Rockymounts Carlito Lightweight U-Lock Review: Fragile but Fantastic


Rockymounts Carlito Lightweight U-Lock Review: Fragile but Fantastic

This isn’t exactly a “review” of the Carlito lightweight U-lock. Reviewing a lock is like reviewing a helmet. You can’t be sure if it will perform when you really need it until a very bad thing happens. And when (or if) that bad thing does happen, there are too many variables to say if your experience will be the same. But Travis’s experience with the Carlito has been overwhelmingly positive, even though this lock may not perform when you really need it.

I have had four bikes stolen in my life. One was locked up, but not with a bike lock. I had to leave it in the front seat of my Tacoma overnight, and I came back the next morning to find the window smashed and the bike gone. The other three stories are ones you may know well: I left them out of my sight “for just a second.” I have excuses why I felt safe in each scenario, ending with my Di2-equipped Giant Defy being just six feet behind me as I stood at a urinal. It just goes to show you a lot of bike theft may be a crime of opportunity, not premeditation.

That’s why my priority when choosing a bike lock is convenience first, security second. I want it to be easy to use and easy to carry, but I’m not too worried if it’s easy to cut. Maybe I’m tempting fate by putting that out in the universe, so I should probably buckle up. The Rockymounts Carlito might be the weakest U-lock you can buy, and I’m about to sing its praises.

Rockymounts Carlito U-Lock Quick Hits:

  • Aluminum core encased in rubber
  • 353 grams
  • 125 mm X 70 mm internal
  • 175 mm X 110 mm external
  • No frame mount available
  • $39.99

The first time I held the Carlito lock was like the first time I held a carbon handlebar. I was equal parts impressed and frightened. This thing only weighs 350 grams. Compare that to a relatively light-duty Kryptonite Kryptolok Mini 7, which weighs 1,130 grams (claimed). The secret sauce is a core of good ol’ aluminum. Now, I didn’t test my assumptions by actually trying to cut through it. This isn’t that kind of review. But Rockymounts makes no claims of this aluminum being any different from what’s in a seatpost or kickstand or some other component you’d snip through with a hacksaw in less than a minute. And that’s not even the fastest way to beat this thing.



The Carlito is locked using a multi-sided “dimple” key. These seem to imply some complexity that would make them harder to pick. But as the Lock Picking Lawyer points out, that’s not necessarily the case. I’ve never tried to replicate any of LPL’s Youtube feats, so I don’t know if he’s just making them look easy. But picking the Carlito U-lock certainly does look easy. And the tools he uses are cheap and readily available. The other interesting part of the video is his mention that Rockymounts rebranded a lock that had previously been released under the Panasonic name, mostly for the Japanese market where he says bike theft is rare. So, maybe the Carlito is not a good choice for someone living in Los Angeles who does most of their errands by bike. But I argue it’s perfect.

For one thing, there’s the size. It’s 125 mm X 70 mm internal and 175 mm X 110 mm external (130 mm at the base). That’s not quite small enough to fit into any of my pants pockets, but it sits handily on a rear rack or disappears into a small frame bag. And at the same time, it’s big enough not to fight me if I need to lock to something that’s thick or at an awkward angle. It’s also big enough to grab both a front and rear 38c tire, but not the frame, and not easily. If you can’t already tell, I’m pretty cavalier about my locking habits, but at least none of my urban bikes have quick-release axles. So, I usually just grab the top tube somewhere conspicuous, and hopefully that’ll at least cull the more opportunistic bike thieves.

It’s also generously padded, so I’m not paranoid about letting it bounce around a bit in my frame bag. There’s no custom frame mount available for the Carlito. Even if there were, I’d probably still leave it in my bag. This lock does the rounds between at least five bikes depending on the moment. One of those bikes happens to be the one I do my “better-than-nothing” after-work rides through my very hilly corner of Hollywood. More often than not, those rides end at Trader Joe’s to grab some last-minute need for that night’s dinner. I don’t want to carry almost three pounds of steel over 2,000 feet of climbing just to guard my bike for two minutes. But carrying a lock that weighs less than a can of Modelo is an easy habit to get into.

Plus, the Carlito is just $40. A short-sized titanium TiGr lock is only 425 grams, but it’s also $110. And there’s no guarantee someone who wants your bike won’t know a way to beat a TiGr. Or any other high-end lock, for that matter. It’s always a bit of a crap-shoot. Choosing a lock is one of the many calculated risks we take when buying gear. I just happen to like the odds on this one. When a would-be bike thief walks by the grocery store and sees a U-lock tying down my bike, hopefully they don’t follow The Lock-Picking Lawyer … Or The Radavist.


  • Light
  • Small
  • Cheap
  • Looks like the real thing


  • Definitely not the real thing
  • Easy to pick
  • Easy to cut

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