10 min read
The TiGr Mini is an award-winning all-American made bike lock. TiGr kindly sent me the TiGr Mini to test and review.
Throughout this review, I’ll be covering all of the TiGr Mini’s security features, the most effective ways to use the TiGr Mini and plenty of additional information regarding this interesting bike lock.
How secure is the TiGr Mini? What is the TiGr Mini’s Sold Secure rating?
If you’re intrigued by this alternative D lock, or have questions that need to be answered, keep reading.
Overview – How Good is the TiGr Mini?
The TiGr Mini is a featherweight titanium bike lock that offers an incredible security to weight ratio. Weighing 0.9lb (0.4kg) this futuristic-looking D Lock weighs less than a bottle of water and is perfect for those who wish to make their time cycling more comfortable.
The TiGr Mini is manufactured in America, its smooth operation and practical features are results of the precision engineering that has gone into producing it.
Whilst it’s not the most secure bike lock on the market, it was which makes it suitable for use with most bikes. I used the TiGr Mini for two months before putting together this review and have been greatly impressed by its performance.
Cyclists that opt for the TiGr Mini are obviously after a super lightweight, yet secure bike lock. If this is you, the TiGr Mini is a great choice.
At the end of the day, with the right tools and enough time any bike lock can be defeated. Even though its shackle is thinner, the TiGr Mini’s performance is comparable to many good quality D Locks.
|TiGr Mini Specs|
|Width:||4" (10.16 cm)|
|Length:||7" (17.78 cm)|
|Shackle Thickness & Material:||3.175mm Titanium|
|Security Rating:||ART Level 2|
How Secure is the TiGr Mini?
Shackle & Materials
There isn’t another bike lock that’s similar to the TiGr Mini. This is one of the only bike locks that I know of that’s shackle is constructed solely from Titanium.
One of titanium’s best properties is its incredible strength-to-weight ratio. Titanium offers a similar strength to steel, whilst being 45% lighter. Yes, you read that correctly, titanium actually has the best strength-to-weight ratios of all metals.
It’s worth noting though that the highest grade stainless steel is stronger than titanium alloys.
The Mini’s titanium shackle is 0.125” (3.175mm) thick. There’s no denying that this is pretty thin for any bike lock. The Sold Secure Silver, Foldylock Compact’s steel plates are 5mm thick and are still vulnerable to bolt cutters.
If you lock the TiGr properly you’ll eliminate the possibility of many methods of attack. I’ll cover the best way to use the TiGr mini later in the review.
You can find videos online of people cutting the TiGr Mini shackle with bolt cutters. Many of these videos use the thinner 0.75” TiGr Mini, which was discontinued in 2013.
The 1.25” wide model is more resistant to bolt cutter attacks, as you can see in the video above (TiGr Bow), even using a variety of large bolt cutters wasn’t enough to defeat the larger TiGr Bow.
The wide flat shape of the titanium shackle is said to make it much more difficult for bolt cutters to cut through the shackle of the TiGr Mini. However, I have seen this alternative D lock cut before with bolt cutters so it’s not completely bolt cutter proof, but cutter resistant.
As we’ve already covered, any lock can be defeated with enough time and the right tools, so don’t let this put you off.
I’ll shortly be carrying out a destruction video with the TiGr Mini, I’ll update this article with a video once finished!
The locking mechanism of the TiGr Mini has gained appraisal from locksmiths/lock picking experts.
Bosnian Bill, a popular lock picking Youtuber said that even after two hours, he was unable to pick the TiGr Mini without looking at the key. The video below shows his experience with the TiGr Mini.
The Mini’s locking mechanism uses seven discs which make picking this super-lightweight lock an unviable method.
The LockPickingLawyer another popular lock picking Youtuber was able to pick the TiGr mechanism in just over two minutes. It’s worth noting that this was carried out under strict laboratory conditions and using custom made professional equipment.
These conditions would be extremely hard for a thief to replicate on the street.
TiGr Mini Sold Secure Rating
ART, the Dutch security rating company, awarded the TiGr Mini ART® level 2. On the ART website, it suggests that “2 stars is for bicycles”, I’ll be honest that’s a pretty vague statement.
I would personally say the TiGr Mini is suitable for mid security lock-ups. The TiGr Mini isn’t designed for long term lock-ups in high-risk areas. Instead, the TiGr Mini is perfect for use in medium-low risk areas and with bikes that don’t attract second looks.
I spent a reasonable amount of money on my bike, but have enjoyed using the TiGr Mini for shorter café stops on bike rides and whilst I’ve popped into shops in quieter areas. On the TiGr website, it suggests the TiGr is suitable for “moderate risk” locking situations.
If this isn’t secure enough for your bike why not check out the best d locks for some higher security, bolt cutter proof ideas?
How Practical is the TiGr Mini?
Weight and Size
For people who cycle everyday, the TiGr Mini is a great choice. Instead of carrying around an awkwardly chunky bike lock, the 0.9lb (0.4kg) TiGr Mini is a compact, lightweight solution to your uncomfortable rides.
