Skunklock Review – The Beginning of the End For Bike Thieves?

13 min read

I’ve been excited to review the Skunklock for a long while now. The Skunklock is a new generation of bike locks and has gained plenty of traction and appraisal within the cycling/motorcycle community.

It’s important to understand that even the strongest and most secure bike lock can be defeated. With enough time and the right tools, a determined thief will be able to remove any lock from your bike.

Sadly, the above has been true, until now. Step in Daniel Idzkowski creator of the revolutionary Skunklock. If you’ve been a victim of bike theft, you may have been left thinking “what more could I have done to protect my bike?”.

There’s one simple answer to this question, Skunklock.

Skunklock review

No longer will thieves escape with your bike unscathed. Instead, the Skunklock D Lock will stop them dead in their tracks and hit them with a strong cloud of noxious, vomit-inducing gas. 

But is the Skunklock a good bike lock?  How secure is the Skunklock? And what are the legalities surrounding the Skunklock?

Let’s find out.

Overview - What do I think of the Skunklock?

Whilst the Skunklock isn’t a Sold Secure rated bike lock, it’s one that’s different to every lock I’ve reviewed before. It has the ability to fight back and temporarily incapacitate thieves. Whilst I’m yet to cut into a Skunklock and have a taste of its noxious chemical compound (video coming soon) I can vouch for its impressive build quality and ease of use.

One of the only downsides I found with this Impressive D Lock was its lack of a mounting system. Fortunately, suitable mounts can be purchased elsewhere.

Skunk Spraying ScentOtherwise, its 19mm shackle is resistant to almost all forms of attack. Resistant, not immune. However, if a thief did manage to cut through the hardened steel outer layer, they’d be met by quite an unpleasant surprise!

If you have the budget to cover it and are worried about the safety of your bike, the Skunklock is an excellent choice.

How secure is the Skunklock?

Why isn’t the Skunklock Sold Secure Rated?

Before we begin, it’s important to know that the Skunklock hasn’t been submitted for Sold Secure testing. I spoke to Daniel about this and he was happy to explain Skunklock’s stance to me:

“We don’t plan on submitting to Sold Secure as we’re somewhat of the antithesis to what they stand for.  After I had 6 bikes stolen using the highest rated Sold Secure Gold locks in San Francisco over 5 years, I finally did my research, and the reality is professional bike thieves don’t waste their time with the majority of the methods they test.”

The Skunklock doesn't have a Sold Secure rating. It hasn't and won't be submitted for testing. Don't let this put you off, in terms of security it provides something that no Sold Secure rated lock does.

“The go-to tool is almost exclusively a battery-powered angle grinder with a carbide blade, and the difference between a sold secure bronze and gold is only a few seconds of cutting time (we cut about 40 locks ourselves just to see it with our own eyes).”

It’s always interesting to hear manufacturer’s opinions on security rating bodies and their procedures, I think Daniel makes a very interesting and valid point. Since the invention of the angle grinder, making locks thicker and using harder steels hasn’t been enough to end bike theft.

High-security bike locks are no longer enough of a deterrent. It’s time to strike back

The Skunklock’s Security Features

The Skunklock’s shackle is different to that of any bike lock I’ve reviewed before. The vomit-inducing compound is encased in a hollow section of the shackle, which means it’s not completely solid.

The shackle is made using hardened carbon-steel which exceeds 450 Brinell. Upon taking the Skunklock out of its packaging I was surprised by how thick its shackle is.

Normally the rule of thumb we can follow is, the thicker the shackle, the more secure the lock. But because the Skunklock’s shackle is partially hollow, we can’t think of it like other bike locks.

Skunklock shackle size
Here you can see how the size of the Skunklock's shackle compares to a quarter and a 20p coin. It's the thickest shackle I've tested so far.

I was interested in the measurements of the outer steel shackle compared to the hollow chamber which contains the unique chemical compound, so I asked Daniel. He explained that the diameter of the hollow chamber is 11mm and that a thief would have to cut through 8mm to reach the chemicals inside.

