kuat Bottle Lock Review

by Brian Mullin on March 22, 2012

The kuat (koo-at) company is best known for their excellent bicycle hitch racks, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my long term time with their superb NV rack. They have slowly been expanding into some other products, and one of the most interesting items is their new Bottle Lock, which is a water bottle that has an integrated 5 foot long x 8mm cable that locks back onto itself. The cable wraps around the inside circumference of the bottle in a sort of helix pattern, and it easily snakes in and out for usage, and is very convenient since it goes into a water bottle cage. This is a great item for commuting, going to the grocery store, school, etc. The bottom of the Bottle Lock has a compartment for the keys or other paraphernalia (college memories), and it comes in White, Black, Pink and Rasta, and retails for $34.00.

Impressions
The unique and innovative design is sort of simple in the way the cable wraps around the bottles internal cylinder, and it reminds me of the roller contraption for your backyard garden hose. You just deposit the Bottle Lock in your water bottle cage, head out for a ride, and when you arrive at your destination, remove it and get ready to lock your bike. Give a tug on the cable end, and it smoothly extracts from the cylinder in a simple and easy manner, and I never had any issues with pulling it out. Once the cable is untethered, grab the keys, wrap the 5-foot cable around any necessary objects, and insert the cable end into the lock port (no key is needed). When you’re ready to depart, insert the key, disconnect the cable end, and unravel everything. To retract the cable, you turn the top of the unit counter-clockwise, and the cable slowly rolls onto the cylinder, like a helix coil. It can sometimes be a bit stiff, and you might need to push the cable down onto the roller (just like my garden hose onto its roller), but it’s not that big of an issue.

The unit is 1-2 mm skinnier than a normal bottle, so it might rattle around if you don’t bend the bottle cage inward ever so slightly. If you leave the keys in the bottom compartment on a ride, it can be noisy, as they bounce around, but it certainly makes things handier, since you know exactly where they located.

It’s perhaps not the most robust unit, and it might break if tossed or dropped a great distance onto concrete, but it worked fine on a few spills and drops that I performed (ok; I didn’t throw it a huge distance).

The 7.5mm plastic covered cable is on the skinny side, and the braided core itself might be around 4-5mm (not measured), so it certainly isn’t a high crime and theft resistant device, but for its purpose, it was adequate. I think I would combine it with a tougher U-Lock to tie up the frame, and use the Bottle Lock to snake up everything together? The length works great for twisting around a post, through the frame and both wheels, so it ties the entire bike nicely to an object.

Measured Specs:

  • Weight (w/ keys) – 426 grams
  • Weight (keys) – 18 grams
  • Weight – 408 grams
  • Cable Length – 61 inches
  • Cable diameter (w/ plastic coating) – 7.5mm
  • Bottle Diameter – 71.5 (bottom)- 72.5 (middle) – 73.5 (top)

Bottom Line
The kuat Bottle Lock is a super convenient system, and the 5-foot cable, and ease of usage, made for a very handy bike lock. The simple and innovative design works well, and I didn’t have any issues with durability, although the hard plastic might crack if dropped a great distance? Pulling the cable out was easy, and the 5-foot length nicely snaked around things, and snapped conventionality back into its integrated lock. Retracting worked decently, and it all rolled back into the internal cylinder in a nice helix coil, making for a compact unit that pops back into the water bottle cage. The braided cable is on the thin side of things, so you might want to back it up with a U-Lock in higher crime areas. I left it on my commuter bike, so it was always there for a ride, whether it was for commuting, heading out to the store, a trip to school, etc.

 

Overall Rating: 3.5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

Pros

  • Convenient
  • Easy usage
  • Stows in water bottle cage
  • Bottom compartment
  • Integrated lock
  • 5 foot cable

Cons

  • Thin braided cable
  • Unsure of long term durability of plastic housing
  • Unit is 1-2mm thinner than normal water bottle standard
  • Not the highest in theft resistance

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