The unfortunate fact of life and society is that in a lot of places, locks are very necessary if you don’t want your precious bicycle to walk off. They can be clunky, heavy and annoying to carry, but they don’t have to be. Here are a few that seem pretty convenient to throw on your bike or in your bag, as well as an all-new locking wall mount and nifty component-locking devices.
The Kryptonite Keeper lock consists of a number of steel links that fold and store nicely in its own little holder. The steel chain links are covered in webbing to prevent your bike from scratches, and the holder affixes to your bike via velcro straps.
RockyMounts is known for manufacturing bike transportation devices for vehicles (roof rack trays, hitch racks, etc), but it’s recently expanded its offerings to include bicycle security devices (aka locks).
The Carlito is touted by RockyMounts to be “the lightest U-lock in the world.” I haven’t seen all the U-locks in the world (or remotely close—I don’t even own one), but it felt impressively light to me and weighs in at just 395 grams. It’s made up of a 14 mm thick aluminum shackle covered in silicon, so it looks extra beefy but doesn’t feel it in your pocket. This lock gets a 4/10 security rating and retails for $39.95. We have one in for review as we speak, so stay tuned for more in-depth thoughts soon!
The Hendrix is a folding lock that is made up of folding steel plates, similar to the Kryptonite shown above. The steel is coated in rubber to avoid any scratches, and the lock folds down to the size of a smartphone. Also included is a water bottle cage mounting bracket. Price: $67.95 with a security rating of 7/10.
Hiplok’s claim to fame is a “wearable” design—locks that can easily be worn around the waist, diagonally across the torso or however else you can figure out how to sport them.
They had a couple new products at Sea Otter to showcase. The Airlok is a wall-mounted bike lock, so that you can secure your bike in your garage, shed, apartment, wherever. It features secure wall mounts, a steel framework and lockable bolt to keep your bike in place. It carries Hiplok’s maximum Gold Secure security rating and will be available in May in three different colors. The wall mount also comes with three coded keys, which are replaceable in case of misplacement if you register them with Hiplok. Price: $179
Z Lok is a reinforced, reusable zip-tie lock that is meant to be conveniently carried in your bag to throw on as added protection from opportunist thieves. This 40 cm long tie consists of a steel core and nylon outer, and automatically locks when looped into place but only unlocks with a key. This seems like a great option for if you’re only running into a store for a minute, or if you’re in a relatively safe area but just want that bit of extra piece of mind.
And, the Z Lok can be used just like a zip tie in a pinch. Apparently, they were used to secure a broken tent at Sea Otter. Seems legit.
The Z Lok comes in a variety of colors and in a two-pack for $20. They will also be available in May.
The Nutfix lock launched earlier this year and is meant to protect bike wheels and saddles against theft. Nutfix caps go on seat clamps and axles, and can only be unlocked if the bike is on its side. So, if your bike is locked in an upright position, a thief can’t unscrew the nut and release your wheel or seatpost.
Axle locks are $34.99 and the seatpost collar lock is $44.99. Both come in a number of different sizes.
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The Messenger Mini+ and WheelBoltz is the total bike lock up package! The Messenger Mini+ allows for you to secure your back wheel and frame while the WheelBoltz act as a deterrent for theft on your front, (and rear wheel when needed).
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Tester: Eric McKeegan
Tallac is a small company in southern California specializing in a few small bike accessories. The Vier lock is an interesting take on the long-established U-lock. Made up of four pieces that can be quickly disassembled and stored in the included zippered pouch, the Vier provides full-size U-lock performance in a bundle the size of a burrito.
The pouch can easily be slipped into a bag or strapped to the saddle rails or in a bottle cage. Tallac is also working on a special carrier that mounts to the bottle cage eyelets. Only one side of the Vier locks, and the shackles attach to the other end with a quarter turn. Everything about this lock looks and feels extremely high quality, with a fit and finish as good as anything I’ve used.