So the Skunklock’s shackle is 19mm thick, but 11mm of this is the hollow housing. The shackle also has a 3mm outer anti-scratch casing, so the total diameter of the shackle is 22mm. As far as bike locks go, that’s pretty chunky!

Even when opened to their widest point my 24” bolt cutters were unable to encompass the shackle.

Don’t get me wrong 24” cutters aren’t the largest available but it’s unlikely that a thief would carry a larger pair on the street because they’d be extremely difficult to transport and conceal. 

Skunklock vs bolt cutters
Even with my 24" bolt cutters extended to their widest point I was unable to get any purchase on the Skunklock's 22mm shakcle.

The shackle is double-bolted, which means either side of it is secured by the Skunklock’s locking mechanism. Double-bolted shackles are much less vulnerable to twist and hydraulic attacks than cheaper single bolted locks.

This means that the best tool a thief could use to attack the Skunklock is a portable grinder. Dan mentioned that it’s incredibly hard to cut through the outer steel without a special carbide blade.

I’m yet to attempt to cut the Skunklock with an angle grinder, but I’ll be making a video of this shortly and will update this article with my findings. I have to say, I’m not looking forward to experiencing the noxious chemicals…

Skunklock double bolted shackle
(Click to enlarge)

As soon as a thief cuts through the outer 8mm hardened steel, the pressurised chemical compound will quickly disperse into the surrounding area and will stop them in their tracks.

The horrific smell will force them to leave the area and can also induce vomiting.

How Practical is the Skunklock?

Weight and Size

Upon removing the Skunklock from it’s packaging the lock does appear on the bulkier side. The original Skunklock’s shackle was thinner much than the newer edition, an alteration which was made after popular demand from Skunklock users.

Anyone who opts for the Skunklock clearly cares about the security of their bike. The increase in shackle size will only make it harder for thieves to remove the Skunklock from their bike, so this won’t be an issue!

Skunklock v1
The original Skunklock was much thinner and looked much less intimidating than the new model. It's great that Skunklock are willing to listen to community feedback and increase the quality of their products.

The Skunklock’s shackle offers a decent amount of locking space for your bike, measuring 4.25” x 9.01” (10.8cm x 22.94cm). I was easily able to secure the frame and rear wheel of my bike, whilst filling the shackle to prevent twist attacks.

Weighing in at 3.92lb (1.77kg) the Skunklock is slightly heavier than most D Locks.

If you’re looking for a super practical bike lock one of the best folding bike locks might be a good choice.

Skunklock’s Mounting System

Unfortunately, the Skunklock isn’t supplied with a mount, which is a bit of a shame. However, I was able to fit the Skunklock relatively easily into my backpack, alongside several other items.

The Skunklock website states that “cyclists and motorcyclists generally have their own preference for lock mounts” which I don’t really agree with. Most of the D Locks I’ve reviewed are supplied with their own mounting system which is normally the best option they’ve been specifically designed to work together.

I asked Daniel if he could recommend a mount for users and he suggested the Huldit mounting system, which you can find here on Amazon. (Link to Amazon)

How to carry the skunklock D lock whilst riding
(Click to enlarge)

That being said there are a few half-decent generic D Lock mounts out there, such as the Kryptonite Transit H-Bar Carrier.

Kryptonite H-bar carrierThis mounting system sits on your handlebars and will work with a wide variety of D Locks. I originally recommend the H-Bar for the Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini (the most secure bike lock, until now?) because it works with D Locks that have a 10-24mm shackle.

There are several other D Lock mounts out there, it’s worth finding one that works well with your bike. Otherwise, slip the Skunklock into your rucksack and you shouldn’t have any issues.

Quality & Maintenance

The Skunklock feels and looks like a high-end bike lock. It’s bulky, but this only adds to its intimidating profile.

