Anyone who had their bike stolen knows the pain associated with making flyers, asking around the neighborhood and keeping a lookout on social media. According to a survey made by the National Crime Victimization Survey, thieves steal an estimated one point three million bicycles each year. Whether the criminals steal the bike for a joy ride or monetary, owning a dependable bike lock can go a long way in dissuading thieves from taking your property.
The question of what lock to get is never an easy one to answer. What style of lock works best? How do you know which brands you can depend upon when shopping? Which company offers the absolute best bike lock? You can quickly become lost in a bog of details and terminology and forget essential considerations.
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How Do We Choose the Ratings on this List?
We rate the bicycle locks on this list by looking at three distinct areas for each brand’s product. Specifically, we look at the effectiveness, usability and overall price. For each of these areas, we ask a series of questions that help us determine areas where the product excels and areas where it could use improvement. From the answers to these questions, we then assign the product a score out of five stars. Here are some of the problems we ask during the ranking process:
If we had to choose which bike lock was the best strictly by how well it protects, then we would have to select the nearly unbreakable chain locks. However, as we shall see these locks are incredibly dense and cost a lot of money. As such, we try to choose the best lock by thinking of the broadest amount of people it will appeal to when they shop. If you are not sure which lock is right for you, then scroll down toward the bottom of the article and check out our buyer’s guide. In it, we give you some more detail about locks.
Top Eleven Best Bike Locks You Can Choose
For a lot of bike enthusiasts, the vehicle they ride on is their entire life. Indeed, some people pay more for their professional bicycles then they do for their cars. As such, we believe you should use only the best when protecting your property. So, we rank the products we put the best products at the top of the list and the worst outcomes at the bottom. We generally recommend staying clear of the bottom-list items if you can help it.
1) Sportneer Bike Lock, 5-Digit Resettable Combination 3.2 FT Bicycle Chain Cable Locks
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The Sportneer Bike Lock lies at the top of our list because it is one of the most popular models that ticks off all the checkmarks on our rating list. The lock weighs one point five pounds which makes it incredibly light but effective. This reliable protection is thanks in part to the zinc alloy material Sportneer uses when creating the cylinder. Once attached the bike lock remains cut-proof and easy to take on and off at a whim. The company makes the wire itself out of manganese steel that is point twenty-seven inches thick.
You also do not need to worry about bad weather on certain days when you use the product. The Sportneer Bike Lock comes both waterproof and dustproof, so a rainstorm will not ruin your day. However, keep in mind that the locks itself only runs three feet long. For some people, this length was too small for their larger bikes — but for most people, it remained just a slight inconvenience.
With a five digit code, you will not need to worry about someone guessing your system since over one hundred thousand possible code combinations exist. You also do not need to worry about carrying around the key and possibly losing it since the lock does not require a key. The Sportneer Bike Lock’s low price should also be an enticing point of sale for the buyer on a budget. One bike lock costs around fifteen dollars, making it both affordable and dependable at its job.
2) GoFriend Bike Lock High Security 5 Digit Resettable Combination Coiling Cable
If you want to maximize the lowest possible price with the highest possible effectiveness, then we recommend the GoFriend Bike Lock High Security. The bikes like only cost twelve dollars and come in a variety of colors which you can match to fit the scheme of your unique bicycle. Like the Sportneer product, the GoFriend uses a five number combination for security that is almost impossible for anyone besides you to get access to the bike.
The GoFriend Bike Lock High Security is half an inch thicks and four feet wide, which makes it a little more maneuverable than the Sportneers lock. However, the PVC lining is not as flexible as the mesh included in the other product. Still, it does contain a bike mount, so you do not need to worry about applying the combination every time you get on and off your vehicle.
However, we should note that the GoFriend Bike Lock is not perfect. Considering the low price, you should expect this lack of a guarantee. If a thief owns a pair of decent wire cutters, then they can probably get through the security device eventually. As such, if you live in a city that has a significant crime problem, or the bike model you own costs a lot of money, then we recommend looking at the next product for an unbreakable lock.
But, if you live in a town with a relatively low crime rate, then the GoFriend should present enough of a deterrent for the average thief. The locks open and close smoothly and considering the low price they work above and beyond the traditional standards.
3) ONGUARD Beast Chain Lock with X4 Padlock
If you are waiting for a genuinely solid bike lock on this list, then the ONGUARD Beast Chain Lock is without a doubt made for you. ONGUARD’s lock received a security rating of ninety-nine, so you know it is the absolute best that money can buy. However, this added level of security does not come cheap — one Beast Chain lock costs between ninety and one hundred twenty dollars depending on what size you purchase. The product consists of a steel chain circling a stable U-lock.
Nothing short of high-energy power tools will get through this look. Wire cutters, bolt cutters, and battery-powered drills will not make a dent in the product. You would need a considerable die grinder for getting through the Beast Chain. So, while it is technically possible to get through it, very few thieves likely have the means and equipment for even attempting it.
