Good design solves problems big and small, but it’s those small ones that are often the most irksome. Like how the bristles of your toothbrush are exposed to all the gunk in your bag when you travel, or, oh I don’t know, how you have to take your gloves off to operate your snowboard’s lock when you come back outside from a cocoa break. Actually, Vim & Vigor have got that second one pretty much figured out.
The team, always game for a good concept, noted that as snowboarding has gone mainstream, so too has snowboard-related crime. “Snowboarders are spending more on their boards,” they write, “and for the first time are faced with being targeted for theft.” So they looked at three leading locks currently on the market and identified the five main categories a good lock needs to succeed: resistance to weather, portability, security, durability, and ease of use. That last one is where they thought the current locks were lacking.
All three locks V&V looked at relied on some small rotating mechanism for gaining access–something like the lock you’d find on a briefcase. So they set out to design one that could be opened without the use of the fingers.
The saucer-like 120° Snowboard Lock is what they came up with, a lock that riders can open simply by twisting its two sides with their mittened palms.
The lock has six symbols, each with its own color, repeated three times around the perimeter of the dial. Three evenly spaced viewing windows mean that the symbols will be visible no matter where you grab the lock.
“Our symbols,” the designers told me, “are actually representative of numbers (1-6, based on the number of units each symbol is comprised of). The color/symbol system helps users remember their combination more easily by creating various options for memorization. For example one can simply focus on colors (such as yellow, green, orange, blue), or symbols (minus, plus, star, v), or the numbers (1, 4, 5, 2), or the combination of all 3.”
“There is plenty of variety to create a strong combination,” they continued, “We would recommend users create a 4-5-unit combination for optimal strength, which is comparable with Wordlock, for example.”
The yo-yo-like design also has the benefit of providing ample internal space, which means that the locks cable could potentially be twice as thick as competitors’. To recap: a cable that’s two times as thick as other locks and a dial you can memorize in three times the ways. Hard to argue with those numbers.
Sadly, there aren’t any plans to turn the 120° Snowboard Lock into a real product just yet. But next time you’re fumbling around with your snowboard lock with frosty fingers, you can curse Vim & Vigor for having shown you there’s a warmer way.