Most bike locks can be cracked by would-be thieves with the right tools, making the locks a good-enough, but not perfect, security solution. Not to mention that you have to lug a lock and key around with you everywhere you go.
Now, three engineering students in Chile -- Juan José Monsalve, Andrés Roi, and Cristóbal Cabello -- have come up with what may be the perfect solution, a bike lock that doesn't require a lock at all.
The students built the first working prototype bike, code-named the Yerka Project. The bike's down tube at the bottom of the frame splits apart and wraps around an object such as a post or tree, and the bike's seat post is then slotted through both ends of the down tube to complete the lock. Once you've got everything in place, you simply take out the lock pin on the end of the down tube to seal the lock. The whole process takes less than 20 seconds, letting you be on your way in almost no time.
Thieves would be ill-advised to try to steal the Yerka Project because it requires breaking the frame, which renders the bike all but useless. That said, the current prototype doesn't secure the wheels and saddle, so you'd probably want to take those with you if you're worried about them being stolen. Hopefully the creators will figure that out with the next prototype so we can have the world's first truly theft-proof bike.
As it stands, the Yerka Project is just a project, and there's no word on whether we'll see these bikes hit store shelves. With bike theft still a major problem in metropolitan areas, we can only hope the work translates into a widely available product sooner rather than later.