Litelok X3 Review: The Most Secure Bike Lock?

Litelok X3 Review: The Most Secure Bike Lock?

Last Updated on August 7, 2023 0 Comments

Hot on the heals of the Litelok X1 comes the Litelok X3. Thicker, heavier and even more angle grinder resistant than its little brother, the X3 is a direct competitor to the Hiplok D1000 in terms of security levels.

But is it worth the 2 - 3 month wait time to get your hands on one? Or indeed the spectacularly high price tag (something that the Hiplok D1000 is also afflicted with)?

In this review I’ll be looking at how secure the X3 really is, how easy it is to carry around and use on a daily basis, and finally whether it's good value for money, and the best alternatives should you decide it’s not for you.

So let’s get into it…

The Litelok X3 is the most secure portable bike lock you can buy right now, but you'll have to wait 2–3 months for delivery.

Summary

Litelok X3

Litelok X3

My score:

Check price:

Shackle thickness:

16 mm

Weight:

4.6 lb (2.1 kg)

Size (internal):

3.9 x 7.6"
(100 x 195 mm)

Other Security Ratings:

Litelok X3 Pros

  • The most angle grinder resistant bike lock
  • The most secure portable bike lock
  • Practical size gives lots of locking options
  • Unrivaled security/weight/size ratio

Litelok X3 Cons

  • Wait time of 2-3 months for delivery
  • It’s incredibly expensive

How secure is the Litelok X3?

In my tests, using a mains powered angle grinder, it took longer to cut through the Litelok X3 than both the X1 and the Hiplok D1000.

You can see the exact times and watch the video below. But since the only way that really high security bike locks are likely to be defeated in the street these days is with an angle grinder, for my money, this makes the Litelok X3 the most secure bike lock currently available.

Let’s look at the numbers:

Time to cut

Litelok X3

Hiplok D1000

Litelok X1

Kryptonite
Fahgettaboudit

First side:

3:25 min
3 discs

2:50 min
3 discs

1:10 min
1 disc

16 seconds
1 disc

Both sides:

5:30 min
4 discs

4:25 min
5 discs

-

4 discs

32 seconds
1 disc

And here’s the video:

There are a few things worth mentioning about the test:

  1. I used a mains powered angle grinder to eliminate any variability in power due to battery levels
  2. I clamped or taped the locks in place to eliminate any variability in movement
  3. I didn’t count the time it took to change the discs

All this was an attempt to reduce any factors that might influence the time it took to cut the locks, other than their essential angle grinder resistance. For example, I didn’t want one lock to take longer to cut than another because a battery had less power or because it moved more when I was trying to cut it.

But while this approach helps definitively determine which is the most angle grinder resistant of the four locks, it doesn’t tell us how long it would take a thief to get through the locks in the street.

We can be sure it would be significantly longer though, as a thief would be using a lower powered portable grinder and have to deal with lock movement and multiple disc changes (in the case of the X1, X3 and D1000).

Litelok X1 vs Litelok X3 vs Hiplok D1000

Litelok X1 vs Litelok X3 vs Hiplok D1000

So in my test, the Litelok X3 took 20% longer to cut once than the Hiplok D1000, nearly 3 times longer to cut than the Litelok X1 and 13 times longer to cut once than the Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini (which is the strongest regular bike lock).

Pretty impressive numbers!

And that doesn’t take into account the time it took to change the angle grinder discs (which would increase the difference between it and the X1 and the Fahgettaboudit, but decrease the difference between it and the Hiplok D1000).

Litelok X3 vs X1

So why is the Litelok X3 so much more secure than the X1?

Both of them feature a 16 mm diameter, double locking, hardened steel shackle (which also makes them impossible to crop with even the biggest 42” manual bolt cutters, by the way). And both use the same anti angle grinder technology.

