June 19, 2014

Felix Ure—HENCHman

Another week, another bike lock Kickstarter campaign. In this one, British twenty-something Felix Ure appeals for help funding the development of what he claims will be "the most cut-proof and easily transportable bicycle lock ever made." It's called the HENCH.

HENCH consists of two case-hardened steel chains first surrounded by Kevlar fibers and then encased in nylon. It can be velcroed around a bike's top tube when not in use.

In the video included on Ure's Kickstarter page, he tests a prototype HENCH's resistance to attack by (1) hacksaw, (2) Dremel rotary tool, (3) a drill and cutting disc combination, (4 & 5) two sizes of bolt cutters, and (6) an angle grinder. See for yourself:

Now when, around 4:34, Ure pulls aside the milkweed fluff (a.k.a. Kevlar) spilling out of the lock's fabric casing, he reveals an almost unscathed chain. Great, but what's to prevent a would-be thief from similarly removing the Kevlar and taking an unobstructed (and perhaps successful) go at the chain itself? Nothing, by the looks of it, which may be why Ure lists "perfect the arrangement of Kevlar inside the lock to best resist tools" as the first stage of the to-be-funded project.

Also, as Ure told the Kent and Sussex Courier, "It’s really important that a bike lock can last long enough for a thief to be deterred." No lock is impregnable, after all, so the goal is to make a lock hard enough to compromise that a would-be thief will either give up trying to break it or be at it so long that he's caught in the act.

Whatever you think of the Kevlar, Ure's got youthful optimism going for him. And he's so earnest: "I will do whatever it takes to perfect the design and see it become a reality," he promises could-be funders on his Kickstarter site, "because I genuinely believe this is the answer to the worldwide problem of bicycle theft."

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