Order Rev Nat's Cider Today

Company responds to YouTuber who (once again) cuts through bicycle lock

Posted by on May 29th, 2019 at 1:09 pm

(Photo: Ottolock)

Back in December a YouTuber named LockPickingLawyer who specializes in defeating security products caused a stir when he posted a video that showed an Ottolock being easily cut with snips in just two seconds.

Ottolock is a Portland company that has found a strong niche with its relatively small and lightweight lock. The company has always acknowledged that it’s not meant as a primary theft deterrent and that it should only be used either in combination with a strong U-lock or for very short durations in low-crime areas.

Two months after that video (which got 1.2 million views) came out, Ottolock launched a new model with thicker construction. The Hexband was designed with “increased cut resistance” versus the original model, according to the company’s marketing materials. “Featuring added resistance to shearing tools such as snips and cable cutters,” they continued. “Getting through Ottolock Hexband requires serious effort or powered devices, making it a stronger quick-stop lock for bicyclists and other users with higher security requirements.”

Last Friday Lock Picking Lawyer released a video that tested the Hexband (watch it below). In the video — which has already received over one million views — it takes him a bit more strength and two hands, but he’s able to cut through it with relative ease.

Advertisement

Ottolock responded to the video yesterday. Here’s what they posted via Instagram:

Ottolock use guidelines.

We wish to thank the many supporters of OTTOLOCK. As you may be aware, there are critics who may not understand the product’s intended use. We’ve been consistent in message, transparent in our learning, and we stand by our product design intent and use guidelines.

We take our responsibility to customers and product quality very seriously. We make premium compact locks for quick stops and we do not claim they are invincible. We’ve always recommended redundant locking with a quality U-lock for higher crime areas or long duration lock-ups.

We have spent a tremendous amount of our resources developing and testing this product to ensure that we meet the design intent and optimize trade-offs. OTTOLOCK HEXBAND is highly resistant to many modes of cutting or shimming, but can be vulnerable to specific forms of attack. We also strive to stand behind our product with exceptional customer service as many customers will confirm.

We’ve created a great product to fill the unmet need of a lightweight, portable solution for bicycle quick stops and other outdoor uses (registering for events, going to the restroom, grabbing a coffee or snack, bundling two or three bikes together on a group ride, and more). There is not a better compact and portable lock for these applications.

We appreciate the many thousands of customers and retailers who share this belief in our product and brand.

Thank you,
OTTO DesignWorks

So far (at least on Instagram), many of Ottolock’s fans say they’ll continue to support product. Fans of LockPickingLawyer are not being so kind.

Bicycle product expert and designer James Buckroyd (a contributor to BikePortland) tried to cut through the new Hexband lock and posted his review on May 11th. The verdict? “With a manual tool you need at 30mins and a lot of energy to get this one off… There is no doubt that adding one of these to you bike either wrapped around your saddle bag or using the holder will benefit you.”

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

55
Leave a Reply

avatar
30 Comment threads
25 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
43 Comment authors
Alan KingMatt S.Don't buy local, buy qualityAlex QuinnAmy Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Matt McLaughlin
Guest
Matt McLaughlin

So. I don’t think anyone has any beef with a lightweight lock designed for very quick stops. I think the issue is with marketing video where they clearly lead you to believe a pair of tin-snips can’t cut the strap; let alone cut it in a matter of seconds.

grannygear
Guest
grannygear

Smoke and mirrors. And dept store snips.

L
Guest
L

Obviously the ottolock isn’t a replacement for a u-lock! I’d hesitate to use it even for a grocery run at Fred Meyer, and I’d be stressed out the whole time if I did. But I do long rides where it’s nice to have some (lightweight, packable) peace of mind when running into a country store for water or if I’m meeting at a café. That’s what this is designed for and people don’t seem to get it

9watts
Subscriber

Wouldn’t it be a whole lot quicker, cheaper, easier to jam your shift lever causing the chain to stretch across several gears before walking into the store? I mean the deterrence would seem to be to comparable.

Middle of The Road Guy
Guest
Middle of The Road Guy

But then the bike could be stolen without tools.

9watts
Subscriber

Attempting to grab and ride off with a bike that looks/is unlocked, but has the chain jammed like that is going to in most cases produce a spectacle which may or may not lead to a successful theft.

