Best Bike Locks: Prevent It From Being Stolen
Protect your bike from thieves with these strong bike locks
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PUBLISHED ON October 28, 2019
Whether you commute on your bike or ride it around for fun, there will come a time when you need to leave it unsupervised. Parking at a bike rack is fine, but it may get stolen. A durable bike lock will make sure it’s there when you return. By entering a unique code or using a padlock you can ensure your bike isn’t taken while you’re away. Here are the best bike locks to consider to protect your bike against thieves.
- Best OverallKryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Bike LockSummarySummaryIncludes 14 mm thick six-sided chain links made out of tough steel. The chain is protected by a thick and sturdy nylon cover.ProsProsThe lock is developed out of a durable high-performance 15mm steel shackle for additional protection. It is reinforced by a steel crossbar and hardened double deadbolt.ConsConsThe chain may be a bit short for some bike racks but can be extended. It’s heavy and can be a hassle to unlock.
- Best ValueWillceal Bike Lock Bicycle Chain LockSummarySummaryThis is a five-digit combination lock. It’s designed with thick flexible steel cables coated with a strong PVC to prevent scratches.ProsProsThe lock comes with a mounting bracket, an easy-to-set and configure personalized code combination with up to 100,000 possible codes. Also, the whole kit is lightweight.ConsConsUnlocking can be a hassle if the numbers aren’t properly aligned. It’s only 4.5 feet long, and the numbers may freeze up in frigid temperatures.
- Honorable MentionSigtuna Bike LockSummarySummaryThe lock is made out of sturdy 16 mm hardened ABS steel and features a double bolt mechanism with pick-resistant technology.ProsProsThe kit includes three laser-cut keys, so you always have an extra set; four feet of 10mm thick cabling to lock down the bike; and a robust mounting bracket with a one-button release.ConsConsThe design leaves the keyhole open so rain can get inside of it. The instructions can be confusing, and the plastic around the cables feels flimsy.
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Benefits of Bike Locks
- Secure your bike. Stolen bikes are a big issue, and being able to attach your bike’s frame to a secure object will help prevent bike theft.
- Peace of mind. Securing your bike with a lock gives you peace of mind and the confidence that you will find your bike right where you left it.
- Store your bike lock on your bike. Most bicycle locks are designed to lock onto your bike when not in use, so you always have it when you need it.
- They’re made of steel. The best bike lock is made from a strong steel material that cannot be cut or broken easily.
- Different locking options. Most locks are available in either a key lock or a coded locking system, so you can choose the one that works best for you.
- Variety of lock styles. With several options of bike locks, you are sure to find one that works for any situation.
- Bolt cutters won’t work. Steel locks are strong enough to ensure that no one will be able to use bolt cutters on them.
- Use several locks if needed. In some cases, you may need a higher level of security. In high-crime areas where there may be a determined thief, using two types of locks on your bike will help ensure that your bike will be the toughest to steal.
Types of Bike Locks
Chain Link Lock
Most links are made from strong manganese steel or a similar material. The chain is encased with a nylon or PVC sleeve to protect the chain from scratching your bike. The length of the chain can be up to five feet, and it comes with either a key or a combination lock.
The best U-lock is made from a solid piece of thick steel that is shaped like a U. The removable locking mechanism allows you to first insert the lock to secure the bike and then attach the locking mechanism to the open ends. You can choose to have a key or combination lock U-lock.
Made from woven steel material and covered with a protective material, these flexible cables are available in various lengths and thicknesses. These cable locks can be purchased with secure locks. If not, you will need to purchase the lock assembly separately.
In 1971, Michael Zane invented the first U-lock. The company became Kryptonite Lock, and it is based in Canton, Mass. When you register your master lock with this company, you can get help if you lose your key or forget your combination. You will want to lock your bike with the Kryptonite New York Standard Lock or the Kryptonite Bicycle Cable Lock.
SIGTUNA is based in Sweden. It started the World Bicycle Relief program to provide bikes to communities that don’t offer any type of transportation—areas where otherwise, people have to walk. The company is all about securing bikes. One of its top-selling U-locks is the SIGTUNA U-lock. It also sells a lightweight foldable bike lock, the SIGTUNA foldable bike lock.
August Bremicker developed the first padlock in Germany in 1924. Over the years, ABUS has created many locking systems for many uses. It offers many options, providing you with top security. The ABUS U-lock is one of its popular U-locks. Its best-selling chain lock is the ABUS Security Chain and Sleeve; the ABUS-Combination Padlock is sold separately.
Bike Lock Pricing
- Under $25: At this price, you will find quality bike locks with shorter chains or cords that might not be long enough to lock down your bike.
- $25-$50: The mid-range of bike lock systems are found here. You will be sure to find several bike locks that will suit your needs.