The 3mm soft outer, anti-scratch coating will keep your bike’s paintwork chip-free. Much like the OnGuard Brute, the Skunklock’s bold colours also warn thieves that this lock means business, which may be enough of a deterrent.

The outer housing of the locking mechanism is made from plastic, which feels sturdy and has hardened end caps, but could potentially crack if dropped from a height or knocked. This isn’t a huge issue as a hardened steel shell sits directly underneath the plastic, but the outer plastic layer does help to keep the locking mechanism shielded from the elements.

Skunklock keyhole cover
(Click to enlarge)

To keep the Skunklock in good condition I advise applying lubricant to working parts monthly. I’ve also put together a guide that will help you increase the usable life of any bike lock. Otherwise, where the Skunklock is made from high-quality materials you shouldn’t have any issues.

Unfortunately, the Skunklock doesn’t feature a keyhole dustcover, which will mean you’ll have to clean the inside of the keyhole to prevent build-ups of dirt and debris. I advise regular maintenance for all bike locks, see our guide above for detailed guidance.

Locking Mechanism and Operation

The Skunklock uses several different methods to make sure it’s not vulnerable to picking & drilling. After all, what’s the point in having a lock filled with noxious chemicals if it can be drilled open in seconds?

The disc cylinder mechanism features several false gates which make it almost impossible to drill open the Skunklock.

I found using the Skunklock pretty straightforward, the mechanism was smooth to operate and it always locked properly first time around. It’s operated the same way as any other D Lock, so there’s nothing to get confused with.

Skunklock vs kryptonite keys
The Skunklock key on the left appears and performs similar to the Kryptonite ergonomic
key on the right.

The ergonomic keys supplied with the Skunklock are visually similar to Kryptonite’s keys and feel reliable. They’re designed to prevent snapping/bending of the key whilst using the lock.

As I’ve covered the Skunklock uses a double deadbolt mechanism, a premium feature which drastically increases the overall strength and security of the Skunklock.

Skunklock Specs
Weight: 3.92lb (1.77kg)
Shackle Dimensions: 4.25" x 9.03"
(10.8cm x 22.9cm) 
Shackle Diameter & Material: 19mm (8mm Hardened Steel & 11mm Hollow)
Lock Dimensions: 6.81" x 11.59"
(17.3cm x 29.4cm)
Sold Secure Rating: N/A

How to use the Skunklock?

The Methods below are my two favourite ways to use the Skunklock. I’ve also put together a detailed article that covers the best ways to lock your bike, have a read.

The Most Efficient Way to Lock Your Bike With the Skunklock

Using a cable extension alongside the Skunklock is probably my favourite way of using this D Lock. This allows you to quickly secure your bike’s most expensive components without spending ages removing your wheels.

If you’re locking your bike for a longer period, you’ll be better off using the method below.

The Most Secure Way to Lock Your Bike With the Skunklock

How to lock your bike with the Skunklock

The Skunklock offers enough room for users to secure their bike’s wheels and frame to a standard bike rack at the same time. Using this method, the most expensive components are secured by the Skunklock and can’t be removed without cutting it.

This is the best way to use a Skunklock.

Skunklock Warranty

After reading through Skunklock’s T&Cs it appears that Skunklock offer a 30-day warranty to their customers. This isn’t the most generous warranty and considering the cost you pay for the Skunklock, it would be nice if the warranty covered users for a little longer.

Are There Any Problems With the Skunklock?

I’ve been racking my brain thinking of problems that users could potentially encounter when using the Skunklock, and to be fair I struggled to think of many.

Thieves Could Potentially Cut Through the Lock Housing Mechanism to Avoid the Noxious Chemicals

If a thief had knowledge of the lock and understood its design, they could attempt to cut through the body/lock mechanism housing of the Skunklock. Whilst this would take slightly longer to cut through, the Skunklock’s body doesn’t contain the vomit-inducing compound.

