It’s a horrible feeling. You return to your beloved bike after locking it up carefully, and the wheels have been stolen. Or the saddle has gone. At first your mind cannot compute this loss and you start to look around, hoping to see the parts somewhere near. But they are gone. There is a way to prevent this: meet the innovative new German bike part protection system called Hexlox.
Thieves are also mechanics
Bike thieves, unfortunately, are often good mechanics. The bikes they steal are often totally dismantled and rebuilt into unrecognisable machines for re-sale on the second-hand market. All racing bike thieves will almost certainly have a set of Allen keys with them. And that, along with the fact that quick-release wheel nuts are extremely vulnerable, may have inspired this very clever security solution for people who use their bikes in places where bike component theft is a problem.
Hexlox is a system that uses magnetic nuts (Hexlox) to jam Allen key bolts and make it impossible for thieves to use their tools on your valuable wheels/seatpost/handlebars. We put it to the test.
Hexlox are very small and very magnetic
The first thing you notice about the system, is that the Hexlox are very small, and very magnetic. They are like little jumping jewels. You have to keep an eye on them, and they can stick to things unexpectedly. This takes some getting used to at first. The three Hexlox we tried were for inserting into 6mm, 5mm, or 4mm steel Allen bolt heads (a 10mm version is coming soon).
Practice makes perfect
Although the system is very smart, we would advise you have a practice first, to get to grips with the fiddliness of the Hexlox nut. The key is magnetic and grabs the nut. But you must not push the nut too hard onto the key, as the Hexlox will come out again when you try to place it. So, soft push on the key to insert; hard push with the key to pull the Hexlox out again and “unlock” the Allen nut.
€2,000 wheels safe at last!
Some pairs of wheels these days can cost €2,000 a pair. Think Zipps, think Lightweights, think time trial wheels. Unfortunately, thieves are very aware that these are great to steal and re-sell. Hexlox supplies special wheel skewers (Hexskewers) which replace your quick-releases, and which, together with the Hexlox, will make it impossible for thieves to remove them without literally chopping bits off your bike.
So, once you have mastered the simple click system for the Hexlox, time to put it to the test in the workshop. It’s super-easy: you literally switch out your quick-release and replace it with a Hexskewer, click in the Hexlox, and there you go. Secure.
Good for fixies and more too!
But what about my fixie wheels? I hear you ask. No problem there. Hexlox also have the Hexnut, which replaces a standard wheel nut with an unremovable security nut. (Yes, all bike part thieves also carry a 15mm spanner with them.) This isn’t just for fixies, by the way, but any bike wheel that is not secured with a quick-release will be protected with a Hexnut. Think cargo bikes, e-bikes, trailers and so on.
This is a very clever security system, which can really help you keep your bike in one piece when travelling, or living, in places where bike component theft is a problem. It can also buy you peace of mind as well—you may be travelling and not really know what the situation is when you lock up your machine. It is super-innovative, and once you have registered your unique key number, you can order new parts that your key will be able to unlock.
The only potential disadvantage we can see are the possibility of losing a tiny Hexlox during a roadside puncture situation. And in the long term there could be a possibility of Hexlox rusting into the end of a steel bolt. Hence the supplied plastic caps, to keep the weather out.
But this is magnetic system, so only works with steel, right? Yes, and no. If you plan to use the system on non-magnetic bolts made from aluminium, titanium or stainless steel, for example, Hexlox has a different system called Hexlox MI. Test out the bolts you wish to secure with a magnet first, before ordering. But surely you can extract the Hexlox with a magnet? Well, we tried. It certainly did not work. Interested? Find out more on the Hexlox website.