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TECH NEWS

First look: British company’s Litelok is now available to buy after successful Kickstarter campaign

Hands-on with the new British designed Litelok that was a massive Kickstarter success last year

Former aeronautical engineer and keen cyclist Professor Neil Barron succeeded in funding his innovative Litelok on Kickstarter last year (it amassed a staggering £232,078) and it’s now available to purchase for £85. We've just been sent one to take a first look at but before we reach for the bolt cutters to test it, here's a first look.

- The best bike locks — stop your bike getting stolen with our selection

Key to the Litelok’s design is a flexible composite strap called Boaflexicore, which has multiple layers of different materials, and a hardened steel lock mechanism that snaps closed without needing a key, developed with UK lock maker manufacturer Henry Squire and Sons Ltd. It’s been awarded a 'Gold standard’ from Sold Secure. The company claims the composite band is able to resist cable cutters, bolt croppers and hacksaws. We’ve just been sent one of the first production locks and we’re going to put it to the test and see just how well it stands up to our best efforts to break it over the coming weeks. 

Litelock Gold - lock detail.jpg

Many bike locks and big and heavy, but the Litelok design means it is impressively light. It weighs just 1.13kg (including keys) on our scales, which is a lot lighter than most typical locks. You get three sets of keys, a storage bag and velcro straps for mounting the Litelock to the bicycle frame when it’s not in use. It’s available in three colours, we’ve got the Herringbone Grey here.

- Beginner's guide to bike security—how to stop bike thieves and protect your bike

The lock is pretty easy to use and securing a road bike to a set of railings proved easy enough when we tested it outside the office. The band is highly sprung, though, and it provides some resistance when you’re trying to loop it through the railings and bike frame and push the mechanism together. The locking mechanism snaps shut once you’ve lined it up so you don’t need a hand free to operate the key to lock it together.

Litelock Gold - detail.jpg

At 736mm it’s quite short, though, but we managed to loop it through the rear wheel and frame and around a decent size post, and we’ve tried various methods of locking the bikes to different rails and posts. The company says two locks can be used together but that does obviously ramp up the cost quite a bit. It’s also looking at offering different lengths in the future which would be useful. The locking mechanism is rubber coated to protect your bike to prevent it from getting scratched. 

At £85 it's not cheap, but if you have no choice but to lock your valuable road bike upside, then it's probably worth making a decent investment in a high-quality lock. The claims for this Litelok are certainly impressive and we'll be looking to test it more thoroughly very soon, but the first impressions are good.

More info at www.litelok.com

David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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15 comments

Avatar
SpiderJ | 7 years ago
0 likes

I backed this on Kickstarter, and like many others, I think it's a great lock. It looks good, it feels like it will be tough to beat.

However, it's a bugger to carry around. I tried for a couple of months - but it's too large/unweildy to fit inside my pannier with anything else inside it, and the supposed straps to hold it to my frame don't stay tight for very long so it keeps slipping. It's too short to wear.

So, now it stays in my garage while I use another, cheaper lock that is actually usable.

Great tech, shame about the actual implementation.

Avatar
D-Squared | 7 years ago
2 likes

Any bike lock is only there to make the second strongest lock look like an easier target.

I commute on an old bike but I've got a Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Chain that stays at work, so I can ride my good road bike when I'm joining a group ride straight from work.

For other times I carry a D-lock - I'd consider this as an alternative if it's easier to carry

Avatar
Bikeylikey | 7 years ago
2 likes

There doesn't seem much point in expensive heavy locks since the advent of cordless angle grinders. Maybe locks should be rated on how long they take to get through by 1) bolt croppers, and 2) angle grinders. So any given lock could be, for example,  rated 20 sec. BC (bolt croppers) 10 sec AG (angle grinders). I wonder if there'd be much difference between 'sold secure silver' and sold secure gold' on this rating?

My solution is that I only use a very old bike shaped object for shopping or any trip where I'm going to leave it locked up. And lock it with the biggest baddest Abus lock, which cost only a bit less than the bike is worth. This strategy has meant no thefts in thirty years. Good bikes don't get left, except outside cafes where I can see them, and even then they're locked with a little combination cable lock just to delay any scumbag who tries to take it long enough for me to get out there and shoot them dead (I wish).

Avatar
WolfieSmith | 7 years ago
4 likes

I dont kare about the w8t. 

 So old fashioned.  Rather than still pandering to some pathetic Skool punk ethic of feeling edgy cos you can't spell proper why can't it be called 'Light Lock'?

Yeah, I know.  'Lite' is becoming of a word through sheer weight of stupidity but you can't say 'liter than air' so it doesn't work.

Yours sincerely,

 

Angry of Mayfair  

 

Avatar
whobiggs replied to WolfieSmith | 7 years ago
1 like
WolfieSmith wrote:

I dont kare about the w8t. 

 So old fashioned.  Rather than still pandering to some pathetic Skool punk ethic of feeling edgy cos you can't spell proper why can't it be called 'Light Lock'?

