If you’ve been holding your breath waiting for a new solution to bicycle theft, you’ll want to inhale the news of the latest innovation that’ll finally put your bike robbery woes to rest. Actually, inhaling is probably the last thing you’ll want to do. We all know having your bicycle stolen “stinks,” but it’s about to get a lot worse. Literally.
Introducing the Skunk Lock: an olfactory revelation in bike robbery defence. Though its appearance closely resembles any regular metal U-shaped bicycle lock, this device smells anything but ordinary. Distinguishable by only its subtle white-striped design, the SkunkLock is made from hardened steel that reaches 450 on the Brinell scale and releases a high-pressure, stomach-churning odour — a smell foul and horrid enough to provoke vomiting and breathing impairments — from the puncture point when thieves tamper with the lock. Meanwhile, the thief’s attention-drawing responses alert the surrounding public of the looting, facilitating an opportunity for intervention.
Image via Dezeen, 2016.
After securing a crowdfunding investment of $20,000, American entrepreneur Daniel Idzkowski and Swiss engineer Yves Perrenoud developed their latest idea into a foul-smelling, profit-generating reality. The idea was prompted by the failure of a seemingly “strong” bike lock used by Idzkowski’s friend, after he became a victim of bike theft himself.
The creators of the SkunkLock emphasize that the device has been designed with the user’s safety as a top priority, as the chemicals are sealed within a hollow compartment that runs throughout the lock. The chemicals do not become exposed unless someone cuts through the lock using an angle grinder — an endeavour that won’t be so easily accomplished, according to the SkunkLock’s manufacturers.
The chemical composition of the SkunkLock – referred to as Formula D_1 — has been kept top secret by Idzkowski and Perrenoud to prevent thieves from finding ways around the lock’s mechanism. They do, however, attest the formula is both completely safe and legal, claiming they have tested the product personally. According to the product’s website, the formula is not designed to cause any sort of permanent harm to thieves, and is predominantly composed of fatty acids typically found in rancid butter, parmesan cheese and our very own vomit.
Certain versions of the SkunkLock contain capsaicin compounds as the primary irritant. Capsaicin compounds, which are found in pepper spray products, are prohibited in certain countries and American states. In order to comply with local laws, select SkunkLock products have been alternatively formulated without capsaicin to be sold in the certain regions that prohibit the ingredient.
Image via Dezeen, 2016.
According to CNN, when Idzkowski was asked if he was concerned that bicyclists would begin painting white stripes on their locks to replicate his product, he said, “It would mean SkunkLock is a success and people know thieves are scared of it. I would understand if college students tried to copy it to avoid spending money.”
The SkunkLock is expected to be available for purchase in selected countries, such as the United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, France, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Sweden, and Japan as early as June of next year. To learn more about the SkunkLock, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page of the product’s website here.