Yes, your bike isn’t as expensive as your car, but there’s a good chance that it can disappear when you leave it parked after popping down to your nearest grocery store or having some fun at the park. You see, bicycle theft is an epidemic, and nowadays you are likely to worry more about it getting stolen than your car. It’s the ugly truth, and sadly, it can happen to you. So, what can you do about it? The simple answer is a BIKE LOCK!
Bicycle locks, also known as O-Locks or ring-locks, are made of some high-end steel material and cable combo that is rather hard to cut. They are usually mounted on a frame in the rear end of the bike, and then passed through the spokes in your rear wheel just next to the gears to prevent motion. It’s recommended you secure them to a non-stationary object as well, for maximum protection. While there’s only so much, you can do to prevent a really determined thief from getting a hold of your bike, having a bike lock will at least make them work for it.
That said, there are several factors to consider while deciding which one will suit you best. To save you from the agony of losing your bicycle, we have done out research and compiled a list of the best bike locks out there for you.
Top 9 Bike Locks Of 2020 Reviewed
1. Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and New York Disc Bike LockBest Bike Lock For NYC
This Fahgettaboudit chain lock from Kryptonite is one of the most secure locks evah. It has a gold rating from Sold Secure and rated an 11/12 according to Kryptonite’s own level of security. The six-sided chain links are 14mm thick and made of 3T hardened manganese steel. The New York Disc Lock features a 15mm hardened Performance steel shackle with a double deadbolt design to make it even more secure.
The cylinder is reinforced with an anti-drill, anti-pull protection system. The lock comes with 3 stainless steel keys (in case you misplace one) and one of them even lights up in the dark. However, this bike lock is very heavy at more than 15 pounds and even with the sleeve, you can still damage the paint on your bike if you’re not careful. Also, some users reported having difficulty opening the lock.
- Gold rating from Sold Secure
- Comes with 3 stainless keys
- Reinforced with an anti-drill, anti-pull protection system
- Very heavy (more than 15 pounds)
- The lock may be difficult to open
2. SIGTUNA model WODAN-16Best Bike Lock For College
The SIGTUNA WODAN-16 model is a U-Lock that will require more than just the biggest bolt cutters to open. The shackle is made of 16MM high-performance steel. The lock has a double bolt locking system as well as a Precision Locking Cylinder which makes it harder to open. This U-lock comes with a 1200 Woven Steel Double Loop Flex Cable to lock the valuable parts of your bike from getting lifted while the U-lock ensures that the entire bike remains fastened right where you left it.
Along with the lock, you get 3 Laser-cut Abloy keys, a movable keyhole cover to protect the locking mechanism from dirt and rust, and a mounting bracket so you can keep the lock on your bike and use as needed. However, it is not rated by an independent third-party tester like Sold Secure. The mounting bracket is not for all bikes. Some report the lock swinging when the bike is in motion, hitting their leg. Also, some owners have reported having problems locking the U-lock with the key.
- Double lock for bike and its parts
- 16mm shackle + double-bolt locking mechanism
- Movable keyhole cover
- Not rated by Sold Secure or ART
- Problems reported with the mounting bracket
- May be difficult to lock the U-lock using the key
3. Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit MiniBest Bike Lock For Ebike
Another lock from Kryptonite that comes with a Sold Secure Gold rating. It’s also rated Gold for motorcycles. And even ART rates this lock at 4 stars. This U-lock would deter even the most determined of thieves with its shackle made of 18mm hardened steel and double deadbolt design. The ‘Pass-thru’ Crossbar Design has an anti-rotation feature and patented steel sleeve for increased security.
The disc-style cylinder is picked and drill resistant. And this lock comes with an Anti-Theft Protection Offer whereupon registering, the company is willing to replace your bike up to a certain value. However, the lock is prone to rust if left outside in the rain. It is quite heavy. And it’s too small to be used to lock the frame, wheel, and bike rack. You’ll need tow locks if you want to prevent someone from taking your wheels away.
- Thick shackle
- Tight-fitting lock
- Anti-Theft Protection Offer
- Too small
- Keyhole can get rusted
4. Kryptonite New-U Evolution Mini-7 w/ Double Loop CableBest Bike Lock For High Crime Areas
Yes, this is yet another Kryptonite bike lock with a Sold Secure Gold rating. However, unlike the others, this is only rated by the manufacturer with a 7/10 security level. While it has plenty of the same features – double deadbolts, a patented “Pass-Thru” crossbar design, 3 keys, and a high-security disc cylinder, there are some key differences. The shackle is only 13mm hardened steel.