The shackles come in three lengths: 5.25, 7.25 and 9.25 inches. I used the middle length and found it big enough to lock a steel frame and front wheel off the bike, but just barely. The larger size looks big enough to secure at least two bikes.
The Vier lock started life as a successful crowd-funded campaign, so the demand for this lock exists. While my locking needs are often met with a U-lock shoved into a back pocket, riders with a need for high security in a small package should take a look at the Vier.
More info: Tallac House
Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini
Tester: Justin Steiner
Kryptonite’s New York Fahgettaboudit Mini is a burly little lock. On Kryptonite’s 1 to 10 security scale, this beefy lock registers a 10 thanks to an 18 mm, triple-heat-treated shackle and an oversized, hardened steel barrel. Because both ends of the shackle lock, it would need to be cut in two places to be defeated.
With that promise of security comes a big anti-theft protection guarantee of $4,500 should your bike get stolen. This protection is free for the first year, but must be renewed afterward at $10 for a second year or $15 for a second and third year of coverage. Of course, you’ll want to register your lock and read all the fine print on that agreement to make sure you’re in compliance.
As great as the security and protection may be, living with the Fahgettaboudit Mini has its challenges. The 3.25 x 6 inch opening inside the shackle can limit your locking options, particularly on bikes with wide tires.
If you’re running narrow tires you’ll be able to remove and lock the front wheel with the frame and rear wheel, but the odds of doing so decrease as tire size increases. It’s also a chunker, weighing it at 4.6 lbs. If you live in an area that requires high security, you don’t have much choice. Outside of areas requiring ultra-high security, the Fahgettaboudit Mini might be overkill.
More info: Kryptonite Lock
Abus Bordo Centium
Tester: Adam Newman
Here at Bicycle Times we’re big fans of the Bordo family of folding locks from Abus, and the latest Centium model continues our love affair with the German craftsmanship. If you haven’t used one before, the Bordo locks are made from a series of steel plates that unfold into a kind of rope. It’s utterly fantastic for locking to strangely shaped racks, looping through a wheel and making locking up a lot easier than it would be with a small U-lock.
Abus rates the Centium as a 10 on its scale of theft prevention, out of a possible 15, so it’s got you pretty well covered against most kinds of attacks. In highly vulnerable places I’ve taken to using a U-lock through the rear wheel with the “Sheldon Brown method” and the Bordo on the frame and front wheel. You can also order one with a specific key code, so if you have multiple Abus locks with the Plus cylinder you can use them all with the same key. With more than 250,000 key possibilities, that could come in handy.
The 5 mm steel links have a protective coating to prevent scratching your bike, and the stainless steel lock case—carved from a single piece of steel—has a cover for the key cylinder, a nice feature if there’s freezing moisture in the air. Ice can ruin your day in more ways than one.
The Centium comes with an attractive mount with a leather trimmed Velcro strap and a steampunk vibe. While I like the looks, it’s definitely heavier than the simple plastic holster of the other Bordo locks, so don’t be looking to save weight there. However the new bracket is side-loading instead of top-loading, which makes getting the lock in and out a lot easier. At 2.75 pounds, including the bracket, the complete unit is quite hefty, but I’ll trade a bit of weight for security any day.
There’s obviously a little flare to the Centium that you don’t normally get on bike locks, and it’s reflected in the price. For example, it ships in a very attractive commemorative wooden box built for Abus by a local nonprofit agency that empowers and teaches skills to developmentally disabled individuals. Like all Abus products it is made in Germany with more than a century of of lock-making expertise behind it. Whichever Abus Bordo model you choose I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
More info: Abus Locks
Tester: Jon Pratt
From time to time we all need to lock up our bikes in questionable surroundings. For this you need a good, strong lock. However, those kinds of locks are usually heavy and difficult to carry without bags or attachments on your person or bike. This is where the Hiplok Gold comes to the rescue.
