If you’ve spent any time commuting on your motorbike, you know the feeling of unease the first time you leave your baby parked in a new place, outside and unattended, for any significant period of time. Even if a would-be thief (or thieves) doesn’t just hop on and ride your bike away, it’s a lot easier to pick up a bike and put it in a truck than it is to do that with a car.
That’s where a good disc lock can come in handy, and that’s also why German security specialists ABUS created the Granit Detecto SmartX 8078 motorcycle disc lock. I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time using this lock, so I’m going to tell you my experience with it so far.
The SmartX 8078 lock connects to the ABUS SmartX app on your smartphone, via Bluetooth—no need for a physical key. As long as your paired phone and the lock are in range, you should be able to lock and unlock your ABUS lock at will. Of course, Bluetooth needs to be turned on for this to work—which drains your phone battery if you leave it on constantly, so I’m betting that a lot of us turn it off when we’re not using it.
You need sufficient battery on both your phone AND the SmartX 8078 for this to work, as well. The lock charges via USB C cable, with the port located under the black, rubberized strip that hugs the back. Peel it down from the top, and you’ll find two little rubber nubs part of the way down that hold it securely onto the metal lock body. Underneath, you'll find the USB socket and an LED that shows you the battery’s charge status; there’s a photo of this in the gallery to show you what I’m talking about. I’ve reached out to ABUS to ask a few questions about the battery, and will be sure to update this review if and when I hear back.
The package comes with a handy, zippered pouch to carry your SmartX 8078 lock around. There’s also a USB-C cable, an instruction booklet and accompanying paperwork, and an ABUS Security Key Card with a unique QR code on it that’s used to identify the specific lock it comes with. More on that later, but before your first use of the lock, you’ll need it to pair your specific unit with the smartphone app after you download it.
Once paired, as long as your Bluetooth is on, your phone’s proximity to your SmartX 8078 lock should be all you need to unlock it. Press the shank in with your phone close by, and it should automatically unlock. You can then click it firmly into place on your brake disc wherever you’ve parked.
Open up the app, and you’ll see the location of where you last parked your bike. Every time you lock the lock, the location is registered in the app. There’s also a 100-decibel alarm that sounds if someone tries to tamper with your bike. So far, I haven’t heard it go off yet, but that should definitely be loud enough to get someone’s attention, and hopefully deter whoever was trying to mess with your bike.
Both the bolt and the lock body are made of hardened steel, and this thing feels substantial in your hand. ABUS claims the weight is 2.18 pounds, and a quick check on my fairly accurate kitchen scale showed a weight of 2 pounds, 2.7 ounces. It’s a pretty weighty bit of kit, but you probably wouldn’t be taking it to the race track, anyway.
At this point, I feel it would be extremely remiss of me to not repeatedly and emphatically stress that you absolutely CANNOT lose your ABUS Security Key Card. You won’t use it often, but you will absolutely need it more than once if you intend to keep using this lock. You don’t just need the Security Key Card to initially pair your lock with the app. It turns out that you’ll also need it for any future lock updates that need to be installed. I’ve had this lock in my possession for about nine months now, and I just had to install an update for the first time.
Luckily, I kept my key card in my wallet, so I was able to scan it. I’m not sure what would have happened if I hadn’t been able to locate that card to install the update. However, I can tell you that although my app was up-to-date and my Bluetooth enabled, and my phone was also located right next to the lock, it simply refused to unlock until I was able to install the update. Incidentally, the installation failed several times before finally taking. What would happen if I wasn’t able to install that update? Would this lock effectively be rendered unusable, leaving me with a giant SmartX 8078 paperweight?
Gallery: ABUS Granit Detecto SmartX 8078 Motorcycle Lock
After this incident, I tucked the key card back into the pouch with the lock, so they’ll never be separated again, except when the lock is on my bike. Hopefully, that placement is foolproof. Plenty of people toss out their documentation for items along with their packaging, once they’ve decided to keep something and know that they don’t intend to return it. I’m not one of those people, but I can definitely see how that could be a serious problem if someone did that with this lock.
Other than that, it’s worked perfectly well for its intended purpose. If you’re after peace of mind, it’s probably good at that, too. Is a hefty Bluetooth lock that requires a smartphone app for everyone? No, but neither are keyless bikes that just require you to carry an electronic key fob in your pocket to operate, and those are everywhere in 2021.