Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Review: The TiGr Lock

Back in February I wrote about the story of an interesting new bike lock that I had been following on Kickstarter. Today, I'm glad to say that my TiGr Lock finally arrived, and I've spent most of the afternoon reviewing it.

The first thing to mention about the TiGr lock is its size. The two feet long titanium bow was deceptively larger than I had expected. But upon picking it up, it was clear right away that the materials were solid, well-crafted, and quite sturdy. The bow itself even has a rubberized exterior to prevent scratching.

TiGr Bow

The end of the titanium two consists of two symmetrical prongs that fit into the locking cylinder. Naturally, the prongs are made from the same titanium that has been cast to produce the entire bow. This adds a degree of manufacturing continuity that gives the bow its overall stable feel.

TiGr  End of Bow

The locking cylinder itself is made out of stainless steel, with each cylinder uniquely matched to its keys by order number - should it ever becomes necessary to replace a missing key.

TiGr  Key in Cylinder

The craftsmanship of the cylinder lock is impressive in its own right. The picture below does not demonstrate this clearly, but the opening ring of the cylinder is actually narrower than the inside of the casing. This allows for the prongs to nestle into place before the steel pin in the center is depressed. Once the pin is depressed, the prongs cannot be removed from the cylinder because the opening ring entrance is too narrow.

Tigr  Cylinder

Once the prongs have been inserted, the lock looks like the photo below. The cylinder lock freely rotates around the prongs, but there is no way to remove them from the cylinder given the narrowness of the entrance.

TiGr Cylinder Size Comparison

Of course, what makes the TiGr lock a superb product is that it is incredibly light-weight and can be stored on the bike while riding. This is accomplished by two velcro straps that affix the bow to the tube of the bicycle.

If there is a down side to the TiGr lock, it has to be the velcro straps that secure the lock to the bike. Frankly, at $200 per lock, I expected something a bit sturdier - something akin to the quality velcro one might get from a Timbuk2 messenger bag.

Still, the velcro seems to do an adequate job. I haven't really felt it coming loose on a ride, and it's true that there are other alternatives for securing the lock should one really not trust the velcro straps that come with it. In the great scheme of things this is a fairly minor critique since the lock functions incredibly well. The picture below shows the straps and the lock on my bike.

TiGr  Stored

Since the bow is attached to the bike tube, I suppose it's possible to lose a bit of leg room while pedaling, particularly on smaller framed bikes. But on my road bike, I haven't noticed this to be an issue, even though the lock attaches and leaves a small gap in places.

TiGr  Stored Overview

Finally, here is a picture of the TiGr lock firmly securing my bike to one of my dining room chairs. I'm sure this picture will become too embarrassing to leave up at some point, but for now I haven't thought to take a picture of my locked bike while out and about. You'll notice that the lock is plenty long and flexible enough to secure the bike to the metal arm of the chair. Not only does it secure the frame, but it also secures both tires as well. The nice thing about this is that you no longer need to carry around a cable to secure that extra tire to a D-lock. With the TiGr's flexible titanium bow, you can secure everything with only one instrument.

TiGr Locked

Finally, the TiGr lock comes with a pretty nifty key fob. And if you don't like key fobs, then I'm pretty sure that makes you un-American.

TiGr  Key Fob

In all, I am rather impressed by the TiGr lock. It came exactly as advertised. It's light, weighing all of 1.5 lbs. It's secure, benefitting from both high-grade materials and excellent craftsmanship. And it's extremely elegant in its simplicity - as all elegant things are.

Not bad for a product that was only in the concept stage one year ago. I love innovation.

Update: As promised, here's a photo of the TiGr in action at my local Starbucks. 

IMG 0106

11 comments:

  1. Hey there...I was wondering how you feel about the lock now that you've been using it for a little while. Do you still think it's a relatively secure design? Much of the criticism I've read stems from the fact that it's so new that it hasn't yet been tested for different thieving techniques...and if there's one thing I know about bike thieves, it's that they're resourceful.

