ZiiLock uniquely combines a folding design with biometric scanning and Bluetooth connectivity. We look at its features and compare them with third-party bike locks to see if you should preorder.
According to their Indiegogo campaign, ZiiLock is the first bike lock to combine tempered steel construction with advanced biometric (fingerprint) technology, Bluetooth connectivity, and keyed/keyless entry, all in a foldable design.
Together, they say their “bike guard” provides the proactive protection of a u-lock and the flexibility of a chain, along with portable convenience for storage, whether on your bike or in your bag.
With so many bicycle locks to choose from—and considering all of the potential risks that come along with backing a crowdfunding campaign—is ZiiLock your best bet?
We’ll quickly take a look at how it works and how it compares, so you can decide if you should spend your money.
How ZiiLock Works
With pledge options ranging between $99 and $322, ZiiLock combines the following features to deliver “proactive” protection for your bike:
Theft-Resistant Steel Construction
ZiiLock is constructed from a total of eight, 6.5mm heat-treated and temper-hardened steel bars that use an “advanced stamping method” to resist deformation caused by brute force, as well as penetration from drilling and picking.
Each bar is seamlessly linked using high-strength 7mm rivets that, together, are tested to withstand force from a 12-ton hydraulic cutter. They’re also coated with an extra soft rubber surface that helps protect your bike’s paint job.
When fully unfolded, the lock is 98 cm (38.5″) long—enough to secure three regular bikes, two fat-tire bikes, and even e-bikes and cargo bikes, whether to trees, oversized poles, or just about anywhere else.
Finally, the website explains “the inner race cylinder consists of a two-sided milling tooth combined with multiple bullet pieces, which “prevent counterfeiting and thwart any picking attempts.”
When it’s time to ride, ZiiLock folds down to the size of your palm and fits inside a stylish bracket that affixes to your bike’s bottle cage mounts. Or, you can use hook-and-loop fastener tape to mount it to the location of your choice.
ZiiLock’s High-Resolution Touch Panel
ZiiLock’s plastic casing also houses its508 DPI, spatial high-resolution, capacitive sensing touch panel. It measures 8mm x 8mm, can store and identify up to 20 different fingerprints, and boasts a readout time of 0.03 seconds for faster and safer keyless entry.
The structure also comes with an IP67 waterproof rating, which means you can immerse it in water for 30+ minutes. It also protects against heavy rain, sludge, and dust.
To effectively protect your privacy, data from this sensor is transmitted to your smartphone via Bluetooth using military-grade AES 256 encryption.
Additional Sensors & App Connectivity
The plastic casing also houses ZiiLock’s sensitive motion sensor, which automatically sends a message to an app on your smartphone if it detects unauthorized movement while you’re away from your bike.
The app is also where you can manage access to your ZiiLock, including storing different fingerprints. You can send temporary codes to friends and family members, and set time and duration preferences.
Each time you park your bike, ZiiLock’s suite of sensors mark your location, making your bike easy to find the next time you’re ready to ride.
ZiiLock’s Lithium-Ion Battery
Because ZiiLock always sends a signal to your smartphone, it features low-power components and an efficient lithium-ion battery that consumes very little electricity (1.5mA per hour in standby mode). It can last up to three months before requiring a recharge.
To wake it up and instantly unlock it, simply tap once inside the app. Even once its battery drains and the scanner and app are no longer functional, you can still open your ZiiLock using an included mechanical key.
Are There Other Bicycle Locks Like ZiiLock?
There’s no shortage of bike locks that offer at least some of the same features as ZiiLock, including folding designs, biometric security, or app connectivity.
However, ZiiLock is the only model that combines all of these aspects into a single design. So, if this is what you’re looking for, it seems to stand on its own.
Still, there are a handful of popular models that might deliver a similar level of value, depending on your needs. These include:
|ZiiLock||Folding, smart, biometric||38.5″ unfolded||Hardened steel, plastic||Currently undergoing crowdfunding (shipping November 2019)|
|Folding||33.5″, 0.6 lbs||Plastic-coated steel||No biometric/smart functionality, advertised as a “low-security lock”|
|Bitlock||Smart||Unknown||Reinforced, heat-treated, cut-resistant steel||Traditional u-lock design (no folding), 4-digit backup code, available in 6 colors|
|Litelok Gold||Band||Varies depending on model, 2.4+ lbs||Boaflexicore||Also started via crowdfunding, provides up to $13,500, wearable versions, no smart/biometric functionality|
|OnGuard K9 80||Folding||10″ x 3.5″ x 3″ (folded), 2.19 lbs||Hardened steel||Mounts to water bottle cage holes, no smart/biometric functionality|
|Folding||35″ unfolded, 3 lbs||Heavy-duty steel||Coated with premium scratch-resistant paint, anti-rattle mechanism, no smart/biometric functionality|
Although these represent just a few of the available competitors, choosing an option will primarily come down to which factors you find most important.
For example, the Abus Bordo Lite weighs the least and is only about five inches shorter than ZiiLock, but it’s also not rated as heavy-duty. And as mentioned earlier, it doesn’t feature smart functionality or biometric scanning.
Bitlock, however, does come with smart features, but it’s only available in a more traditional u-lock shape, and the manufacturer provides little-to-no details about its weight or dimensions.
Like ZiiLock, Litelok got its start via crowdfunding. The latter is currently available, though, while the former isn’t expected to ship until November 2019—assuming no delays occur.
Pro tip: The Indiegogo page emphasizes that “shipping is guaranteed and we promise to give a FULL refund if we fail to ship you ZiiLock.” Just keep in mind there’s no mention that it will ship on time—only that it will ship.
Let’s pull all of these details together and see where they leave you when it comes to ZiiLock.
Bottom Line: Should You Place a Preorder For ZiiLock?
We can see that although some popular competitors “provide the security of a u-lock with the flexibility of a chain,” ZiiLock is unique in that it combines its folding design with a biometric panel and smartphone functionality.
However, it’s crucial to balance this uniqueness with the fact that you’ll have to wait until November to get your hands on your ZiiLock, assuming no delays occur, which are common when bringing crowdfunded products to the marketplace.
Finally, keep in mind that no lock is “unbreakable.” With access to proper tools and given enough time, a competent thief can steal any bike they choose. All you can do is make the process as inconvenient as possible.
>> Keep rolling: The Top 4 Cycling Crowdfunding Misses
If you're away from the lock/bike (say in class at school and Bluetooth between phone and lock is too distant), how does the lock automatically send a message to an app on your smartphone? The lock is on what network to do that?