Bicycle locks are an absolute necessity for anyone who parks their bike in public places, but they can sometimes be a bit awkward to carry when riding. One alternative is to install a lock mount on the bike's frame, although some bicycle aficionados would liken that to putting a trailer hitch on a Ferrari. Riders can also use a wearable lock, such as the Hiplok. Another interesting locking innovation could be on the way, however, in the form of the TiGr.

Designed by cyclists John Loughlin and Joshua A.C. Newman, the TiGr consists of a long, narrow titanium "bow," the ends of which insert into a pick-resistant stainless steel cylinder, that locks using a rotary disc key mechanism.

When the bike is in transit, the bow mounts along the length of its top tube, held in place by velcro straps – a protective coating keeps it from marring the paint. When the bicycle is parked, the bow goes through its frame, wheels, and a fixed item such a sign post. It's the same idea as a U-lock, although where a U is wide and unyielding, the TiGr is long and flexible. One advantage of that shape, besides being able to mount on the top tube, is the fact that riders with quick-release hubs may not have to remove their front wheel when locking up ... depending on the bike.

The bow would be available in three-quarter-inch and one-and-one-quarter-inch widths, depending on whether cyclists placed a higher priority on weight reduction or security. Even a lock incorporating the wider bow, however, reportedly weighs about one-third the amount of a typical U-lock.

Loughlin states that a 48-inch (122-cm) bolt cutter was unable to cut through the wider bow, and that sawing through it proved "extremely difficult and time consuming," due to its springy nature. He also says that its springiness makes it difficult to pop open with a jack, which would be more effective on a rigid lock.

John and Joshua are currently trying to raise funds to develop the product further, which would include subjecting it to third-party testing. There's no word yet on an estimated retail price, although a US$100 pledge to their venture on the Kickstarter entrepreneurial website will get you one.

View gallery - 5 images