Raise your hand if you’ve ever left your precious bike leaning against a wall, sans lock, and run into a café for a quick snack or bathroom break. Now, if you’re in a public place reading this, look around to see how many people are staring and wondering why you’ve got your hand in the air.
OK, that was mean. But if you haven’t been carrying a lock with you on all your training rides, it’s probably because you haven’t tried the TiGr lock. With a lightweight titanium bow that easily straps to your top tube, you won’t even know the TiGr is tagging along with you wherever you go.
TiGr Lock Review
Tested Version: TiGr Bow Lock 075
Accessories: Two Mounting Straps and Two Keys
Weight: Approx. 1 pound (most of which is in the lock cylinder)
Security: 3 bars (medium security)
Optional Accessories: Lock Cylinder Carrier (not tested)
Price: $145 (But use the exclusive discount code slotigr for 10% off plus free shipping at tigrlock.com!)
Why Is It Cool?
The TiGr lock is unlike any other lock you’ve tried. It’s easy to carry, seriously lightweight, and it can’t be cut with hand tools. It’s not often that carrying something on your bike is actually a cool thing. The TiGr is a conversation starter, and instead of getting the usual teasing at the hands of my fellow bike snobs for having an accessory strapped to my frame, this lock actually had a few riders in my group asking me where they could get one. Seriously. They liked the sleek titanium. They liked the simplicity of the bow design that doesn’t take up space otherwise used by bottle cages. They liked that it took only a few seconds to snap in the locking cylinder. And I liked being popular for a day.
How Does it Work?
The bow can sit in a few different orientations on your bike frame (it slips in a backpack pretty easily as well) using the two velcro straps. Since I tested the shorter 075 version, it fit almost perfectly across the top tube of my 48 cm frame. The locking cylinder, which pops off the bow to allow you to fasten and unfasten it, fits easily in a jersey pocket or saddlebag. But you can also pick up an optional strap to affix the cylinder to your seat post for only $10.
To use the TiGr, all you have to do is remove it from the straps, and grab the lock cylinder. Then, simply loop the bow through your wheel, a pole, and frame (the short 075 version reaches to lock one wheel, but the longer versions will reach both wheels). Fit the cylinder like you’re opening a bottle cap by hooking the notched end in to the rim of the cylinder and rolling it onto the bow’s end. Finally, simply push down the button that popped up when you unlocked it, and you’re good to go!
How Secure Is It?
The 075 has a medium security rating, which means it’s great for quick stops like those you’d make part way through a ride. You’re probably safe to leave your bike locked up in an area that doesn’t pose a high threat. But for a neighborhood that is known for bike theft, you’ll probably want to go with TiGr’s higher security 125 lock. If you’re using the lock like I have been–for shorter periods of time or to run a quick errand–then the 075 should be plenty good for you. Consider the TiGr to be somewhat equivalent to a chain and u-lock setup. It can’t be cut with simple hand tools like a cable lock or something lower security.
Wait, How Will it Not Scratch My Pretty Bike?
The titanium bow is covered almost completely in a vinyl casing, which keeps it from marring the glossy finish on your bike. Each end also comes fitted with o-rings that keep the small amount of exposed metal on the bow from coming into contact with your frame. No fears involved–even on the fanciest of carbon.
Thanks to the kind folks at TiGr, I got the chance to carry the 075 on several rides over various distances. Their lock lock has made me a convert. Once I’d strapped it in properly (make sure the strap wraps around the lock twice), it didn’t budge. The vinyl covering and o-rings kept the bow from jiggling or making noise against the frame of the bike. I never once had trouble with it loosening, shifting, or falling off. But you’ll want to play around with the fit of the bow on your bike to make sure that you’ve got it mounted in the best place.
I mention this because I first had the bow placed on my top tube, but I realized that I have a tendency to swipe near the top tube with my knees. Since the bow adds to the footprint of the frame, I tended to knock it a bit with my leg. While that’s a pedaling issue I need to address, I liked carrying the lock on the downtube instead. Not only was it completely out of the way on the downtube, I also had a bit more space to loop the straps underneath the cabling.
If you have a smaller frame bike, you might find you have this problem as well: the straps get a bit difficult to loop under any cabling that isn’t internally routed. As I said, I got around this by mounting it on the downtube, but when I set it up it on my husband’s 58 cm bike, the straps had no trouble looping around a few times under the external cables. You certainly aren’t resigned to the downtube if you have a smaller bike or less clearance with the cables, but it will take you more time to undo and redo the straps when you’re using the lock.
Perhaps the coolest thing about the TiGr is its ability to fit through the vents in your helmet. And if you’ve got a lightweight lid, you’ll definitely want to use this feature. Plus, then you won’t have to walk around the local burrito joint in a helmet and cleats.
A Few Tips
When you’re first opening and using the TiGr lock, you’ll notice there is a small learning curve that comes along with it. I kept messing around with the locking cylinder and doing things like getting the keys stuck, etc. But then, I read the instructions. Twice. I realized that I was trying to make it too complex, and its key is in its simplicity. Here’s what I learned, so you can impress your friends by tossing the instructions without even glancing at them.
Lock Cylinder: When it’s attached to the bow, turn the key until the button pops up. Then, squeeze the ends of the bow like you would a pair of tongs and roll the lock forward slightly and then back. It won’t budge if you don’t do the whole squeeze thing, and the rolling from front to back allows it to slip off easily. Make sure to take the key out once you’ve go the cylinder removed from the bow.
To lock it again, make sure the button is popped up first with the key removed. Squeeze the bow together (obviously) and do the whole roll move again. Pretend you’re using a bottle opener on a refreshing, glass-bottled Coca-Cola. Stop squeezing the bow and pop the button down. Boom. You did it! You don’t need to use the keys to lock the cylinder–the button will click down and secure the TiGr.
O-Rings: Make sure you keep your bike scratch-free by moving the o-rings down to the end of the bow and against the exposed metal. Then, you can strap the lock on at the o-rings to ensure they stay put and your frame is safe from even the slightest mark.
The TiGr lock is one of the best locks I’ve ever carried . . . er, not carried. In fact, it’s one of the few accessories I’ll put on my bike (snobbery and all that). It’s so light, I barely notice it’s there, and it takes only seconds to pop on and off the frame. The fact that it also secures my helmet is a huge plus. I have to hand it to the folks at TiGr Lock–they’ve created something unique, useful, and downright cool.
Get your own TiGr Lock directly from TiGr’s website (and don’t forget to use the exclusive discount code slotigr for 10% off plus free shipping) or ask for it at your local bike shop! Also available in high security 125 models and long versions to secure both wheels and frame.