by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
The XX14 is a new type of motorcycle brake disk lock with alarm from Xena. It has just been released for 2009.
The XX14 has a new smooth "organic" shape, claimed to be more resistant to attack.
The XX14 also uses a larger and less expensive battery for its 110dB alarm.
The new Xena XX14 instantly makes all other motorcycle brake disk looks look, well, frumpy. It's a smooth, sleek organic hunk o' cast stainless steel and it is unlike any other disk brake lock I've seen before.
OK, so looks aren't the primary reason for buying a motorcycle brake disk lock, right?
But the smooth, curved surface of the XX14 is functional; it has been designed to minimize the number of sharp or flat edges that might provide a good purchase for hacksaw teeth.
Nevertheless -- and this may sound strange -- the Xena XX14 actually looks cool when clamped on a brake disk!
Just don't forget to remove it before riding away -- which isn't likely, because the alarm on this one is very loud and very obnoxious -- which is just the way it should be.
I was introduced to the XX14 at the Powersports Dealer Expo in February of this year (2009), along with many of the other interesting new motorcycle security products from Xena.
Those include a selection of Xena zone alarms, some with a 135dB alarm, the sound of which should scare away even that undead thief who prowls only during a full moon.
The Xena zone alarms can be placed on the motorcycle or attached to it and anyone that interrupts the infrared beam will get a warning and then a brain-melting blast from the alarm. We hope to acquire one soon for a review.
In the meantime, it's important to remember, of course, that no motorcycle security system will absolutely prevent motorcycle theft.
A determined thief or gang of thieves will be able to defeat just about any security system available; thus, the recommended strategy is to layer the security hardware and your anti-theft techniques.
It doesn't hurt to keep those fingers crossed also, hoping that the rascal will decide it's too much trouble to bother with your baby and will instead move on to some other sucker's bike -- the one without all the locks and alarms.
Don't forget also that if it happens, it will probably be when you least expect it.
The thing that has always bothered me about parking a motorcycle in a public space is that it just sits there on two wheels and a side stand, waiting for someone to walk away with it (or for the wind to knock it over).
At the very least, a disk brake lock will prevent an impromptu walk-away disappearing act.
Xena told us that they appreciated your feedback regarding the XN15 we reviewed and they've re-worked the basic disk lock concept to come up with the XX14.
One major difference between the XN-series and the XX14 is that the latter uses a CR2 battery instead of the six little LR44 "pancake" batteries used to power the XN15.
The CR2 apparently has more punch, and it's easier to find. The bonus is that one CR2 is actually cheaper than the handful of LR44's needed for the XN15.
I did some secret shopper research the last time I was in the local Big Box discount store and found a 10-pack of Maxell branded LR44's for $9.99, while a 2-pack of Kodak CR2's was $5.99.
That's a big difference, and since prices for both of these battery types vary all over the place, they may be found even cheaper than that. Just remember, the brand-name batteries usually work better and last longer, at least in my experience.
But overall, it appears that the CR2 is almost always cheaper than the LR44. Plus, who wants to carry six LR44's? The CR2 definitely seems like a better idea.
By the way, even though the CR2 is claimed to have more "torque" than the pancakes, it still has about the same recommended life as the LR44's used in the XN15, which is about 8 months, give or take.
Xena said the CR2 also adds the XX14's to shriek with more volume. I have no hard data on that, but the alarms on both the XN15 and the XX14 are rated at 110dB, according to the packaging.
Subjectively, I do think the XX14 indeed sounds louder. The relatively low volume of the XN15 alarm was a concern to some webBikeWorld readers, so kicking up the volume a couple of notches on the XX14 is a good thing.
The XX14 has a removable alarm module like the XN15.
But the XX14 module looks completely different. It allows a much larger opening for the alarm speaker on the bottom of the alarm (as you can see in the photo below), which is probably the reason why the XX14 sounds louder; the XN15's speaker opening is miniscule in comparison.
The plastic alarm module on the XX14 contains the electronics, the battery and the alarm speaker. The module slides into the cast stainless body of the XX14 and attaches to it with a single 3mm socket head cap screw.
Xena provides one CR2 battery and a 3 mm hex wrench in the XX14 package.
By the way, as on the XN15, the mechanical functionality of the XX14 lock is unaffected by the presence of the module; that is, the module can be removed with no effect on the mechanical operation of the lock.
The function of the lock is also unaffected by the battery charge.
The lock bolt must first be released to remove the alarm module in the XX14. The bolt is 14 mm thick and, according to Xena, it has carbide reinforcement and is made from specially hardened steel.
The double-locking bolt hides a tiny button in the receiver, indicated by the blue arrow in the photo above.
When the bolt is released by turning the key (Xena provides 3 keys and a special key code with the XX14), the bolt springs back and uncovers the button, which can then be pushed to release the alarm module cover.
Here's a photo of the XX14 with the cover removed (seen at the lower right) and the alarm module removed, with the battery door open and removed:
Once the alarm module cover is removed, the 3 mm socket head cap screw must be removed; it can just be seen in the photo above, sitting on the table on the right, between the alarm module and the module cover.
The alarm module on the early versions of the XX14 also have a thin rubber gasket cover that is designed to protect the module internals from getting wet. Xena told me that they have started placing a different type of gasket on the latest batch, but I'm not sure what the difference is.
Now there's a trick to re-installing the alarm module (by the way, new modules can be purchased separately if necessary).
