Top Bike Locks There Is!

Sooner or later, each bike owner faces a challenge in choosing a reliable bike lock. Nobody wants to darken the joy of buying a new bike by its quick theft. Regardless of the price, bike locks are not worth saving on – a high-quality and durable lock is able to recoup your bike several times.

Even if your iron friend costs almost nothing at all, eventually, you will realize that parking your bike without protection (even for 5 minutes) is not safe. Thefts often do not care what to steal, and your nerves (and spirits) will not be restored.

The best way to protect your bike from theft is to never leave it unattended. Unfortunately, not a single lock, even the most reliable one, can save your bike from an experienced bike thief. The question is, why did they come up with a huge variety of cables, chains, and locks? And the answer is, to buy time.

When choosing a bike lock, you need to consider price, reliability, manufacturer, advantages, disadvantages, and a few more important factors.

Thin bike cables can be cut in seconds, and the protection they provide is illusory. Durable high-quality locks are costly, but a thief will need from 5 to 20 minutes to crack them, and there is a much bigger chance that will you return to your bike or a thief will get scared away by a passerby.

We strongly recommend that you do not leave your bike for a long time, and make sure you have at least two (preferably different) durable bike locks.

The list below has some of the most reliable bike locks, but even they do not provide a 100% guarantee against theft.

A review of the Best Bike Locks on the Market

Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 U-Lock – Best bike lock

 

 

In our opinion, if a cable is used as anti-theft protection, it can only be used in combination with a high-quality U-lock, designed by a proven manufacturer. If you agree, take a look at the Kryptolok Series Mini 7 with flex from Kryptonite, one of the most famous and trusted brands in the world, if not the best.

It is designed to protect bike frames and wheels with a U-lock and a cable to protect the second wheel and saddle + additional bike accessories. Both, despite their miniaturization (4″ x 9″ lock, 2.85 lbs), look impressive and provide a solid average level of protection (6/10). The thickness of the hardened max-performance steel shackle is 13 mm.

The set includes 2 unique stainless steel keys which the company guarantees to return in case of loss/theft – you only need to register on their website. In addition, thanks to Anti-Theft Protection, the manufacturer provides a partial refund of money in case of product hacking, provided that the lock was used properly.

Also attached is a special bracket to mount on the bike frame (Transit FlexFrame-U system). Thanks to its compact design, you can always carry the lock with yourself and, if necessary, quickly remove/mount it. For those who don’t leave their bikes for more than 1.5 or 1 hour, this set can be simply the perfect solution.

Specifications

  • 13 mm hardened max-performance steel shackle
  • 4‘ Kryptoflex double loop cable
  • 2 stainless steel keys
  • Rotating protective vinyl coating
  • Dimensions – 4″ x 9″ x 1.2″
  • Weight – 2.85 lbs

Features

  • Reinforced hardened cross bar design
  • High-security disc-style cylinder
  • Center keyway
  • Transit Flexframe-U Transportation System
  • Anti-rattle bumpers (reduced noise)
  • Anti-theft protection (a partial reimbursement)
  • Key Safe Program (register your keys online to get them back)

Kryptonite produces the most reliable bicycle locks in the world, compared to other manufacturers, offering a wide choice of security products:

  • U-locks. It is impossible to insert a crowbar or a tool that affects the integrity of the product. It is very hard to destroy with a hammer and other tools of destruction.
  • Chain locks. A chain in such locks is made of strong hardened steel, and the links are hidden in a soft coating that protects the bike from scratches and unintentional damage.
  • Cable locks. Allows several bikes/items to be fastened together. Such type of locks is used as an additional anti-theft measure.
  • Stronghold anchors. Not convenient to use, but durable and reliable.

Depending on personal preferences, the customer can choose between a lock with a code or key.

Kryptonite U-shaped Lock Types

Keeper. Basic models with a 5/10 security rating on the scale of the manufacturer, suitable for securing inexpensive bikes.
Kryptolok. The golden mean of the quartet. With a 6/10 security rating, these locks are suitable for most city bikes.
Evolution. Strong and reliable locks that provide solid protection with a security rating of 7-8/10. The series offers the biggest choice of locks in terms of weight, length, and height.
New York. A premium and reliable segment with a top-level security rating (9-10/10). New York is a perfect choice for parking expensive bikes outside for a long time.

When manufacturing high-quality locks, Kryptonite uses materials that make its products a real challenge to smash/cut, no matter if you use a hacksaw, hammer, or bolt cutter. The time, spent on hijacking a bike, significantly increases, compared to other brands.

 

ABUS Granit XPlus 540/160 – Best bike u lock

 

 

The ABUS 540 Granit X-Plus U-lock is a flagship model, perfect for providing reliable protection for premium bikes. On ABUS Security Level, this lock is on the highest 15th level. The Granit XPlus is notable for its unsurpassed durability – all its elements are made of special high-quality steel with multistage hardening, according to the latest technologies.

