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Eye of the TiGr

Titanium Bike Lock vs. NYC


Like a lot of New Yorkers, I've lost beloved bikes — and many parts — to theft. So when it comes to bike security, I take a more-is-more approach, combining a heavy-duty U-lock with custom-keyed wheel and component locks to deter would-be thieves from ripping off my ride. Fort Knox it's not — to a seriously determined thief with the right tools, no bike lock is unbreakable — but for years I've avoided additional losses using this theft-prevention-through-attrition strategy.

On the down side, all that added security means more weight, more hassle and more expense, which can rob riding of its simple joys. So when I was given the opportunity to test the 125 TiGr Standard Lock ($175), which, boasts the ability to secure a bike's frame and wheels in "higher risk situations" by means of a svelte titanium bow, I was intrigued. But I was also skeptical. Skeptical because while titanium is flexible, highly resistant to corrosion and has a stronger weight-to-strength ratio than steel, hence its many aerospace applications and usually commensurate price tag, it is not stronger than a quality U-lock's hardened steel shackles.

So before risking my ride to review the lock, I wanted to know: is the TiGr tough enough to stand up to the leverage and cutting attacks most commonly used to separate New York City bikes from their owners? Could I steal my own ride using the basic tools of the trade?

TiGr Locks agreed to provide a sacrificial lock, bolt cutters and a pipe; I supplied the (not so) bulging biceps and a bike. Find out who won in this four-round street brawl— captured on tape — then read on for a full review, discount offer and sneak peek at the TiGr Mini U-Lock prototype. 

125 TiGr Standard Lock Review

The Good

  • Weighing in at 1.7 pounds, the 125 TiGr Standard Lock is lighter, simpler and sleeker than comparable U-lock and cable systems.
  • Using the included Velcro straps, the TiGr Lock can be attached to a bike's top tube, doing away with the need for a separate bag, belt or holster for transport. 
  • The Standard (24") and Long (30") TiGr locks can secure both a bike's frame and wheels, avoiding the need for additional locks.
  • TiGr locks are designed and built locally. 


The Bad

  • Attaching and removing the lock from the top tube can be cumbersome; the same goes for the locking cylinder mechanism, which must be carried apart from the bow except when locked.
  • Independent security testing by the Dutch agency ART gave the TiGr 125 a two-star security rating — on par with locks like the Kryptonite Evolution Mini, but not as secure as some of the significantly heavier chain and U-locks, such as those in Kryptonite's New York series.

The Verdict

As documented in the video, I was not able to cut through the lock and the titanium bow flexed its might against leverage attacks. Anecdotally speaking, I know New Yorkers who have relied on TiGr locks without incident, but I would not recommend relying solely on the TiGr in high-risk areas for extended periods of time. Nor would I recommend it for people who need to frequently lock and unlock their bikes due to the added encumbrance of the Velcro straps. 

If you can afford the $175 price tag, TiGr's "Elegant Bike Security" motto rings true: the locks are light, look great and are built to last a lifetime. Plus, when you talk to TiGr "customer service," you're likely talking with one of the father/son team who design and build these locks and personally stand by them. The TiGr would make a great lock for design-savvy commuters without high-security needs; even better for longer road cycling or touring rides in the 'burbs and countryside with minimal added weight.

Rating: 4 / 5

Price: $175 (TiGr is offering a 20% discount code to registered users through February 28th, 2015)


Above: an early prototype of a possible new TiGr Mini U-Lock.

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