Now that you have dropped some serious coin on what can conceivable called your new best friend, the next investment on your list should be a solid bike lock for keeping your new whip secured while out in the world. Though you may have maxed out your credit limit buying the bicycle of your dreams, make sure you have enough funds left over for a retaining device that will keep what’s yours – yours.
As with bicycle frames, bicycle locks come in a variety of shapes and sizes that are sure to meet your specific needs. From the good looking to the ultra-light to the downright indestructible, there is a lot out there that is going to suffice for any type of two-wheeler. In this list, we will take a comprehensive look at the types of locks out there, give you a quick guide on making the most of each locking attempt, and then break down what we find useful about all of our picks. Have a look at our options and find out which of these armored anchorages will be the best fit for you and your steed.
Types Of Locks
Like the many different styles of frames you’ve seen while shopping for your bicycle, the lock industry is also segmented into various shapes and categories depending on the specific needs of the user. Some types are design to be cost-effective, some to be ultra-strong, while some are designed to work in a variety of locations, and others with the intent of being as lightweight as possible. Here are the major categories that we have our list broken down into:
Chain: Tried and true, the chain lock is historically the oldest design on our list, with roots dating back to ancient times. The idea is simple – provide a thick material for the chain, mate it to a heavy-duty locking shackle, and the job is done. While not all chain locks are this basic, they do all tend to have girth as their redeeming quality.
U-Lock: The original design for bicycle-specific security, the U-Lock uses a U-shaped shackle and straight crossbar to provide a tight bond between the bicycle and whatever it is being locked against. Rated highly for their tenacious strength, these robust locks can tip the scales on the higher end.
Folding: With a series of links attached by rivets, folding locks are a great way to extend your locking possibilities. Designed to travel compactly, then to be deployed as long locking loops, their strength comes from their inherent shape that proves difficult to bust.
Flexible Strap: Being the newest entry to the industry, these locks are made with futuristic materials and construction methods that intend to be game-changers for the industry. Though not always intended for long term security, some entries in this category will provide protection against unimaginably high forces.
How To Get The Job Done
After selecting the perfect locking companion from our list and before heading out to make your first pit stop, take some time to practice locking up your bike in a safe environment so that you can get acquainted with your new system. It might also be a good idea to try locking to various shapes and sizes of anchors if available, which will give you a lot of personal time with your bike and lock.
Though there is not a one-size-fits-all method for locking a bicycle, it is often said that your best bet against thieves is to use as small of a lock as possible to not give any extra materials to be pried, twisted, or chopped on. If available, the strongest point to attach the lock to on your bike will be around the rear wheel and seat tube of the frame, then to a solidly mounted bike rack. With this method, you will be securing the two most valuable components of the ride, the frame and rear wheel, and should minimize the amount of wiggle room for bad guys to grab onto.
If your bike has quick-release wheel axles, it is also a good idea to consider a secondary piece of equipment to tether these to your lock. In a world where seemingly anything that is not bolted down really, really well, there is nothing stopping a thief from absconding with a wheel or other single component of your bike if not secured, so be vigilant and think of additional safety measures if needed.
Blackburn Local U-Lock
Even if you are leaving your bicycle in a low threat area, it is still a good idea to put a few millimeters of steel between your wheels and would-be thieves. While the Blackburn Local U-Lock won’t earn marks for being the toughest lock on this list, the 10mm hexagonal hardened steel shackle is a hefty theft deterrent. Wrapped in a silicone sheath to protect your bike frame when locking, this extra layer adds to the material thickness, further protecting the lock from being cut. Available in three lengths to make sure the fit is perfect for your needs, the Local U-Lock also includes 3 keys and a mounting bracket so you will never leave home without it.
Length: 162mm, 196mm, 230mm
OTTOLOCK Cinch Lock
While we normally picture heavy, thick steel as the basis for any trustworthy locking device, there is nothing to say this is the only way to secure your bicycle while making a quick stop. Made from a multi-layer steel and Kevlar band, the OTTOLOCK Cinch is a flat, almost ribbon-like design that provides a unique take on bike locks. With the ability to roll up into a small three-inch circle, the Santoprene plastic and Cerakote finished combination lock is handy enough to be tossed in a saddlebag to provide theft protection for quick stops during your ride. Though this lock would not be suitable for long term storage or use in high-crime areas, the Cinch is an excellent small-footprint lock that will keep your bike safe when heading into the cafe to grab a scone.
Style: Flexible Strap Lock
Weight: 0.4 lbs
Kryptonite Evolution Mini 7 U-Lock
It is not often that a simple idea leads to the birth of an entire industry, a product category that becomes so mundane that it is never thought of as anything but normal. Kryptonite has been one of those legendary brands, creating the bicycle security industry near 50 years ago with their first U-Lock, and the Evolution Mini 7 U-Lock is the modern resemblance of that original concept. A disc-style cylinder provides pick and drill resistance, while a double-deadbolt design locks down the 13mm hardened steel shackle that gives added security against twisting tactics. Included in this combo set is a four-foot steel cable to keep your wheels or accessories snugged up tight under this heavy-duty lock.