The latter ensures high external hardness and interior elasticity of the material, which makes the lock extremely resistant to serious impacts. A 13-mm bracket of the ABUS 540 Granit X-Plus has the parabolic form, which makes it virtually unbreakable. After all, any object with such a bracket has two contact points, which reduces pressure on each separate point.

ABUS laboratory tests have proved that the lock can withstand 7.5 tonnes of tension! In addition, the shackle has a square cross-section which will prevent twisting it within the case, in case someone cuts the lock.

The model represents a patented ABUS PowerCell locking system which reliably blocks the shackle on both sides. Thus, when someone tries to pull/stretch/crack the lock, the impact will be distributed over the entire case. The ABUS 540 Granit X-Plus delivers a considerable level of protection and resistance to intellectual attacks, thanks to its cylinder which supports 1,2 million combinations.

The set also includes two stainless steel keys (one has an LED light for convenience in the dark) and a code card with an individual number of the lock. With this number, you can, if needed, order an additional key from the manufacturer. Besides, an ABUS X-Plus system supports an option “various locks, one key,” which means the lock can be “synced” with other security accessories that have the same system.

The ABUS 540 Granit X-Plus has extremely high corrosion resistance and its keyhole is also water- and dirtproof. Therefore, the model is perfectly adapted for external use in any weather. The model is accessible in two sizes: with a 230 mm and 300 mm (17 mm diameter) shackles, which allows you to choose the best fit.

The weight of the lock is, respectively, 1500 or 1700 g. For carrying this lock, the manufacturer recommends using special mounts: USH540 or KLICKfix EaZyKF. The manufacturer’s warranty is 2 years. The product is made in Germany.

Specifications

  • Dimensions – 108 mm x 230 mm
  • Weight – 1500 g
  • Shackle diameter – 13 mm (hardened square shaft parabolic)
  • 2 stainless steel keys (one LED-lighted)
  • Security level – 15
  • Frame diameter – 15-35 mm

Features

  • High lockpick protection (Security level 15)
  • Dual locking system
  • Single key for multiple ABUS locks
  • High pulling/impact resistance
  • Hardened steel components
  • Automatic keyhole cover
  • Made in Germany

The German manufacturer is known for its top-class locks available at affordable prices. Cable locks are especially popular with the brand and have a number of advantages:

  • A solid base is a guarantee of security. The cable is based on high-quality stainless steel and is hard to cut with a standard thieves’ arsenal.
  • You can choose from various cable coating options (e.g. fabric or PVC ) which protect the bike frame from damage and scratches.
  • The brand has cable locks with keys or combination locks (3/4 digits).

 

Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboutit Mini Lock – Best bike lock for a city

 

 

The Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini is a top-of-the-line compact Kryptonite bike lock with 10/10 Kryptonite Security Rating. A massive shackle of this U-lock has 18 mm thickness and is made of hardened max-performance steel. This model is characterized by a compact size and maximum protection index.

Such a lock is a real challenge for thieves – they will have a hard time to cut or smash it. Additional protection for the locking mechanism is provided by a dense vinyl-coated steel protective jacket. The mechanism is also resistant to lockpicking and drilling. The lock weighs about 4.4 lbs (2 kg) – yes, it’s not the lightest on the market, but if you care about your bike, the extra weight in your backpack shouldn’t bother you.

The lock comes with 3 stainless steel keys (including one LED-lighted key) which fall under the Key Safe Program (you can have the first two keys back for free (if lost/stolen), after the registration of the lock on the official website. 3 different lock options available (Mini-light bundle, New-U, Original)

New York Fahgettaboudit Mini is perfect for bike parking (office parking, etc.) and some people consider this particular model the best bike lock of them all. But don’t forget, any bike lock only helps to keep your bike safe and does not guarantee 100% protection! Choose the right place to park your two-wheeled friend.

Specifications

  • Shackle diameter – 18 mm
  • Dimensions – 3.25″ x 6″ (8.3cm x 15.3cm)
  • Weight – 4.55 lbs (2 kg)
  • Patented hardened steel sleeve
  • 3 stainless steel keys included (1 key with an LED light)

Features

  • Hardened steel shackle
  • Compact bike-parking version
  • Double deadbolt locking
  • High-security disc-style cylinder
  • Center keyway
  • Sliding dustcover + vinyl coating
  • Key Safe Program (first 2 keys (if lost) free worldwide delivery)
  • Up to $5000 reimbursement for 1 year
  • Lifetime warranty

 

Abus Bordo GRANIT X Plus 6500 – Best mountain bike lock

 

Looking for maximum security for your expensive bike? Then the ABUS Bordo Granit X-Plus 6500 is exactly what you need! The top class folding lock from ABUS consists of steel plates and combines the reliability of a U-lock and convenience of a chain. This lock has the highest ABUS security rating (15/15).

6 hardened steel plates are connected by special rivets on the ABUS Link Protection technology for additional protection against drilling. The cylinder guarantees high protection against intelligent lockpick methods. The lock also has soft silicone coating for the frame protection against scratches and damages.

