The “Unstealable” Transformer Bike

A team of Chilean engineering students have designed a bike that comes complete with detachable parts that can be re-positioned to lock the vehicle in place. They are calling it the Yerka Project and have marketed it as the world’s first unstealable bike.

The genius of it is the frame itself literally acts as the locking mechanism. This means that if a thief wanted to break the lock, they would have to break the actual bike, leaving little to be desired. This also eliminates the need to go out and purchase a standalone bicycle lock, which can be opened up relatively easily anyway.

The Yerka works by splitting the bike’s down tube in half and extending it outwards around a nearby object like a tree, a light post, or a designated bicycle rack. The saddle and seatpost is then removed and inserted into a hole that was drilled into the down tube. After that, a lock at the end is secured and the rider can walk away knowing that their bike is safe.

However, clever hackers will probably still find a way to unlock this bike. No matter how unstealable it might be, someone will figure it out. In the meantime though, it gives a nice sense of security for those hoping to deter your average bike thief from attempting to jack the bicycle.

For a good look at the design, watch the videos posted below:

 

[Thanks for the tip Mike!]

[via – Cnet]

68 thoughts on “The “Unstealable” Transformer Bike

    1. I was just going to type something along this lines. “Can’t steal the whole bike? let’s do it with the wheels, etc.”.
      Anyway i think it’s better than nothing, a creative aproach nonetheless.

      1. I like how quotes around “unstealable” are used. Not sure designing the entire bike to be “theft resistant” is the best approach from a design perspective, especially if it isn’t actually that secure (I cannot speak to how secure this is or is not at this point in time).

        1. The most “theft resistant” bicycles are the $20 junkers you get at yard sales. Scratch up the paint, cut some gashes in the seat, peel back the handlebar tape and leave it dangling, put rusty cables on it, and nobody will want to steal it. I did a 40 mile ride once with a guy, his bike looked like he pulled it out of a dumpster but he led the peloton for most of the ride.

          1. Living in a student town, I can assert that even the most rusty piece of crap gets stolen if it isn’t secured with a motorcycle-style chain lock. Which is no good to keep your saddle in place.

          2. Hate to tell you this but people will steal any bike no matter how shitty they look and/or are. And if they can’t steal it they’ll vandalize it just for fun.

            In fact it’s better to get the bike stolen – at least then it will probably get dumped somewhere and one can perhaps get it back in one piece.

    1. It isn’t even a good one! Looks like a ZE keyway or similar direct from China. The common keyway and curvature of the facing and gaudy chrome job gives away it’s low-cost origin.

      That is just the sort of lock someone opens with a bit of wire wiggling around that leads to those overinflated egos on youtube. Wait, I kinda went the irony approach with this. No intent behind it, just pointing out a singular design flaw.

  1. lol at “clever hacker”. I think a Chilean thief will easily solve the issue in a week or 2. hahahahahaha (I am Chilean by the way, you guys have to come down here to see those bastards in action to know what I’m talking about XD).

    1. Oh come on, NYC is the bike theft capital of the world. Do they name bike locks after Chile? Some bike locks come with anti-theft warranties that are valid everywhere on the planet except for NYC. I know people in NYC who pay more for the bike lock than for the bike.

  2. Unstealable my ass.

    That’s a mechanical lock on the end of that thing. Therefore, it can be picked. Possibly with the end of a BIC pen, if it’s one of those cheap rotary locks with the pins that point down the length of the lock barrel. They don’t even talk about what kind of mechanism the lock is, which is amazing considering their absolute claim.

    Also, that pivoting bar in the centre looks seriously dangerous. If that thing isn’t locked together somehow to prevent it from coming apart along the axis of the bar, that bike is going to fall apart mighty fast considering the forces you’re going to experience when going over bumpy terrain (like, over a curb or speed bump).

    Honestly, I’d rather buy a real bike with a frame that is actually welded together and a $80 lock then this thing. It looks extremely unsafe to ride and their primary marketing claim is essentially impossible to enforce.

        1. It probably wouldn’t come apart but for a comfortable ride you want a frame to be as stiff as possible. This type of frame wil always be so flexible it is uncomfortable to ride (at speeds higher than a slow walk at least)

  3. This is a clever way of storing a bike lock, but nothing even close to “unstealable”. To describe it that way is just begging for someone to say, “challenge accepted” and make the bike disappear.

  4. Cut the seatpost and replace its tube. Perfect for resale. If some slight damage is acceptable just break the seatpost out instead. That hole in the top half of the down tube looks to be a major a weak point. People use car jacks to break locks.

    1. Exactly. Hacksaw and a roll of duct tape and no problem riding off. Cut the seatpost, fold up, and duct tape the two poles together if the slider wont go up. Might as well write “Steal this bike” on the side.

