Litelok Core Review: Sold Secure Diamond but Still Lightweight?

Lightweight and secure is a conundrum that bike lock manufacturers have been trying to solve for many years. There are plenty of bike locks that are lightweight. And there are plenty of bike locks that are secure.

But there are very few bike locks that are lightweight and secure.

Litelok (there's a clue in the name), are a company whose entire reason for existence up until now has been based on trying to solve this conundrum. And they have had some success already.

However, one problem is that the terms “lightweight” and “secure” are relative rather than absolute. And the other problem is that even the most secure bike locks can be defeated by a thief with the right tools and the right technique!

Litelok Core is the most secure bike lock that Litelok currently produce. But how secure is that really? And is it really still lightweight?

After trying a pre-production model in 2021, I’ve been using the commercially available Litelok Core for over 6 months to find out. Let’s take a look at what I discovered…

The Sold Secure Diamond level security, generous locking circumference and easy portability (when worn around the waist), make the Litelok Core a great choice for high risk circumstances and places where you can’t depend on bike racks alone.

Summary

Litelok Core

Litelok Core

My score:

Check price:

Waist size:

22" - 42"

Weight:

4.1 lb (1.9 kg)

Length:

29" (75 cm)

Other Security Ratings:

Litelok Core Pros

  • It’s very secure (Sold Secure Diamond)
  • Very easy to carry when worn like a belt
  • It gives you loads of places to lock your bike
  • Unrivaled security/weight/size ratio

Litelok Core Cons

  • It's not a lightweight lock
  • Velcro strap is annoying
  • It’s expensive

How secure is the Litelok Core?

The Litelok Core was essentially developed in response to a video in which celebrity lock expert, the Lock Picking Lawyer, cut Litelok's Sold Secure Gold rated bike lock with a pair of specialized Japanese cable cutters in just 16 seconds.

If you’re unsure about Sold Secure, and its Gold and Diamond ratings, let me quickly explain. Sold Secure are an independent and highly regarded company that tests and then certifies different security products. Bike locks are rated either Bronze, Silver, Gold or Diamond, with Diamond being the most secure.

That the Sold Secure Gold rated Litelok could be defeated with those cable cutters is disappointing. However, it’s not the only Gold rated lock that could be defeated with hand tools (many of the u locks and chains can be cut with bolt cutters).

And those Japanese cable cutters are not a tool typically used by most bike thieves. So we’re back to the universal truth that any lock can be defeated by a thief with the right tools and the right technique.

Unboxing the Litelok Core

Unboxing the Litelok Core

Anyway, Litelok went away and came up with the Litelok Core, which is made from an upgraded version of their Boaflexicore technology called Boaflexicore Plus that features some extra layers of security (namely an exoskeleton).

The Litelok Core cannot be cut by Japanese cable cutters and has been awarded Sold Secure’s highest rating for bike locks: Sold Secure Bicycle Diamond. This basically means that the Litelok Core will only be defeated by power tools such as angle grinders.

Modern portable angle grinders will make short work of any bike lock currently available. And although it will take less time to cut the Litelok Core than the heavy-duty steel locks like the Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit, we're talking about a difference of seconds rather than minutes.

And the depressing truth is: a thief with an angle grinder is unlikely to distinguish between different locks: if they want your bike, they will take it regardless of which lock you’ve got protecting it.

Litelok Core locking bolt

Litelok Core locking bolt

So in conclusion, the Litelok Core is one of the most secure bicycle locks you can currently buy, with a Sold Secure Diamond rating putting it in the same category as locks from the Kryptonite New York range and my favorite, the Abus Granit X-Plus 540.

Although power tools will defeat the Litelok Core faster than the more traditional u-locks and chains in the Sold Secure Diamond category, as we'll see, it has a whole load of characteristics that may make it a better choice for you…

Is the Litelok Core easy to carry?

While Litelok obviously make a big thing about their locks being lightweight, the Litelok Core isn’t that light. You certainly won’t be taking it out of the packaging and exclaiming that it barely weighs a thing!

It’s available in two lengths: 75 cm (29”) and 100 cm (39”). The shorter lock weighs 1.9 kg (4.1 lb) which is about the same as 5 cans of Coke, while the longer lock weighs 2.25 kg (4.9 lb), which is more like 6 cans of Coke.

Litelok Core with can of Coke

The Litelok Core 75 cm weighs the same as 5 cans of Coke

So the Litelok Core is definitely not light light.

And there are plenty of lighter Sold Secure Diamond bike locks. However, there aren’t any lighter Sold Secure Diamond bike locks that offer anything like the locking circumference of the Litelok Core.