Thanks to its compactness and flexibility, it is easy to carry around or mount on a bike. The set includes an ST or SH carriers (optionally) for transporting the lock. Official warranty on all Abus products is 24 months.

Specifications

  • Maximum ABUS Security Level protection index: 15 out of 15
  • 6 hardened steel plates
  • ABUS XPlus Code Card (for making an additional key or replacing it)
  • 2 keys included (1 key with a LED light)
  • Weight – 1580 g
  • Length – 85 cm
  • Color – white
  • Made in Germany

Features

  • Reliable lock mechanism
  • Soft coating to keep your bike painted
  • Color-matching silicone cover
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • ABUS link-protection shield
  • ABUS X-Plus lock cylinder with double-sided key for extremely high protection against manipulation and intelligent attacks
  • Easy to transport (flexible plate connection ensures convenient transportation)
  • Optional ST or SH carrier is included
  • Perfect for guarding expensive bicycles
  • Tool-free attachment

 

FOLDYLOCK Compact Bike Lock – Best bike chain lock

 

 

In recent years, the Foldylock Compact has become an unexpected hit. Weighing only 1 kg (2.2 lb) and folding into an 18.9 cm (7.45″) x 4 cm (1.6″) block, it is one of the most portable and compact bike locks on the market. Circumference dimensions are 85 cm (33.5″). Most locks of this type have a Sold Secure Bronze rating, so Foldylock’s Silver rating is impressive.

What’s even more impressive, is the ease of use – a portable bike lock case is designed in such a way that a special latch is triggered when the lock is fully inserted into the case. This eliminates the need for any additional straps on the top, as the lock case is already securely locked, which, in turn, means that you can insert and remove the lock from the case much easier and faster.

The lock is reinforced with hardened steel links and covered with a plastic outer layer to protect your bike frame from damage. The lock can be securely attached to a bike frame. This is a nice and compact offer which is probably the best solution for suburbs or a relatively small break in a city.

You can visit the manufacturer’s website (or YouTube) and watch a video entitled “How tough is the Foldylock Compact? – and you’ll know everything. As the manufacturer states, it’s “there when you need it, unnoticeable when you don’t.” Various color options (grey, yellow, orange, blue) to match your bike are also available.

Specifications

  • Dimensions – 18.9 cm (7.5″) x 4.1 cm (1.6″)
  • Weight – 1 kg (2.2 lbs)
  • Circumference – 85 cm (33.5″)
  • 6 hardened steel links
  • 3 stainless steel keys
  • Code card
  • Installation manual

Features

  • Ultra-lightweight design
  • Durability and compactness
  • Heavy-duty rivets (VSR Technology)
  • Anti-drilling components
  • Rust and UV protection
  • Plastic coating for bike’s frame protection
  • Easy to use/carry
  • Silent ride (rattle elimination mechanism)
  • Affordable price

 

SIGTUNA Folding Bike Lock – Best cheap bike lock

 

 

This lightweight compact folding lock was built to last. First of all, the price is really low which makes it a great value for money! Look, we know what we are talking about. Here, it’s all about convenience and durability in terms of usage, storing, and long reliable service.

You will have absolutely no problems with using this tool to keep your bike safe, no matter if you live in a city or some small town. The dimensions are 7.5″ x 1.6″ x 2.2″ and the lock’s weight is only 1 lb. Besides, it can unfold to 60 cm, so you can lock 2 bikes with it at the same time!

The set also features 3 laser-cut keys, a high-quality cylinder (designed using the latest locking technology), 8 mm steel bars in the extra soft-touch coating, high-performance rivets for exceptional theft protection, elastic straps, and a sturdy mounting bracket. It’s pick-resistible and powerful, so you can rely on it to guard your bike. But don’t get too far away though!

As long as there are locks, there are thieves who know how to crack them! But this lock can give you some good time to save your bike. The lock also comes with a 3-year warranty.

Specifications

  • Dimensions – 7.5″ x 1.6″ x 2.2″
  • Weight – 1 lb
  • 8 mm thick hardened steel bars
  • High-performance rivets
  • 60 cm length (when unfolded)
  • 3 laser-cut keys
  • Sturdy mounting bracket
  • Elastic straps

Features

  • Durability and security
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Easy mounting
  • Pick resistance
  • Huge locking power (you can lock 2 bikes)
  • Latest locking technology (reliable cylinder)
  • Extra soft bar coating

 

SIGTUNA 16mm Heavy Duty U Lock – Best lightweight bike lock

 

 

This heavy-duty SIGTUNA U-lock will make thieves think twice before stepping up to your bike and trying to steal it. Hence, your nerves will be safer and your mood will not be spoiled.

