Most bicycle owners still use a D-shaped bike lock just like the famous Kryptonite lock that came out way back in the 1970s. It offers pretty decent protection against casual bike thieves, but while car and home security have gone high-tech over the years, bike locks are usually stuck in some past decade. A company called Skylock wants to change that with a lock that adds a lot of hidden tech to give you a fighting chance of keeping your ride from being ripped off.
At first glance the Skylock looks like any ordinary D-shaped bike lock, so a potential thief is unlikely to realize that he's facing something more challenging. The solar panel wrapped around the locking bar may be a tip off, but hey, most thieves aren't experts on alternate energy systems. The solar cells keep the internal electronics powered, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth links.
The Bluetooth works with a phone app to give you keyless unlocking just like a fancy luxury car, so you don't need to fumble for your lock key before you can ride off. There is also a keypad on the side of the lock that can work as a backup, just in case your phone's battery dies.
To stop thieves, motion detectors inside the lock can determine when someone is messing with your bike, and will send you a text to warn you. This however requires that the lock be connected to a nearby Wi-Fi hotspot, which may be difficult in some areas. Perhaps here in NYC everyone with these locks will soon be putting their bikes next to old phone booths.
The built in motion detector also allows the lock to work kind of like OnStar's accident notification system, and can send out a distress call if it thinks you've been in an accident and don't respond to a message. Of course this also requires a Wi-Fi hookup, so it won't work when you're out mountain biking in the wilderness.
The Skylock also allows you to share your bike with friends, letting you turn access to the lock on and off remotely from your phone. This could be useful if you want your kid to go out and get some exercise, but don't want them sneaking out of the house unannounced at two in the morning.
While a lock like the Skylock is still vulnerable to brute force attacks with cutters, by letting you know when someone is messing with it, you should have time to respond before they get away with your wheels. If you have a really nice bike, that's certainly worth the $159 asking price. Currently Skylock are taking pre-orders, with deliveries scheduled to start early next year.