The Tradition of ABUS

Apr 6, 2014
by Danielle Baker  
Abus title image
ABUS invited us to tour their locations in Rehe, Germany, where they recently celebrated 90 years of innovation and production. Along the way, we learned about the tradition that has kept them at the top of their game.

bigquotesWhat struck me when I went to the factories in Germany was how clean and safe the working conditions are and how openly they allow the media access to the facilities. - Joan Hanscom, ABUS USA

ABUS - August Bremicker S hne was founded in 1924. It is still family owned and is guided according to christian principles. At the beginning the company was limited to the manufacture of padlocks.
  Family owned and operated since 1924, ABUS has built an international reputation for providing security.

A sculpture of an oversized padlock stands in the village square in Volmarstein, Germany. Perhaps an unusual subject for public art or a tourist attraction, the padlock celebrates August Bremicker, who started the company ABUS (August Bremicker and Sons/ August Bremicker und Söhne) there in 1924. The people of Volmarstein have always had a reputation for being innovative and industrious; in 1754 when a fired destroyed their town they rebuilt their homes with ruins from the castle. August continued this tradition of innovation when he and his four sons began producing “The Iron Rock” padlock in their cellar. Nine decades later the company continues to be family owned and operated and runs an international operation based on traditional values and standards.

  For the first twenty years, the company gained success with the production of padlocks only.

By 1930, only 6 years from its inception, ABUS had grown exponentially with 80% of the company’s orders being shipped internationally. By 1938 they had transitioned from a five person operation in a small village cellar, to 300 employees in a 6,000 square meter production facility. Their near instant success, though, came to a sudden stop when World War II halted their growth and production. Six years later in 1947, they resumed operations with 70 employees and were forced to branch out and develop new markets beyond padlocks in order to survive. This push to innovate in other areas has led to the production of door locks, smoke detectors and surveillance systems, among other areas. But most importantly to us, the post war economy eventually led ABUS to develop bike locks.

The first Idea of U and Bike locks. Years ago.
  The original bike and U-Locks from 1958 and 1971 respectively.

Along with creating the first brass padlock in 1958 (previous padlocks were made of sheet metal or steel), ABUS introduced the 1000 Bicycle Lock. Thirteen years later, the first U-Lock was invented - an evolution on their original padlock design, and what is still considered the most secure bike lock design to date. While the principal engineering of the lock has continued to be proven over the years, ABUS’ developmental changes have created more functional iterations for our varying biking lives.

The U-lock is put into shape.
  The U-lock taking shape during production.

Partnerships with their raw material providers have allowed ABUS to have more participation in selecting the right metals for their U-Lock production. High-grade steel allows for a lighter lock without sacrificing security, temper hardening allows the locks to maintain a flexible inner core with a hard outer surface for better cut and torsion resistance.

Abus internal engineers are working together with their steel and raw material producers to gain the best results for the finished product.
  ABUS engineers work together with their raw material providers to acquire the best metals for each product.

Its easy to heckle a normal spiral lock with a bolt cutter. Its impossible to cut drill open the U-lock without big tools.
  Normal spiral locks are easily compromised with a set of bolt cutter, however it is impossible to cut, drill, or open the U-lock without the use of more powerful tools.

bigquotesAt Abus there is a dedication to making the locks as high quality as possible and not necessarily trying to hit any special price points. - Axel Roesler, ABUS Germany

When August and his sons began producing curtain locks out of their home, each lock was hand produced; a process that has continued to be an important tradition for the last ninety years. With ten locations worldwide, ABUS is still producing handmade locks and despite the more demanding requirements of an international company, each lock is hand assembled and tested before being shipped. Even the tooling required to create the products is designed and made in-house, carrying on the quality that became famous from small cellar in Volmarstein.

He s testing if everything fits perfect. Otherwise it will need to be shaped again.
  Shackles are hand tested after hardening to guarantee ease of use after final assembly

Building the molding machine for foldable locks.
  Machines, including this moulding machine for foldable locks, are designed and built in-house.

The final lock including the cylinder is build together by hand.
  The final lock, including the cylinder, is assembled by hand.

The ABUS location in Rehe is the home of on-site testing that includes corrosion tests, 300 hours at -40C on a rattle machine, freezing to -80C and a series of destructive tests including hammer blow, car jack, and bolt cutter simulations, as well as a torsion machine. The adherence to decades of rigorous testing has led the company to develop their own internationally recognized seal of quality: “Security Tech Germany”. All of the attempts at destruction occur next door to the Research and Development department, allowing the two teams to work in tandem throughout the development stages. Additionally, feedback from law enforcement and insurance companies helps the engineers to tackle current and ever changing security challenges.

