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Is an OnGuard Brute 5000 still a decent lock?

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Is an OnGuard Brute 5000 still a decent lock?

Old 12-11-21, 05:24 PM
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WilliamK1974
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Is an OnGuard Brute 5000 still a decent lock?

Hello everyone,

It was sometime in 2007 that I bought a good new MTB and decided to maybe go a little overkill on security and bought an OnGuard Brute 5000 standard shackle U-Lock with a cable for the front wheel. It's probably the heaviest lock I've ever bought.

A couple of years ago, I misplaced the key but couldn't make myself scrap the lock because I kept thinking that the key would re-appear. Well, I found the key today, and am quite glad to still have the lock. The downside to this is that I only have the one main key with the LED in it. The spare keys are probably still around somewhere, but I don't know where they are.

OnGuard still makes a lock called the Brute, and it looks like it's a pretty heavy spec'd device. But the current model number is in the 8000 range. This lock is over ten years old.

I don't know the statistics for bike theft in my area, but this area is a high-crime area when it comes to property crimes. I'm not sure if the local PD or sheriff's office tracks bike theft as an individual crime.

Is this lock still dependable? I'm sure it's better than no lock at all, and a quick-moving thief will be more interested in something more easily stolen, but has this lock fallen into the ranks of that Krypto lock that can be defeated with a BIC pen barrel?

Thank you,
-William
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Old 12-11-21, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by WilliamK1974 View Post
Hello everyone,

It was sometime in 2007 that I bought a good new MTB and decided to maybe go a little overkill on security and bought an OnGuard Brute 5000 standard shackle U-Lock with a cable for the front wheel. It's probably the heaviest lock I've ever bought.

A couple of years ago, I misplaced the key but couldn't make myself scrap the lock because I kept thinking that the key would re-appear. Well, I found the key today, and am quite glad to still have the lock. The downside to this is that I only have the one main key with the LED in it. The spare keys are probably still around somewhere, but I don't know where they are.

OnGuard still makes a lock called the Brute, and it looks like it's a pretty heavy spec'd device. But the current model number is in the 8000 range. This lock is over ten years old.

I don't know the statistics for bike theft in my area, but this area is a high-crime area when it comes to property crimes. I'm not sure if the local PD or sheriff's office tracks bike theft as an individual crime.

Is this lock still dependable? I'm sure it's better than no lock at all, and a quick-moving thief will be more interested in something more easily stolen, but has this lock fallen into the ranks of that Krypto lock that can be defeated with a BIC pen barrel?

Thank you,
-William
Lock picking lawyer couldn't cut the current model, was able to pick it, but doesn't think a bike thief is likely to be able to:




I don't know if anyone tests older versions.
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Old 12-11-21, 06:14 PM
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If it does NOT have those tubular keys I'd trust it for medium security.
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Old 12-11-21, 11:36 PM
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WilliamK1974
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
If it does NOT have those tubular keys I'd trust it for medium security.
You're talking about those round keys like what the Krypto lock that could be picked with a BIC pen had? My older OnGuard has keys that are a straight bar of metal with some irregular notches cut in them up near their tops.
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Old 12-12-21, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by WilliamK1974 View Post
You're talking about those round keys like what the Krypto lock that could be picked with a BIC pen had? My older OnGuard has keys that are a straight bar of metal with some irregular notches cut in them up near their tops.
Yes. I believe Kryptonite changed their lock design away from the tubular key style once that Bic pen trick became known. I don't know if other lock brands had a tubular key lock that were susceptible to the Bic pen, but I'd still avoid that style.
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Old 12-13-21, 09:04 AM
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From a specs standpoint, my older lock doesn't seem too different. The shackle's about the same size and diameter and made of the same metal. The lock mechanism places four points of contact on the shackle. Besides cosmetic differences, the only other difference appears to be the key system. The new lock uses keys with a slot cut down their sides, and mine has keys with irregular notches cut at the tip of the metal bar.

What I have is probably good enough for most of the situations that I tend to encounter in my area. It might not be enough if I chose to take a bike to a bigger city or NYC.

