Author Topic: Hexlox - component security  (Read 933 times)

Hexlox - component security
« on: August 01, 2017, 12:47:01 am »
Hexlox (https://hexlox.com/) are the new take on the old trick of supergluing a ball bearing into your allen bolt sockets to prevent thieves from walking off with your saddle or dynohub wheel.

Instead of the ball bearing, you get a hexagonal insert with a magnet on the back that fills the allen socket, which can be removed using a small steel key that couples to the insert better than the allen socket does. Inserts are available in 4, 5 or 6 mm, with 8 & 10 promised for later.

The coupling between the key and the hex insert depends on an exact match between the shape of the key and the matching part of the insert, so if you use the wrong key, it won't overcome the attraction between insert and allen socket. The keys come with a 3-digit code, so you can order extra inserts or a spare key later. I get the impression that the 3 digits code the end diameter of the key, the angle of the central cone, and the width of the flat land between the cone and the side, and that a mismatch of more than about 0.02 mm gives a coupling failure. No idea whether that translates to a full 999 different keys though.
The shape of the outer side of the insert is arranged to make it very difficult to get a good enough grip for tweezer-type removal, or to get good enough magnetic coupling between an external magnet and the insert for magnetic removal.

Depending on magnetism means they won't work on bolts made from aluminium, titanium, or some types of stainless.
Hexlox sell glue-in(?) magnetic inserts for these, as an alternative to simply swapping the bolt, as well as suitable allen key wheel skewers, seatpost binder bolts, and non-caphead bolts to deter mole grip use.

The key is a cylinder of approx 15 mm x 3mm, on a small keyring, weighing about 2.5 g. A 5 mm insert weighs something like 1 g.
You could even save weight if you swap out standard QRs.

Cost is €12 per insert, or key. That's middling costly, but no more so than alternatives such as Pitlock or Pinhead.

Total cost depends what you want to protect.
A wheel is one insert, plus €10 for a suitable allen key skewer if you don't already have one (a SON skewer is suitably magnetic, but the adjuster nut could probably be removed with pliers or mole grips)
A saddle is one insert for the seatpost binder, plus one insert (probably) for the saddle clamp.
Stem and forks is one insert (either star nut, quill wedge bolt, or stem clamp)
Handlebars is two inserts (probably)
Total of about 7, plus a key = €96, or €124 if you also get 2 QRs and a binder.
I also got an insert for my Edelux II.

Use is pretty much as quick and easy as the website videos would imply. It's still worth having a play before you put them on the bike though, if only to make sure you were sent the right key before you make your wheel unremovable. I found that some allen bolt heads were a more secure fit than others, and that the more secure required care to pull straight, holding the ring rather than the key itself.
I'd recommend putting the insert back in place once the allen bolt is loose enough for fingers - the inserts would be hard to find if dropped.

The ball bearing is cheaper, but will you be carrying a bottle of nail varnish remover (acetone) to dissolve the superglue if you want to fix a puncture or adjust your saddle away from home?

Re: Hexlox - component security
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2017, 01:43:47 pm »


https://hexlox.com/pages/faq

Quote
Can't I get the Hexlox out with a BIG Magnet?
NO. No Chance. We have played with the polarity and shielded the magnet.
The Hexlox is held into your Bolt via a magnet.... But the key does NOT use magnetic force to remove the Hexlox, there is a mechanical bond.

It seems the wrong key won't turn and fit into the Hexloc.

Quote
HOW SAFE WILL MY COMPONENTS BE UNDER HEXLOX PROTECTION?
There is no lock in the world which is 100% safe. However, since 2011 our engineers have studied component locks, and the tools and techniques used by thieves to penetrate them. HEXLOX underwent rigorous tests against the following - needle nose pliers, gator/vise grip, hammer, liquid ice, hacksaw, screw driver etc. For us it was important that the HEXLOX would match the security level we would like to have on our own bikes. To confirm this and to test it against lock picking tools we went to the Berlin Lock Picking Society where one of the members tried to open it without success.

Additional testing have also been done against high powered magnets, medical tweezers, tooth picks. We are extremely confident that a thief, on seeing HEXLOX, will keep walking, so you can keep riding.

Maybe a tool with a small hook tip can get a grip and pull out the Hexlox? Or maybe fill it with glue and glue a stick to it.

As they say, the main point of any lock is deterrence, making the thief move onto the next bike.

Re: Hexlox - component security
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2017, 05:14:49 pm »
I'd guess the Berlin lock-picking club tried most varieties of getting a grip on the inserts with pointy objects etc, and I heard that glue has been thought of and countered by a coating.
At €12 a pop, I'm not inclined to try anything that may be destructive myself.