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.
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.
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.
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.
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 has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. 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.