Measuring 10.5” x 4” (26.7cm x 10.2cm) I was easily able to fit the TiGr mini into my rucksack. However, this is unnecessary as the Mini is supplied with one of the best bike lock mounts on the market, which I’ll cover later in the review.
The internal locking area of the TiGr Mini is relatively small, but this is expected from a “Mini” bike lock. At its widest points, the TiGr measures 7” x 4” (17.8cm x 10.2cm) which is fairly standard.
Due to its narrow shape, it didn’t offer enough room to secure both of my bike’s wheels and frame at the same time. Keep reading and I’ll let you know the best and most secure ways to use the TiGr mini.
TiGr Mini's Mounting System
If all lock’s mounting systems were as easy to use and a well designed as the TiGr Mini’s we’d be lucky.
At first, after receiving my TiGr Mini I thought that the plastic mount felt flimsy and wasn’t sure how long it would last. Now, three months later, I can tell you not only is this mount designed to last, but it’s a joy to use and I miss it when I’m using other bike locks!
The rubber/silicone pads on the mount mean the TiGr Mini is virtually silent whilst you ride, which is something you won’t find from many bike locks.
Attaching the TiGr Mini's Mount
The one small issue with the TiGr Mini’s mount is that it will only attach to the water bottle mount screws. For those of you that only have one mounting position and want to use this for your water bottle, this is a small issue, but don’t fear!
As I’ve covered already you won’t struggle to fit the TiGr Mini into a rucksack and it’s so lightweight you won’t even notice it. TiGr also sell a mount for people who don’t have a space to mount the Mini on the frame of their bike, the SKS bottle cage adapter.
The SKS adapter is great as its quick release feature allows you to quickly switch the lock between different bikes.
Attaching the regular mount is as simple as removing the screws and placing the mount over the mounting holes. By tightening the screws back up through the holes of the mount you’ll have it secured in place.
Because it’s so lightweight, I was easily able to ride with TiGr attached to my belt. It wasn’t uncomfortable and made the TiGr even more accessible to me whilst out cycling.
How to Operate the TiGr Mini's Mount
Operating the Mini’s mount is simple, place the locking mechanism into the cup at the bottom of the mount and push the lock in so that the plastic clips snap into position.
To remove the lock, slide the plastic clips outwards and remove the TiGr. No stiff plastic buttons, not faff at all.
Quality & Maintenance
TiGr’s tagline on their website is “elegant bike security” and they’ve nailed this. I love the design and feel of this mini D Lock.
One of the nicest aspects of the TiGr Mini is the fact that the lock uses no plastic at all, apart from the hardened plastic mounting system and anti-scratch outer coating (heat shrink PVC).
Plastic is normally found on cheaper budget bike locks that tend to be made in China. Plastic on a bike lock isn’t the end of the world, it’s just more prone to breaking and damage than metal.
The TiGr is made entirely from metal, whilst the shackle is Titanium, there are small amounts of steel used in its locking mechanism and rivets.
Each TiGr Lock is made in New Jersey by hand and goes through strict quality control processes before being shipped to customers across the globe.
Titanium is more resistant to corrosion than stainless steel as it forms an oxide layer more easily. This characteristic means that the TiGr Mini will require very minimal maintenance compared to other bike locks.
Every now and then I suggest cleaning and lubricating a lock’s mechanism and shackle. I’ve put together a guide that will stop your bike lock jamming and increase its usable life, have a read.
Operating the TiGr Mini
The locking mechanism the TiGr Mini uses is different from any I’ve seen before. To unlock the TiGr insert and twist the key, the spring-loaded cylinder will then pop out, retracting the pin holding the shackle in place.
From here pinch the two sides of the shackle together and they’ll slide out easily.
During my few months using the Mini, I didn’t have any issues. It operated as it should every time, which shows the quality of the materials and precision engineering behind it.
How to Lock Your Bike With the TiGr Mini
The methods below are the ways I use to secure my bike with the Mini. To learn how you can increase the security of your bike for free, read this short guide.
The Most Efficient Way to Lock Your Bike With the TiGr Mini
Riders that opt for the TiGr Mini clearly want a lock that’s lightweight and easy to use. As we’ve covered, the TiGr Mini is suitable for shorter or moderate security lock-ups.
The most efficient way to use the TiGr Mini is to secure your bike’s rear-wheel and either the seatstay or the chainstays.
If your bike has quick-release wheels, I’d recommend getting a locking bolt like the Hexlox Security Skewer, otherwise see the more secure suggestion below.
The Most Secure Way to Lock Your Bike With the TiGr Mini
Even though it will increase the weight you’ll have to carry, using the TiGr Mini alongside a cable extension is the best way to secure your bike’s most valuable components.
Lock the same way as before except this time, loop the cable extension through your front wheel and inside the Mini before locking up.
This will prevent chancers and opportunist thieves from quickly removing your front wheel.
TiGr offer a lifetime warranty for the TiGr Lock. It’s always great to see a company standing behind their products, it shows us they’ve been built to last.