The set includes a thick durable hardened steel cable which you can use to secure your bike accessories (e.g., your bike helmet, bags, or whatever you take with you), a convenient mounting bracket with a one-button release to secure the lock on your bike with no efforts, and three laser-cut security keys. Yes, it’s kind of heavy, but the bigger the weight, the more durable and harder it is to crack.

Due to the additional cable, you can lock two bikes at once! Besides, you can easily store it on your bike frame when not in use – it won’t bother you during your long rides and pedaling across the city, due to a velcro strap which also comes in the set. Get yourself double security with SITGUNA and enjoy your bike every day with no fear!

Specifications

  • Dimensions – 9.45″ x 5.4″ (1.77″ wide cylinder)
  • 16 mm (0.63″) hardened steel shackle
  • 10 mm thick woven steel double loop flex cable (4′)
  • Mounting bracket holder
  • A double-bolt locking mechanism
  • 3 laser-cut security keys
  • Instruction manual

Features

  • Durability
  • Convenience
  • Versatility (fits most bikes)
  • Easy usage
  • Double protection
  • Tested and certified

 

Things to Know about Bike Locks

There are a number of bike lock types, including a conventional U-lock, chain, cable, folding or even fabric locks. In addition, there are various immobilizers such as O-locks that secure the rear wheel in place.

The latter is popular in places like Scandinavia and the Netherlands, where hundreds of inexpensive city bikes are parked in public areas. However, in the US or UK, there is no such safety, so a bike should be locked around a solid site or bike rack.

Most locks will work with a key, and the most reliable locks are always working fine. Some less secure cable locks use a combination mechanism, while some cyclists often use smart locks with Bluetooth to activate and deactivate them remotely.

To choose the most effective security unit for your bike protection, you need to know which types of locks are available, as well as their pros and cons. This will reduce the selection criteria. When choosing a lock for your bike, pay due attention to where you plan to leave (park) the bike most often, rather than just focusing on the price.

Most of the locks are aimed at securing bikes at special parking lots near buildings. But if necessary, you can easily use popular models for securing the bike around benches, pipes, or lamp poles. Whatever the type you choose, do not save on your bike safety. The question “How much is it worth?” is best left to the end of the criteria.

Keys or Combinations?

Security units can be locked with a key or using a combination of numbers. A combination lock, according to its security level, has approximately the same results as key models. The choice here is directly related to your convenience. Some people find it hard to remember the cipher, others find it inconvenient to keep looking for a key in their pockets. In either case, usability plays a crucial role in both situations.

Due to the wide variety of models and specific characteristics, the security parameters of a bike chain locks vary considerably. Quality, comfort, and reliability of locks are often price-sensitive.

U-locks

This type of bike locks is the most reliable in everyday use. A U-shaped bike lock is hard to cut or open with a picklock. In any case, to get the desired result, the thief will have to spend a huge amount of time and effort. A typical U-lock is designed in a way that you can secure a frame and one wheel to the ground in a bicycle park or parking lot.

Of course, an experienced thief will be able to cut it, but it is still much harder to deal with a U-shaped lock than with any other lock type. The Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 ATB is made of hardened impact-resistant steel and has a disc-shaped high-quality cylinder that can withstand almost any tool of the trade (bolt cutters, drills, carjacks, and hacksaws).

Given the price, this bike lock is considered to be quite expensive, but nevertheless, it is considered to be the best lock for a bicycle.

The main disadvantage of U-locks is the low possibility of circumference. In this regard, users often have to face a question – which is better to secure, the frame or wheel. The most negative aspect of the design is when it comes to securing a bike around a pipe or wide pipe/column.

Folding Locks

Folding locks are fairly new on the market, gaining popularity every day among those who need reliable bike protection. Such locks have several advantages over traditional U-locks and chains (e.g. easy transportation, practical length). The disadvantages, in turn, include limited choice and doubtful durability. The latter, of course, depends on the manufacturer.

Folding bike locks are made of a range of metal bars fastened with rivets. The latter allows the bars to rotate, so you can secure a lot of your stuff with the lock which is, at the same time, compact and lightweight, which is, basically, their main advantages compared to U-locks and chain locks.

Although folding locks do not have a large range of reach, their shape is changeable, which means that your bike can be locked in places where the U-shaped competitor cannot get. You would never be able to lock 2 bikes (including wheels) with a standard U-lock.

As mentioned above, the main advantage of folding bike locks is that they can be folded into an incredibly compact shape for easy transportation on a bike. They are usually supplied with a cover that can be mounted to the bottle holder with screws or attached to the bike frame with Velcro.

Anyone who has ever faced a U-shaped lock frame mount, unable to hold the lock soundlessly, will appreciate how tight and quiet the folding guard is on their bike frame. No rattling, movements, and doubts that your lock will fall off the frame!

If you want to carry the lock in a bag, the compact shape takes up much less space than a U-shape, which is very practical.

Choosing a Proper Folding Lock

If the ease of transportation is essential for you, and/or you like the advanced features provided by a flexible shape of the lock, this type is your perfect choice. But which one should you buy?

