Bicycle theft is a common fear of most city dwellers who regularly use a bike for commuting to work or otherwise. But that’s only because most of them did not pay attention to one of the most essential accessories that you need with a bike: a bike lock. A bicycle lock is especially important for those living in apartment buildings since they will continually leave their investment parked outside due to lack of space within their premises.
Remember that thieves are probably smarter than you and an ordinary bike lock won’t stand in their way. The best bike locks offer unbeatable protection for your bike so you may leave it anywhere out in the streets. This post will guide you on every little detail that helps in finding the perfect bicycle lock to ascertain your bike’s safety. Also, don’t make your purchase without reading the bike lock reviews we have put together for you.
Best Bike Locks In Summary
What types of bike locks are available?
Different types of bike locks are available in the market. Choosing the correct type of bike lock for your bike is necessary since it determines a number of things:
- How simple it is to use?
- How well does it stand up against a crook?
- How much does it cost?
- How much does it weigh?
Together with giving a bike thief the toughest time he could have imagined, a bike lock should be simple to use for the cyclist. Most of us will end up leaving the bike parked without it, if the bike lock takes more than a minute to secure. And that sort of negligence is exactly what the bike thief will be waiting for. Choosing the correct level of security together with ease of use for a bike lock that is lightweight and affordable is very important.
Here are a few of the most common types of bike locks that you will come across.
A U-lock, sometimes also called a D-lock, is very similar to a padlock. These varieties are generally cheaper as compared to chain locks but will offer a superior level of security that will require power tools to break. Since most bike thieves will carry only hand tools, there is no way that they can defeat these bicycle locks. These bike locks are usually used with long chains to fasten around the bike.
As for the price, the U-locks will generally lie within the range of $40 to $120 for the most expensive bike locks. The more expensive models will generally offer a higher level of security for your bike. These higher end U-locks will come with double deadbolts which would require the thief to make two cuts, using power tools, to break the lock, which makes it practically invincible for most bike thieves.
If you are considering a chain lock, you need to find one that has a chain and shackle made of strong material such as hardened steel. Only then will it give the same level of security as that of a U-lock. The chain should offer a length that can hold the bike frame and wheels together and lock it with a tree or other such solid object on the ground. The cheapest chain locks can cost you as low as $40 while the most expensive ones can be as high as $400. You need to find the right balance between price, level of security offered by the chain lock and its weight depending on your circumstances.
Folding locks are a popular choice of daily commuters for the convenience that they offer over chain locks and cable locks. Their main selling point is their foldable structure which takes up a compact shape when folded up, making it easier to transport. However, since the cheaper models of folding locks will be easily compromised with a bolt cutter that the thieves usually work with, you need to be especially careful when making your selection. On the plus side, they allow you to lock the bike to a tree or a post just like a chain lock since the foldable structures can be wound around larger objects.
Cable locks are strands of steel wires that are held together inside a plastic rod. These are the types of bicycle locks that you need to avoid since their security can be compromised very easily using a bolt cutter. However, the reasons why they are still popular among many cyclists are their attractive prices and convenience. The entire point of a bike lock is to offer uncompromised security. Once you are guaranteed that, you can go ahead and think about the secondary factors such as price or convenience. This is why cable locks aren’t worth your time since they do not deliver the primary purpose of a bike lock. They may, however, be a suitable pick for cyclists who usually park their bikes in low-crime areas and do not leave it unattended for long.
Bike Lock Reviews
#1- Kryptonite Fahgettaboutit Mini Bike Lock
The most popular bike locks which you are going to find are from Kryptonite and this particular model by the same company is not only the securist but also one of the most compact ones that you will find. Made with 18mm hardened steel, it stands better against cutting tools that most of the other bike locks out there. Further protection against bike theft comes from the double deadbolt which requires two cuts before the bike can be set free.
The disc-type cylinder is equally secure and drill-resistant and pick-resistant while it is long enough to lock the frame and the wheel together without posing any difficulty. Additionally, the sliding dust cover over the keyhole prevents dust or debris from making its way through into the hole.
Together with safety, the model also ensures convenience for the cyclist by including 3 stainless steel keys in the package. One of the 3 keys is an LED key fob to allow even simpler entry. You can also have your keys registered on the company website so that they may send you additional keys in case you lose the ones that come in the package. Overall, you will find it the most secure and compact lock that can guarantee the safety of your bike.
- Weighing 4.5 pounds, this lock is a bit heavier than most others.
- A chain is not included so it can only lock the frame and one of the wheels together.
