- 3.5 / 5 Bee's Knees -
In the not-so-distant past, one of the few toys I owned and enjoyed as much as my bikes was my motorcycle. After a handful of speeding tickets and the realization of Minnesotas painfully short riding season, the motorcycle was no more. But during that exciting period of time I worked in an even more exciting part of town, not because of its vibrant nightlife or thriving community but rather it’s vibrant deviants and thriving crime. To protect my bike from theft I purchased a remarkably secure and painfully heavy Kryptonite lock weighing easily 30lbs. While the extreme weight made for a less than comfortable monkey on my back, the piece of mind was worth the inconvenient. Todays review brings to mind that same lock, albeit more scaled to bicycle proportions.
Knog seems to offer one of the most complete and diverse lock offerings from any company that doesn’t just produce locks. This review highlights the Straight Jacket Fatty, a high strength keyed shackle mated to an adequately sized link chain. Kudos to Knog for sending out the sacrificial lock, in this review I’ve decided to destroy this lock for the sake of knowledge. But first a bit more on the victim.
The Fatty sports an 800mm chain length with undisclosed link sizes, though they appear to be roughly the same size as the hardened steel shackle which measures 8mm. Both the shackle and the chain are encased to protect your bikes finish. For the shackle, a hard plastic housing slips over the lock and hides virtually all sharp edges. As for the chain, a nylon sheath covers the majority of the chain again to prevent finish damage to your bike. The second function the nylon cover serves is to snag toothed attacks and challenge bolt cutters with a modulating surface. While the nylon cover is effective as a deterrent, it does seem a bit on the coarse side and could easily collect contaminants that may lead to light scratches on your bike. With 1000 unique key configurations and a smooth actuating tumbler/cylinder the brass shackle lock exposes little to critique.
On to performance (and please review the video). These results can be interpreted in any number of ways. I’ll play devils advocate here as well as give my own subjective opinion. As the destructive testing shows, a would-be thief could break through this lock in less than 30 seconds with relatively basic tools. My initial impression was nothing short of disappointed…what is 30 seconds to a criminal? After doing a bit more research and speaking with Knog to get “the skinny” on the Fatty, I came to respect a few things. First, the lock is very inexpensive in the grand scale of things. It’s hard or rather unfair to compare this lock to a fully hardened steel model or a U lock. After-all, Knog does sell a gold rated U lock that affords the pinnacle of security. So in a nutshell, the Fatty is a value chain lock that ups the ante compared to compact or lighter weight models. But that brings up my sticking point, the weight. While this lock isn’t unbearable like my old motorcycle setup, to what degree are you willing to sacrifice convenience or comfort for 10-20 seconds of added protection? To choose if this setup is right for you, you must judge this lock based on it's security-level/cost and accept the weight for what it is. A hardened steel chain link would boost this setup greatly, but may double or triple the price. Knogs Straight Jacket Fatty serves up serious bike security for an impressive price. I'd likely sooner ride with a slightly less secure, much lighter Knog model...but then I don't live in Chicago either.