As discussed by André in a previous article on the Interlock choosing a lock for a bike tour is tricky. In addition to the cable Interlocks we already had, we wanted to bring something a little more substantial, which would act as more of a deterrent for times we were in a city or just felt our bikes were more at risk of being stolen.
Therefore we were very happy when TiGr agreed to send us one of their titanium locks to test out on our journey. The lock they sent us is the 1.25 inch width, standard length (24 inches) bow. It is perfect for bike touring in many ways. Firstly, and by far the most important is that it is light, very light; weighing only 26.8oz (761g) including: bow, cylinder and straps. Secondly, it can be mounted to the frame, therefore not using up any precious pannier space, and thirdly it is strong, the titanium would need a fairly big tool in order to be cut.
In addition, the keys come with a unique code on a metal tag that means if they are lost, TiGr can replace them for you for a small fee of $5. This is very useful especially when travelling and keys are prone to getting misplaced! However, the most striking thing about the TiGr lock is how elegant it is, it really is a beautifully designed product and very different to any other lock I have previously seen.
Whilst getting acquainted with the TiGr lock there have been a few issues worth mentioning. I do find it tricky to access the lock when it is mounted on my frame as I have cantilever brakes and the brake cable runs down the front of the head tube. This cable basically means that I have to pull the lock out to one side in order to get it off, which can be a pain. Also, occasionally the lock has shifted forward when I am riding and ended up pushing against the cable and engaging the brakes, this confused me the first time it happened as I had no idea why my bike wouldn’t move! Nevertheless, this would not be a problem on other bikes that don’t have this style of brake.
After a few days of touring I noticed that the lock when mounted on my bike had scratched my frame, nothing particularly serious but it had scuffed the paint off the frame, which was irritating as my bike was previously blemish-free. To be fair to TiGr they do provide little rubber bands that go around the lock and if positioned correctly should protect the frame from being scratched, I had not positioned the bands correctly. However, this is something to consider when mounting the lock to your frame.
The lock has two parts, the ‘bow’ which makes up the majority of the lock and is mounted to the top tube of the bicycle, and a ‘locking barrel’ (pictured below) which connects the open end of the bow and creates the closed lock.
TiGr provide you with a plastic mount for the lock barrel which can be attached to the frame using Velcro straps, unfortunately the locking barrel fell off the mount whilst I was riding but luckily I heard it and retrieved it. I now keep the barrel in my handlebar bag for fear of losing it completely. We have been traversing some pretty rocky terrain and terrible cobbled Polish roads, maybe in the city this would be less of a problem – but I would recommend not taking any chances as it is essential for the functioning of the lock.
The final thing I would mention is that we have been using it to lock two bikes together and the lock does not give you as many locking options as a cable lock due to its rigidity, perhaps the longer one would have worked better for us.
Despite the issues I have we are delighted to have the TiGr lock with us on our trip. We really do feel like the lock offers us more peace of mind than a thin cable one and its light weight is a huge plus point, I don’t even notice it when it is mounted to the frame. Despite its flaws we love the elegant TiGr lock, it is the most beautiful lock we have come across.