Tuesday, August 8, 2017

BSNYC Product Test: My Nuts Are On Lockdown

As a world famous bike blogger and noted author of books, people occasionally offer to send me stuff to try.  (When I say "stuff" I mean equipment, not casseroles or homemade wine.)  Often I decline, mostly owning to the fact that things are pretty chaotic over at my château, and anything that crosses the threshold is liable to wind up getting flushed down the terlet by my two year-old before I have a chance to try it.  However, every so often something piques my interest, and so I say, "Ah, what the hell, send it on over."

One such item was the Abus NutFix, which may sound like a cutting-edge medical treatment you'd need to seek if botched a cyclocross remount, but is in fact a theft-proof locking skewer system:


Basically the idea is that when the bike's upright you can't get it open, but when you lie the bike down horizontally you can slide the cover off of the nut and open it up with an 8mm wrench:



Which is great as long as you don't park your bike like this:
This product appealed to me because I've been using my Surly Travelers check for a lot of my city riding these days and I'm tired of carrying around like three locks and/or taking the front wheel off:


Of course, once the box containing the Abus NutFix skewers arrived back in April I promptly set it aside and didn't get around to opening it until this very morning.

I need a larger staff.

Anyway, the first thing I did upon opening the package was try to unlock the nut by holding the skewer vertically, but try as I might I couldn't get it to work.  I must have stood there in the kitchen for about 40 minutes, tugging and twisting the thing to no avail like a monkey trying to open a combination lock.  Finally, I realized that what sets us apart from our simian siblings is the ability to operate the Internet, and so after roughly four seconds of G--gling I discovered I first had to push down on the nut and then give it a pull.

Yes, I realize all of this sounds totally obscene, but there's really no way around it.

Once I got that down and was confident I wouldn't wind up stranded and unable to fix a flat on a cold dark night on they went, and then I headed to Midtown where the bike is sitting outside as I type this:


That's about the closest I've got to a "fancy" set of wheels (they came with my Ritte Rustbucket) so it should be interesting to see of they're still there when I return.  Oh, here's how they look when they're installed:


It seems like a decent system, but of course it all hinges on having that 8mm wrench when you need it.  Naturally I've added one to my Surly's tool roll:


But inasmuch as an 8mm wrench isn't the sort of thing you're likely to find on a typical multitool it's easy to see how you might find yourself without one at a crucial juncture.

Oh, and while I was testing the NutFix I figured I'd also test that Hiplok "Z LOK:"


Yes, a reusable locking zip tie with a steel core is all that is securing my Brooks Cambium from the thieves of New York City:


Will see what happens.

Oh, and for the millionth time because it always comes up, yes, I suppose if a thief was familiar with the S&S coupler system then he or she could help themselves to half a bicycle if they were so inclined:


However, I'm willing to bet that if the bike gets stolen it's going to be an all-or-nothing scenario.

I'll keep you posted.

In other news, everybody's heard by now that Steuart and Tom Walton have bought Rapha:


Honestly I'm just surprised there are that many giant Freds in the world:

Mr Mottram said the investment would enable Rapha to accelerate its global expansion plans.

"It heralds the start of the next stage of our journey and is testament to the growth and potential that people see in Rapha and in cycling," he added.

Rival firms, including Aston Martin shareholder Investindustrial, were reported to have been interested in Rapha, which was valued at a reported £200m.

Though I'm not sure about this:

"Who was really interested in cycling back in 2001 and 2002? It was just something us weirdos did."

I dunno, 2001 and 2002 were Lance Armstrong's third and fourth Tour de France wins, and if I remember correctly the Steamroller of Fredliness had already attained unstoppable momentum--though either way there's no question that Rapha's timing was impeccable.  And while everybody's relishing the fact that the Waltons are heirs to the Walmart fortune, I think the real irony is that the quintessential roadie clothing company got bought by a couple of mountain bikers:


Brothers Steuart and Tom Walton are grandsons of Walmart founder Sam Walton, and their shared passion for mountain biking has led the Walton Family Foundation to contribute $13 million toward trails in Northwest Arkansas. Remember when you were a kid (or, like last week) and you played that game: "What would you do if you had a zillion dollars?" Well, these guys can actually answer that question. And it turns out what they'd do is create a living lab for trail advocacy.