#2. Kryptonite Chain Disc Bike Lock
If you are looking for a strong chain lock, this one is another great package that you will find by the popular bike lock brand, Kryptonite. Together with New York Disc Bike Lock, the 14mm chain links constructed from hardened manganese steel offer enough protection to make the lock practically invincible to an ordinary bike thief. Soft nylon covers the chain for protecting your bike’s frame against any scratches from the metal.
As for the lock itself, the double deadbolt design requires two cuts while the disc-type cylinder is not just drill-resistant but also pull-resistant, all of which make it more secure against thieves. The additional dust cover over the keyhole prevent dust or dirt from entering which increases the overall life of the lock.
The convenient key safe program of this bike lock includes 3 stainless steel keys in the package, one of which will also include LED lighting to make it easier to unlock your bike in the dark. One of the most impressive features is the lifetime warranty that comes with it from the manufacturer of the lock.
- The larger size of the chain links makes it difficult to pass it through the wheel spokes.
- Together with the chain, the bike lock is quite heavy to carry. It weighs 10.8 pounds.
#3. Ottolock Steel & Kevlar Bike Lock
A secure lock that’s also lightweight to carry isn’t very simple to find, yet here is one at an affordable price. This is a mid-ranged bike lock that folds up into a compact shape to make it simpler to carry and offers excellent security for your bike at the same time. Weighing just around 175 grams or 260 grams, depending on the length of lock that you choose, this bike locks weighs far less than a typical U-lock. The low weight, together with the simple folding mechanism which winds it up in a small coil, makes it simple enough to carry in your backpack or pocket.
The multiple layers of steel and Kevlar are resistant against cuts made by thieves and include a plastic covering on the exterior to prevent the metal from creating scratches on the bike frame. The included combination lock with 3 dials eliminates the hassle of storing and using a key. All you need to do is to remember the 3 combination code that will unlock the bike. The combination code can also be reset, if needed, using the clear instructions provided with the bike lock.
- The security offered by the lock is not as high as that offered by a typical U-lock.
- It’s only good for quick stops on your bike.
#4. Seatylock Compact Bike Lock
If portability is a major concern for you regarding bike locks, this is another excellent option. Not only does the lock fold up into a highly compact shape, it is also incredibly lightweight, which makes transportation simpler. Despite being simple to transport, the bike lock offers a good level of security which is guaranteed with the Sold Secure Silver rating that it holds.
This bike lock is built for all varieties of bike including mountain bikes, foldable bikes, hybrid bikes and road bikes and the links made out of hardened steel are strong and highly resistant against cuts made through hand tools that a typical thief is likely to carry. The VSR technology used for the rivets makes the lock even securer for your bike so that you can leave it safely attached to a tree or a post in the streets while you head off for work or shopping. The links are, additionally, drill resistant for further protection against common bike thefts.
Besides the security that the lock offers, it is also simple to use and to carry. The compact case of the lock attaches easily to the bike frame so you wouldn’t have to carry it by hand.
- Mounting it to the bike frame when not in use will add a little additional bulk to the bike.
- It’s slightly more expensive as compared to other bike locks that offer the same level of security.
5. Abus Round Shackle U Lock
A cheaper alternative to the Kryptonite New York Mini is this one by Abus. This German engineered U-lock offers almost the same security level as the Kryptonite model but will cost a lot less, making it a preferred choice if you are shopping on a budget. The 144 mm hardened steel shackle is rust resistant and cut resistant to offer ultimate protection against bike theft. If this were not enough to guarantee your bike’s security, the double bolting mechanism will not allow the lock to break open unless the thief makes two cuts, which is practically impossible in a busy, well-lit street.
Besides your bike’s security, the lock also takes your bike’s aesthetics into account and includes a Soft Touch Coating on the exterior to prevent any scratches on the frame of the bike. Other than that, the lock is simple to use, lightweight and compact to carry it easily, even inside your pant’s pocket. Weighing only 980 grams, it is lighter in weight that most other U-locks. Lastly, you know that you are making the right investment since it is registered with Sold Secure and ranked 11 out of 15 for the security level that it offers your bike with.
- This lock doesn’t have a frame mount.
- The smaller size of this lock will make it unsuitable for use with a larger bike.
6. Master Lock Street Cuff Lock
One of the most unusual designs of bike locks that are available is this model by Master Lock. Not only is it unique, but also highly functional and secure for almost any kind of bike and even motorbikes. Measuring 21.5 inches in length, the lock features cuffs at both ends measuring 3 inches in diameter that will conveniently allow you to lock your bike to a post, tree or any other solid structure on the ground.
The lock is constructed with hardened steel that is laminated, making it quite difficult for a regular thief to cut. Additionally, the absence of a fixed anchor point makes it almost impossible for the thief to make the cut and break the lock. What will further help develop your trust in the lock is the lifetime warranty and anti-theft guarantee that comes with it.
