Otto Design Works started with a rear derailleur tuning iPhone app. It was a complicated but effective and solved a problem that didn’t really exist.
Two years later, the company developed the OttoLock, a zip-tie type lock with a spring steel and Kevlar sandwich core. This time it seems Otto Design Works solved a real problem in creating a light, portable lock that is more secure than a cable lock.
You can cut cable locks with common tools such as diagonal pliers or small bolt cutters in a matter of seconds. The Otto Lock will take longer to get through thanks to the tough plastic outer layer and the steel and kevlar sandwiched inner core.
At both Sea Otter and Interbike, Otto Design Works let us try cutting the lock with bolt cutters and diagonal cutting pliers. The bolt cutter was not effective, and when using diagonal cutting pliers, I could nip at the material a little at a time. We estimated it would take more than a minute to chew through it.
Consider that the OttoLock is a low-security lock meant for a short stop where your bike is in sight. For example when picking up a coffee or running into the restroom.
In the face of cutters, the OttoLock could last 10 times longer than a cable lock that will fail in less than 5 seconds! Of course, this has no chance against a portable power grinder or saw or torch, but if cinched tight in a way that is hard to get a cutter in with leverage, it will buy you enough time to chase the thief away, as long as you are within sight of the bike.
The Otto Lock comes in three lengths and weighs only 150 grams for the shortest 18” version. The 30” version coils to the same diameter with only one extra loop and weighs barely an ounce more.
Since the longer length offers more versatility to lock to larger objects or capture more of the bike with the lock loop, we recommend the 30” version at least. It’s zip-tie design cinches tightly to smaller objects just the same as the shorter version. There is also a 60” version.
The 3-number combination is user resettable. If you have no pockets or bag, you can get a mounting bracket-the Pro Mount holds the lock securely to your bike using rubber straps for an additional $25. The company also offers a $10 Otto Mount that holds the lock with one strap.
Based on our experience in the demonstrations, we gained the confidence to use the lock in situations where we needed to make a quick stop and be away from our bike for only a minute. We tried to be smart about where we placed the bike and placement of the lock on the bike. That means securing as many parts of the bike to a stationary object as we could and then cinching the lock tight.
We liked the OttoLock because it’s light, will fit into our jersey pocket and is better than no lock. We also found the Ottolock useful for locking a bike to a car rack or locking other objects such as a cooler or skis from casual theft.
For more on the OttoLock see the specs below.
For more gift ideas, see our 2018 Gift Guide.
OttoLock Bike Lock Specs
Price: $60 – 85 USD
Sizes: 18″, 30″, 60″; multiple colors
Weight: 150g, 18″ (actual); 260g, 60″ (claimed)
Material: Plastic, steel, Kevlar
Accessories: $25 Pro Mount mountaing bracket, $10 Otto Mount one-strap
More Info: ottodesignworks.com