A bike is a valuable personal possession, and often a significant investment of time and cash. It’s scary to think it could all be gone in a moment; taken prize by some nimble-footed thief. No bike, not even a cost-effective bike, should be purchased without a proper security system. The best bike lock for you will keep your bike from disappearing the second you turn your back — it happens all the time.
Bikes are lightweight, valuable and can provide a convenient and inconspicuous getaway. It takes minimal technical know-how and simple tools to steal a bike, and stolen bikes are very difficult to track. For all these reasons, bikes of all types make an easy target for the most simple-minded criminals.
The lock or locks you choose to protect your bike with must be selected after considering your personal needs. If you will only be using your bike in a low-risk area, additional security features may not be necessary. But remember that any bike left out of sight in any area for an extended period is likely to disappear by the time you get back, if it hasn’t been properly secured. Even kids’ bikes taken to the “family friendly” playground need to be locked up. They may look innocent, but don’t give those pint-sized thieves a chance.
Types Of Bike Locks
There are three main types of bike locks that can be used to ensure your bike will be right where you left it. Here is what you need to know:
One of the most formidable form of bike lock and a huge discouragement to sticky-fingers, the thick U-lock design is unaffected by hammers, chisels, bolt cutters or hacksaws. On many designs, both sides must be severed clean to gain access to the secured bike.
With this type of lock, it’s important to consider is size. Choose a U-lock that fits snuggly around the objects being secured to avoid leverage attacks. A large U-lock could also lock the wheel and frame to the hitching post for extra security.
Unfortunately, cable locks are susceptible to any type of attack. Really, the only type of thief a cable lock is the opportunist who takes a bike that is not locked up at all.
A few taps with a hammer, or a snip from mediocre bolt cutters, even dull wire cutters and your bike could be gone. Cable locks are best used in combination with other bike locks for securing multiple valuable components in place, like the seat, custom handlebars and helmet.
Strong enough for mean streets, the thicker chain style bike lock will withstand the hammer, chisel, hacksaw and even bolt cutters. Of course, the chain is only as strong as the lock that secures it all in place. Make sure the locking mechanism is as tough as the chain; a thin lock is an easy target for bolt cutters and hacksaws.
Best Bike U-locks
The Kryptonite New York U-Lock secures your bike to a wide variety of fixed objects with a hardened steel shackle. No chisels, bolt cutters or leverage devices can pry the dual-deadbolt loose. The New York U-lock also features a recently improved disc-style cylinder, designed for increased safety against picking the lock.
The first thing you will think when you see this Kryptonite U-lock is, “I better not lose these keys”. Luckily, the U-lock includes three separate keys, one of which features a handy LED light. Built tough, this beast will keep your bike safe even in high-risk areas. A generous size can safely connect rear-wheels, bike frames and a fixed post together simultaneously.
Commuters who typically leave their bikes unattended while in classrooms or work can rest easy; anything secured by this lock will stay put. Still, an accompanying cable lock is needed for securing valuable bike upgrades.
If you are looking for the most secure U-Lock this is the best bike lock for you.
The Sigtuna Heavy-Duty Bike Lock has been subjected to the most rigorous tests both in the lab and on the street. The hardened steel has withstood more tool power than your average opportunistic bike thief would possibly have on hand or carry around inconspicuously.
A robust 1200mm steel Flex Cable is included for strapping down all your bike’s valuable upgrades. High security materials make this U-lock quite heavy, but this adds to a feeling of security when venturing into a high-risk area. The Sigtuna also fastens to your bike frame with a convenient mounting bracket and a Velcro strap to hold the 1200mm Flex Cable. Simply push the release button and the Sigtuna is ready for action.
Cyclists who want to protect their property will appreciate the formidable security and convenience this option provides. With a dual-deadbolt system and the included Flex Cable, you will find your bike and all its components are covered by the Sigtuna security solution.
The Series-2 U-lock from Kryptonite provides ample security and a large size for securing frame and wheel to various fixed objects. High endurance materials, a disc-style cylinder, and potent “Bent Foot” design add considerable strength against a thief’s best efforts and tools.
For all-round component protection, a versatile cable is included with a convenient Velcro strap that makes it more portable. A Transit Bracket carries the hefty lock in a way that won’t interfere with the pedaling motion.
This is a great choice for a security-minded commuter looking for increased mobility. It is still a powerful 3.6 lbs. load, but an insightful geometric design and mounting bracket make it easy to carry around. It also comes with an additional cable for total protection in the roughest sides of town.
If you are looking for a cheap U-Lock this is your best bike lock for you.
