Abus did the right thing … but did AXA do the wrong thing?!?

Today ABUS announced (trough an ad in the newspapers) they will send a free lock to everybody that has a lock vulnerable to the ‘blank key’ method. It concerns some of the 48 and 4800 series ABUS bicycle ring-locks.
Rumor has we are talking over 100.000 pieces. And they will all be replaced by ABUS … for free.

I read a lot of comments on various Dutch webpages AXA should follow ABUS and do the same. People say it is not fair they ‘only’ receive 50% discount on an additional extra lock.

Now, I disagree with that, not completely, but still … I disagree.

People do not seem to realize all ABUS locks were manufactured after 2005, while AXA produced defective locks between 1998 and 2005. So while a defective ABUS lock is at most two years old (or should I say young?), an AXA lock on average is five years old, and in some cases even nine years! As far as I am concerned this is old enough not to be entitled for a full refund. I think it is fair to give people a full refund if the lock is under four years old, but after that … you should be happy with your discount.

Over the last few days I visited many bicycle shops. A lot of them had stories of customers who did the right thing: they upgraded to an AXA Defender lock and simply paid twenty euro. These people took the warnings in the media serious and did not want to wait to have their bike stolen. Most of them did not even blame AXA. After all, it is a freak accident. A rare mechanical defect discovered by the wrong people, probably by accident. And years after a serious test institute certified the locks. AXA did what it could when these locks were made.

Now, I realize not everybody can easily pay twenty euro for a new lock. And not all bicycle shops will change the lock for free, although most feel it is a service to their customers to do so in this specific case. But still, if you have the money, just find a shop that will replace the lock for twenty euro and get it over with.

Having said that, it would be a good thing if AXA gave a 50% discount on the Defender (or Solid) ringlock, as that is what would make most of their customers happy…. and brush off the negative image they are creating by not making this offer …

6 Responses to “Abus did the right thing … but did AXA do the wrong thing?!?”

  1. Sander says:

    Begrijp ik het goed:

    ABUS-sloten bestaan nog maar sinds 2005. ABUS heeft aangeboden de (Protecta) 48 en 4800 te vervangen?


    AXA-sloten bestaan langer, AXA-sloten zijn ook ‘vulnerable’, maar AXA heeft nog geen aanbod gedaan?!

    Zo ja: klinkt nog niet goed.

  2. Hessel says:

    Je begrijpt het niet goed. Als je het nieuws hebt gevolg, en ook de eerder postings van Barry.

    ABUS sloten bestaan zinds 2005 –> Gratis vervanging
    AXA sloten zijn van 1998 tot 2005 –> 50% korting op een nieuw slot

    Dit lijkt mij netje gezien de leeftijd van de AXA sloten

  3. olea says:

    hello Barry,

    I live in the NL and I got to know about the AXA problem thanks to your website. Since then I have contacted AXA a couple of times (first time i got the standard answer and I have not got the 2nd answer yet).

    I have an SL7 lock and my key has the AX1RP profile. Does that means that my lock is one of the “safe” ones?

    My lock is not so old (2 years max) but, of course, i do not know the time that the lock spent at the shop… I would be happy if AXA replaces my lock by a DEFENDER RL or if, at least, they would apply some discount to that lock.

  4. Barry says:

    Hello Olea,

    Indeed, if your key profile is equal of that of the image on the Dutch toool.nl website it is much more resistant against the ‘blank key attack’… Congratulations 😉

  5. Henk says:

    So I replaced my SL9 with a Defender .. and found out why Axa is reluctant to exchange the lock or sell the Defender at half price:

    Removing an SL9 involves removing the complete rearwheel! The lock is bolted from the wheelside onto the steel mountingplate. This was to prevent the lock from being easaly removed. It will take even an experienced bicycle repairshop more than half an hour. That is: if your original rearfender wasn’t held in place with the same bolt as the lock. In that case a new mount ( or at least a hole ) must be made. A ‘normal’ cyclist can not do this. You need to have technical skills and experience with bikes.
    The result would be that you have to pay another 30 euro or more to the bicycle repairshop. So even with a free Defender, you’d have to pay. If Axa took the tab, they’d not only loose a new lock, but the cost of removing it also. And you cant blame the repair shop for wanted something for their effort, can you?

  6. olea says:


    I emailed AXA to complain about the crappy SL7 lock that they sold to me and I got a “standard” answers saying nothing. I, of course, replied to that email and I just got an email from AXA saying that they do not have anything else to add…
    This is very sad. What a bad management!! somebody should be responsible for this, or not?
    Is there anything that i can still do to complain? anybody knows how to request the AXA book of complaints?