The TiGr mini, made of titanium, is sleek and cool and looks unbreakable. And, while the last part is not true, we nonetheless have an appreciation for this lock due to its lightweight, portable design that gives you a little more security than a cable lock. It's not the cheapest lock in our review lineup by any stretch. We think this grants the TiGr lock a second look, especially if you're looking for a lock that you want to carry along with you. This model looks secure (which is sometimes a potential thief's greatest deterrent), but in our tests, it failed to stand up to multiple tools that are common among bike thieves. It succumbed to bolt cutters in just a few seconds.
TiGr mini Review
Cons: Limited use, expensive, not as secure as it looks
Manufacturer: TiGr Lock
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This titanium loop and lock look robust. Sometimes, that's all you need to deter a potential thief away from your bike. It fits around most frames and wheels, especially if you remove the front wheel and lock it to the back one. There's one huge caveat to this: if you have an aggressive mountain bike or a fat bike, there's no way this lock will go around both tires.
When we pulled out our bag of lock-destroying tools, though, the TiGr feel much shorter than we expected. They easily survived the wire snips, but we were able to defeat it with a hammer and a hacksaw. We will admit, if you position this lock off the ground, it will be MUCH more difficult to defeat it with a hammer, and sawing through it with a hacksaw takes about 10 minutes. But, it's possible, and a hacksaw costs less than $10, as does a hammer.
Most surprisingly (and contradictory to a highly viewed video on youtube), this lock took no longer than five seconds for us to snip through it with 36" bolt cutters. Unlike locks like the Kryptonite New York Standard U-Lock which requires two cuts to be fully defeated, the TiGr only requires one cut to free a bike. A pro thief with the right tools could get away with your bike pretty darn fast with the right tool.
Ease of Transport
If bulk and weight make you balk at U-locks and chains, this is where the TiGr mini shines. At only one pound, you're not going to notice the extra weight of the lock much, no matter if it's mounted to the frame of your bike or in your backpack. Granted, you're not stuffing this thing in a saddlebag or your jersey pocket unless you have a ridiculously large saddlebag or jersey pockets, in which case you might get some weird questions like: "Is that a TiGr in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"
The bike mount was one of our favorite features. It's easy enough to secure to the top or down tube, replacing a bottle cage. We tested this on some pretty small bikes (a 48 size road bike frame) and it still fit on the downtube. The only bad news? You're out a water bottle, which isn't the end of the world for most commuters. If you're using the lock in conjunction with longer training rides, though, having only one bottle on your frame really sucks, and you might look into wearing something with ridiculously large jersey pockets.
The lock fits nicely into a backpack, though, and doesn't take up more space than a novel (not a hardbound dictionary), unlike some of those U-Locks out there.
Ease of Use
It doesn't get much easier than a lock and key, and the TiGr mini certainly delivers in that respect: the locking mechanism is obviously high quality and easy to use (just don't misplace the keys!).
For those of you who have trouble with the pat-your-head-and-rub-your-stomach-type activities, there might be a bit of a learning curve on how to remove the lock (you have to squeeze and pull at the same time to release the lock and squeeze and push to reattach it) but we are confident that you, like our reviewers, will get the hang of it rather quickly, and enjoy the convenience of such an-easy-to-use locking device.
We didn't rate the TiGr mini as highly here as other locks included in this review simply due to its size, which limits what you can lock your bike to (especially if you have a larger frame or wheels.) Even for road bike, though, larger structures, like trees and lampposts are obviously out of the question, so you better hope there's a bike rack where you're headed.
This lock is among the more expensive included in this review. We don't find it to have a ton of value, though, as many less-expensive locks provide the same or higher level of security.
The TiGr mini is impressively lightweight but offers just decent security. Its limitations also include its size and shape, and it might not be suitable for fat or mountain bikes, or for areas that do not have bike racks. If, though, you want more protection than a cable lock, but hate the heaviness of other U-Locks on the market, this lightweight option might be just the solution to unlock the lock dilemma.
— Rebecca Eckland