Cool Commuter Gear: Square U-Lock, Windmill, and Bespoke Multitool

Vier Lock closed

Vier Lock: Why Didn’t I Think of That

Some cool new commuter gear found its way across our desk this weekend just in time for your back-to-school shopping. We have the world’s most compact U-Lock, a nifty wind generator light, and a crowd designed multitool from Brooks.

The new Vier Lock may be the head slappingnest why-didn’t-I-think-of-that product release we’ve seen. Their four-piece, square lock disassembles into a convenient burrito-sized package that can slide under your saddle, drop in your purse, or get stuffed into your cargo pants with somewhat more ease than its U-shaped bretheren.

Vier Lock open

An unlocked Vier Lock

Vier Lock bag

Vier Lock in the included “burrito-sized” saddlebag

Ostensibly no easier to defeat than a similarly sized U-lock – does it matter if it has two junctions or four? – the Vier should provide a more secure option than equally compact cable locks. There are two lengths of interchangeable shackles available for cyclists who need extra reach to get around a wider bike rack or other fixture. The lock is available on Sqarespace for $80.

Thanko Turbine Light and Power Charger

Thanko turbine light and power charger

Japan Trend Shop is offering the Thanko Turbine Light and Power Charger for $100 plus $19 express worldwide shipping. This bar-mounted wind generator offers the promise of never worrying about a dead battery after a late night at work. The unit has an integrated light consisting of five LEDs with two illumination settings. The unit also has the ability to store and charge two AA batteries, and has five different connectors including USB, allowing you to directly charge a phone, GPS unit, or your other critical devices. Power generation kicks in when the apparent wind hits 15km/h, and the claimed weight is 124 grams.

Thanko turbine light and power chargerr - output options

Thanko turbine has five connectors and can charge AA bateries, so you can power up almost anything you might need on a bikepacking trip

There are no numbers available for the light output, or the generation time required to illuminate the lights, run a phone, or charge two batteries. We also don’t know if the lights will run off power stored in the AAs. However, a dependable backup light and wind-based power generation should appeal to commuters looking for the added assurance of having a light and their phone always at the ready,  or bikepackers who need reliable power for long, backcountry excursions.

Brooks Multitool

Brooks Multitool open

The craftsmen at Brooks turned to their famously loyal customers to design the a new multitool, and after input from over 700 people, are now unveiling the 21 piece MT21 Multitool. The usual assortment of allen keys, wrenches, and the obligatory bottle opener is complemented by a Brooks Saddle spanner for last minute adjustments to your leather tension. Also included is a lovely leather case in Brooks’ standard Brown, Black, and Honey finishes.

brooks multitool with cover

The complete list of tools is:

7 Allen Keys / Hex Wrenches: #2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8

3 Screwdrivers:
-Small Flat Head Screwdriver
-Phillips Screwdriver #2 (Medium Head)
-Phillips Screwdriver #1 (Small Head)

3 Torx Wrenches: T10, T20, T25
4 Spoke Wrenches: #0, 1, 2, 3
1 Chain Tool
1 Bottle Opener
1 Spanner for Brooks Saddles
1 Knife

brooks saddle tool

The MT21 weighs 276g on its own and 296g in its tooled Leather Sleeve (claimed weights). It is worth noting that the Taiwan-made MT21 looks very similar to the Crank Brothers Multi 19, which weighs 100 grams less for the loss of the knife, bottle opener, T20, and saddle tool.

You can purchase the MT21 directly from Brooks in the UK after they return from their summer holiday on August 15, or at Urbanful.com for $63.

Comments

Gunnstein - 08/12/14 - 2:20pm

Gah! That turbine is just silly, for the same reason that it would be silly to link up our cranks with propellers, rather than the rear wheel. Wheel-on-pavement power transfer must be, say, an order of magnitude more efficient than propeller-in-air. Same goes for air turbines vs. ordinary dynamo lights. Especially for a tiny one like this. The only positive is the price, and it’s not even that cheap. For always-at-the-ready lights (front and rear!) try hub dynamos (with or without USB charger output), or light weight products like the Velogical rim dynamo, Magnic Light, or Reelight.

