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Pinhead Lock Review

Pinhead Lock Review

Welcome to our Pinhead Lock Review.  At Interbike a few years back we were introduced to a very cool company called Pinhead ( who make really cool products to help secure your bike.  I was immediately fascinated with their lock design since it doesn’t use a traditional key.

Pinhead Locks city-lock-ultimate-pack

Pinhead Locks History

Pinhead was founded in 1997 to make better more enjoyable locks.  The company operates out of Edmonton, AB Canada and distributes their locks to over 20 countries.  Their mission is to improve cycling security and safety with high-quality locks that protect the bike and provide a safer ride.


Pinhead Lock Review

Let’s face it getting your bike stolen is no laughing matter.  Since being in Austin, I have had one bike stolen and have friends who have also had their rides stolen.  In many cases, bikes were left unattended with simple cable locks as the only security.  My bike had one of those big chain locks but still fell prey to a thief.  A couple of my friends had their bikes stolen literally from under their noses as they were walking to them.

It’s just one big hassle having to file a police report, call your insurance company (Hopefully if you have renters or home insurance) and waiting a few weeks to get money to replace your bike.  For many people, their bikes have a certain sentimental value that really can’t be replaced.  The other aspect of course is you feel violated that some punk took something that belonged to you.  All in all not fun.

How To Help Avoid Bike Theft

Pinhead has created a whole ecosystem for bike security including making locking skewers, headset locks, seat locks, a u-lock and an oval lock they call the city lock.  The really cool trick is all these locking devices can be opened with single Pinhead key.

Pinhead Locks keys

When I go for a run around Austin, I will sometimes venture up near the University Of Texas campus.  On these runs, I will often pass bike racks and see an occasional frame missing both wheels and the seat.  The frames always appear properly locked, but everything else was fair game to a thief.  When it comes to theft, bike thieves love quick release skewers and seat posts, especially wheels, since wheelsets can run in the hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

Bike Wheels and Seatpost Stolen

When a thief sees a bike all decked out in Pinhead locks, they may think twice and move along.  Realistically a bike thief is going to have a really hard time figuring out what to do with Pinhead’s lockable skewers and seat post locks.  From my estimation, most bike thieves, especially ones who are looking for a crime of opportunity, aren’t going to have the right tools to really deal with them.

Pinhead Wheel and Seatpost Locking Skewers

Pinhead sells wheel locking skewers for both quick release and thru axle bikes as well as seat post locks, which help prevent wheel and saddle theft.  Now since the skewers aren’t truly locked, a thief could use a metal hole punch and hammer and slowly unscrew the locking mechanism.  That type of attack, however, will take a lot of time and effort just for one wheel or saddle.  The other downside, of course, is it makes a lot of noise as they hammer and potentially draw a lot of unwanted attention.  Now imagine the whole bike is decked out with Pinhead locks and most thieves will move on to easier targets.

Pinhead wheel-locks

Earlier versions of the pinhead wheel locks could be defeated with a Gator Socket (3/8 inch drive and a 3/8 inch drive ratchet), available at most hardware stores.  The steel pins move over and around whatever they are being pressed on and form a tight grip that they can use to turn.

Gator Socket Gator Grips

After the Gator socket attack was discovered, Pinhead came out with Pog security washers to prevent this from happening.  These washers are a free upgrade for any previous Pinhead customers who have the older non-pog locking mechanism.  Currently, this new upgrade is only available for quick-release wheels.  Until Pinhead has a fix for their thru axle wheel security, they could be prone to this type of attack.


The Pinhead seat post and headset locks are recessed with a metal ring around them, which I believe thwarts a Gator socket type attack.

Pinhead seatpost and headset locks

Pinhead Key Registration

Pinhead provides key registration should you lose your keys and need replacements.  Pinhead locks use a special key. Each key is engraved with a 9-digit code. It is important that you keep a record of your key code so the key can be replaced if lost.

Bottom Line

Pinhead Lock Review | Bottom Line

Pinhead gets major kudos for designing and implementing a whole array of bike security features.  With prices starting at $59.99 and going to $159.99, there are a lot of options for people to choose from.  We absolutely love how the key mechanism works and makes it rather fun just to play around with it.

As an added bonus, each Pinhead key also comes equipped with a bottle opener, should the need arise.

Are there any downsides?  Replacing any quick release skewers with security skewers does come with a cost and that is removal time and having to bring or use the Pinhead key.   I am not quite certain I would want to add Pinheads locking wheel skewers to my road bike simply because I remove both the front and rear wheel a lot when using my indoor direct drive trainer.

For any anyone who is a regular commuter and leaves their bike unattended for any length of time, having a more secure bike definitely has its benefits and probably outweighs the extra time needed for wheel removal.

Checkout Pinhead ( and their entire line of bike security and safety products.

About The Author

Tom Crandall

Tom has been writing about photography, cycling, running and fitness since 1988, covering everything from the product reviews to the latest in fitness trends. Tom is the Editor-in-chief of,,,, and a few other publications, he began racing in college while getting an Information Resource Management degree at George Mason University. Based in the photography and cycling-crazed city of Austin, Texas, with his wife Kathleen and pug Olaf, Tom enjoys running, walking or riding most every day.

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