The TiGr bike lock made its way from idea to market courtesy of Kickstarter, the crowd funding portal, with 740 people contributing over $108,000 to make the vision of father and son duo, Bob and John Loughlin, a reality. They attracted almost three times the required capital to launch and now TiGr bike locks are commercially available. Why exactly did this product attract so much interest and funding? I was one of the first Australians to get my hands on a TiGr lock to find out first hand.
Let’s cut to the chase, the TiGr bike lock will cost you about $250 (AUD) for the lock with delivery to Australia and there are heavy duty bike locks out there that are cheaper. The TiGr lock is however very different to any other type of lock; it is beautiful, it is like a work of art. It does what other bike accessories (such as lights) have been doing for a while; it was designed to integrate well with the bike, something which it does remarkably well. Oh, and lets not forget, it is a really tough lock that does a few things that a chain or U-Lock will not do.
The TiGr in Detail
The lock has two parts: the titanium bow and the cylinder lock. The bow goes through the spaces in your frame and/or wheels, while the stainless steel cylinder lock is pick resistant and has a non-conventional mechanism to secure the lock and keep your bike safe from theft. Don’t just take my word for it, you can see for yourself in these comparative lock attacks comparing a U-Lock to the TiGr.
In the world of cycling, titanium is synonymous with premium and custom made bicycles. Not only is titanium tough, more skill is required to weld titanium compared with steel or aluminium, plus titanium is a more expensive metal. The TiGr lock, as the name suggest, is made of titanium. It is much harder to penetrate than steel so, while not invincible, it offers more protection than a cable, chain or U-Lock.
The titanium bow is available in two sizes, the broader 1.25″ (3cm) which I prefer because of ‘the look’ and the slimmer and also cheaper .75″ (2cm) version. The titanium bow is coated in a clear PVC sleeve. This takes a little of the shine from the titanium, though protects the bike frame from scratches.
Storing & Transport
In transport, the ‘bow’ is fastened with velcro along the length of the bikes top tube , a good look that beats hanging a U-Lock from your jeans or lugging a heavy chain, and the cylinder is carried separately, stored in say your bag or jacket pocket. Because this lock has two parts: the bow and cylinder lock, this gives it a slight disadvantage over one-piece locks as you need to remember to bring the cylinder with you. On the flipside this can also be an advantage, the bow is stored on the bike which saves you from carrying a heavy lock around. If you’re a regular commuter or urban cyclist, it will become second nature.
The TiGr in Practice
It takes a little while to become familiar with the lock since it’s quite unconventional. I had to practice locking and unlocking to get used to the mechanism. While it isn’t hard to lock and unlock, the cylinder needs to be angled so that the ends of the titanium ‘bow’ can fit inside the cylinder before it locks tightly.
It is also a little fiddly when first mounting the bow along the top tube. My gear and brake cables got in the way and required a clever twist and turn, but this is just a matter of habit; in no time you will be able to mount and unmount the titanium bow blind-folded.
Though the TiGr lock looks great, where it really shines is that it can secure the frame and (usually) both wheels easily. When using other locks I typically recommend that cyclists take the front wheel off the bike so that the frame and both wheels can be secured. The TiGr avoids this hassle quite cleverly.
The bow is flexible and while you can lock it onto poles and bike racks, it does have some limitations over a chain lock which can, for example, be looped around a large pole. With a bit of lateral thinking, or rather, lateral rotation, you can secure at least one wheel and the bicycle frame around a larger pole using the TiGr lock. The shape of the lock means that there is very limited slack or space in which evil thieves can use tools to leverage and attempt to break the lock. The TiGr will give you the same or better protection than U-Locks or chain locks in a much more convenient and stylish package.
Not to be forgotten, a killer feature of the TiGr is the weight: under 750 grams for the lock (bow) and cylinder. The bow is mounted on bike so doesn’t need to be carried separately, nor does it become an unattractive necessity on a beautiful bike. If you opt for the smaller 0.75″ bow, the entire lock is well under half a kilogram. In comparison, the simple Kryptonite Evolution Mini is 900 grams while the heavy duty Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini is 1.9kg
Is the TiGr right for you?
This lock works, it is comparatively light and has style, so will best suit cyclists who appreciate fine things. This includes city, urban and commuting cyclists who love their bikes: perhaps a classic Cinelli road bike, a hot Bianchi Pista fixie or a trusty Surley commuter.
The TiGr lock does come at a price, though you should think of it as a long term investment in a great looking and functional bicycle lock. TiGr locks and parts are available from the online store with secure paypal payment. Find out more about the locks on the website: www.tigrlock.com
Tips for Preventing Theft
No one likes the low-life thieves who steal bikes (or anything else, for that matter) and we have put together an ongoing FAQs for preventing bike theft as well as what you can do if your bike is stolen. Remember, however, that prevention is always better.