But in fact, this technique is very effective and can be used to secure any of your bike components (except your wheels which probably need to be removed too often for this to make sense).

And if this method is too much hassle, then there is a more elegant (although more expensive!) alternative...

Hexlox: Magnetised Hex Socket Blockers

Hexlox work in exactly the same way by filling the hex socket with an obstacle that prevents an Allen key from inserted to loosen the clamp. However, in this case the obstacle is a small metal nut that’s held in place by a magnet. 

A Hexlox

A Hexlox!

It can’t be removed by a stronger magnet (since it’s protected from above by a non-magnetic steel shield), by tweezers, gator grips, screw drivers and several other tools and methods that hadn’t even occurred to me!

The only way to remove it is with the specific key that comes with your Hexlox. What I really like is that it doesn’t require you to change your existing set up, it’s quick and easy to install and it’s relatively cheap!

Hexlox work with wheels (see above), seats, stems, in fact anything that's attached to your bike with hex screws. Read my full, hands on review of the Hexlox here.

Pitlock Pit-Stoppers: Friction Hex Socket Blockers

Another option are the Pitlock Pit-Stoppers. These work in similar way to the Hexlox by blocking the hex sockets of your components. However, rather than magnetism they work through force!

A Pitlock Pit-Stopper (with hex bolt)

The "stoppers" are tiny nuts that fit very, very tightly (you have to hammer them), into the hex sockets of your components. Once hammered in, they're completely stuck there, blocking access to any hex key.

Pitlock Pit-Stopper in a seat post clamp

A seat post clamp before and after installing a Pitlock Pit-Stopper

If you need to regain access to your hex sockets, you simply screw the matching bolt into the stopper. The bolt passes through the hole in the stopper until it come up against the top of the hex socket....

Further turns of the bolt, force the stopper up the thread of the bolt and out of the hex socket. Very clever! 

They're available for 4, 5, 6 and 8 mm hex sockets, so you should be able to protect most (if not all), the components on your bike. Read my full, hand-on review of the Pitlock Pit-Stoppers here.

Buy a secure seat clamp

If you don’t fancy the DIY options (or Hexlox), you can also buy specially designed, secure seat skewers.

These can work in a number of ways. Some of them use non-standard socket shapes and keys. Others use gravity to lock the levers when the bike is in an upright position (as it always should be when it’s locked up).

These skewers are also available for other components and I cover them in more detail in the wheel section, above. But here’s a quick summary of what’s available specifically for seats...

Some of these may be affiliate links.

Security Skewers for Bike Seats


Seat Tube Sizes

Locking System

Pinhead seat collar with lock


Unique Key

Pinhead saddle lock


Unique Key

33 mm

Unique Key

Abus NutFix seat lock

Abus NutFix Seatpost Lock


IXOW Safering Gravity

IXOW Safering


IXOW Safering Keycode

IXOW Safering

Unique Key

You can also buy whole sets which will secure both your wheels and your seat. And even your headset too!

Wheel and Seat (and Headset) Locking Skewer Sets


Locking System

Unique Key

Pitlock 2 wheels 1 seat

Unique Key

Trans-X 2 wheels 1 seat

Non-standard Key

ETC 2 wheels 1 seat

Non-standard Key

Unique Key

Unique Key

Wrapping Up

Wheel security is relatively straightforward. If you want to be 100% sure your wheels are safe, you need to secure them both with good u-locks or chains. There's more information on how to do this on my how to lock your bike properly page.

But if this is too expensive, too heavy or just too inconvenient, then there are alternatives. You could replace your existing wheel skewers or nuts with secure ones…

The most secure are those with “unique” keys such as Pitlock, Pinhead, IXOW or Hexlox. The ones that use gravity from Abus and Kryptonite are probably the next most secure.

And least secure (although still far better than quick release) are the ones with non-standard keys such as those from Hublox, ETC and Trans-X.

Seat security is a little more complicated. You can of course buy the same secure skewers and nuts that you can get for wheels.

Or you can try one of the DIY options such as fastening an old bike chain through the seat and frame or super gluing ball bearings in the screw heads.

Ultimately though, if a thief really wants your seat, he can saw through the seat post relatively easily, so I wouldn’t leave a £100 Brooks saddle alone for long, whichever method you employ!

But secure skewers and nuts can provide adequate security for most people in the majority of situations. And they’re so much more convenient than a second lock.

This page contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. You will not pay any extra. More details here.