This can be done based on your level of risk. When choosing a lock for a bicycle, the first step is always to determine a risk level. The following questions will help you.

  • Where do you live? Small town or city?
  • Do you think your bike can attract attention?
  • How long do you leave your bike unattended? More/less than 1 hour?

Knowing this, estimate the strength of a bike lock you need.

Cable locks

Cable locks, generally, are very similar to chain locks, but the first ones weigh much less and have a more compact design. In particular, it may be comfortable to use a spiral cable lock that can be wrapped around the seat when moving. Despite seeming pretty tight when assembled, a cable lock can be unwound to a greater length, which allows a number of bike components to be secured at the same time.

Things to Consider When Mounting a Bike Lock

There are a few ways to lock your bike safely. Which one to choose depends on a number of parameters: the price of your bike, quality of the lock, and parking spot. However, there are always certain rules that are worth following.

  • Always lock the frame to stationary immovable objects. If you only lock the wheel, the thief will simply unscrew it and get away with your frame. This may seem obvious, but it is the most common mistake.
  • Make sure that the lock does not touch the ground or grabs the top tube of the bike. If your lock is close to the ground, it becomes more vulnerable to bolt cutters or hammers, where the ground will be additional support. If you secure the lock around the top tube, the thief will try to use the frame to break the lock by lifting and rotating the entire bike. Ideally, the lock should be secured around the lower tube or saddle tube.
  • Always try to choose the golden mean (not too crowded or too isolated places) with not too many people walking by. Ideally, it has to be a place with video surveillance systems. If you see that the area is not safe, avoid it or use an extra lock. Bicycles are most often stolen from crowded places, but it is also risky to leave your personal transport on a deserted street. Park your bike where there are always people, but not too many of them. Avoid places like crowded sidewalks in the downtown, busy embankments, subway stations, isolated neighborhoods/ghettos, deserted lane/alleys, etc.
  • Choose a place with many other bikes parked and you will immediately understand how to secure your bike to the parking rack. The best place is the middle of the rack, not on the ends. This method is beneficial for three reasons. First, there will definitely be a worse-secured bike there, which will be more tempting for the thief. Second, many bikes parked in one place give less room for the thief to maneuver, preventing him from using tools of the trade effectively. And the third reason is that in most cases, ordinary passers-by will not pay attention to the actions of the thief during stealing, and are likely to walk by. In places where many bikes are locked at the same time, the concentration of concerned cyclists is very high. And therefore, the thief will have additional doubts.
  • Try to make the lock more difficult to access. Arrange it so that the keyhole looks down – this will make it more difficult for the thief to access.
  • If you are using a U-lock, try to attach it to the maximum number of frame tubes and capture the largest area of the parking lot. The most popular part to crack is the bolt socket which is usually cracked with a crowbar. The less space you leave in the bracket, the less chance they have to crack the lock.
  • A bike lock should always be faced down to the ground to make the thief spend more time detecting it. The lock should also secure both the wheel and frame of the bike. It should then be attached to a solid immovable object, such as a road sign or bicycle rack.
  • When planning to leave your bike outdoors, it is always worthwhile to assess your surroundings and understand how likely it is that your bike will be stolen in a particular area. However, there are some common ways you can follow.
  • A poorly fastened bike will disappear very soon. Careful consideration should be given to where you lock your bike. Even if you have to walk a decent distance to find the right place and get your bike secured correctly, you are better off doing so.

How safe is it?

Indeed, reliable locks keep thieves from even trying to steal a bike. We have learned about this firsthand from the reformed bicycle thief when he was working at a bicycle store of a social company called Bikeworks.

“There was more than one lock that has held us back,” he said. “Any yellow or grey Kryptonite U-locks, as well as Kryptonite Mini [Fahgettaboudit], which is very popular with couriers, can become a real challenge. Then there was the Abus Extreme U-lock, which is also very durable.”

All of these locks are rated “Gold” in the Sold Secure rating, created by an independent company that tests and evaluates locks from all different sectors. Gold, of course, is the highest rank, but Silver locks are still quite safe. However, the latter are, probably, best used to ensure security for less than an hour, rather than guarding a bike in some not that busy city district for the whole day.

Some Bronze locks have great practical and price advantages, too. However, they may not be as reliable for a fairly valuable bike as the mentioned Gold and Silver options.

 

Four Ways to Lock Your Bike Outdoors

Here are four popular ways to lock your bike outside. The choice is based on your bike and lock price.

