OTTO DesignWorks Ottolock Cinch Review
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OTTO DesignWorks Ottolock Cinch
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|Pros||Lightweight, easy to carry and use, flexible||Secure, includes 5 keys, price is nice||Inexpensive, more secure than many in its price range, high quality||Lightweight, easy-to-carry, easy-to-use||Lightweight, flexible, easy to use|
|Cons||Can be defeated in seconds by tin snips||Clunky mounting hardware, heavy||Locking mechanism stuck a few times, lackluster frame mount||Minimal security, can be compromised with the right tools quickly||Too small, minimal security|
|Bottom Line||For the price, we expected more from the Ottolock that can be defeated in seconds||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||If you're in the market for a highly portable and lightweight lock but without much security, this one has your name on it||Great for preventing the "snatch and grab" while you make a pit stop but does little to prevent a real bike thief from swiping your ride|
|Rating Categories||OTTO DesignWorks Ot...||OnGuard Brute STD||Kryptonite Kryptolo...||ABUS Chain Lock 120...||Hiplok Z Lok|
|Ease of Transport (25%)|
|Ease of Use (20%)|
|Specs||OTTO DesignWorks Ot...||OnGuard Brute STD||Kryptonite Kryptolo...||ABUS Chain Lock 120...||Hiplok Z Lok|
|Measured weight (lbs)||0.3 lbs||3.6 lbs||3.2 lbs||0.5 lbs||0.1 lbs|
|Type of lock||Combo Cable||U-Lock||U-Lock + cable||Chain||Reusable zip tie|
|Primary materials/thickness||Kevlar and stainless steel core||16.8mm hardened steel||12.7mm hardened steel; braided steel cable||4mm hardened steel||Steel core security tie|
|Locking dimension||30" circumference||7.5" x 10.5"||U-lock: 4" x 9"; Cable: 4'||43" circumference||16.5" circumference|
|# of keys included||N/A||5 keys||2 keys||N/A||1 key|
|Tin snips||Yes||No||No||Yes, requires two cuts to defeat||Yes|
|Bolt cutters, 36"||Yes||No||No||Yes, but not very easily. Requires two cuts||Yes|
|Number of cuts to free lock||1 cut||2 cuts||2 cuts||2 cuts||1 cut|
Our Analysis and Test Results
There's a continuous tension between portability and security in the top-ranked bike lock world, and, to some degree, we get it. In a sense, you have to choose how much weight you want to carry versus how much security you're willing to risk? The Ottolock Cinch attempted to find the right balance between bulky security and ease of transport with its multiple layers of steel and Kevlar® bands that coil up to a 3-inch circle that can fit into a saddle bag or backpack. In terms of portability and weight, it's stellar. It can fit into a jersey pocket, which is great. Unfortunately, security is this lock's Achilles heel.
As a plastic-covered steel band secured by a combination lock, the Ottolock offers about the same security as the HipLok Z-Lok, which is much less than your standard U-lock. For cyclists searching for a lightweight lock that weighs in at a mere 5.3 ounces, this one makes it easy to carry around whether you have a backpack or in your jersey pocket. Our testers were more than happy to carry this lock with us on our training rides, joy rides, and commutes, making it more likely that we were using a bike lock at all — because even the most secure lock won't do a bit of good if you leave it at home because it's too bulky/heavy to go along for the ride.
The company doesn't market this lock as the end-all to bike security: the website for this particular model clearly states, "Ottolock is not a replacement for a U-Lock. For maximum security, use a redundant locking method with both a U-Lock and a secondary lock." We appreciate their honesty, and based on our testing, we agree that this is not a high-security lock at all. Given the results of our testing, we're not even sure we feel comfortable recommending it for medium-risk areas, either. Granted, we used the lock in a small mountain town and had no issues. But, it would be best if you always remembered to take anecdotal bike lock stories with a grain of salt.
We couldn't beat this lock with wire snips or a hacksaw, but a hammer destroyed it. If you keep the locking mechanism away from the ground when securing your bike, such a feat would be nearly impossible (another reminder to follow best locking practices). With our 36" bolt cutters, it took our "thieves" about two minutes to cut through it. The Kevlar wrapping around the flat steel band proved to be an effective way to slow the inevitable defeat. However, a pair of tin snips (which cost less than ten bucks) cut the band in just over a second, which is why we aren't rating this lock very high in terms of security. Needless to say, an angle grinder also got through this lock very quickly.
Ease of Transport
At only 5.3 oz, the flexible Ottolock easily coils into a jersey pocket, backpack, around your seat-post, or into a larger saddlebag, making it an easy companion on most recreational and commute rides. We were skeptical about the claim that this contender fits into your back pocket (talk about an easy way to make that bike saddle uncomfortable!); still, the Ottolock was much easier to transport than U-locks and the TiGr mini included in this review.
We also got around town with this lock cinched to our bike frame, making it quickly convenient to access and not weighing down anything noticeable.
Ease of Use
This lock seems pretty straightforward on the surface: it's a steel-coated band covered in Kevlar with a combination lock on it. The end slides through the lock and, when you depress a small, silver button, the band slides in or out. As designed, the lock is easy to use, and unless you forget the combination, you're probably golden. Setting and resetting the combination is super easy when following the included instructions.
We appreciated the soft band, which won't scratch the paint off our frames and can be made to go around both tires, the frame, and a bike rack (as long as you remove the front wheel and put it next to the back one). The combination was easy enough to use and sometimes quicker than a key (except for when we forgot the combination, but that has more to do with the inside of our skulls, rather than anything wrong with the lock).
The only downside to a combination lock was in low-light situations, so make sure you carry a light with you so you can see the numbers on the lock.
Our reviewers loved the cable-like design of this lock that enables more creative locking solutions than the more rigid U-locks. By removing the front wheel of your bike and locking it next to the rear, the lock enabled our reviewers to secure both road and mountain bikes, which we thought was pretty awesome. Even though it grants a wide range of locking options, we caution you to know where you're locking your bike. As mentioned in the Security metric, a savvy thief can destroy this lock within seconds.
Should You Buy the OTTO DesignWorks Ottolock Cinch?
Honestly, we were disappointed by this lock that claims to offer medium security but was drafted within seconds when faced with tin snips. We wouldn't recommend it for any high-security stations and not for anything overnight. The bottom line is if you have any reservations about where you're leaving your bike, don't leave it in the care of the Ottolock.
What Other Bike Locks Should You Consider?
The price is a lot to pay for something that can be defeated within seconds, even when you factor in how portable it is. We think you should consider the OnGuard Brute STD, which offers the most security per dollar spent on a bike lock. Hey, your biking gear might be thankful for the increased security.
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