FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Perhaps you have a nice bike, or a VERY nice bike. With a SkunkLock the only time that our potent and non-lethal spray will ever be discharged from its sealed container is when a thief, armed with AT LEAST an angle grinder, begins to cut through the u-shaped locking bar and gets quite a surprise.
We've extensively tested our product.
For the everyday consumer during daily, monthly and yearly use, it's as safe as a kitten and strong as a tiger.
We've created a deterrent that has three distinct components:
1. A highly noxious pepper spray that can disable the would-be thief's ability to see or breath.
2. A uniquely disgusting odor that induces vomitting in 90% of the people exposed to the chemical.
3. A sprayed dye, similar to dye packs used in bank robberies, marks the thief.
Add to this the fact that passing foot traffic is HIGHLY aware something is up which could put an end to all daylight thievery.
The very first thing my partner and I did when we came up with the idea was to reach out to some friends and get advice. What were the legal ramifications of spraying a would-be thief with a rather nasty cocktail of chemicals?
After quite a bit of research and advice from counsel we discovered it's completely legal.
If you want to keep your bike from being stolen, nothing is smarter than investing in a SkunkLock.
Is it legal?
We have taken the necessary precautions to ensure that the SkunkLock is legal and compliant with US laws and regulations to the best of our knowledge. On March 2016, we conducted a survey of state laws within the United States regarding the sale and ownership of SkunkLock products. We have identified that there are some possible limitations of shipping the SkunkLock to certain states within the US due to the fact that some versions of the SkunkLock may contain capsaicin compounds. We know that these regulations were enacted with pepper spray in mind. Although the SkunkLock is not strictly a pepper spray product, in order to ensure compliance, we may initially reserve our right to refuse directly selling and shipping our SkunkLock product to certain states or countries. However, we also reserve the right to ship SkunkLock products that contain our alternative formula that does not utilize capsaicin as a primary irritant; thus, ensuring our compliance in those states. Please visit our website for further information and our latest stance on legal compliance and check with your local and State laws as these may differ from state to state and country by country.
How safe is it?
The SkunkLock is designed to never expose the noxious chemicals inside. The noxious, vomit-inducing chemicals are confined and permanently sealed within a secure hollow chamber throughout the lock. The only way you may expose the chemicals is by trying to cut through it with an angle grinder (even then it wouldn’t be easy).
How strong is it?
The SkunkLock is just as strong if not stronger than the highest quality U-Locks on the market. The lock is made from hardened medium-carbon steel that exceeds 450 brinell. The difference is that if a thief cuts far enough through to puncture the seal, the lock will release noxious chemicals stopping the thief in their tracks.
Is SkunkLock a "Smart Lock"?
No, and for good reason! Smart Locks (think those with fingerprint readers, GPS trackers, alarms, or app enabled) are actually pretty dumb when it comes to preventing your bike from being stolen. We've tried and tested many new Smart enabled locks that have become available on the market. Each and every lock was just as easy to cut through with an angle grinder (if not easier) or was easily disabled. But worse, the technology in each lock created more vulnerabilities than security. For these reasons, SkunkLock is a purely mechanical and chemical solution to deterring theft.
Great article summarizing some of the vulnerabilities: http://www.digitaltrends.com/home/bluetooth-smart-locks-easily-hackable/
Are any of the formulas we use lethal or harmful?
No! Our formulas are food-grade and are not designed to cause any sort of permanent harm to thieves and are predominantly made up of naturally occurring fatty acids commonly found in rancid butter, parmesan cheese, and our very own vomit. However, they are all highly effective as deterrent because of their extremely unpleasant and vomit inducing smell.
Does the SkunkLock come with accessories or a bike mount?
We are not currently promising the SkunkLock will ship with accessories or a bike mount. We have found that cyclists and motorcyclists generally have their own preferences for lock mounts, and there are many viable alternatives available on the market leaving minimal room for innovation. We are focused on shipping products with a high degree of innovation and no viable alternatives.
How quickly does the chemical formula dissipate if it is released?
Because the formula is under high pressure, it releases immediately when the seal is punctured. The formula then quickly decreases in concentration as it moves further and further from the puncture point, and though it is noticeable at those lower concentrations, is only vomit inducing in the proximity of the thief.
So it works when cut, what about when thieves use other tools?
It is a myth that any U-Lock can be "popped open" with a simple bottle jack. Most thieves choose an angle grinder because any quality double bolt U-Lock can resist the pressure generated by a bottle-jack that is small enough to fit within a standard sized U-Lock. The SkunkLock is no different and will resist this type of attack.
