If you've complained about mounting a U-lock to your bike frame or carrying a heavy lock in your pack, the Litelok Gold Wearable offers an alternative way to bring your lock — wear it! The bike lock comes in three non-adjustable sizes, looks like a reflective belt (adding to your visibility while on the road), and offers security for medium to high-risk areas. We also appreciate the versatility of this lock, which easily accommodates two wheels (front wheel removed) and your bike's frame in most situations. Compared to other bike locks in the group, we think this lock is almost excellent, but a few things kept our enthusiasm at bay. First, the mechanism to keep it secure around the waist doesn't inspire confidence while riding — it sometimes felt like it could fall off our bodies. Second, it's costly. With some impressive biking gear out there, if Litelok were to improve the wearability of this lock and drop the price, this lock could be a fantastic addition to your rides. But, for now, it falls behind.Editor's Note: We updated this gear review on January 25, 2022, to include information on whether or not this product is worthy of purchasing and others we would consider.
Litelok Gold Wearable Review
Cons: Not confidently secure around waist, not adjustable fit
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Litelok Gold Wearable
|Price||$150 List||$74.99 at Backcountry|
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|$107.19 at REI|
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$50.09 at Amazon
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|Pros||Wearable, lightweight, security, very convenient||Wearable design, solid security, easy to use||Very secure, mounts to bike, convenient size for locking up||Secure, includes 5 keys, price is nice||Inexpensive, more secure than many in its price range, high quality|
|Cons||Not confidently secure around waist, not adjustable fit||Not lightweight, uncomfortable with some backpacks, pricey||Heavy, bulky to transport||Clunky mounting hardware, heavy||Locking mechanism stuck a few times, lackluster frame mount|
|Bottom Line||This lightweight lock can feel insecure while riding, but offers a wearable option if you don't mind the price tag||The innovative design of this wearable chain lock increases this heavy lock's portability, which is great news for regular bike commuters||Our favorite all-around bike lock for high-security needs||This lock provides great security and versatility at an affordable price, and while not our absolute favorite, it's pretty close||This inexpensive U-lock offers versatility and security that is likely to fit the needs and budgets of many cyclists and commuters|
|Rating Categories||Litelok Gold Wearable||Hiplok Original: Su...||Kryptonite New York...||OnGuard Brute STD||Kryptonite Kryptolo...|
|Ease of Transport (25%)|
|Ease of Use (20%)|
|Specs||Litelok Gold Wearable||Hiplok Original: Su...||Kryptonite New York...||OnGuard Brute STD||Kryptonite Kryptolo...|
|Measured weight (lbs)||2.4 lbs||4.3 lbs||4.5 lbs||3.6 lbs||3.2 lbs|
|Type of lock||Wearable belt||Wearable chain||U-lock||U-Lock||U-Lock + cable|
|Primary materials/thickness||Boaflexicore and hardened steel||8mm hardened steel chain, 600D polyester sleeve||16mm Hardened Steel||16.8mm hardened steel||12.7mm hardened steel; braided steel cable|
|Locking dimension||Size Medium: 37.9" circumference, 1.9" strap width||33.5" circumference, 2" width||4" x 8"||7.5" x 10.5"||U-lock: 4" x 9"; Cable: 4'|
|# of keys included||3 keys||3 keys||3 keys (one with HID light)||5 keys||2 keys|
|Hacksaw||Yes, but unrealistic||No||No||No||No|
|Bolt cutters, 36"||No||No||No||No||No|
|Number of cuts to free lock||1 cut||1 cut||2 cuts||2 cuts||2 cuts|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Biking is a sport that's all about shedding weight: the lighter the bike frame and rider, the better. If you're a commuter, though, you're likely packing a bike lock to keep those wheels safe, and often, it's heavy. Also, it may or may not mount to your bike frame or smash your backpack contents. However, enter the Litelok Gold, a lock that doubles as a belt and offers you pretty great versatility. It flexes to stretch around your waist but is otherwise rigid, which our testers didn't find all that comfortable.
This lock receives a Gold rating from Sold Secure (a third-party lock security assessment company). This contender is one of the lightest bike locks we tested with this rating for the weight.
This lock easily withstood our attacks using a hammer, bolt cutters, tin snips, and wire cutters, just as we expected. It will eventually succumb to a hacksaw, but you'd have to be a pretty dedicated thief to cut through the Litelok with this tool — the task is achievable, but you're looking at a 20-minute effort. It takes one cut to defeat with an angle grinder. The addition of power tools sped the process up considerably, but it still took 20+ seconds of sparks flying and that metal-burning smell to get through the lock, which is sure to grab some attention. For comparison, heavy-duty U-locks weigh a pound or two more but take about double the amount of time to cut through with an angle grinder. Also, many high-end U-locks require two separate cuts to free your bike from a bike rack, increasing the time needed and attention to the crime. The Litelok offers above-average security, but not the most compared to others.