Litelok shackle diameter

The Litelok X3 uses the same 16 mm steel shackle as the X1

This technology is a layer of a ceramic composite (which they are calling Barronium), fused onto the surface of what would otherwise be a pretty standard, high security u-lock. And it’s what wears down angle grinder discs as they’re cutting through the lock.

The Litelok X3 just has a much thicker layer of it than the X1, which makes it much more resistant to angle grinder attack.

A thicker layer of Barronium isn’t the only thing that makes the Litelok X3 more secure, though...

The crossbar on the X3 is significantly thicker and heaver, and features a bulky Alboy Sentry lock cylinder, which is supposed to be the most pickproof locking mechanism available (we’ll have to see what the Lock Picking Lawyer thinks of that!).

Litelok X3 Abloy cylinder

The "pick proof" Alboy lock cylinder

Of course, it doesn’t really matter whether the Lock Picking Lawyer can pick it or not. There aren’t any bike thieves picking locks in the street, and although I understand the allure of such a secure mechanism, I’d have preferred a more modest cylinder if it meant the price of the lock could be a bit lower.

Sold Secure Rating

The unprecedented levels of security are reflected in the independent security ratings. Not only has it been awarded a Bicycle Diamond rating from Sold Secure, along with the X1 and the D1000, it's also the only u lock with Motorcycle Diamond rating too.

So yes, the Litelok X3 is extremely secure. In fact, I would say that it's the most secure bike lock you can buy right now.

But is it portable?

Is the Litelok X3 easy to carry?

The Litelok X3 is much lighter than most other high security bike locks. For example, it’s 20% lighter than the Abus Granit Extreme 59, it’s 24% lighter than the Kryptonite New York M18-WL, and it’s even 2% lighter than the much smaller Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini.

And don’t forget, it will offer far more practical security for your bicycle or motorbike than any of these locks.

Litelok X3 weight

Weighing the Litelok X3: 2094g

But the Litelok X3 is definitely not a lightweight bike lock! It weighs 4.6 lb (2.1 kg), which is about the same as 5.5 cans of Coke. And that’s a fair amount of weight to be carrying around every day.

It’s also quite a bulky bike lock. Although, the steel shackle has a diameter of 16 mm, once you add the layer of ceramic composite and the rubber coating, it’s more like 24 mm. It also has a very beefy crossbar, with the distended keyhole protruding from the bottom.

Litelok X3 bulky shackle

The thick layer of ceramic composite make the shackle very bulky

And since it’s closer to a standard size u-lock than the more mini sized Hiplok D1000 and Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit, it just takes up more space.

All this means that it poses certain challenges when it comes to how you will carry it around on your bike.

Like many of the heaviest u-locks, you won’t get a frame mount with the Litelok X3. It’s difficult to design a frame mount that will reliably hold big, heavy locks in place as you ride around on your bike.

So most brands just don’t provide one (although to be fair, I think the Abus Granit Extreme 59 does come with the SH59 frame mount). And of course you get a perfectly good one with the Litelok X1 too (as it’s much lighter than the X3).

Restrap Lock Holster

So, how to carry the X3? Well, you can buy a separate Restrap Lock Holster which you thread your belt through, so that you can carry the Litelok X3 on your waist. But I tried it out on the Litelok X1 and wasn’t a big fan.

Litelok X3 in Restrap holster

Litelok X3 in Restrap holster

I mean, it works. But bear in mind you have to take your belt off and on every time you want to use it (unless you wear it all the time), the substantial weight of the lock drags down whichever part of your waist you're wearing it, and it for me, it was a bit awkward to get the lock in and out.

On the other hand it’s fairly cheap, and if you don’t want to carry a separate bag then I suppose it will work OK. But I’d prefer to throw it in a bag, even if it meant taking a bag that’s only for the lock!

Litelok X3 neoprene pouch

Litelok X3 neoprene pouch

Talking of carrying the X3 in a bag, the lock also comes with a neoprene pouch that you can slide it into, before you put it in your bag, in order to keep any water or street grime on the lock, off whatever’s in your bag.

