Most decent options for locking your bike can seem pretty expensive, and make the buying process a little overwhelming at times. We started by doing a deep dive into every type of lock and trying to offer recommendations for every situation. Pretty soon though we realized that it made sense to break the best bike chain locks out into their own list. The main reason for that is that there is a vocal group of experienced users who swear that chains are the best way to protect a bike from theft.
The truth is that it’s more complicated. Sometimes chains are great but they can be heavy and a hassle to deal with at times. Tex-Lock thinks it has a solution in the form of a high-tech rope (yes, a rope). Now that we’ve had the opportunity to spend time understanding how it works and what it’s like to use, we are ready to share the results with you. If you can’t fathom how a rope could possibly secure a bike, keep reading and maybe the Tex-lock will be the next bike lock you purchase to keep your pride and joy safe.
Design and aesthetics
Bike chains excel when you need the flexibility to lock your bike to whatever you find, be that a tree, a signpost, or even a lamppost. There’s no chance a U-lock is going to do the job so you break out a chain lock and wrap it around in the way that works for you. In places like New York, San Francisco, and London where bike theft is a serious problem there was a subset of urban bike warrior that dealt with this kind of scenario all the time and they were vocal about it.
The problem is that the flexibility you gain comes at the expense of weight and noise. You end up with a big chain that makes a bunch of noise and is generally a hassle to deal with. When we did a review of the Hiplok Gold we loved that it solved the problem by making the chain wearable. It works but you still have a heavy chain around your waist. Tex-lock solved the same problem but with a design that’s aimed at a slightly different user.
There are a few variations of the Tex-Lock and two versions. The Tex-Lock is, more or less, a high-tech rope and version 1.0 was only that. The full name of the product we are looking at here is the Tex-Lock eyelet with X-lock. It’s the second version of the basic design and it’s added some pieces and upped the security level.
The first part of the design, and the one responsible for the name, is seemingly just a length of rope. It’s 20mm thick and there are three sizes to choose from including small (31 in / 80 cm), medium (47 in / 120 cm), or large (63 in / 160 cm). At each end is a plastic cover and one side terminates with a 25mm circle while the other gets a 28x46mm eyelet. There are also black, gold, orange and grey colour options and unseen from the outside is a 6mm thick steel core. The combination of the textile and the core add up to a Sold Secure Silver security rating for this piece
The other piece of the Tex-Lock is the X-lock. Depending on where you call home, you’ll refer to this as a U-lock or a D-lock but either way, it’s tiny. Internal lock space is only 48.5mm x 128.5mm. It’s hard to tell this from the pictures but set your expectations towards the petite end of the spectrum. Still, the design is quality with a vinyl coating for the main hoop and a lock at each side. The shackle is 12mm thick and there’s a weather cover for the key hole.
There are two security ratings happening for this lock system and it also has certifications by both ART and Sold Secure. It’s unnecessary to have both an ART rating and Sold Secure rating but they both mean that the system has been independently tested by experts in the field. Sold Secure and ART are the most experienced bike theft experts on the planet and they understand the current trends in bike theft technology. Both systems also have different levels of security ratings to help you find the right balance for your needs.
In the case of ART, all the pieces get a two-star rating. The higher a star rating a lock receives the more secure it is with a maximum of five stars possible. Two stars is what ART considers enough for a bike but they don’t go into detail about what situations two stars are appropriate for.
The Tex-Lock also carries a Sold Secure rating. Sold Secure has a lot more nuance in their ratings and for this lock, there are two ratings. The fabric eyelet portion of the lock carries a Sold Secure Silver rating, meaning it will prevent a limited list of hand tools (not disclosed) from breaking the lock for a short period of time. If you use this portion of the lock to wrap around an anchor, consider the whole system to have a Sold Secure Silver rating.
