Knog Strongman D-lock review

This is Knog’s high security offering, making it the most suitable product the company produces for London cyclists. The lock has a Gold rating from Sold Secure and is ART three star certified. Further, Knog has its own rating system, classing the Strongman as worthy of ’90-ghetto’ level security, only the second from the top, ‘100-war zone’. Reassuring. I guess? The lock can be found for sale on Amazon for around £62, which puts it a little above some other Gold rated locks, but about in line with Kryptonite’s offerings. The details direct from Knog can be found on their website.

The basics

With the lock you get a mounting bracket and allen key for your bike (coordinated to the lock, which comes in 3 colours), three keys, code card (should you lose all three) and instructions for fixing the lock to your bike, locking your bike and learning how to do these things in 6 different languages.

Knog Strongman packaging

Initial impressions

The Knog Strongman D-lock looks good. I have the white version to test, and while I hold no delusions that it will stay white for long, it does seem like it will wipe clean if I wanted to keep it white. The bracket actually fits on my bike and was easy to install – you loop the strap around the part of the bike you wish, in my case the top tube, and then use the provided allen key to ratchet it tight.  The lock is locked into the bracket so I have no fear of it falling out as I cycle down the most potholed side street London town can throw at me. This is a nice change from Kryptonite locks I have used in the past as I never managed to get the bracket to fit my bike, and it didn’t lock the lock in place so it felt a bit flimsy anyway.

The Strongman is a good weight, coming in at 1.1kg. It is not as heavy as some other high security offerings, although that may be because it is a little smaller (200x130x35mm). This small size concerns me a little. I like to lock my rear wheel and frame to the bike rack as thus:

Bike locked through the rear wheel

This is not really possible with this lock. Knog have recommendations for locking techniques, ranging in levels of security and they suggest that locking one wheel, front or back and the frame is more secure than just the frame. I have a pretty skinny frame on my bike, but fairly large clearances for thick tyres so the gap is too big to be bridged. This probably wouldn’t be a problem for single speeds, fixies and full road bikes and the space between the wheels and frame will be smaller. However, it is something to consider for those of you with oversized tubing or large wheel clearances.

The locking mechanism feels nice and positive. The key has to be pushed into the barrel and turning is smooth, unlike some other locks I have tried in the past.

Strongman testing phase 

Knog Strongman mounted on bike

On the bike the lock looks fine. I prefer to not have something dangling from my top tube, but it is very convenient to not have to carry the lock in my bag, it makes locking up at my destination a bit quicker and it stops me accidentally getting grease on things in my bag. It does make a bit of a noise while riding. It’s not a big deal, just a bit clunky. As long as you remember it’s the lock and not impending doom from the bike all is good. I forgot on the first ride and was momentarily worried.

As mentioned, the lock is a little small for the geometry of my bike, but not too bad. Depending on the situation, for short time periods I am happy to just lock through the frame and it is perfect for that. As per our article on correct locking technique, this is not always the best approach as it leaves your wheels vulnerable to theft. As it is a little smaller, lighter and neater than my other locks, it is great to carry around when I may or may not be stopping without the penalty of excess. This is perfect for some of my uses as I have locking wheel skewers, so I can just lock through the frame on the fly if needed. It could also work well as a secondary lock as carrying two locks is generally safer than just one in high risk areas such as London town.

Bike locked with Knog Strongman

The silicone coating on the outside of the lock is reassuring and means I don’t have to worry too much about where I place the lock on my bike, it isn’t going to do much damage to my precious, perfect paint. The silicone coating also has another benefit – it melts when you try to hack into the lock. I personally have not tried this, but other reviews have tried breaking it and shown that the silicone is a security feature as well. Clever.

Final review

This is a neat lock. High security locks are never going to be light, but this one really doesn’t feel bad. The bracket works on my bike and it seems like it would work on most styles of tubing, the strap and ratchet mechanism are good. It is a little small but it could be a good backup to other methods, fit well with certain bike styles or be a good emergency lock. If this sounds like it would fit into your safety arsenal then head over here to become a proud owner.

