Owning a bicycle brings me a tremendous amount of joy.
I love the immediacy I feel riding a bike through a city and stopping off to explore a shop or a cafe.
The downside to such adventures is needing to lock my bike up.
And even that doesn't guarantee that it won't be stolen.
Last year Lattice released the Elipse Smart bike lock packed with sensors, batteries, a solar panel and Bluetooth that connects to your phone.
There's no key.
Instead I lock and unlock it using the Elipse App on my phone or touch the keypad built into the side.
For basic locking and unlocking, the app works simply enough.
I tap the big blue button on the screen, and voila, it's locked.
Tap it again, and bam, it's unlocked.
The built in keypad has four arrows, but it feels like touch technology from ten years ago.
I've found a painfully slow, deliberate touch worked best to enter the passcode.
The Elipse is forged from hardened steel.
Similar to other premium bike locks.
The shackle is flattened to make it more difficult to cut off.
I wish there was an option for a longer shackle.
Because it was near impossible to get my frame, wheel, and a parking meter pole within the Elipse and close it.
Though the smaller design is pocketable.
In use, the lock was okay though I definately had some struggles using it.
For example, trying to hold two pieces of the lock together, and my phone, and tap the screen was tricky.
It felt it was only a matter of time until I dropped my phone, which I did, hence, the cracked screen.
The Ellipse app does provide a hands-free alternative called auto-lock and auto-unlock.
When these settings are on, I close the Ellipser on my bike and the rack.
And then as I walk away, the app triggers it to lock.
The same thing happens in reverse to unlock it.
This works pretty well, but is not consistent.
Sometimes it takes a while for the phone to detect the lock.
Also I wish the Ellipse could be integrated with Apple watch or Wear OS to free up your hand from locking.
But since the ellipse is smart, it has built in batteries.
And there's two way to charge.
To the micro USB port or the a bit cleverly designed solar panel.
During the months I used the lock, it always had a charge, thanks to that solar panel.
Though I'm curious how long these batteries will last over years of use.
As far as protection, my bike wasn't stolen.
When I was in BlueTooth range and had theft detection on, it notified me when it thought somebody was tampering with the lock.
There's also crash detection which sends and SMS to a person you choose.
I have the Elipse on my handle bars while riding and the bumpy streets shook it enough to trigger a crash detection notification.
[UNKNOWN] approach to design is spot on, but the execution doesn't hold up well in real world use.
It's inconsistent and frustrating.
The app needs some improvements too, especially the sharing feature.
For $199 in the US, it's hard for me to recommend this lock.