Other than the high level of security that this lock offers, it is simple to use with push button locking without the need for a key and foldable design for convenient storage. Weighing only 3.2 pounds, it is also lightweight for you to carry around.
- Locking the bike is not as easy as advertised by the manufacturer.
- The frame and the wheels cannot be locked together.
7. Amazer Bike Cable Lock
If you are in search for an inexpensive cable lock, this one is among the cheapest and popular models that you will find. In around $10 you receive this lightweight, compact and secure lock which is rated among the best selling combination locks on Amazon. The strong steel cables are wound together and enclosed in a secure PVC coating to prevent it from cuts made by a bike thief. Besides making the lock securer, the PVC coating also ensures that the bike frame does not receive any scratches from the metal.
The lock cylinder is made with electroplated zinc alloy which adds even more security to the bike lock. You will also find it simpler to use than the traditional lock with keys since it comes with a 4-digit combination lock. Instead of keeping hold of a key, you simply need to remember the combination that you set. The combination can also be reset if need be. Also, the 6 feet cable coils into a compact shape making it easier to carry. Overall, it is a convenient lock to use for your bike as well as other belongings such as skateboard, sport equipment and lawn mower.
- The level of security is not high enough for a high theft area.
- The 6 feet long cable may be a bit longer than what is required for most bikes.
8. Via Velo U Lock with Cable
This one is a very affordable package with a secure U-lock and a strong cable that has rightfully established a place among the best selling models on Amazon. The U-lock includes a bike mount to carry it conveniently on the frame of your bike and also comes with a lock debris cover to prevent the keyhole from dirt and dust which will in turn prolong the life of the lock. Installation of the mounting bracket on the frame of the bike is quite simple if you follow the steps shown in the pictures on the Amazon link. Additionally, it will also include a pair of keys so that you have a spare in case you lose one or leave it home.
Together with the double bolt locking mechanism, the heat hardened steel shackle is almost impossible to break by a regular thief. The 5 ft long steel cable is just as strong and resistant against cuts and is covered by PVC to protect your precious bike against scratches. With all the attractive features, the bike lock proves simple to use, simple to carry and quite secure to park your bike anywhere you like, while you go off to work. It also includes a 90 day money back guarantee and a 3-year warranty that holds for the U-lock.
- The length of the steel cable does not allow you to lock both wheels of the bike.
- The bike mount for the lock will rattle when you ride.
9. Titanker Bike Cable Lock
Supported by thousands of positive customer reviews and featuring a very attractive price tag, this is another one of the best selling bike locks that you will find for purchase online. The strong set of flexible steel cables are highly resistant to cuts made by bike thieves and are wrapped in PVC coating to prevent them from making scratches on your bike.
Besides the strong level of protection that the steel cables offer, the locking mechanism is quite simple to use and the presence of 4-digit combination lock eliminates the need to use a key for both, locking and unlocking. You simply need to use the instruction guideline to set a code that you will easily remember.
Besides the simple usage, it is surprising how the manufacturer also offers a mounting bracket in the package to make transportation easier for the cyclist. Rather than carrying it in your backpack, you can conveniently attach it to your bike and carry it along when you are not using it. Overall, it makes a good and affordable choice for locking your bike if you ride and park your bike in low-theft areas.
- It offers a much lower level of security than one of the high-end U-locks.
- The cable can become less flexible in winters.
10. Sigtuna Heavy Duty U Bike Lock
Here is another one of the more popular picks for bike protection among cyclists. Rather than just a bike lock, it is a complete package which will include a strong U-lock, bike mount and a 1200mm steel chain to go with it. 16mm hardened steel that is used for the manufacture of the shackle makes it practically invincible while the double deadbolt mechanism makes it even tougher against bike thieves.
In addition to the U-lock, the 4 feet steel cable adds even more security to the bike since you can incorporate more components of the bike into the lock, such as wheels, bike helmet etc. Together with ensuring complete security of your bike, the manufacturer also makes your convenience a priority and includes 3 sets of keys with the package so you won’t face any problems in case you lose one, or even two. To top it all off, the package will include a complete 3-year warranty with the bike lock so you may contact the manufacturer in case there are any problems.
- The smaller size of the lock may not fit all bikes.
- The bike mount is made of plastic and isn’t very durable.
Bike Lock Buyer’s Guide:
Have you picked the correct type of bike lock which suits you, your budget and your bike best? You have made a major decision into buying the best bike lock but that’s not all. There are a few other things too which you need to think over before you can finally make your purchase.
