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Altor SAF Lock Review

The Altor SAF (Strong as F***) took headlines when it was released back in 2020, and looking at this monster U lock it’s pretty obvious why this was.

Released before the now-popular angle grinder-resistant locks like the LITELOK X1 and the Hiplok D1000, the Altor SAF was the first lock specifically designed to fight back against angle grinders. 

Producing an Altor SAF review has been on my to-do list for some time now, so here it is; a comprehensive review of the bulkiest U lock on the market.

In this Altor SAF review, I’ll talk you through the SAF’s strengths and weaknesses and will point out who this lock is suitable for and why you could benefit from using a lock this heavy. 

Brief Overview - Altor SAF Lock Review

The Strongest Bike Lock on The Market

Altor SAF review

It’s fair to say that the Altor SAF lock is currently the most secure bike lock on the market. 

However, in the same breath, this is easily the heaviest U lock on the market and is by no means portable, so it may not be for everyone.

The Altor SAF is designed for use in the highest-risk areas where bike thieves are known to operate.

High-end e-bike or not, once a thief notices the size of the lock your bike’s secured with, they’ll move onto an easier target. 

Note that the Altor SAF’s shackle is so chunky you’ll need a suitable way to secure your bike’s auxiliary components. I’ll cover the best way to secure additional components later in the review.

Understandably, this is an expensive bike lock, but if you want unrivalled protection for your bike whilst you’re away from it, there aren’t many better options.

I found the most up-to-date price on the Altor website here.

Altor SAF Specifications:

Security Ratings – None (explained here)
Weight – 6.2kg (13.7lb)
Internal Shackle Dimensions – 8 x 14cm (3.2 x 5.5″)
Shackle Thickness – 80mm (aluminium core), 14mm internal hardened steel shackle
Warranty – 1 Year

Altor SAF Pros & Cons

How Secure Is the Altor SAF?

Security Features

Double Bolted Shackle

Like all high-security U locks, the Altor SAF utilises a double-bolted shackle, which means that the locking mechanism secures both sides of the shackle. 

Cheap and cheerful bike locks that utilise single-bolted shackles leave your bike vulnerable to theft attempts.

Time to failure with a single bolted lock is significantly reduced since thieves only need to make one cut through the lock’s shackle to remove your bike. 

Altor SAF Double-bolted locking mechanism
Either side of the Altor's internal 14mm hardened steel shackle is secured in place by the locking mechanism

Whilst a few single-bolted locks offer respectable Sold Secure ratings, a double-bolted shackle will almost always provide more security for your bike. 

A good start from the SAF U lock! 

Safetech Aluminum Anti-Grinder Core

The Safetech Aluminum Core is the Altor SAF’s party piece. 

Measuring a whopping 80mm wide, the SAF’s aluminum core makes it the thickest and beefiest U lock on the market. 

Thickness to one side, inside the aluminium core is where the Altor SAF gets really interesting. 

Instead of opting for a solid aluminium core, the engineers from Altor devised an internal structure designed to catch on grinding discs, causing them to jam and fragment.

As you can see from the picture, the aluminium is formed in a jagged tooth-like pattern that encourages the soft aluminum to hook onto grinding discs, significantly increasing the chance of disc failure and overall cutting difficulty.

Alongside its disc-breaking capabilities, the width alone of the SAF’s shackle is normally enough to defeat most portable grinders, which typically use 125mm grinding discs. 

A 125mm disc isn’t big enough to make a single cut through the shackle of the SAF, and its position would need to be adjusted multiple times if a thief managed to prevent it from shattering. 

If you want to see the SAF in action, then watch the video below.

If that wasn’t enough for you, at the centre of the Safetech core sits a 14mm hardened steel shackle.

14mm is thicker than average for a U lock shackle, but to be honest, it doesn’t make sense to mention average when talking about the Altor SAF. 

One of the only issues I see with the Altor SAF is that this lock is so secure, that thieves are likely to attempt to cut through the immovable object you secure your bike to instead. 

To ensure your bike is as secure as possible, lock it to the strongest immovable object avalible.

It wouldn’t make sense to buy a lock as secure as the Altor SAF only to lock your bike to a flimsy wooden fence. 

