Litelok review: First impressions of Kickstarter funded lightweight lock

Back in March 2015, I backed a Kickstarter campaign for a new cycling product; The Litelok, a new, innovative form of flexible bike lock designed by Professor Neil Barron, an Industrial Designer with an Aeronautics and Astronautics background. According to the Kickstarter pitch:

My team and I decided to take a radical new design approach to solve this problem. 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.

Litelok® in Boa Green
Litelok® in Boa Green

We have combined Boaflexicore® with a patented inline lock to create Litelok®, a revolutionary new bike lock that is lightweight, flexible, and super secure. It weighs less than 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) and unlike D and U locks, is flexible and easy to secure around fixed objects. Plus, it snaps securely shut without the need for a key.

The campaign was funded in super swift time, but as with all new manufacturing process, production took a little longer than expected and the lock landed on my doormat around a week ago. So now that I’ve had a few days with it, how does it perform?

Review

There is no doubt that this lock is light given its girth. It’s a whopper. This is the single biggest thing that surprised me. The images suggested something small (or at least medium sized) that would be quite twisty-turny and malleable. Supplied with its own rucksack (!), the reverse is true and whilst the lock does twist and move, affording more scope for objects to lock to – try sticking a ‘D’ lock around a tree for instance –   its still pretty chunky. Fortunately the lack of weight doesn’t make size an issue and its certainly far more compact than my very malleable, yet very heavy chain lock, pictured on the rear of my bike in the image below.

The locking mechanism  itself is interesting. You can close it without using the key and it definitely feels secure. On opening, mine catches a tiny bit and needs to be pulled quite forcefully apart. This hasn’t been a problem however and I’m putting it down to being new and unused. I certainly hope so, as the video below indicates just how good this lock is at protecting your bike – It’s sole purpose of course – and I wouldn’t want to either lose my keys or wind up with  a lock that’s seized.

As an object, the Litelok is a thing of beauty. I plumped for the luminous ‘Boa green’ colour which should be very visible in the glare of headlights and help to identify my bike in an ocean of locked steeds (Bristol see Temple Meads station image below).  The only constructive criticism I would make, is that I’d also like to see a Litelok accessory that adds a cable for securing an extra wheel. I very much suspect this is a future product in the offing (and perhaps a small version too. It would be a very powerful tool to deploy on club run café stops).

So would I recommend one? Yes. I bloody well would. With its innovative design, super light weight and gold rated performance it’s an awful lot of peace of peace of mind for £80.

For more details and pre-orders, visit the Litelok website.

Go on......have a guess.

22 replies »

    • Probably, but it wouldn’t be too comfy (I’m a 32″ waist so I’ll give it a go). The supplied straps make it fairly straightforward to attach to a frame and the drawstring ruck sack allows you to carry it on your back.

  1. Looking at this for the summer cycling across Canada. Thanks for the review. You might have change my mind about ordering the black one 🙂

    • Glad to be of service Michell! I think the colour of the green one is both attractive and functional; it’ll show up in car lights. I’m envious of that cycle across Canada!

  2. Charming? You’ve lost there me Stefan. Perhaps you didn’t realise I was kidding (the Litelok is so blinking efficient, that you’d be in a spot of bother if you lost the key, hence my comment that if the video was locked as efficiently as that, we’d have no chance of seeing it). Anyway….the link still works for me, so perhaps look on their website directly via this link: http://www.litelok.com/ (the videos are at the bottom of the page).

