Which of these four bikes will get stolen first?

Bike A – Spotted Outside Tate Modern

Bike locked from the back and with a d-lock through the front wheel and frame

Bike B – Spotted Outside Marylebone Station

D lock around frame, rear wheel and post

Bike C – Spotted in Kilburn

Lock through the front wheel and frame and lock through back wheel and frame

Bike D – Spotted in Kilburn

One bicycle lock around front wheel only

Rank in order which of these bikes you think will be stolen first and why!

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

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61 Responses to Which of these four bikes will get stolen first?

  1. Wendy 04/04/2012 at 10:00 am #


  2. Karl McCracken (twitter: @KarlOnSea) 04/04/2012 at 10:03 am #

    I’d go for 1, 4, 2, 3.

  3. Sarah 04/04/2012 at 10:03 am #


  4. Liz 04/04/2012 at 10:04 am #


  5. peanut gallery 04/04/2012 at 10:06 am #

    Wendy, why bike C? It looked to the the most robustly locked of any of them.

    Bike D was poorly locked with an easily defeatable lock – I bet garden shears would saw through that cable. But then again, it’s a truly crappy bike.

    A and B were both easily stolen by someone who has help: A by someone who has a way of carrying it away quickly, and B by someone with a friend or something to stand on.

    So, I say D – A – B – C

  6. jonomc 04/04/2012 at 10:08 am #

    (a) first (weak lock on back wheel)
    (b) second – one lock
    (c) this is well locked and only hipsters will want to nick it
    (d) Really badly locked – but seriously who would want to nick a mauve POS like that?

    Do I get a prize 🙂

  7. dan 04/04/2012 at 10:09 am #

    D will go first. Really s**t bike, but you could cut through that lock with a pair of nail scissors. The others are actually quite well locked up. A should have the locks the other way round (cable on front, D on back), B could be lifted off, but still a pain in the … to get that D lock off.

  8. Diana 04/04/2012 at 10:15 am #

    D – is that even a lock?!
    B – you can lift it off
    A and then C – which has the best locks. I think!

  9. Tom 04/04/2012 at 10:23 am #

    D first – rubbish lock
    B second, attached to a pole. The pro thief(s) will be able to left the bike over the top of the pole.
    A third – well secured with front wheel and frame secure
    C fourth – secured front and back including wheels.

    • taffy 06/04/2012 at 10:22 am #

      D B A C Agree with everything you said tom.

  10. otis 04/04/2012 at 10:24 am #

    A D C B

  11. Simon Norton 04/04/2012 at 10:25 am #

    A, B, D, C. A is the nicest, most expensive and easiest to walk away with without needing bolt cutters etc.. B can also be removed without needing any equipment. D can be taken; probably with the aid of garden shears. C is the most secure and looks like the least desirable/ saleable.

  12. Al 04/04/2012 at 10:27 am #

    BDAC. B can just be slipped over the top of the pole. D’s “security” seems flimsy enough for garden shears to crack. A & C are almost a toss up to me but C’s locks seem more stout.

    • also Al 04/04/2012 at 10:48 am #

      +1 this

  13. Speedy 04/04/2012 at 10:35 am #


    D is easiest, if you don’t mind missing out on a front wheel. Looked like A was easy, it’s not clear whether lock is through bars on fence (am assuming it is).

  14. Sabrinaman 04/04/2012 at 10:36 am #

    Isn’t A locked to the fence at the back?

    • Andreas 04/04/2012 at 10:47 am #

      Yep – it is locked from back only.

  15. Janice 04/04/2012 at 10:37 am #


  16. Nat 04/04/2012 at 10:40 am #

    A is the best bike and not locked to anything, so that first.
    D, yea, front wheels can be bought again so that next.
    B, a bit of faf and in daylight a bit obvious you are stealing a bike, but this does happen!
    C old looking bike which only a true cyclist would admire, plus two types of lock both around the frame.

    • Amoeba 11/04/2012 at 8:42 am #

      I don’t think a bike thief will ‘buy’ a front wheel. More likely, they will just steal one. Especially since front wheels are so often available for the taking.

  17. Yousef 04/04/2012 at 10:41 am #

    B, because you can just chuck it over the pole. Carry bike home and take your time with the lock.
    D, because it has only a single flimsy cable lock on the front wheel. Easy enough to cut through, or just leave the front wheel behind.
    A, because only one small chain is holding it against the railing. The second (front wheel) lock doesn’t go through the railing. Break lock one, then carry bike home.
    C, because it has two locks, both of which lock the actual frame to a solid bike rack. Thief would need to break both locks to get the bike.

    Technically, most of the locking mechanisms on bikes are pretty useless and are easily picked, so, at best, most bike locks are mild deterrents.
    I always lock my bike indoors – both at home and work.

