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TiGr bike lock takes a flexible approach to security


April 28, 2011

The TiGr is a proposed new type of bicycle lock, that uses a titanium bow as a shackle

The TiGr is a proposed new type of bicycle lock, that uses a titanium bow as a shackle

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Bicycle locks are an absolute necessity for anyone who parks their bike in public places, but they can sometimes be a bit awkward to carry when riding. One alternative is to install a lock mount on the bike's frame, although some bicycle aficionados would liken that to putting a trailer hitch on a Ferrari. Riders can also use a wearable lock, such as the Hiplok. Another interesting locking innovation could be on the way, however, in the form of the TiGr.

Designed by cyclists John Loughlin and Joshua A.C. Newman, the TiGr consists of a long, narrow titanium "bow," the ends of which insert into a pick-resistant stainless steel cylinder, that locks using a rotary disc key mechanism.

When the bike is in transit, the bow mounts along the length of its top tube, held in place by velcro straps – a protective coating keeps it from marring the paint. When the bicycle is parked, the bow goes through its frame, wheels, and a fixed item such a sign post. It's the same idea as a U-lock, although where a U is wide and unyielding, the TiGr is long and flexible. One advantage of that shape, besides being able to mount on the top tube, is the fact that riders with quick-release hubs may not have to remove their front wheel when locking up ... depending on the bike.

The bow would be available in three-quarter-inch and one-and-one-quarter-inch widths, depending on whether cyclists placed a higher priority on weight reduction or security. Even a lock incorporating the wider bow, however, reportedly weighs about one-third the amount of a typical U-lock.

Loughlin states that a 48-inch (122-cm) bolt cutter was unable to cut through the wider bow, and that sawing through it proved "extremely difficult and time consuming," due to its springy nature. He also says that its springiness makes it difficult to pop open with a jack, which would be more effective on a rigid lock.

John and Joshua are currently trying to raise funds to develop the product further, which would include subjecting it to third-party testing. There's no word yet on an estimated retail price, although a US$100 pledge to their venture on the Kickstarter entrepreneurial website will get you one.

Source: Bicycle Design

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Sharp, Sweet

Bill Bennett

I assure you a bolt cutter will not cut this very well. Bolt cutter blades are not sharp and often have a gap. They work on maluable metals, stretching and then snapping the metal. You really would need the sheering action of tin snips to cut through this.

Michael Mantion

Looks like it would be a little bit of a hassle to try to thread through both wheels and around the frame and a post, even with a bit of flexibility. I\'d also wonder about how well it would fit bikes with low and or sloping top tubes that might put the back end very close to if not directly on the rear tire. And whether it could interfere with the shock absorber on some rear suspension bikes.


I\'d want mine to have a coating on it, like rubber or vinyl so it wouldn\'t scratch my beautiful bike frame or make noise rattling against it.

Paul Anthony

I am always up for innovation where bicycles are concerned. Pretty much any lock can be disabled with the correct tools in very little time. The idea is that you make it too much work for the thief to bother with your ride. That being said a lighter lock that is easy to carry and simple to use will encourage the rider to actually use it properly... which is a good thing.

Kim Smed

This looks useful for me, but I would still have to remove a wheel to make this work on any of my extended wheelbase bicycles.

John Clary

Titanium is pretty expensive, so I wonder how the cost compares to a $30 steel lock that weighs a couple of pounds. I do like the design approach, however.

William Sherrett

Two of these would solve the length of wheelbase or wheel to anchor looping, for those wanting more security. I hope they get it into large-scale production.



Save your money :)

Nhat Linh Nguyen
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