About the author 

Carl Ellis

I've had bikes stolen in London, New York and Barcelona. Yep, I was a serial, international, bike theft victim. In 2015 I decided to stop the rot. And not a single bike's been stolen since! Brakes, yes. Bells, yes. But they're another story. Everything I learn, I document on this website. More about my story. Contact me. LinkedIn.

  • i only skimmed the article but you should point out that almost all unique pin and funny shaped key systems are defeated by the same tool. This also includes almost every method of wacky keyed sockets and oddly shaped wheel nuts “locking” nice rims to cars.

    • “almost all unique pin and funny shaped key systems are defeated by the same tool.”

      Which is?

      I guess gluing a wrench or allen key to the security lock could work.

      • I think he’s talking about the Gator Grip I mention in relation to the Pinhead locks. For those locks at least, the Gator Grip doesn’t work anymore (as far as I’m aware).

  • No, i’m talking about those nut/socket sets that are made to turn random shapes and stripped objects. picture a socket that’s just a nut on the outside for you to turn, but the inside cutout is a conical shape with spiraling bladed cutter pattern. The sets come with inside cones of varying depth, angle, teeth/cutter patterns to fit over almost anything. if you put these on a lathe and shoved a metal rod into it, they would chew it down the length like a pencil sharpener. These will grab a perfectly smooth dome (gatorgrip will not) ..no special and unique key notching. Of course, finding the right size you can remove any type of lugnut. Basically, all you need is the socket tool right size inside cone to fit onto the object you want to turn. The only things they might not work on is something made out of a metal as hard as the cutters so they can’t dig in. but they’ll still work if the object is even a little out of round.

  • I just had to ride my fairly new bike home with no seat! Fortunately, I had the seat from my old bike I could put on but I need to replace the quick release lever as soon as possible. I don’t want to spend a fortune but I need a clamp that requires a tool at least to loosen. I tend to think the seat was stolen by some idiot kids just for kicks.

    • Hi Tim,

      Yep, just replacing the quick release lever with a hex bolt normally does the job. If you leave your bike for long periods of time, or even overnight, you might want to think about additional security. The old bike chain method works well for me. Or you could just fill the hex head with hard drying putty.

      Good luck!

    • Hi Isaiah,

      I’m not sure what you mean. Yes, you can safely U-lock the front wheel to a bike stand as long as the frame is locked to the bike stand elsewhere. But I’m not sure what you mean by “if you have a locked front wheel”.


  • If the wheels have locked skewers, so they can’t be removed from the frame, then can’t you just lock the front wheel to the bike stand using a strong smaller lock system, rather than a longer heavy chain and lock system looping through both wheels and the frame. Might this reach Silver or Gold security standards?

    • Ahh sorry I understand. Yes for sure, locking the wheel to the bike rack with a U-lock is just as secure as using a longer heavier chain that loops through both wheels and the frame. And that’s regardless of whether you have locked skewers or not.

      As long as you use a strong lock on the frame as well.

  • its becoming more important to lock your wheels. every week i see several people on bikes carrying a bike wheel around in the middle of the night. …the welfare street people type who dig through the recycle bins for cans and bottles. last night i saw 2 of them riding together at 3am, 1 carrying a front wheel, 1 with a back wheel. they obviously found a bike locked by the frame only. I would guess i saw 4 wheels in total being biked around just this week. I don’t know how many times i’ve seen one of them with a wheel bungee corded to the handle bars during the day where that wheel alone was worth many times the whole bike they were riding..

  • Hi,

    Excellent source of bike security knowledge. I have just spent half a night browsing all these different products guided by your website.

    It would be nice to have it updated with the products listed in the comments, some of them are quite interesting.

    I found my favourite here for locking the bike itself (Abus Bordo) but as for the wheels and seats the choice was more complicated, there was always something wrong with the solution.

    For example, widely reported poor quality and security of Zefal, the requirement of placing the bike on its side in Abus NutFix which otherwise seemed a brilliant candidate, there were reports of issues with Kryptonite WheelBoltz too.

    In the end the best and most elegant solution for the seats, wheels and other components appears to be one offered by https://hexlox.com (not described here) – a lockable alternative to ball bearing trick where you just need one unique key and standard allen keys.

    Would you mind giving it a closer look?

    Quick Caps seem a clever idea too (retrofitting over *some* types of quick release skewers) but not as inconspicuous as HexLox. Possibly useful when needed temporarily, e.g. in transport or on bikes that are only occasionally left outdoors alone (like mine).

