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Design Responses > About Locks > Case Studies >
SmartLock Exploding Lock

This bike lock designed by Mike Lambourn aims to deter the opportunist thief by making the abuser's experience as unpleasant as possible without having a detrimental effect on the user.

SmartLock is essentially a cable lock that has cores of compressed air and liquid running through its body. If cut, the liquids spray out over the perpetrator, his tools, the bike and the scene of the crime.

A bike that has been stolen will be covered in dye and Smartwater (as will the thief and their tools). The ink renders the bike undesirable and therefore unsellable. If the police recover the bike they can link it to the owner, the thief and even the place it was taken from.

It is lightweight but offers additional protection. It’s quick and easy to use and allows the cyclist to lock both wheels and the frame. If breached, Smart Lock helps the authorities identify your bike, and links the perpetrator to the crime. It also stains the ground identifying areas vulnerable to theft. For more information, or if you have a question, contact

Forensically equipped cable lock

Not yet in production.

Sold Secure Rating

At the core of the lock is a 10mm flexible steel cable. This is surrounded by an extrusion that houses cores of compressed air and liquid.

The lock barrel and lever components are surrounded by a hardened steel casing which is in turn encased in a Dupont Hytrel moulding.

• The lock is very light weight allowing it to be transported easily
• Breaking the lock without becoming marked requires tools and procedures that are not currently associated with the theft M.O.s
• The chances of getting caught are higher so thieves are more likely to leave your bike alone
• If it is breached it can help reunite you with your bike if it is recovered

• The lock on its own lacks the physical protection that solid chain or D locks offer
• Due to it containing air under pressure the lock will have a set shelf life and will need servicing within 24 months of manufacture


©2008 // DESIGN AGAINST CRIME RESEARCH CENTRE // LONDON WC1B 4AP fully funded by the AHRC / EPSRC Designing for the 21st Century Initiative