Sphyke C3N secures bike components with mini combination locks
By Ben Coxworth
September 25, 2013
There are already plenty of options when it comes to keeping people from stealing your whole bike, but what if you also want to guard against people stealing bits of it? Well, you could buy components that can only be removed with their own special tool, or replace all of your mounting bolts with ones that require a key to take off. Sphyke is now offering a third alternative – its C3N system replaces a bike's existing nuts and bolts with ones that incorporate a tiny combination lock.
Here's how C3N is installed ...
You start by removing the existing mounting nut or bolt from a component, and replacing it with one that incorporates a cylindrical "shield." You then slide the matching cylindrical combination lock over the shield, lock it in place, then install its rubber dust cover. Now, if anyone wants to get at the nut or bolt head, they first have to remove the lock – and only you have the combination.
The process is demonstrated in the video below.
The same idea applies to C3N products designed to prevent theft of the seat post, saddle, and handlebar stem – existing nuts or bolts are replaced with ones that have a lock mount and lock. Things are a little more complicated for quick-release wheels, in that you have to replace the whole axle skewer with one that's Sphyke-specific.
According to the company, C3N has at least a couple of key advantages over systems requiring a specialized tool or key. First of all, you don't need to worry about yourself or the local bike repair store losing the tool – you could forget the combination, although it's probably less likely to happen (you create it yourself, and you can always keep it written down at home somewhere). Additionally, you can still use a traditional wrench to remove and reinstall components, once the lock is off.
C3N has been in real-world testing since 2011, although it was released commercially just this May. Prices range from €24.95 ($US34) for a single front or rear wheel setup, to €59 ($80) for a set that includes locking hardware for both wheels and the saddle.