Though the current state of their wardrobe was almost certainly a factor:


In any case, I can't help feeling a bit nostalgic, since Rapha played such an outsized role in the salad days of my blogging career.  After all, who could forget this?


I even got quoted in the article:

In an e-mail message, Bike Snob NYC said he was impressed with a “Fixed Jacket” that Rapha sent him to try. “It’s excellent,” he wrote. “It’s durable, the fit is good, and the pockets are in the right places.” The blogger added, “They’ve done a great job of not only evoking cycling history but also capturing a ‘soulful’ aesthetic that appeals to certain riders.” Still, he admitted: “As a cyclist, I understand it, but personally I sometimes find it off-putting. It’s a little rarefied for me ... I don’t want to feel like I need to be worthy of my clothes.”

Now Rapha's all growed up and fetching £200 million, and here I am riding a Surly and hoping my wheels don't get stolen.  All I'm saying is where the hell is my buyout?  I'm not asking for Walmart money, but couldn't the Tad's Steaks heirs buy me out for like fifty grand?


Here's hoping.

45 comments:

Cat 404 e-racer said...

Plodium

BamaPhred said...

I coulda been a contenda

Anonymous said...

is Tad's Steaks still around?

Anonymous said...

Does this mean $9.99 XXXL Tweety Bird emblazoned Rapha jerseys at the local Wally World?

If so, it's about damn time.

Wrench Monkey said...

How deep they payin'?

Axle said...

Those NutFix skewers look quite heavy, did you have to adjust your tire pressure to compensate?

dancesonpedals said...

You had me at 'The Handmaid's Tale meets Lord of the Flies".

bad boy of the south said...

That's nuts.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Top Ten Scranii!

Matt said...

Wow...those things really stick out there on that one side...next thing will be to add a rotating blade protruding from it like on the chariots in Gladiator. THAT will get some respect from the rude pedestrians walking 3 abreast in the bike path!

Anonymous said...

steel zip tie what could go wrong

wle said...

so now you have "slow release" wheels whether someone steals it or not...

wle said...

8mm really is an odd size, in a socket set, or open end wrench set, they usually leave that one out of the cheap sets.

wle said...

it's about as common as 2.5mm

Rob Bass said...

8mm and 5/16" wrenches are so close in size to be nearly identical. That's a pretty common size wrench to have flying around in a junk drawer.

BikeSnobNYC said...

wle,

Yeah, I happened to have one but I suppose the smart thing to do would be to just keep a small adjustable wrench in your bike toolkit.

--Wildcat Etc.

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

Let's hope the thieves left their adjustable wrenches home today.

Frickus Rungus said...

Leroy's Dog and/or Leroy,

Quick! Go grab the front half of snob's traveler's check and hide it somewhere in central park. Then start sending him clues about it location through the comments.

bieks said...

Just last week, I was thinking the world needs more Rapha.

bieks said...

The hidden message in that ABUS video, is that he did have NutFix, but due to poor locking technique, it was super easy for the thief to get his bike horizontal.

Dave L said...

As a commuting cyclist who regularly locks up in a downtown area, I've been using Pitlock skewers to lock my wheels to my bike for over ten years without a problem. Peter White imports them from Germany. They have a wide variety of key nut and socket sets, so the chance of someone having a match is pretty small. You carry one steel socket and any one of your allen keys,which you pass through two holes the sides of the socket to turn it, or you can use a wrench,15mm I think. The locking skewers look pretty minimal on the bike, too; smaller than the one reviewed today. The set comes with one for the seat, too, so all you need is the smallest U lock to lock any part of the frame to a secure object.

An idea that I am interested in is a keyed 2-part frame, so you just open the frame, put it around an object, and lock it back together. Then you wouldn't need the U lock.


1904 Cadardi said...

"smart thing to do"

Since when have cyclists ever done the smart thing?

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Very exciting stuff... I saw Snobby's brown chariot locked up outside a NYC venue I frequent. I could tell from the rack, pink granite in the curb and type of rack zacktly where it was. Spot mugging as they say in the fishing biz.

