infiniti3D system uses one-of-a-kind key to prevent bicycle component theft
By Ben Coxworth
March 30, 2012
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.
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.