NYCS Review: The Grip-Lock
We introduced the Kiwi-born scooter security device, the Grip-Lock briefly last month, but now it’s in our grubby little hands and has been out on the mean streets of New York doing it’s job for the past few weeks, we’re prepped to bring you a comprehensive review.
The Grip-Lock is the only device on the market that works as an adjustable clamp to lock over your throttle and down onto the front brake caliber, locking the throttle in place to prevent a thief from quickly jimmying your ignition lock and riding away.
Once unlocked with a full-turn of one of the two keys provided (requiring a little practice,) the Grip-Lock folds open flat allowing you to wrap it around your bike’s throttle, over the caliper and down. Pushing the key barrel into place then secures the lock without the need of the key.
While open flat, the Grip-Lock comes with an adjustable “tray” for want of a better word that can be slid forward and backward to adjust for the distance you need between the throttle and brake caliper on your particular bike. Once this is adjusted you’ll likely leave it in place, and its ability to slide laterally is locked in place once the device is locked.
We tested the lock on two scoots, a modern Vespa S150/LX150 and a two-stroke Vespa PX. In the case of our S150 disc brake caliper we felt that the maximum reach of this tray allowed us to tug the brake firmly back into a locking position but left a little play in the throttle. Effectively locking the front brake more so than the throttle.
Conversely, in the case of the PX, the lock gripped the throttle tightly (as designed) but didn’t pull the cable-brake caliper back far enough to fully engage the brake. In this case, the locking was more in the throttle using the brake caliper to prevent spinning the lock off the handle. To be fair, in either case, this effectively locked the front of the bike hindering movement.
Two removable rubber grips accessible while the lock is open wrap around the throttle and provide options depending on the thickness of your particular throttle. In the case of both our scoots we found it was necessary to remove one of the rubber grips to fit the throttles snugly. The rubber did want to pop-out of the lock on occasion so you may want add a drop of epoxy or superglue to keep this rubber in place once you’ve decided on your needs.
One other concern is that depending on whether your brake caliper has a ball-end or not, it may even be possible to jimmy the lock clean off the bike simply by pulling it off the end of the throttle. Due to a prior fall, my S150’s rear brake caliper’s ball end has sheared off, leaving the lock somewhat vulnerable when tested on this side of the bike. I wasn’t able to pull it clean off but with enough elbow grease it seems possible.
That said, a number of videos on the maker’s website demonstrate that the device ably thwarts a screwdriver and hacksaw and keeps an angle-grinder at bay at least long enough to make theft a chore but like all locks it’s not claiming to be entirely indestructible.
One nice benefit of the lock over more traditional disc-brake and chain locks is that by being accessible on the headset of the bike means that your days of ferreting around in the grime of either your front wheel or under your bike. In the case of an older bike sans disc brakes and a welded lock loop like our PX, the lock also provides a handy option compared to reaching under the rear brake pedal threading through a u-lock or chain which always was a less than ideal solution.
So what is the strength of this lock over other options? Well, according to the manufacturer’s website, 90% of all motorcycle/scooter theft is opportunistic and arguably right there is the raison d’être of the Grip-Lock:
Coming in an array of high-visibility colors, and prominently placed on the handlebar, the device is most certainly more noticeable than something subtler like a disc brake lock. In fact in a row of bikes where I regularly park my scoot, the bike does stand out for being the only bike with a visible security device.
In a world where simply using a scooter cover can keep your bike out of sight, out of mind in the eyes of a potential thief, the Grip-Lock certainly steps up the visible deterrent one more notch. Further, while it’s not as robust or imposing as a chain and padlock it does have unfamiliarity in it’s favor making a potential thief think twice before tackling it.
The lock hasn’t let us down in the two weeks we’ve been using it but I do have a nagging feeling that it is a little more fallible than other alternatives.
The lock acts as a highly visible deterrent making a potential thief think twice. However outside of quick stops or perhaps daytime parking we wouldn’t trust the device as the sole method of securing your scoot on the streets of NYC.
- Unfamiliarity to thieves works in its favor.
- No need to get down in the grime with a disc brake lock or forget it’s there.
- Nice option for vintage bikes.
- Compact and relatively lightweight compared to a chain.
- While the lock never failed us, we do have some concerns over the ability to simply tug the lock loose on some scooters.
- Best used in combination with a chain lock.
Buying the Grip-Lock
The Grip-Lock is available directly from the manufacturer. $79 with free worldwide shipping.