By Dave Iltis
I commute a lot around town, mostly running errands on my bike. It’s imperative to have a good lock to keep your bike secure. I generally use a Kryptonite U-Lock, and have for many years. The lock is great for securing your frame and front wheel to a bike rack or post, but not so if you try and lock both wheels and the frame (I don’t like taking my wheel off to do so).
This spring, I was given a new cable, and a chance to break this habit by easily securing both wheels. The SafeByke cable is the invention of local engineer Phil Martineau who partnered with Deborah Byrnes to start SafeByke last year.
The SafeByke cable is not your grandfather’s cable. No, it’s made in a completely different way. Old style cables are made multiple strands of wire woven into one cable. This leads to a stiff cable that is easy to cut. The SafeByke is made instead from 6 smaller cables, each of which is coated, which are then encased in a PET outersleeve. The key is that the smaller cables are independent of each other, and so when combined with the PET outer-sleeve, the whole system flattens out when pressure is applied by a bolt cutter.
I used a 4-foot cable in conjunction with a U-lock. This makes it really easy to lock both the wheels and the frame. One of the best features of the new cable is that it’s really light and flexible compared to old style cables, and hence it is really easy to fit in a pack along with a U-lock and whatever else one is carrying. Their website says that you can wear it as a belt, but I didn’t try that option.
I also tried to cut it with a standard linesman’s pliers – all the lock does is flatten out (although a couple of strands of the PET casing frayed when doing this). This would prevent many would be thieves from absconding with your bike or wheels. I did not try it with a large bolt-cutters or other implement of destruction. Will it defeat every thief? Probably not, but then neither will the best U-locks. Since many bike thefts are crimes of opportunity, the SafeByke should work well in most situations, especially as an adjunct to a U-lock.
SafeByke is a Utah company, and, the cables are assembled in Salt Lake City. They retail for $25 for the 4-foot version, and $35 for the 7-foot version. They come in multiple colors including neons, blue, purple, and carbon.
All in all, I would highly recommend this cable and rate it Hors-Categorie (5 stars).
For more information, visit SafeByke.com.