Best Bike Cable Locks
A cable lock can cover a wide variety of purposes beyond merely protecting your bike. Tool boxes, BBQ grills, skateboards, lawnmowers and even gates can be secured with a cable lock. This option has a 4-digit combination locking mechanism, so you’ll never lose your keys. Just don’t forget your code, or the ½ inch of braided steel cable will be hard to cut through.
The UShake features a protective coating that won’t scratch your bike’s frame, and a mounting bracket so you never leave home without security. The UShake 4-digit combination cable lock is suitable for secondary protection. It is perfect for securing additional valuables to a bike secured with a durable U-lock or chain lock.
Simplistic and effective, the Master Self-Coiling Cable lock provides decent security in a wide variety of situations. It features a durable braided steel cable encased in an attractive black vinyl to protect your bike from scratching.
The Master Lock comes with a pre-set combination and a small red sticker that bears the 4-digit access code. Not knowing this, some customers discarded the sticker and are now owners of a useless cable lock, as the code can’t be reset.
Another comment has been on the rather flimsy locking mechanism. This cable lock is simply a deterrent: any thief with a hammer or strong bolt cutters and a bit of determination can snap this open and take a prize. This is a good option for cyclists who won’t be leaving their bike or valuables out of sight.
BluSmart makes a Heavy-Duty Cable Lock with impressive strength and 6 feet of versatility for securing a wide variety of valuable possessions. Compared to U-locks or chain locks, this heavy-duty cable lock is lightweight and portable.
A 5-Digit combination can be reset from the original 0-0-0-0-0 to whichever code you will remember best. As sole protection around your neighborhood, additional protection in more populated zones, or a versatile device for securing a plethora of other valuables, this is the best cable bike lock you could ask for.
Best Bike Chain Locks
For all you fans of Heavy Metal, the aptly named Fahgettaboudit is 10 or 15 pounds of hardened manganese steel depending on the length of chain you require. It is secured by an equally durable U-Lock style dual-deadbolt padlock. The intimidating chain and lock can send a strong message to the criminal element and is also an effective means of deterring a mugger. Commuters can never be too careful these days.
Due to the thickness and wrap of these heavy-duty chains some length is lost. It would be a good idea to choose the 15 lbs. 60 in. “motorcycle” chain for more options of hitching spots. This massive chain and U-lock combo is the best bike lock for tool-proof and fool-proof security in the highest-risk areas.
This is one of the most secure bike locks on the planet. If you are not too concerned about weight and more focused on security then this is the best bike lock for you.
The Foneso Anti-Theft Bike Chain has a 6mm thick chain which makes it relatively lightweight at 1.7-pounds and nice an portable. An attractive PVC sleeve increases the durability of the steel chain and protects your bike frame from contact.
Keys can be easy to lose or misplace along your commute, but the Foneso 5-digit combination lock allows you to keep the keys in a safe place. The password can be reset from the original 0-0-0-0-0 and again from within the new code. But if you forget the code a second time, you will experience firsthand the high security this lock provides.
If you are in a lower crime area and want a cheap bike chain lock then this is your best bet.
The OnGaurd Mastiff is designed and fabricated to resist the most determined physical and technical attacks. A titanium-reinforced chain features a square cut design impervious to sawing. A dual-deadbolt locking mechanism provides optimal resistance to picking attempts.
This option is also available in a wide variety of sizes, so you will want to consider your hitching options against your personal stamina. While a larger size increases the variety of fixed objects to which you can secure your bike, the hardened steel chain adds a serious weight and energy expense to pedaling.
The OnGuard Mastiff is the best value chain lock on the market as it is a great balance of security, practicality and price.
|PICTURE||BIKE LOCK NAME||SIZE||PRICE||RATING (1-5)|
|KRYPTONITE New York U-Lock||9"x9"x4"||$$$||4.6|
|Heavy Duty Bike Lock with U Lock Shackle||9.7"x7"x1.5"||$$||4.6|
|Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2 Standard Bicycle U-Lock||9.2"x9"x1.2"||$$||4.2|
|UShake Bike Lock Cable||4 ft.||$||4.5|
|Master Lock Self Coiling Cable Lock||4 ft.||$||4.4|
|Blusmart Heavy Duty Bike Lock Chain Lock||6 ft.||$||4.4|
|Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit U-Loc||3 ft.||$$$||4.5|
|Foneso Security Anti-theft Bicycle Chain||3.2 ft.||$||4.3|
|OnGuard Mastiff Integrated Key Chain Lock||3.5 ft||$$||4.3|