No Keys: What Are My Options? SOLVED

wduffy

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USA
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Hi all! I paid a pretty price for a demo model Sondors LX. Problem: It did not come with a key to the integrated battery, and I want to know about my options/solutions. No, the bike is not hot. Here's some background info>

You may not know that Sondors (who was once the king of Kickstarter "ebikes for everyone" campaign--for a year, they held the title of having the most successful Kickstarter campaign ever which eventually produced the popular $500 "X" model of ebike), is currently circling the bankruptcy drain. After their initial success, they branched out and started making various models of hub-drive and mid-drive ebikes. But now 7 years later, their California offices have been emptied of employees and closed; no one is answering the phones (which don't exist anyway...and their customer service has always been the pits regardless).

I live in Florida, and I previously bought a Sondors mid-drive LX several years ago, shown in the pic. I simply love the unique frame design. Anyway, about a year before the company went belly-up, Sondors pulled the LX model from their website and stopped manufacturing it--I guess it just wasn't popular enough. I thought that was my last chance to ever get my hands on another one (for my partner, who really wanted one as well).

So imagine my surprise when I found a demo model of the LX for sale online with only 3 miles on the odometer at a Torrance, California ebike shop, GO Ebikes. (The brick-and-motrar store used to be a Sondors reseller. But now that no Sondors bikes are being made, I guess they've pivoted to other brands.) Anyway, I excitedly (without much thought) bought the bike and paid a ton for them to dismantle it and ship it to me in Florida.

It arrived with some damage that I am fixing, but there's one thing I can't fix: There are no keys to the battery. I called the seller who said two things at the same time: "Demo bikes don't come with keys" and then several minutes later "We usually zip tie keys to the handlebar. They should be there." Of course, there were no keys. The bike was shoddily packed in a non-Sondors box which is why the shipping damage occurred. I realized I was dealing with "used car salesman" levels of irresponsibility.

I am on my own trying to solve this. I have to be able to remove the battery from the bike in order to load it onto my rack. It's a 75-pound beast of a bike. Removing the battery cuts the weight down by about 15 pounds. I can't have it replaced since the bike is no longer made. Sondors no longer exists. The seller is shifty.

So, what are my options? I don't want money back, and I don't want to return the bike since I'll never get another one. I want to solve the problem if possible.

Do I try to pick the lock to release the battery so maybe I can get a key made? Or am I better off drilling the lock and trying to replace the core, or...? I don't really know what my options are here and what products, tools, processes I should be looking at.

Thanks for any insight!
 

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Gas cap keys often work in these little ebike battery locks. IIRC some of the Sondors models worked with a Honda key.

Sondors is not bankrupt just yet. They outsourced their parts to a former employee who has a bike shop in SoCal. He has all of their spares now, and is slowly working thru the Sondors support ticket backlog. If you want to try and jumpstart the service process, I suggest you join the Sondors Storm Owners Group and ask for help from the other owners. Usually those threads get picked up and referred to that tech person and we see threads where he often responds after digging up their support ticket and providing a result to them.
 
I lost the keys for a battery a few years ago. Bought a see-thru padlock with lock picks on ebay,. Tried to learn lock picking. Let's say I learned the theory, but I could barely pick the demo lock while being able to watch the tumblers move,. However, I found the key and never needed it.

Meanwhile, I did try to pick the lock on a similar battery and after a half hour of random swipes, it opened! That means a skilled locksmith could easily pick it. However, based on what I have read on this forum, there are few skilled locksmiths,

Years ago, I had a locksmith make me a new key for my car. He sat in the drivers seat, stuck in a blank, and determined the pattern by noting the marks on the blank. Then he would file out the notch and continue. Took less than 15 minutes, including buffing the new key. I would suggest the locksmith rather than learn picking. Half the battle is knowing which way the key turns. You don't even know that.

Sonders, in my opinion, created the fat tire ebile craze in America. Made himslef a lot of money using other peoples money. That's the way you do it, money for nothey and chicks for free.
 
If it has a standard looking lock I'd say buy lock picking tools on Amazon and give it a try. I did this several years ago for a Master lock that I lost the keys for. I was able to open it in a minute or two (or less) and for fun picked several other locks around the house including a motorcycle ignition lock and was able to pick them all repeatedly, and often within a few seconds, so it wasn't a fluke. Maybe they aren't all that easy but the ones I tried were. Lock picking tools are cheap, give it a try.
 
I have a very good locksmith in my area who's been in the industry forever. He even has a cool John Denver haircut! A good locksmith can pick it and make a new key from the tumbler assembly. I'd try a Honda key blank, as mentioned above, first since they seem to open all sorts of weird stuff. Good luck and post your results.
 
View attachment 167550Hi all! I paid a pretty price for a demo model Sondors LX. Problem: It did not come with a key to the integrated battery, and I want to know about my options/solutions. No, the bike is not hot. Here's some background info>

You may not know that Sondors (who was once the king of Kickstarter "ebikes for everyone" campaign--for a year, they held the title of having the most successful Kickstarter campaign ever which eventually produced the popular $500 "X" model of ebike), is currently circling the bankruptcy drain. After their initial success, they branched out and started making various models of hub-drive and mid-drive ebikes. But now 7 years later, their California offices have been emptied of employees and closed; no one is answering the phones (which don't exist anyway...and their customer service has always been the pits regardless).

I live in Florida, and I previously bought a Sondors mid-drive LX several years ago, shown in the pic. I simply love the unique frame design. Anyway, about a year before the company went belly-up, Sondors pulled the LX model from their website and stopped manufacturing it--I guess it just wasn't popular enough. I thought that was my last chance to ever get my hands on another one (for my partner, who really wanted one as well).