Ease of Transport
In general, we appreciate wearable locks. Wearing a bike lock like a belt is a pretty cool idea, and we liked that we didn't have to give up one (or both) of our bottle holders to install a mount for the Litelok Gold. Once the actions are familiar, most testers found that wearable models decrease the time spent messing with the lock when locking up and getting back on the bike. This model also has a reflective cover around its hardened steel core, allowing you to be seen when underway on the road. It's impressive that Litelok can produce such a lightweight lock with high security. The low weight feels better around the waist, but its rigidity didn't feel as comfortable as other flexible wearable locks we have tested.
We also love that you don't need a key to lock it around your body, which is advantageous. To secure this contender without locking it, move the plastic buffer to cover the locking mechanism, which prevents it from fully locking and requiring a key. The lock snaps into place, and there's an additional elastic strap to keep the Litelok in place. It's very convenient to snap together and pull back apart, all without removing the key out of our pocket.
Our only problem is that the theory is better than the reality. In practice, our testers discovered that the lock tended to come "halfway undone" while riding (see images), which felt like it was hanging on by a hair. This issue is nerve-wracking, to say the least, because it requires both hands to secure the lock again around the waist. Based on our experience, we feel that this could be a potentially dangerous design flaw, especially if your commute involves rough roads. We are glad to report that the lock didn't ever fall off our bodies during a ride, but we see the potential for this to happen, and it distracted us multiple times from focusing on the road and traffic. Also, one of the toggles on the elastic band broke, which might not seem like a big deal, but if you're spending a considerable amount of money on a bike lock, nothing should break after three weeks of use, as it did for us. We were bummed that what makes this lock so attractive didn't work out for us in the real world. Improvements here would skyrocket this lock to one of our favorites ever.
If you're not into including a bike lock into your ensemble as a fashion accessory, the bike lock certainly becomes more awkward. It's pretty rigid and doesn't pack down into a smaller shape, so trying to fit this in a bag can become an Olympic sport. The lock includes a simple, no-frills pack for transporting the lock on your back, but we never used it as it is unattractive and felt cheap. We wish Litelok didn't include this little extra and instead routed the savings onto the consumer to help reduce the high price of this lock. It also comes with two straps to attach the lock to your frame or to strap it to a rack. According to our testers, the two straps that came with the lock didn't do the job sufficiently.
Ease of Use
If there's one word to describe the Litelok Gold, it would be "convenient." The ability to secure the Litelok to your body without using the key makes putting it on and taking it off quick and easy. It also locks without a key. You only need the key to unlock this model. Our testers especially appreciated this on days when they were running late. We are fans of any lock that speeds up the process of using it. The locking mechanism is smooth, and we didn't experience any jams over weeks of daily use. It comes with three keys, making us less anxious about losing one.
Our only quip here is that the Litelok's rigidity made it difficult to use in some situations. Unlike other locks that can flex on multiple planes, this one only bends one way. Additionally, the lock has a determined tendency to straighten itself out, which was annoying when our testers tried to lock up their bikes. If we lost our grip, it would spring out of our hands and sometimes smack against our bike.
The Litelok follows the basic idea that the larger the space is, the more stuff you can cram into it. Unlike U-locks that offer a limited area (typically 11" x 5"), the Litelok offers a considerably larger diameter in which you can fit the front and bike tires along with your bike frame, which is the optimal configuration for security. This means you aren't necessarily limited to only locking your wheels to bike racks; the larger size of the Litelok opens other possibilities.
One caveat to consider before purchasing this lock is the available sizes it comes in. As a wearable lock, you have to consider if the lock will accommodate your bike and if it will accommodate your waist. Smaller riders who order a smaller size will likely find this contender less versatile for this reason. Be sure to check the size charts to ensure the lock matches your waist, or resort to carrying this lock in an alternative manner.
Should You Buy the Litelok Gold Wearable?
The Litelok Gold Wearable impressed us with its security and portability. We like how convenient this contender is to lock and unlock if you're constantly on the go. However, a few flaws keep us from wholeheartedly recommending it. With a few upgrades and revisions, we think the Litelok has the potential to be a top contender in our bike lock review. Mostly, we wish they'd fix the latch so that it doesn't come loose from your midsection when you're pedaling. Of course, a lower price would also increase this lock's value. But, if the manufacturer could implement improvements, even the high price could be worth it to many commuters.
What Other Bike Locks Should You Consider?
If you like the idea of a wearable lock, we suggest considering the Hiplok Original: Superbright. It's an award-winning contender that doesn't have flaws like this contender, and it's less money. We think it's potentially a win-win.
— Rebecca Eckland
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