You open the device with a key, and they include four extras in case you lose some throughout your ride. However, keep in mind that this product is incredibly significant in size — it is sixty-three inches long and .66 inches thick. As such we think this bike lock might be a little too much protection for the average rider. But, if you live in a high crime area, or want the absolute highest level of protection for your bike, then we think the ONGUARD Beast Chain Lock will work best for you.
4) Titanker Bike Lock Cable, 4-Feet Bike Cable Basic Self Coiling Resettable Combination Cable Bike Locks with Complimentary Mounting Bracket
The Titanker Bike Lock Cable works well for people who want a simple, bare-bones bicycle lock. The security device runs four feet long with steel cable material surrounded by a vinyl shell. The cable itself is a half an inch thick. It is flexible and can fit on a lot more different spots than a fixed u-lock. It also costs very little. One lock, complete with adjustable mounting bracket, only costs twelve dollars which makes it another one of the more affordable options on this list.
However, the Titanker Bike Lock Cable does come with a few downsides — though they are more like minor conveniences if we are honest. For example, during frigid weather, the cable itself can become stiff and hard to bend correctly. The bike lock also features a four digit, which does not offer the same reliability as the five number locks, but it still gets the job done for the most part — it would even take an expert or an extreme stroke of luck to get through the lock.
5) SIGTUNA Bike Lock - 16mm Heavy Duty U Lock with U-Lock Shackle and Bicycle Lock Mount Holder + 1200mm Steel Chain Cable Bike Lock
If you want a good compromise between the affordability of a cable lock and the heavy-duty protection of a chain lock, then the SIGTUNA Bike Lock is perfect for you. At thirty-two dollars per bolt, this product will add another level of security to your bike without breaking the bank. The SIGTUNA Bike Lock features a steel sixteen-millimeter bar of hardened steel for deterring thieves that prefer wire cutters for getting through locks.
The bike lock even works well in bad weather. The keyhole used for unlocking the device resists dirt and rust, so you do not need to worry about rain or snow messing up the function. It comes with a mounting bracket, three laser-cut keys, and a double lock mechanism for protecting the wheels of your bike. All too often when thieves cannot get the frame of the bike itself, they resort to taking the wheels, or anything they can get their hands on — as such, having an additional layer of security provides a great deterrent.
Some people reported that their locks malfunctioned and they could not open them, but this seems to be an isolated incident. However, if something does occur, then SIGTUNA’s excellent customer service should help you gain access to your bike. The lock also comes with a three-year warranty and sixty-day return window, so if you are not satisfied with the product, then you can get a replacement or your money back.
6) Kryptonite 2079 New-U Evolution Mini-7 Heavy Duty Bicycle U Lock w/ 4’ KryptoFlex Double Loop Bike Cable
The Kryptonite 2079 New-U Evolution bike lock is another product that falls under our upper tier category. They make the shackle itself out of thirteen-millimeter steel which resists both crowbars and bolt cutters. Ideal for high-crime environments, this bike rack offers a little more versatility than some of the other more The product costs seventy-three dollars and comes with three keys, steel cable for protecting the wheels, and an LED key fob for seeing in the dark.
This lock is one of the more effective u-locks on our list mainly due to its small size which prevents the leverage from crowbars from getting a good grip on it. If you live in a high crime area, but do not want a chain lock, then we believe the Kryptonite 2079 New-U Evolution Mini-7 will be good enough for even the most expensive bike. Thankfully, if something does happen to your bike while you locked it with the Kryptonite device, then the company will provide theft insurance for the bicycle that the thief took.
The main problem with the product is it is not resistant to dust, which can cause the lock itself to malfunction if you live in a very dusty area. Luckily, the company addressed this and included and dust cover which does help protect the device. The device is also quite heavy, weighing a little over three in half pounds. While these flaws are not deal breakers, they are things you should still keep it in mind when you shop.
7) Amazer Heavy Duty Combination Bike U Lock, 12mm Bike Lock Bicycle Heavy
If you want a good u-lock, but do not want the stress of keeping up with another key that you could lose, then you should like the Amazer Heavy Duty Combination Bike U-lock. Instead of a traditional key lock, the product instead features a four-digit combination lock. Since key locks seem prone to malfunction due to rust and dirt, then this combination method can see preferable. It also prevents potential lockpicking thieves from getting through with that method.
In terms of the specs, the product features a twelve-millimeter shackle made of performance steal. This shackle attaches to a three-millimeter lock covered in PVC material which prevents rusting. Additionally, dust covers keep dirt away. It weighs a little under two pounds but feels sturdy enough for staying secure while in use. One lock costs around sixteen dollars most of the time, but the retail price is thirty dollars.
However, some customers did have some issues while using the product. While the small size of the device works well to prevent power tool entries, it also makes it difficult finding a spot to secure your bike if there are no bike racks readily available. Some people also reported that the lock would sometimes accidentally reset itself while it locked. In a few circumstances this error resulted in someone stealing the bike, so make sure the lock remains secure before you leave it.
