Litelok, the Wearable Bike Lock, Gets Lighter and Stronger

With the e-bike revolution, this is exactly what we need.

Litelok on pole


Back in 2015 when we reviewed the first Litelok in a now-archived post, I wrote that it broke the old 50-pound rule about bike locks:

"All bicycles weigh fifty pounds. A thirty-pound bicycle needs a twenty-pound lock. A forty-pound bicycle needs a ten-pound lock. A fifty-pound bicycle doesn't need a lock at all."

However, the rule no longer applies in the era of the e-bike, where a 50-pound bike can be worth a lot of money. So I follow what I call the Chicago Rule, after an Abus lock representative who lives there told me that even with his company's expensive products, he adds a lock for every hour he is leaving his bike alone; "if I go to a three-hour movie, I put three locks on the bike."

Neil Barron
Neil Barron.


The Litelok may well break this rule as well. Like the original, it is designed by Professor Neil Barron, an industrial designer who lost three bikes to theft but didn't want to carry heavier locks. According to the press release,

"LITELOK’s lightweight and flexible locks have proven to be a favoured alternative to cumbersome and rigid locks with many riders. LITELOK CORE is engineered to be tough against attackers whilst easy to use for all types of rides. Cyclists can choose to wear it around their hips, mount it on their frame or pack it away."
core of lock


There are layers upon layers of protection, starting with a braided sleeve, then a plastic protector, then hardened steel links, then a tensile steel core. All layers flex in sync to retain maximum flexibility without compromising on security. Even though it only weighs 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg) it gets a Diamond rating from Sold Secure, a British rating system run by a non-profit. The standard is a recent upgrade: "Diamond rated products provide the highest level of security in the bicycle category, aimed at very high value bicycles and e-bikes."

tools used to break lock


Bike theft has increased dramatically with the pandemic, with more people riding and more people desperate, so the diamond rating does give some comfort. They note that "We've built, tested and broken 1,054 prototypes and counting in the pursuit of our final lock design. LITELOK CORE has already passed stringent, independent security tests - simulating attack from the most common theft tools."

Angle grinders have become the theft tool du jour and can go through just about any lock. The question is how long it takes; two independent reviewers found that the original Litelok could be cut with an angle grinder in 14 seconds and 20 seconds. The new lock is much better. Litelok tells Treehugger:

"LITELOK CORE is rated as Sold Secure Bicycle Diamond, which is the highest level of insurance rated bike security and also Motorcycle Gold and LITELOK CORE offers our highest level of resistance to angle grinders. There isn’t a portable bike lock on the market that can withstand an angle grinder attack for a significant amount of time. As with all locks, a determined thief with the right tools and enough time will eventually be able to break through any lock but we’ve engineered our LITELOK CORE with layers of security and different materials to make it incredibly difficult."

The availability of cheap battery-powered angle grinders is a problem for every lock manufacturer, which is why we say that a safe secure place to park is a must for the e-bike revolution.

Lock on back


Meanwhile, if you are going to carry a lot of locks, it's nice to have a highly reflective wearable one, there are only so many places on a bike to put them. It comes in three wearable lengths that you choose according to your pants size.

Having lost a bit of money and a lot of time waiting for Kickstarters, I am pretty careful writing about projects that are launched there. However Litelock has delivered 50,000 of the original version of the lock, and have this one tested and ready to go, using Kickstarter more as a marketing tool than a way of getting startup funding.

Litelok on bike


Weight isn't as much of an issue on an e-bike as it is on a regular one, but it all adds up. The prices add up too; the three locks I carry now together cost more than I have paid for some bikes. The Litelok, at $125 is not out of line with these. More at Kickstarter, not yet posted on the Litelock website.