Testing Today: OttoLock Hexband

OttoLock found a few ways to improve its initial portable bike lock offering, and so far, the new Hexband is exceeding expectations.

OttoLock sent me its original lock last year, a durable and compact unit that I loved because it was light, pocket-sized, and offered more assurance against thievery than other locks of a similar size. My only problem with it was the ease of use: Sometimes the band got stuck in the lock’s head, necessitating a good yank to release. Does the new one solve the issue?

It sure does. The Hexband moves more smoothly through the lock’s head, making it a much more functional lock. But that’s hardly the most important difference.

Ottolock says the Hexband is even more resistant to cutting tools. It uses six stainless steel band layers rather than three used in the original Ottolock. It’s all still wrapped within an internal aramid fiber jacket for durability.

It still packs up tightly and is perfectly sized for your jersey pocket. A silicone strap keeps it wrapped up tight too. It’s a bit heavier than the original by 75 grams, due of course to the addition of three steel bands within.

Photo: Brad Kaminski |

I like the Hexband for many of the same reasons I liked the original Ottolock: It’s compact, it plays nice with my frame’s paint and finish, I don’t need a key, and it’s easy to wrap around plenty of posts, bike racks, and the like. If the head releases easier than the original OttoLock, chances are I’ll be pretty content with this. Of course, locking your bike in public is always a risk, but with six tough steel bands on the job, I’ll probably glance out the window of the restaurant at the bike rack a little less.

My testing will, of course, be pretty simple: I’m going to lock and unlock my bike a lot. Of course, my hope is that I never have to truly test this lock against a thief’s tools, but I may very well give it a go with my own tools. Six steel bands? I bet I’ve got a fight ahead of me.

The lock costs $65-$95, depending on length.

Stay tuned for the full review later this spring on

Photo: Brad Kaminski |