  • Two locks. The safest way to lock your bike is to secure it with two locks. The first lock should go around the rear wheel, frame, and a bike rack. The second should go around the front wheel, frame, and the rack. This way it secures all parts of the bike. It is best to use two different types of locks, which will force the thief to use two different sets of tools for each lock.
  • Lock + chain. It’s a good way to combine a chain lock with a U-lock. If you secure your bike in the same place every day, here’s a good tip – a heavy and massive chain lock can be left fastened around a bike rack, so you only take a relatively lightweight U-lock with you. The downside of this method is that thieves can always practice on your chair lock. So be careful and try to secure the chain so that it does not touch the ground.
  • Lock + cable. Another popular method is to use one durable U-lock and a cable. Secure the U-lock or chain around the rear wheel, frame, and the bike rack as described above. Next, pull one end of the cable through the front wheel, passing the first loop through the second loop, and secure with the main lock. The problem with this method is that the cable is the only protection for the front wheel. Since all cables can be cut, they offer almost zero protection. However, many people think that visual and psychological factors are determining factors and a cable lock can be quite enough.
  • Sheldon bike lock method. Sheldon Brown, a well-known specialist in the cycling industry, offered to fix only the rear wheel of the bike to a bike rack, using a U-lock, passing it through the rear triangle of the frame. This way you don’t need to secure the frame, because the rear wheel can’t be pulled out because of the U-lock. One of the advantages of this method is that you secure the rear wheel and frame using one lightweight U-lock.

However, the last method may not be safe for expensive bikes. This method seems unreliable and may attract a potential thief. Plus, when trying to remove the lock, there is a high probability that the thief will damage the bike. This method is a good way to park your bike for a short period of time or if there is no other way to lock it.

No matter expensive or cheap – all bikes get stolen. So if you think your bike is too old and ugly, you can be sure that if you need it, there will definitely be someone who needs it, too – just to ride and throw it away, or maybe sell it on the cheap.

It may sound kind of rude, but when buying a lock for your bike, don’t forget to save money for a new two-wheeled friend, as they can steal your present bike at any time. Why? Because it usually goes like this – first, you leave your bike for a while after locking it up.

Then you decide that the lock is working fine and leave your bike for a little longer – and that’s when it gets stolen, cutting off ALL your locks. Unfortunately, those who have only plunged into all the charms of cycling, do not take this seriously, for some reason.

In most cases, thieves operate according to several basic methods.

  • Cut cable locks or weak chains with bolt-cutters or powerful heavy-duty wire cutters.
  • Open simple locks with keys in the same way as they do it with apartment doors, using picklocks.
  • Smash weak locks off cables using hammers.

If it takes more than 1-2 minutes to steal your bike, most likely, the thief will not bother with your bike anymore.

Bicycle thefts are poorly solved crimes that generate a good income for bike thieves and accounts for about a third of all crimes against private property. According to police data in various countries, most stolen bicycles are sold online/offline as used or spare parts. In the United States, about 50% of stolen bikes are sold online, and another 30% – on the street.

Who are bike thieves? Except for professionals who will not be stopped by ordinary locked, they are mainly small thieves, homeless people, drug addicts, and teens who want to just drive a class bike. What is their motivation? To resell on the cheap or go for a ride and drop it. Hence the conclusion – not all of them have skills to open key or combination locks.

Although the Internet is full of different videos on how to crack bike locks, to see and do it yourself is not the same thing. However, using bolt cutters, hammers or powerful cutters is not a big deal for anyone.

