Electronically lockable bottom bracket renders bikes unrideable
If a thief is sufficiently motivated and equipped, they can get through pretty much any bike lock. That's where the PentaLock comes in – it makes a bicycle un-pedalable, regardless of whether or not that bike is also locked up to an adjacent object such as a sign post.
Designed by Danish engineers Emil Norup and Thomas Martin Jessen, the PentaLock is an electronically lockable bottom bracket that is built right into the bike in the factory. This reportedly makes it very difficult for thieves to remove and replace, to the point that they would just wreck the bike (making it worthless to them) if they tried.
There are actually two versions of the PentaLock, the PL1 and the PL2. The PL1 is designed for regular non-electric bikes, and works by locking up the bottom bracket – and thus the crank arms – when the user presses a button on an included Bluetooth fob, or when that fob passes out of Bluetooth range. Once the user is back in range, pressing that button again unlocks the bike.
The PL2 is made for ebikes, and along with locking up the bottom bracket, it also disables all of the bicycle's electronic functions, such as the motor, display, controller and lights. Both models additionally incorporate a motion-activated antitheft system, that will sound a 100-decibel alarm if the bike is moved while locked.
A company representative tells us that the PentaLock is being sold direct to bicycle manufacturers, and that the first bikes incorporating the technology should start showing up as early as this September.