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Theft prevention: Deface make and model?

Old 09-26-22, 09:40 AM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by smasha View Post
Since I personally know several people who have had bikes stolen over the last few months, this has me thinking of two things:
  1. If my new bike wasn't already mostly built up, I'd consider taking the frame to an auto-body shop, and have them strip off the old paint, and re-paint it to look like rusted pipes. Any bike thief would see that with a decent lock on it, and turn away in disgust and/or laughter. My bike would be safe. Maybe it's worth the hassle to take it all apart and do this?
You obviously haven't priced a custom wet paint job lately
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Old 09-26-22, 10:15 AM
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If you just want to make it look like a low budget ugly bike, just buy some rattle cans and paint it fully assembled. And don’t use masking tape.

Pick a color, or two, you really like and use silver, or better yet gold, for the components and chain. Get some cardboard to shield the overspray.

Of course, you should at least ride it to make sure you like it before reducing the resale value to zero.

John
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Old 09-26-22, 11:31 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
Get some cardboard to shield the overspray.
Or don't, if you want to make it look like a POS bike.
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Old 09-26-22, 06:24 PM
  #54  
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I wouldn't want to deface the bike in any way. I would just be careful where I was leaving the bike unattended. For me, the bike stays with me at all times. This limits the chance of it being stolen. At home, the bike stays in an unused bedroom and is always locked to a bolt drilled into a beam.
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Old 09-26-22, 06:31 PM
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Spray paint the whole thing,wheels and all, white and it will look like you stole it from a memorial and the creepy and poor taste factor will probably deter anyone with half a brain.
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Old 09-26-22, 06:34 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Spray paint the whole thing,wheels and all, white and it will look like you stole it from a memorial and the creepy and poor taste factor will probably deter anyone with half a brain.
I've seen that done. Or the rider stole a memorial. I'm not sure which.
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Old 09-26-22, 07:27 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Spray paint the whole thing,wheels and all, white and it will look like you stole it from a memorial and the creepy and poor taste factor will probably deter anyone with half a brain.
That's the problem. A lot of thieves don't have half a brain to work with.
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Old 09-26-22, 08:03 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
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:
Where I am, things aren't that bad, yet.

eg, it's exceedingly rare that lights and saddles and wheels get stolen. Whole bikes will get stolen, and that's becoming disturbingly common, but this fits a pattern of "professional thieves" operating in the area. It also fits a pattern of most people using crappy locks, and using the poorly.

If I'm understanding you correctly, are you saying that a beater franken-bike, or a bike that looks like a beater franken-bike, is less likely to be recovered than a bike that can be identified by make/model? That's something I hadn't considered. If that's the case, then a "rust" paint-job may not be what I want.
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Old 09-26-22, 08:04 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by SpeedyBlueBiker View Post
That's the problem. A lot of thieves don't have half a brain to work with.
We have a team of crack (addicted) scientists on the case. Stay tuned.
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Old 09-26-22, 08:07 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
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
“It’s Not Paranoia If They Really Are Out to Get You.”

Don't make me guess; impart some wisdom on us all.
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Old 09-26-22, 08:12 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by smasha View Post
To stop a thief, think like a thief…

If someone wants to steal an unlocked or poorly locked bike for convenience, they'll take what's convenient, no matter how good or bad it is. If someone wants a bike for the expensive parts/components, they may cut through the frame to take the bike.

Between these extremes are nice bikes, locked securely (with at least one better-than-average lock, used properly). They're not convenient to steal, so they're safe from purely opportunistic theft, but being a nice bike, someone might break a lock to steal it.

Since I personally know several people who have had bikes stolen over the last few months, this has me thinking of two things:
  1. If my new bike wasn't already mostly built up, I'd consider taking the frame to an auto-body shop, and have them strip off the old paint, and re-paint it to look like rusted pipes. Any bike thief would see that with a decent lock on it, and turn away in disgust and/or laughter. My bike would be safe. Maybe it's worth the hassle to take it all apart and do this?
  2. Since the bike is mostly built I'm thinking about just spray-painting over the make and model that's printed on the frame. That should drop the resale value of "ABC model" of "XYZ brand" to "unknown" and/or "unverifiable", which should lower the resale value enough that it's not worth the effort of busting a good lock. My bike should be safe, I think.
What does everyone else think? Any bike thieves or recovering bike thieves who can comment?

