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.
Professor Neil Barron wants to change all that, and is up on Kickstarter with the Litelock, which he claims is “the worlds first light, flexible & super secure bike lock.” It is a flat and flexible lock made from a combination of materials and weighs in at a kilo, or 2.2 pounds.
By harnessing the unique security properties of multiple innovative lightweight materials we created a composite strap called Boaflexicore®. Each layer provides additional security, meaning it can withstand sustained attack from tools like cable cutters, bolt croppers and hacksaws.
Boaflexicore is a mouthful that is not really described on the Kickstarter, but doing a google patent search on Professor Barron’s name turned up US 20120042700 that describes a different lock with the flat design, and describes it as a mix of materials including a silicone based portion that “would particularly improve the device’s resistance to angle grinders, hammers and/or chisels”, an aramid fibre like Kevlar that “will have particularly high tensile strength which would allow the device to have improved resistance to the actions of, for example, croppers. Then there are cables.
Google Patents/Public Domain
In a further subsidiary aspect, said flexible metallic portion may be selected to advantageously resist the abrasive action of a saw. In order to further improve the resistance to the actions of a saw, the flexible mechanic portion may incorporate metallic cables with one or more metallic tubes surrounding said cables. This would in effect cause the tubes to rotate around the cable. This would further prevent and/or resist sawing through the tube. In other words, it would have an effect similar to having placed a ball or a roller bearing around the cable.
It’s hard for a saw to get a grip on rolling tubes. This is all wrapped in a reflective and flexible cover that increases visibility and acts as a cushioning layer to make the lock more comfortable to wear. (This description is from a patent that shows a different design of a locking device, although still made out of a flat band. One cannot assume that the final Litelok follows this mix of materials exactly but it seems likely that it is pretty close.)
So what we have in summary is a flat, flexible, padded and reflective lock material with a combination of materials, each with properties that resist a different kind of attack, be it saw, grinder, snippers or whatever. It then fastens with a patent-pending inline lock that’s “been tested and trialled to ensure it is the most reliable and secure lock possible.”
No lock is unbreakable, and even this one only claims that ” in-house testing has proven that it takes well over five minutes to cut or break the strap and lock.” But that is enough to deter both the amateur and the professional who will go after easier marks.
However, to make the lock even more secure, they offer an option where you can put two of them together so that you can double-lock in parallel or put them in series if you have a big tree or pole that you want to lock to.
Rule Number two about bike locks is that the price is directly proportional to the lock’s effectiveness, and that holds true here, with a price tag of 70 pounds, US$ 104 today. However that is less than I recently paid for a little ABUS D-lock. I want one. More on Kickstarter