The Abus Steel-O-Flex is a beefy cable lock and as such it performs a lot better than others I've seen. It is a cable lock at the end of the day though, and that means that for all the armour and heft you're still better off buying a U-lock in my opinion; especially from Abus, who make some very good ones.
The Steel-O-Flex 1000/100 is certainly a burly looking beast with a 15mm cable protected by an armoured sleeve of cylindrical steel links. The locking unit uses the same cylinder you'll find on many of Abus' other locks including the Granit X-Plus U-lock that we rate very highly. The lock's finished with a vinyl sleeve and plastic lock housing to keep your bike scuff-free. The lock comes complete with two keys (one with an LED light) and a Sold Secure Gold rating.
As usual, I attacked the Steel-O-Flex with our standard thief's armoury – 30" croppers, a persuader of similar length, a hammer, a hacksaw, a cold chisel and a screwdriver. My first thought was that since the bolt croppers wouldn't fit over the 25mm armour around the cable I'd try to twist and pop it with the persuader, but it held fast and wouldn't snap. However, all that manipulation disrupted the armoured links around the cable and meant I could get the lock into the jaws of the croppers which had no trouble at all snipping the cable and ending the lock's resistance. Time elapsed: 3 minutes 7 seconds.
Okay, three minutes ain't bad for a cable lock but the Steel-O-Flex doesn't live up to its Sold Secure Gold rating and certainly didn't do anything to suggest it's a better option than a U-lock: there are better ways to spend your £70, many from Abus themselves.
Not bad performance for a cable lock, but much easier to break than an equivalent price U-lock
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Make and model: Abus Steel-O-Flex 1000/100
Size tested: 100cm
Did you enjoy using the product? It's fine, but the failure testing is the final word
Would you consider buying the product? no
Would you recommend the product to a friend? no
Age: 36 Height: 190cm Weight: 98kg
I usually ride: Schwinn Moab, urbanised with 700cs My best bike is: Trek 1.5 with upgrades
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.