Top-quality locks do a decent job of stopping thieves but they tend to be heavy and awkward to use. Former aeronautical engineer and keen cyclist Professor Neil Barron is aiming to change that with Litelok, a sub-1 kg lock he's crowd-funding through Kickstarter.
Rather than protecting your bike with the traditional brute-force approach of a heavy hardened chain or shackle, Litelok has a flexible composite strap called Boaflexicore, which has multiple layers of different materials.
"Each layer provides additional security, meaning it can withstand sustained attack from tools like cable cutters, bolt croppers and hacksaws," says Barron.
"The strap includes multiple innovative lightweight materials, each of which provides a different and additional layer of security against the various tools and the lock cylinder and mechanism is well protected by the innovative lock casing design."
The flexible strap is attached to a hardened steel lock mechanism - developed with UK lock maker manufacturer Henry Squire and Sons Ltd - that snaps closed without needing a key, a feature that will appeal to anyone who's fumbled to turn the key when using a conventional lock in an awkward spot.
Barron says: "In-house testing has proven that it takes well over five minutes to cut or break the strap and lock. This exceeds the highest level of security rating awarded by the independent testing and certification houses for security products."
The design also makes it easy to combine two locks to reach round an over-sized object like a lamp post. The first version has a 736mm strap, but Barron plans to offer different lengths in future.
Barron is looking for £20,000 to fund tooling, accreditation and the initial production run. Backing Litelok now gets you a lock for as little as £70 if you move quickly and grab one of the 180 early bird specials.
For more details, see the Litelok Kickstarter page.
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.