June 14, 2005

    I bought a Bell U-lock for my son's bike. He then proceeded to lose both keys for it. Any information on how to get a replacement key or how to get the lock off? The bike is currently locked onto a bike rack.

Kristy H.

    I regret to tell you that Bell Sports doesn’t replace keys for its locks, as they come from China. You can imagine the postage.
    Any competent locksmith can crack that lock, as can a half-competent bike thief. The former will cost you more than the lock. You won’t easily find the latter, unless you have—well, I don’t wanna know.
    Another option: Whoever owns the bike-parking rack probably has someone who regularly frees abandoned bikes from the racks. If the rack resides on private property, contact the building manager. For public racks contact the city’s bike program office (if you need help with that, lemme know) and ask if they’ll free your son’s bike—as they’ll probably do it at some point anyway.
    Now you know one reason I recommend buying a decent bike lock. Aside from the fact that such locks make thieves work harder, a decent lock comes with a key replacement guarantee. You’ll pay more than you will for a big box store lock, but, as you’ve learned, you often end up paying anyway. To replace your son’s lock I suggest you go to a local bike shop and get their cheapest U lock whose manufacturer provides spare keys.
    For more tips on thief-proof locking see the "Avoiding Rip-Off" chapter in my book, Urban Bikers’ Tricks & Tips.

Mr Bike

September 14, 2011

    We have found a Yamaha motorcycle key blank can be impressioned to make a replacement key for a Bell U lock. Just a FYI; a GOOD local locksmith could be able to do this.

Clyde’s Lock & Safe
Salem, Oregon

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