Bike Protection Tips

  • Check the post/tube/rack for stability and ensure it’s immovable and safe enough for your bike.
  • Always secure your bike even if you stopped for a second. According to police statistics, bikes left “for a second” are the ones that are most often stolen. The thief just gets on your bike and leaves. And nobody cares or reacts to that – isn’t that guy a legal owner of the bike?
  • If the front wheel has a quick-release, remove the wheel and locate it next to the rear wheel and secure it with a lock, U-lock preferably. Secure the frame, front and rear wheels, frame to a stationary post, rack, fence, etc. Eccentric front wheels can be removed effortlessly.
  • So it’s best to use two types of locks (cable/chain and U-lock/folding lock). You can secure several parts of your bike (wheels, frame, saddle, etc.) with a cable lock, and attach the bike to an immovable object with a chain or U-lock. One lock can be with a key, the other one can be a combination lock. It is easier to steal a bike secured by one lock than by two different locks. Moreover, the cable is easier to cut than a chain or a U-lock made of hardened steel.
  • If you’re using a bike rack, don’t secure your iron friend on the sides of the rack. Thieves often try to steal those “side” bikes, as they are more accessible. Try to squeeze yours between the others.
  • Using quick-release sets, especially on bike wheels and seat posts, makes it easier to steal them. Although there are special vandal-proof sets. If you do not use these sets, tighten the bolts on the wheel axles. This is useful both for driving safety and as an anti-theft procedure. There is one more unique but rather complicated idea: order personal nuts and bolts with unique keys which will be quite difficult to unscrew.
  • Another unusual and controversial way is not to keep your bike too clean. Some cyclists think that dirt bikes are less likely to be stolen. You are still the one who rides it, so it’s up to you to decide how comfortable you’ll feel on a dirt bike.
  • You can also leave your bike behind and securing it with a reliable lock, remove the saddle and take it with you. Stealing a bike without a saddle can be a bit problematic, as well as selling it. If the seat post is not that long and the saddle is not too wide, you will not have any problems carrying it with you. You can also remove the pedals. However, they are not always clean, and you will spend more time removing them.
  • Don’t be afraid to look weird – a serious U-lock and a durable chain are much harder to cut than a thin cable. As mentioned above, when choosing a chain lock, it is best to get one not from a hardware store, but from a reliable manufacturer that makes thick hardened-steel chains.
  • When attaching the bike, secure all easy-to-remove parts. Remove expensive accessories such as portable computers, GPS navigators, and other devices.
  • Write down your bike’s serial number which is located at the bottom of the frame under the hub or at the front of the handlebar tube. The bike frame number can be numbers or letters + numbers. This will help prove that the bike is really yours. It is best that it is written in the warranty card when you buy it in the store. Having a picture of you with your bike is a great idea as well – the police will clearly see that the bike belongs to you and will know what to search for.
  • Different places. Try not to park regularly in the same place otherwise, thieves will be able to calculate the best time to steal.
  • Try to park your bicycle near police and security stations – obviously, there are fewer thieves there.
  • Another trick is that you can put a piece of paper inside the handlebars of your bike, under the grips, or inside the seat post with your data written on it. It will serve as additional proof that you are the real owner. You can also write your name on it. A marked bicycle is harder to sell, and it will be easier for you to prove that it’s yours.
  • The appearance of the bike should not be too flashy. Wrap the handlebars or a part of the frame with duct tape. The task is to show a potential thief that your bike is not the best option for sale. Sometimes, little rusty handlebars or a seat post can dramatically reduce the value of an entire bike.
  • By the way, the more unique your bike finish is, the harder it will be to sell and quicker to identify in case of theft. The same thing as with cars.
  • You can also try bike alarms. Such a device will draw the attention of passers-by and scare away inexperienced thieves – if the bike is worth the alarm system it’s better to be left alone. An alarm system is most often triggered by movement.
  • Another purely psychological moment. Typically, you are not allowed to go inside shopping malls or office centers on your bike. However, it’s worth a shot – try to go in with it. If they don’t let you in, ask a guard to look after your bike for the moment. A person in charge of your bike is already a good thing.
  • Try to ensure your bike against theft and damage.
  • Park your bike with low gears on. The advice is certainly fun, but some say it works. When you put a low gear on all sides, the thief won’t be able to get away fast (changing gears may be a challenge for some thieves), even if he’s going to pedal hard.
  • Don’t tell anyone about your bike’s price. “Anyone” includes people you know who know nothing about bicycles. Do not run around screaming about your bike’s high cost. This information may reach those who want to steal your bike in the most unexpected ways. This may seem strange, but many thefts happen due to friends’ stories.
  • Don’t let anyone ride your bike (even your kids). Ok, you can let your kids or your wife/husband ride it (if you trust them, of course), but no strangers are allowed to do that! Your bike is yours and yours only! It happens that a stranger comes up and starts talking to you, praising your bicycle, and then asks for a ride. Some bike owners, being flattered, don’t mind that and become the victims of theft. So, keep your eyes open when a stranger talks to you about your bike, and do not give in to provocations.
  • Remove the chain, leaving the bike for a long time. This method is useful if you need to leave your bike in the parking lot for a long time. To remove the chain, you need to have the right tools at hand and, of course, the right skills.

Conclusion

A bicycle lock is an investment that can save you from many troubles. All of the bike locks above can be purchased online straight from your couch. The best way to protect your bike is to keep it on the safe side. However, we all know that it’s not always possible. So getting a reliable bike lock is a must. You can also ride your bike with friends (or at least one) so that you always have someone to keep an eye on your iron friend.

In some cities of the UK, they put wall-posters near bike racks – the image with evil eyes and the inscription “We Are Watching.” The trick works amazing and the number of thefts has decreased significantly. We think that such experiments are a great idea. It works the same way as those “CCTV in Operation” inscriptions in local shops. They are there, but they are not. However, the number of thefts is significantly decreased.

FAQ

What is the strongest bike lock?

Many users would agree that Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit can be called the strongest portable bicycle lock. However, opinions vary. There are a few more reliable manufacturers like Abus, FOLDYLOCK, OnGuard, Almax, Pragmasis, SIGTUNA, etc.) that produce the most unbreakable bike locks in the world.

How do you use a bike lock?

Typically, you have to choose a solid and secure immovable (preferably iron) object and attach your U-lock, foldable, chain or cable around the rear wheel, the frame and the rack of your bike to that object. Always attach your frame to the immovable object (not just the rear wheel). Keep the lock off the ground (as far as possible), so that a thief couldn’t use a hammer to smash it.

Try to fill as much space as possible within the U-lock area and make it difficult to access (keyhole faced down). Make sure you’ve locked it securely.

You can use two locks – one to secure your frame and the front wheel of your bike, and the second – for the rear wheel and the frame again. That’s a great way to provide security.

