How to Remove a Disc Lock An Expert Guide Through a Panic Situation

How to Remove a Disc Lock: An Expert Guide Through a Panicky Situation

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“Keys are for scooter boys! I’m a real motorcyclist! I don’t need NO keys!” – Said NO motorcyclist ever.

Even if I wanted to sound bad-ass, that disc lock on my wheel won’t open itself up. And keys, by definition, like to get lost. A disc lock without a key, only makes your motorcycle a statue in the parking lot. (Had mine grounded for days until I found a locksmith!)

gun play

How to Remove a Disc Lock From Your Motorcycle?

Shoot it with a GUN! That kinda always works in the movies. Riiiight, like every rider carries a gun in his moto-jeans. (**suspenseful music playing**)

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Welcome to Motorbike Secure

But seriously, here is what I have tried to break FREE from the disc lock:

  • Trying it with bolt cutters (That was stupid as forgetting the keys in the first place!)
  • Using a bolt extractor
  • Drilling the keyhole with a titanium drill-bit
  • Cutting it with my AX

    (**“Honey, where did you put the ax?”**)

    (**“What ax?”**)
  • Freezing it with compressed air and beating it with a hammer. ( WARNING: This could be only done while playing old Union songs, due to excessive hammering!)
  • Picking it with a disk-detainer pick
  • Pouring liquid nitrogen over the disc lock (I know some people in the Chemical Department, hehe)
  • Cutting it with the BEST tool ever! The angle grinder.

    And last, but not least.
  • Blowing up the disc lock!

    How did I pull that one off?

    Easy. Mix up some ammonium nitrate, some diesel, a cheap detonator, a firework’s fuse, and… ohh… I need a new motorcycle…

    It didn’t work, but it was hell of fun!

So, Which of Those Methods WORKED?

Using a bolt extractor to break the disc lock is idiot-proof. No muss no fuss. Just use the number 4, or even the number 5 extractor.

Why?

Because with a big bolt extractor, you’re able to put the starting tip into the disc lock’s body. That’s how the extractor starts to chew on the metal, breaking it as it goes further into the lock. Besides the bolt extractor, you’re gonna need a ratchet and some good-old elbow grease.

Disc locks are made out of a Zinc-based alloy metal, which turns to be heavy, but BRITTLE. That’s how the security companies trick you into believing that a 3-pound disk lock would protect your baby.

It WON’T!

Even famous lock companies (HINT: Superman’s poison) produce disc locks that get annihilated by a bolt extractor. (**packing bolt extractors next to the First Aid kit**)

Picking the disc lock with a disc detainer pick delivered NO consequences to the disc lock. Yes, it needed some time to go through every click and lock’s gate, but it works!

I sent the disc lock to the locksmith for rekeying and for producing spare keys.

EDIT: I’m still waiting for the lock to come back. Makes you wonder — how long does re-keying take? I mean, it’s a simple lock, right?

The con is — the disc detainer pick is NOT a standard picking tool. So, you might have trouble finding one in the first place. But when you get it, DON’T LOSE IT! It will come in handy for future ventures.

(**Thinking about becoming a locksmith and bustin’ locks for shekels**)

Cutting it with an angle grinder was the most EPIC thing I have ever done with an angle grinder! It took a while, but it gets the job done. Eventually.

But, I get what you’re thinking.

Where do I find a socket on the street to connect my angle grinder?

Got you covered! Modern hardware stores have those cordless angle grinders that fit with your eyes closed into your backpack. You can use them everywhere.

Play it safe when using an angle grinder around brake rotors and your wheels. I can’t stress enough how important it is to wear protection, also! (Having a close call because of a stupid disc lock that isn’t worth it).

But, be prepared to chat with a representative of the law. It’s not an everyday scenario to find someone angle grinding their own motorcycle!

“Oh, hi there officer! What am I doing with this angle grinder, you may wonder? Well, I’m just cutting this disc lock off.”

“Why, pray tell?”

“Well, I don’t have a key and I really want to ride it…”

“Sir, please put your angle grinder on the floor and step away from the vehicle with your hands in the air!”

(**pointing a taser gun at me**)

How to Break a Disc Lock (Even if It’s the Best There Is)?

attempting to break motorcycle disc lock

REAL WARNING: This is NOT a How-To guide for thieves. There are better ways to earn a living than stealing someone’s motorcycle!

Disc lock brands like Oxford, Abus, Kryptonite have the most BAD-ASS disc locks out there.

But being bad-ass and unpickable can be your biggest enemy!

Without a key to your “supreme” disc lock, your motorcycle ends up being locked like in the worst prison. Those kinds of prisons where escape is only a myth passed from prisoner to prisoner.

Fun fact: ADX prison in Florence is the definition of the worst that’s out there. It withholds literal evil inside its doors. A minimal sentence there is from 30 years to several lifetimes.

We don’t want to end up there, do we?! (Talking to your evil twin sibling.)

Plot twist! You didn’t expect a prison fun fact in the article about disc locks, did you?

So…

How do you break even the best disc locks?

