April 26, 2017
This post spotlights Adventure Cycling corporate member, Altor Locks. Here they share their passion for creating secure, lightweight bicycle locks.
Tell us a little about Altor Locks and its history.
We started in 2015 as a team just trying to answer a question: Why are there no good, lightweight locks for our lightweight bikes. We found ourselves avoiding using locks because we didn’t want to carry them, and as engineers and product designers, we knew there was a better way. In 2016 we launched our solution, the 560G titanium bike lock, on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter and with the help of the community there, we were able to get our first $80k in seed funding and our first 500 customers. A year in, we remain focused singularly on the idea that lightweight can be secure.
Why do you support Adventure Cycling through corporate membership?
It was a pretty easy choice when I heard Adventure Cycling gives ice cream out to tour riders who pass through Missoula, Montana. I passed through there last summer not knowing this :(
What are your favorite things going on in cycling right now?
Riding is becoming less of a crazy thing to do. As much as I like being crazy, it’s great to see more people integrating bikes into other activities, from community to camping.
Where would you like to see cycling in America in five years?
More mainstream. I think we are heading there but we need more infrastructure and more advocates. We want riding to be a transportation option beyond just in coastal cities.
What do you like best about Adventure Cyclist magazine?
It is specific and in depth. That is hard to find these days.
If your headquarters staff could relocate to any place in the world, where would they choose?
Our team comes from around the U.S. and Europe, so this is a hard question. That said, we are moving down to the Washington, DC area shortly. We are pretty excited about the warmer weather, being from Philadelphia.
As your company grows, have you had mainly tailwinds, headwinds, or crosswinds?
We’re a young company, some say a startup, and with that, every day has winds from every direction that our small team has to deal with. The best thing that ever happened to us was our Kickstarter pre-order campaign, where we were able to get our first 500 customers in a month and really build a community of cyclist we can talk to. We really behave differently than any of the big lock companies. We make one lock right now, and we focus on making that lock the best it can be through constantly surveying our customers and improving on it. This year has been a tornado so far with all the growth, and we are really looking forward to the summer season.
Has any of your staff ridden Adventure Cycling’s mapped routes?
We live vicariously through our customers right now. We have customers doing Bicycle Route 66, the Pacific Coast route and their own rides around the world. As for us, we don’t let ourselves have “vacations” or “lunch” or “personal space.” I spent a couple years living on my bike, back in the day.
What cycling related benefits do you offer your staff?
We are a year old so it is pretty informal here. As long as the work is getting done, the riding can happen. We are in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, which has a velodrome and a surprisingly large bicycling community. As far as fancy perks, we aren’t big enough for fancy perks. Our staff does, however, get to break bike locks all the time, which is surprisingly fun.
Is there anything else about your company that you want to share with our readers?
We behave a lot differently than the big lock companies. We aren’t looking at making a range of products and then maybe updating them in five years. We are focused on making a very good lock that is as strong and as lightweight as possible. We started Altor because we thought locks were just too heavy and we focus on that problem. We constantly iterate and improve and constantly talk to our customers as they bike around the world to get their feedback. I don’t think many other companies in this industry keep tabs on their customer’s tours or have customers visit their headquarters, but we do. We’re a group of engineers trying to solve a problem, and I think our customers are surprised at how accessible and responsive we are.
Learn more about Altor Locks on their website, altorlocks.com, and don’t forget that Adventure Cycling members receive a 20% discount on Altor products. Log in to your My Adventure Cycling portal to take advantage of this exclusive member benefit!
Photos courtesy of Altor Locks