DIY Cable Lock For Motorcycle Gear and Helmet

Help keep your jacket and helmet secure with this easy to make $10 cable lock.

DIY motorcycle cable lock
This setup may not keep your gear totally secure, but it will definitely help fend off thieves looking for easy pickings.©Motorcyclist

Lugging your jacket and helmet into a restaurant or supermarket is a pain, but leaving your gear on your bike means anyone can walk away with it. Help keep your kit secure with this simple cable lock. It takes just 10 minutes to make and calls for less than $10 in materials. Is this setup going to keep your gear totally secure? Absolutely not! But it will help fend off thieves looking for easy pickings, and prevent anyone without a pair of wire cutters from walking off with your stuff.

DIY cable lock supplies
Step 1
Here’s what you’ll need: six feet of vinyl-coated 1/16-inch cable; a package of aluminum 1/16-inch ferrules; and a small padlock. This stuff is available at any hardware store and cost just $9.31 at the Home Depot. You can boost the security level with thicker cable and a stouter lock, but that would blow the budget. And besides, the compact size of this setup means it’s lightweight and easy to carry.©Motorcyclist
$10 helmet lock
Step 2
Using wire strippers, remove 5 inches of the vinyl coating from each end of the cable. You can use uncoated cable, but it’ll likely scratch your bike’s paint and won’t look as flashy. (Especially if you ride a Kawasaki.) Don’t have wire strippers? A razor blade will do the trick if you’re careful.©Motorcyclist
Helmet lock how-to
Step 3
Slide two ferrules onto the end of the cable and then loop the cable over and slip it back into the ferrules. Make sure the end of the cable sits flush with the ferrule and doesn’t poke out.©Motorcyclist
Motorcycle tech tips on helmet locks
Step 4
In the absence of a swaging tool to crimp the ferrules (who has a swaging tool lying around, anyway?), clamp the ferrules in a vise to compress them around the cable. If you don’t have a vise handy you can get the job done with a set of burley channel-lock pliers. Crimp the ferrules one at a time.©Motorcyclist
Helmet lock how-to
Step 5
Repeat the process with the other end and you’re done. Keep the cable and lock under your seat or even in your jacket pocket. When you get where you’re going, run the cable through your jacket sleeve and helmet chin bar and then loop it around your bike’s subframe or a fork leg. It’s not the most secure setup around, but it will deter opportunistic crooks and offer you some peace of mind while you’re away from your bike.©Motorcyclist
Heat shrink how-to
Step 6
Bonus step! Have some heat-shrink tubing lying around? Slide some over the exposed cable ends and before you crimp the ferrules. The heat-shrink looks nice and should reduce the cable’s likeliness of scratching painted surfaces. Plus it hides our crappy crimp job.©Motorcyclist