Corrosion long term testing.
  Corrosion long term testing.

Testing. The deeply frozen U-lock stays strong. The sledgehammer and pulling test failed. After 7500kg of pulling force it breaks but its still not possible to open it without a key.
  Even after breaking at 7500kg of pulling force, this lock still had to be opened with a key.

Abus testing image

ABUS' recent introduction of their compact, yet secure Bordo lock is evidence of the continued commitment to innovation that was spawned in the post war economy. The Bordo was born out of an effort to make security convenient and therefore increase the use of bike locks, feedback and approval from their employees on the product has helped create this "foldable lock which can very quickly strap to any bikes as you are heading out." Perhaps the most beneficial feature they offer for the 'bike enthusiast' is the options to have multiple locks keyed the same. From on the truck to out at the bar to in the garage, imagine the freedom of having on key to rule them all, instead of carrying a keyring that makes your high school janitor envious. ABUS has taken to heart the idea that a bike lock is only good if someone is using it and worked this idea into their development process.

manual and atomatic operation of the Bordo lock.
  The manual and automated production of the Bordo lock.

bigquotesWith my 14 years at Abus I look like a fresh starter compared to the average employee. While visiting us you will see many 25, 30, and 35 anniversary posters hanging behind the different work stations! - Axel Roesler, ABUS Germany

This dedication to evolving the product may be in part to thank for the old-world tradition of employee retention at ABUS. A walk through the German facility reveals posters celebrating workplace anniversaries; some of 30 years or more. The continuation of tradition has created a company culture where employees are actively encouraged to communicate their ideas in relation to improving their workplaces and processes. Next to the necessary qualifications, ABUS hires people who want to contribute, people who will take ownership and pride in their projects. And whether it is intentional or not, they hire riders.

With 90 years of experience and a strong foundation of family values over multiple generations, ABUS continues to have a strong presence the security industry by continuing August's tradition of handmade locks.

After 60years its still working.
  Sixty years later these locks are still working.

bigquotesHow many of us ride? We are all bike commuters or racers. - Joan Hanscom, ABUS USA

Author Info:
daniellebaker avatar

Member since May 10, 2007
235 articles

  • 81 5
 This story got me Locked into it as it was so good , it had so many Key points ...
  • 15 34
flag OS141121 (Apr 6, 2014 at 21:20) (Below Threshold)
 Not for a moment did the story leave me with a sense of BORDOm
  • 7 6
 The puns are on fire! Its hard to escape from this dome of punnyness, as if you have me on lockdown
  • 16 0
 Yeah, I was shackled to my computer reading this article for sure!
  • 5 3
 It seems like ABUS has their manufacturing processes on lock!
  • 4 2
 These puns have unlocked a new level of humor...
  • 11 13
 Better post this thread on Tumbler.
  • 5 1
 The Key thing is knowing the design behind your lock and feeling Secure in the knowledge of the design behind it.
  • 3 1
 alright, lock this debate.
  • 2 2
 Another key thing is also to know your lock puns. I also found a lack of Bordo m in this story
  • 9 1
 great article, and great company.

not a criticism of ABUS itself as none of its competitors offer anything more secure either, but sadly there is no lock on the market that can defeat a thief armed with current cutting tools (in London they favour a compact, light weight battery powered angle grinder with tungsten carbide disc). I've seen a demo of this tool on the highest rated ABUS and Kryptonite locks, both D-Locks and security chains / padlocks, and it was frightening just how quick these locks were defeated.

Check this out as well:

Recent BBC News documentary showed attacks on bicycle locks in broad day light, on busy London streets, and during multiple attacks, not one attacker was stopped, questioned or challenged by anyone.

the answer? Don't leave your valued bike locked on the street...
  • 1 0
 This article is off the chain !
  • 6 0
 increasingly I think the way to go with bike security is stealth security i.e. don't give the impression that there's anything worth nicking in the first place. I.e I was going to fortify the door on my bike garage with 2 closed shackle looks and 2 heavy duty hasp & staple hinges with coach bolts but I think the way to go is take one of those off and then go ape-shit in the garage itself i.e. alarm, double chains, ground anchor and spear trap etc
  • 4 0

good advice. Stealth and max security!

Make it so difficult if they break into your property that they will need so much time to defeat your security that they will:

-give up and take your 3D TV instead

-or stay so long and make so much noise trying to take your bike(s), that they get caught!

