In the last two years I’ve had three bikes stolen. Two were stupidly locked up with your basic cable lock that thieves easily cut.
That’s a high-end titanium Serotta road bike with Ksyrium wheel-set and a custom titanium hardtail and an old Fiji commuter bike that I sort of inherited. All sadly gone. What’s more, if I get another bike stolen, the insurance company is not going to be very happy with another pay-out.
Anyway, lesson finally, painfully learned, won’t make that mistake again. So I was pretty jazzed when Knog, the Aussi lock, light and bike bells company, sent me their Straight Jacket Fatty lock for review.
First, the specs: The Straight Jacket ain’t no cable. It’s a hardened 800mm steel chain with an 8mm steel shackle padlock encased by a brass body. That bad-boy is covered with an equally tough nylon cover. Me happy.
According to Knog, there are 1000 key combinations so picking and tricking this lock will be an extra challenge. Comes with two keys and a price tag of $39.95. Not bad for the extra security of a hardened steel chain.
A few things to note about the Straight Jacket Fatty. First, I live right next to the San Francisco Bay and lock my commuter bike in a large, open communal apartment garage. The weather conditions and salt in the air can rust chains and cog sets and make locks difficult to open and close. That hasn’t been a problem with the Straight Jacket. The locking mechanism and key entry and exit are still smooth. I put a little oil on the key once just to keep it that way.
The length on the 800mm chain gives you some versatility. Not too long, not too short. Wrap it around twice if you want to go tight or you’ve got room if you need it. I often lock two mountain bikes together on my Thule hitch rack and it’s just long enough to reach.
In terms of safety, well, over the Christmas holidays, tenants had two more bikes stolen in the apartment garage. Both cable locks, both cut. Nobody touched my bike with the Straight Jacket.
Perhaps the bigger test was when I was forced by circumstance to leave my commuter bike locked outside my work building over the weekend in downtown San Francisco. I wasn’t happy about that but I had no choice. I came back Monday to discover the bike still there — someone had stolen the seat and seat post but the rest of the machine was safe and secure.
Now that’s anecdotal evidence but it’s two solid, convincing real world tests. Is the Straight Jacket what I would choose if I was locking up my wildly expensive custom carbon Calfee Manta? Probably not — I’d go for the absolute, most expensive $100+ lock on the market. That said, for under $40 dollars we’ve been super happy with the Straight Jacket. It’s been crazy good.