Any serious cyclist will know that a heavy-duty bike lock is non-negotiable if you want to keep your bike. Your lock should be the single most important piece of equipment that you purchase to go along with your bicycle. Basically, its quality should match that of your bike. So, let’s check the best bike locks on the market.
The more expensive your bike, the more attention it will attract, and the more secure your lock will need to be. Experts suggest purchasing a lock that costs at least 10% of the total value of your bike. While there is no such thing as a 100% secure bike lock, some of the top-quality locks mentioned below are practically impenetrable.
So, let’s see, what are the best bike locks on the market.
The Best Bike Lock
Our thoughts about this security lock type: A high-quality Kryptonite U lock, when combined with steel looped cables for the wheels, is considered to be the best overall solution when it comes to bicycle security. This is the most common method of bicycle safety and theft avoidance used in cities around the world that suffer from a high rate of bike-related crime.
The Kryptonite Evolution series of bike locks come with a steel looped cable, three stainless steel ‘Key Safe’ keys and a one-year anti-theft protection guarantee up to $2,500. The combination offers the best bicycle lock package at an affordable price from one of the best bike lock makers in the world.
This Kryptonite bike lock comes in five different sizes from the Lite Mini to the Standard so they are ready to fit any needs. All locks are crafted from hardened max-performance steel with hardened double-deadbolts and pick and drill resistant disc-style locking mechanism. This combo makes them near-invincible to even the most hardcore bicycle thief!
After purchase, you should register your keys online with the Kryptonite Key Safe program. That will allow you to replace them anywhere in the world. Kryptonite Evolution locks have the highest level Sold Secure Gold rating.
Kryptonite Evolution lock sizes
|2.75" x 6"
|3.25" x 5.5"
|3.25" x 7"
|3.25" x 9.5"
|4" x 9"
Kryptonite Evolution Series 4
Shackle width: 14mm
Dimensions: 4″ x 11.5″
Weight: 1.75 kgs
Security Rating: 8/10
If you are looking for the best standalone U-lock, look no further than the Kryptonite Evolution Series 4. The Evolution Series 4 Heavy Duty security lock is 4″ x 11.5″ and crafted from 14mm max-performance hardened steel. This material is known to be resistant to all the common types of lock-breaking techniques. No average bolt cutter or angle grinder will be any match for this steel.
Don’t forget to lock your wheels too!
The Evolution Series 4 features a smaller crossbar and a pick and drill resistant disc-style locking mechanism which now has even stronger security than before. As with all best locks from Kryptonite, it comes with 3 replaceable Key Safe keys and two additional free replacements in the event of a loss. Just remember to register them as soon as you can!
This Kryptonite U-lock also comes with the new Transit Flexframe-U holstering system for easy transportation. This nifty little piece of equipment makes it really easy to attach the lock to lots of different places on your bike.
Kryptonite New York Lock Fahgettaboudit Mini
Best Mini U-Lock
Shackle width: 18 mm
Dimensions: 3.25″ x 6″ (8.3cm x 15.3cm)
Weight: 4.55 lbs (2.06 kg)
Kryptonite’s Security Scale: 10/10 rating
Mini U-locks have some advantages compared to their larger cousins which can come in handy when trying to outwit bike thieves. They’re smaller and more compact, which makes them easier to carry around with you. They also provide better security against leverage attacks because it is harder to fit a tool inside the locking mechanism. The Kryptonite New York Lock Fahgettaboudit might be small, but don’t be fooled by its size — it’s heavy-duty and does not give in easily!
This Kryptonite’s mini U-lock provides the ultimate security in the smallest possible package. It’s made from an 18 mm wide max-performance steel shackle that’s very hard to cut through. It features a patented steel sleeve that provides double security to deter potential thieves.
Moreover, the pass-thru crossbar design comes with anti-rotation features, which requires the shackle to be cut twice in order to get it off. That will buy you valuable time in case of an actual attack.
Other popular methods won’t help bike thieves either since the Kryptonite New York Lock Fahgettaboudit comes with the Highest Security Disc-style Cylinder that is pick and drill resistant.
When you purchase this Kryptonite bike lock, you will receive three stainless steel keys, including one replaceable LED key fob. In case you lose them, Kryptonite will send you two keys for free thanks to their Key Safe Program.
They also have an Anti-Theft protection offer in place that offers you up to $5,000 in reimbursement for one year in case your bike gets stolen due to a fault in the lock.
This Kryptonite bike lock is the best lock you can find in terms of portability.
