It appears the key to my bike lock broke off my key chain, thus rendering my lock (and to some extent the bike) useless. Is there anything that a cable lock with no key can be useful for? It’s basically like throwing $40 down the drain. It's a really nice cable lock with a Velcro strap that holds it tight and clips into a holder on the bike.

UPDATE: good news I found the backup key! Also, for questions like this what is the expectation for selecting a correct answer?

  • Where did the key break, is part of the key already inside the lock? Can you assemble the whole key? If you have the whole key, or if it partly inserted into the lock, then a locksmith might be able to help you reconstruct a new key.
    – holroy
    Nov 20, 2015 at 23:13
  • @holroy I have no clue what happened, next time I go to unlock my lock the key is no longer on my key chain so I assume it just broke off. There's no remaining pieces of the key on the key ring.
    – Celeritas
    Nov 21, 2015 at 1:43
  • Then you need to look around finding the spare key you got when buying the lock originally. Or go for the decorative (or other alternative) use of it...
    – holroy
    Nov 21, 2015 at 1:47
  • @holroy that's the question: what's an alternative use?
    – Celeritas
    Nov 22, 2015 at 0:17
  • 1
    @Carl just a loop of cable
    – Celeritas
    Nov 22, 2015 at 1:10

1 Answer 1


Depending on the type of lock, a locksmith may be able to first pick the lock (open it without the key), and then make a new key to fit. This is likely to cost approximately as much as a new lock, however, so best ask about cost before leaving the lock with the locksmith. It's almost certain to be cost effective, however, if you can pick the lock yourself and make the new key yourself. There are many YouTube videos on how to do this, and neither task is especially difficult, even with improvised tools (I picked my first lock in under ten minutes, with a bent paper clip and small screwdriver).

Of course, this more or less assumes it's a conventional single-bitted pin- or disc-tumbler lock. If it's a more sophisticated type (double-bitted, barrel key, magnetic, or other complex type), it may be very difficult even to pick, never mind to fabricate a key. If that's the case, you're ahead to cut the lock or cable off the bike (an abrasive wheel on a rotary tool or angle grinder works better than any other method I've tried), and get a new lock (as well as a duplicate key to keep in a safe place at home).

Even if the latter case is the only way out, if you're interested in such things you might keep the lock mechanism itself to learn from.

  • Lol, a locksmith won't even show up for $40, much less carefully duplicate the keyway and cut a new key for you at that price. Jun 26, 2019 at 16:58
  • @Benjamin Lol you do realize this answer is almost four years old, right?
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Jun 26, 2019 at 17:52

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