Cracking the Wordlock Combination Bicycle Cable Lock

If you are twelve years old this project will probably take you less than ten minutes, counting the time it takes to watch a YouTube video. For two adults trying to open a Wordlock cable lock acquired for free at a yard sale because no one knew the secret word, this took three days. You might fare better than we did, but there’s no guarantee your WordLock will work quite the same as this one, or as the cable locks did in the several instructional videos we watched.

We found several different methods described and none of them worked for our Wordlock. This one seems like an older version and it has some quirks.

Method One involves turning the righthand wheel until you hear a click, then turning the wheel to teft of it until it clicks, and etc. Only two of the four wheels on this one clicked.

Wordlock solved! in less than three days, sigh

Wordlock solved! in less than three days, sigh

Method Two depends upon finding the letter that has a little extra give when the cable is pulled. None of the letters on any of the four wheels did this for us.

Method Three suggests looking for the letter with extra turning resistance and this did eventually work but not quite as it did in the YouTube video.

What seems to be the key to cracking our version of the WordLock is finding the right wheel sequence, because none of these methods worked if we went from right to left or left to right. To find the first wheel in the sequence I put tension on the cable and chose the wheel that turned the easiest, which was the third when counting left to right. Keeping tension on the cable I turned the wheel until I found a pair of letters with greater resistance. Passing though one of the letters, I felt a click, so I stopped on that one.

Then with tension still on the cable i found the wheel with the easiest movement, this time number two, and located a letter pair on it that also showed more resistance, and stopped on the one where i felt a click. The next wheel in the sequence was number four and it worked the same way. When I hit the right letter on wheel one, the lock popped open.

Although none of the methods we watched on YouTube worked on this version of the WordLock cable lock, each video had an essential key to the puzzle. Lock manufacturers constantly revise their products to counter known lock hacks so there’s no guarantee any specific method will always work, but in general these cable locks seem very easy to crack. Any experienced bicycle thief should be able to hack one in minutes.


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About JTHats

Avid backpacker and outdoorsman with old skills and interests in old ways of doing things; equally fascinated by electronics, from the days of Sputnik, to the Zilog Z80A, to the present day of black box circuitry. Sixty years of experience with growing my own food and living simply. Certified electronics technician, professional woodturner, woodcarver, and graduate of two military survival courses -- Arctic and Jungle.

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