ABUS Bordo Granit X-Plus 6500
Best Foldable Bike Lock
Bar width: 5.5mm
Dimensions: 33.5″ x 0.4 x 0.4″
Weight: 1.5 kgs
ABUS Security Rating: 15 (highest)
Sold Secure Rating: Bicycle Gold
Foldable security locks are more compact than U-locks but also feature more moving parts. This can result in more potential fault points. However, some of these foldable locks certainly prove their worth and this ABUS bike lock is a good example. For the absolute best security, I would still recommend a U-lock to ensure the highest level of protection. However, since they are not always practical for every type of cyclist, folding locks can be useful.
If a U-lock doesn’t fit in your bag or attach easily to your bike and you need something more compact then this foldable lock is definitely the next best option. The ABUS Bordo Granit X-Plus 6500 consists of six hardened steel bars coated in protective silicon and connected via special rivets that are practically unbreakable.
With this comes the X-plus precision locking mechanism that is pick and drill resistant. It features two stainless steel keys and an LED fob to help you see when unlocking in the dark.
The versatile design of foldable locks like the Bordo Granit makes them more adaptable to lockable objects so you won’t have much trouble finding somewhere to secure your bike. Unlike most U-locks, foldable locks can fit easily around the bike frame, wheels, and a pole or bicycle stand.
This means you may not need to carry additional looped cables for the wheels. The ABUS Bordo Granit X-Plus 6500 is almost three feet long so you can stretch it around a wide range of unusual objects like trees or pillars.
This ABUS bike lock is by far the best lock for riders who seek versatility.
Related: Best GPS Trackers For Bikes
Best Chain Lock
Lock thickness: 12mm
Chain thickness: 10mm
Chain length: 33.5 inches
Weight: 1.8 kgs
Sold Secure Rating: Silver
Full Review: Hiplok Superbright
Our thoughts about this lock type: Bike chain locks are highly versatile and are often the easiest locks to transport due to the multiple different ways in which they can be carried. However, the chain links seldom feature the same thickness of steel that can be found in U-locks. That means that some bike chain locks are more attractive to thieves with big lock cutters.
However, if you choose a very thick, strong chain with hardened steel like the Hiplok Wearable you will still pose a tough challenge to most lock cutters in any bike thieve’s arsenal.
The Hiplok Wearable bike chain lock is particularly attractive due to the thick, soft sheath that covers it. This makes it very comfortable to wear over the shoulder or around the waist. Plus, it protects the coating on your bicycle when it’s locked up. It also features super-bright reflective paint to make you highly visible to motorists and other cyclists at night.
The lock benefits from Sold Secure Silver status and can be clipped on and carried securely without needing it to be locked, making it easier to attach and release.
The chain links are forged from 10mm hardened steel and at 1.8 kgs, the entire lock and chain weigh a bit more than most U-locks. However, it does give you much more versatility and options for where you want to lock the bike up.
Best Alarm Bike Lock
Shackle width: 12mm
Dimensions: 11.3″ x 7.3″
Weight: 1.5 kgs
Bicycle locks with built-in alarms are becoming increasingly popular as security concerns grow. Alarm locks come equipped with built-in detection systems that monitor movement and sound a high-pitched alarm should anyone tamper with them.
As soon as a thief touches this security lock, the alarm will sound attracting the attention of passersby or waking up the neighbors. No thief will risk trying to continue breaking a bike lock once the alarm sounds unless there is nobody for miles around.
The Abus 440A features a high-tech 3D Position Detection System with a 100-decibel alarm built into a tough U-lock with a 12mm shackle and pick and drill resistant locking mechanism. The alarm is activated by even the slightest of movements and automatically switches off and then reactivates after 15 seconds.
These modern ABUS bike lock can be a bit more expensive than standard U-locks. However, the added level of protection could be invaluable if you live in an area with high bike theft.
The Abus 440A lock comes with CR2 batteries included and has a Sold Secure Silver rating.
HipLok Z Lok
Best Bike Lock for Bike Accessories
Chain length: 430 mm
Full Review: Hiplok Z Lok Combo
Zip tie locks are intended for short-term bicycle security or to secure less valuable items to a bike or other vehicle. They usually feature weak key systems or 3-digit lock combinations so they are relatively easy to pick. Therefore, they are not 100% secure for longer time periods.
However, Zip tie locks are great for quickly securing your bicycle while you pop into a shop or while it is in transit on a trailer or roof-rack. They can also be used to secure helmets or other items to the bike while it is parked or to secure suitcases, cabinets, or other objects.
The HipLok Z Lok Combo security tie utilizes a “clinch, lock, and hold” design combined with a 3-digit lock for quick attach and release. The fully adjustable design means the lock can be used to fasten a wide range of different-sized objects to the bike or another object.