See here for an example of a bottle-jack attacking failing to open a simple double bolt U-Lock
What happens if authorities need to remove my bike legitimately?
In the event a bike or motorcycle needs to be safely and legitimately removed, authorities may either: 1. request a duplicate key be made by a local locksmith, at which point we verify the identity of the owner by serial number and provide a unique code for the locksmith to create a duplicate key, 2. a partnered locksmith with trained knowledge of our locking mechanism is sent (at bike owners expense) to pick the lock (may take up to an hour), 3. we overnight mail a spare key to authorities. We believe there is sufficient alternatives to cutting a SKUNKLOCK for that ever to be a dire necessity.
Why did we choose a U-Lock design as the foundation for SkunkLock?
Although chain locks are traditionally seen as the highest security option, we believe they are too heavy and impractical for everyday bicyclists and motorcyclists. The traditional U-Lock is a tried and proven design that has been around for over 45 years, is lightweight, strong, and versatile. Our thought was, if we charge a U-Lock with pressurized noxious chemicals we'll have a lock that's more secure than a chain lock, but as practical as a traditional U-Lock, the Deterrent Lock (DT-Lock) was born.
How does the structural integrity of the SkunkLock compare to other U-Locks?
To understand structural integrity, we must first define what it means in the context of bike and motorcycle locks. The way we define structural integrity is with these two considerations: how hard is it to cut the lock using bolt cutters, and how long would it take to cut through it with an angle grinder? Under these considerations, the structural integrity of the SkunkLock is comparable to other "super-premium" U-Locks on the market ($100+). The SkunkLock is bolt cutter resistant, and if a thief were to theoretically cut through it (without considering the chemicals inside), it would take as long as comparably priced locks. The way we achieved this was through purposeful thickening of the lock, and most importantly, the type of hardened steel that we use, which exceeds 450 brinell in hardness. That said, our goal isn't solely to make a lock that takes a very long time to cut. We believe that approach will never ultimately stop thieves, so we leave that to our competitors. Our core mission is to deter theft by incapacitating thieves with noxious chemicals.
Watch some of the best locks on the market being cut or broken: see here.
Why don't we disclose the exact chemical formula used?
We only disclose the minimum requirements of our formula D_1 in order to maintain legal compliance, and to ensure that our formula remains effective against thieves for years to come. If we disclose this information, not only do our customers understand our product, thieves do too.
What do the white stripes represent?
The white stripes of the SkunkLock are our unique and patented branding that denotes it is a deterrent lock. The inspiration for this design was the colors and patterns present on a Skunk. This design does not denote where the chemicals are present; the chemicals exist throughout the lock, not simply in the areas where there is a white stripe.
What if I lose my key?
Each SkunkLock comes with an industry standard unique code which you may use to request additional keys. Keys will have the option for overnight mail in order to ensure you receive replacements as soon as possible.
What if the bike is abandoned or illegally locked to another bike?
In those instances we would first contact the owner on file and either send authorities a key through overnight mail, or if it needs to be removed immediately, we would send a partnered lock picking expert to pick the lock (may take an hour or more). So although picking is not a viable option for a bike thief because they have neither the necessary skills nor are they willing to risk the vast amount of time it would require, it is a viable option for removing the lock in those instances.
Will my bike smell after an attempted theft?
Possibly, but not likely! The direction the chemicals disperse is generally in the direction where the cut is being made by a thief (in the thief's face, rather than toward your bike). However, we provide detailed instructions for complete disinfection with every purchase to remove all traces of chemicals from your bike or motorcycle. All in all, we believe a smelly bike is better than no bike!
Why don’t we provide anti-theft protection?
We’ve been there, our bikes were stolen and thought to ourselves “maybe the world isn’t ending yet, I think I had anti-theft protection”. Unfortunately, we learned the hard way that it’s not so easy to get compensated for your loss, in many cases you have to prove you locked your bike correctly, and in other cases if the lock was compromised using a power tool the protection is automatically voided. What’s worse is, when you try to prove the lock was compromised you can’t because thieves take the lock with them. Many companies make it as hard as possible to collect. So instead of deceptively marketing an anti-theft policy, we decided to focus our efforts on actually building something that will prevent your bike from being stolen.
Is the SkunkLock guaranteed to prevent theft?
