It’s not uncommon to see a cyclist walking down city streets with an expensive bike seat tucked awkwardly under an arm, trying to avoid yet another form of bike theft. But when a group of designers noticed the phenomenon, they were inspired to create a new idea for bike security: Why not turn the seat itself into a lock that could protect the entire bicycle?
With the new Seatylock design, a cyclist can flip a lever to release the seat in a couple of seconds, and then unfold it into a lock that can wrap around the frame, a wheel, and securely attach to a bike rack or a lamp post on the street.
Anytime you ride, you’ll automatically have a lock with you, and can avoid the inconvenience of lugging a lock along on quick errands. “It’s an integral part of your bike, so you don’t need to carry it,” says Ilan Mor, cofounder of Seatylock. “Sometimes you might leave home for a quick errand–just to go in the store for two minutes–and then your bike ends up stolen. Most bikes that are stolen aren’t even locked. But this lock is always on the bike.”
Because the lock is balanced under the saddle, it’s also easier to carry than a standard U-lock or chain. “It’s position in center of gravity of your bike, so even though it weighs 1.3 kg [2.8 pounds], you don’t feel it,” Mor says. “And it replaces a saddle that used to weigh up to 600 grams [1.3 pounds].”
The seat fits on any type of bike or scooter with a standard stem, and is designed to be as comfortable and adjustable as a normal saddle. “We worked really hard on trying to maintain the flexibility of a normal saddle,” Mor explains. “It floats on three points, and that’s what usually gives a normal saddle its flexibility. When you’re riding on it, you don’t feel anything different.”
The seat is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter. The designers aren’t the only ones to experiment with integrating a lock directly into a bike–this frame transforms into a lock, for example, and this bike has handlebars that double as a lock. The Seatylock team is also working on some alternative lock designs themselves, and argue that many of the new integrated locks on the market don’t go far enough.
“Lots of people are trying to solve this issue, to integrate the bike and the lock, and there are a few solutions,” Mor says. “But most of them are not very safe, or they lock the bike to itself, and not to an external fixed object. This lock will really protect your bike–and saddle–from theft.”