    Thanks for your efforts!

  • I tried the Krytonite Wheelnutz on my Surly Crosscheck. Thought this was going to be it. I was wrong. I could not get them to hold my HED wheels on my Surly. Wheelnutz maybe work well as locks but not as axles. Tried riding with them on, it was bad. Every couple stops I’d have to get off my bike, turn it upside down, readjust the axle, tighten, upright, ride on. Half mile later, repeat.

    I originally got some sympathy from the Kryptonite customer service. In the end they did nothing to satisfy me on this. I would be really leery about purchasing Kryptonite Wheelnutz, $50 and nothing.

  • The problem with seatpost locks is that the thief can still steal the saddle by undoing one of the bolts used to adjust it. That’s what happened to my bike, so when I replaced the saddle, I used vinyl spray paint and a stencil with my name on sides. Nobody is going to steal it because it’s worth exactly $0 now (unless some guy named Jim Chu want a personalized seat).

    If you decide to try this, use the type of paint compatible with your seat material. Test it by putting a small dot on the seat material underneath the seat. Make sure it’s the kind of paint that bonds to the original material so it can’t be scrubbed off, and more important, that it doesn’t melt the material. And be certain you have no intention of ever selling that saddle – because you can’t! That’s why nobody is going to steal it now.

    You can do the same thing to rims with an electric engraver (as long as they’re not chrome plated steel). Just deface it enough where it has no resale value.

    And if you want to make allen head bolts that leave thieves scratching their heads, fill the cavity with hot melt glue and then press aluminum foil (or whatever thin material that matches your bolt) over the top to flatten it out. Trim the edges with a razor knife. If the bolts are not silver, use epoxy paint to match the color. Now only you know it’s just glue that can be popped out with a wood screw. And you don’t have to do all the bolts – just enough to secure the item.

        • For sure. As always it’s all about balance though. What’s the chances of a bike thief carrying around a cone wrench. Slim I’d say, unless he’s particularly targeting a specific wheels because the wheels are highly desirable.

          If you’ve got particularly desirable wheels and you’re in a high theft area where the thieves will target bikes with cone wrenches then you’d presumably use the 2 lock system rather than security skewers.

          For most people this won’t be the case though. It’s all about finding the right balance for your circumstances.

          For example I’ve discovered that in my area I don’t need to protect the solid axle wheels on my crappy beater bike at all. They’re just of no interest to the thieves round here.

          My seat is another matter entirely though!

  • Hello Carl,

    Many thanks for your great website !!

    I liked the Kryptonite gravity solution. But I just read on its amazon page some purchasers’ comments saying they were slipping (no stippling on the surface) and one had to refasten them every now and then. My questions would be :
    – Do you know if this is true ?
    – Does the other similar gravity solution with hex key, Ixow, have an anti-slipping surface ?

    Many thanks for your feedback !


  • Hi Carl,
    Many thanks for your feedback !
    I will try the Kriptonite, and see how it goes.
    Many thanks again for your website and your dedication !!

  • Hi Carl

    I just got an ABUS Nutfix pack (wheel axle set and seat post clamp). I got a different size for the seat clamp and can’t return it (I live outside the US). Do you know if the seat nut works with non-ABUS clamps and bolts?

    Great website by the way


    • Sorry about the delay getting back to you Lucas. I *think* the nut is standard so should work with any clamp. I’d probably give Abus a ring or drop them an email to be sure though.

  • Brilliant page, this. Really helpful. Just wish I’d read this *before* I had my bike nicked (from secure bike storage cage in a supposedly secure car park). Will be following your advice 🙂

  • After reading a few of your excellent and informative articles, I’m thinking of buying the Abus gravity skewers and seat post clamp along with the Abus Granit 54 Mini U-lock to secure my bike frame to racks. Is this a good plan? Or would it be better to opt for the Granit 540 so I can grab the rear wheel as well as the frame? It seems like this would be redundant with the gravity skewers, but I wonder if it would be visually more deterrent. If so, would the added visual effect be worth the added cost and weight of the larger lock? I’m trying to carry the least weight with the most security. Ideally, it would be great if the Granit lock (gold rated) came in a medium 7-inch size, as the 9-inch standard seems too large and leaves too much space, plus adds weight. Alternatively, I could get the Bulldog Medium 7 instead of an Abus. Thanks for any thoughts on using the Abus Granit mini vs. the standard along with the gravity skewers.

    • Hi John,

      I think the 54 Mini and the gravity skewers is a good choice and will be secure enough, unless you have extremely expensive wheels!

