LAST UPDATED: October 28, 2019
Best Bike Locks: Prevent It From Being Stolen
Protect your bike from thieves with these strong bike locks
The Review Team
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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.
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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
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.
The OnGuard Bulldog Mini U-Lock is built to offer BullDog-level protection and has a security rating of 63. It is compact and lightweight, and its mounting bracket is easy to lock and unlock due to its snap-lock, quick-release mechanism. The lock comes with five laser-cut keys.
The weight of this lock makes it ideal for those who like to travel light but need the extra security provided by a double bolt bike lock. The manufacturer also offers an ultra-light key that emits a bright white beam, making the lock easy to open at night.
While this bike lock acts as a theft deterrent, it will not stop a determined thief. The mounting bracket is not very sturdy and may break after a few attempts. Additionally, the lock jams if it gets too wet in the rain. The lock is also held together by poorly-constructed plastic tabs.
It takes less than five minutes for a thief to steal your bike, which is why you need a bike lock that offers a high level of security. This bike lock does. It features a double deadbolt, anti-rotation design, and resists bolt cutters, hand tools, and leverage attacks. It is resistant to drilling and picking, thanks to its disc-style cylinder with a center keyway.
The bike lock comes with two stainless steel keys that are ergonomically designed and prevent them from breaking or bending. If you lose those keys, the company sends you the first two replacement keys for free (as long as you registered the original ones online). The bike lock has a snap-in bracket that’s mounted on the side for convenient locking.
However, with a 5/10 rating, this may not be the best bike lock for your bike. Kryptonite says it is only good for quick stops in metropolitan areas. The company offers anti-theft protection, but you have to pay for it. The lock may also start to jam after a while.
The Via Vela bike lock is designed to give you extra peace of mind when you're far away from your bike. It's a well-made and quality item you can use in all kinds of situations, regardless of the weather. Thanks to the super-easy installation, you'll be ready to go in a breeze.
The bike lock features weather-resistant material and is covered with a hexagonal PVC cover. Therefore, you'll be able to leave your bike wherever you find it most convenient. With two keys, you won't risk getting in the awkward situation of not being able to unlock your precious bike.
Another great thing about this lock is its woven steel cable. The part is designed for more protection but it also makes life a lot easier. Furthermore, the lock is pull- and drill-resistant and you can mount it by using a provided mounting bracket.
One of the things that might bother you with this product, though, is the locking feature. The part where the keys go in is plastic. It feels flimsy and might get easily damaged. Also, the mount is not very secure, and the U-lock might jolt around while riding over bumps. Make sure to handle it carefully when on the road.
Kryptonite offers a highly reliable bike lock that allows you to secure your bike wherever you are. This product is super heavy and sturdy, making things incredibly difficult for thieves. Furthermore, it comes in five different colors, so you can pick the one that complements your bike.
Users love this lock for many reasons, with the main one being its sturdy construction. The item is made of high-quality steel and it features a modern link design that secures the chain directly to the hardened deadbolt. That makes it super stable and safe. Additionally, the materials are weather- and drill-resistant, so you'll definitely use this lock to secure your bike for a long time. It comes with two ergonomic keys.
However, it might take some time to get used to the mechanism. The lock is sometimes difficult to position in the right way. It's also a little bulky, so you might have issues with carrying it around. That makes the lock a little unsuitable for long trips, especially when backpacking for longer periods.
If you're a fan of folding locks, this model might be a perfect option for you. The Abus lock features 5mm-thick steel bars that wrap around the bike and stay on securely, no matter what thieves try to do. That will give you some peace of mind and allow you to ride without worry.
The lock is made of sturdy and durable materials, and it features a soft silicone coating for more comfort during the use. The lock works on a combination you can easily set. The bars expand and fold down for easy storage, which is rather convenient. Overall, the lock is rather compact and lightweight, allowing you to take it with you on backpacking and biking trips.
One of the drawbacks of this product is the rubber holder. Some buyers complained about the lock rattling during rides because the holder is awkwardly designed. Others also noticed that the lock is not long enough to wrap around thick objects or two bikes. In fact, it's barely enough for one bike.
Here’s another high-quality bike lock from Kryptonite. It's a thick item made of quality steel that's able to resist a lot of abuse. Thanks to the hardened casing and a long looped cable, the item ensures ultimate security for your bike.
The lock offers excellent anti-theft protection and a long lifespan. The company incorporates new technology in producing crossbars that can resist cuts and twists, and this model has them, too. This means thieves won't be able to cut or dismantle the lock in any way. There's also a protective vinyl coating to make the product even more durable. Additionally, you'll get three stainless steel keys and a lifetime warranty.
However, you'll have to spend a little more to get this heavy-duty lock. If you're on a tight budget, the product might not be the ideal option for you. When it comes to the overall design of the lock, the biggest drawback is the fact that the key tends to get stuck. The lock is a little heavy and stiff, making it difficult to turn the key.
If you're searching for a budget-friendly bike lock that will provide enough protection and reliability, this NDakter lock might be perfect for you. This lock is rather simple yet incredibly efficient. Once you set it up on your bike, you can leave it without worry, knowing that nobody can cut through the lock.
Because this lock makes an inexpensive alternative, it doesn't have many features to offer. Still, that doesn't come at the expense of its overall performance. The lock features a thick and sturdy cable and allows you to set up a perfect locking combination. Even better, it's made of high-quality and durable materials and features a protective coating to prevent accidental scratches and prolong the lifespan of the lock itself. As if all of this isn't enough, you get to pick from seven colors.
Still, you might have a few issues with setting up the lock at first. The package does include instructions, but they are vague and might cause even more confusion. Some customers also complained about the cable being too short for some bike models.
This is a simple lock cable many people purchase. Although it might seem fragile, the item is very secure and does the job quite well. With it, you'll be able to set up a four-letter combination and lock your bike in a few seconds.
The lock features a strong and flexible cable that is highly resistant to cuts. It's quite sturdy and durable, with a vinyl coating to prevent weather damage and bicycle scratches. The combination is also super easy to reset whenever you want. Overall, the lock is easy to set up and compact enough to be carried around. You'll be able to use it for quite some time and protect your bike at a low cost.
Keep in mind that the lock is quite heavy and large, though. You might find it too large for your bicycle type, so make sure to check the dimensions before purchase. You also might run into a few issues when installing the lock. It's stiff at the beginning, so it requires careful handling.
- 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’re looking for the best bike lock to protect your bike, consider the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Bike Lock which is sturdy and built to last.
If you want a more affordable option, the ONGUARD Bulldog Mini U-Lock is a good choice. It offers bulldog-level protection and will keep your bike safe.