While various media reports state that ‘nearly 1.5 million bicycles are stolen every year’, In reality there were an estimated 194,549 bicycle thefts reported nationwide in 2012, according to the latest annual FBI Crime Statistics. This was a three-percent increase in bicycle theft compared with figures from 2011. Bike-centric cities like Portland and San Francisco alone see 2,000 and 4,000 bikes stolen each year.
According to a SFGate.com report last February, bicycle riding in the City by the Bay has skyrocketed, with an estimated 75,000 cyclists taking to the streets each year. Concurrently, the number of bicycle thefts has also skyrocketed: city analysts estimated that bicycle thefts had gone up 70 percent between 2006 and 2012. Similar studies are popping up all over the United States, where it’s apparent bicycle thieves are getting savvy (and bicycle owners aren’t taking proper steps to protect their machines).
In May I toured three ABUS lock factories in Germany, and in early June I visited a security start-up called Skylock in San Francisco. While ABUS celebrates 90 years of making locks, Skylock is aiming for production of its Bluetooth-activated U-lock in early 2015. Ditto another Kickstarter newcomer, the six-year old Israeli firm Ino Vision, developer of the Seatylock, a curious contraption which combines a saddle and folding lock, which resembles the popular ABUS Bordo line. We were curious after receiving an email from the Seatylock folks, so we did some homework to find out more.
With nearly $100,000 raised on Kickstarter, it’s obvious people are interested in this product. How does it work?
With any new product, there will always be questions. Here are some of those, with some answers.
Q: Does Seatylock fit all bicycle types?
A: Seatylock has a special universal adapter that makes it fit all bike in the market which comply with a normal saddle. The company says it will offer different adaptors for commonly used seat posts.
Q: Can I adjust my saddle position to fit best my preferable riding position?
A: According to the company, yes.
Q: With hardened steel parts, wouldn’t the weight of Seatylock burden my ride?
A: The total weight of Seatylock, 1.3kg (depending on your saddle choice), is—according to the company—less than the average combined weight of 90 percent of the top saddles and locks together.
Q: Isn’t pulling out a seatpost and undoing a funky folding lock complicated?
A: The company says it takes less than 30 seconds from taking out Seatylock from the seat post to completely locking the bike. They say this is faster than handling the locking of most others locks in the markets. Here’s a handy PDF.
Q: How much time should I expect Seatylock to last?
A: The company says their seat post adaptor has been tested through more than 10,000 opening and closing cycles. They expect five years of use before it’s time to replace it.
Q: What kind of a warranty do I get with Seatylock? What about spare parts?
A: Seatylock says six months on any manufacturing faults, which seems six months shorter than most.
So, you be the judge. With more than six years in development, it seems that Kickstarter was needed to get this project off the ground for company co-founder Ilan Mor and his team, now based in New York. There are plans to sell through dealers, so their distribution model will extend beyond the consumer-direct method we’ve seen from most Kickstarter pipe dreams. Is Seatylock a step in the right direct for security technology? The woman in this video sure seems to think so:
What do you think?
Would you ride with a seat lock on your bike? Let us know in the comments below.