While bike shop closures have dominated headlines of late, there are other parts of the local cycling industry that deserve our attention. Below is a roundup of news from Portland-based bike businesses.
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.
Q: What do you get when a cyclist, an engineer and a businessman walk into a bar?
A: A stolen bike.
At least that’s how the joke used to go before the OttoLock came along.
Designed and engineered in Wilsonville by Otto Designworks, the company got started in 2015 after a successful Kickstarter campaign for their first product: an app and tool that helped people adjust derailleurs. With the OttoLock, the company seems to have found its stride.
Word-of-mouth for the product ignited early on in large part because one of the idea generators and spokesmen is professional cyclist Jacob Rathe (whom you might recall from our story on him when he made the U.S. National Team in 2008). We first covered the OttoLock nearly a year ago when it was still in the prototype and design phase. Now that it’s starting to show up in bike shops around the country, it’s time for a closer look.
Here are my impressions after using it for several months…
Wilsonville-based Otto Design Works thinks most bike locks are too big and clunky – especially for people riding fast and light road bikes who want something slim and compact.