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Theft prevention: Deface make and model?

Old 09-25-22, 11:01 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
If your bike were nice looking you would not be considering defiling it. Here’s a suggestion: Ride it and use situational awareness.
And when I use and enjoy the commuter bike to get where I'm going, and I have to lock it up outside for a few hours...?

In case it's not clear: I'd rather have a bike that's aesthetically "ugly" by certain standards, rather than NOT have a bike that's pretty, but stolen.

Last edited by smasha; 09-25-22 at 11:46 PM.
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Old 09-25-22, 11:07 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
I would not purposely buy with pride using my own hard earned money a bicycle set up to look in a distasteful manner in order to deter theft.
That may work for you, but I'm more concerned about keeping my bike, and not as concerned about a bike that looks pretty.

And I may be crazy, but I'd consider a well done "rust" paint job to be a work of art, in its own way. Just painting over the make/model, not so much artsy, but if it prevents theft, it would bring me great joy.

Expressing your concerns are not contributing to a better understanding and assessment of my concerns.
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Old 09-25-22, 11:08 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by smasha View Post
Most/all of the comments seem more concerned about projecting how the aesthetics would make me not enjoy the bike.
Go back and count. It's not "most."

I'm not really sure what you want. If you think your idea will be successful, do it. Someone was kind enough to point you in the direction of decals instead of paint.
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Old 09-25-22, 11:13 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Brennan View Post
Or you could wrap tape over the logos. Maybe the kind that's used for baseball bats or hockey sticks.
Maybe reflective tape? Maybe just duct-tape?

After a few years, removing it may damage the factory paint… So a can of spray-paint may still be the way to go. And with pictures, some spray-paint can make it easier to identify, if it does go missing.
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Old 09-25-22, 11:17 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by kwb377 View Post
Are you going to have nice components on this "faux beater", or are you going to artificially age ('beat the snot out of") the rest of the components along with the frame to complete the ruse?

Having worked in L.E. for 28 years, I can tell you that thieves are gonna thief no matter what...I'm convinced that if you left a dried dog turd on the sidewalk for any length of time, someone would steal it.

As mentioned above...ride it, enjoy it, and just make it harder to steal than the one next to it.
I do make my bikes hard to steal.

I'm thinking that if it's hard to steal *AND* ostensibly looks like a turd, it's safer.

Kind of the middle ground here is making it hard to steal and (ugly) painting over the make/model names.
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Old 09-25-22, 11:23 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Chuck M View Post
I can't imagine deliberately destroying the appearance to ward off thievery. Judging by what I see the typical meth user around here riding, they don't care what they are riding looks like.
If a "rust" paint job is done well, I'd consider it to be a work of art. Just because it's ugly to you or anyone else doesn't mean I wouldn't enjoy it.

Any bike that's not locked up well is liable to be stolen by a crack-head. Any bike that draws attention for being "nice" is liable to be stolen by someone who wants it. Who's stealing crappy-looking bikes that are locked up properly?
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Old 09-25-22, 11:27 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Now that I think about it, there was another thread some time ago where someone suggested the possibility that someone would saw through a frame to steal a bike for its components. Seemed like an irrational fear back then too. Or was it insincere? I forget.
From memory, I know I've heard one story about someone who lost a very expensive bike this way. They left it locked up to a railing with a U-lock around the railing and the top-tube. 20-30 minutes later, the bike was gone, but the U-lock was still locked around the railing.

The frame and the components were all top-tier.
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Old 09-25-22, 11:40 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by bargainguy View Post
Next time I saw her, that same frame was completely covered in duct tape. That beautiful purple had taken on a Mad Max quality. Asked her about this, response: "Best way to not get stolen."

Fast forward to now. When I'm asked for recommendations on how to prevent theft, my answer is always the same. Lock the frame and rear wheel and take the front wheel with you. Awfully hard to ride away on a bike with one wheel unless you happen to be carrying a spare, which most thieves don't.
I can rock the Mad Max aesthetic.

