Jacob Rathe: The OttoLock

One week in and Jacob Rathe’s Ottolock kickstarter has more than doubled it’s goal! ($119,000 asking for $50,000)

The lock is a project Jacob has been working on for many years, inspired by the need for a light, easy lock that fits in a jersey pocket. For training rides, club runs, sportives and races, he saw a gap in the market and went for it.

“It was 3 years ago, I just decided that people road cycling like us, and other types of riders that don’t carry locks, that they needed a lock designed for them. The biggest part of that was making it like the accessories we already carry, and making it integrate the same way and it would be a lock for people on the go.”

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Of course, he and his team at Otto Design Works didn’t expect it to have such a massive reception. “36 hours! Its crazy, like its going like so much faster than we thought.”

“When I first thought of this I would ask people, and the original concept was that it didn’t really need any security, it was more of a deterrent. I was happy with a thin cable you could cut pretty easily. But now the guys at Otto have smashed the security where its properly “medium” security. Through the whole process we would find weaknesses and then change the design. It was a long process.  And yes to those who have asked, we will have independent security testing done.”jacob-4_v2

As a full time professional cyclist for Jelly Belly, the project has been going on simultaneously with a racing schedule, training, a bit of illness, all the demands a pro athlete has.

“I’m really lucky that I found the Otto Design works team, its a local company, the perfect scenario. Jake Vander Zanden, an experienced business man runs the company, basically has been doing stuff like this his whole life, and has the resources to execute a plan and think about every facet of making something like this.  It really couldn’t have happened without him. It was my concept with his company: it is the perfect collaboration.”

I’m thrilled to have this side project. Which might be more than a side project one day. I have a role in the company that is mostly over emails and advisory. I have influence over the product and certain properties of it, but they really make all the call and do all the heavy lifting, so it hasn’t been too hard to balance it with my commitments as a professional cyclist. Doing this has actually been much easier as a pro. ( I think my opinions are valued as a current pro athlete.)”

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All the info on the lock, including the tech elements can be seen on the kickstarter pages. The long and short of it: a cinch lock made of multi layered flexible steel and Kevlar, and combination code (so no keys necessary, AND a variety of colours.

And a little bit of trivia: The lock did change name over the process of the 3 years of development: “The original name was the Omloop. that might come back, maybe.”

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Special thanks to Jacob for making the time to chat to us about his project. He’s sending some over to us early next year so look out for some competitions, reviews, and super special challenges, and maybe even a limited edition version for us if we can convince him we are worth it.