  18. Russell 04/04/2012 at 10:44 am #

    it’d be!
    B – Can be lifted
    D – Locked by thin cable lock
    A – Locked by thin cable lock. Should be locked with D-Lock with thin cable attached to front wheel
    C – Locked with D-Lock to a purpose built bike stand and heavy duty chain ring attached to front wheel.

  19. oller 04/04/2012 at 10:49 am #

    The location of where these are locked up is a factor to consider.

    On a side note, on A, those fences with the thinner railings, I’ve seen those cut. You can have the best locks, but if it’s not secured to something equally substantial, it’s the weak point.

    My 2 cents, D A B C

  20. rob 04/04/2012 at 10:51 am #

    D – a pair of nail clippers could cut that cable – either that or just hold one end of cable, stamp in the middle and you can rip the plug out of the housing easily. Most likely to be stolen at night by someone needing a bike home (as a **** bike otherwise)

    A – worth a reasonable amount, back lock is only thing holding it in place, so a screwdriver or small set of cutters can get thru that, then wheel it off. More likely its in a popular commuter zone, so if any vans with thieves go thru they can cut the cable, chuck it in the back, angle grind the d lock in 5 minutes later. Then they have 5-10 of those bikes off to the market in one night – an easy £200.

    B – crap bike, not worth more than £20, but if your a van crew you can easily get that chuck it in the back and angle grind thru the d-lock at leisure later.

    C – not a great bike, but securely locked in a public space, looks like a kryptonite lock at the back, i wouldnt even consider nicking that – too well locked up.

  21. m 04/04/2012 at 11:02 am #

    D cable lock – fine in other parts of the world,but not in London unfortunately!
    B Locked only once
    A Locked twice, but with silver/ broze level locks
    C 2 gold standard locks of different types

  22. Johnomi 04/04/2012 at 11:03 am #


  23. Jamie 04/04/2012 at 11:19 am #

    D – You can cut those cable locks with £5 secateurs

    B – It can be lifted right over the pole

    A – I only say this one before C because it looks to be of more value. A and C are both using two locks which is good. 2 U locks are better than chains in my opinion (bolt cutter scan cut through chains much easier than 16mm+ U-locks). What this bike has going for it is the U-lock at the back has no space in the U for a bottle jack which would be the most likely method of this being stolen.

    C – The lock at the back is strong, but the method is poor. Ideally it should go through the seat pole and back wheel, leaving little space, but the owner has left plenty of space for a bottle jack.

    I hope none of them get stolen!

  24. Amey 04/04/2012 at 11:57 am #


  25. Chris 04/04/2012 at 12:53 pm #


  26. Peter Cowan 04/04/2012 at 1:23 pm #


    Except with C they’d probably steal the locks & leave the bike!

  27. Fasih Rehman 04/04/2012 at 1:41 pm #

    D – Bad lock and its in Camden, which is notorious for cycle thefts.
    B – Badly locked to a post, all you have to do it lift it up. Also a quiet area.
    A – Whilst it isn’t locked to anything you are going to need a van nearby, plus it is in a busy area.
    C – Locked properly, stealing this is going to take some real work.

  28. Tania Cutting 04/04/2012 at 4:41 pm #


  29. Ben Fieldhouse 04/04/2012 at 5:26 pm #

    D, B, A, C.

  30. Ben 04/04/2012 at 5:30 pm #

    B – can lift bike off / fairly decent bike / easy get away for two chumps on a moped
    A – decent looking bike / desirable
    C – ok bike / tough lock
    D – shot bike / shit lock

  31. Simon 04/04/2012 at 5:31 pm #

    D – can bend down and cut that lock with pliers without attracting notice, as others have said, high crime area, also appeals to opportunist who probably won’t be too bothered it’s a crap bike if they can sell it on quickly for £20.

    As for the others….

    A the cyclist needs to learn to lock properly with both locks, but I reckon the high-traffic location would deter a real pro.

    B if it’s left overnight, it’s gone, but again with that cab rank opposite I’d have thought a pro thief would be operating somewhere less visible, and will also put off opportunists.

    C has two different, decent locks as recommended by LCC etc and there will be bound to be bikes that are a lot easier to nick nearby – least likely of the four to be nicked.

  32. Stacey 04/04/2012 at 6:54 pm #

    D – is that a lock? Too easy to cut through.
    B – up and over.
    A – it’s got a lock through both wheels and frame but only one is attached to the railings.
    C – two locks, each through frame, wheels and secure parking thingy (however the front one is a bit loose).

  33. Patrick 04/04/2012 at 9:10 pm #

    whichever one the thieving bastards come across first!