The Squire Stronghold IC850 is probably the closest. But it’s over 70% heavier at 3.25 kg, which is about the same as 8.5 cans of Coke!

Weighing the Litelok Core

The 75 cm Litelok Core weighs 1995g

Moreover, it’s worth thinking about why a lightweight bike lock is so desirable in the first place. Because for most people, it’s not so much about the weight itself, but the way in which weight affects how easy the lock is to carry around when it's not securing your bike.

And this is where the Litelok really shines. Because even though the Litelok Core isn’t particularly light, because you can wear it around your waist like a belt, that weight is evenly spread, around and close to your body, so that you’re barely aware of it.

Litelok Core worn as a belt (from back)

Litelok Core worn as a belt (from back)

How does all this work?

Well, the Litelok Core has a fairly stiff but flexible circular shape, which allows it to be pulled open, and then maneuvered around your waist where, once released, it will spring back to encircle your midriff.

Litelok Core worn as a belt (from front)

Litelok Core worn as a belt (from front)

To keep it in place, you don’t actually lock it around your waist: not only would this be dangerous if you had an accident while wearing it, it would also limit the number of people that it would actually fit around!

Instead, there is a plastic cover, attached to an adjustable Velcro strap that pops over one end of the lock to close the circle and fasten the belt in place. There’s no mechanism keeping the cover attached to the lock, just the flex and grip of the plastic.

Litelok Core plastic cover

The plastic cover

To unfasten the belt, you simply pull the cover away from the lock. My immediate thought when I saw it was: “this is going to pop off while I’m riding around, the lock is going to fall off, get tangled up in the wheel, and I’m going to go over the handlebars”!

The plastic cover connecting the lock

The plastic cover attached to the lock

However, it’s a pretty robust piece of plastic, and it takes a reassuring bit of effort to pop it off once it’s on. In practice, it certainly didn’t feel like it was likely to pop out inadvertently as I was riding around, and so it proved. In 6 months of testing, it has never worked loose!

Once around my waist, the lock sits pretty comfortably, and I don’t really feel the weight. Over long journeys, I can imagine that the hard, scaly surface of the band might start to chaff slightly if you’re wearing a thin top. But I don’t think this is a lock you’d wear if you were touring.

Hiplok Gold Chain around my waist

The Hiplok Gold Chain: heavier, bulkier, not as comfortable

Compared to the Hiplok Gold chain, which is the only other high security bike lock that you can wear like a belt, the Litelok Core is certainly much more comfortable and much less intrusive around your waist.

The shorter 75 cm lock can be fastened around waists between 28” and 42”. While the longer 100 cm lock will fasten around waists that are 44” and bigger, so there should be an option for everyone.

If you prefer not to wear the Litelok Core, it also comes with a frame mount that consists of two plastic anchors held in place and secured with Velcro straps. These work well enough, but I’m not a big fan of this system.

Litelok Core frame mount

You also get a Velcro frame mount

Like all frame mounts, they’re quite ugly, and you always end up with stray bits of Velcro flapping about!

Of course, not everyone will want to wear the Litelok Core around their waist. Wet weather or an oily bike could lead to dirt on the lock, and then dirt on your clothes! And although it sits comfortably around my waist, it might be less so for others, especially on longer journeys.

So it’s nice to have the option of either wearing the Litelok Core or mounting it on your frame.

However, for me at least, one of the big attractions of the Litelok Core is the “wearablity” of the lock. All Sold Secure Diamond locks are heavy. And Sold Secure Diamond locks with a decent locking circumference are usually really heavy and really cumbersome!

And this makes most of them very difficult to carry. So the fact that the Litelok Core, (which is also reasonably heavy and bulky), can be carried around so easily and comfortably is a big bonus for me.

Is the Litelok Core easy to use?

So, getting the Litelok Core on and off your body is really easy. To get it on, you simply pull it open, position it around your waist and snap the plastic cover over the end of the lock. Once the Velcro strap is adjusted once, you shouldn’t need to adjust it again very often.

And getting the Litelok Core off your body is just the same thing in reverse! The whole process (on and off), is very quick and easy.

Litelok Core on back wheel and rack

The Litelok Core is easy to use when you know how!

Getting the Litelok Core on and off your bike, when you’re trying to lock it up, is also easy, but there is a definite knack to it. In fact, at first it can seem really difficult and frustrating, especially if you're trying to secure the back wheel.

So what’s the problem, and what’s the solution?