The second portion of the lock is the X-lock and that one carries a Sold Secure Gold rating. Sold Secure Gold rating means it will take longer than five minutes to defeat the lock using hand tools including large bolt cutters and hacksaws. Remember though, you only get this rating if the X-lock is through your frame and around an anchor. If you only use the X-lock to lock the fabric eyelet to itself the higher rating does not extend.
Also important to understand is that the Sold Secure does not test against a portable angle grinder. The reason for that is almost every lock on the market is an easy mark for an angle grinder. If a portable angle grinder is a type of theft that worries you then the only option we’ve looked at that will protect against it is the Hiplok D1000.
If it feels like there’s a lot of nuances in the security section it’s because there is. It’s really important to understand what you are getting with this lock. The promise of the lock is that it’s super convenient to use because there’s a big piece that’s one step above a rope. If you aren’t paying close attention, you might think you can just wrap it around whatever you want, lock it together with a couple of different U-lock options, and you’ve got a Sold Secure Gold lock. That’s not the case at all though.
The first thing to understand is that Tex-lock talks a lot about how their rope system resists various types of attacks. The fabric will gum up bolt cutters, and the 6mm inner steel core resists cutting, and there’s protection against heat as high as 1000 degrees Celsius.
With that understanding, you’ll want to pay attention at the point of purchase if you want Sold Secure Gold. There is an option for a system with a smaller U-lock and it’s a little bit cheaper. That system only gets a Sold Secure Silver rating though. Sold Secure silver is good for a lot of situations but there are cheaper Sold Secure Silver products out there. So, make sure you get the X-lock version if you want Gold security. With that in mind, you will also need to use it correctly to get the best security available.
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Given that your bike is only locked with a Sold Secure Gold rating if you have the frame and a quality anchor inside of the X-lock portion of the Tex-Lock, the small size of the X-lock is a bit of a drawback. Dedicated bike infrastructure will make it possible but I wasn’t able to put it around a standard American round sign post. It would fit around a square post but only barely and you’ll get your top tube. That detail may mean you are going to be relying on a Sold Secure Silver depending on your use case.
With an understanding of the security ratings in play, the textile based “chain” really is a joy to use. Compared to a standard Sold Secure Silver chain it’s much lighter and it feels a lot nicer in hand. It feels like a rope and it coils like a nice rope also. The keys are replaceable and there’s a rain cover for the key hole. You will never scratch your bike and if you can manage to get the X-lock portion onto an anchor you could secure both wheels at the same time.
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The Tex-Lock follows through on a promise of being the best feeling bike chain lock. It looks like a rope and it feels like a rope. For the locking portion there is a small but high-quality U-lock that carries a Sold Secure Gold rating. In exchange for such a fantastic feeling lock, with a high security rating, the price is on the high side. If that all sounds good to you then the Tex-Lock might be a good purchase for you.
The main downside, price aside, is that the U-lock, with the Sold Secure Gold rating, is so small that it won’t fit around a sign-post. That means you will either need to feel comfortable with a Sold Secure Silver rating or you’ll need to know that wherever you plan to lock your bike has something that’s narrower than 28mm. Tex-Lock has put together a very nice product, it’s just very specific.
|Security||Sold Secure Gold is a high level of security and it means third party testing. Unfortunately only the U-lock is Sold Secure Gold and it’s so small it may not always work.||7/10|
|Build Quality||Feels fantastic in hand and everything appears well made.||10/10|
|Ease of use||If it works for you, it’s incredibly easy to use.||8/10|
|Value||This isn’t a lock to purchase for value reasons. It’s well made but it’s also expensive||5/10|
Tech Specs: Tex-Lock eyelet with X-Lock
- Price: $169 / €139 (size medium)
- Weight: 1588g size medium both pieces
- Shackle Thickness: 12mm
- Cable Thickness: 20mm
- Length: S 80 cm, M 120 cm and L 160 cm
- Security Certification: Sold Secure Gold U-Lock and Sold Secure Silver textile portion