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Is this really the world's first unstealable bicycle?

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September 2, 2014

The Yerka Project is an attempt to create the 'world's first unstealable bike'

The Yerka Project is an attempt to create the 'world's first unstealable bike'

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Cycling is often the best way to get around a crowded city. But riding a bike through an urban area brings its own problems, not least of which is the threat of having your bicycle stolen by opportunistic thieves. A good lock is, therefore, essential. There are no shortage of locks available to buy, and innovative attempts to improve security such as Foldylock, Saddle Lock, and Pedal Lock mean designers are taking this problem seriously. However, the best answer of all may be designing a bike which acts as its own lock. The Yerka Project aims to do just that.

The Yerka Project is the work of three engineering students from Chile who have figured out how to make the lock an integral part of the bike. The idea being that breaking the lock means breaking the bike, which even the most feeble-minded petty criminal should realize is an utterly pointless exercise.

Essentially the frame is also a lock. The down tube on the frame can be opened out to enable it to be positioned around a solid object such as a tree or a lamp post. The saddle, complete with the post it's attached to are then inserted through the open ends to complete the lock. Any attempt to steal the bike must, it is assumed, damage the frame in some way, leaving it unrideable. The whole process takes 20 seconds, which is comparable to many conventional locks.

Yerka uses its own frame as the lock, meaning it can be wrapped around a tree or lamp post...

Yerka is currently just a prototype, with the students behind it keen for other people to get involved in turning this idea into a reality. There are currently no details of a release date or price point. There are also some obvious kinks to iron out, such as what happens if you lose your keys, how do you ensure your wheels don't get stolen, are the materials strong enough to withstand any unwanted attention and most importantly, does the built in security compromise the ride?

The video below shows the Yerka in action, being ridden, locked up, and then unlocked again ready for riding off into the distance.

Source: Yerka Project via Designboom

About the Author
Dave Parrack Dave is a technology journalist with a ravenous appetite for gadgets, gizmos, and gubbins. He's based in the U.K., and from his center of operations writes about all facets of modern and future technology. He has learned more in his five years writing for the Web than he did in 11 years at school, and with none of the boring subjects thrown in to the mix.   All articles by Dave Parrack
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7 Comments

I thought up something similar when I saw Philip Crewe's folding bike hinge and coupling setup. Curiously, it was never covered by Gizmag.

http://www.designboom.com/readers/folding-bike-by-philip-crewe/

Use non-removable pressed-in pins rather than easy to unscrew Allen bolts in the hinges then add some kind of key lock to the separating coupling and the frame could do double duty. If you want to take it inside, fold it up to save space. Can't take it into a store or wherever? Lock the entire front half of the frame around something outside. The Crewe design would arguably be more elegant than this one, with its twin crossbars, although it would need something other than a vertical post to lock to. I'm also skeptical about how much play would be left in the Yerka downtube when it's locked in place for normal riding.

Gadgeteer
2nd September, 2014 @ 10:53 pm PDT

Hopefully it is lighter than an ordinary bike and lock. Speeding up the video showing how it's done is conspicuous. It strikes me as more complicated than it's worth. Any bike design that affects the structural rigidity of the frame is problematic.

owlbeyou
3rd September, 2014 @ 08:59 am PDT

Interesting bike. I'm not sure what bike can be considered the first unstealable one, but I know the Biomega Boston has five years or maybe more on the one shown here (Supposedly they have one at MOMA)

Actually Biomega might be worth checking out as they do a number of special things with their bikes - unfortunately they are also a bit expensive than the average bikes around.

BZD
3rd September, 2014 @ 09:25 am PDT

Yes, clever...but when I see bikes that are 'stolen', sometimes it's not the frame the thieves are after. The wheels, seat, handlebars with shifters and brake levers all have resale value. What, if any, methods are implemented to safeguard those parts?

Patrick Dennison
3rd September, 2014 @ 09:44 am PDT

the correct adjective is unsellable.

zevulon
3rd September, 2014 @ 01:12 pm PDT

I've read that in some places, bikes are stolen just to melt them down.

SLB
3rd September, 2014 @ 03:33 pm PDT

That bike can be easily stolen if its locked to a tree, wooden post, or angle iron if you carry the right saw.

Jaesun_1
3rd September, 2014 @ 05:44 pm PDT
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