Minimal Protection and Too Short
Review by snowbank
The Dead Lock is an expensive bit of kit providing a minimal level of security against bike theft and the cable is inconveniently often too short. With the cable extended length of 25" it is only capable to secure the bike frame of the bike on the outermost position. With a partly loaded rack you will have to shuffle one bike out to the end position to use the lock. Neither the cable in its thickness nor the lock in its construction would be confused as high security. As others have indicated it is a theft deterrent - probably adequate for the time to get a hamburger at a fast food place in the daytime, but a security illusion for overnight in a parking lot. For a little more money you could get a couple longer thicker cables and a U-lock that would do a much better job and lock to the trailer hitch, not just the rack.
A deterrent, not a guarantee
Review by David
I bought this with my rack and I still have my bikes! I don't know if anyone has ever tried to steal one. The hitch lock is flimsy. Turn the key and you will see there very little metal that acually goes into the groove on the rack bolt itself. This could be improved by perhaps modifying the receiver with a slot and then use a longer piece of metal that inserts into it when one turns the key. As it is today I don't worry about losing the key because one or two good shots with some pliers might take it off. I raise this issue because we park our van in an isolated place where someone could make some noise while they break off the lock.
Review by BigD
As purchased, the lock system does what it's supposed to do. It is an efficient deterrent to theft. Two things stated previously are true, if someone really wants it, they're going to get it. The other thing is that the removal of one bolt and your rack and bicycles are gone. To remedy the latter, take a hammer and small chisel and mar the threads on the offending bolt. It is extremely hardened as per the hash marks on the bolt head. This will prevent the bolt from being removed unless the would be thief has a grinder with him. The bolt should never need to be removed by the owner anyway. One thing further, the cable is also hardened, and it is 3/8", not 1/4" as someone before me stated.
Review by Binksie
This lock is great. With the combination of the hitch lock it provides theft protection from the opportunist criminal. With the right tools a thief could get around the lock. As with anything of value if the thief is out specifically to steal your stuff they will likely get it one way or another. That's what insurance is for!
Keeps honest people honest
Review by Salukis
Decent lock/cable to keep the bikes on the rack. Convenience is the key here, bot absolute protection. Not for long absences or very high crime areas, but it's good enough to get that post-ride drink or when paying for gas at the convenience store.
Sure a thief could remove a bolt to disassemble the hitch, but now they've got a 30+ pound rack with however many bikes attached to it. Kind of unwieldy and would be awkward to move anywhere. It'd be just as quick, and easier (no need to try to unbolt something under a bunch of hanging bikes), to hacksaw through the rack's arm. Besides, if you're expecting a 1/4" cable to protect your ride 100% of the time.....well that's your own fault.
Review by shhQuiet
As several people have mentioned, this lock set is a strong deterrent, but not foolproof. Regardless of the ability to unbolt the hitch altogether, probably the easiest way to steal bikes with these locks is to hacksaw through the arms.
It's like the old saying about running from a bear: you don't have to be faster than the bear, just faster than the guy next to you. These locks will add enough hassle to a thief that they will probably just pick an easier target and leave you alone.
The only drawback I have seen to these locks is the cable could be a bit longer.