Jay Dedd
Guest
Jay Dedd

Why assume attempted ride-off rather than picking up the bike and throwing it in the back of a truck or van?

9watts
Subscriber

Sure.
I’m not one to stop and dash into a store on a training ride. I habitually use my kryptonite u-lock always, and have for thirty-three years, so the thinking behind this device eludes me.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

If you have used Kryptonite locks for 33 years, then you spent quite a few of those years using an easily defeated lock, pickable with a simple Bic pen. As did I.

9watts
Subscriber

My first (1986-20xx) Kryptonite U-lock served me very well. Some miscreant tried to break it open with sharp tools, ca. 1993, but didn’t get too far. He, like most of us, was clearly unaware of the BIC-pen trick back then. Like I said, it is an arms race.

PS
Guest
PS

Who cares? Some people spend a lot of money on things that don’t work very well. I tend to not buy $75 zip ties, but just bought a $70 chain that will inevitably wear out in 3 months.

tony
Guest
tony

The difference is this company claims in a video that it’s tin snip proof, bolt cutters proof and etc. Which it clearly isn’t, then claims the YouTuber went through extra measures to ensure the lock would fail using the cheapest methods. They deserve the heat that they got.

Cam
Guest
Cam

What makes you think he went through extra measures to make it fail?

Cam
Guest
Cam

I probably missed something, the guidelines were to use with a U-lock. If you’re using a U-lock, what’s the purpose of the Otto lock?

hotrodder
Guest
hotrodder

We totally get it. A 75 dollar zip-tie to give you peace of mind when you need to make a quick boonie stop for snacks or coffee. Or, if you want to save 68 dollars, here you go. Less than 7 bucks. Not really secure at all, but better than nothing, (just like the Otterlock).

https://www.doitbest.com/products/812641

Middle of The Road Guy
Guest
Middle of The Road Guy

I’ve got about $25k in bikes locked up in my basement and NONE of them have made me thin.

Jason
Guest
Jason

Meh. A small U-lock is just as easy to carry. Ain’t nobody got time for Ottolock.

jered
Guest
jered

I mean you can extract a lot of justice with a U-Lock, not so much with an Ottolock…

Colin Leland
Guest
Colin Leland

I’ve actually used my Ottolock to fend someone off late at night. The metal weight at the end of the “zip tie” was extremely effective.

hotrodder
Guest
hotrodder

The advertised purpose of this lock can be equally served by using a 6.99 combination cable lock from your local hardware store. Use it in conjunction with a good lock if you’re after bike security. Really?
I know I’m not the intended audience for this device.
I don’t have 75 extra bucks to spend just to save a few ounces and/or impress my riding buddies with the latest and greatest gadget, but even if I did the marketing division at Otterlock is really contorting the message to try and stem the damage that the LPL has been doing, and quite frankly, it’s as insulting to my intelligence as a lot of what’s coming out of the white house these days.

John Lascurettes
Subscriber

This sugary lock is part of a full and (already) complete nutritious breakfast.

David Hampsten
Guest

Now with extra iron!

Christopher of Portland
Guest
Christopher of Portland

I would be surprised if I own much of anything that would take as long to compromise as Bucky claims it would take to get through this lock. Is he given products for free in exchange for reviews?

Eric H
Guest
Eric H

Bucky is an “influencer” so he gets all sorts of free stuff to try to get people to believe how awesome it is. Glad I’ve never wasted my money or risked any of my bikes with this product.

mh
Subscriber

My only thought: “I wish I had that much hand strength.”

Keegan
Guest
Keegan

I feel like the dude who contributes to this site and this site have a bit of conflict of interest with a company in their home town…

This lock falsly advertised itself as being cut resistant and it’s clearly not. End of story.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

I just use my helmet clip around the front tire for quick runs into the convenience store. Example being that little market on Sauvie Island. If I do a group ride and we leave from a cafe, I just leave the lock and pick it up on the ride home…

twowheeledmonkey
Guest
twowheeledmonkey

I can’t tell if you are throwing Bucky under the bus. Does he have weak grip strength? Investigate that in a follow-up. I want to know the newton-meters required to break this apparently Tough Hexband. Could be majorly embarrassing for Mr Bucky, or maybe the LPL is one badass hand wringer.

Jonathan, can you try it plz?

