Pinhead security skewers: another tool in the bike theft deterrent toolkit
Quick release wheels are great for a speedy puncture repair or for whipping your wheels off for quick bike disassemble, but it can be a pain to have to lock your frame AND your wheels up every time you need to park your bike somewhere; particularly if you're an urban rider using your bike day in day out.
Locking your bike up in a public place can become a right pain in the a** when you have to lock the frame AND wheels every time (Image: 28a.HerndonMonroeParkRide.HerndonVA.16November2013 by Elvert Barnes is licensed under CC BY 2.0)
Luckily, there is an alternative. Security skewers (such as those made by Pinhead) are a great solution for urban riders looking to make their bike more secure without making it really tricky to get the wheel in and out of the frame when necessary. Security skewers replace your existing quick release skewers and can only be undone with a special key, meaning you can prevent opportunist wheel thievery without having to physically lock through your wheels each time you park your bike. When you do need to take your wheels out, simply undo the skewers with the key and, a few seconds later, voilà - the wheel is undone and ready to remove from the frame.
Getting the wheel out for a roadside repair is nearly as easy with security skewers as with a quick release (Image: Sjoerd Lammers street photography by Sjoerd Lammers street photography is licensed under CC BY 2.0)
As well as saving time every time you lock your bike up, using security skewers has other related benefits. You should be able to use a shorter (and therefore lighter) lock for locking up, as you'll no longer need to lock through your wheels as well as the bike's frame, or you may be able to slim down from two locks to one. One of the things I've really appreciated about having security skewers fitted to my bike is that when I lock it up I can avoid touching the really dirty bits of the bike (I find it quite easy to lock through just the frame without getting grubby, but find it much harder to avoid the grub if I'm also having to loop a lock around the wheels too). This has been great at times where I'm going to a meeting and want to arrive ready to shake someone's hand, without having to worry about finding the bathrooms to wash my hands first! It is also much less of a struggle to get a lock around just the frame of the bike rather than around the wheels too, especially if the bike rack you're using is quite busy. There’s also no risk that some sick person will remove your quick release skewers while your bike is locked up, which could lead to all sorts of trouble...bonus!
So why Pinhead? There are alternatives out there, but Pinhead are the market leaders in bike component security and their skewers have a completely unique key, which makes them super secure. They have really good after sales support and you can also get other security bolts matched to your security key, or get a replacement key if your original goes astray. Pinhead also make a seatpost clamp bolt and a headset cap bolt (available in their three and four pack security sets - see below) - the seatpost clamp bolt is definitely a good idea if you have a quick release seatpost, as otherwise somebody can just lift your seatpost out of the frame in seconds, and the headset cap bolt is a good idea if you’re parking your bike in the kind of location where you think somebody might get their tools out to strip bits off your bike (although it won't protect everything it does stop the removal of the stem and fork).
All in all, I really can't sing the praises of security skewers enough - I think they’re a great invention and I would never be without them on any bike with quick release wheels which I regularly have to lock up.
Pinhead security skewers