The XX14 was redesigned to make it less susceptible to false alarms. Some owners complained that the XN15 was too sensitive and one webBikeWorld XN15 owner even complained that the alarm was going off with a change in temperature.
Note that there's a tradeoff here; making the alarm less sensitive to movement defeats the purpose of a motion-sensitive alarm.
But the XX14 has an interesting system that should help. It has a small mirror inside the "jaw" of the lock; this mirror acts as a reflector for a signal that is generated inside the alarm module.
When the XX14 is placed over the brake disk rotor, the signal is blocked, which arms the alarm.
The yellow arrow in the next photo is pointing to the small mirror, which sits in the jaw of the lock:
The trick here is to make sure the mirror is clean. Dirt on the mirror may block the signal; if this happens, the alarm will arm itself and may go off as the lock is handled.
Believe me, you don't want this to happen, for you will likely become deaf! I discovered this the hard way, and there isn't much information on this in the older versions of the XX14 owner's manual, so take note.
It's not a big deal, but if the alarm on your XX14 is going off when the lock is being handled or moved, check this mirror first. It's easy to clean; I used a cotton ear swab moistened with some water.
In normal use, it shouldn't really get dirty, because the brake disk rotor is usually clean.
Once the battery is installed and everything's ready to go, the XX14 can be installed on the brake disk. It's easier to attach the XX14 to the brake disk than the XN15 for some reason.
And once the lock is placed over the disk it is automatically armed due to the mirror/sensor system described above.
The XX14 is currently only available in one size, but it fits a variety of disk rotors.
It is not designed to fit through the disk rotor water drain holes drilled into the face of the rotor; it instead fits through the cutouts behind the braking surface of the disk.
As we mentioned in the XN15 review, Xena has a disk lock template (.pdf file) that can be printed and placed against your brake disk rotor to see which lock will fit.
The XX14 slides right on the disk and secures with a twist of the lock. The entire lock and body is claimed to be corrosion resistant and ice spray proof. The key is one of those special types with recessed teeth.
Once the lock is on the disk and armed, a slight movement of the front wheel will set it off. It does seem less sensitive than the XN15, but time will tell as the XX14 is used under the variety of conditions that I'm sure it will see in use.
The alarm will chirp for a few seconds, and then go off with the 110dB alarm. I'm not sure what the chirping does actually; it's not like it's a warning before the alarm, because the alarm always goes off after the chirps.
The alarm will sound for about 12-15 seconds, then re-arm itself. A continued movement will make it go off again.
The Xena XX14 is a hefty piece, weighing in at 643 grams or 1 lb., 6-3/4 oz. Like the XN15, it may not fit under a motorcycle seat and, in fact, the XN15 may have a thinner width, which may make that lock easier to carry.
The Xena XX14 Disc Lock Alarm is another very well made disk lock alarm that feels solid and works well.
It seems to be easier to use than the XN15; perhaps the operation of the lock bolt is smoother, but the design helps it fit more easily over the brake disk.
The alarm is loud and the XX14 seems to be less susceptible to false alarms, although there is always a tradeoff between sensitivity and false alarms with motion-sensitive alarm controllers.
|wBW Review: Xena XX14 Disk Lock Alarm|
|Manufacturer: Xena Security||List Price (2009): $115.00|
|Colors: Stainless Steel||Made In: China|
|Review Date: March 2009|
Note: Item provided by a retailer, distributor or manufacturer with these Terms and Conditions.
From "B.R." (February 2012): "My disk lock came with a nylon case. I put my ignition key inside the case after putting the lock on.
When I reach for my ignition key in my pocket later on, I find the disk lock case which reminds me to take the lock off before starting the bike."
From "P.S." (5/10): "I greatly appreciated your review of Xena's XX14 alarm disk lock. I currently own the XN14 and XN15 from the same brand, and the false alarms can be a real pain (I'm afraid my neighbours are hoping that my bikes do get stolen for good, just to be rid of that noise).
Beyond that major flaw I have nothing much to complain about, so if the XX14 has been redesigned to be less sensitive, I might be buying one of those if I find one at a good retail price.
Just a few comments to your review :
So if I read you well, with the XX series Xena has corrected just every flaw that the former series had.
I agree it's still "only" a disk lock that won't discourage determined and/or professional thieves, but I would say that's about as far as a disk locks can go! Thanks for this review!"
From "M.M." (10/09): "First of all, I love the website. About the XX14 from Xena, I have the old XR1 version, which has one enormous issue that I hope is fixed in this version.
The issue is that you can easily put you hand on the speaker part, and you almost wouldnít hear the alarm anymore. Ok it would not be easy to steal a motorcycle with one hand on the alarm but it would be effective.
Iíve used the method to not have my ears bleed when I accidentally touched my bike and didnít have my keys ready.
Another easy way to kill the alarm would be to have a spray can of foam and spray it into the speaker part.
I see that the changed the speaker part to the under side but would it still be coverable by hand easily and would it kill the sound completely.
Thanks for the great reviews."
Editor's Reply: There is always a way to defeat pretty much any security device, so a determined thief probably wouldn't be bothered by the siren sound on the Xena locks.
But it may discourage more casual opportunities, and at least the lock itself will secure the bike. I'd guess that Xena would say that the most important feature is the lock itself, and the alarm is a side benefit that will probably make less of an overall impression on a determined thief.