I lived fairly frugally while unemployed. This is no play for pity — I still had a comfy life. But I wasn’t buying much stuff. Pretty much any purchase that could be put off was put off.
Its square links are more difficult to get a cutting angle on than rounded links. A threefoot version, with built-in padlock, costs about $95. The saleslady at Eddie’s Bike Shop, on Amsterdam Avenue, calls it an “overnight” lock. “Nobody’s figured out how to break it,” she says. “Yet.”
The Quadrachain is as secure as they come, but it’s heavy: almost 7 lbs. That’s enough to really feel the difference while riding. So I was looking forward to the day when I could justify getting a nice lightweight, but secure, Kryptonite Evolution 2000. After I accepted my new job, it’s the first thing I went out and bought.
If you’re at all connected to the bike world, or if you read a lot of blogs, you know where this is going. It turns out that a Bic pen is, well, kryponite to Kryptonite cylindrical locks. That includes the lock on my brand new Evolution 2000.
So I’m back to the Quadrachain. If you’re looking to replace your Evolution 2000 (and you should be) here’s a low-cost alternative.
Here’s the recipe for my home-made case hardened chain with shielded pad-lock:
Find a good hardware store or metal yard and ask for some Cambell Security Chain. This stuff is 3/8” thick made from Boron-alloyed steel and is Case-Hardened. It is almost impossible to cut—it destroys the jaws of bolt-cutters. You can get through it with a torch or diamond grinder but it takes a while. Ask the hardware store clerks if they can cut it a little shorter for you—if they say YES, then this is not the right chain. You want them to say “NO, we just sell it in pre-cut lengths.” It sells for $5.00 to $7.50 a foot, depending on whether you buy it from a steel yard or a hardware store.
You will want two to three feet. Two feet is a snug fit through the frame and wheels around a parking meter. This is the same size as a medium-sized U-Lock. Two and a half feet is perfect. Three feet leaves you a little room to manoeuvre with so you can lock to big light poles or lock-up a friend’s bike with yours when you’re out on a date—this is a very gallant touch.
Slip your chain into something to protect the finish of your frame. I stretched one chain into a snug innertube. While it was a lot of work it did only take 15 minutes and I had plenty of useless innertubes around. It would have taken longer to pedal to a hardware store to get something else to put it in. Heat-shrink tubing also works great to house the chain. You could sew a cover from some tough cloth you have around or wrap the chain in duct tape. Whatever you do will work.
Now get a lock. There are a lot to choose from. I suggest a lock with a case-hardened and shielded hasp. Abus, American and Master make these and they are all excellent locks. The ABUS DISCUS 40 sells for around $17.00. The AMERICAN 5300 is the toughest and heaviest and sells for around $30.00. I chose the MASTER LOCK 37-D because it is used by the military for high-security applications. It costs less than $11.99 and it looks mean and ugly.
Total weight for a three foot length of chain and Master lock is 4 7/8 lbs, total cost $33.00
Kryptonite promises to announce the details of a replacement program this Wednesday.