First, get yourself the following:

  • A disc detainer lock pick. (Great tool when your lock is based on the disc detainer locking mechanism. It doesn’t produce any damage to the lock)
  • A set of bolt extractors. (They might say that’s supreme reinforced steel body, but it’s a cheap alloy.)
  • A portable angle grinder. (When the above tools fail, angle grind it to death!)
  • Basic motorcycle tools. (Alen keys, screwdrivers, a ratchet, and other wrenches.)

    You’ll probably need to remove some parts from the front or rear wheel to get better access to the lock.

If you have one of those Oxford Boss disc locks or any other alarmed locks, make sure to remove the batteries. Otherwise, you’ll go deaf because of all the beeping and high-decibel screaming.

Gear is locked and loaded, but how do you begin?

Start small. Go with a disc detainer lock pick. If you don’t know how to use it to unlock the mechanism, check the LockPickingLawyer.

That man picks locks on a GOD level. Seriously! (**adding his whole lockpicking playlist on my YT Queue just for fun**).

What if picking it with a disc detainer lock-pick doesn’t work?

Use raw force!

Insert the bolt extractor right in the U-shaped inner area of the lock. Just above the braking rotor. And start screwing it with the ratchet. Hard!

If the bolt extractor doesn’t break the disc lock’s body, it will certainly bend it. It will be easier to go in with the angle grinder on the weakest-bent point.

As for the last resort, you know what to do.

It’s time to start making some metal sparks!

Always, and I mean always use protection when working with the angle grinder. You’ll be working in a tight, narrow space and there are gazillion ways something could go wrong.

A better way to grind your lock into oblivion is to remove the whole wheel from your motorcycle. Having a firm anchor on the ground is wiser than having a loose one on your forks.

Is There a Better Way of Removing a Disc Lock?

person securing motorcyle with disc lock

Yes, there is!

Instead of bringing half of a workshop to break a small disc lock, you can remove the brake rotor from your wheel. But first, you’ll need to remove the wheel from your motorcycle.

Sounds like a torment?

Well, the alternative is — you’ll look like a truck that’s performing an overhaul on his engine in the middle of the parking lot. And don’t ask me why, when you end up on TikTok with the #DoITtheHardWay.

It’s a no-brainer to send the brake rotor with the disc lock to the locksmith, instead of the whole wheel or even worse… Asking them to come to you! I’ve tried calling a couple of them to pay a visit to my bike and see what type of lock I have. I’m still waiting for them and I’ve solved the issue 3 weeks ago!

The locksmith will lockpick the disc lock like it’s a piece of cake. Plus the service will always be cheaper when you come to them and not the other way around. You can have your lock rekeyed and receive a couple of spare keys in the return.

Just don’t forget them next time, will ya?

What to Do When You Can’t Find Your Disc Lock Keys?

Realize you’ve lost your disc lock keys. (**Panik**)

But motorcycle keys are still there. (**Kalm**)

You’ve lost your disc lock KEYS! (**Panik**)

Experiencing this moment with a surge of fear and panic is overwhelming. But get your gear together, man! You’re a motorcyclist, a master of panic situations and improvisation!

panic GIF

Keys are lost, deal with it. What matters is, what do you do now?!

To avoid looking like a mechanic from a Chopshop in the middle of the parking lot, get your motorcycle home as fast as possible. If you go to find a locksmith and leave the bike unattended for days, it will turn into a beacon for thieves.

They will be hatching a plan to trailer your bike with or without a disc lock. The worst moment humanly imaginable is arriving with the locksmith only to see your motorcycle has disappeared!

There are plenty of towing companies that have trailers for motorcycles. The charge is minuscule compared to the appear-disappear magic trick.

When parked in your garage, you know it’s 100% safe. From there you can start removing the wheel and the brake rotor.

If you have the tools in your garage, bust the lock yourself. If not, get the rotor and disk lock to a locksmith.

Conclusions?

Shooting the disk lock with a gun has about 1% chance to work. (**“Dad, where do you keep your Desert Eagle?”**)

But, make your chances better. Do it with tools that have already been proven to work. Get yourself out of the panic situation faster, instead of ricocheting the poor thing.

Frequently Asked Questions

person locking classic motorcycle with disc lock

Will drilling through a lock open it?

Yes and no.

Yes, if you have a low-budget disc lock with no special locking mechanism.

No, because more expensive locks stay locked even though you’ve drilled through the master cylinder.
It boils down to what disc lock you have.

If it’s a cheaper one, drill the hell out of it.

If it’s more expensive, better go with some other methods.

Can you use bolt cutters on disc lock?

No, if it’s NOT a U-shaped disc lock, like Abus GRANIT. There is NO possible area where the bolt cutter could cut the metal. Everything is thick and bulky like Russian engineering. Some U-shaped disc locks have a U-shape made from special metals. Trying to cut it with bolt cutters does two things:

  • Bolt cutters explode due to the forces applied on the handles (exploded-shatter)
  • They leave a pretty divot in the cutting surface of the cutters