VIDEO | A closer look at the Litelok
If you value your scooter, decent security should be at the top of your priority list. Leave it unsecured and you’re asking for trouble – an opportunist (or professional thief) will have it away in seconds.
Using quality security products will cost a thief extra time and make him work harder for your scooter. It will also increase the risk of him being disturbed, or heard whilst attempting to defeat your security. In most cases, good security (used properly) makes thieves look for an easier target altogether. Never use hindsight as an opportunity to improve security AFTER it’s been stolen.
Using some kind of security device is usually part of the small print in your insurance policy. If you don’t use their minimum requirements your insurer can refuse to payout in the event of a theft claim.
This particular and quite unique device caught my eye. I’d seen Litelok® at a bike show and read about it online but wasn’t quite sure if it would be suitable for using on classic scooters. Some of the bike reviews I read said it was bulkier when coiled up than they imagined and wasn’t really long enough (you can actually join them together though) but us scooter riders have different needs to most bikers so I thought I’d take a closer look.
What is it exactly?
Litelok is a flat security device made up of a patented composite metal and polymer material called Boaflexicore. This material is made up of 200 strands of high tensile steel (amongst other components) which make it very strong but without having to be heavy and cumbersome like a traditional chain. The lock itself is made of hardened drill resistant steel and features marine-grade stainless steel rivets. The Litelok Moto weighs in at just 1.46 kg so is much lighter than your average lock and chain, making it easier to cart around with you (you can even wear it as a belt if you prefer) and less cumbersome to use.
What can it withstand?
The most common tool used by bike thieves is a set of bolt croppers, they’re virtually silent and they’ll go through some chains fairly easily. That’s mainly because a link chain is made from continuous metal – an uninterrupted series of atoms. This allows bolt croppers to make a ‘nick’ in the material, which turns into a crack and allows the metal to be compromised. When aeronautical engineer, Professor Neil Barron invented Litelok he was working in London and was tired of having his cycles stolen. He developed Litelok as a direct result and made sure his non-continuous material would be able to withstand bolt cropper attacks. Boaflexicore moves around as an attempt is made to cut it and puts ‘fresh’ material in front of the cut – which makes it much harder to get through.
It’s also highly resistant to twisting, freezing, drilling and many other types of attack. It’s been tested by Sold Secure to Gold standard. That means the lock has been tested to destruction in a four-level attack test using various common theft tools and methods.
Like most locks though, an angle grinder will still get through pretty much anything so always use more than one form of defence. Luckily an angle grinder also makes a lot of noise and thieves don’t like to be heard.
- Preferably you should use the best and most practical security you can afford
- Use more than one device
- Always chain to something immovable if at all possible
- Depending on your machine, a disc lock (or similar device) and a tracker are all worthwhile additional devices
- If you leave your scooter outside, either at home or work then also use a bike cover. Out of sight is out of mind – a covered bike is less attractive and more hassle to steal
For me to want to use a security device it has to be easy to fit and lock. It needs to be able to fit on the scooter so I can take it with me to a rally, or anywhere else I need to go. It also needs to be able to fit around part of the scooter and attach comfortably to another scooter or an object, like a metal railing. Remember the object you’re chaining to also needs to be hard to cut.
The clue is in the title but the Litelok is still surprisingly light when you first pick it up (less than 1.5kg). It looks to be very well made and comes with two keys and an extra neoprene sleeve to swap ‘skins’ if one gets dirty, or worn.
Easy to carry?
I’d read a couple of other reviews and was a bit worried it wouldn’t coil up small enough but that’s the difference with bike reviews and scooter reviews. Bike owners have little or no storage so they need a product to be small (hence why they rely on disc locks rather than big chains). We usually have somewhere to store stuff, under a seat on a modern scooter, in a glovebox on a PX or strapped to a rack on a Lambretta. The Litelok will easily fit in a PX glovebox. It coils up fairly small and secures using Velcro.
How about modern scooters?
I was also worried about the length (107.5cm) and width (5cm), again I didn’t need to worry. The Litelok is much flatter than a chain and will thread through a set of Vespa/Lambretta forks more easily. This makes it super simple to fit, especially as the neoprene cover helps it slide without scratching anything. It will also go through the gaps in a Vespa GTS wheel, and I’m pretty sure the same could be said for most modern autos.
Length wise the Litelok’s locking length of 103.5cm is perfect to secure two scooters together by the forks. Ok, forks may not be the safest place to chain Lambrettas but it’s convenient and is probably the most common way they get secured when out and about. You don’t want a chain that is too long, if it’s dangling on the floor it’s more susceptible to freezing/hammer attacks. A chain sitting off the floor is harder to attack. Having said that though, you can join more than one Litelok together and if you buy them at the same time it’ll be cheaper and they can both be ‘keyed-alike’ so you only need one key to unfasten them.
- A 1.2-metre long chain is a better length for fixing to a post, or ground anchor but 1 metre is still doable.
Chaining a scooter to a post or object with one Litelok is still possible as long as you can get up close to it. Aside from the option to buy more than one you can also choose either red or black for the cover (you get an extra skin with each lock), a visual deterrent is worth having and the red will stand out. Both covers have reflective detailing on them as well so they can be seen at night.
We’ve not tried to break the Litelok, others have done destruction testing (as have Sold Secure). One of the most comprehensive and fair reviews is on BikeSocial, you can read that here. They really did give it a much harder time than we could.
Due to the current Covid restrictions, we’ve only been using the lock for home security so far. Even so, I can see this will replace my current favourite lock (an Oxford Revolver) as my favoured security device to take away with me – whenever we can finally get out and about again. It’s easy to carry, easy to use, has a good security rating and packs a bigger punch than its weight may suggest.
We’ll not give it the ‘SLUK Recommended’ seal of approval though until we’ve used it out in the real world but so far so good.
You can buy one now through the SLUK Shop. It retails at £139.99 or a double pack costs £269.99.
How about a tracking device?
We always recommend you use more than one type of security device to protect your scooter. One product we use on our own machines is the MoniMoto tracking device. It’s the perfect way to keep an eye on your classic or modern scooter, no wires, no fuss and it works a treat. Read our review here.