Do you like the look of this lock, or have you been using it for a while? Let us know in the comments below!

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10 Responses to Knog Strongman D-lock review

  1. smileman 11/08/2015 at 7:48 pm #

    I’ve been using this lock in London for almost 3 years now and it’s worked really well with no attempted thefts.

    I agree with most all the pros/cons mentioned by the reviewer, with one added + being that not many other people have this lock and so it may deter a prospective thief who is not as familiar with this lock as other more common locks.

    Finally, Knog actually makes a slightly small, cheaper version D-lock. However, when I contacted the company and mentioned I lived in London they strongly encouraged me to go with the Strongman. Given the Strongman is already a little on the smaller side I think this was a wise call.

  2. Adam Bowie 12/08/2015 at 9:26 am #

    The lock seems fine. But is it just me who’s a little uncomfortable with Knog’s terminology in their own ratings system? “Ghetto”? Doesn’t that have connotations?

    And I’m not sure that I’d be going with “War Zone” as a descriptor either.

    • Roger 13/08/2015 at 12:04 am #

      Yep, and I’m not so in favour or their choice of ‘Slum’ either – just because people are poor and live in low quality housing, does that mean that they’re involved in crime? The Borough of Wesminster is a hot-spot for crime of all kinds and is incredibly wealthy…

    • Simon Wilcox 13/08/2015 at 9:14 am #

      You’re not the only one. I find it inappropriate too.

  3. Tim 13/08/2015 at 8:54 am #

    The lock is good although it can require some ingenuity to fit around some parking locations. The big problem for me was the strap. It doesn’t matter how much you tighten the ratchet: it will slip a bit, and over time this was enough to wear away the paintwork on my bike right down to the metal.

    • smileman 13/08/2015 at 3:34 pm #

      Strap slippage has not been a problem for me. I have mine placed on my seat tube of a Copper steel frame bike.

  4. Sree 14/08/2015 at 1:25 pm #

    I got this lock in the orange color for 40 pounds at the Spin London event held this year (thank you Andreas for the info on that show, and the whole new world of cycling it opened up for me). The company was selling it for a discount, and looks like I got it for a bargain (no receipt however, which still worries me). I’ve been using it for about 3 months, and apart from the size, which prevents me from locking the wheel and frame of my cycle simultaneously, I’ve only good things to say about the lock. I carry it on the cycle top tube as you’ve shown above, and never had any issues with it. I would recommend getting it, except if you definitely want to lock frame and wheel together, which will depend on your cycle.

  5. SteveP 14/08/2015 at 2:56 pm #

    Not sure if this has been destruction tested, but typically you want a lock that has positive engagement on both “legs” This means both sides have to be cut to fully release it (or cut one side and apply some serious force).

    The silicone coating is nice and it looks good. The carrier is much like others – not really up to the job in my opinion. These locks are so heavy they really need to be held on at two points. Otherwise, bumps cause the momentum of all that weight to twist things. Abus offer some decent mounting options but there is plenty of room for improvement.

    And I agree – ditch the insulting “ratings”

  6. Alan Southern 16/08/2015 at 2:50 pm #

    I have no idea what D-lock was involved but I saw a D-lock being broken by 30 inch bolt cutter in the centre of a very busy part of Cardiff on Wednesday 12 August (a few days back) and the mountain bike it was attached to taken. Unfortunately my mobile was not switched on so I could not attempt a photograph. A young lady was sitting on a bench a few feet away and did not take a photo either (I spoke to her). The whole episode was over very quickly.

  7. Douglas Schwab 19/08/2015 at 12:43 am #

    I think any lock review should carry a standard caveat. One based on a London Tonight film, doing the rounds, showing gold d-locked bikes outside Scotland Yard and Stations being opening cut off and ridden away.

    The caveat is, only lock a bike when it is within your sight or in a secure park with insurance. Then use two -why, because of a trick where someone puts their lock on your bike and calls a locksmith to get your lock cut off.

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