Hiploks are easily worn around the waist and provide extreme protection for your bike. This Gold version has a 10 mm thick, hardened steel chain that carries Sold Secure’s (a U.K. security testing company) highest rating of Gold. The chain is wrapped in a tough nylon outer sleeve, which protects your clothes, bike and the object you are locking to from damage. The lock features a 12 mm hardened steel shackle and a brass locking mechanism wrapped up in impact resistant plastic.
All that security weighs in at a hefty 5.3 pounds. However, because the chain is worn around your waist, the weight is dispersed well and not much of a bother. A handy clip secures the Hiplok around your waist, so you do not have to lock and unlock to get it on and off. It’s super simple and fast. You can also adjust the length of the belt so that it will fit comfortably on waists from 28 to 44 inches.
Since I don’t have to take something along to carry the Hiplok, it has become my go-to lock when traveling around town. Just throw it on and off you go! I have also found the 33.5-inch chain and lock long enough to secure two bikes together in most situations, and even more if you get creative.
The Hiplok Gold is available worldwide, and there are several Hiplok variations available—I particularly like the highly reflective Superbright series.
More info: Hiplok
ABUS, the German manufacturer known primarily for its bike and motorcycle locks, will supply a German professional road racing team with mobile security and helmets in 2015 and 2016.
As part of this partnership, ABUS will supply UCI Professional Continental Team Bora-Argon 18 (known as NetApp-Endura through December 31) with its top racing helmet, the Tec-Tical Pro v.2. The security expert will also give the pro team additional support with mechanical and electronic security systems for the equipment used in team vehicles and at team headquarters.
“It’s a great development for the company as we push more into the helmet space,” said Joan Hanscom, ABUS North American Marketing and PR Manager. “It will be several months before we’ve got them in the U.S., and we will start with the commuter helmets. It’s where we have something very unique in the market place. Race helmets will likely come later.”
According to ABUS, the driving forces behind the sponsorship, as well as the foundations for the upcoming collaboration, include the team’s German roots, its international focus and a similar philosophy.
“Making a strong commitment to a German professional cycling team is the logical next step in our sponsoring strategy,” said Christian Bremicker, CEO of the ABUS Group. “It offers us a fantastic opportunity to showcase our products to a wide audience at the highest level of competitive cycling, while also giving us the opportunity to incorporate feedback from the professional riders into the further development and optimization of our helmets. We look forward to this new cooperation in the world of professional cycling and wish the entire team a healthy season as well as lots of success.”
NetApp-Endura is currently the most successful and highest-level cycling team in Germany. The team’s all-time highlight was its participation in this year’s Tour de France, where it finished seventh in the overall classification and took third place in Stage 20, the individual time trial.
Extra! Read about our tour of three ABUS German factories in May 2014.
We’re big fans of Abus locks, which pack German quality and engineering into every type of locking device imaginable. Earlier this year we toured its factory in Wetter, Germany, and came away impressed with the amount of innovation that goes into a seemingly simple product.
The new line of 410 Ultra U-locks hits the sweet spot in price with a $35-$50 MSRP. Abus recommends you invest 10 percent of your bike’s value in a lock, so those numbers seem pretty competitive to us. The new line consists of two basic variants: a Mini model with either a 5.5-inch or 7-inch shackle and with or without a cable for extra protection; a standard model with a 9-inch shackle, and optional cable; and finally a long shackle option with a massive 11-inch reach.
Each lock is built with a 12mm, Silver-rated, round steel shackle, which is double-bolted to protect against cutting or twisting attacks. Abus give this series a security rating of 8, which is not quite as high as some of its heavy duty variations, but very secure nonetheless. It has a hardened, but round lock body for ergonomics and ease-of-use. Yes, the Mini should fit in your back pocket. It also includes a frame bracket that can fit most bikes if you don’t want to carry it yourself.
Learn more at Abus.com.