As for wheels, wherever bikes are parked, there's always a compatible wheel that's nearby and easy to steal. Locking the front-wheel (either remove it and lock it with the frame and rear-wheel, or use a cable) can keep it safe, but just taking it with you is typically more inconvenience to you than a bike thief.

At a minimum, I've always got a U-lock through the rear-wheel and rear-triangle. No QR skewers on my commuter bikes. Depending on where/when the bike is locked up, I'll also run a cable through the front wheel, secured at one end with the U-lock, and ideally secured at the other end to something solid. Sometimes I'll use use the U-lock as described, and also a chain around the front-wheel and front-triangle.

With my older 3x9 bike, that's plenty to deter theft. Once upon a time it was a desirable bike, but back then a U-lock and cable was plenty to keep it secure; adding a chain was me being paranoid. With a newer and more desirable bike, I want it to not be obvious that it's a newer and more desirable bike.

People don't covet what they can't see. In a way, the question is about how to hide a nice bike in plain sight… And also lock it up properly.
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Old 09-25-22, 11:44 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
What typically happens around here with bicycles locked up as such is that they get vandalized "just because". If the criminal cannot take your property for there gain, then they will make sure you cannot have it as you wanted either. lose/lose
Worst I've experienced was with the bike locked up outside a bar, someone stick a toothpick-umbrella into the saddle, which was wrapped in plastic shopping bags.

Around here the concern is thieves. Vandalism is not so much of a concern, and mitigated by not parking near the bars, at night.
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Old 09-26-22, 01:20 AM
  #35  
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Taking the wheel just makes it harder for someone to ride off - you can still throw it in a van, or carry it.

As you said, there are 2 completely different types of theft: opportunity and planned. The opportunists will take whatever is easiest at the time and will potentially dump it a block later when they find a nicer one. Making it hard to remove or unrideable will put them off. I figure if I need to leave the bike for any period of time, taking the axles with me will cause a would be thief embarassing problems - it'll look like it'll ride but will fall apart quickly, if they get round the lock.

Hiding the make/model won't help much because they'll almost certainly put it on craigs list as "bike $100" whatever is on it.

For the planned thefts, it may make it a bit harder to sell on or hide the more unique it is, but a seasoned bike thief will still be interested in a beater bike with high end components on it. Making it harder to steal will help, and making it harder to find will also help (so taking different routes home, being aware of being followed, using Strava privacy zones, etc).

I always try and make my bikes a bit unique with some stickers and non-standard components, so that if it does go missing it'll be easier to identify. They are all registered with a bike register which also has stickers.

The other thing I've done is buy a cheaper bike to use on rides where I may need to leave it unattended or go anywhere particularly risky. It's still a nice bike (105 groupset) so if I was leaving it in a city centre for any period of time I'd probably get an almost disposable bike too, like a $100 hybrid.

Finally, insurance. If someone is determined to steal your bike, they likely will and I'd rather they got it cleanly than destroyed my garage or car in the process. So insurance on the bikes I can't afford to lose will get me back to where I was, though you need to be really careful you meet all of the criteria which can be pretty severe.
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Old 09-26-22, 03:06 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by smasha View Post
And when I use and enjoy the commuter bike to get where I'm going, and I have to lock it up outside for a few hours...?

In case it's not clear: I'd rather have a bike that's aesthetically "ugly" by certain standards, rather than NOT have a bike that's pretty, but stolen.
As a person who has a customer base that is mostly drug addicted, low income, no income, homeless persons, with no moral compunction against theft, I'll let you in on a little secret: Ain't nobody gonna ever value a shoddy looking bike. Period. That also means ain't nobody ever gonna come lookin' for it neither. Then, after they steal that "jalopy" they are going to add their own colors to it just in case you are in the neighbor hood. After that, they'll devalue it even more by trading any working bits to a buddy for some "good karma." The other scenario is any working bits will get themselves stolen while the thief sleeps. The rest will get broken through ignorance & good intentions in a random bored moment with inadequate/worn out tools in search of an "upgrade" whatever that means.

