infiniti3D system uses one-of-a-kind key to prevent bicycle component theft


March 30, 2012

The infiniti3D system replaces the existing fasteners on bicycle components (such as the mounting bolt on this stem), to keep them from being removed by thieves

The infiniti3D system replaces the existing fasteners on bicycle components (such as the mounting bolt on this stem), to keep them from being removed by thieves

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Most bicycle couriers and hardcore urbanites will tell you – if you’re going to be leaving your bike locked up in a public place, ride something cheap and crappy that thieves won’t be interested in. The problem is, many bicycle commuters are very “into” bikes, and thus own fancy machines that they don’t want to leave at home five days a week. While there are a number of locking systems that might or might not keep these peoples’ bikes from being stolen, enterprising thieves armed with nothing more than a set of hex wrenches can still remove some of the more valuable components from those bikes. The new infiniti3D system, however, is designed to stop such parts-pilfering thieves in their tracks.

Made by British bike bits company Atomic22, each infiniti3D system consists of a one-of-a-kind key tool, along with matched fasteners (bolts, wheel skewers, etc.) that replace the ones already installed in the bike’s components. Thus, the only way that any one user’s infiniti3D fasteners can be removed is with their own unique key. Other systems utilize fasteners that can only be removed with a tool that’s unique to that system, but that isn’t unique to each owner – in other words, anyone with one of those tools can use it on any other system-user’s bike.

For most components, Atomic22’s Standard Torque key will suffice. For heftier components such as solid axles, however, the heavier-duty Hyper Torque key will be required. Tiny bits, on the other hand, will need the Micro Torque key. In all cases, a single copy of each type of key will unlock all of the corresponding fasteners.

Presumably, whenever a customer’s bike goes to the shop for repairs or upgrades, its key will have to accompany it. In those cases, users might want to attach that key to something big and bulky (like gas stations do with their restroom keys), so it doesn’t get lost amongst the clutter on the mechanic’s work bench.

The infiniti3D system can be installed on wheel skewers, amongst other components

Prices for individual systems will vary greatly, depending on which and how many components’ fasteners are being replaced, and whether or not one, two or all three key types will be required. First-time customers pay £30 (US$48) for a single key – unfortunately that price doesn’t include any copies, as the production process is reportedly quite involved. The specifications of each client’s key(s) are kept on file, however, so replacement or duplicate keys can be ordered. Additionally, this means that if more fasteners are ordered further down the road, they can be made to work with the existing key.

The fasteners are made mostly from titanium, and range from about £30 to £60 ($96) each – again, it depends on the make and type of component. A company representative told us that they are also looking into bundling several types of fasteners together in package deals, which would end up costing the customer less than buying them all separately. Lower-priced more generic fasteners may also be offered, that aren’t made specifically for certain makes of components.

The infiniti3D system is still quite new in the marketplace, although it has already been used on a high-profile concept bike – Slovakian frame designer Braňo Mereš incorporated it into his aramid/carbon fiber composite-framed X-9 Nighthawk bike, which was unveiled this month in Berlin.

Source: Atomic22

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Another brilliant idea well executed. Bring the price down a bit and they will have more business than they can handle. I see a lot of bikes locked up to a sturdy rack -- but missing a wheel and other "accessories" like the seat (ouch!)


Hmmmm one word - Vice Grip Pliers.

Bring in the fenced off parking lot with a hotel style electric key token system, a few security cameras and a guard - with a $2 a day parking fee.

Mr Stiffy

Get a long enough cable that you can weave it through the wheels, seat, frame, and peddles.


With the advent of 3-D printers owners should be able to reproduce the key ad infinitum. Potential thieves would need to take a 3-D mould first, go home, print a duplicate key then come back and hope the bike is still there. Unless they had the printer in a nearby car.


they are not the first company to do this, and creating non-standardized parts only drives prices up until those said thieves are using the tools needed. It is not a good idea.

Pat Burneson

Works until the junkies get the same tools.

Burrell Clawson


Cheaper alternatives have existed for many years. For instance the highly regarded Pitlock system. The only distinguishing feature of the infiniti3D system is that it's machined from titanium, but most people don't need Ti and the outrageous prices would be a waste. The Pitlock is machined from stainless steel and you can buy a complete set (front and rear skewers, seat bolt and stem bolt) for about the price of one infiniti3D skewer and its key.


You're not as smart as you think. Vice-Grips won't work on the skewers. The tapered design of the ends means that when you try to clamp down with the pliers, they'll just slide off. The part that doesn't look tapered is actually a washer, not the end of the skewer. Notice that both that washer and the nut on the other end of the skewer have serrations on them that "bite" into the dropouts. Those won't turn, especially when the skewer has been properly tightened.


Any cyclist knows cables are nearly worthless. They'll stop casual thieves who have no tools, but any serious thief can cut through a cable in anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of minutes at most for the thickest cables. All without much in the way of noise or other commotion. Your scheme doesn't do anything to secure the handlebar stem, either. Unscrew three Allen bolts in about 30 seconds, 15 seconds more with diagonal cutters on the control cables, and a thief can walk away with several hundred dollars of high-end stem, handlebars and combination shifters/brake levers. And it's "pedals," not "peddles."


New? I've had this on my shiny new GT-RTS-3 since I bought it. 16 years ago.


I have just a few comments to make about this. And, I think I understand how important this issue is to regular riders, especially couriers. First of all, insurance would probably be cheaper than a special lock system. And, for the inconvenience of having your bike (or parts of it) stolen, then be sure and get coverage that would get you a rental bike or car or taxi. Next, and this is the plan I use on my convertible Miata; put a simple cable lock on the bike and run it through the wheels. If a thief has time to steal a headset or high dollar accessory, then he has time to ruin the vehicle/bike if he can't get what he wants. I leave my car doors unlocked so that I don't come back and find a torn convertible roof. I also run a cable through the bike rack and wheels and frame when I am carrying my bike on my car. This just keeps the average thief from messing with my stuff. If a pro comes along and wants it, he can jump the car and take everything! But, hey, it's only "stuff" and it all can be replaced.

Everybody who's ever used locking wheel lugs knows that circumventing these unique key locks is a trivial matter and it only will thwart the lazy thief!


All my ideas for theft proofing bicycles are inspired by gadgets popular during the Spanish Inquisition. Sadly product liability issues have frustrated my efforts to obtain funding.

Dave B13
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