  5. Here is a thought. That seat post is about 2 feet long or so. Why not cut the seat post right above the locky thing on the bottom. You are left with a 1foot 10inch seat post, which is still about 1foot longer than it needs to be to act as a seat post.

      1. That may not be as trivial as it seems due to the bottom part of the post sticking out of frame tube preventing it from being assembled correctly (if designed properly). Also the upper part may not fit its place if it is to be cut not with a saw (or kind of) but with some large cutter that would crashes the post.

    1. What’s common on college campuses is that one thief will stand on another’s shoulders and lift the locked bike up and over the post. Sometimes they are brave enough to do it in broad daylight with witnesses everywhere.

    2. Most lamp posts are some distance from the build so you would need a crane of some sort. Then that thing is why a lamppost is call a lamp post, the lamp, often place on an arm would foil your plan most likely. Lamps that aren’t power by underground wiring are power by an uninsulated wire, connecting the lamps in series.

    1. Atlanta is the place where half an inch of snow shuts down the whole city, they do not seem like clever folks.

      The best test on the planet is to lock it up in NYC close to a cluster of restaurants. Stealing a bike is the most straightforward way to bootstrap yourself into the food delivery business.

      1. They manage to get a day off over a measly half inch of snow. Seems pretty clever to me.

        But yeah, I think the NYC restuarant test could be a good idea. I mean, the challenge to steal a bike is pretty easy. The challenge to make the bike unstealable is the hard part. Maybe some hackers need to get together and start planting bikes around the city, and video tape the results of thieves attempts on them. Real life feedback.

  6. In NYC if you want to keep your bike, you bring it into your apartment and lock it to the radiator (yes you have to keep it locked up inside your apartment!). This doesn’t look like it will lock to a radiator.

  7. I see this ending up with neither owner nor the thief having a functional bike, because there’s nothing keeping a thief from vandalizing what they can’t steal. A pocket size tubing cutter can be devised. Using that wouldn’t be any more brazen than other theft or vandalism procedures.

  8. How is this in anyway more theft resistant than any other bike with a lock. It’s not like they’re removing anything and taking it with them, it’s still a full bike with probably a shitty lock to boot.

    1. I think they consider it “unstealable” because provided the lock cant be picked, you’d have to destroy the bike to actually steal it.

      Of course that’s assuming the lock really is secure and can’t by bypassed some way. And ignoring the fact that some people would steal it anyway and just try to repair it later or sell the other parts.

  9. Pack the frame with nine volt batteries, add a small tesla coil to the metal frame, as long as you don’t leave it for days on end nobody will want to take it. Perhaps you could even charge it by wirelessly drawing power from the lamp post I can think of a few around here that tick and hum. An experiment for another day when I’m not so tired perhaps.
    Some how I doubt it would be legal here. (like the car protected with flame throwers)

    1. High voltage can be easy to generate.

      Ditch the Tesla coil and replace it with a humble relay. Wire it up so the 9V goes via the NC contacts, thru the coil and back. Coil charges, relay clicks, breaks circuit, repeats.

      While it’s sitting there buzzing, grab hold of the coil pins.

      Now you know what the diode is for!

  10. Anyone that reads Hackaday knows nothing is “unstealable”. Half the people here have the skills to pick the lock. A month after these bikes are released there will likely be 3d printable skeleton keys just because they issued a challenge.

  11. funny most bikes are salvaged for parts here. and those are still freely available on this.

    Brakes, bolts, …

    Funny unstealable, more annoying when you return and a few parts are missing and you have to replace them.

  12. I suspect the real hack here is a bunch of advertisers using the “unsinkable Titanic!” fallacy to get more coverage and discussion for an unexceptional product than it reasonably deserves.

    I don’t have anything to add to a bike security discussion beyond having a plan for where you’re going to lock your bike out of sight of all passersby is inconvenient, but helpful. When a thief can’t spot the opportunity, they can’t act upon it.

  13. That pole isn’t safe, it’s just bolted to the ground.
    Where I live this bike is easy to take, for the ones taking bikes, because they use a truck, with a crane, taking all the bikes they find, and melts them down for the metal value, and nothing else. (And sometimes they even take the pole)
    So, the lock here is just useless. (Like any other lock)

  14. Better idea: Hide a taser circuit in the frame and make it touch activated. Have a hidden camera near by and watch the fun. Optional. install a cell module to alert the police with video clip that the guy laying next to your bike foaming at the mouth tried to steal it.

    I guess i’m a lil’ grumpy this morning :-)

  15. Nostalgia alert:
    When I was a kid we didn’t have a car but had a tandem with a sidecar. M&D took me to Blackpool for the day and locked it safely to some steel railings. When we came back it was leaning against the wall and someone had nicked the railings.

  16. Wow, I’d rather just use a bike lock, or anyting other, than this.
    It looks like this new type of lock build-in, would just make it even easier to still — the thief wouldn’t even need to use a bolt cutter or be really strong at that.

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