I couldn't wait around for an autograph but I did do a lap around the park to look and came across a guy with a nice touring bike with windowed lugs and cantilevered brakes. It was quite capably geared and hispressurehewasrunnin seemed perfect for the micro-gravelled pathway.

Good to see (evidence of) you in my work naybahood Sr. Snob!

Have a great ride back, or just put it in the trunk of the train Metro North owns.

vsk

BikeSnobNYC said...

Dave L,

I am too lazy to look up the Kickstarter or similar for a bike that basically wrapped around a pole in lieu of a lock.

Thanks for the Pitlock info, I have heard of it. The Pinhead system has also been around forever, and I'm sure there are others. (When I was a messenger I used to just lock my skewers closed with hose clamps.) I'm not thrilled with the fact that you need to carry a wrench around with the NutFix system, but I guess it's not a big deal.

There's a NutFix for the seat too, but they didn't send me one.

--Wildcat Etc.

Anonymous said...

Adjustable wrench - Or what the techs at my place of wage servitude call a metric wrench

Anonymous said...

I purchased a similar product called Nutlock from kickstarter, which I think was mentioned here? got an email a few months back that the skewer was snapping in rare instances and I should remove and stop using immediately. Not ideal. I'm still using as I'm too lazy to remove. maybe I will try the abus gravity lock thing. Or just wait for my until it snaps off while I'm riding at speed in traffic.

JLRB said...

1. - if the Nutfux is gravity operated, would a magnet trick it into thinking it is on its side?

b. - Did you just out your wife? Now everyone is going to send her their lame bike book/coming of age book concepts ...

II. I wonder whether the Rapha deal will result in reduced quality, but I'm to lazy to read the details of the deal

7. This captcha thing is getting overly annoying

Freddy Murcks said...

Don't sell yourself short, Snob. I am sure that Bike Snobulations NYC, LLC is worth at least 200 million Vietnamese Dong. (That's a lot of Dong! Sadly that'll only get you about $9000 USD.)

leroy said...

Dear Mr. Frickus Rungus -

When we saw the twitter photo of the fixie near where Mr. BSNYC locked up, my dog was tempted to run over, drape a BSNYC cap on the fixie's handlebars, and take a photo for blackmail purposes.

But then I reminded him that Mr. BSNYC would only try to buy his silence with a Tad's Steak and they are a tad gristly.

Also, we have work to do today.

Holy Roller said...

Jesus is my bike lock.

Holy Roller said...

The Sinner might get my ride but they also get a one way ticket to Hell.

1904 Cadardi said...

@Freddy,

200 million Dong? That's like 100 million double-dongs!

Old Timer said...

Huh? What?

Die free said...

Oh you are back. Sweet, now so am I.

Dooth said...

Tad's Steaks is now Tad's Vegan.

dancesonpedals said...

You don't need a wrench with Zefal ant-theft skewers. The quick release can't be flipped if the bike is vertical. Incredibly annoying.

Some guy from upstate said...

Huh. I think that tube-map jersey is pretty sweet ...

bad boy of the south said...

You passed through the GC in da Bronx in that neighborhood and lived? Back in the olden days(1970s through...)it was rough.We used to visit my grandmother near there and moved her out after she was mugged in her apartment building.Glad ya survived.

Not-Really-A-Bad-Boy-At-All-But-Too-Much-To-Drink-And-Low-Self-Esteem said...

Scranus

JLRB said...

Also, how does the Nutfux work in Australia, where everything is upside down?

bad boy of the south said...

!dnim reven

Dizzy said...

If you were to pick the bike up and spin it around you fast enough, then the centrifugal force would act like gravity, and overcome the Nutfix's anti-theft properties, allowing the nuts to be loosened even though the bike is still in a vertical position.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Tad's. Would that we have the bike lanes and plazas of NYC today with the, uh, atmosphere or at least prices of NYC back then...

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شركة مكافحة حشرات بالرياض
شركة تسليك مجارى بصفوى وعنك

JuanOffhue said...

The TSA confiscated my 8mm Allen wrench because it could be used as a weapon. Or so they said.