Is it possible to make a bike that can't be stolen? Locks can be hacked or pried open with the right tools and a little time (and depending where you are, it's possible nobody will pay any attention as that happens). So when three engineering students tackled the problem of bike theft, they decided to turn an entire bike into a lock instead.
When you pull up to a bike rack or a street post on the new Yerka bike, you start to take the bike apart: By pulling out the seatpost and flipping open the downtube, you can create a lock made out of the frame itself. If someone wants to hack open the lock, they're destroying the frame—so, the theory goes, they won't try to steal it at all.
"With our technology, we want to make riding a bike as comfortable and as secure as possible," explains Juan José Monsalve, a student at Adolfo Ibáñez University in Chile, who designed the bike along with fellow students Andrés Roi and Cristóbal Cabello. "You can break a lock and leave the bike intact, with our system if you break the lock you are breaking the bike, making it useless to ride or steal afterwards."
The engineers are aiming to make a bike that's as lightweight and easy to ride as a standard bike. "It actually maintains the weight of a common urban bicycle," Monsalve says. "Our idea is to maintain the same weight as long as we can, and also maintain the slick design of a traditional bike."
They're also working on incorporating features like theft-proof wheels. "Today there are other companies who have solutions to this problem, like special screws, although we are also working on developing our own solution," says Monsalve. "The idea is to make every component secure so you can leave your bike parked without the fear of having it stolen."
Like some other designs—including the recent winner of the Oregon Manifest Bike Design Challenge, which uses handlebars that double as a lock—this design also means that you don't have to bother carrying around a lock as you ride.
The engineers hope to launch the bike on Kickstarter later this year.