Although U-locks are generally considered to be the most secure type of bike lock, the fact is that a portable angle grinder can typically cut through their shackle in a matter of seconds. Washington, DC-based Altor Locks has set out to address that problem, with its big n' beefy SAF Lock.
At the heart of the device is a 14-mm hardened steel shackle, similar to those found on other U-locks. Surrounding that shackle, however, is an 80-mm aluminum alloy shell. Not only does that shell keep 5-inch angle grinder discs from being able to reach the shackle, but the combination of the soft alloy and the shell's wonky inner structure also clogs those discs, reducing their ability to cut.
As a result, it is claimed that the SAF can withstand over 30 minutes of continuous cutting. By that point, the grinder's disc and/or battery is likely to have given out.
The lock's shell is encased in a vinyl/silicone coating, to protect the bike's finish. Other features include dual-sided anti-rotation locking bars (ensuring that the thief would have to cut the lock on two sides), and a high-security disc detainer locking mechanism.
Tipping the scales at a hefty 13.7 lb (6.2 kg), however, the SAF isn't designed with portability in mind. Instead, Altor intends for it to be left at the user's home or workplace, for locking the bike up throughout the day or overnight. For quick trips around town, it is suggested that riders could utilize a lighter, more traditional third-party U-lock … or perhaps Altor's own folding 560G model.
Should you be interested, the SAF Lock is currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign. A pledge of US$199 will get you one, when and if it reaches production. The planned retail price is $299.
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