Hands-on Gear Review

OnGuard Akita 8041 Review

This is the lightest and one of the easiest models to use, yet its security is a far cry from that of chain and U-locks.
By: Rylee Sweeney ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 24, 2017
Price:  $23 List  |  $18.06 at Amazon - 21% Off
Pros:  Super lightweight, easy dial combo, quick to use
Cons:  Inconvenient to coil, unwieldy, low security
Manufacturer:   OnGuard
56
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 12
  • Security - 30% 2
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 7
  • Ease of Use - 20% 7
  • Versatility - 20% 8
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Our Verdict

If you're certain that a cable lock fulfills your bike security needs, the OnGuard Akita 8041 is our preferred model of the two cable locks reviewed. These types of locks offer the bare minimum deterrence due to their inability to resist defeat from hand-powered cutting tools as simple as wire snips, as our destructive tests confirmed. Besides security, though, this model performed well in our other metrics. It's the most lightweight model, which our testers appreciated in comparison to the much heavier chain and U-locks we tested. Its length means you can secure all removable parts of your bicycle simultaneously and conveniently (although these parts are only "safe" to a small degree). This lock is better than nothing, and it's simple to use and portable, yet we recommend more robust locks for most riders and environments.

Throughout our testing period, the Akita gained our favor over the Kryptonite Kryptoflex 1218, the other cable lock reviewed. Although the KryptoFlex comes with a frame mount, we were more inclined to toss these cable locks into our packs or panniers when moving from place to place, and the Akita proved easier to use overall. For increased security, we suggest leaving the world of cable locks. The ABUS uGrip Bordo 5700 is a stronger deterrent against theft without being too heavy or cumbersome to transport.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

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The OnGuard Akita is a non-coiled cable with a resettable combo lock that measures 6' long. OnGuard deems this 12mm cable lock "medium duty" as compared to thinner cables, but it still weighs in as the lightest bike lock in our test group. It offers the lowest form of security of any lock type and costs $23.

Performance Comparison


Easy to dial in your combo  which can be reset at your convenience.
Easy to dial in your combo, which can be reset at your convenience.

Security


OnGuard awards the Akita 40 out of 100 points on their security scale, yet the 12 mm braided steel cable was no match for bolt cutters, garden shears, or small cable snips. This and every other cable lock available are minimal security deterrents; our award-winning Kryptonite New York Standard U-Lock is a much more formidable defense against criminal activity. A cheap bolt cutter broke through the Akita's cable in 1 cut as opposed to the three tries it took to get through the Kryptonite KryptoFlex 1218 cable due to the more braided nature of the KryptoFlex. This lock succumbs to a few blows of a hammer, too.

Ben hammers through the locking mechanism of the Akita in a few fatal blows.
Ben hammers through the locking mechanism of the Akita in a few fatal blows.

If the area in which you live also accommodates even amateur bike thieves, don't lock your bike up with a cable lock. The uGrip Bordo5700 offers a definite increase in theft prevention, suitable for low to mid-security needs.

Ease of Transportation


With cable bike locks, you have the choice of locking mechanism (combo or key lock) and the type of cable (coiled or non-coiled). Our testers found that the two types of cables have an inverse relationship regarding ease of transportation and ease of use. Conversely, the coiled cable locks score higher in the ease of transportation category and lower in the ease of use while the non-coiled cables (such as the Akita) are super easy to use but more of a hassle to transport. OnGuard makes both coiled and non-coiled cables, leaving it up to you to make the call on which aspect is more important. The Akita's six feet of straight cable isn't too much of a hassle to wrap around itself and secure with its attached velcro strap, but it came unwrapped while we rode. This unwieldy aspect of this product necessitated putting more care into wrapping it around the frame or handlebars as we could easily with the KryptoFlex. That said, the Akita weighed in at just 1.21 lbs, making it incredibly convenient to throw in your backpack or pannier.

The Akita can be transported in a variety of ways. Here it is around the seat post.
The Akita can be transported in a variety of ways. Here it is around the seat post.

Ease of Use


The Akita was the easiest bike lock to use out of all the bike locks tested. The non-coiled cable allows you to thread it through the frame and wheelset in seconds. OnGuard designed the combination dial with large numbers and an easy grip, making it super quick to dial in your combo. The U-locks with cables (these cables are also non-coiled) are similarly pretty straightforward. The 4' cable on the OnGuard Bulldog DT U-Lock can be quickly threaded through the bike and then secured to the U-Lock (which should lock the frame to the bike rack).

On the left is Kryptonite's KryptoFlex (coiled cable) and on the right is OnGuard's Akita (non-coiled cable.)
On the left is Kryptonite's KryptoFlex (coiled cable) and on the right is OnGuard's Akita (non-coiled cable.)

Versatility


With its extreme ease of use, there's no reason not to thread this cable through both wheels and frame! The Akita's 6' length is more than enough cable to comfortably wrap around all of your bike and through a secure bike rack.

The Akita at it's best! Non-coiled and easy to weave through all of your bike.
The Akita at it's best! Non-coiled and easy to weave through all of your bike.

Best Application


This product is best used where the likelihood of bike thievery is low. This could mean that your bike will stay in sight outside a shop while you buy a Gatorade or that you live in a small town where bike theft is unheard of. It could also mean that you live in an apartment complex with a shared garage and although you trust your neighbors, you don't want them to confuse your bike with a giveaway. This lock is also great as a secondary precaution; wrap the Akita around your wheels and a Kryptonite New York U-Lock to the frame. We also recommend this lock for a quick lock-up of luggage or rented equipment. Our bike touring experts agreed that the Akita probably wouldn't be great for bike touring due to its unwieldiness when trying to coil and transport it.

We thought that the Akita's unwieldiness made it better suited to be transported inside your bag or pannier.
We thought that the Akita's unwieldiness made it better suited to be transported inside your bag or pannier.

Value


The exact percentages vary from website to website, but the bike world recommends spending about a tenth of your bike's value on a lock to keep it your bike. This model rings up at $23; that would mean that your bike is an around-towner OR that you have a more expensive bike but don't need the most secure bike lock. If you're truly strapped for cash, a much more secure option is the Cocoweb Armbar Combo, which only costs six dollars more.

The after-photo of the Akita after a hammer and bolt cutters destroyed it.
The after-photo of the Akita after a hammer and bolt cutters destroyed it.

Conclusion


This bike lock was the lightest, least expensive and easiest to use of the bike locks we tested. Wow, huh? The downfalls were that it was annoying to transport on the frame and got a low security rating.

Rylee Sweeney

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