High-Security Disc Detainer Cylinder

Altor SAF keys and sliding keyhole cover

As stated by the LockPickingLawyer, “the chances of this lock being picked on the street are essentially zero”. 

This is because the Altor SAF uses a unique disc detainer cylinder, requiring custom tooling to pick. These highly specialist tools aren’t readily available online, and therefore thieves aren’t going to have a capable pick in their toolkit. 

Even if they did have the tool required to pick the Altor SAF, they’d have to spend a long time practising on its mechanism before being able to beat it. 

So as you can imagine, there is a very, very, very slim chance of this locking mechanism being compromised by picking attacks on the street.

Security Ratings

The Altor SAF doesn’t currently hold security ratings from any independent testing organisations such as Sold Secure or ART, but that’s not to say this lock isn’t secure.

I spoke with Dylan Cato, Co-Founder and COO of Altor, and asked him why the Altor SAF hadn’t been submitted to Sold Secure for testing yet. 

Dylan let me know the following:

“When I started designing the SAF Lock in 2018, Sold Secure did not have a bike lock standard that tested with power tools. Testing standards and the industry ignoring power tools were a big part of why we developed the SAF Lock.

This is also why we put the testing videos on our website and youtube channel. When we launched the SAF Lock in 2020 during covid, shipping costs were so high that we did not have a lot of traction in the EU & UK.

In the United States, consumers use Sold Secure to check a product’s credibility, but no bike insurance in the USA is tied to these ratings. So it is really just for making a buying decision.

No one has ever questioned the security of the SAF Lock after bicycling magazine and Lock Picking Lawyer reviewed it. I am aware that sold secure now has a bicycle diamond standard.

We launched our first trailer lock in 2021, and it was our most successful product ever, so we have been very focused on that ever since.

We may submit the SAF Lock for testing someday, but it probably will not make sense for us to do so until we are in a position to expand our distribution in the UK, Netherlands, and other EU countries.” 

The Altor SAF was built to exceed the security capabilities of any D lock on the market, and it’s fair to say that it’s achieved this. 

To be clear though, Sold Secure testing is based upon attack methods that thieves use in the real world and are frequently updated alongside current attack statistics.

So they won’t have been ignoring anything during 2018. Attacks using power tolls were just less common than they are now. 

Whilst it would be massively effective at lowering bike theft rates, the Altor SAF isn’t intended to be utilised by every cyclist on the market.

Instead, it’s a niche product that provides an eye-watering level of security and has been tested by several reliable sources (LockPickingLawyer, Bicycling etc.). 

How Practical Is the Altor SAF?

Weight & Size

Need to hit a quick workout but don’t have any dumbells at home? Yet another situation where the Altor SAF comes in handy!

All jokes aside, the Altor SAF is the heaviest U lock I’ve used to date, weighing 6.2kg (13.7lb) or the equivalent of six big bags of sugar.

When producing the photography for this review, I weighed the Altor SAF on my scales, which I quickly realised wasn’t suitable for weighing a lock this chunky. 

Despite being significantly bulkier, the SAF’s internal shackle size is the same as the Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini, meaning you don’t have much room to play with. 

Measuring 8 x 14cm (3.2 x 5.5″), the Altor SAF provides enough room to secure your bike’s frame to the standard bike rails you find on the street. 

As previously mentioned, one downside of having such a chunky shackle is that you won’t be able to use this lock to secure your rear wheel and frame simultaneously unless you use mag wheels or similar.

Fortunately, there is a workaround to this, which I explain towards the bottom of the review.

The external dimensions for the Altor SAF measure 20 x 28cm (7.9 x 11″), which alongside its weight, restricts the SAF U lock in terms of portability. 

How Portable Is the Altor SAF?

To set the record straight, the Altor SAF is the least portable U lock on the market. 

Even if you go to the gym seven days a week and can deadlift double your body weight, you won’t want to carry this U lock in a backpack when cycling. 

It’s bulky, and even if you’re strong enough to carry it on your back, it won’t be comfortable to ride with.

With that in mind, the Altor SAF should be used as a static bike lock that you leave locked up at your destination.

Altor SAF bike lock secured to Sheffield bike stand
Leaving an Altor SAF locked up at your destination is your best bet, rather than trying to carry it with you, which won't be much fun

If you commute to work every day on your road bike, which cost a little too much, and find yourself worrying about leaving it secured with your inadequate lock, then the Altor SAF is the solution to your worries. 