“We will repair or replace the TiGr® Lock if we determine 1) it is faulty due to the manufacturing and/or assembly process and 2) the Lock has been used in a reasonable manner for its ordinary purpose and 3) the lock has been maintained in a reasonable way including cleaning and lubricating the lock mechanism with lock-mechanism-appropriate lubricants and cleaning products (including WD-40 for example) from time-to-time and/or as needed.”
As long as you regularly maintain the TiGr Mini and use it properly, you’ll have a bike lock that will last you a lifetime! More information can be found on the TiGr Website.
Is the TiGr Mini Good Value?
The TiGr Mini is relatively expensive. The price, however, is understandable when you consider the time and craftsmanship that goes into producing these ultra-lightweight locks.
They’re manufactured in the USA, which is expensive. They’re also made from titanium, which costs considerably more than steel.
The TiGr Mini is a unique, versatile, lightweight, high-quality bike lock and when you consider these facts, the price point of the TiGr mini seems more understandable.
Did I have Any Issues with The TiGr Mini?
The two small issues that I encountered of after using the TiGr Mini for three months were 1) The TiGr mini didn’t quite offer enough space to secure my rear wheel, frame and front wheel at the same time, 2) Its 3.175mm shackle is relatively thin compared to most other locks, but as I’ve explained, I’m yet to test it against bolt cutters!
However, these issues can be easily resolved; 1) Using a cable extension or Hexlox you’ll be able to secure your front wheel 2) Don’t leave your bike locked with the TiGr for long periods in high-risk areas.
How Does The TiGr Compare to Other Bike Locks?
Foldylock Compact - A Lightweight, more versatile option
Seatylock are the brains behind the Foldylock Compact, the lightest Sold Secure Silver folding bike lock on the market. Even though it isn’t the most secure, the Compact is one of my favourite bike locks on the market.
It’s 100% silent whilst riding with it in its mount, it offers a large flexible locking area and it folds away into a super convenient size.
Since reviewing the Foldylock Compact I’ve continued to use it, something I wasn’t expecting! For lower security, short term lock-ups I tend to alternate between the TiGr Mini and the Foldylock.
Weighing 2.2lb (1kg) the Foldylock is nowhere near as lightweight as the TiGr Mini but offers increased usability and security thanks to its 5mm folding shackle.
I’ve covered the Foldylock in more detail here and would recommend anyone interested in the TiGr Mini to have a read.
Zefal K-Traz U13 S - budget, lightweight D Lock
The Zefal K-Traz U13 S is a budget, lightweight, Sold Secure Silver D Lock. Again, it’s not as lightweight as the TiGr Mini, but in all honesty, not many locks are!
The K-Traz U13 S is a great option if you don’t have the budget to afford the TiGr Mini, it’s substantially cheaper and offers more security, but is heavier than the TiGr Mini, weighing in at 2lb (0.9kg).
The Zefal K-Traz U13 has a 13mm hardened steel shackle, which is resistant to most forms of attack thanks to its quad bolted locking mechanism.
If you want to find out more about the U13 S, have a read of my detailed review.
Skunklock – A Completely Different Bike Lock with The Ability to Fight Back Against Thieves
The Skunklock is a new generation of bike lock and one that doesn’t stand for bike theft. Its 19mm thick shackle is partially hollow and filled with vomit-inducing noxious chemicals.
If a thief cuts through the outer 8mm of hardened steel, these pressurised noxious gasses will be released into the vicinity, for the thief to enjoy. Before you make any assumptions, the Skunklock is safe to use and is legal.
At 3.92lb (1.77kg) is relatively heavy is in no way similar to the TiGr Mini other than being a D Lock. However, it’s an interesting bike lock that puts a new spin on bicycle security.
If you’ve never heard of the Skunklock, you’re probably intrigued, so have a read about its other impressive features here.
Who Are TiGr?
Bob, John and Jim Loughlin are the brains behind the TiGr Mini. They operate its parent company, Stanton Concepts, LLC which develops new and innovative ideas for situations which present a need for security.
After unsuccessfully approaching larger manufacturing companies with their idea, the Loughlin brothers launched the original TiGr campaign on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter in 2011. The brothers had initially hoped to raise $37,500 which would be enough to begin production.
By its end, the campaign had smashed its original goal and hundreds of backers from over the world had helped raise $108,000. This roaring success was the birth of TiGr and the beginning of a new generation of bicycle security.
Summary - Is the TiGr Worth Your Money?
I really enjoyed using and reviewing the TiGr Mini. This unique D Lock is aimed at those who want an aesthetically pleasing, super lightweight bike lock that provides enough security for use in medium risk situations.
After producing this review, I’ve continued using the TiGR, it works really well with my lightweight carbon road bike. I’ve been using it for short stops and coffee breaks on long bike rides and in secured communal bike parks.
- 0.9lb (0.4kg) – Super Lightweight
- Made in the USA
- Lifetime Warranty
- High-Quality Materials
The TiGr Mini isn’t trying to be the most secure bike lock on the market, and it isn’t, however, I challenge you to find a bike lock with a strength to weight ratio as good as the TiGr’s. You’ll be looking for some time!
If you’d like some other top quality bike lock recommendations, check out the suggestions below.
As always, lock it, or lose it!