Using Litelok Core horizontally

The wrong way: difficult to get the lock through my spokes

Well, the problem is, that unlike a u-lock or even most chain locks, the ends of the Litelok Core are quite bulky. And this can make them difficult to thread through your spokes. Especially if you hold the Litelok parallel with the floor. In fact, if you hold it this way (which is the most natural way to do it), you probably won’t be able to get it through your wheel in most cases.

However, if you turn the Litelok so that it’s perpendicular to the floor, it's much easier to thread the end of the lock through your spokes. Then, once it’s through, you can turn it horizontally again to fasten the lock around the seat tube. Or leave it vertical and fasten it around the seat stay.

Using Litelok Core vertically

The correct way: much easier to get the lock through my spokes

This may all seem very obvious to you, but it took me a few goes to realize I was going to have to modify my locking technique!

But once you’ve got the hang of the correct technique, the Litelok Core is pretty easy to use. The best thing about it, is the generous locking circumference and relative flexibility, which means that you will have tons of places you can lock your bike.

Litelok Core on bike rack

Lots of room on a bike rack

With any other (realistically) portable Sold Secure Gold or Diamond bike lock, you'll be pretty much limited to bike racks. But the Litelok Core allows you to secure your bike to street signs, traffic lights, lampposts and a host of other street furniture that’s off-limits to other bike locks!

Hiplok Gold Chain vs Litelok Core

Hiplok Gold Chain vs Litelok Core

I really appreciate this versatility, because even though there are plenty of bike racks where I live, they’re often full! And if I do need to use a busy bike rack, then the extra length and flexibility of the Litelok Core (compared to u-locks), makes locking my bike a bit easier.

Litelok Core on lamp post

Easily fits a traffic light

Beyond the extra locking opportunities that the Litelok Core gives us, there are a couple of other positive and negative points worth mentioning when it comes to usability.

Litelok Core on street lamp

And even fits around a giant street lamp

One positive point is that the Litelok Core has a “click to lock” mechanism. This means that you don’t have to use keys to lock it, you just click one end into the other. Which is great, as it means you won’t have to fiddle around with keys when you’re trying to lock your bike in potentially difficult positions.

Another positive point is that you can join two Liteloks together to make one lock with a giant circumference. This would be really handy for a couple of riders, on a touring trip where there might be limited regular locking opportunities.

The negative point is that I found the Velcro belt strap and plastic cover quite annoying when I was using the lock. There doesn’t seem to be any way to keep it tidily out of the way, so it was always flapping about and getting in the way.

Dangling Velcro strap

Annoying: dangling Velcro strap

This never actually happened to me, but I could imagine a situation where it got tangled in another bike's spokes in a bike rack and then ripped off when the other bike is removed. An easy way to fold it back against the lock would be an improvement.

All in all though, the Litelok Core is a pretty easy to use lock in a security category (Sold Secure Diamond), that usually places all sorts of compromises on usability based on excessive weight and limited locking circumference.

Once I got the hang of the right locking technique, I rarely had any frustrations, and I think most people will have a similar experience.

Keys and Maintenance

As with most bike locks these days, you get three keys with the Litelok Core, which you should register with Litelok, so you can get replacements in case you lose them.

Litelok Core keys

You get 3 keys

The keyhole of the Litelok Core has a very snug fitting rubber cover that you slide across to protect the mechanism from the weather. This is one of the better covers I’ve seen, it feels quite robust, and the tight fit should genuinely protect the mechanism.

However, a nice keyhole cover is no replacement for proper maintenance! If you want to prevent any bike lock from getting stuck in the future, you should regularly clean and lubricate the mechanism.

Litelok Core Review Conclusion

After using the Litelok Core to secure my bike for over 6 months, I can comfortably say that I’m really impressed. Sold Secure Diamond rated security levels on a lock of this size and weight is unheard of.

However, as with any bike lock, it won’t be for everyone. And it’s worth being very clear about the pros and cons of the Litelok Core before you make a purchase.

The first thing to remember is that although it is very light for a lock with a Sold Secure Diamond rating and a 75 cm or 100 cm locking circumference, this is not a lightweight lock. The 75 cm model weighs around the same as 5 cans of Coke.

So if you’re looking for a lightweight lock for lower risk circumstances, and you only ever use bike racks (where you could use a smaller u-lock), then the Litelok Core is probably not the best lock for you.

Litelok Core around bike frame and back wheel

Litelok Core on my other bike

However, if you need maximum security, and you might struggle with the limited dimensions of a u-lock or the excessive weight and limited portability of a chain, then the Litelok Core is a fantastic choice.

