SKUNKLOCK: A Bike Lock That Fights Back With Chemical Warfare

in security •  3 years ago  (edited)

Bicycle theft crimes are a huge problem in major cities, but police barely lift a finger about it. They are too busy catching 'real criminals' who might be traveling 5 over the posted speed limit. Those crimes pay in fines, so why do some hard work like finding the people who steal dozens of bikes per day? It’s not like they are going to get any money from tickets off them.

The truth of the matter is that YOU have to protect your belongings, but current bicycle theft prevention options are limited and easily thwarted by experienced thieves. With powerful cordless saws a thief can literally ride off with your stuff in seconds. Anyone walking by is likely to ignore it, as it isn’t their problem.

Even the best locks, that cost over $100, will only take them a minute or so to cut through. GPS or RFID tracking devices can and will be disabled by those thieves, and even if they aren’t it will still be up to you to somehow get it back. You can give the police the entire crime details and location of the bike, and still the chances of them doing anything about it are minimal.

The lack of the police to do anything about it means that many people don’t even report it, so the actual amounts of bikes stolen is probably much higher than even statistics suggest.

According to an estimate from the NCVS, in 2006 the number of incidents of theft-of or theft-from bicycles was more like 1.3 million (just under 2.5 incidents per minute).† This suggests that for every crime reported, another four (or more) may have occurred.

The thing about it is that these thieves are normally getting only 5-10% of the actual value of the bike when they sell it to the local fencer. So that bike you paid $1,000 for might net the thief $50-$100. The fencer will transport a load of bikes to another city for resale, as the victim will normally search their local flea markets or online sales pages for their bike.

But it will continue to happen so long as it is like a free lunch to these thieves. They are able to get the cash with a near zero risk to themselves, or as they said in that movie “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” Bike theft is one easy glass of juice.

Many people are fed up with these bike thieves, but don’t know what to do about it. Daniel Idzkowski and co-inventor Yves Perrenoud have come up with a way to make your bike not worth the hassle.

Using hardened steel with a high security lock they promise the best deterrent to thieves. But you're saying that is already done, right? Of course, but they have a secret weapon inside theirs called formula D_1. A noxious chemical is released once the bar is about 1/3rd of the way cut which causes vomiting in 99% of the people it was tested on. The other 1% didn’t like it much either.

The chemical will stick to skin and clothing, to get it off the person would need to shower and their clothes are probably ruined. This whole deterrent is much like a skunk, and so that is what their invention is called - SKUNKLOCK.

Sure, a thief could power through the incredibly horrid fumes and steal your bike – but at least there is a cost now. Maybe once would be enough, and next time they see a bike protected by a SKUNKLOCK they will decide that the squeeze isn’t worth the juice. Because it is like running from a bear with a companion, you don’t need to be faster than the bear, just your friend. There are always more bikes for them to steal, so if you can get them to move on from yours it is really the most you can do.

55 Second video

They are now 81% of the way to their goal of $20,000 on Indiegogo (When I first read about it before I went to bed last night they were at 31%, so it is hugely popular). You can still preorder a lock for $109, which is 32% off regular price, for delivery in June of 2017.

You just have to be aware that the chemical contains capsaicin, so it might fall under pepper spray laws in your jurisdiction. If you live where a law was created by politicians to stop you from defending yourself, they have an alternate formula that they will fill your lock with to be in compliance.


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Good and detailed blog :-)

Thanks so much!

Actually, some of cheap bicycles I see are even cheaper than this lock.
That's probably why the authority don't invest much to recover and the owner gives up after a while.

Some people ride a 'beater' bike that costs maybe $50, but even those get stolen too.

Ya, cheap bikes get stolen. Guess even more cost ineffective to recover them.
What's intriguing is cheap people stealing bicycle seats too.
I have a number of bicycles without seats. My conclusion is

  1. Stolen
  2. Owner kept with him/her because experience stolen before.
    There's a Chinese saying - if you seen a ghost before, you'll be afraid of the dark.

Ouch, a pepper spraying lock. Don't steal that bike!

Yep, just move along to another one

Hey, I'm now waiting for the day I can purchase a few of these off Amazon!

Great stuff, @getonthetrain.

Well, they hit their goal in no time flat. I am sure that they will continue to score orders, and eventually have them for sale on other websites. Just gotta work out any possible legal issues.