- Above $50: In this range, you will find bike locks that are made from heavier steel. They also have longer cables to provide some extra length.
Most locks usually come with several keys. A key allows for an easy and quick way to install or remove the bike lock. Keys are convenient, and you can keep a spare key in your vehicle just in case you lose one.
Some of the best bike locks come with the ability to use a passcode. You enter the code by adjusting the numbers on the lock. Some locks can have four, five, or even 10 numbers. The longer the key lock code is, the more secure the lock will be. This makes it tougher to pick the lock.
- Quality: Look for locks made from hardened steel. The thicker the lock, the tougher it will be to break by someone who is trying to steal your bike.
- Chain Length: Look for a long chain that will offer you the security of keeping your bike secure through its main components. The more secure the chain wraps around and through the bike, the safer it will be.
- Covered Chains: Thick chains covered in a protective material will add another layer of safety to your locked bike. There is less chance of someone taking your bike when it looks overly secured.
Best Bike Lock Reviews & Recommendations 2020
Best Overall: Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Bike Lock
This strong five-foot cable is made from six-sided links of hardened Manganese steel, so it be hard for most people to cut. The cable is encased in a protective, durable cover that won’t scratch your bike. The long cable allows you to secure your bike in the best way possible, and you will also have the length needed to secure it to most bike stands.
This lock is sold with a double deadbolt that provides the extra security you want for your bike. This security system is designed with anti-drill and anti-pull features that prevent someone from breaking into the lock. This company offers a “key safe program”: If you lose your keys they will ship you two new keys for no charge. This feature ensures that you will always be able to unlock your Kryptonite lock.
While the chain is strong there are some issues with the U-lock being cut open. If someone does tamper with the lock it may break, leaving you to figure out how to get the lock off of the bike. Some people have issues with the key not working smoothly in the lock cylinder. Also, the chain may not be long enough in some situations to lock it to a bike rack correctly.
Best Value: Willceal Bike Lock Bicycle Chain Lock
This lightweight lock comes with a mounting bracket for easy attachment to your bike frame. It’s easy to set up and configure with your personal code. With over 100,000 possible combinations, you can rest assured that your code will be secure.
This bike lock comes in a range of fun colors, including white, black, green, blue, orange, purple, and pink. The length of the lock will allow you to secure the front tire, frame, and rear tire. This bike lock can also be used to lock your scooter, gates, sports equipment, and toolboxes. Changing the combination on this lock is easy.
There are, however, some complaints about the quality of the lock and the ease with which it might be broken into. Turning the cylinder to change the numbers may get tough over time as the cylinder becomes tougher to turn. Also, water can get into the keyhole, making it tough to use the key.
Honorable Mention: Sigtuna Bike Lock
This lock’s chain is made out of sturdy 16 mm hardened ABS steel and features a double bolt mechanism with pick-resistant technology. This bike lock kit comes with three laser-cut keys, four feet of 10mm thick cabling to lock down the bike and a robust mounting bracket with a one-button release.
The four-foot cable allows you to lock your tires and frame at the same time. The U-lock and cable combined offer a double layer of security. It’s easy to install the mounting bracket, and the quick-release button really makes this an easy-to-use lock. This product comes with a three-year guarantee.
You may have some issues securing the bike based on the fit of the locking mechanism. There have been a few complaints of the key cylinder not working correctly. The lock may be too heavy and big to secure on the bike, causing it to rattle while you ride the bike.
- If you are using a combination code lock, make sure you use a code that isn’t easy to guess. Try to avoid birthdays or anniversaries, if possible.
- For additional security, get a bike lock that is a vibrant color. They are more noticeable and can be spotted from a distance.
- It’s best to write down or choose a combination code that you won’t easily forget. If you are unable to remember the code, you may be forced to cut off the lock or call a locksmith.
Q: Can a bike lock be used to lock multiple bikes?
A: Not all of them will be able to do this. To efficiently lock down multiple bikes, you need a lock with a longer cable. One that is just 4 feet long may not be enough to reach a second bike.
Q: Where do I put a bike lock when I’m riding the bike?
A: Most locks can be stored in a bike bag or left on the bike while you ride. However, if you put it on the frame you want to make sure it is secured tightly and does not drag or hang from the bike where it can snag on a branch or on your clothing. More robust locks may need to be stored in a backpack or pannier.
Q: Will a bike lock scratch or dent the frame?
A: They can scratch and chip the paint on your bike if they do not have a protective pad around the chain. While many chains include PVC, rubber, or foam padding, others do not. If you need to replace the padding or want to protect your bike, you can wrap cloth around the frame or the chains.
If you want one of the best bike locks to protect your bike, consider the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Bike Lock, which has a sturdy and durable mechanism.
There is the Willceal Bike Lock Bicycle Chain Lock, which is protected by a thick PVC material and comes with thousands of possible combinations to keep your bike right where it is.