Can you distinguish a double bit lock from a European cylinder?

Seaside or mountains? Dog or cat? Double bit or European cylinder? Life is full of choices and when you have to choose a lock for your front door the first decision you are facing is between a double bit lock and a European cylinder. It is a decision that can intimidate laymen, because the two types have various strengths and weaknesses. Let’s start to understand how to distinguish one from the other. It is very simple, let’s see how.To start with,the 2 locks can be recognised at a glance by the key:

Keys for European cylinder by Viro

Keys for European cylinder.

Double bit key.

Double bit key.

and by the keyhole:

Keyhole of a European cylinder by Viro

Keyhole of a European cylinder.

Keyhole of a double bit key.

Keyhole of a double bit key.

When they are removed from the door the 2 locks look like this:

Lock with European cylinder protected by security escutcheon, both by Viro

Lock with European cylinder protected by security escutcheon.

Double bit lock.

Double bit lock.

Double bit locks (generally) consist of a single body; they must therefore be purchased, installed and replaced as one (there are, however, also double bit locks in which it is possible to replace only the so-called “bundle of gorges” — that is, the set of discs that mate with the key when this rotates in the keyhole).
However, locks with European cylinders consist of the lock itself (the part with one or more dead-bolts/sliding bolts):

Lock.

Lock.

operated by the cylinder in which the key is inserted.

A Viro cylinder

Cylinder.

It is therefore necessary to purchase and install both the lock and the cylinder. It is then possible to replace only one of these items, if necessary. For example, if there is a malfunction of the dead-bolt it is possible to replace just the lock, whilst, if you wish to change the keys, you can replace merely the cylinder.
As can be seen, the two types have different shapes and dimensions; so if it is necessary to replace a lock already installed and you do not want to change the door it is necessary to choose a lock of the same type and the same size.
European cylinder locks are a particular variant of cylinder locks. There are also cylinders with other shapes (the most common are oval, especially for aluminium doors, or round, particularly for iron gates):

Oval profile cylinder.

Oval profile cylinder.

Round profile cylinder.

Round profile cylinder.

The European profile cylinder, also called simply “European”, is distinguished by the shape of the profile:

European profile.

European profile.

All European profile cylinders are compatible with all European cylinder locks, regardless of make and model. The only variant can be represented by the shape and/or angle of the cam.
Double bit locks and European cylinder locks have different strengths and weaknesses, we will look at them in detail in a future blog: continue to follow us!
Watch how a lock with a European profile cylinder is fitted
You can see the catalogue of Viro locks and cylinders here

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