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How to install a vintage frame lock in 3 easy steps

In this article I’m going to explain how to install a vintage frame lock on your bicycle.

Frame locks, also known as ring locks, are the most user-friendly locks available for bicycles. Frame locks are usually found on normal city bikes and touring bikes, not road bikes, mtb’s, or even small children bikes.

Let’s get started.

Video Tutorial

What’s a frame lock

You can recognize old frame locks because of their characteristic round form. And the rectangular keys with a short 90 degree angle at the end. Of course frame locks come in more varieties than the one just mentioned.

Frame lock mounts

During the eighties frames started to accommodate these type of locks with dedicated frame bosses for easy installation. If you’re frame doesn’t have these bosses, because it’s too old, you’ll need special adapters and bolts to fit the lock. Although vintage frame locks are hard to find, these adapter sets are still made and sold.

Axa also sells newer types of frame lock mounts called flex mounts. They work the same way without the vintage look.

Installing the vintage frame lock

Installing a frame lock is relatively easy and can be done in 10 minutes or less using the proper equipment.

Step 1. Getting the frame lock in place

I installed the vintage frame lock on my wife’s Ricardo Sport 3-speed from 1976. The width of the lock opening at the bottom is smaller than the diameter of the bicycle’s rear fender. That means you have to get the frame lock in place moving it in sideways. I’d already mounted dress guards. And I had to slightly move these dress guards first so I could get the lock in where the dress guards side dips inwards.

Step 2. Installing the frame lock mounts

The following step is to get both frame lock mounts in place and to bolt the frame lock in place.

If you have them you can add a serrated lock washer which prevents the bolt from loosening. These can be found at your local hardware store or LBS.

Step 3. Aligning the frame lock

Before you completely tighten down the bolts make sure the frame lock sits straight over your rear wheel. This is best achieved by standing over it and looking down to see if both arms are equally spaced from the wheel. If you’re happy with the result you can proceed to tighten down the frame lock and you’re done!

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