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Aren’t these things just fancy zip ties? Sort of. But these bad boys have a reinforced steel core that’s far more difficult to cut through. For quick, low-security applications like running into the coffee shop for five minutes or securing your bike to your car rack during a gas station stop, it’s hard to beat the convenience of the Z Lok.
Stuff two of these locks in your backpack; they take up just about zero space and weigh only 20 grams (advertised) each. That’s a refreshing change from the likes of heavy-duty U-locks and even thick cable locks that can be a pain to tote around. But keep in mind these Z Loks are no substitute for heavy-duty, burly locks. If you’ll be locking up your bike all day somewhere in New York City, this probably isn’t for you.
These brightly-colored ties are all about versatility. Lock your helmet to your bike; lock your bike to a rack; lock your backpack closed. The applications are nearly boundless and because these ties are light and small, it’s easy enough to carry several with you. (They’re sold in pairs.)
But the Z Lok does have one fatal flaw. To release the tie, you need a small, two-pronged key that slots into the tie head. The tie then releases easily. It’s a slick system, but basically anyone who purchases a Z Lok has the same key. That means even though these are tough to cut through, they’re still pretty easy to bypass for the determined thief.
Ultimately, the Z Lok works because it capitalizes on the size and functionality of zip ties, but adds reinforcement that’s stout enough to secure your bike when you need just a bit of security. Don’t look to the Z Lok for long-term locking in high-risk areas, but if you’re just out for a trip to the coffee shop, toss one of these in your pocket.