I'll also have a sticker on the bike advising that it's in a register that police have access to. I'm not sure how well that (in addition to being securely locked up) will discourage theft… I'd like to think this would discourage theft, and encourage a thief to find another target. Anecdotally, it seems that these kinds of stickers may actually reduce the chances of a bike being stolen.
Interesting concepts. If you go with option 2, please post pics.
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Old 09-26-22, 08:14 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
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
Originally Posted by smasha View Post
Don't make me guess; impart some wisdom on us all.
He did impart some wisdom. Some of us even understood it.
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Old 09-26-22, 08:15 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
OP is a classic BF archetype: asks "What does everyone else think? " and then argues with anyone who disagrees with him.
No one has actually disagreed with me, in any productive way. A lot of other opinions have been presented, but almost no one has explained why they think I'm wrong; almost no one has explained why their ideas are actually better.

That's not productive disagreement, it's just a bunch of people flinging their own dogma like boogers. It's not yet degraded to ad hominems, but it's not much better than that.
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Old 09-26-22, 08:23 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
OP is a classic BF archetype: asks "What does everyone else think? " and then argues with anyone who disagrees with him.
Originally Posted by smasha View Post
No one has actually disagreed with me, in any productive way.
When you define "productive" as "agrees with me," you've kind of rigged the game,
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Old 09-26-22, 08:32 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
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.
Wow! That is an education.
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Old 09-26-22, 08:50 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
When you define "productive" as "agrees with me," you've kind of rigged the game,
No.

If someone wants to explain *why* an idea is wrong, and/or *why* other ideas are better, that's productive disagreement.

Instead, much of the discussion resembles bickering children, each insisting that their idea is best, and no one explaining why.

Also, I'm not convinced that my idea is the best, or even good. I'm not here looking for accolades, I'm here looking for discussion about what works and why. Maybe I'm in the wrong place...?
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Old 09-26-22, 08:54 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
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.
This has me thinking... Maybe just a splotch of orange or blue spray-paint to make the bike easier to identify?

Maybe even make it not ugly, but just conspicuous?
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Old 09-26-22, 09:02 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by smasha View Post
No.

If someone wants to explain *why* an idea is wrong, and/or *why* other ideas are better, that's productive disagreement.

Instead, much of the discussion resembles bickering children, each insisting that their idea is best, and no one explaining why.

Also, I'm not convinced that my idea is the best, or even good. I'm not here looking for accolades, I'm here looking for discussion about what works and why. Maybe I'm in the wrong place...?
This is what you actually asked of the forum:

Originally Posted by smasha View Post
What does everyone else think?
Seems like you got just what you asked for.
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Old 09-26-22, 09:06 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
When you define "productive" as "agrees with me," you've kind of rigged the game,
The line I missed in the OP was What does everyone else think? Any bike thieves or recovering bike thieves who can comment? Clearly the overwhelming majority of BF members are not in the target audience hence why we don't get it.

I have no idea if I agree or disagree with the OP, I just don't see this as something I would do. I just know I have a four year old aluminum Trek that I think the MSRP was about $1800. The Trek is far from a high end CF bike with electronic shifting but nicely maintained and a handsome bike IMHO and something I think would be attractive to a thief if I didn't take normal precautions again theft. I also regularly ride a 42 year old Takara worth about $75 to $125 that doesn't look a day over 41 that I would hate to lose more than the Trek and I like the way it looks, so it is a hard no on camouflaging it too.
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Old 09-26-22, 09:11 PM
  #70  
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the idea (of sullying) is wrong if the idea is to spend money on a bicycle for the purpose of what it is to then spend more money & effort changing it in the attempt to defeat theft &/or vandalism.
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Old 09-26-22, 09:15 PM
  #71  
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May the “booger” “flinging” commence!
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Old 09-26-22, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by smasha View Post
No one has actually disagreed with me, in any productive way.
Good. Paint your bike already. Be sure to post the pics.
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Old 09-27-22, 12:21 AM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
the idea (of sullying) is wrong if the idea is to spend money on a bicycle for the purpose of what it is to then spend more money & effort changing it in the attempt to defeat theft &/or vandalism.
If I want to buy a piece of art, I'll buy a piece of art.

I'm not buying a new bike to appreciate its aesthetics, I'm buying a new bike to get from point-A to point-B. When I'm not riding it, it will be locked up, often outside, often not where anyone is watching it.

fwiw, it's being built with almost nothing higher-specced than Deore. It'll be an good bike to ride, regardless of what the paint looks like. I've never cried when any of my commuter bikes got scratched up; if I didn't want them getting scratched up, I'd lock them in the garage and never ride them.
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Old 09-27-22, 06:37 AM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by smasha View Post
“It’s Not Paranoia If They Really Are Out to Get You.”

Don't make me guess; impart some wisdom on us all.
0 and 0.

In fact, the only place I have had a bike stolen is from inside my house while I was home and awake.
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Old 09-27-22, 06:45 AM
  #75  
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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… 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.
Unless, of course, the thief also steals a can of spray paint from the local box store and repaints over your paint. I mean, why not?
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