Innovative Wheel Locks Designed by Student Startup to Outsmart Bike Thieves

©. Nutlock

If you've ever been victim to a bike thief, it really sucks. And it doesn't matter if they took the whole bike, or just the wheels, because either way, you're forced to be on foot, and to lay out a bunch more cash to get back on two wheels again.

Most of us are probably very aware of how important it is to lock up our bikes when we leave them unattended, but there are still a lot of people who don't realize how to lock them up correctly, so as to thwart theft. And one of the most convenient bike technologies, quick-release wheel skewers, can actually help thieves by making wheels easy to remove (or to take the rest of the bike, if only the wheel is locked to a rack).

Two students from USC were fed up with having their bikes repeatedly stolen, and set out to build a theft-proof wheel lock. The device they created is a one-time solution, replacing the existing wheel fasteners (quick release skewers or conventional hex nuts) to secure the wheels to the bike without adding an extra lock. This solution, dubbed Nutlock, is designed to only be removed with a unique key that fits them, and is said to be able to thwart attempts to remove them using most standard wrenches and tools.

Nutlock can add a level of bike security without any extra weight or carrying a separate lock or cable for the wheels, and while the devices won't secure the bike itself (yes, you still need to lock the bike), they can help ensure that your wheels stay on the bike, instead of in the hands of a bike thief. According to the project's Kickstarter campaign page, there isn't just a single design for the Nutlock wrench (which might eventually end up in a thief's hands), but rather variations on the basic design, adding to the security of the design.

The project to launch the Nutlock is currently seeking $15,000 in funding, which will cover the tooling and production costs of the first run of these innovative wheel locks, and backers at the $25 level will be the first to receive a pair of the devices and a matching wrench.