The German locks-to-helmet manufacturer wants consumers to lock down their expensive bikes with home ground anchors and use folding locks for securing high-end bikes at sportive check-ins.
"Social media sports tracking apps are great fun. I use them myself and love them, but they have dangers," warned Axel Rösler. Rösler is the sales and marketing director for the international mobile security division of Abus.
"There is a real risk cyclists are guiding thieves to the back doors of their houses by showing off their pride and joy, and when competing with others on social media sites. Tracking apps pinpoint where users may live and thieves could find out other personal information by joining some dots on other social media sites."
Abus, founded in 1924, has a vested interest in wanting cyclists to buy the best security products possible but Rösler stressed "We don’t want to scare anybody, but bike theft from houses is a growing problem."
He said Abus analyses theft statistics and also keeps its finger on the security pulse by seeking advice from the police. "We have talked to police forces in Germany and the British Transport Police and also with crime prevention centres. The police report that bike thieves tell them how easy it is now to find the home locations of owners of expensive bikes. Thieves know that not all bikes, even very expensive ones, are locked down when in garages or sheds. The thieves can work out when people are likely not at home."
The Abus R&D and testing department doesn’t just test locks it also tests the products locks will be securing, such as windows and doors. "Doors of garages can be opened with just screwdrivers surprisingly easy, in 20 seconds," said Rösler.
"We recommend garage doors are secured with visible deterrents. This shows the thief this garage will be hard work to get into. Thieves can get into almost anything but security is all about how much time you can buy. Thieves want to be in and out quickly."
Ground anchors, chains and external blocking devices can buy a great deal of time in domestic situations but owners of high-end bikes are often blasé when leaving their bikes at cafe stops or sportives, said Rösler.
"High-end bike owners say they don’t leave their bikes anywhere, so they don’t need locking, but that’s not always true." Thefts from sportives are growing.
"Thieves go where the expensive bikes go," said Rösler. "Very few riders at sportives lock their bikes when they go into the registration building, for instance. Any lock helps at such an event. Walk-by thieves operate at these events, they don’t tend to have tools."
Users of Strava can disable home tracking but not all users do so.
Abus, currently exhibiting at Eurobike in Germany, has some improved and redesigned locks to address both home and sportive security. The Granit X-plus 540, with a 13mm shackle, benefits from what Rösler called "improved internals."
The made-in-Germany shackle lock now has isolated cells within the crossbar so, should it be attacked, the forces are not transferred equally.
"The thief would need to destroy both sides of the square shackle, not just twist one to lever the second," said Rösler. The Granit X-plus 540 has an Abus rating of 15, the company’s highest and has a Sold Secure ‘gold’ rating.
The new uGrip Bordo is a lightweight foldable lock for foiling opportunist thieves, not tooled-up ones. "You’d never put a u-lock bracket on your carbon bike but the rubberized Velcro straps on the uGrip Bordo’s rubber sleeve means people wouldn’t be worried attaching it to expensive bikes, say for the trip from the car to the sportive registration desk," said Rösler.
"It’s stronger than a cable lock but ease of use is more important on the uGrip Bordo than pure security." The uGrip Bordo has 5mm steel bars which rotate between each other, and fold out to give a lockable length of 80cm.