This is definitely quite handy and a nice addition.

So in conclusion, no, the Litelok X3 is not particularly easy to carry. Like almost all the other heavy, bulky, high security u-locks, it doesn’t come with a frame mount, so you’re going to have to muddle something together yourself, or get the belt holster.

But while the X3 will probably be a little bit more inconvenient in a bag than a smaller lock like the Hiplok D1000, the extra size of the Litelok does have a huge advantage in terms of usability...

Is the Litelok X3 easy to use?

For a lot of people, the big advantage of the Litelok X3 over the Hiplok D1000 (or any other mini u-lock), is that its larger internal dimensions mean there will be more options when you’re trying to lock your bike.

Litelok X3 dimensions

Litelok X3 internal dimensions

Internally, the Litelok X3 measures 3.9 x 7.6" (10 x 19.5 cm), making it similar to a standard size u-lock such as the Kryptonite Kryptolok or Evolution Standard. In fact, it's the same width, and just 1.4” shorter.

While there will always be situations and types of bike set-ups where you won’t be able to lock your bike how you’d like, I find that in general, a standard size u-lock gives you options in most cases.

Litelok X3 on back wheel

Easily fits around the back wheel and frame in a bike rack

Whether you’re locking the back wheel and frame of a larger framed ebike to a bike rack or securing a normal size frame to some other street furniture that’s a bit more awkward than a bike rack. You can usually find a way with a standard size u-lock.

Litelok X3 lamppost

Also fits around other street furniture like this lamppost

For me, with my skinny framed bike, which is almost always locked to Sheffield bike stands, it’s not so important. A mini u-lock works just fine. But there are loads of people who will really appreciate the extra space in the Litelok X3.

I had a small issue with the Litelok X1, where the shackle didn’t sit properly in the crossbar (meaning that the key couldn’t be turned), until I gave it a wack with the palm of my hand. I didn’t have the same issue with the Litelok X3, so either they’ve fixed the issue or I had a dodgy X1.

If you do have this issue (with either the X1 or the X3), there is a simple DIY hack to solve it, so don’t worry.

In fact, for me, everything worked very smoothly with the Litelok X3.

Keyhole Cover

There is an unusual silicon keyhole cover with a slit down the middle that is designed to protect the lock mechanism from water, grime and debris. And to get the key in the lock, you just push it through the slit.

There are a couple of advantages to this design:

Unlike other keyhole covers, you don’t need to remember to close the cover after you’ve finished locking or unlocking (no one remembers anyway!). And you don’t have the minor inconvenience of moving a cover out of the way before you can unlock.

Litelok X3 silicon keyhole cover

The innovative silicon lock mechanism protector

On the other hand, there is the chance that any grime or debris that might have accumulated on the outside of the cover, gets pushed into the mechanism by the key, defeating the whole purpose of the cover.

I was a bit negative about the design for this reason when I reviewed the Litelok X1, but I’ve had no problems in the 6 months I’ve been using it, so perhaps it works just fine!

Keys and Warranty

You’ll get 2 keys with the Litelok X3, with a key code that enables you to order more, engraved into the metal. I would like to have got a card with the key code on as well, as some idiots (e.g. me), won't think to write the code down until they’ve lost the keys!

Litelok X3 keys

Litelok X3 keys

However, if you want to qualify for the 3 year no quibble warranty, you will need the key code to register the Litelok X3, and do so within 30 days of your purchase. This will entitle you to cover for any mechanical fault the lock may experience in this time period.

So make sure you register, for both the warranty and the record of your key code!

Eco-friendly Features

One last thing worth mentioning is Litelok’s efforts to make their products eco-friendly. The Litelok X1 comes in a fantastic box made entirely from unbleached cardboard, and not a single piece of plastic anywhere.

Litelok X3 box

Litelok X3 packaging: unbleached cardboard & no plastic!

