Wheel Locks For Bicycle Touring: Worth It?
The latest question in our email inbox asked about a ‘mystery lock’ that one UK cyclist saw a lot of European bikers using during their summer tours.
I’ve just finished a long tour and came across several European cyclists with locks fitted to their rear wheels. They weren’t skewer locks but a simple turnkey system to lock the rear wheel in place making it harder for someone to wheel away a fully loaded bike. I’d like to get hold of one for my next solo tour but I can’t find a soul in the UK who’s ever heard of them. Can you help me with the name of this product? -Keara
Keara is talking about a type of lock that’s known by at least 4 names: o-lock, ring lock, wheel lock or frame lock. They’re standard issue on every bike in the Netherlands, across much of Europe and in Japan.
The varying names all refer to the same thing: a lock that attaches to your frame. You put the key in and push down on a lever so that a metal ring slides between the spokes of your back tire, locking the bike.
We love these locks because they’re so darn convenient but of course there are advantages and disadvantages to everything.