Leave it locked up at your office/end destination, and you’ll have access to one of the most, if not the most secure bike locks on the planet waiting for you.

Thieves will be eyeing up your bike throughout the day before realising their entire toolkit is redundant against the SAF and will quickly move onto an easier target. 

Non-portable, unbeatable security.

Quality of Materials & Maintenance Requirements

I’ve used my Altor SAF multiple times since I got it back in 2021, and it still looks and performs as if brand new. 

When I left it outside exposed to the elements for two weeks, I noticed the soft rubber casing of the shackle became sticky, but a quick wipe down with a damp cloth was enough to resolve this. 

Apart from that, I don’t have any complaints about the materials the Altor SAF uses. 

The internal locking mechanism is encapsulated in a thick, hardened steel housing, which will thwart brute force theft attempts that target the lock body.

The steel housing is then covered in a soft silicone casing which is essential as it prevents this hefty U lock from denting and damaging your bike when locking up. 

Shackle circumference of the Altor SAF

The SAF’s locking mechanism is protected by a sliding keyhole cover, which helps to prevent dirt and debris from entering the locking mechanism and, if utilised, will prolong the usable life of your SAF lock. 

If leaving the Altor SAF exposed to the elements, I’d recommend cleaning and lubricating the lock once or twice a month.

All you’ll need for maintenance is a lock-friendly lubricant like ABUS’ PS88 and a dry cloth/rag. 

Apply a few blasts of lubricant into the locking mechanism (keyhole facing down) to remove any grime from the cylinder, and then a light coating of lubricant to either end of the shackle and the internal locking mechanism to ensure everything stays in smooth working order. 

Then remove any excess lubricant with your rag, as this can act as a magnet to dirt if left to linger on the lock. 

Take good care of your lock, and it’ll take good care of whatever you’re securing.

For more detailed bike lock maintenance tips, read our guide

Is the Altor SAF Worth Its Price?

There’s no hiding from it, the Altor SAF is about as expensive as bike locks get.

Its high price is mainly due to the large amount of metal required to produce the SAF and the fact that it doesn’t cut any corners with low-end components.

Unless you need the highest security, strongest lock on the market and can make do with a lock that’s not portable, I’d look elsewhere. 

However, if your bike is valuable either sentimentally or monetarily, there isn’t a lock on the market that can provide you with the same peace of mind as the Altor SAF.

You can view the most up-to-date price for the Altor SAF on their website here

Altor SAF Key Replacement Scheme

Upon purchasing an Altor SAF lock, you should register your key combination on the Altor website here

Once registered, your key code will be kept safe and linked to your account so that if lost, you’d be able to get replacement keys cut here

Registration isn’t essential but is advised in case all of your keys go missing. 

I’ve put together a guide on bike lock key replacements if you want to learn how to get additional keys cut for any of your bike locks. 

Replacement keys for the SAF come in sets of two and cost $20 for the pair.

Good to see a functional key replacement service system in operation. Nice work Altor. 

What's Included With the Altor SAF?

  • 1 x Altor SAF U Lock
  • 4 x Coded keys
  • 1 x Altor brochure
  • 1 x SAF information leaflet
Contents of the Altor SAF's box

Alternatives to the Altor SAF

LITELOK X1

Angle Grinder Resistant & More Portable 

LITELOK X1 Bike Lock Review

LITELOK X1 Specifications:

Security Rating – Sold Secure Diamond (Bicycle & Motorcycle)
Weight – 1.7kg (3.75lb)
Shackle Dimensions – 10 x 19.2cm (3.94 x 7.56″)
Shackle Thickness – 17mm Fine Grain Hardened Steel
Warranty – 3 Years

LITELOK X1 Pros & Cons

The LITELOK X1 is part of the select few locks on the market designed to defeat angle grinders, and it does this extremely effectively. 

Compared to the Altor SAF, the X1 is highly portable and available at a more affordable price point. 

It’s still not a cheap lock by any means, but it has the ability to repel even the harshest attacks. 

You’ll find the X1 recommended in several articles across BikeLockWiki, as it’s the lock I use to secure my bike on a daily basis. 

