The material that gives Liteloks their remarkable flexibility, strength and lightness is Boaflexicore, an invention of the founder of Litelok®, Professor Neil Barron.
Prof. Barron, an avid cyclist, was driven to create the Litelok after experiencing first hand the limitations of existing bike locks, chains and padlocks.
“Locks like D-locks and padlocks are light and strong but not flexible, chains are flexible and strong but not light, and cable locks are light and flexible but not strong. I really wanted to develop a material that fully encapsulated all three of those words,” he says.
Putting his expertise in industrial design and aeronautical engineering to good use, Prof. Barron began work on the material that would become the essence of Litelok’s secure, flexible and light bike locks - Boaflexicore.
Boaflexicore comprises several components, among them 200 strands of high tensile steel. It’s these strands that give Litelok its flexibility, and also make it resistant to the most common theft tools - bolt cutters, tire irons and crowbars.
Bolt cutters are a popular theft tool due to how effectively they cut through U locks, chains and padlocks. Bolt cutters make quick work of these materials by creating a nick that can become a crack, which causes the bike lock to shatter. Litelok's Boaflexicore strap is able to endure this sort of sustained attack with a bolt cutter because it is not susceptible nicks or cracks.
In fact, Boaflexicore turned out to be so cut resistant that during manufacture Neil and his team discovered that it would blunt their cutting tool. To produce the Litelok range, a special sintered steel tool had to be brought in to cut the Boaflexicore to size.
Another common technique used by thieves on U locks in particular is a torsion attack, wherein a tire iron or crowbar is levered against the two arms of the bike lock and twisted until the lock breaks. The flexibility of Boaflexicore makes this type of attack particularly ineffective.
Litelok's website explains: "If you were to twist a secured Litelok with a crowbar or tire iron, energy would build up within the tensioned Boaflexicore material which will cause it to spring back and unwind violently if let go."
By fixing the ends of the Boaflexicore strap to a patented lock housing made from hardened steel, Prof. Barron achieved what he set out to create - a bike lock that is light, flexible, and secure. And experts agree: with the Litelok Gold Original and Litelok Gold Wearable being awarded a Sold Secure Gold rating, and the Litelok Silver Flexi-U and Flexi-O achieving a Sold Secure Silver rating.