Within the criminal underworld there are hardened crooks and thieves of opportunity. Almost nothing can stop a determined thief packing the right tools, but even a small lock can keep an honest person—honest.

The OTTO lock looks like a giant zip-tie, and while it won’t thwart a set of bolt cutters or an angle-grinder, it’s more than sufficient to keep your bike protected while you step into your local cafe. Available in 18, 30, and 60-inch sizes, the OTTO lock consists of a soft flexible band and a hardened steel locking hasp. For people like me who tend to forget important numbers, the 3-digit combination wheel is programable to your own secret code.

The otto lock fits around just about anything and cinches tight.
Images courtesy: Otto Lock

Although it looks like ordinary plastic, the band is constructed of multiple layers of tempered steel and kevlar covered in a soft Santoprene coating. More difficult to cut than traditional steel cables, it’s the adjustability that makes it even more challenging to foil. Unlike traditional locks, the OTTO can be drawn tight. That makes it harder for bandits to slip their bolt cutters around the band.

The otto lock fits around just about anything and cinches tight.

The 18mm width and 155-gram weight of our 30-inch sample rolls into a tight loop and easily slips into a bag or jersey pocket. Strong detents and bright numbers on the combination dial make operating the lock easy, and the soft rubberized coating ensures nothing gets scratched or damaged with the lock in place. Available in red, orange, and black, the lock housing is coated with chip-resistant Cerakote ceramic paint.

The otto lock fits around just about anything and cinches tight.

It’s the draw-tight feature of the OTTO which I find most useful. I’ve trusted OTTO to secure my bike to my roof rack and my helmet to my motorcycle. I wrap it around my skis, use it to secure my luggage, and frequently loop it through my unlocked rear bike wheel on my hitch rack.

Priced at $55, $65, ad $75 in corresponding lengths, it’s not a cheap lock, but the OTTO certainly is one of the most versatile.



  1. I purchased the lock several months ago in black. Very light and portable. Nevertheles, in my case, the button to unblock the device is very difficult to manage: sometimes is so hard to press that I need several minutes to liberate the bike.

  2. The author of this article is incorrect about being able to cut it with bolt cutters. A YouTube video shows it cannot be cut with one.

    I too have found the button to release the band kind of finicky sometimes to depress. But carrying 2 of them is lightweight when I want to triple lock along with a U-lock.

    • Trust me it can still be cut, but the bolt cutter has to quite large, sharp, tough – or it will take some time.

      My only complaint is that its very light and compact.

      Lost the one i bought on from the kickstarter campaign on a morning commute (train- you can bring your bike for free in Copnhagen area on the S-bahn) into the city before xmas, didnt even notice that i had accidentially lost it when i was looking for somthing in my messenger bag…

      orderd a new one – ‘head’ on the new one locks a bik more robust and paintjob is more industrial.

      Ottolock is not for locking you bike in a major city for a long time – its to bring allong on training rides, shopping etc. Still: hide your bike if you can and dont leave it on the street for a long time.

  3. I also have seen videos showing that this lock stands up well to bolt cutters. My question is, does the perception of security matter as much as actual durability? As long as your bike looks harder to steal than the adjacent bike, maybe your lock won’t be messed with.

    • no matter how big and secure your lock is: you can still cut it brake it etc. even 25y ago profesional bike theifs had small portable hydraulically expanding jack’s that could brake the toughest U locks from Abus, trelock, kryptonite in less than a minutte.

      … i learned the hard way many times.

  4. I found myself using mine much more than I ever thought I would. Makes it really easy and painless to bring a lock along when it’s that light and small.

  5. I have a few – they’re so light I leave them on my bikes most of the time, and keep a spare in the car for locking stuff to the roof when needed. Essentially the most portable locking solution that also has acceptable security.

    • Agree.

      Seems very secure and it is darn practical – fits nicely under the seat on my roadbike arround a tub.

      + the orange color looks gorgous & matches my restrap seat and bar holsters

      (anyoine knows of a nice bidon in that orange flavour?)

  6. I’ve had one since last year and love it. The lightest lock I’ve ever used, that provides some security. I’ve had no problem with this in my college town, and it’s perfect for bike trips.

  7. I think people need to get by the fact that this lock is specifically not designed to keep your bike safe for hours on end or in even to leave locked up overnight. It is mostly designed for that quick run into a café, convenience store, etc while on a ride. It’ll never replace a U-lock or other heavy duty security, but as noted above, if your bike is perceived to be harder to steal than the one next to it, then you’re probably going to be safe. I just got one last week and keep it with my commuting stuff in case I need to swing into a store on the way to/from work. It’d never trust it to lock up my bike for a whole work day.

    • agreed. i am surprised, based on the comments, that people dont seem to grasp the concept. This is for a cafe stop in a nice place… not for locking up in the city center during an 8 hour work day.

    • And since they’re so light you can just leave them on a bike / with a pack and always have it – less planning, more convenience, just there when you need it.

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