While it isn’t vulnerable to the average bolt cutter, it may be cut open using a really big one. It also comes with a FlexFrame-U bracket to make it easier to transport the lock, much lighter than the Mini at around 3 lbs, with a 4-foot cable so you can also secure your wheels. Plus, you get a free year of the anti-theft protection. However, the mounting bracket is a bit flimsy. The lock is a bit small for some bike racks. And the anti-theft protection does not cover bikes in Manhattan.
- Sold Secure Gold rating
- Double deadbolts
- Lighter than the Mini
- Anti-theft protection does not cover Manhattan
- The lock is too small to fit on some bike racks
- The mounting bracket is a bit flimsy
5. Master Lock Street Cuff LocksBest Bike Lock For Road Bike
Yes, this bike lock does look a bit kinky. But those pivoting links are fully flexible and measures 21.5 inches long. You can fold it compactly for storage and transport or you can extend it to enable you to fasten the bike to a post, bike rack, parking meter, etc. Because the links pivot, it prevents thieves from getting enough leverage to break the “chain” and due to the 3-inch laminated steel construction, it is also very hard to cut. And it even comes with a $3,500 Anti-Theft Guarantee and Limited Lifetime Warranty.
However, it is pretty heavy. The lock can be a bit hard to open (though that may be a good thing). Also, registering your lock with the manufacturer in order to get the guarantee and warranty takes a bit of work.
- Cool design
- $3,500 Anti-Theft Guarantee
- 3-inch laminated steel construction
- Very heavy
- Can be hard to open
- Registering your lock with the manufacturer isn’t easy
6. TiGr MiniBest Bike Lock For Kids
The TiGr Mini definitely doesn’t look like most U-locks we know. Made of titanium, this lock weighs a light 0.9 pounds but is capable of withstanding cutting attempts using a bolt cutter or a hacksaw.
The lock is rated 2 stars by ART which is ideal for low-risk situations. However, it is somewhat small with only 4-inches in width so you might find it difficult to get it around large poles and the like. You also can’t use it to lock around the rear/front wheel and frame + bike rack. And the lock mechanism sometimes needs a bit of jiggling to open up. And the bike mount can take up the space of your water bottle.
- Unique design
- 2 stars ART certified
- Limited options for fastening
- Lock mechanism sometimes gets stuck
- Mounts where the water bottle is also located
7. Abus Bordo Granit X Plus 6500Best Bike Lock For Fat Bike
If U-locks and chains aren’t your cuppas, a good alternative is the Abus Bordo Granit XPlus 6500. This folding lock weighs around 3.5 pounds, much lighter than some high-level security locks. But that doesn’t mean that it’s less secure. It features 5.5mm temper-hardened steel bars that have been tested and proven to withstand cutting attacks. And the patented X-Plus Key cylinder is secure from picking.
In addition, transporting this lock is quite easy since you can simply attach the carrying case to your bike’s frame using silicone coated non-slip Velcro straps. However, it is an expensive lock. It is not rated by Sold Secure or ART. And some people still find the lock too heavy.
- Can be folded compactly for transport
- Patented X-Plus Key cylinder
- 5.5mm temper-hardened steel bars
- Still heavy for some
- Not rated by independent testers
8. Ottolock Cinch LockBest Bike Lock For Commuting
Is that an oversized zip tie? No, that’s the Ottolock Cinch Lock and yes, we do recommend it as a bike lock. This lightweight lock (only 0.5 lbs) features a band constructed of Kevlar and stainless steel with a Santoprene Coating. And you can easily coil it up to stow away in your bag or under your saddle rails. However, this is not as secure as a U-lock or a chain lock.
It is considered an upgrade to a cable lock but it will not be able to withstand a bolt cutter. So if you live in a high-theft area or plan to leave your bike for more than an hour, this is not the lock for you. And some people found it hard to use the combo lock.
- Easy to transport
- 3-digit combination lock
- Less secure than a U-lock or chain lock
- Not for high-theft areas
- Not everyone finds a combo lock easy to use
9. UShake Bike Lock Cable
If budget is an issue and you aren’t planning on leaving your bike for longer than an hour anyway, then you might find the UShake bike lock cable is the lock you’ve been looking for. The self-coiling cable is 4 feet long and half an inch in diameter, covered with a vinyl shell. The 4-digit combination locking mechanism is perfect for those with a good memory for numbers and finds keys inconvenient.
The lock comes with a free mounting bracket to make it easy to transport on the bike. And you can choose between several colors. However, the mounting piece is plastic and can easily break. And, as we’ve mentioned, this is a cable lock which isn’t the best deterrent to thieves carrying bolt cutters.