No lock can guarantee someone will not go the extra mile to steal your bike or motorcycle, especially if it’s expensive and worth the risk (and pain in our case). However, the SkunkLock does provide you the best chance of deterring the theft by being the least attractive lock to compromise on your block. Thieves will generally take a slightly less profitable bike if the risk is significantly less (and less dangerous). If a thief compromises the SkunkLock, not only are they exposing themselves to noxious chemicals, someone nearby may be asking what that smell is.
Note: the SkunkLock won't work if you don't lock your bike properly, or fail to lock your bike completely. For example, if you only use one SkunkLock on your back wheel and frame (the two most expensive parts of your bike) then your front wheel may still be stolen.
Can't a thief just wear a mask or protection?
Technically, yes. Will it help them steal your bike? Probably not. The formula that we've developed is detectable through even some of the most robust gas masks (unfortunately, we learned this the hard way!). More importantly, we aren't strictly relying on chemicals incapacitating the thief to prevent the theft. There is no technology that can guarantee theft prevention; however, we do believe SKUNKLOCK is the best lock on the market to deter theft. Not only does an attack on the SKUNKLOCK release chemicals into the air that create a scene that makes people ask questions within the theft radius, it also has economic implications for the thief. Our formula irreversibly ruins the clothes worn by the thief, their expensive tools, and any of the protection they may be wearing, and replacing these items is likely more expensive than the resale value of your stolen bike (generally only 1/10 of the retail price). You don't need to be perfect, you just have to be the best protected on your block. So more than likely, a thief will attack a more hassle free bike parked nearby than your bike.
Why did we price the SkunkLock the way we did?
The current industry standard for “Premium” U-Locks is those that are bolt-cutter resistant. That is to say, a thief can’t cut the lock in 4 seconds with a pair of large bolt-cutters. These locks generally range in price anywhere from $100 to $150. We decided to price our lock right in the middle of this range to provide the highest value for cost possible. Many companies rely on repeat sales every year or two to sell more locks. We would love if your lock is never compromised because thieves are deathly afraid of it, and that you love our product enough that you buy our newest model every year.
Does the SkunkLock Technology ever expire?
The SkunkLock has no defined expiration date. However, we hope that SkunkLock fans buy the latest model as it is released. We will continuously be improving the technology. For something as important as protecting your personal property, we understand that this will be a continuous effort to “out-innovate” thieves, and we hope our customers support us in this effort.
How durable is the SkunkLock?
The SkunkLock is made from the strongest materials you can imagine. We’ve extensively tested it for extreme wear and tear and are confident that it can be used for many years without any problems.
What happens if I drop it?
Nothing! The only way chemicals in the SkunkLock can be triggered is through purposeful cutting.
Am I liable if a bystander is nearby when a thief is stealing it?
Remember, the chemicals from the SkunkLock are designed to only be potent enough to disable a thief (within close proximity of active cutting). So although bystanders could potentially smell the chemicals, they will not likely be adversely affected. A thief is committing an illegal activity by attempting to cut through your SkunkLock; therefore, as the aggressor, the thief is generally the person liable if anyone is exposed to the SkunkLock chemicals (refer to your local laws as this varies by country and State).
Does it work multiple times?
The SkunkLock is designed for one-time use to protect your bike. Once the chemicals are released, the lock should still maintain its structural integrity, but it will no longer have a deterrent present and will have to be replaced.
Can you pick a SkunkLock?
Any lock can be picked with the right tools, an ample amount of time and skill, and the right conditions. Luckily for us, thieves generally do not have those luxuries when it comes to trying to steal your bike. The reason the majority of bike theft is done by cutting a lock with an angle grinder is because there are far too many uncertainties when trying to pick a lock. The SkunkLock is equipped with a high-security locking mechanism and crossbar comparable to the best U-Locks on the market and would require a highly skilled professional, a significant amount of time, and the right tools to open.
Does it work for Motorcycles/Scooters?
Yes! SkunkLock was designed to prevent both bicycle and motorcycle theft similarly to other U-Locks on the market. The majority of motorcycle thefts are “ride-away” thefts, so our focus was to make a lock that also makes it more difficult to mobilize your motorcycle.
Why did we make the SkunkLock?
While other lock companies are making it easier for you to lock your bike, carry your lock around, notify you after your bike has been stolen, and so on. We realized very few innovators and existing lock companies were actually trying to solve the fundamental problem. All locks can be cut, and your bike will eventually be stolen. Our solution after many different ideas and prototypes was using a chemical deterrent.
For more locking tips and information, we recommend reading this.