Al
Guest
Al

The problem with this lock isn’t so much how breakable it is but rather that it costs so much. For the price you can actually get real security OR for a small fraction of the price you can get the same functionality. The product may have other non-bicycle applications but again, you can just buy something way cheaper for the same functionality. I honestly don’t understand how this company stays in business.

Pat Lowell
Guest
Pat Lowell

Exactly this! A $10 ski lock would be just as light and portable and provide equally poor security.

Kaysler
Guest
Kaysler

The backlash from these videos has everything to do with the misleading marketing. For reference look at the comments section of the company’s videos showing the cut resistance – many consumers are utterly flabbergasted at the strength of the lock when facing bolt cutters; yet, the company’s message in response to the lock being defeated is to claim it was not designed for high crime areas. They deserve the heat they are feeling here because they lied to their customers.

meh
Guest
meh

And watch the video carefully. When they are using the bolt cutter, they are not inserting the lock all the way to the rear of the blades, but are just using the tips. Tin snips and bolt cutters require using the back of the blades to get the most power out of the tool.

Pixoariz
Guest
Pixoariz

As I’ve commented on the ‘buckyrides’ forum, his effort to debunk the Lock Picking Lawyer’s video lacks scientific rigor, since he’s not using the Wiss snips evident in LPL’s video. Seems to think the ‘advanced,’ $11 Wiss snips used is rare and too wondrous for mere mortals.

grannygear
Guest
grannygear

This topic really is showing the bias of Bikeportland, echo chamber of social media and insincerity of crowdfunded product designers.
Be your own person and come to your own conclusions… Don’t Believe The Hype!

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

Just leave your bike there unlocked and it should be there when you return.

Don’t believe all the hype about needing a lock.

Be your own person by trying it yourself and coming to your own conclusion.

TakeTheLane
Guest
TakeTheLane

I once drove for a 90 year old man who was legally blind. He told me a piece of wisdom that I like to share: You can only keep the honest man honest.
So, I generally only lock my bike (and easily removable parts) with a cheap cable lock for short stops and only ride a bike I can afford to lose if I plan on making a stop on my ride.
It seems obvious to me that that’s what the OttoLock is made to do and the added expense of their lock is attributed to the costs of marketing and ease of obtaining and using their product.

Stephen Keller
Guest
Stephen Keller

If Otto Design Works had developed something truly theft resistant, they would have sent it to Sold Secure (or a similar facility) for independent testing. Given they haven’t done that, I doubt the veracity of their marketing claims.

a
Guest
a

A $70 lock no better than a $5 walmart lock. Seems lots of people have had their bikes stolen because they believed ottolock’s lies. That’s sad.

Keith S
Guest
Keith S

I bought the original version of this lock to use during very quick stops (or situations where the bike would be in my sight) on solo rides. It was fine until the plastic/rubber outer layer began to wear off. Eventually the sharp-edged metal core was exposed rendering the lock unusable. I contacted Ottolock to see if they would replace my lock. Even though I knew by then that this lock was as easy and quick to cut as a cheap cable lock, or a string, I was still willing to use one if the company had given me a replacement. I was told by a customer service rep that she’d “look into it” and…… that was the end of that. This product is a grossly overpriced ziptie that comes with an even flimsier customer support. I’m using a small combination cable lock now that does the same job as the Ottolock, but for less than $15. If you need something to keep honest people honest during quick stops, any lock will do, there’s no reason to give $70 to the clowns at Ottolock.

Glenn II
Guest
Glenn II

I’ve had the same U-lock for 20 years. Never go anywhere without it. It’s like 2 pounds. Why all the hate for 2 lbs? I’ve eaten sandwiches heavier than that. A pint of beer together with the glass weighs about that much. Two pounds of muscle-building, character-building excellence.

Toby Keith
Guest
Toby Keith

Same here. Never had an issue with U-locks. These Otto-locks seem like hipster gimmicks.

