Tools That Bike Thieves Use: A Thief’s Perspective

Tools That Bike Thieves Use: A Thief's Perspective


Bike thief here.

You know, I have quite a bit of experience when it comes to stealing bikes. 

Some are incredibly easy and take literally just seconds, while others require a little extra effort, but the payoff is the same -- I still get the bike.


I bet you’re curious what I use when I pull this off, right? Sure you are. So, allow me to explain how I do it, and what I use.

Maybe you’ll learn what not to do when locking your bike up, making things a lot harder for those like me.


I’ll start small and work my way up. For a bike thief, cable cutters are an essential item to have on you at all times, even when I’m not exactly out trying to steal anything. Sometimes it’s just hard to pass up an easy opportunity.

I’ll be honest. If you think a cable lock is going to actually protect your bike, you're beyond wrong. With just a quick snip, I'll have your cable lock off, and your bike gone in seconds. You may as well not even try. Be fancy all you want, try winding the cable around in intricate ways. Doesn’t matter, your bike is mine, and nobody will even notice that I’m doing it.

Man cutting bicycle lock with wire cutters.


Ah, so you have one of those thicker metal bar locks huh? You think locking that one u-lock to a rack or pole is going to stop me? Not if I have my bolt cutters, which are a lot easier to carry around than you think. They make them with foldable handles now. Nice, huh?

If you have a lower quality u-lock or d-lock, and if I have some room, I can clip them in half with a moderate sized pair of bolt cutters.  You’re still screwed. 


Okay, so if you’ve got a thicker u-lock, I’m going to need to break out the portable car jack. All I need to do is wedge the top of the jack into the lock, and start cranking it. In just a minute, I can have that u-lock broken off, just by using a jack. Pretty smart, huh?


So you’ve used a u-lock in a smarter way, running it through your front tire and the bike rack. Well done. Here’s the thing though; if nobody is around, and I have my trusty hacksaw, give me about 10 minutes and I’ll have that lock cut clean off. Yea, my arm might be sore...but I still have your bike. Sucks for you.

Hacksaw cutting a bike lock.


Did you notice a theme here? The type of lock is important, but you also need to know how to lock it up to keep people like me from finding a way around it. If you want to make sure I can’t get your bike, you’ll need to:

  • Not leave any room inside the u-lock or d-lock for me to wedge something in
  • Lock up your wheels to the bike. This means running a lock through the front wheel to the frame, and running a separate lock through the back wheel and rear chain stay. At least one of those locks needs to be attached to the pole or rack
  • Never use a chain or cable lock

But hopefully, you’ll just ignore what I said and keep making things easy for me. You didn’t really even like that bike, did you?

This post was last updated on June 5th, 2018 at 02:13 pm

About the Author Max Shumpert

Over the last few years, I’ve taken my love of the outdoors, hiking, skiing, trekking and exploring to the next level by starting this site. I started a bike shop in Denver, CO, and have seen amazing growth over the last few years. Getting paid to do what I love has been a dream come true for me. That’s also what led me to start In my shop, I spend a large amount of time helping people find the perfect bike for them and the style of biking they’re going to be doing. It only made sense that I expanded my reach and got online, making it possible for me to help people all over the world. If biking and staying fit is your priority, too, you’ve come to the right place.

Leave a Comment: