Thieves target whole bikes, but also your wheels, saddle and anything that they can remove. To prevent the theft of your bike parts there are some security products available such as the five sided hex bolt. These solutions help, but are far from perfect. The Hexlox takes a new approach and is simple, elegant and intelligent.
Ian Berrell is the creator of Hexlox, he is an Australian who lives in Berlin and also already released a bike security product with his company Sphyke. The Sphyke C3N, which we reviewed on BNA, is a skewer for the wheels which has a combination lock. In developing and launching the Hexlox, Ian Berrell has partnered with Swedish entrepreneur, Marcus Tonndorf. Berrell says, “The Hexlox is the answer to all of the questions that I have been asked over the last 5 years since the release of my first component security product – the Sphyke C3N.”
The concept of the Hexlox is simple – the key components on your bike are fastened with hex bolts. A thief with a set of Allen keys can easily remove any of these parts. Rather than redesigning the bolts and fasteners, the Hexlox plugs these bolts, it is like a stud and can only be removed with a unique key.
The biggest drawcard for the Hexlox is the simplicity – it is extremely easy to fit the studs and doesn’t affect the beauty or style of your bike, if anything, your bike will look better.
Ian Berrel, Hexlox creator
I asked Ian Berrell how the idea came about. He says, “Back in 2012, while riding with some fixie crews here in Berlin and London, they showed me how they put ball bearings, wax or whatever else inside their bolt heads. It was ridiculously difficult to get them out, for them included! So I started looking at how to get them out.”
“I bought myself a lathe and started working through the concepts,” continues Berrell. “Everything I came up with was fiddle or could be taken out by other tools besides the key. It took a long time engineer the key design, it was inspired from my days designing medical products – we keep it a bit of a secret.”
When I first saw the Hexlox, I tried to imagine ways to break the security. Ian Berrell approached the Berlin Lockpicking Society to test and prove the security of the Hexlox. “The first time I met with them they were at the pub, so they only had their normal lock picking tools. After dreaming about it for a couple of weeks [Lockpicker] Frank emailed me with his hack… and it actually worked! He revealed a weakness… So it was back to the lathe for me.
The next time Marcus and I went to his werkstatt [workshop] (he actually makes and sells lock picking tools) he had specialty tools there. Fortunately the changes that I made to the design did the trick!
On my own commuter bike, I have swapped all of the standard 6-sided hex bolts with 5-sided hex bolts to protect them from theft. While this can deter some bike thieves, the key to unlock these bolts is not unique, the thief just needs to add a 5-sided Allen key to their arsenal. How does the Hexlox overcome this problem?
Berrell explains, “The key comes with a 3 digit code, only Hexlox with that corresponding code can be opened with that key. So it would be a very lucky thief! To ensure professional thieves can not build up a full set of keys, the key code will be hidden, and you can only request the same key as the one you have previously registered.”
Hexlox is being launched by Berrell and Tonndorf on Kickstarter, the popular crowdfunding portal. In the two days since launching, their €20,000 funding goal has almost been reached.
A ‘total security’ kit with 5 Hexlox studs is available via Kickstarter for €45 while smaller kits with two bolts are also available. Find out more about the Hexlox on Kickstarter. The Hexlox (studs) will be available in three sizes, 4mm, 5mm and 6mm, the size corresponds to the Allen key.
Photos supplied by Hexlox