So imagine my surprise when I found a demo model of the LX for sale online with only 3 miles on the odometer at a Torrance, California ebike shop, GO Ebikes. (The brick-and-motrar store used to be a Sondors reseller. But now that no Sondors bikes are being made, I guess they've pivoted to other brands.) Anyway, I excitedly (without much thought) bought the bike and paid a ton for them to dismantle it and ship it to me in Florida.

It arrived with some damage that I am fixing, but there's one thing I can't fix: There are no keys to the battery. I called the seller who said two things at the same time: "Demo bikes don't come with keys" and then several minutes later "We usually zip tie keys to the handlebar. They should be there." Of course, there were no keys. The bike was shoddily packed in a non-Sondors box which is why the shipping damage occurred. I realized I was dealing with "used car salesman" levels of irresponsibility.

I am on my own trying to solve this. I have to be able to remove the battery from the bike in order to load it onto my rack. It's a 75-pound beast of a bike. Removing the battery cuts the weight down by about 15 pounds. I can't have it replaced since the bike is no longer made. Sondors no longer exists. The seller is shifty.

So, what are my options? I don't want money back, and I don't want to return the bike since I'll never get another one. I want to solve the problem if possible.

Do I try to pick the lock to release the battery so maybe I can get a key made? Or am I better off drilling the lock and trying to replace the core, or...? I don't really know what my options are here and what products, tools, processes I should be looking at.

Thanks for any insight!
So an ebike shop sold you this bike without a key? Just curious as to their suggestion on how to get it to turn on. Somethins fishy...
 
So an ebike shop sold you this bike without a key? Just curious as to their suggestion on how to get it to turn on. Somethins fishy...
The key is only needed for battery access (like removing the battery to lessen the weight to lift it onto a bike rack). Key is not needed to operate the bike. The bike turns on and off through the LCD display only (with an optional on/off button on the battery itself.) I can operate the bike just fine, but I need to remove the battery to transport it, which I do often and travel long distances with the bike on a rack. (Actually when I called the ebike shop to ask where the key was, their actual first response was: "Well, even without the key you can still ride it" which was lots of help there, ugh.)
 
See if there are any Maker type groups in your area. I linked to older stuff that can help trigger ideas. In these groups, you may be able to source out lock picking groups. If anything it can help get you into the battery area to see what you need to buy to replace the locking side of the battery.
 
The key is only needed for battery access (like removing the battery to lessen the weight to lift it onto a bike rack). Key is not needed to operate the bike. The bike turns on and off through the LCD display only (with an optional on/off button on the battery itself.) I can operate the bike just fine, but I need to remove the battery to transport it, which I do often and travel long distances with the bike on a rack. (Actually when I called the ebike shop to ask where the key was, their actual first response was: "Well, even without the key you can still ride it" which was lots of help there, ugh.)
Oh, well then that's fine. As long as you can charge it. Still, hopefully you got a great deal. My guess is there is a crafty locksmith that can make you a spare key...
 
lx-key-stuff.jpg
Well, with some fortitude, problem solved (no locksmith involved).
1. Bought a lockpick set for around $15 on Amazon.
2. Watched a few Youtube vids.
3. 20 minutes to fumble around picking the barrel lock.
4. Success! Then, removed the integrated battery!
5. Removed the lock assembly from the ebike (from inside the bike frame battery compartment).
6. Removed the core from the lock.
7. Removed the "wafers" from the core (the little metal rectangles in the pic which stick up out of the core and prevent the key from turning if it is the wrong one).
8. Using a key I had for another ebike (same model), fitted it into the core, replaced the "wafers" by shuffling them around at random until they mostly fit (flattened) with the wrong key, allowing the key to turn (mostly). Youtube told me this process is apparently called "re-keying."
9. Filed down a few edges on the wafers that were still sticking up and preventing the key from turning smoothy.
10. Success! Now it opens with the key that also opens the other bike. Two bikes, one key.
11. Send hate mail to the company who sold me an ebike without a damn key.

But no hate mail here! THANKS for everyone's suggestions!
 
Those look the same as the set I have,although I can't find them now, just like the lost keys that caused me to buy the picks in the first place. If I recall correctly I mostly used the second one from the bottom in your picture to rake the pins while turning the lock with the dedicated turning tool.
Good job!
 
You got all Lock Picking Lawyer on that battery lock and won! Nice outcome!
 
View attachment 167922Well, with some fortitude, problem solved (no locksmith involved).
1. Bought a lockpick set for around $15 on Amazon.
2. Watched a few Youtube vids.
3. 20 minutes to fumble around picking the barrel lock.
4. Success! Then, removed the integrated battery!
5. Removed the lock assembly from the ebike (from inside the bike frame battery compartment).
6. Removed the core from the lock.
7. Removed the "wafers" from the core (the little metal rectangles in the pic which stick up out of the core and prevent the key from turning if it is the wrong one).
8. Using a key I had for another ebike (same model), fitted it into the core, replaced the "wafers" by shuffling them around at random until they mostly fit (flattened) with the wrong key, allowing the key to turn (mostly). Youtube told me this process is apparently called "re-keying."
9. Filed down a few edges on the wafers that were still sticking up and preventing the key from turning smoothy.
10. Success! Now it opens with the key that also opens the other bike. Two bikes, one key.
11. Send hate mail to the company who sold me an ebike without a damn key.

But no hate mail here! THANKS for everyone's suggestions!
You tube is great for these type things. I watched one the other day that helped me fix a kitchen faucet leak. Saved me at least 350 plumber call...
 
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