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  2. I have one from KickStarter and it works very well but my lock is titanium as well so it is a little lighter still.

    I have had no issues with it at all. I have seen people just stare at it like they were seeing god himself in the street. It's pretty funny to see.

    I did come back to my bike twice and it was bent and moved around like somebody was trying to see if they can take it off but I just bent it back. It bends pretty easy but my $2000 bike was still there waiting for me.

    Great investment for sure!

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  3. Thanks to both of you for dropping by!

    I've used the lock around the U of Arizona campus for a few weeks now, and have had zero complaints about its ability to secure my bike.

    I suspect that the TiGr's unique design has acted as a theft deterrent and that bike thieves really don't know what to make of it. Of course, if a thief actually stole my bike, I would admittedly sing a different tune - although my bike isn't anywhere near the $2k range in value.

    More than anything, I would describe the lock's design as being highly functional. I love that it replaces the weight and bulk of my U-lock and chain, and that it secures my bike with minimal effort. In all, I'm still quite pleased with it.

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  4. Hello, thanks for the review. I just purchased the lock and my only complaint is that it is not long enough to lock both my tires in my step-through frame. It seems to work really well for your road bike, but for me it's a one wheel only deal. I actually wish they sold a smaller version of it to lock the extra wheel because I'd totally dish out the extra bucks to get it. It's a very solid lock.

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  5. @Carotello - Thanks for your comment. Sorry I'm a bit late in replying. I can see where the lock wouldn't be ideal for the frame of your bike. It does work well for a road bike but because the frame is contiguous it's much easier to lock to a bike rack and such.

    One suggestion would be to drop a line to John from TiGr lock with your thoughts about a smaller, mini-TiGr lock. He's been very responsive when I've been in touch via Email, and I know he takes the design aspect of his product seriously. Worth a shot if you're inclined to follow up.

    Thanks again for dropping by. If you find any work arounds for the unlocked wheel, I'll be curious to hear more!

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  6. I e-mailed them recently and they're making a longer version of the bow.

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  7. Wow, thanks for the review! That looks SO MUCH BETTER than the kryponite lock I lug around in my backpack. What a great design (that you can easily attach it while you ride). Going to have to get one. Thanks again!

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  8. Hi All ! Just purchased the longer length bow from Bikefix in London and am not disappointed. This bow/lock combo is beautifully engineered and, I believe well worth the£175 price tag. I would say however that my Santos Travelmaster bike has a pretty long wheelbase and as such i am unable to include both wheels and frame in securing but in my case I already have an AXA frame lock which immobilises the rear wheel so for me this is not an issue. A mini version would be a great addition for people in my situ.But I am blown away by the lightness of this combo. compared to my old Abus Granite 54. Keep up the great work TiGr! All the best from little old englandland!

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  9. Hello Anon-

    Glad to see you are enjoying your TiGr lock. I have no affiliation with TiGr but I'm thrilled to have been an early adopter of their product when it came out. I hope you'll send us an update on your experience with the long wheelbase using the lock. I'd be curious to hear how it works out for you. As this is one of my most popular posts, I'm sure future readers can stand to benefit from your experience as well.

    Sincerely,

    Tory



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  10. Trouble is that is takes about 3 minutes to saw through the band with a hacksaw. That's not really impressive.

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  11. Hello Anon - Just noticed your comment. Strikes me that even three minutes is an eternity for a thief looking to score a quick bike. If you take a look at videos of thieves on YouTube most bikes are gone in less than a minute...

    I suppose a corollary to reiterate is that bike locks in general really function as a theft deterrent. In any situation, if someone wanted to steal a bike, no matter how secure the lock, they probably could with the right equipment.

    That said, I think the goal of a lock should be to secure a bike and provide enough deterrence to send a thief elsewhere. The TiGr lock more than accomplishes this while still being light and functional.

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