- Very inexpensive
- Easy to use
- 4-digit combination lock
- The mounting bracket is flimsy
- Not for high-theft areas
Choosing The Best Bike Locks – The Ultimate Buying Guide
It only takes a minute or two for an unlocked bike to get stolen. And it can take a determined thief around 5 minutes to defeat a bike lock if he or she has the right tools. Fortunately, not all bike locks are created equal. Some are infinitely better than others. Opportunistic criminals aren’t going to spend too much time trying to cut through hardened steel with bolt cutters. And angle grinders make too much noise.
If you don’t want anyone making off with your wheels, you need to choose a lock that’ll become the bane of a thief’s existence. So, how do you know which bike lock is the best? Let’s find out.
How Much Security Do You Need?
The purpose of buying a bike lock is to stop a thief from getting hold of your bike. Obviously. In order to get the right kind of lock, you need to check the location where you will be leaving your bike and how long you will leave it there. Some areas are prone to thefts like a university campus or a city. If you’re leaving your bike for more than an hour, the risk is pretty high that it will get stolen (or someone will attempt to).
A small town or village has a lower risk of theft. And leaving your bike for less than an hour also has a lower risk. Another thing you should consider is how attractive your bike looks. If your bike warrants second glances from passersby, then it has a higher risk of getting stolen. When you’ve figured out whether your bike belongs in the high risk or low-risk category, you can move on to the next step.
Which Bike Lock Types are the Safest?
Among the four bike lock types out there, U-locks and chain locks are considered to be the most secure. This is because they are made using hardened steel, which is not easily cut-able. The two are, however, heavier, bulkier, and most expensive. The least safe are folding locks and cable locks respectively, these are lighter and much easier to use. For this reason, they’d suit you better if you are a regular commuter in less risky areas.
What are the Types Of Bike Locks?
There are four types of bicycle locks available. All of these have advantages and disadvantages. And while we have recommendations, you will be the best judge on what lock will work for you. This is because only you can know if a bike lock fits your lifestyle.
If a lock is too heavy or too small, too difficult to use or carry, or makes it hard for you to find places to lock your bike, then chances are, you’re going to stop using it. Which, as we all well know, will lead to your bike getting stolen. We’ll be listing the pros and cons below and it’ll be up to you to find the one that fits you best.
Also known as D-locks, this type of bike lock is typically heavy and expensive. Most of them provide you with a high level of protection due to the hardened steel which is not easily cut open with your average bolt cutters. Its shape can make it difficult for thieves to find space to insert their tools. However, they are difficult to carry and limit the places where you can secure your bike to.
When choosing a U-Lock, you need to look for the smallest size possible and with a shackle that has a diameter of at least 16mm like the SIGTUNA model WODAN-16. Why is that? First, the smaller the size, the less space the thief has to maneuver his tools between the bike and the object where it is fastened to. With a diameter of 16mm, even the biggest bolt cutters will have difficulty getting through.
As the name suggests, this type of bike lock consists of a big lock and a long metal chain. This does not mean that you should just get a hardware store chain and your average gym lock. That’s just asking for someone to take your bike. A good chain lock is made of thick, high quality hardened steel and the shackle that’s equally resistant to being cut by bolt cutters. The beauty of a chain lock is that it allows you to secure your bike to a wide variety of objects. You can actually choose the length that works best for you.
They also generally offer the same level of security as a U-lock. However, they can be very heavy; the longer they are, the heavier they will be which can make them cumbersome to carry especially for commuters. One of the best chain locks in the industry is the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and New York Disc Bike Lock.
This low profile lock is a popular alternative to chain locks and cable locks for commuters since it’s light, compact, and easy to carry. A folding lock consists of several metal plates that are linked together by rivets which enable the plates to “fold.” You can expand it to fasten around your bike or fold it into a compact package for transport.
Like chain locks, this gives you more flexibility in terms of where to lock your bike compared to a U-lock. However, some aren’t resistant to bolt cutters while others can be easily compromised with the use of a power drill. We only have one folding lock on our list – the Abus Bordo Granit X Plus 6500.
This type of lock is generally the least expensive, lightweight, easy to use, and can be fastened to just about anything. However, they can be easily cut by a 12-inch bolt cutter. This is definitely not recommended for high-risk situations.
This is best used with a cheap bike in low-theft areas. At most, it will prevent an opportunistic bike thief from just walking away with your ride. While we really do not recommend the use of a cable lock, some people still prefer it. If you’re in that group, then the Titanker Bike Lock Cable is right up your alley.
How Do I Find Out How Strong A Lock Is?
Once you’ve figured out the level of security you require, it’s time to check with the experts. While online reviews (including ours) are great sources of information, there’s something to be said about independent third party testers. These organizations make it their life’s work to judge how well a product performs.