The chances of this happening are slim though. A thief would need to have researched the design of the Skunklock before cutting it.

A thief will also almost always look for the route of least resistance. The Skunklock’s shackle is much thinner than its body, so it wouldn’t be a logical decision to cut through the mechanism housing instead of the shackle.

I addressed this point to Daniel and he seemed keen for me to try, so I’ll give it a go in the destruction video (coming soon).

Is The Skunklock Safe?

Extensive engineering went into the safety of the Skunklock. It’s designed to never release the noxious chemicals inside unless cut into.

I asked Daniel about the possibility of a leak of the vomit-inducing chemicals due to ageing of internal parts. He let me know:

“The chemicals are permanently sealed so the pressure may vary very slightly depending on the temperature of the propellant (between 180 and 240 psi), however, it will never lose pressure over time or effectiveness.”

“In order to ensure the chemicals do not degrade, and that they effectively last nearly forever (technically, it should last at least 40 years if not damaged), we use a special coating that is 100% resistant to corrosion from the chemicals to coat the inside of the lock as well as have special linings to separate chemicals from other reactive materials (this is one of our core trade secrets that is very difficult to replicate, and why the lock isn’t cheap).”

Clearly, the team behind Skunklock spent plenty of time ensuring that the product was 1) designed to last 2) designed to be safe. Good to know!

Is the Skunklock Legal in My Country?

When taking the Skunklock out of its box it has a large warning sticker on its shackle which you should keep intact, for legal reasons.

I spoke with Daniel and he assured me that the Images and warning printed directly on the Skunklock’s shackle are enough to protect Skunklock and their customers in 95% of countries and counties.

If this sticker is accidentally removed, it’s advised that you replace it. Skunklock customer support can supply you with a PDF to print your own from home or can have a new sticker sent to you.

In the T&C’s on the Skunklock website it states:

“Legal Compliance by State. Before purchasing or using any of the Products, it is the sole responsibility of Buyer to determine and comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws and requirements in effect at that time to purchase, possess and use the Products for the Product Purpose.”

“Any statement regarding the legal restrictions that govern the sale, purchase, possession and use of the Products provided by Seller in any of its materials is not intended to be legal advice. Seller is not providing any warranties or guarantees regarding Buyer’s legal compliance of purchasing, possessing and using the Products.”

The team behind Skunklock designed three different noxious chemical formulas, these three formulas provide very similar effects if inhaled, but have been altered slightly to comply with laws and regulation of different countries.

I was sent a Skunklock without the capsaicin which makes it compliant with EU laws.

Is the Skunklock a One Time Use Product?

Considering the price that you pay for the Skunklock, you’d be gutted if a thief tried to steal your bike and released the pressurised chemicals inside.

Whilst thieves won’t get far with the Skunklock, once the noxious chemicals have been released, there’s no way to repair or refill the lock. I asked Daniel if they offer a replacement scheme for loyal customers whose locks had been damaged. He told me,

“For replacements, we have a shackle replacement program that is less than 1/3 the price of the whole lock.”

This seems like a reasonable deal, definitely cheaper than having to buy a new bike!

How much does the Skunklock cost?

There’s no denying the Skunklock is expensive. It’s up there with some of the most expensive locks on the market, however, its features also make it one of the most secure locks on the market.

As always if you want the best, it will come at a price.

Included in the Box

  • Skunklock D Lock
  • 2 x Skunklock Key Code Card
  • 3 x Ergonomic Keys
Included with the Skunklock

Skunklock Key Replacement

If you lose the keys, you’re able to order replacements as long as you still have one of the key code cards. I advise making a note of the code on your phone, or keep it somewhere safe and don’t attach it to your key!

By contacting customer services and quoting your code, they’ll have new keys cut and delivered to you for a nominal fee.

How Does the Skunklock Compare to Other Bike Locks?

It’s safe to say, there isn’t a bike lock out there that’s similar to the Skunklock. 