I love this and many other bike lock brands should take note

In order to protect your bike frame from scratches, the whole lock is also covered in an eco rubber that’s made from 80% non-food grade crops. To be honest, it’s not as smooth and finished as traditional, eco-unfriendly plastic, but it’s got to be a better choice and another step in the right direction.

Conclusion: Is the Litelok X3 worth it?

The Litelok X3 is the most angle grinder resistant portable bike lock I’ve ever tested. And I’ve tested them all now, so that means it’s the most angle grinder resistant portable bike lock you can buy!

What's more, since angle grinders are the only realistic way that thieves are defeating high security bike locks in the street these days, this also makes it the most secure bike lock currently available.

And it’s not just me saying this!

This is also reflected in its Sold Secure Motorcycle Diamond rating (the only other u-locks that share this rating are the Hiplok D1000 and the Litelok X1).

Litelok X3 around chain stays

Very secure, very practical

And as a standard size u-lock, it’s also going to be a much more practical for many people than its only real competitor, the Hiplok D1000.

So what’s not to like?

Well, 2 things:

  1. It’s incredibly expensive
  2. You’ll have a 2 to 3 month wait between ordering and receiving the Litelok X3

In reality, the price issue is not much of an issue. It’s around the same price as the Hiplok D1000, which is the only other bike lock that offers a comparable level of security. If you want maximum protection, this is just the price you have to pay at the moment.

The 3-month wait is another matter.

A bike lock tends to be something you need immediately. Because every day that you don’t have it, either your bike is a risk, or you're just not cycling. So waiting any amount of time for a bike lock is really annoying.

Litelok X3 in open box

It's a great lock if you bear the wait

I hope Litelok get this sorted soon because otherwise it’s a great buy! And if you need the highest level of protection and practicality, and can accept the wait, then I highly recommend the Litelok X3.

If you don’t or can’t, then there are of course alternatives…

Alternatives to the Litelok X3

Looking for something available right now?

Hiplok D1000

The only other bike lock that offers the same level of angle grinder resistance as the Litelok X3 is the Hiplok D1000.

In my test, it took longer to cut the X3, but I needed more discs to get through the D1000.

So I’d say they're around the same level of security.

The main advantage of the Hiplok D1000 is that it’s in stock and available right now. If you order it today, you will have it in a few days.

The main disadvantage of the Hiplok D1000 is that it’s much smaller than the Litelok X3 (despite being around the same weight), so you may find it difficult or even impossible to lock your bike as you’d like.

It's about the same price, though. So if you need your new lock immediately and can handle the smaller size, then it’s a good alternative to the Litelok X3. Check out my full Hiplok D1000 review.

Looking for something cheaper?

Litelok X1

If you need an angle grinder resistant lock, but don’t need the very highest levels of resistance, how about the Litelok X1?

It has the same practical internal dimensions, but is less bulky, lighter and even comes with a pretty good frame mount, which makes carrying it around a lot more straightforward than the X3.

It’s obviously not as secure as the X3 or the Hiplok D1000 (it took me less than half the time to get through 1 side). But a thief is still going to need to change angle grinder discs at least once to get through it.

And it’s 4 to 5 times more resistant than the strongest traditional lock (Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini).

Throw in the fact that it’s not much more than half the price of the X3, and the Litelok X1 starts to look like a very practical alternative for many people! Check out my full Litelok X1 review here.

Litelok X3 Specs

Litelok X3

Litelok X3

My score:

Check price:

Shackle thickness:

16 mm

Weight:

4.6 lb (2.1 kg)

Size (internal):

3.9 x 7.6"
(100 x 195 mm)

Other Security Ratings:

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About the author 

Carl Ellis

I've had bikes stolen in London, New York and Barcelona. Yep, I was a serial, international, bike theft victim. In 2015 I decided to stop the rot. And not a single bike's been stolen since! Brakes, yes. Bells, yes. But they're another story. Everything I learn, I document on this website. More about my story. Contact me. LinkedIn.

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