You can remove your front wheel from the front forks and place it near the rear wheel to attach your U-lock around the frame and both wheels.

The “Sheldon” method can be quite handy when it comes to locking your bike on the street. You just have to attach the lock to the immovable object and the rear wheel inside the rear triangle of your bike frame. The trick of this method is that a thief will not be able to pull the rear wheel through the rear triangle.

If you have a cable, you have to push one end of it through the front wheel, pass one loop through another loop and secure the first loop to the cylinder of your lock. The cable has to be tight.

How do you break a bike lock?

To cut/break a bike lock, you can use a simple bolt/wire/cable cutters, hacksaws, hammers (or sledge-hammers), crowbars (scaffold poles), portable angle grinders, hydraulic bottle jacks (for U-locks), or liquid nitrogen sprays.

Is there a bike lock that cannot be cut?

No.

What is the best way to lock up a bike?

The best way is to use 2 different types of durable locks. Or 2 best Kryptonite U-locks.

How much does a bike lock cost?

Prices vary depending on the lock type (U-locks, chains, flex cable locks, folding locks), size, and manufacturer. U-locks costs are from $50 and up to $200+. Chain and cable locks can be found for $25-30. Foldable locks cost around $75-$120.

How do I theft-proof my bike?

  • Customize your bike to make it unique and noticeable.
  • Switch your quick-release sets to bolts and screws that require tools or make your custom set of bolts/screws and tools/keys.
  • Use 2 different durable locks to secure both your bike wheels and the frame.
  • Always check your bike lock and your parking post/rack.
  • Choose a secure place. Secure your bike in not so crowded or isolated places (aim for the golden mean) and try to locate it among other bikes (if any).
  • Try a smart lock or a tracker. Properly installed and hidden GPS trackers can save you time and track the thief.
  • Bring your bike inside your home for a night.

Can you cut a lock with bolt cutters?

Typically, yes. It depends on the quality of both bolt cutters and the lock.

Are U-locks better than cable locks?

Not all of them of course. But usually, they are known to be more reliable in terms of safety… and heavier.

Are combination bike locks safe?

They can be. But not that often. The number of combinations is limited. Cheap combination locks are very easy to decode (plenty of videos on YouTube). So, they are believed to be less secure than keyed locks.

What percentage of stolen bikes are recovered?

Every 30 seconds, one bicycle in the world gets stolen. Over 2.000.000 bikes are stolen each year in North America (those which were secured with cable locks only). Imagine that! But the police recover around 100.000s of bikes each year, at least in the US. So if your bike was stolen, you still have a good chance to get it back!

What should I do if my bike is stolen?

The first thing to do is to stay calm and avoid panic or despair. Plan your actions and think everything through. There are many things you can do, and many cyclists are lucky to get their favorite bikes back again. So everything is possible. You can do the following steps.

  • Report the theft to the police.
  • Make a post on social media. Spit it out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tinder, Grindr, wherever you can! Let everyone know you are in trouble!
  • File an insurance claim.
  • Check the flea markets and pawn shops and let your local bike stores know about the theft.
  • Check eBay, Gumtree, Craigslist.
  • Report it to your lock manufacturer.

Can you get in trouble for stealing a bike?

Yes. You can be charged for doing that or even get to jail.

What is the hardest lock to cut?

We dare to say it’s the Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit. Abus Granit XPlus 540 is also pretty durable.

Can you cut off a Master Lock?

Yes. In just a few minutes, using the right tools. Or you can tap it with a hammer while pulling the shackle.

Are bolt cutters illegal?

No. There is no law that forbids owning the tool. But you still may get in trouble for having them in your car, unless your job implies that.

How do you break a lock with a pin?

Use a bent (at 90-degree angle) bobby pin. Remove the rubber tip on the end. Stick the straight end of the bobby pin in the upper part of the lock, about 1 centimeter deep (about 0.39″) and apply enough pressure to bend the end of the pin into a hook. Bend the wavy end of the bobby pin into a handle for more control. Bend the tip of another bobby pin to make the tension lever.
Stick the tension lever into the bottom of the lock. Push the lever counterclockwise to apply tension. Stick the pick into the lock and feel for the pins (most traditional doorknobs will have 5 or 6 pins). Push down on your lever until you hear a click. Lift the rest of the pins in the door lock (press down on the handle of the pick to lift up every pin). Turn the tension lever counterclockwise to open the door.

Is picking a lock easy?

Yes. In fact, you just need the right tools like lock pick sets which usually include tension wrenches and picks, for instance. Then you can use the “scrubbing” method which is considered to be one of the fastest and dirtiest methods described above. You can see the video here.

How do you unlock a lock with a paperclip?

Pretty much the same way as you can do with a lock pick. You’ll need 2 or 3 of them to make a set of lockpicks. You have to make a single pin pick (feeler pick), rake (looks like “snake” at the end), and a tension wrench. After that, it’s all about practice.

About the author

Derek Wilcox