In the case of bicycle locks, there are two that stand out – Sold Secure and ART. Both are European testers and while they won’t cover all options in the market, they perform a variety of tests (machines and test engineers) and have strict standards of quality. For high-risk situations, you should get a bike lock that has a Gold rating from Sold Secure and/or 3 or more stars from ART. The Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini falls into that category. For low-risk situations, a silver rating from Sold Secure and/or 2 stars from ART should be sufficient.
That being said, we should emphasize the fact that no bike lock is unbreakable. Given enough time and resources, a bike thief will eventually be able to take off with your precious ride. What a bike lock does is it buys you time. The time that a thief may not be able to spend figuring out how to get your bike.
Features To consider
We’ve already touched upon this a little when we discussed the different types. Make sure to get a lock that will fit around your bike AND whatever object you will be fastening it to. However, you also need to ensure that there’s no wiggle room for an enterprising thief to insert his tools. A tight-fitting lock is a key to ensuring your ride remains right where you left it.
Some cyclists don’t like their bike getting scratched which is a possibility with locks that do not have protective coverings. Some chain locks feature a sleeve to prevent the chain from scratching the bike. Having a soft housing also helps if you plan on carrying the lock inside a bag along with other stuff that could get damaged. For example, the Master Lock Street Cuff Locks has rubber padding to ensure that the lock does not damage the bike.
There are also different types of mechanisms used to secure the lock – keys, combinations, and electronic locks. It will depend on your preference and budget on which one to get.
A lock that utilizes a key has the best security. Sure, a thief can try to pick it but that could take time. Compared to combinations, it’s much harder to pick a key lock. The main drawback of this type of locking mechanism is the need to remember to bring your key with you whenever you’re taking the bike and being careful not to lose the key.
A combination lock takes away that worry but adds on another – having to remember the combination you used. In addition, as we’ve already said, combination locks are much easier to unlock.
Electronic locks are cool and appealing to those of us who are tech-savvy. Some will require a code to unlock while others will do just that when you come near the bike. There are even some that will emit an alarm if someone tries to steal your bike. Of course, this kind of locking mechanism will cost you a pretty penny. And a lot of them require a power source which means there’s a possibility that the battery will run out while your bike is locked outside. What happens then?
Now That You Have Your Lock
It doesn’t matter if you have the most expensive and secure bike lock on the planet if you don’t use it. Yes, there’s no 100% guarantee that your lock will prevent someone from riding off with your bike. But shouldn’t you at least increase the odds of having the thief gets caught in the act by using one? Also, thieves aren’t really targeting your bike.
They just want a bike. Which means a bike secured by a lock isn’t going to appeal to them much. They’re more likely to go to the person who parked his bike without a lock. Below are a few bike theft prevention tips to increase your security even more.
- Lock the frame and wheels as these do get stolen, especially on fancy bikes.
- Don’t leave the lock against the ground because it provides the thief enough leverage to pry open the lock.
- Make sure that you don’t attach your bike to an object that can be moved or broken. Also, make sure that there’s no way for your bike to be lifted over the object such as a short tree or pole.
- Register your bike at your local police station. There’s a serial number located under the bottom bracket. In case the worst happens (you lose it), it’ll make it easier to find the owner should someone bring it to the police station.
Can Bike Locks Freeze?
Yes, a bike lock can freeze at very low temperatures. You see, when water gets inside the lock, it condenses while in there, and as the temperature drops further, it eventually freezes solid.
The different metal components within the locks also tend to contract at different rates in the cold. You can solve this by thawing the ice using hot water, or de-icer sprays, including GT85 OR WD40. Oiling the lock can also come in handy.
Can Bike Locks Be Cut?
With the use of the right pair of cable cutters, most locks made of cable can be cut in minutes. For this reason, safer locks are the ones that take the longest time to cut. Since most thieves don’t carry the more heavy-duty bolt cutters, you can enhance your security further by using a combination of different locks, like U-type locks and chain locks.
As you may have realized by now, there are many different types and qualities of bike locks. Choosing the best one is more about balancing your need for security against the lock’s ease of use. If you are a rider who leaves your bike out for more than an hour, you will discover that the U-locks and Cable chains are the most recommendable. But with some of these models weighing as much as 2.7kgs, it’s definitely worth asking yourself if your bike is really worth the extra 10% worth of cycling lag, more so, if you are a regular cycler.
That said, we hope our list would prove beneficial and ultimately give you the best choice for your individual needs. And remember, even after purchasing the safest bike lockout there, it won’t fully guarantee 100% safety. No matter how strong the lock is, if given enough time, someone somewhere will hack it eventually. So before leaving your beloved pride and joy in the vast beyond, it would be advisable to look at the riskiness of the actual location first and protect your bike as you protect yourself riding.