Weight: 3.5 lbs
The key to any lock successfully securing your bicycle is that you have it on hand when the need arises – because good does a lock do you if you have left it at home. With the aim to make sure you are never able to head out on your bike without your bike along for the ride, the Seatylock Trekking is a folding shackle lock that is built right into the base of your saddle. In a snap, remove the Seatylock saddle and unfold the lock to provide a system that not only locks your bike well but also makes sure nobody will be running off with your saddle either.
Weight: 3.0 lbs
OnGuard Mastiff #8201
Sometimes you may find yourself as the leader of the pack, be it your squad of friends or the biker gang from your own household, and when heading out with the crew it is great peace of mind to have one lock that can secure the whole lot. At six-feet of titanium-reinforced square-link chain goodness, the OnGuard Mastiff #8021 is a near ten-pound beast that features an integrated X2P Dual Lock Down head for seamless continuity. With a bike protection offer guaranteed up to $2001, the manufacturer is standing behind the durability of this lock in the event that thieves are able to swipe your steed.
Weight: 9.8 lbs
Kryptonite New York Lock
Though the Big Apple might not be the crime capital it once was, there is no doubt that the daily life on the city’s streets is synonymous with what it takes to be tough. In homage to the diehard thieves of the City That Never Sleeps, the Kryptonite New York Lock holds it down with a 16mm MAX-Performance steel shackle gripped by a double deadbolt core that is wrapped in hardened steel for added security. With a fusion of all of their greatest offerings into a single product, Kryptonite is giving this U-Lock a 9 out of 10 on its security grading scale.
Weight: 4.5 lbs
In a sport that counts grams as religiously as Kardashian’s count calories, it is no surprise that some players in the security industry are putting a lightweight design at the forefront of their offerings. TiGr has taken a unique approach to the goal of preventing bicycle burglary with locks with unique bow style loops, and their Mini is triangular shaped U-Lock weighing in at less than 1 pound, but providing the same level of theft prevention as the heavyweights. Constructed of titanium in the USA, the asymmetrical shape of the lock is intended to keep a tight grasp on a wheel and the frame, minimizing the ability for crooks to pry or twist the lock open.
Weight: 0.9 lbs
Litelok Gold Original
While designing for maximum security, there is the inevitable hurdle of creating something so strong that the necessary tools available to make it are unable to meet the needs for production. Birthed of a proprietary material so tough that it takes the force equivalent to the weight of an F18 fighter jet just to trim it to length, the Litlok Gold Original is a flexible lock unlike any other on our list. The proprietary Boaflexcore material is made from an ultra-tough material extrusion covering 200 strands of high tensile steel, giving great resistance to cutting tools, but also stopping attacks from torsion tools, all while remaining completely pliable for ease of attachment to unusual anchorages.
Style: Flexible Strap
Weight: 2.4 lbs
ABUS Bordo 6000
During your daily commutes and weekend pleasure rides your stops may not always be at locations that have bicycle-friendly parking options and you may have to use your imagination on what will be a friendly anchor for your ride. Designed with this exact predicament in mind, the ABUS Bordo 6000 folding lock has the ability to latch itself securely to even the most obscure objects. Similar in functionality to the folding rulers from days past, the compact lock’s riveted steel shackles extend to make a loop that will be longer, and in some cases stronger than U-Locks available in the same class. The included bracket mounts to your bike frame for a snug, unobtrusive fit, so you will always be ready to deploy the Bordo at a moment’s notice.
Weight: 2.69 lbs
Hiplok Gold Superbright
As discussed in other picks on this list, the importance of having your lock on hand is really what brings their value, because a bike is only as secure as the lock that is holding it. With their brand rooted in creating locks that can be worn, the Hiplok Gold Superbright is a security device that lives where its name implies, on the rider’s hips. Shaped like a belt, the 10mm hardened steel chain is attached to a 12mm shackle for maximum security, while the adjustable velcro strap adjusts to accommodate waists from 24 to 44-inches. Wrapped in a reflective sleeve to provide ultra-high visibility while on the road, this lock is smartly designed in more ways than one.
Weight: 5.3 lbs
ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 U-Lock
If you have a bike that is worth its weight in gold, then you are probably thinking that there may not be any solution to keep your prized possession from being pilfered. While it may be hard to stop theft in every situation, the ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 U-Lock is going to be your best bet again thwarting thieves thanks to its long list of high-level security features. Starting with a special hardening process for all of the steel used in the lock, ABUS ups the ante with a 13mm double-locking shackle, an X-Plus key cylinder, and patented power-cell technology to make this lock the flagship of their offering.
Weight: 3.5 lbs
Altor Apex Ti
Rounding out the picks on our list is a lock that has taken notes from many of the other locks we have reviewed, all with the intent of providing a security system that looks as good as your ride does without skimping on any toughness. The Altor Apex Ti is the second iteration of a lock from the brand, with the Grade 5 titanium alloy construction supplying an excellent balance of low weight and high strength, all delivered in a sleek modern design. Constructed in the USA with high-security disc detainer lock mechanism and hardened steel reinforced rivets, extendable design folds down for easy carrying, and the 1.5-pound weight means there is never an excuse to leave home without it.
Weight: 1.5 lbs
The 12 Best Fixed Gear Bikes
If your wheels aren’t worth locking down, now is the best time to upgrade your whip to match the grade of this lock lineup, so take a look at our list of the best fixed gear bikes to find your perfect pedaling partner.