Think in terms of how you’ll be carrying your bike lock when you are out for a ride on your bike. Will you carry it around all day inside your backpack or in your pant pockets; you’ll be needing a lightweight bike lock if you do so. However, if you leave the bike lock secured to a tree or a post on the spot where you park your bike everyday when you head out for work or school, weight is not much of an issue since you won’t be carrying it around much. Usually the heaviest of the chain locks and folding are also the securest, but you do need to make sure that these locks do not weigh you down while carrying them.
You also need to consider the size of the lock to make sure it is simple to transport. U-locks like the Kryptonite Messenger Mini are the most compact and lightweight models that you will find, making them easier to carry around especially for daily commuters. Also popular for their compactness and ease of transportation are the foldable locks which will fold out to make a sturdy, powerful chain and fold up to take a compact shape which you may carry easily inside your backpack.
Most popular choice of material that you will come across when looking for bike locks is hardened steel. Some higher end bike locks also use more expensive materials such as Titanium. Whether you use bicycle locks made with hardened steel or those made with Titanium, you can rest assured that they will not be affected with the ordinary tools that the crooks usually carry. The only way to break such locks is to use angle grinders which require time and create a lot of noise, both of which a thief cannot afford without giving himself away. Avoid purchasing bike locks made out of cheaper alloys since they can be easily compromised with hand tools.
If you live in an area where there is a high crime rate, you may want to invest in two locks rather than one. Most city dwellers follow this practice to raise the security level for their bike and give the thieves a tougher time. If you do want to invest in two locks, the best option is to purchase a D-lock to secure around the bike frame and another chain lock or cable lock that secures the D-lock to the wheels of the bike.
Some advanced bike locks make use of Bluetooth technology to synch with an app on your Smartphone to unlock your bike without a key. These varieties of bike locks are a preferred choice for cyclists who tend to lose keys. Using smart bike locks such as these will eliminate the need to keep track of the keys.
Another one of the advanced features that some high end bike locks will include besides Smartphone tethering is an alarm system. These alarms are an excellent bonus you can get with a lock since they will sound and alert the owner of the bike if the bike security is being compromised.
How do I lock my Bike?
Just as important as choosing the correct bike lock is to know how to use it properly. Many cyclists who use strong, expensive locks with their bike do not understand the correct procedure to lock their bike with it. The result is that they are not using the bike lock to its truest potential which may result in the bike being stolen despite the impressive features of the bike lock. Here is how you you lock your bike correctly.
First take your bike close to a post or a tree which you are going to secure it to. Next, run the chain through the frame, then the rear wheel, then the front wheel and then through the post before locking it. To lock all these four components with a single bike lock, you need one with a longer chain. If your bike lock does not include a longer chain, you may also consider using two bike locks; one that will secure the frame, rear wheel and the post and another one that will lock the front wheel with the frame of the bike.
If you own a foldable bike, a bike lock with a smaller chain will do the job since you will only need to take it through the frame and then through both the wheels, which are aligned with each other in the folded form of the bike, before passing it through the post.
Additional Tips that will Guarantee your Bike’s Security
Besides purchasing a good bike lock and using it correctly, there are certain additional tips as well which you can follow to guarantee your bike’s safety.
- Look for busy, well-lit places to park and lock your bike rather than quite, dark places where a thief can easily use tools like angle grinder without being noticed.
- The lock should be hanging taut in air rather than being pressed against the ground. If the lock is sitting on the ground, it will be easier for a thief to break it open.
- A slack chain of the bike lock also needs to be avoided. Such a chain will make it easier to fiddle around and set it to a position that will make it easier to cut. You need the smallest chain that will tie all the essential components together without leaving any slack. A taut chain will be much more tedious for a thief to work with.
- Make sure that the structure you tie the bike to, is solid and stands tall on the ground. Smaller trees can easily be chopped off by someone who plans on taking the bike. Also avoid short sign posts since the bike and the lock can easily be lifted over the head of the post to set them free.
- Keep hold of the serial number of your bike. Store it somewhere safely, in your Smartphone or a diary so that you may hand it over to the police for tracking it down in case your bike does get stolen, even after all the necessary security steps. However, rest assured that it will most probably never come down to this, provided you take all the necessary security measures and use a good bicycle lock.
Without a doubt, you have spent good money into purchasing your bike and you love it. Not only did you spend money, you might also have put in time and effort into finding a bike that suits you right and that you love riding. Are you willing to give all that up at the hands of a thief simply because he was smarter than you? If the answer is no, what you need right away is the perfect bike lock using which you can leave your bike out in the streets with complete surety that it will be there when you return. A small investment in a bike lock today can save you from the loss of a bigger one in the future.