With a steel core and 430mm locking length, the lightweight, practical and affordable Hiplok Z weighs only 80 grams. It is the perfect addition to a complete security solution.
Best Cable Lock
Shackle width: 13mm
Weight: 1.6 kgs
Don’t buy bike cable locks as standalone solutions! Unfortunately, there are no cable locks that provide meaningful security on their own. A simple pair of bolt lock cutters or rose clippers will make short work of even the strongest cable locks available.
Bike cable locks can be a useful addition to an overall security solution but should never be used on their own. They are best utilized for securing low-cost parts like wheels, helmets or seat posts. The looping steel cables that usually come with Kryptonite U-locks are generally of high-quality materials.
We haven’t yet found any bike cable locks that are worth using independently, so always ensure you use one of the many alternatives above. If we do find one, we will be sure to add it here in the future.
Bicycle lock security is usually rated by two systems, Sold Secure and ART. All of the best bicycle locks that you can purchase are rated by one of these authorities. Most bicycle insurance companies will require that you use an ART-approved or Sold Secure-approved lock with a minimum rating or your claim could be rejected.
Sold Secure is a non-profit British company established in 1992 by the Northumbria and Essex police department to help fight crime.
Their products have three classifications:
These offer various levels of insurance with each option. Devices are tested and classified based on the tools used and the amount of time spent testing. Best bike locks have a Gold rating.
A gold-classified Sold Secure lock will be almost impossible to break without a lot of time and industrial-level lock cutters. However, the Bronze lock will only offer short-term security against opportunistic thieves. These days, many bicycle thieves carry powerful bolt cutters or other tools. That means that Bronze locks don’t offer too much resistance.
The ART Foundation is a collaborative effort between the Royal Dutch Touring Club and agencies from the Dutch automotive industry. The companies collaborated to produce a classification system and promote anti-theft provisions for vehicles.
The organization classifies a wide range of bicycle, motorbike, and car locks based on a star rating system of 1 to 5. One-star products are usually thin bike cable locks that offer little protection. However, five-star products are the best bike locks, such as Kryptonite and ABUS U-locks and bike chain locks.
All products that ART approved will feature a label or imprint with the highly recognizable ART logo plus the number of stars confirming its category. When buying an ART approved lock, always look for products with at least a 4 or 5 star ART rating.
Related: Best Bicycle Pumps
How to Recognize the Best Bike Lock
Depending on the country there may be different brands of locks on offer. However, ABUS and Kryptonite are generally accepted as the best quality locks available all over the world. Top-of-the-range ABUS bike locks and Kryptonite bike locks consistently rank highly on both Sold Secure and ART ratings.
A bike manufacturer that trusts its own product will usually offer anti-theft protection to cover the cost of your bicycle should it get stolen as a result of the lock failing. This is a surefire way of knowing that a lock is of exceptionally high quality.
Longer read: 100+ Interesting Bike Stats and Facts
Forget About the Cable Locks
Even the best quality bike cable locks are only made of tightly wound steel wire that is easy to cut through. These locks may be useful to secure your bike while you quickly go shopping. However, even then only serve as a minor deterrent.
A thief with bolt cutters will take only seconds to break the lock and could steal your bike as soon as you turn your back. Cable locks should never be used as the main lock to secure a bicycle of any value, even a cheap one. The low price may seem attractive but you would be better off buying a chain and padlock.
Related: How To Get Your Stolen Bike Back
In the long-run, a proper bike lock such as a U-lock or bike chain lock is an investment. It will last you a lifetime and pay itself off multiple times over.
“Why do people spend hundreds, even thousands on a bike and then buy a lock from Poundland?” – a bike thief during an interview with Road.cc.
How to Lock a Bike (Properly)
How to Lock a Bike (Properly)
- Choose a decent lock. Ensure that it fits your bicycle frame design, for both locking up and transporting.
- Lock it to something solid. Ensure that you use a solid object like a tree, lamp post, or pillar. A thin tree branch that can be broken or sawed through is no good.
- Make it visible. Don’t lock it in a dark, deserted area. The busier the area, the better.
- Prioritize the frame, then the rear wheel. Lock the bike frame if you can only fit one piece. However, most big U-locks or chains will fit around the back wheel and seat tube.
- Use a cable or zip lock to secure the front wheel – especially if it has a quick release. Alternatively, remove the front wheel and lock it with the frame and rear wheel.
- Keep everything as tight as possible – thieves will leverage free space to break locks. Try to face the keyhole downwards for the best protection.
