Fitting an AXA Defender lock

For a while I've been wanting to fit an AXA Defender lock to my bike, something that was always there and would provide a short term lock whilst I went into a shop. Yes, I would use it in conjunction with other locks for longer term stops, but for visiting my local corner shop it'd be just fine. Though this isn't true security, the lock also benefits (in the UK) by 'security through obscurity' - i.e. thieves don't see this lock very often. It's surprising to me that the lock isn't more widespread, but there it is. I acquired the lock online with no problems, and it arrived with all fittings, including mounting straps. It is true that these could be cut to detach the lock from frame, but the lock would still be attached to rear wheel (it is for his reason that it is recommended to mount the lock inside the rear triangle, so that rear wheel removal doesn't leave you with a wheel and no frame).

Congestion at the fitting point

Unfortunately, I had not spotted that I had a cable running in the recommended mounting position - and it had guides brazed onto the frame, so it would not be simply a case of rerouting the cable.

Fortunately, there is a solution. Fitting an Axa Defender

It is possible to acquire a bracket for bikes with V-brakes - this had to be sourced separately. I got mine by contacting AXA directly in the Netherlands, though I've since seen them online in the UK (though not through the bigger online retailers, yes Wiggle and Evans, I mean you).

The bracket comes with a load of bolt, washers and spacers - fortunately they're easy to sort out as they come in different widths.

Fitting an Axa Defender

As I'd be fitting to the same mounts as the rear brake, I thought it best to remove the tension on those mounts, so I opened the rear brake by popping out the noodle (the noodle is where the cable emerges from the outer sheath). This takes a bit of effort, but should be possible by squeezing the brake arms together.

Fitting an Axa Defender

Fitting an Axa Defender

The next step was to remove the bolts holding the V-brake to the frame. In my case, the V-brake arms did not fall off - which was a relief, however, I was prepared for this and ready to catch the bits.

Fitting an Axa Defender

The next job was to use the longer bolts supplied with the mounting bracket to re-secure the rear brake arms with the bracket alongside. The spacer goes between bracket and brake, the washer goes between bolt head and bracket.

Fitting an Axa Defender

This is a bit tight, and the brake pads are inside the mounting bracket. This could be a problem if I ever have to pop the wheel off quickly - but for me, I was happy to pay this price

Fitting an Axa Defender

Next was the fiddly job of attaching the lock to the bracket. This was a right royal pain, but I got the lock on, without fully tightening each side, then adjusted it before making it fast.

Fitting an Axa Defender

Yes, someone could unbolt this if they had a spanner - but it is fiddly, and they'd get a bike without rear wheel. I will only use this lock on its own for a short stop - for a longer stop I would not rely on this lock.

Fitting an Axa Defender

The lock heads are covered by some clip-on panels, and the lock works!

Fitting an Axa Defender

The nice thing about this lock is that, if it's open, the key is there - so I always have the lock with me. It can be engaged in seconds and will allow quick stops without rummaging in the bag for the D-lock. I also have a plug in chain which slots into the lock and will attach to a fixed object (possibly through the frame as well), this can also be engaged quickly - throw chain around fixed item (not a pole), feed chain through end loop, push into the port on the side of the lock, engage lock.

To engage the lock, you push on the key, push down the lever, and remove the key. It is a two handed job by design, as this prevents the lock being engaged accidentally (e.g. by a child in a rear seat).

Yes, the lock would not stop a determined thief, and it is true that it could be unbolted from the frame, leaving me with a rear wheel only - but that takes time, and this can be mitigated by threading the accessory chain through the frame. The job of the lock is to thwart an opportunist, and that's exactly what I need a lot of the time.