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Via Velo U Lock with Cable Review

Like most U locks available, this model required us to use power tools to defeat it. However, despite its low price, we feel that there are better options available within this price range, making it hard for us to recommend this one
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Price:  $50 List | $38.96 at Amazon
Pros:  Requires power tools to defeat
Cons:  Small size isn't as versatile, weak for a U lock, our order did not come with a frame mount
Manufacturer:   Via Velo
By Rebecca Eckland ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 20, 2020
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44
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#17 of 17
  • Security - 40% 5
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 3
  • Ease of Use - 20% 5
  • Versatility - 15% 4

Our Verdict

The Via Velo U Lock with Cable is an adequate lock for low to medium security situations. It performed reasonably well in most locking situations we encountered around town and on a college campus. However, its size limited what we could lock our bikes to. If you were in a place without a bike rack, you were sometimes out of luck. And while this lock required power tools to get through it, our angle grinder cut through it quicker than the competition. Lastly, despite being advertised as coming with a frame mount, the one we bought did not come with a frame mount. So, while its smaller size could have been a boost for its portability, instead we had to carry it in a pack, which is much less convenient, or buy a third-party mount.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The Via Velo is a basic U lock with a very long cable.
The Via Velo is a basic U lock with a very long cable.

Security


While there's a lot to be said for a lock that's light and lean, this one suffers when it comes to security. Compared to other U-locks, this one struck us as slightly easier to break into and even showed considerable wear after we subjected it to a beating with a hammer, where other models survived relatively unscathed.

After taking a beating from a hammer  this lock didn't look so hot  but it still remained intact and able to protect a bike. Our testers needed power tools to beat this lock.
After taking a beating from a hammer, this lock didn't look so hot, but it still remained intact and able to protect a bike. Our testers needed power tools to beat this lock.

To be fair, the lock survived the hammer, the tin snips, and our 36" bolt cutters, but was compromised within seconds of encountering the angle grinder power tool. Interestingly, the "weak point" for this lock was its shackle. A single cut through it with the angle grinder was quick, and no additional cut was necessary to free the bike.

We were able to cut through the shackle of the Via Velo U-lock with power tools  revealing the guts  i.e.  the locking mechanism.
We were able to cut through the shackle of the Via Velo U-lock with power tools, revealing the guts, i.e., the locking mechanism.

Ease of Transport


Despite being advertised and apparently often sold with a frame mount, the model we purchased did not come with one. While this U-lock isn't super heavy, being forced to stuff it into a bag or buy a third-party mount caused us to score this product low in this performance metric.

Since this lock didn't come with a frame mount, we bought the Huldit frame mount for this lock, and everyone agreed — it works great. We actually love this frame mount for many U locks we tested.

Using an after-market frame mount called "HuldIt" made carrying the Via Velo U-Lock as easy as velcro. However  we had to spend this extra money because our lock didn't come with a mount  unlike any other U lock we tested.
Using an after-market frame mount called "HuldIt" made carrying the Via Velo U-Lock as easy as velcro. However, we had to spend this extra money because our lock didn't come with a mount, unlike any other U lock we tested.

The U lock itself is lighter than most of its class, weighing just over 2 lbs. The accompanying cable is considerably longer and heavier than others we tested in this review. At 5'10"--at least a foot longer than other cables included with U-locks in this review-- there's a lot of leeway for your to wrap up your additional wheels, seat, handlebars, etc. Granted, it takes seconds to snip through a cable, so depending where you're locking up your bike, this may or may not factor into your decision. And, in terms of ease of transportation--that's an additional foot of cable you'll have to wind around your seat post or put somewhere when you're pedaling to your next destination.

Given its size  we were able to mount the lock at various locations on the bike's frame using a third-party lock.
Given its size, we were able to mount the lock at various locations on the bike's frame using a third-party lock.

Ease of Use


We though the Via Velo lock fell somewhere in the middle of this metric. It's not like solving an algebra equation to use the lock, but the locking mechanism wasn't the smoothest of the bunch, either. We tended to notice this more due to the lock's size (trying to squeeze two wheels, the bike frame and the bike rack was like trying to squeeze into skinny jeans after too much pizza) and if the two sides of the U don't align with the lock perfectly, you're out of luck.

Here is the lock securing the back wheel and frame to the bike rack and the cable wrapping around the front tire.
Here is the lock securing the back wheel and frame to the bike rack and the cable wrapping around the front tire.

The Via Velo doesn't have a dust cover over the keyhole. If you plan on mounting this lock into the bike frame, you could potentially get more road debris in the lock without a dust cover, making it more difficult to use.

The locking mechanism felt finicky on this lock. If not lined up perfectly  the key wouldn't always turn to engage the lock.
The locking mechanism felt finicky on this lock. If not lined up perfectly, the key wouldn't always turn to engage the lock.

The lock comes with three keys, which offers you some peace of mind in case you lose one (or two.) None of the keys has a light on it like some other U-Locks on the market, which is sort of a bummer if you tend to lock or unlock your bike at night.

Versatility


With a shackle that'san inch or two shorter than other standard-sized U-locks (which tend to be around 11" long), it's more difficult to lock up both your front and rear tire and bike frame to a bike rack. This is especially true if you have a thicker frame (like a mountain bike) or the bike racks in your neighborhood are of the thicker variety.

Our testers encountered several situations where the Via Velo U-Lock was too small to accomodate both tires  the frame and a bike rack.
Our testers encountered several situations where the Via Velo U-Lock was too small to accomodate both tires, the frame and a bike rack.

We were often unable to lock both wheels to the bike rack even on our commute bikes with skinny tires. This is a serious detriment, especially for riders who are locking their bikes in high-risk areas. Granted, the added length on the accompanying cable--which is two feet longer than most cables that come with U-Locks--can add some versatility points to the Via Velo. As we stress throughout this review, however, don't rely on the cable lock to secure your bike frame. It's also up for debate if the cable lock is a good idea for securing the front wheel.

We recommend that you take into consideration where you will be locking your bike when selecting a lock. The Via Velo might be fine for you if you have a smaller frame and you are not locking to a thick bike rack. However, if you are riding a larger bike with thick tires and plan on locking to a tree, this is definitely not the lock for you.

As you can see  there's not a lot of extra room there  and we have the bike tire and bike frame locked to this bike rack. If you're considering this lock  you might want to check out what kind of bike racks you'll be locking your bike to... or  if you have thicker tires  you might want to look at a larger U-lock.
As you can see, there's not a lot of extra room there, and we have the bike tire and bike frame locked to this bike rack. If you're considering this lock, you might want to check out what kind of bike racks you'll be locking your bike to... or, if you have thicker tires, you might want to look at a larger U-lock.

Value


For its price, the Via Velo performed ok. Every bike lock will succumb to power tools, and for the price, we thought this little lock did just about as well as we expected it would. Where it failed to impress us was its versatility and the lack of a frame mount. If we had received a frame mount with our purchase, it would have boosted this model's score. Without it, it was tougher to transport while also being one of the weakest U locks we tested.

If you're confident that your front tire won't get swiped if you're securing it with a cable  you might really love this lock. It made us nervous that we couldn't fit both tires into the lock in certain situations.
If you're confident that your front tire won't get swiped if you're securing it with a cable, you might really love this lock. It made us nervous that we couldn't fit both tires into the lock in certain situations.

Conclusion


We wish the focus of this lock was less on the length of the cable it comes with, but more on the size of the U-lock itself. While we appreciate U locks with lower prices, this one missed the mark in a few areas where others in its price range didn't.


Rebecca Eckland