A well known magazine often boasted of being the subject of “countless imitations”. In fact, the fate of successful products is to give rise to a large number of imitations, copies and clones of various types. These copies may often appear at first glance to be very similar to the originals, but are they actually so in substance?

The victim of imitations is obviously the one to have first designed and launched a successful product on the market.  So we will show how the Viro “Morso” (along with other padlocks for chains which we will discuss in future blogs) is the result of Italian ingenuity, with its design dating back more than 30 years, as shown by the page below from the 1984 Viro catalogue, when it was introduced for the very first time.

frontespizio morso

morso vs copiaLet’s compare the Viro “Morso” padlock with chain for bicycles with a fairly widespread copy. This blog will highlight the differences which can be seen by eye. The next blog will show how the two products behave when subjected to a series of tests to assess their resistance.


The retail price of the two padlocks also depends obviously on the dealer from which they are purchased, but both can be found for about 18 to 25 €. The price is therefore not a very important variable in this comparison. So let’s see where the real differences lie.


The photo on the left shows how the body inside the armour has the unmistakable yellow colour of brass. However, the body of the copy has the typical colour of aluminium as it is made of zamak, an alloy consisting mostly of zinc and aluminium. The mechanical properties of brass are definitely superior to those of the zamak alloy, as can be seen from the following table:

TYPE CODE OF MATERIAL USED Mechanical characteristics
Rm [N/mm²] A% HB
BRASS CW 614N 450 24 140
ZAMAK  ZAMA 13 300-400 2-8 80-100

In short, brass is much more resistant to traction because it can withstand a large deformation before yielding and breaking; it is much harder, and therefore more difficult to cut and drill and also more resistant to wear.

The advantages of zamak are only from the point of view of the manufacturer. Its main advantage is that it is a very cheap material and easy to work.

Semi-squared chain link vs. square link.


The photo on the left shows how the link of the Viro “Morso” chain has a semi-squared profile which makes it harder to grip with shears, which generally have blades suitable for cutting round profiles or, sometimes, square profiles, but blades do not exist which are suitable simultaneously for both types of profiles. However, the link of the copy has a square profile which makes it easier to attack with cutting tools.

The section on the left is semi-squared, characterised by a square part and a round part; the section on the right is square, characterised by all right angles.

The section on the left is semi-squared, characterised by a square part and a round part; the section on the right is square, characterised by all right angles.

Comparison of chain link dimensions.

morso - confronto lunghezza anelli2

The photo shows how the individual links of the Viro “Morso” chain (right) are much shorter than those of the copy (left). Obviously, with the same overall length, a chain made up of a greater number of short links has a higher manufacturing cost, because it needs more material to produce it, but just as obviously a short link represents a considerable advantage in terms of security, since, as it leaves less space inside, it is much more resistant to attempts to break it by inserting a lever or the blade of a cutter.

Comparison of armour thickness.

spessore corazza morso

On the left is the padlock copy (identified by the grey body), on the right is the Viro “Morso” padlock. The difference in the thickness of the armour can be easily seen with the naked eye. Needless to say, a thicker armour is more resistant (some tests, which we will present in future blogs, have shown a further substantial difference, that is, the steel used in the armour of the Viro product is not only thicker but is also hardened, whilst the steel used in the copy is not hardened, so has a significantly lower hardness).

Pull-resistant lock-bolt vs. non pull-resistant lock-bolt.

morso vs copia-testa

The photo on the left shows the pull-resistant lock-bolt of the Viro “Morso” with programmed breakage, that is, designed in such a way that, if an attempt is made to pull the head of the lock-bolt from its seat using burglary tools, the head breaks, leaving the lock-bolt in place and the padlock closed. On the other hand, the photo on the right side shows the head of the copy which is made in a single piece with the lock-bolt. In this case, it is possible to open the padlock by gripping the head and pulling it until the lock-bolt is ripped from its seat.

Pin type padlock vs. blade type padlock.morso vs copia-chiavi

Looking at the keys it can be seen how the Viro padlock (keys on left) is of the type with pins, while the copy (keys on right) is of the type with blades (highlighted by the fact that the bitting is present on both sides of the key). A pin type padlock has many more possible different combinations than a blade type (in the order of several thousand for the pin type compared with a few hundred for the blade type) and it is more difficult to open with lock-picking techniques.

Made in Italy vs. made in China.morso vs copia-made in

The Viro “Morso” (left) is made in Italy, the copy (right) is Made in China.
A Viro padlock Made in Italy is able to offer not only a much better performance, but also a greater reliability over time and above all the certainty of a consistent quality, whereas the quality of cheaper imported products is always very variable depending on the production batch.
There is also a complete data sheet for all the Viro products  which can be consulted directly online, so that you know beforehand exactly you are going to buy.


The cost to the public of the two padlocks with chain is similar, but the original Viro “Morso” offers much more:

  • greater security due to stronger materials and careful manufacturing design;
  • greater durability over time thanks to better thermal and chemical treatments;
  • the certainty of a constant quality, where the various imitations can also be very different from each other.

We are therefore dealing with the frequent case in which the original clearly outshines the copy. In the next blog we will see how this is confirmed by the laboratory tests.

Look at the data sheet of the Viro “Morso” padlock with chain.


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