One of the problems with having such vast facilities here at the MO Media Publishing Center for World Domination and Pizza Delivery Service is that, every once in a while, something gets mislabeled and improperly filed by our Automated Product Testing Storage and Retrieval Processor. Such is the case with the Lockstraps products we’re reviewing here. Tucked away in the back, behind some crates of recycled megapixels and spare terabytes, we found a mysterious analog box in the strictly digital section of our warehouse.
Upon opening the box, we were impressed by the ingenuity of the products contained, therein. Since we were just about to test the bumper crop of Superbikes, we knew that the internet gods had intended for us to recover these goods for use in securing $115,000 of model year 2015 sporting motorcycle sexiness. What is this product, you ask? What could have moved us so deeply? A simple yet exceedingly practical selection of security products, oh loyal readers.
Most motorcyclists are intimately acquainted with nylon tie-downs. They’re great for holding your bike in place in your truck or trailer. One thing, however, that they’re not good at is preventing theft. Anyone can loosen a tie-down in just a couple of seconds. Conversely, locks have, previously, never been suitable for tying down a motorcycle. Well, Jeff Cranny, inventor of Lockstraps, turned a bad experience into an interesting product that we’ve been testing for several months in a variety of uses to positive results.
In 2009, Cranny had his motorcycle and gear stolen from his truck, only to have the pain increased later when his insurance company refused his claim. As he walked through a store to purchase new tie-downs – and a lock – he had an idea. Where most of us would pat ourselves on the back for such a cool idea and tell our buddies about this product that will revolutionize motorcycle theft prevention, and then do absolutely nothing in the development of the idea, Cranny actually spent a few years refining his inspiration until he had a product worthy of selling to the public.
The idea is simple, put a stainless steel cable running the full length of a nylon tie-down. However, a look at the construction of Lockstraps shows the thought that went into making a simple idea a product that functions the way you want it to. Because the 3mm stainless steel cable makes the strap thicker, the friction locks must be beefier, too, and they are thanks to their hardened-steel construction. Both ends of the straps feature 6-in. tall, 3.5-in. wide locking carabiners. The locks allow you to set a combination that you can remember, rather than forcing you to remember something random. (All of our Lockstrap products are now set to one combination. Easy peasy.) One end of the LockStrap has a built-in soft tie to protect your bike’s delicate bodywork. All places where the straps are looped to hold the carabiners or to create an opening for locking the soft tie are secured with galvanized steel rivets which carry a 500-lb. rating.
After hearing about the Lockstraps’ construction, you might wonder how secure they are. While they’re not as theft-proof as some U-locks, thick cables and chains, they do offer two strands of protection. First, the stainless cable prevents someone with a pocket knife from simply cutting the tie-down and rolling your bike away. Second, while large cable cutters are capable of cutting the inner cable, they don’t do much of anything to the flexible nylon strap. So, a potential thief would need to use two tools to cut a strap. Finally, most thefts of this kind are crimes of opportunity, and anything that inhibits the easy theft of the secured object will most likely deter the majority of potential thieves. Pros are gonna get your bike if they really want to.
Setting the combination was as easy as inserting a pen into a button and turning three wheels. Since I’ve always liked tie-downs with carabiners on the end that attach to my truck, the LockStrap fit right into my loading routine. Yes, the thicker strap is a little more fidgety, but not annoyingly so. If you want to keep someone from simply loosening the strap – even though they can’t take the bike – you can loop the excess strap through itself in a half-hitch or two and lock it to the carabiner securing the soft tie. Quite ingenious, actually. Although nobody has attempted to steal a bike from my truck bed (that I know of), the construction feels as beefy as Lockstraps says in its product information.
The locking tie-downs aren’t the only products that Lockstraps offers. On the aforementioned Superbike Shootout, we used the 24-Ft. Cable Strap/Universal Lock to lock four of the bikes together to a trailer which was, in turn, locked to the truck. Dang, this strap is useful! At the track, we locked all the bikes together along with various stands overnight. I have the Universal Cable Strap Lock securing my bed extender to one of the D-hooks in the bed of my truck (since Tacomas for some strange reason have no way to lock their liftgate). The 24-in. strap has a locking carabiner on one end and a loop on the other, making it uber-flexible. You could even toss it in a tank bag to lock your helmet to your bike, if you like.
After several months of use, we’ve found Lockstraps to be a nice piece of our bike-hauling kit. The 8.5-ft. tie-down straps retail for $39.95 each. The 25-ft. Cable Strap/Universal Lock retails for $44.95 and sees frequent use when my test bike allocation exceeds my garage’s space. Finally, the uber-flexible Universal Cable Strap Lock will set you back a reasonable $24.95. All can be ordered from the Lockstraps website.