You have no idea how many times I've heard the same story: "It had brake pads when I went to sleep."...or a seat post, or a chain, or gears, or any other thing that can be removed by an Allen wrench set, a crescent wrench, a screwdriver, or a stolen pair of pliers. If it can be removed, a thief will take it. One customer even had his headset stolen

First rule: A commuter that is left outside should have a total value less than or equal to $100.
Second rule: The value of the locks should exceed the value of the bike by 50%
That's not really hard to do.
A U-lock for the front wheel to the frame.
A U-lock for the rear wheel to the frame.
A U-lock for the frame through whatever immovable object you are locking to. (If one of the above 2 locks can go through the immovable object too, that's even better.)
Finally, a cable lock through the saddle rails securing the saddle/seatpost to the seat stays.
Rule 3: Observe the bike rack. Is secured with bolts? Thieves will disassemble the rack. Park away from the bolts. Does the rack have duct tape applied to it? If so, thieves have already cut the rack and are waiting for an opportunity to remove the tape holding the rack together & the bike secured there.

Quality stolen bikes tend to stick around a while. Generally they get traded intact from junkie to junkie for drugs before eventually ending up at a drug dealers house or "vultured" wholesale at the homeless shelter. The funny thing is "ain't nobody saw nuthin'" & they eventually come to me for all manner of repair.

A bike doesn't need to be expensive to be a nice riding commuter. Any vintage rigid mountain bike with 30 years of battle scars will do. Then re-pack the wheel hubs. Spend $20 on a replacement bottom bracket. Add in some $13 friction "thumbie" shifters to dissuade any thoughts of "value" and you are good to go.
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Old 09-26-22, 03:18 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by smasha View Post
Maybe reflective tape? Maybe just duct-tape?

After a few years, removing it may damage the factory paint.
Gaffers tape then.
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Old 09-26-22, 03:22 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by smasha View Post
And when I use and enjoy the commuter bike to get where I'm going, and I have to lock it up outside for a few hours...?

In case it's not clear: I'd rather have a bike that's aesthetically "ugly" by certain standards, rather than NOT have a bike that's pretty, but stolen.
I’ve been locking up bikes outside in Philadelphia for decades. And they have not been beaters. Guess how many have been stolen?

Guess how many times my touring bike has been stolen while I was asleep in my tent with the bike unlocked.

Proper precautions + situational awareness > irrationality
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Old 09-26-22, 06:14 AM
  #39  
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Man, it sounds like Wellington, NZ is a rough-assed ‘hood!

I’ve always heard that it’s a very cool place and I’ve been hoping to someday visit, but if bikes are gettin’ vic’d off the street to the extent one has to be so worried about riding even a decent-looking one around town that f’ing it up is serious option, it must be the ghetto of all ghettoes. A horrible place.

My advice would be to keep the nice bike, but move out of that rat-infested ****hole of a city.

I was just out in Brooklyn last week, and there a decent bikes on the street there. To hear Wellington is worse than BK or PHL is frankly shocking. Does Ardern know about the conditions in her capital?
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Old 09-26-22, 06:26 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by smasha View Post
From memory, I know I've heard one story about someone who lost a very expensive bike this way. They left it locked up to a railing with a U-lock around the railing and the top-tube. 20-30 minutes later, the bike was gone, but the U-lock was still locked around the railing.

The frame and the components were all top-tier.
Occam's razor. Maybe actually didn't put the lock around the top tube. An ex-GF did that with a relatively cheap fixie.

Even if the bike were locked correctly, how many people get struck my lightning in the U.S. every year? But go ahead and defile your bike if it makes you feel safer. I mean, it's not as if thieves will ever know that some people try to disguise expensive bikes that way and focus their attention on such bikes.

