aerolock - a bike lock designed for the ride, not just the rack...
aerolock - Aerolock is a solution for the ubiquitous, burdensome bike lock. It is designed with the entire cycling experience in mind, not just the bike rack. Both functionally and aesthetically attuned to the bike, it is intended to encourage the use of bicycles as a convenient, responsible, and secure method of transportation.
current problem | portability - Conventional locks are the very definition of deadweight. While riding, they are an awkward, useless, heavy burden. Many riders don't have room to mount a bike lock on their frame because it is either already too crowded or the frame shape and size do not provide a possible placement. If either is the case, a user is forced to carry the lock in a separate bag or on their body somewhere, which can be uncomfortable and quite dangerous.
current problem | locks - Each lock has its own downfall. Cable locks are easy to carry and use, but can be cut through like a stick of butter. Chain locks are very strong, but extremely heavy and a pain to carry. The U-lock is a good all-around lock. It's secure and fairly compact, however, it can be broken with a car-jack, which as a result, has become the tool of choice against U-locks. If there is enough space to fit it, the car jack is expanded inside the enclosed area, bending or breaking the lock open.
current problem | theft tools - Typical bike thieves simply carry around a pair of bolt-cutters and go after cable locks. Angle-grinders and sawzalls will get through pretty much any lock, but are not discreet at all - very loud and send sparks flying everywhere. More serious thieves use liquid nitrogen to freeze and shatter the locks. However, this is very dangerous and the materials are not easy or cheap to acquire. The car-jack has become many thieves' weapon of choice, as it is very powerful and can be used discreetly.
initial ideation - With the problems established, I hit the drawing board and began to explore different locking and attachment options. I focused on security improvements to prevent car-jack theft, while also thinking about convenient transport and usability. Initial concepts included ideas such as bar-ends that detach and become the bike lock.
basic concept - I chose to pursue a synthesis of a u-lock and aerobars. This concept would improve usability while on and off the bike, thereby enhancing the entire journey. The mounting location would not interfere with common accessories like water bottles, racks, or bags.
During the ride, it can be mounted to the front handlebar and used as a set of aerobars, providing a more ergonomic, comfortable and efficient ride. When not riding, the lock may be detached from mount and used to secure the bike.
concept refinement - The most significant safety concern for aerobar users is the lack of a quick braking method. I began exploring possible brake-integration, with additional functions such as a LED front light.
I also focused on minimizing the handle-bar area taken up by the mount. A spring-loaded hinge into the arm rest, would allow it to swivel up and out of the way when not in use. If the aerobar feature is not desired, I wanted to allow the option of mounting the lock other areas on the bike frame.
final concept | system integration - This exploded line drawing shows the four main groups which make up the aerolock system. The lock and mount components are the core of the system. The arm rests can be attached to the back of the mount, and allow aerobar usability. The brake lever is also optional, and attaches to the bottom of the mount.
final concept | model construction - The entire final model was made by hand, without the use of CNC or 3D printers. The lock, mount, brake, and arm rest lever were carved from high density ren shape foam, and then painted. The arm rest plates were laser cut acrylic that was then thermal formed and painted. The arm rest foam is a closed-cell foam that was cut, molded, lightly sanded, and painted. The stem, drop bars, and allen screws were taken off my old bike, cut to size, and painted.
final concept | features - details and explanations of various features in the final design
final concept | riding usability - On the bike, aerolock can be used as an alternate set of handlebars, providing a more aerodynamic and efficient posture. By mounting to the handlebars, an area of standardized dimensions, aerolock avoids frame-compatibility issues common with other lock-mounts. This also keeps aerolock conveniently out of the way of larger accessories such as water bottles, racks, pumps and fenders. However, frame-mounting is still an option, and requires no extra parts to do so.
final concept | secure usability - a demonstration of the aerolock in action