 

 

You taking the piss? 

Avatar
brooksby replied to whobiggs | 7 years ago
0 likes
whobiggs wrote:
WolfieSmith wrote:

I dont kare about the w8t. 

 So old fashioned.  Rather than still pandering to some pathetic Skool punk ethic of feeling edgy cos you can't spell proper why can't it be called 'Light Lock'?

You taking the piss? 

I think you need to check the batteries in your sarcasm detector...

Avatar
CygnusX1 | 7 years ago
1 like

Disclosure: Another Kickstarter backer

Comparing the weight to mini-D locks is missing the point - yes you can get lighter gold rated D locks, but its really going up against the likes of Kryponite's NY Fahgettaboudit (1m length chain, a shade under 7kgs) or the Hiplok Original (90cm chain, 1.9kg).

Pros:

1. Gives you more options of things to lock your bike to than a D-lock.

2. Far lighter than a gold rated chain lock of similar length

3. The spring loading means you can use it as a resistance workout for your arms  1

Cons:

1. 1.13kg is still fairly heavy

2. Awkward to carry around 

Unlocked it wants to lie straight, and locked its too small to wear bandolier style like a chain lock or belt like the hiplok. Opened, its too long to strap to my top tube and when locked I don't want the faff of threading the velcro straps between frame and brake/gear cables fasten it inside the frame triangle.

If I'm using a pannier or backpack then its not that big an issue - I form an upturned U with it  at the top of my medium backpack, and on my smaller (hydration pack sized) bag I use the velcro straps that came with it to attach it to the bag's waist harness to bend it around my lower back (or just use my D lock!).

Its on rides without luggage where I end up going out with only a light cable lock and hoping I don't have to rely on it.

What the guys at LiteLock need to do is 'borrow' the adjustable belt idea of the original hiplock as an optional extra (or maybe I should  launch my own kickstarter for it  ) 

 

Avatar
tombourne | 7 years ago
0 likes

I've been pretty impressed with mine. Looks smarter than your average d-lock and seems to go round most railings I want it to - surely being tighter is a good thing? It also seems really tough and isn't that heavy for what it is.

Avatar
hoffbrandm | 7 years ago
2 likes

Context:

- Ive got one

- I also use an Abus Dlock (kept at work)

- I use this at work and also when I'm rarely taking the bike somewhere else, will bring with auxiliary security cable when I do, just for show

- I've given up on weight saving, I'm rolling around on marathon plus, often with a pannier or backpack, often with a laptop and tonnes of other stuff I keep in my go bag.

 

Pros:

- Its straped to my pannier rack (and was strapped while looped within my frame triangle) and doesnt rattle like a Dlock would when stored on the frame or rack.

- Much easier to fit around street furniature

- Represents a different challenge to a thief, so they might just think twice!

 

Cons:

- Still heavy

- it is a little sprung, which is a little anoying

- Its a bit bulky - but again strapped to my rack or within the frame triangle

 

Conclusion

Its inflexible to the extent that others are saying, but its more flexible than a D-lock. Its difficult to transport as others are saying, but ultimately no more difficult than a Dlock (and no more rattling). So yeah in comparison to that Cinch lock on kickstarter its a pos. but compared to a Dlock... I prefer this.

Avatar
kevvjj | 7 years ago
4 likes

1.13 kg ain't light!

My Kryptonite D lock weights less than this and cost £18. 

Avatar
levermonkey | 7 years ago
1 like

Kickstarter. Got a matched pair and have used them ever since. Two niggles

  1. Takes a bit of time to get used to locking and unlocking them.
  2. 4" too short.

Other than that superb. Ride with them stretched-out along each side ofthe top tube. I'm not carrying them, the bike is.

Huge caveat. I am very selective as to what I lock up out of my sight in a public area. Most top end professional thieves are not interested in complete bikes; they are after components. They will cut through your frame and make off with the two halves.

If you are going to leave it out there: Datatag the f*ck out of it!

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MikeOnABike | 7 years ago
0 likes

I was curious how you attatched it to the bike. After looking at the website, EWWWW. Nasty.

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Jharrison5 | 7 years ago
2 likes

On Guard's Pitbull *mini (*edit) weighs 1kg and is sold secure gold rated. It's under £20.

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Scrapples | 7 years ago
2 likes

Got one of these from the Kickstarter campaign. Looked at it and it's sat in the cupboard since. As Rich_cb says, it's inflexible and difficult to transport. Probably ok if you wanted to keep it it one location but as a carry round and use on the go lock it's unusable.

Avatar
Rich_cb | 7 years ago
2 likes

I bought one of these (via website, not kickstarter) and was really disappointed.

It was quite heavy, really inflexible and, as a consequence, really hard to transport easily.

I returned mine and after a bit of faff got a refund.

May give Ottolock a try once they are stocked in UK.

Anyone got any suggestions for a light, reasonably secure lock?

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