Quick-release levers, as used on some bicycle wheels and seatpost fasteners, are a security vulnerability, because they allow the wheels and saddle to be easily removed. Unless such easily removable components are secured while the bicycle is unattended, they are vulnerable to theft. Sensible locking strategies address this by locking these components in addition to the frame, or by taking the vulnerable components, such as quick-release front wheels, away from the bicycle.

Locking devices vary in size and security, the most secure tending to be the largest, heaviest and least portable. Thus, like other security equipment, bicycle locks must balance the competing interests of security, portability, and cost. Some are made of particularly expensive materials chosen for their acceptable strength and low density.

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