I actually lock my bikes to their wall mounts, inside my property, (in the house, not the garage) using a combination of many different products to make it difficult, and a number of the wall mounts are 8 foot off the ground, making it very hard to attack the locks
  • 6 1
 ^^Where did you learn all that about security? Before or after you became Hamburglar?^^
  • 5 0

the 'bandit has always been the 'bandit Wink

the 'bandit got his nick name from many encounters with "the law" over illegal trail building and illegal mountain biking in a prominent area of NW London, England
  • 3 1
 its Safe to say that we should Chain this conversation up because its going a bit too far.
  • 2 0

"Robble robble"
  • 12 1
 This is a really cool story. Thanks for sharing. I have been biking for a long time and had never heard of this brand until now. I own a very nice Kryptonite because it's the standard around here. Maybe I will add another nice lock set when I get a new bike this year.

Not enough people take their bike security seriously. They are high value pieces of equipment, and conveniently enough, are quick to escape on (go figure). Spend the money and get some quality security for your ride - or you will be bummed if it ever gets swiped!
  • 6 0
 Agreed. Working at a bike shop, it astounds me to no end how people can spend a good chunk of money on a bike only to turn around at get a $20 cable-lock that you can nearly cut with a pair of scissors.

Needless to say, we keep a compromised cable-lock in eyesight near our lock display.

We carry both Krypto and ABUS locks at our shop. It's win/win between the brands.
  • 1 0
 to bad they dont work...
  • 9 0
 great insight of this well known germany it is hard not to get in touch with abus when buying a lock. in 2015 they are going to make 27.5 and 29 inch specific locks only i have heard.
  • 10 2
 These locks are great they can take a lot of ABUS.
  • 5 0
 No matter the best lock if they cut the bike instead. Happened to me.
  • 3 0
 Holy shit, do you mind sharing your story? That sucks, sorry man! Frown
  • 5 1
 I hate to be that one, but please fix this! "approval from there employees" It hurts Frown
  • 1 0
 Abus also make really good anchor loops for attaching to walls/floor. And their Diskus padlocks are awesome - certainly here in the UK you can buy their 20 series Diskus padlocks for not much more than the cheaper imitations made in China, branded with 'reputable' UK makes.

And if you don't think their bicycle grade locks are good enough, they also have a motorbike grade line of locks, including D-Locks. My Cove is sitting in the bike shed at work right now with Granit eXtreme 59 D-Locks on it.

The other thing I like about Abus locks is the strength of the key - not some flimsy flat piece of bendy metal like you get with Masterlock.
  • 5 1
 With over 90 years experience it's basically a turn-key operation.
  • 6 1
 Which Bus?
  • 2 0
 This is actually refreshing to see some history, posts like this are cool &, get our minds off of 26" wheel genocide thats been going on, keep it up PB!
  • 3 0
 The power of German engineering.
  • 4 0
 Great story
  • 2 0
 I did not know they were hand made and I have two of those folding locks too!
  • 2 0
 Great article, I love the insight in to a passionate company like this that many of us take for granted. Good stuff!
  • 1 0
 They just cut through your frame if your locks too much hassle! All your parts add up to quite some value without the frame. Best defence is insurance!
  • 2 0
 "Sixty years later these locks are still working"

It's a padlock not a car, of course they still work :/
  • 3 0
 Not all locks will keep working due to weather and corrosion even masterlock padlocks even stop working after so many years..
  • 1 0
 had to have multiple padlocks cut off my locker in high school cause they would just jam shut for no reason. in a climate controlled, shake/ rattle free environment even
  • 1 0
 Yes but a padlock from the 50's will have such basic parts inside it will look like something the Victorians built which I would expect to work forever. Modern padlocks are more complex and to be honest most padlocks I had jam on me was because they were either cheap or weren't properly lubricated.
  • 1 0
 Fantastic company! Even more proud that we are carrying several of their products (including helmets) now that I've read their interesting history.
  • 2 0
 A chain reaction of puns, no doubt.
  • 1 0
 Good D-lock and an old/ understated bike is the best combo for urban commuting.
  • 3 2
 Ha! I see what u guys did there...
  • 2 2
 this is what happened last time i used a bike lock haha! never again
  • 2 1
 We need enduro specific locks Smile
  • 1 2
 Does it come in many sizes as well?
  • 1 4
 They should make an enduro specific lock just for 27.5 inch wheels...
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