With its valuable ability to release a compressed chemical deterrent into the surrounding area, this locks security is hard to match. 

The locks below have different strong points, if the Skunklock isn’t for you, then have a look at my other suggestions.

Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini - The Strongest Bike Lock – Bolt Cutter Proof Without the Chemical Deterrent

If you keep up to date with my content, you’ll probably be bored of hearing about the Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini by now. This incredible mini D lock makes an appearance at some point in most of my articles.

It’s one of the only D Locks I know of that uses a whopping 18mm Max-Performance hardened steel shackle. This shackle is 100% bolt cutter proof, and impossible to crop by hand.

The Fahgettaboudit is the lock that I use daily with my bike and since purchasing it (three years ago) I haven’t had a single issue with it. This lock will put up an incredible fight but can’t strike back like the Skunklock. It’s also more affordable than the Skunklock.

Onguard Pitbull Dt 8005 – One of the Best Budget Bike Lock – Sold Secure Gold but Still Affordable

The OnGuard Pitbull DT 8005 is an impressive D Lock, It’s not bolt cutter proof like the Fahgettaboudit and doesn’t pack the same punch as the Skunklock. However, It’s affordable on a budget and is supplied with a cable extension, which will come in handy.

I enjoyed reviewing the Pitbull and was unable to find any real issues with it. Its shackle is made from 14mm of hardened steel and provides a larger locking area than the Fahgettaboudit.

The OnGuard Brute is essentially a bolt cutter version of the Pitbull, which is heavier and less portable but provides a higher level of security. The Pitbull is more versatile.

I reviewed the Pitbull in detail, find out more about its features here.

Tigr Mini – Super Lightweight, Super Portable Security

If you’re looking for a lock which won’t weigh you down whilst you cycle, look no further, weighing a mere 0.9lb (0.4kg) the TiGr Mini is the lightest lock I’ve reviewed so far. This is thanks to the titanium that it’s built from.

Its sleek design and cleverly designed mounting system make it one of the most portable locks on the market. It gained 2/5 stars from ART the Dutch security rating company but doesn’t have a Sold Secure rating.

Whilst I wouldn’t use the TiGr Mini for long term lock-ups, it’s a great bike lock for shorter stops. If portability is a priority for you, look no further.

The TiGr Mini earned itself in my list of the best lightweight bike locks.

Who Are Skunklock?

Skunklock logoSkunklock was first seen on Indiegogo (a popular crowdfunding website) in late 2016. After smashing their initial goal, the Skunklock concept went on to raise over $50,000 (£40,000) in just 60 days.

After hiccups along the way, Daniel Idzkowski (Founder) and Co-Founder Yves Perrenoud managed to get the lock into production and began distributing and selling the Skunklock in 2018.

Since then thousands of units have been sold worldwide, with raving review being posted online, and less and less bikes being stolen each year.

Summary – How Good Is the Skunklock?

I’d been excited to review the Skunklock, and it hasn’t let me down. I was impressed by almost all of its features, most importantly its build quality.

This bike lock is solid and has been designed to last. It’s also the only bike lock that I know of that will fight back against thieves. I’d advise that you check this lock is compliant with your local laws, you shouldn’t have any issues, but it’s worth checking.

It’s not supplied with a mount, which is a pain, but there are generic mounts out there that will work alongside the Skunklock.

  • Noxious chemical deterrent 
  • 19mm thick shackle – 8mm hardened steel
  • Key replacement shceme
  • Anti-scratch coating
  • Intimidating branding & colours 

If you’re worried about the safety of your bike, there isn’t a lock deterrent out there that compares to Skunklock. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a Sold Secure rating, but Daniel explains why in the review above.

It’s one of the more expensive locks on the market, but for the peace for mind this D Lock provides, it’s arguably worth every penny!

If the Skunklock isn’t the one for you, check out some of my other suggestions below!

 

Remember, lock it, or lose it.

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