  34. Michiel 04/04/2012 at 9:39 pm #


    In principle you must have 3 locks.
    Bike A is very hard to get to the locks with something to break them. Locked at two sites.
    Bike D the lock is on the ground and that can be used when hammering it
    Bike C two locks and not on the ground
    Bike B just one lock

  35. Henz 04/04/2012 at 10:11 pm #

    From most likely to least likely:

    D) No “tools” required, the lock is incredibly flimsy, the bike can then be ridden away. Or the front wheel can be removed and the bike “walked away”. Despite this being the least “attractive” bike it is also the quickest to remove, and would create the least suspicion while doing so.

    B) No tools required, the bike can be lifted over the top of the pole. However, the bike cannot be ridden away without tools. Alternatively, the front wheel is quick-release, removing this will probably lead to the bike being left overnight. Back-of-a-van job probably. This appears to be a less busy area.

    A) There is a second lock in there securing the rear wheel and the frame to a flimsy railing. It would be short work to remove this bike, but it would require tools and could not be ridden away quickly. This bike appears to be locked in busy area.

    C) 2 Good Locks, at least one is Gold rated (Kry NY), both wheels and the frame to the stand, enclosed loop stand, not a new “attractive” bike. This bike appears to be locked in busy area.

    • Andreas 05/04/2012 at 10:57 am #

      Good answer – will be posting my summary next week once I’ve given everyone a chance to leave their thoughts.

      • Henz 05/04/2012 at 11:57 am #


        I scared myself slightly when I realised I can spot steal-able bikes while out and about. I sometimes wonder whether leaving a note explaining how to lock better would result in a change in owner’s behaviour, or just make the bike even more attractive to thieves. Is it a case of “don’t know” or “don’t care”?

  36. Steve 05/04/2012 at 6:59 am #


    For the reasons stated already although by Tate Modern it would be hard to get a van up to it. Andreas, you nearly gave me a heart attack when I saw C as it’s the same bike as mine. I’ve never seen another one until now.

    • Andreas 05/04/2012 at 10:56 am #

      Haha apologies Steve – looks like we are riding the same mean machine!

      • Montyz 18/04/2012 at 12:29 pm #

        D – A standard set of pliers/cutters will cut through the cable or just loosen the front wheel and take the bike away.

        B – Reasonably tall [thief] can lift the bike and lock over the street post and then carry away.

        A – Not sure from the picture if the rear lock is attached to the railings or not. If attached, this would be my third choice. If not attached this would be my second choice.

        C – Secured correctly with two locks, to a substantial bike rail.

  37. Gizmo 05/04/2012 at 12:27 pm #

    OK, I reckon A, D, B, C.

    A because it doesn’t actually appear to be attached to those railings. D because I could probably snap that cable with my bare hands. C because it only has one lock on it compared to D which has two locks which are probably worth more than the bike. 🙂

    • MightyDuck 05/04/2012 at 11:27 pm #

      “A” got a second lock whick locks the rear wheel to the bicycle. But the first lock is really interesting. If it doesnt connect to the railings then A is still before D, because you can only carry A on your shoulder, while after one cut, you can ride away with D.

    • Julian 06/04/2012 at 10:40 am #

      Agree with the order though C is the only bike locked up sensibly … with one additional comment: D is the one I’d expect to appeal most to thieves who want to re-sell the bike because it’s the shiniest, though perhaps it would be more conspicuous at a street market, so I might be wrong … So ideally I’d lock my own bike – a Decathlon own-brand – with two D-locks both secured to a frame/railings – close to a more attractive bike …

  38. philcycle 06/04/2012 at 1:04 pm #

    D – one snip and ride away.
    B – up the post and carry away.
    A – Cut the rear cable (which seems to be round the railings -I hope) and carry away.
    C – Two sensible locks and both round the Sheffield stand.

    But I wonder how many of us lock our bikes ‘properly’. I’d hazard that it is only people who regularly leave their bike in a vulnerable spot (eg commuters). Most of my riding companions don’t lock up at coffee and lunch stops!

  39. Pedalpusher 06/04/2012 at 4:20 pm #


    A – only attached to the railings with a low grade lock, and it’s a Specialized which attract scallies.

    D – if you haven’t got time to bite through the lock, you can just unbolt the front wheel and take the rest. Dressed in hi-viz/lycra and a helmet, no-one would give you a second glance as you crouched down taking the wheel off, especially if you let the tyre down first… However, the crim would then need to buy a new wheel possibly worth more than the bike (no offence anyone!).

    B – unassuming looking bike, but doesn’t look the most robust lock or street furniture.

    C – well secured and one of the least tempting for your average herbert, but equally quite a distinctive and rare bike that would be easily spotted?