Stephen Keller
Guest
Stephen Keller

Same here, too. If I want to lighten up the whole 250 pound package, the lock and the bike are the last places to focus. Trimming a few pounds off of me is cheaper and much more effective.

dan
Guest
dan

Doesn’t seem like a “new” innovation to have a simple “popping into the store” lock. I have one of these on my commuter and it’s never let me down. https://www.rei.com/product/123982/abus-pro-tectic-4960-frame-lock
Plus, combined with my U-lock for longer lockups, I have double security. These locks are standard on commuter bikes in Holland, of course, along with fenders and lights. It has always baffled me how american bikes are marketed. Would you buy a car with no locks, lights or fenders?

howrad
Subscriber

It feels like much of what’s playing out here is classic Streisand Effect, and that’s probably not a good thing for Ottolock (nor their SEO): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

It also reminds me of the way some companies have retaliated or made disparaging statements against security researchers who provided valid criticism.

Did anyone else notice that the Ottolock photo at the top of the article features the same Wiss snips that the security researcher used to defeat his test lock?

It’s too bad that Ottolock hadn’t simply owned this by saying “Yeah, we realize $10 aircraft snips can go through an Ottolock, so just use this only on non-sketchy rides when you think you don’t even need a lock.”

When their official response to a legitimate security concern is “there are critics who may not understand the product’s intended use”, that feels like they’re saying we’re too dumb to think critically.

1. “This product is so secure we can’t defeat it in our own tests!”
2. “Weird, someone defeated it with $10 aviation snips just like the ones pictured in the BikePortland article, they must be doing something out-of-the-ordinary.”
3. “You believed that someone? Clearly you don’t understand the product use case.”

Dogmatic defensiveness just isn’t a good product strategy when faced with scientific tests that prove otherwise.

9watts
Subscriber

You make a bunch of excellent points, but what if the intended or imagined or actual audience of this lock consists of people who think of the Ottolock as a lifestyle accessory, akin to a watch or a handbag? Perhaps for these people (who if I’m not mistaken crowd-funded the whole thing in the first place) the Ottolock communicates to others something that is orthogonal to its utility or lack thereof as a deterrent or a, you know, lock?

John Smith
Guest
John Smith

Unfortunately the way OTTO Design Works handles bad media will be the downfall of he company. Because the LPL was able to snip through the first otto lock in seconds they basically called him a liar. They produce a video showing the new Hexband resisting a Tin Snip attack which is also misleading as the LPL cut through it in 10 seconds, then they get a lot of negative comments on that video so they disable comments and they have blocked people from posting on their IG and twitter accounts.

OTTO Design Works are purposely misleading people.

tom polarbear
Guest
tom polarbear

the only sure way to stop a thief from stealing your bike is to keep your money in your pocket and don’t buy a bike in the first place!

Alex Quinn
Guest

This “article” reads like an advertisement for the company. Do you work for Ottolock? … or did you receive payment for writing it? This is a serious question.

Amy
Guest
Amy

I’ve been using ottolock since it first came out. When on a group road ride, it easily fits in a jersey pocket. If I need to stop, with or without the group, I can lock my bike, grab food, coffee, whatever and not worry about the 5 minutes I’m alway from my bike. Mind you, I’m not on a group ride in downtown Portland or other higher bike crime areas.

As a bike shop employee, we tested one, destroying it, to see what it could handle. Regular tin snips were literally too difficult (the dude on utube definitely modified those tin snips). They didn’t work well for cutting it. They were not strong enough. A hacksaw blade cut through it in 45 seconds, big lock cutters took about the same. We had to twist the big lock cutters a lot while trying to cut the lock. We still have the destroyed version and we show people who are interested.

It’s about educating customers on the locks intended use. It does exactly what is it supposed to do. It’s a lot better than carrying other disposable lock-type things (zip-ties), or coil locks on group rides. No one carries a u-lock on organized group road rides.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

I work in construction, there’s a big difference between relatively new snips and heavily used ones. Also quality varies greatly. The author of the video uses Swiss which are a very good brand. I bet I could cut a quarter in half new out of the packaging.

Don't buy local, buy quality
Guest
Don't buy local, buy quality

Matt S.
I work in construction, there’s a big difference between relatively new snips and heavily used ones. Also quality varies greatly. The author of the video uses Swiss which are a very good brand. I bet I could cut a quarter in half new out of the packaging.Recommended 1

They’re Wiss, which are literally the cheapest brand at Home Depot. Your conclusion is con artist enabling nonsense.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

Got to thank autocorrect for that one. They’re still a good brand.

Alan King
Guest
Alan King

I have no idea why anyone would use anything other than a great big chain and a great big padlock that takes the lockpickinglawyer some time to pick. Unless they want their bike stolen.