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These little hex-shaped nubbins are a bike thief’s worst nightmare

In some areas, bike thieves circle city blocks like vultures. They swoop down on bikes left outside, giving them the once-over to see how secure they are, their tools clicking like talons. If you’ve backed the Hexlox Kickstarter campaign, then you might watch a thief poke at your bike in confusion trying to figure out how to turn the bolts for your saddle or stem.

Hexlox are a little magnetic nubbins that lock inside standard Hex or Allen bolts, blocking wrenches and making the bolt impossible to turn. Hexlox come in a variety of sizes, and open and close using a unique magnetic key. They come in a variety of sizes to fit any bolt on your bike, allowing you to “lock” things that are usually hard to secure, like your bars or even your dropout.

Other security systems usually involve replacing the bolt itself, or using some sort of cable-tie method that can be defeated by a determined thief. Hexlox don’t require swapping any parts except for quick-release skewers — but more on that later. Pick the Hexlox up with the key, put it in the bolt, give it a quarter turn, and that’s it. The bolt is locked.

Related: Keys are so 2015, but Kwikset’s keyless smart lock could be the wave of the future

Leave it on until you need to swap something. Made of 316 Stainless Steel, Hexlox are weatherproof, so they won’t rust in place. Adding Hexlox to pre-existing bolts means no worrying about thieves cannibalizing parts of your bike, and no carrying extra cables to secure your saddle or wheels.

These even let you secure your headset, stem, and bars, which is otherwise tricky to do. One older technique was like a basic concept for Hexlox: ball bearings superglued into a bolt (superglue can easily be dissolved with acetone). Obviously Hexlox can’t be flicked out of their bolt the way a determined thief could do to something that’s only glued down. Hexlox literally lock, and the key is unique, so you don’t have to worry that another Hexlox owner might turn thief on you and grab your gear.

The only catch here is that they obviously don’t work on quick release skewers (which have a lever at one end rather than an Allen wrench slot). The Hexlox Company designed a set of hex skewers that they are offering as part of some reward bundles, but if you already have a set of hex skewers for your wheels and saddle, they’ll work just fine.

Hexlox smashed its modest funding goal of a little over $22,300, so people must see the benefit: They’re unobtrusive, cost-conscious security for your bike, and revolutionary as far as fork and headset security is concerned. The campaign had a $100,000 stretch goal for colored caps for the wheel skewers, so they will hopefully be added to options for everyone else after June 2016 when they ship to backers.

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