Thank you,
-William
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Old 12-13-21, 11:57 AM
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FWIW - this may be obvious, but any lock can be cut with the right tools. The "thief" in this video needed 37 seconds to saw through a similar OnGuard Brute U-lock:

I doubt many bike thieves mess around with trying to pick locks these days. I would still invest in a higher quality U-lock (or two), as it'll make your bike less attractive to steal. The goal isn't prevention, it's deterrence. Saws make a lot of noise, spray sparks and draw a lot of attention, so if your setup takes 30-40 seconds more than the bike parked next to yours, which might have a cheaper U-lock that can be snipped with bolt cutters, then the goal is accomplished.
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Old 12-16-21, 07:09 PM
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Nobody is going to pick a bike lock, other than YouTubers. They'll use brute force or cut it.

I'd bet if a fake U-lock simply snapped together and apart, no lock needed, thieves would still cut it before they'd even pull the lock to be sure it's actually locked. Watch some bike theft videos on YouTube. These ain't exactly master criminals. Occasionally they're professional thieves, but mostly they're tweakers, junkies, mentally ill street people and human crows and vacuums who don't necessarily set out to steal something, but can't pass up anything that isn't tied down.
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Old 12-17-21, 09:40 AM
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Nobody is going to pick a bike lock, other than YouTubers. They'll use brute force or cut it.
^ This.

The Lock Picking Lawyer makes entertaining videos. (Fun fact 1: Harry Houdini picked locks as part of his Vaudeville act 100 years ago.) Number of bicycles the Lock Picking Lawyer has stolen off the street in his videos: 0.

Is an OnGuard Brute 5000 still a decent lock?
For some 35+ years I used my 1977 Citadel u-lock. Yeah, I used it in places where other bikes were stolen. My bike was never nicked. I used good locking technique, and there were always nicer bikes around locked with little cables.

I can't speak to your locking environment and I don't know your locking technique, but your 2007 OnGuard Brute is still a fine bike lock.

Fun fact 2: the majority of America's vending machines and laundromats have tubular locks.
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Old 12-17-21, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
FWIW - this may be obvious, but any lock can be cut with the right tools.
Yeah, yeah, in those videos they mount the lock in a bench vice at a favorable orientation and use a high power angle grinder, new, quality blade and have a fully charged, high capacity battery.

In the real world, it looks like this thief's battery pooped out or his cutting disc shattered before he got all the way through both sides:


Last edited by tcs; 12-17-21 at 11:56 AM.
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Old 12-17-21, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
Yes. I believe Kryptonite changed their lock design away from the tubular key style once that Bic pen trick became known.
Yes, over 25 years ago, and back in the day Kryptonite offered to owners an exchange of those locks for new ones.

Tubular locks (all locks, in fact) have vulnerabilities, but no other tubular keyed bike locks were susceptible to Bic pen attack.
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Old 12-17-21, 12:05 PM
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In the real world (as opposed to the test lab) under certain scenarios the OnGuard might defeat a thief where an Abus might not. Yes, the Abus has a better lock cylinder and harder to cut steel, but the heavier, less expensive OnGuard has more steel. It could possible to cut a single leg of the Abus and bend the U enough to get the bike loose, where the thief has to cut both legs of the stiffer OnGuard (see post 10).




Use good locking technique!

Last edited by tcs; 12-17-21 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 12-17-21, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Yeah, yeah, in those videos they mount the lock in a bench vice at a favorable orientation and use a high power angle grinder, new, quality blade and have a fully charged, high capacity battery.

In the real world, it looks like this thief's battery pooped out or his cutting disc shattered before he got all the way through both sides:


Needing to cut through both sides of the lock definitely makes a difference. That said, if someone has already committed to pulling out a cordless angle grinder and cutting through one side, they're probably going to finish the job. Of course there are exceptions... batteries die, blades dull, people notice sparks flying and call the cops, so they take off running, etc. The placement of the lock also matters, if you use proper locking technique it's often harder to access both sides of the lock with a saw.

My point was that the quality of the lock cylinder and resistance to picking shouldn't really be a factor in determining a "good lock". Most thieves these days likely have no idea how to pick a lock. I doubt many of them even know about the old "bic pen" trick on those crappy Kryptonite locks because most of those can be snipped with standard bolt cutters. These guys run around sawing catalytic converters off of cars and stealing tree grates for scrap. They operate with brute force and speed, not with precision and skill.
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