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Street Cuffs – SNAP!

by j j

 

Disclaimer:
As a product reviewer for Commute By Bike, I am providing my unbiased opinion of any products provided to us by any company. I do not posses any type of relationship with the products company or parent companies. Companies that send in their goods to be reviewed do not compensate me in any way.

Product: Master Lock Street Cuffs (1-Link)
Cost: I’ve found from $49.00 – $90.00
Weight: 2 lbs. 14 oz.
Here’s what the basic advertisement says:
  • Like handcuffs, but for your bike, these cuffs are virtually impossible to cut because they fit snugly, leaving no room for pry bars.
  • Ratchet locking design allows you to get a snug fit around any size bike tube,
    plus lets you connect to fixed objects with a variety of shapes
  • The link that connects the two cuffs has a pivoting action that denies a fixed anchor point,
    preventing the use of leverage
Here’s what I say:

When I went to test the ‘hardness’ of the lock, I was totally unprepared for the ease at which it would break. I took it into my yard and set up my video camera. Before I filmed, I needed to set up the lock and bike, and just get a feel for how I would proceed. I slipped one cuff over a fence post, clasped the other end to a frame of a junk bike. I lifted the frame and played with it for about 30 seconds. I was able to line up the ‘pivoting’ link so that when pressure was applied, it did not pivot. Just when I found that sweet spot where the frame acted like a crow bar, I barely pushed on it and SNAP! It broke! Crap! I didn’t get it on tape. Dangit too, because I really liked the way the lock looked and wanted to take it on my commutes!

 

OK – I know ANY lock is ultimately defeatable. But with NO tools and absolutely NO experience, 30 seconds is all I needed to break the cuffs in half, and did NO damage to the bike. If I really wanted to be fast, with only an adjustable wrench the pivoting link could be held at the right angle to allow it to be broken almost as fast as you can lift the bike and push it back down. I know my Kryptonite chain or my Master Lock Cable would make a pretzel out of a frame before it would break away like the cuffs did.
These cuffs may have been defective. Unfortunately, I only had this one set to test. At the spot where it broke, the metal looks very porous with microscopic holes like pot metal. It does have a chrome veneer, but that wasn’t enough. I pried the plastic sheath off of one of the cuffs to reveal the broken part more clearly. It’s exactly 1/4″ in diameter. Being high carbon, or porous, it has absolutely NO flexibility. In my pictures you can see the white or grayish circle, that’s the little rod that broke. It connects the link to the cuff.

 

I really hate it the lock broke that easy. I swear I can break anything given enough time and resources, but that was not my plan. I just wanted to be sure a casual thief could not make away with my bike. I also really liked the concept of the cuff design; in some ways it does seem like a better idea than a u-lock or chain. I guess I’ll never know.

 

As it is, I can’t recommend this lock.
 
Burley nomad 229

16 Responses to “Street Cuffs – SNAP!”

  1. Nick James says:

    I was curious about those. It’s an interesting design, too bad it fails at its primary function. Better to find out like this than the way poor James Sharp did. I wonder if this might be more effective at locking a wheel to a frame than a frame to a stationary object…

  2. RL Policar says:

    Whoa…I didn’t see that coming. When we had the lock here in Socal, I secured some of my bikes with it in some of the worst neighborhoods and never had a problem. I’m just glad that a thief wasn’t smart enough to bust it. Must have been that Ga. air…..jk.

    Thanks JJ for exposing the truth about the Cuffs.

  3. [...] This might be a great alternative to the [...]

  4. Moe says:

    Man, that sucks!

  5. RL Policar says:

    I think JJ broke it with his bare hands. Lord knows being off the bike for any amount of time builds up frustration. :)

  6. jj says:

    You guys are too funny… Anyway, Nick, I’m glad you got something out of it – that’s why we suffer and toil through long hours of testing all this cool bike stuff! btw – I really like your music – MeowMix, Detrimental Airlines, Rad Racer, are my favorites. Hope you don’t mind, I pirated them. I’m burning them to CD and giving them away. :-)
    http://www.robotikon.com/

  7. Nick James says:

    Glad you like ‘em, JJ. By all means, download and distribute them!

  8. Priscilla says:

    Dang JJ… time to lay off the protein shakes or somethin…

  9. Al says:

    Appreciate the review…well done

  10. Steve mccleave says:

    Hi all, Well i have a set of these cuffs, I was interested to know whether it was a one off faulty set that broke,
    I leaned the cuffs against a wall with them at the point where the chain link is rigid, and gave them a sharp tap with the sole of my foot, They broke easily, They are one of the most expensive bicycle locks on the market, It just shows what a bunch of lemons we are allowing all this cheap and sometimes dangerous shit coming into the country from all these foreigners.

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  12. Concerned Consumer says:

    I also replicated this failure on a pair of ‘cuffs. They can easily be broken with your bare hands.

  13. [...] offering a $3500 theft guarantee to back this up. The web, though, tells another story. One blogger managed to snap the chain from the cuff with nothing more than than the bike itself..£80 ($160) in the UK, much less on [...]

  14. Joel Waxman says:

    Has anyone notified the manufacturer of this fault? Might be a good idea.

  15. Perry Taylor says:

    I’ve had 2 different variations of the Street Cuff. My first set is locked to a bus stop in Brooklyn. Both keys broke over time, and MasterLock won’t make new keys (keep that in mind). My second lock has done nothing but good. During a drunken moment, I left my bike (tricked out 2004 Giant AC Air) out in front of my local bar overnight. I came back the next day and there it was… unharmed. However, 3 bikes in the rack where stolen that night. That must say something for the lock. $80 well spent!

  16. Raiyn says:

    @ Joel
    Telling Master Crap anything is pointless. See my experience here:
    http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-67066.html

    Basically I recount my experience with not only customer service drones but the Customer Service and Product Managers over at Master Crap in regards to a second issue with the Street Cuffs

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