  3. I got my Litelok a few days ago. I’m disappointed by the follwing issues, ordered by priority:
    1) The key does not work smoothly (neither of the 3 keys). Sometimes the key blocks halfway either while inserting or while turning it. This feels like “made in China” and not like a high qualitiy lock mechanism. That’s very annoying because I don’t want to lose my time while fiddling with the key.
    2) It requires both hands and a bit muscle power when connecting both ends with each other. You can’t them simply stick together like an U-lock because you have to *bend* the Litelok strap which is quite rigid.
    3) The coating is already dammaged after only a few usages. Some filaments come out and make loops. That’s ugly and may get entangled in sth.
    4) It seems that the Litelok becomes easily dirty. There are already some visible dark (grease?) spots on the boa green Litelok.
    5) The transport straps are ridiculous. It takes much more time to attach the Litelok with these straps than to snap in an U-lock into its plastic holder.
    6) Litelok is bulkier than an U-lock.

    • I agree, I found the locking mechanism stiff and clunky initially, though it’s loosened right up after repeated use. I also agree about the straps, though I’ve got used to them. A bit more design thinking would sort that one out. I’ve not had any issues with the filaments though. Have you been in touch with them? You might have been a bit unlucky.

      • At least you both have received your litelok!! I made my pre order last December and I am still waiting for it. I have received like 4 e-mails with new fulfillment dates each and I am starting to be crossed.

  4. Really quite surprised by your review. I have one of these as an original kick starter funder. The lock cannot be described as light or ‘super light’ as you described in your review, in fact I’d call it pretty heavy, heavier than my big kryptonite D lock. I am curious, did you pay for your lock or was it given to you for review?

    • Nope. I Paid for it. I didn’t describe it as super light. I said ‘light given its girth’, which it is. After 30 years of lugging a lock around, I’d stand by this. In fairness, it’s bigger than a ‘D’ lock.

      On the whole, I’m very happy with my Litelok and after a couple of months or so of use, would still recommend it.

  5. I have not received my pre paid order, am running out of patience. When do you ship it?
    It´s been a year since I paid for it.

    • Sorry Jose, this is something that you’ll need to take up with Litelok. I write and maintain these pages as an independent website and like you, I was a funder via Kickstarter (please read the piece above). I wrote a review based on receipt of the Litelok. I guess I was lucky to be among the first to receive it.

  6. I have just received my lock and My 1st impressions are that it is far larger than I expected and it’s bulk makes it potentially difficult to attach on the bike. The Velcro straps are not in my view well designed that I think I might be able to find better alternatives myself. I had in mind this might be an ideal lock for my lightweight racing bike but it means that it is longer than the top tube on my bike…. I really am at a loss thinking about how to attach it in transit. Yes the boa green – while it looks really cool it marks really easily. Likewise I also find that the force required to lock the ends together is fairly substantial and the key mechanism I agree feels a little clunky . I will give it a good test but I suspect my hope is that this is a lightweight and versatile lock is somewhat outweighed by its bulk and difficulty of storing it on the bike on the day-to-day basis . In conclusion I I applaud the people behind this coming up with a new innovative product and I have not given it a proper test yet so these are first impressions and I will come back and add further real life experience comments later .

    • Thanks for leaving your comments Guy. I agree that the Velcro straps are fiddly. I attach mine to my bike by not using the straps, looping through the frame and onto the rear of the bike (I use a city bike around town). I can imagine on the skinnier tubes of my road bike, it would be an issue (which is why a small rucksack was included, I suspect).

      I always carry two locks and feel very safe when I have the Litelok and a chain (I also carry the spare in case any of my mates forget their lock). My Boa hasn’t marked though; perhaps I was lucky?

  7. I have used my Litelok now for ca 2 months. The lock seems strong and I like the weight. However the locking mechanism is terrible and feels cheap. Often the key gets stuck halfway through turning. Now the key has jammed completely and even after wriggling it around and trying to undo this with some oil I was unable to get the key back out. Very annoying and such a shame for an otherwise good lock. I have to send mine back to Litelok and see what happens now.

    • That’s a shame Daniel. Your experience with the lock is probably my worst fear. Twice I’ve had keys snap in other locks and it causes one heck of a headache (particularly as one of the locks was a very expensive padlock that was difficult to compromise). I hope it gets sorted successfully.

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