For me, the real attraction of the Litelok Core is the ability to wear it around my waist, because this makes it so convenient to carry a lock that would otherwise be very difficult to transport. And of course the fact that the generous locking circumference and relative flexibility gives me loads of places to secure my bike.

Of course if you're still not sure, or you don't know your risk level, you should check out my guide to choosing the best bike lock for your specific needs.

Litelok Core Alternatives

As always though, if the Litelok Core is not the right choice for you, then there are plenty of other options vying for your attention.

Looking for another long, wearable, high security bike lock?

Hiplok Gold Chain

The only other bike lock that is similar to the Litelok Core, is the Hiplok Gold Chain

This is a Sold Secure Gold rated chain lock with 10 mm links, that you can also wear around your waist like a belt.

I like the Hiplok Gold, I have used myself extensively, and I rated it as the best “high security wearable bike lock” before I tested the Litelok Core.

However, there are a couple of reasons that the Litelok Core is a better bike lock.

First of all, the Litelok Core is more secure (a Diamond rating is more secure than a Gold rating) and while the Hiplok can be cropped with a large pair of bolt cutters, a thief will probably need to use power tools to cut the Litelok Core.

Secondly, the Hiplok Gold is 16% heavier (although it is also 10 cm longer) and I found it slightly more difficult to carry around my waist. This is less to do with the extra weight, to be honest, and more to do with the very bulky padlock at the front of the Hiplok and the extra movement in the body.

The Hiplok is usually a bit cheaper, so if you don’t need that extra security, and you’re comfortable with extra weight and slightly less convenient portability, then the Hiplok Gold [Amazon] is a great lower priced alternative.

However, generally I’d recommend the Litelok Core over the Hiplok Gold if you can afford the extra cost. Check my full hands-on Hiplok Gold chain review.

Looking for something smaller and lighter?

Hiplok DXC

If you like the idea of a wearable bike lock, but you don’t need the generous locking circumference of the Litelok Core, then Hiplok also make a fantastic Sold Secure Diamond u-lock that you can carry around on your waist.

The Hiplok DX is a mini u-lock, so you will be entirely dependent on bike racks for places to secure your bike.

However, it’s 42% lighter than the Litelok Core, weighing about the same amount as just 3 cans of Coke.

A 14 mm thick, double locking shackle, means it’s very unlikely (although possible), that the Hiplok DX can be defeated by anything other than power tools, and it will certainly last slightly longer against an angle grinder than the Litelok Core.

How can you wear it?

Well, the Hiplok DX has a plastic clip on the back that allows you to attach it to your belt, your waistband or even a pocket on a bag. It’s pretty low tech, but completely effective. And it makes the Hiplok DX one of the easiest high security bike locks to carry around.

Again: make sure you check the dimensions are suitable for your bike and the places you’ll be securing it. But if they are, then this is a great (and significantly cheaper) alternative to the Litelok Core. Check out my hands-on review of the Hiplok DXC, or check the price at Amazon.

Looking for something more secure?

Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini

Bicycle Diamond is the most secure rating that Sold Secure award to bike locks.

However, there are a few bike locks within the Sold Secure Diamond category that are more secure than the Litelok Core.

If you’re looking for portable security, then it’s got to be a u-lock. And the Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini is the most secure u lock currently available. 

The Fahgettaboudit Mini has an unrivaled 18 mm thick shackle and an enormous 5 cm thick crossbar.

The only way that the Fahgettaboudit Mini can be defeated is with an angle grinder. But although it will take longer for a thief to cut through the Fahgettaboudit Min than any other portable bike lock currently available, the sad truth is that it can still be defeated in just over a minute.

Despite the fact that it’s a mini u lock, it weighs about the same as 5.5 cans of Coke. So it’s properly heavy, very bulky, and you will be entirely limited to bike racks when you’re looking for somewhere to secure your bike.

However, if you’re looking for the most secure portable bike lock currently available, then this is it. Check out my full hand-on Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini review or see the price on Amazon.

Litelok Core Specs

Litelok Core

Litelok Core

My score:

Check price:

Waist size:

22" - 42"

Weight:

4.1 lb (1.9 kg)

Length:

29" (75 cm)

Other Security Ratings:

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Last Updated on August 6, 2022 by Carl Ellis

Carl Ellis
Review Details
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Litelok Core Bike Lock
Author Rating
41star1star1star1stargray
Product Name
Litelok Core
Price
USD 200
Product Availability
Available in Stock
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