BTW...Anyone who is capable of identifying expensive components and doesn't care about destroying the frame isn't going to care about the makes and model, so I don't see how covering up the make and model would make one bit of difference. If it's built with SRAM wireless eTap and someone is looking to steal components at the cost of the frame I don't see why it would matter if the frame is a high-end Trek or a GMC Denali.
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Old 09-26-22, 07:21 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by tempocyclist View Post
This. And if you do need to leave it / lock it someplace, make it harder to steal than any other bike around it.
Yep.

I have told this story before...Several years ago I locked my Surly LHT fitted with over $400 worth of racks to a bike rack outside an large indoor public market. Used a Kryptonite U-lock with a thick cable for the front wheel. At the same time I was securing my bike, a woman next to me was locking her older Trek aluminum road bike right next to mine using a flimsy chain. She went inside the market. I went down to the far corner to get a newspaper. As I was walking back tot he market maybe 5 min. later I saw a tweaker looking dude speeding the wrong way on the woman's Trek. Over his shoulder was slung a small gym bag, which probably held his cutting tools. My guess is that he was laying in wait for someone who didn't take security serious enough in that setting. (Like I wrote above, situational awareness. We were on a public street in the 6th most populous city the U.S., not in an empty (or near empty) campground two miles from the nearest public road.)

I went inside the market and found the woman. I told her what had happened. She said "Oh well. I didn't feel like bringing my good lock."
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Old 09-26-22, 07:25 AM
  #42  
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1. Go to the local hardware store, and buy a rattle can of spray paint that's about the color of your bike.

2. Do minimal surface prep and spray spots on the bike, as though you were trying to keep the bike from rusting. Overspray so there are visible drips, then wipe the drips when they're halfway hard.

If uglification works in your area (and, as noted many times above, that's doubtful), this should work. Give it a few months and the overspray should start flaking off. If you ever want to look at the bike without shuddering, acetone should take the cheap paint off.
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Old 09-26-22, 07:31 AM
  #43  
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OP is a classic BF archetype: asks "What does everyone else think? " and then argues with anyone who disagrees with him.
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Old 09-26-22, 07:35 AM
  #44  
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The faux "rust" decals gets me thinking. I wonder if there is such a thing as a "patina" vinyl wrap? I could see that being a big hit in the classic-car community.... What better way to disguise minor paint issues on your old unrestored '55 Chevy than to cover it with a patina wrap and make it look like it's just been drug out of a barn after a long and hard life? The leftover scraps of wrap could go on your bike.
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Old 09-26-22, 07:46 AM
  #45  
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Or another idea..... I noticed on Ebay you can buy vinyl decal lettering for various bike brands.... Trek, Specialized, Colnago, etc. I wonder if anyone makes lettering for really cheap bike brands? Won't have to "rust" it or make it ugly at all!
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Old 09-26-22, 08:09 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
1. Go to the local hardware store, and buy a rattle can of spray paint that's about the color of your bike.

2. Do minimal surface prep and spray spots on the bike, as though you were trying to keep the bike from rusting. Overspray so there are visible drips, then wipe the drips when they're halfway hard.

If uglification works in your area (and, as noted many times above, that's doubtful), this should work. Give it a few months and the overspray should start flaking off. If you ever want to look at the bike without shuddering, acetone should take the cheap paint off.
OP could do the same thing with Plasti Dip then merely peel it off whenever.
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Old 09-26-22, 08:16 AM
  #47  
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https://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-l...on-xle/2859849
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Old 09-26-22, 08:27 AM
  #48  
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Edit: was on plastidip-already mentioned.
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Old 09-26-22, 08:31 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
Hilarious! Reminds me of when SNL was actually funny and entertaining.
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Old 09-26-22, 08:43 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by GeezyRider View Post
Hilarious! Reminds me of when SNL was actually funny and entertaining.
Yes, the Phil Hartman/Dana Carvey/Jon Lovitz era was the last great era of SNL. It's nowhere near as funny as it was back then.
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