The lock seems ok, if a bit fiddly. There are already folding locks of good quality out there, check out the Abus Bordo range for example.

Kevin Hodgson - 08/12/14 - 3:41pm

Yeah but just imagine groveling into a headwind at 5mph. Dynamo equals almost no output, wind generator blasting away. Admittedly that is about the only positive thing I could come up with !

Mat Long - 08/12/14 - 4:43pm

Please stop using the term “bespoke”.

AlanM - 08/12/14 - 5:00pm

I think I’ll just stick to my ABUS folding lock. Same compact size, but I’m going to venture more secure.

ObligatedToSay - 08/12/14 - 5:48pm

I find the Vier lock interesting – little sad that I have to go to the Gallery to find out the actual dimensions, rather than the product description. My fear is the length is a tad too short for my needs, but different lengths must be possible.

goridebikes - 08/12/14 - 9:44pm

Dynamos are heavy.
This turbine looks aero as F**K. I ordered one. Will let you know how many watts I lose vs steeze I gain…

greg - 08/12/14 - 10:07pm

the lock would be extremely easy to defeat by twisting with a long pipe.

Tallac - 08/12/14 - 11:42pm

Thanks for all the comments we love to get all the feedback so we can design and produce the best products on the market. We have designed and tested the VIER lock to 1.5 tons of pull strength it is just as strong and resist similar attacks as U-Locks.

All locks will be sent to independent labs for testing.

We will be selling longer shackles to go with the lock system so you can change out your lock from a short to long shackle lock.

As for folding locks I have heard directly from manufactures that the folding locks are not as secure as U-Locks. One of the main reason behind the VIER idea.

Regards,

Allen
Vierlock

PR - 08/12/14 - 11:52pm

are crank bros tools still made of cheese whiz?

I suppose the torx driver stripping out on the first use won’t be an issue for most Brooks riders who I imagine don’t use disc brakes or anything else with torx.

Ajax - 08/12/14 - 11:57pm

The Brooks tool is a bit of a yawner. How many multi-tools do we need?

The fan turbine light is just silly. It’s too big and dorky looking.

The square lock is the only product on this page that looks decent. Actually, it looks pretty neat, but I can’t figure out how it works. The company really should make a Youtube video or something.

Tallac - 08/13/14 - 1:31am

Thanks for all the comments we welcome them so we can create best in class products.
As for folding locks I have personally spoken with some of the leading manufacturers of folding locks and they say they are not as secure as “U-Style” locks. This is one of the main reasons we created VIER we saw a hole in the market place for a compact lock but with all the protection of a U-Lock. VIER locks will be testing by USA an Europe independent labs. Locks are held to a higher standard than all other consumer products and we understand that. Currently our lock has been tested to 1.5 tons of pull strength so it is just as strong as U-Lock’s on the market with the same shackle diameter. And is made by a world class manufacture that currently makes other leading brands on the market.
We will be offering longer shackles so you can convert from a short shackle lock to a long shackle. All you have to do is swap out the shackles.
Thanks for the input
Allen
Vierlock.com

Tallac - 08/13/14 - 1:33am

Here is the video: http://youtu.be/eJJuz25BGtU

adam - 08/13/14 - 9:31am

so when I drop one of the 4 Vierlock pices and it rolls into a sewer grate, down a hill, or under a couch, or when it gets thrown at a deserving motorist, then what? Simply, there are too many pieces. U locks are a B!tch to carry, but there are only 2 pieces and they aint rollin’ nowhere.

Tallac - 08/17/14 - 10:58am

VIER is now funded on Kickstarter. Order yours today.
Thanks for all the support
From the VIER team

Post a comment:

Comment sections can be a beautiful source of knowledge, conversation and comedy. They can also get pretty ugly, which is why we've updated our Comments Policy. If your comment isn't showing up or suddenly disappears, you might want to check it out.