The Linka smart bike lock first grabbed our attention last summer as a great solution for those times when you just want to make a quick pit stop without having to fiddle around with separate chain locks and the like.
The Oakland, California team behind the smartphone-controlled Linka is now prepping the launch of a new version — the Linka Leo — offering several enhancements and additional features.
Just like the original $169 Linka, the Linka Leo comprises a main unit that you attach to the frame over the back wheel of your bike. Once it’s set up, you simply press a button on the lock to make the security shackle slide across whenever you park up.
As with the debut version, the Leo conveniently auto-unlocks when you approach, so long as it detects your smartphone via Bluetooth, that is.
Both locks also have a siren alarm if someone tampers with your bike when you’re away from it, though at 120 decibels, the Leo’s alarm is 10 decibels louder than its predecessor. If you’re far away from your bike or inside a store where you can’t hear the alarm, you’ll receive an alert to your smartphone that’s something’s up. The original Linka could only send alerts over a maximum distance of 120 meters, but the new Leo lock claims to have no limit at all.
Another big addition to the revamped Linka is GPS theft tracking so you can locate your bicycle if a thief picks it up and throws it on the back of a truck. In such a scenario, a map on your phone will pinpoint your bike to within three meters of its location. It seems like a useful feature, but what if the thief removes the lock, which they’ll presumably have to do if they want to use the bike or sell it on. If that happens, the best chance you’ll have of finding your two-wheeler is if you can track it immediately after it’s taken, before the thief has a chance to discard the lock.
A notable improvement for the Leo is battery life, which now boasts 2.5 years over the original Linka’s 16 months. As for design, a larger version will be offered with the Leo, making it compatible with ebikes.
For added security, the company already offers a couple of chain locks for $30 and $40, compatible with the original lock, so you can secure your bike to a fixed object like a pole.
For the Leo, it’s launching three “Loop” chains that perform the same function, except that these ones include a built-in power bank to ensure your bike lock stays charged for much longer.
If you’re wondering what happens if your smartphone battery dies or you lose your phone soon after parking up, then fear not. Both the Linka and its successor can be unlocked by manually inputting a four-digit code on the lock itself.
Overall, the Linka Leo looks like a decent upgrade on the original device, though we’re keen to see the price tag before making a final judgment. The Leo is set for launch in the spring, and you can sign up on Linka’s website for the latest information on a specific date.