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Altor's Foldable, Titanium Bike Lock

An engineering student crowdfunds a lightweight, convenient and secure option that clips onto your bag or belt

by Nara Shin
on 25 April 2016

Manufactured out of Bethlehem, PA is a new alternative to the heavy steel U-locks that cyclists carry around grudgingly. Users seeking convenience in most cases have to sacrifice security, but Altor's folding bike lock hopes to appeal to both. Made from Grade 5 titanium and weighing 560 grams (about 1.23 pounds), it has a patent pending three-piece joint that counteracts one of the biggest weaknesses of foldable locks: joints and rivets, where the links connect. Another brilliant feature is the push button, which doesn't require a key to lock in place; bike messengers will get a kick out of the faster pit stops. The idea—launching today on Kickstarter—comes from Altor co-founder and CEO Dylan Cato, a senior mechanical engineering student at Leigh University who'll be graduating this December.

"The biggest problem with bike locks on the market today is that in order to make locks stronger, companies are just making bigger and thicker steel locks, causing cyclist to have to carry around a heavier lock," Cato tells CH. "This is also why I feel the industry is outdated. Carbon steels were commercialized in the early 1900s and have not changed a whole lot besides the development of better manufacturing methods. Grade 5 titanium and other titanium super alloys were developed in the 1950s for military applications during the Cold War and are now mainly used in medical and aerospace applications. When I saw how titanium super alloys were being used for lighter and stronger jet air frames I thought that the same could be done with bike locks."

Based on research that showed bolt cutters were the most commonly used tool for bike theft, Cato set out to design a lock that could stand up to attacks from 48-inch bolt cutters. This explains the more three-dimensional bars and the unique three-piece joints (opposed to other foldable bike locks, typically a set of flat bars linked together). "It is designed to completely surround the solid stainless steel rivet so that no theft tools can attack the rivet or push the joint apart," says Cato of his joint design. He tells us that for their first production run after the Kickstarter campaign, they plan to send the locks to two security product testing agencies, UK-based Sold Secure and Netherland-based ART, to receive a rating.

Expected retail after the campaign will be $200—much more expensive than steel U-locks but on par with other titanium options like TiGR's bike lock. Eager beavers can snag an Altor for at least $150 by pledging to their Kickstarter campaign; anticipated delivery by July 2016.

Images courtesy of Altor

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