Kryptonite or Abus? This used to be the extent of your bike locking choices. Now, it’s a little more complicated. Do you want a keyless bike lock? A bike lock with GPS? A bike lock that sits around your hips?
Beyond any gimmicks, what a cyclist truly wants is a lock that is both highly secure and lightweight. Until now, these priorities were at odds with each other. The Altor 560G aims to change that.
Weighing an impressive 560 grams thanks to the use of Grade 5 titanium, the Altor lock wooed a Kickstarter audience to the tune of $81,000 dollars in funding. Since then, the manufacturers have been listening to feedback and making improvements.
The 560G arrived at my door step about three weeks ago. Since then, I’ve been using it as my main lock.
There are three things that immediately stood out as soon as I took it out the box. The first was confusion that I’d been sent two locks. It turns out you can combine two Altor 560G locks to create a wider locking diameter. This is a nifty idea and expands your locking options.
The second is the keyless locking. When you reach your destination, you don’t need to rummage around in your pockets or bag for the key. You can just press down on the button and the lock is secure.
The third is the striking blue design. This has a smooth surface which means no scratches for your bike frame.
I was nervous and apprehensive about leaving my Kryptonite bike lock at home. Despite testing numerous wonderful locks, the Kryptonite has remained my go to option for bike security since my review in 2009. However, the upside of less heft to carry on each ride is a really attractive proposition.
To carry the Altor 360G bike lock, you can throw it in your panniers or backpack or alternatively use the supplied bottle cage attachment. This gives you quick access to the lock and is perfect when you’re cycling without a bag.
As soon as I arrived at my destination and found an empty bike stand, I mindlessly started rummaging in my bag for the lock key. When I finally found it, I remembered I didn’t really need it. I could just press to secure the lock.
Using the lock wasn’t immediately intuitive. It was a bit fiddly to line up the arms of the Altor lock, so that I could reach around the wheel, frame and bike stand. In practise, the lock has a slightly more limited locking diameter than the Kryptonite, however, it should serve most typical locking situations.
How secure is the Altor 560G?
The five strong team behind the lock has subjected it to a barrage of tests, many of which you can see on their Kickstarter page. Unfortunately, the lock doesn’t yet have a Sold Secure certification. This is because this system isn’t in place in the US. However, in the UK we’ve come to expect it from bike locks.
I spoke with Jon Akers from Altor who has assured me they do have plans to get certified but he couldn’t provide a timeframe for when this would happen. He estimated the lock will receive at a minimum a silver rating and hopefully a gold rating. Certification by Sold Secure costs in the region of £2,000 and a lock has to be re-certified each time there’s a change to the lock. This is why it didn’t make sense to pursue certification earlier on.
This does leave some ambiguity for UK customers who will need to make a judgement call. I personally felt safe leaving my bike with the Altor 560G alongside a secondary lock.
Should you buy one?
It seems the Altor 560G is the holy grail of bike locks for cyclists. Compact, light and strong, it ticks all the boxes with a few useful added features to boot.
From my testing, I could find three downsides. The first and most important for me is the certification. There’s simply something uncomfortable about using a lock that hasn’t yet been independently verified. I’m really excited for Altor to get the thumbs up from Sold Secure.
The second is that as much as I hate the heft of a Kryptonite lock, it does fill me with reassurance. I don’t get that same feeling from the Altor 560G because it feels so light and the arms look thin. However, this is more an emotional assessment, rather than a scientific assessment of the impressive specs of Grade 5 titanium.
The third and final is of course the price. At $179.99 or around £140 this is definitely a premium lock. It is significantly more expensive than a Kryptonite D-Lock. You’ll need to make your own judgement call on this, however for me considering I carry my bike lock 7 days a week, combined with the value of my bike means I wouldn’t object to paying £140 for a lock like this.
Altor lock currently has a special offer for free shipping available to UK customers only. Take a look at the Altor 560G product page for more information. The free shipping offer is for a limited time only.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.