Review: 4 bike locks to protect your ride

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Tallac Vier

Price: $90
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.

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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

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Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini

Price: $114
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.

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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

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Abus Bordo Centium

Price: $150
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.

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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

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Hiplok Gold

Price: $130
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.

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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

 

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ABUS sponsors German pro cycling team

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.

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“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.

 

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Abus expands U-lock lineup with new 410 Ultra series

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.

 

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