  40. Amoeba 06/04/2012 at 6:02 pm #

    ABCD, unless A is locked to the railings, if it is the order is BACD

    A looks like a nice fashionable and saleable hydroformed frame, not apparently locked to the railings, just pop it in the van. If the rear cable is locked to the railings (I’m not sure), even I know how to break locks like that. I’ve seen a video of it being done and it looks quick, easy and quiet. I’m not saying how on the ‘net. Needs a van unless the thief is going to open / break the U-lock.

    B Assuming it’s a reasonable bike – Lift it off the post and just pop it in the van. The front wheel is Q/R, so that will go. Needs a van unless the thief is going to open / break the U-lock.

    C A cheap bike, but it’s so easy to snip the cable and ride off. Otherwise with a spanner and a spare wheel stolen off another bike and ride away.

    D I think it’s a nice real cyclist’s bike [is that a 531 frame sticker on the seat tube?], but it’s steel, a bit old fashioned and features ‘two good locks’, well employed. – BTW – What a shame about ‘two good locks’ Barry Mason of Southwark Cyclists! I never met him, but he was clearly a decent old stick. The thief is going to need to open the U-lock and cut the chain [different tools] or an angle-grinder – noisy.

    Once a bike’s in the thief’s workshop, all bets [and locks] are off.

  41. John 06/04/2012 at 8:53 pm #

    Ist D – Only a cable lock, easily cut or snapped in seconds and ridden away, also a type of bike that looks smart and can be sold easily on.

    2nd B – Can be lifted over the post.

    3rd A – Two D locks, appears that one maybe around railing, both could be opened with a jack.

    4th C – Has a D lock and a chain lock making it unlikely that someone is kitted out with a jack for the D lock and bolt cutters for the chain.The most secure bike.

  42. Paul 07/04/2012 at 9:53 am #

    D B A C

    D – cable lock, easily cut and bike can be ridden away.
    B – single D lock. or a very conspicuous lift over pole
    A – two D locks.
    C – D lock and chain lock, will require different methods to break therefore difference/more tools.

  43. Joe 07/04/2012 at 11:26 am #

    A is clearly locked to the railing by the rear wheel lock so I’m not sure what people are going on about….. Anyways D looks easiest to steel, though weather it would actually get stolen is another mater, it’s a POS. B’s would be the most sensible bike to steel & re-sell, Mudgaurds, a rack and free working lock (shame the key wont come with it). A & C, meh idk, though i hope C gets stolen first…. Whoever bought those locks for that bike should have bought a better bike – hopefully the awful saddle angle and weight of the locks will give them a bad back.

  44. Joe 07/04/2012 at 11:28 am #

    Oh and @paul – both the chain and D-lock can be broken with a long enough scaffold pole…. Same tool, same method, different locks.

  45. Virginia 07/04/2012 at 5:44 pm #

    Bike D doesn’t stand a chance. crap lock on wheel only.
    Bike A – not locked to anything… but could be quite difficult to take it away with that D lock on it.
    Bike B – slight more delay lifting it over post then same as Bike A.
    Bike C is well locked up – well done!!

  46. Helen 07/04/2012 at 11:53 pm #

    Actually looking again at A I think that the rear lock is a cable not a D lock.


    D, B, A, C (purely because it’s a more secure railing and a less desireable bike)

  47. Jon 09/04/2012 at 1:35 pm #

    I’ve tested the D approach, a very cheapo bike not worth the effort. I locked it on a railing on my street to see how long it lasts. My neighbour had both his specialized bikes stolen in the last couple of months, while my ugly cheap raleigh with a pound shop lock through the front wheel has been outside for the last two years and is still there.

  48. Di 10/04/2012 at 1:50 pm #

    Bike D in Kilburn will be stolen first. Either by the thief cutting through the pathetic lock, or, possibly less conspicuously, by removing the front wheel, which as far as I can make out, is the only locking point. This owner doesn’t deserve a bike.

    Bike B outside Marylebone will possibly be next. Although it is in a fairly public place, the professional thief only needs to pull up in a van, cut through one lock, then they are away.

    Bike A at Tate Modern would be the third. The owner has almost the right idea, i.e. two locks, but the front lock only locks the bike to itself, so there is only one lock for the thief to deal with.

    Bike C, also at Kilburn, I feel would be the least likely. It has two different locks, locking the bike frame at two different points, so the thief would need to be really prepared. I’m not sure how robust the chain lock is, but all the same, I think that the average thief would like the other Kilburn bike better.

  49. Alex 11/07/2012 at 2:46 pm #

    Is bike A actually attached to the railings? I don’t think so.

  50. Helen 20/11/2012 at 6:17 pm #

    A: very nice bike, only one lock, can put it in the back of a van and deal with the lock later
    B: Hoick it up over the post, deal with the lock later. It’s just not as nice as A.
    D: would be very easy to nick but it looks horrible so why bother?
    C: nice bike but the combination of locks makes it more difficult, especially since it’s chained to a proper bike rack

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