How to Open/Cut a Bike Lock
Even low-quality U-locks are no match for bolt cutters. Thieves will seldom try to pick locks as it’s almost always quicker to cut a lock. For stronger locks, thieves might use a battery-powered angle grinder if the bike is on a quiet street.
Bolt cutters are the most common tool used by bicycle thieves as they can cut through weak bike cable locks in seconds.
Thieves usually scout bicycles during the day and then come back to steal them later. For this reason, never leave your bike on the street overnight and try to lock it up in a slightly different place each day. Thieves usually avoid cheap bikes, so best to have a second cheap bike when going out for the night.
While most thieves target bikes on the street, some also break into gardens and sheds. Be sure to lock your bike even if it’s on your property. Shed doors are easy to remove with a screwdriver. Ensure you use tamper-proof screws or an alarm on the door.
Where to Attach a Bike Lock
- Never attach the lock around a bike part that can be removed, ie: the wheels, seat post, or handlebars. Always ensure the lock goes through the middle of the bike frame or the rear triangle.
- Ensure the lock is attached to the strongest piece of the frame and to an object that is at least as strong or stronger than the lock itself. Don’t forget to use additional cables to secure both wheels. Some people also secure their saddle in particularly high-crime areas.
- Depending on the lock you choose there are different ways to transport it. Many commuters simply keep the lock in a bag or looped over their shoulder if it’s a bike chain lock. Small locks like the Hiplok Z can attach to your belt or clip onto your pants.
- U-locks usually come with a frame holder to attach the lock to your bike. This can be clipped onto the down tube, cross tube, or seat post. If there is no free space on your frame, a U-lock can usually slip through the metal bars under your saddle.
Where to Buy a Bike Lock
Popular bike locks for bikes like ABUS and Kryptonite are found in all major cities around the world. Any decent bicycle shop or outdoor sports equipment store should stock at least a few different models from these brands.
If you are looking for where to find the best bike lock in your area, you should head to the nearest local bike shop. Other than that, there are several online stores that stock quality bike locks for delivery.
The best bike lock brands are:
A U-lock is the strongest and most secure type you can get. U-locks are not impenetrable, but they require a lot of time and effort to cut through, as well as heavy-duty lock cutters that not all bike thieves carry around. Combining two U-locks for your frame and wheels is your best anti-theft solution.
Any bike lock can be cut through given the right tools and enough time. However, some locks, such as U-locks and heavy-duty bike chain locks, require a lot of time and effort to be cut. They improve safety by deterring thieves and giving you more time to act in case of theft.
Yes, U-locks are the best type of bike locks. They provide you with the best safety, even though they are not 100% secure. To cut through them, thieves need to use heavy-duty lock cutters, spend a lot of time, and make lots of noise. U-locks are a surefire way to protect your bike.
The best way to keep your bike from being stolen is to avoid leaving it outside. If that’s not possible, make sure to use a combination of locks, such as a U-lock and a cable/chain lock to secure both the frame and the wheels. Also, never leave your bike on quiet, unlit streets.
Bicycles get stolen all the time, especially in big cities. Bike thieves usually operate every day, stealing multiple bicycles per week. Your bike is most vulnerable at night, so make sure not to leave it outside. Secure it with a heavy-duty lock even if you leave it in a shed.
Bicycles are an easy target for thieves because most owners use cheap locks or they don’t lock their bikes properly. Bicycles are also easy to move around once stolen and can be quickly sold to another person. They are also more difficult to track which makes them attractive to criminals.
High-quality, good-looking bikes that are not properly secured with a heavy-duty lock are stolen the most. Thieves do not have a preference for a particular type of bike, as long as it can be sold off to someone else. Therefore, for commuting, it’s best to use a beat-up, old two-wheeler.
How Did We Choose?
We reached our conclusions through extensive testing and by making comparisons between the weight, portability, and convenience of various locks. There are some locks that offer even higher levels of security but are prohibitively expensive or too heavy for the average cyclist to carry.
The best type of lock is one that is easy to transport. Otherwise, you are less likely to want to use it, making it redundant.
Without fail, Kryptonite and ABUS make the best bicycle locks in terms of strength and resilience from almost all types of attacks. They are also the lightest for what they offer and are usually the easiest to carry around. When using a Kryptonite or ABUS lock with Sold Secure Gold classification your bicycle should be safe from even the most dedicated of criminals.
- Never rely on a cheap bike cable lock – ensure a good Sold Secure or ART rating
- Always lock up your wheels too – preferably with a U-lock through the frame and rear wheel
- Try to find a well-lit, busy street – never leave your bike overnight on a quiet street