      I hope that helps

  • With e-bikes, one of the most expensive components may be a hub motor. If thieves are carrying powerful portable saws and large bolt cutters, what is to stop them from cutting through the spokes and frame in order to get the hub motor?

    • That sounds like a lot of work to cut all the spokes and both sides of the frame. If a thief is going to go that far, you’re gonna have to depend on insurance. Have you heard of this actually happening?

  • Hi Carl,

    Any advice on securing an integrated seat post (ISP) where there is a clamp wedge mechanism within the top frame of the bicycle?

  • Just bought an e-bike and was choosing a lock when I found this excellent site! More to consider now! Thank you for the detailed information and suggestions.

  • This is really useful, but I’m not sure which to get for my ebike, it’s a ‘Gtech city bike’ and I’d ideally like to get pinheads with a unique key, but don’t kniw if this is possible? The back wheel would need very long pin, maybe 17cm! Thanks in advance for suggestions!

  • Carl,

    I too am a serial bike theft victim, and I’m ready to put a stop to it.

    Do you know what would be a great additional page to this site? A page that details exactly which products, and methods you use on your bike. All the options and various methods would still be here for us to make a decision about. But what YOU have specifically chosen (I assume you still haven’t had a bike stolen since you got serious about security) this would be extremely helpful to those of us who don’t want to meticulously weigh the pros and cons of each and every option available.

    And short of creating that page, would you mind just quickly rattling off that info as a reply to this comment? Much appreciated!

    • Hi Matt,

      Yes that’s a good idea!

      Everyone’s circumstances are very different though and I wouldn’t want people simply copying what I do. For example my setup wouldn’t work in central London!

      I have a very old beater bike which I leave out in the street every night. It’s locked with an old Kryptonite Kryptolok Standard (the one with the bent foot) and a chain with quite a poor padlock.

      When I go somewhere I only take the ulock and leave the chain.

      Bear in mind: my bike looks really crappy and although there is a lot of bike theft in Barcelona, the thieves aren’t very sophisticated.

      But this set up has worked successfully for years.

      I hope that helps!


  • Hi Carl,

    Thanks for all the info here — very helpful.

    You mention that chains are generally stronger than cables. I have been specifically looking at purchasing the Abus 1500 Chain Web Lock (found here https://mobil.abus.com/int/on-road/Locks/Chain-Locks/1500-60-Web-black ) for locking my front wheel, likely in addition to pinhead locking skewers.

    I was surprised to learn that this Abus chain actually weighs less than many cable loops, for example the Kryptonite KryptoFlex 410 Double Loop Cable.

    I am wondering if you think this Abus 1500 Web Lock chain in particular would be stronger than a cable, such as the Kryptonite one I’ve mentioned? Would the Abus chain be more difficult to cut through even though it weighs less?


  • Hi Greg, another bike enthusiast with a website here. I love the Abus 1500 web lock, but it’s a completely different type of lock than the cable lock you mention.

    I use the Abus 1500 to lock my bike saddle to my frame.

    I use the kryptonite cable to loop through my wheels if I don’t have wheel locks (which are easier and I see you’re getting them. I wouldn’t do both as that seems like overkill. just the wheel locks will make your life easier)

    Also the Abus 1500 has it’s own lock, the cable you need to loop it onto a u-lock.

    Both of these would likely be cut with bolt cutters easily, but for wheels and seats they offer that extra protection!

    Hope this helps.

  • You wrote, “ However, the skewers [Pinhead] now come with POG washers that prevent this happening.” My questions:
    – What is a POG washer?
    – How can you tell you’re ordering from a retailer the newer Pinhead skewers with the POG was?

    (BTW, I appreciate all the well-researched info!)

  • Good article thanks. Unfortunately the IXOW skewers don’t seem to be available now and the price of the other products make securing several bikes very expensive. I’m looking at the ONIPAX security skewer set on Amazon as an alternative. It uses 7-lobed “torx” style security bolts with a central pin, so while not secure per se, the tools are probably obscure enough to put off the opportunist. Also the tool is light and easy to carry, and also replaceable if you lose it.

    On this note I’m thinking of replacing some of the main hex bolts on my bikes with security torx equivalents which are not too expensive.

    As a DIY solution inspired by the Pitlock nuts, I had an idea to find some small hexagonal nuts sized to fit in the holes of standard hex bolts? They would use a standard screw size to remove so not as secure but super cheap. What do you think?

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