Learn more about the X1 in my comprehensive review here

Skunklock

The Lock That Uses Unholy Smells to Repel Theft Attempts

Skunklock Uncuttable Bike Lock

Skunklock Specifications:

Security Rating – None (read this)
Weight – 1.77kg (3.92lb)
Shackle Dimensions – 10.8 x 22.9cm (4.25 x 9.03″)
Shackle Thickness – 19mm (8mm Hardened Steel & 11mm Hollow)
Warranty – 30 days

Skunklock Pros & Cons

The Skunklock is genuinely one of a kind. 

This unique-looking U lock houses pressurised vomit-inducing compounds inside its shackle.

If a thief managed to make a cut through the 19mm hardened steel shackle, the stench from within will quickly fill the vicinity, sending anyone with a functioning nose running.

It sounds like I’m joking with you, but this is a genuine product that’s received glistening reviews across the web for its theft-dettering capabilities. 

Read more about it in my in-depth Skunklock review here

How to Secure Your Bike With The Altor SAF

You don’t have many locking options when securing your bike with the Altor SAF.

As the shackle is so thick, you’ll struggle to fit it through the spokes of most wheels, meaning the only real option is to secure your bike’s frame to an immovable object.

When locking my bike, I always make sure to secure both of my wheels in place, regardless of whether they’re quick-release or not.

Altor SAF and Hexlox

Since the Altor SAF is also too chunky to use in combination with a standard cable extension, you’ll want to find another way to secure the wheels of your bike.

My favourite way to secure my bike wheels in place is with Hexlox Skewers.

These prevent the unauthorised removal of your wheels and mean you won’t need to carry additional cables or locks when out for a ride.

How to secure your bike with the Altor SAF

With Hexlox or a similar product, such as Pinheads secured to your bike, you’ll be able to leave your bike locked up without worrying. 

Just make sure you don’t lose the keys to the Altor SAF, or you’ll have a fun time trying to get it off! 

About Altor Locks

Initially, Altor set out on a mission to put an end to cyclists having to carry super bulky bike locks with them, which usually provide pretty average levels of protection. 

Their journey began in 2016 with the release of their first bike lock, the super lightweight 560G, which launched on Kickstarter. 

After a successful crowdfunding period, the 560G entered production, and Altor began work to expand and improve upon their product range. 

The Altor APEX series was the second release from Altor. The APEX series are folding locks with a circular tube design. These unique folding locks were well received and are still recommended by many today as some of the best lightweight bike locks.

As you’ll have realised, Altor’s mission has broadened away from only producing lightweight bike locks. Instead, they now aim to provide a range of high-end innovative products that address the key issues cyclists encounter. 

Predicting where the cycling market was heading before many other brands, Altor released the SAF lock, which has been well received and continues to top the charts as the most secure U lock on the market. 

Altor have continued to expand their range of products beyond the cycling niche and now produce a very popular trailer lock, the Icon trailer lock.

Conclusion - Altor SAF Review

The Altor SAF is the most secure U lock that I’ve used. 

Its downsides are that it costs substantially more than most bike locks and its weight follows suit. 

However, if you’re looking for the most secure bike lock on the market, and are happy to compromise on portability and price, look no further.

If I was leaving my BMC carbon road bike locked up in a high-risk area such as a city centre, there isn’t a lock I’d rather use than the Altor SAF. 

If you’d prefer a super-secure grinder-resistant lock that you can carry with you on your rides, you’ll want to check out my review of the LITELOK X1

Otherwise, if you don’t think this lock is suitable for you, check out my review of the best D locks or the best uncuttable bike locks

Let me know your thoughts on the Altor SAF below, I’m keen to hear of others’ experiences with this monster U lock. 

Thanks for reading. 

Author of This Post:
James Grear (Lead Editor)
James Grear (Lead Editor)

Understanding how devastating it is to have a bike stolen, I've researched & immersed myself in the world of bicycle security since 2013.

I then built BikeLockWiki in 2019 to share everything I'd learned with the worldwide cycling community so that cyclists can improve their bike security skills and make informed decisions when purchasing new products and services.

Learn More about Me & BikeLockWiki here.

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About the Editor
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James Grear is a lifelong avid cyclist and the lead editor of BikeLockWiki.

Having invested over five years into researching bicycle security, all information obtained is shared for free with the online cycling community here on BikeLockWiki.

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