8) Kryptonite New York Noose 1213 Bicycle Chain Loc
The hardened manganese steel on the chain resists even the most intense exertions of pressure. The cinch loop included on the product allows for less chain used during lock up. However, this gold standard of security does not come cheaply. One Kryptonite New York Noose 1213 Bicycle Chain Lock costs one hundred dollars. Still, if you just suffered from having your bike stolen and want a dependable investment, then you cannot go wrong with this product.
The chain itself is twelve millimeters thick and runs the length of one hundred and thirty centimeters — a sturdy and dependable length. The lock itself lies on top of a fourteen-millimeter shackle. It comes with three replaceable keys and a LED fob you can attach to each one. As dependable as this lock might seem, it is a bit inconvenient to use, and it comes with a fatal Achilles heel that you should know about before buying.
As is the case with most chain locks, this product weighs a ton, roughly ten pounds. As such commuting with it, every day is no easy task. Other reported that the chain or lock itself would become rusted and unstable after a month. A dependable chain is only as good as its weakest link, and if a thief can pinpoint a vulnerable spot, then they will take advantage of it. Other users who had their bikes stolen report that while the bike chain remains dependable, someone can quickly pick the lock with a basic pick set.
9) OTTOLOCK Steel & Kevlar Combination Bike Lock
Though it might not look like much, the brightly colored plastic exterior of the Ottolock bike lock holds multiple layers of steel and kevlar. Depending on the size or need of your bike, you can order the Ottolock in the following sizes: eighteen inches for sixty-five dollars, thirty inches seventy-five dollars and sixty inches for eighty-five dollars. The sixty-inch waist, in particular, is excellent for holding together multiple bicycles on the back of a car rack if you every travel.
Unfortunately, the bike lock only features a three digit number code. Because most of the other bike locks use a five code system, and that there are ways to crack three-digit codes, this feels like a pretty big design flaw. What is more, the lock itself constantly malfunctions on people. Not to mention the fact that the device easily comes off with the help of any saw.
The light nature of the product is the best thing it has going for it. The Ottolock device is small and light enough so it can fit easily into your pocket. But this portable benefit does not make up for its general weakness and design flaws. Generally, we do not recommend this product unless you need large amounts of bike secured together, in which case the sixty-inch size remains a pretty good option.
10) AKM Bike Locks, 4-Feet Bike Cable Lock Resettable 5-Digit Combination with Complimentary Mounting Bracket
If you were waiting for the cheapest item on this list, then you want the AKM Bike Locks, 4-Feet Bike Cable Lock. At eight dollars and fifty cents, the bike lock barely costs more than a combination lock. The product also weighs the least on this list — less than one pound.
However, as you can guess, these benefits do not necessitate that the product works. Despite the have inch steel diameter, many customers reported that their locks were cut off with ease. So, if you need a good deterrent for the opportunistic passerby, then this second lock works well. But against actual thieves, your bike probably will not stand a chance.
11) TURBOLOCK Keyless Electronic Bike Lock with Keypad Waterproof & Weatherproof for Bicycles, Motorcycles, Gates & Fences (TL-400)
While the TURBOLOCK product sounds like a good idea — a bike lock that you can unlock with a battery powered keypad — the reality is entirely different, the truth is this product remains almost universally broken. You need to charge the bike lock for the keyboard to function continually. Though the product claims you can access the bolt with app software, the product does not do any of this.
Naturally, this oversight creates many scenarios where the battery runs out while the bike remains secure, forcing the customer to cut the lock to secure the device. But do not worry: the cable cuts easily — suitable for both you and bike thieves. However, even if you do charge the battery properly, many people still reported that their locks malfunctioned on them. Altogether, it is in no way worth the twenty dollars asking price.
Bike Lock Buyer’s Guide
If you never purchase a bike lock before, then picking your first one can seem like an overwhelming decision. Which type do you choose? Which model works best? In this section, we include some tips and info to find the best bike lock for your specific needs. That way you can remain sure that you are getting the best bike lock for the money you paid for it. First, let us take a look at the specific types of bike locks and how they differ from one another.
Cable locks remain one of the more popular choices for bikers because they do not weight very much and fit the sizes of almost any model of bike. They are also easy for users to take on and off of their bikes, which makes them ideal for commuters on the go who need to park in a hurry. However, you need to be aware of the fact that more often than not cable locks only present the illusion of security.
Most types of cable locks can be cut through with a pair of bolt cutters. Potential thieves do not even need power tools for getting through them. As such, we do not recommend them for high crime cities like New York City. In cities and towns with lower crime rates we believe they remain enough of a deterrent to fend off the average thief. Or you can use the cables as a backup method in case one form of security fails. For example, you could attach a cable lock to your wheels and then connect it to the central lock you use.
If someone sees your bike with a cable lock on it, and they genuinely want to get into it, then all they need is a dependable pair of wire cutters. With that said, often this illusion of security you require from protecting the bike from being stolen. We recommend these types of locks for inexpensive bikes that you would not mind replacing if the worst were to occur.
U-locks are a great type of security device for bicycles mainly because they are stiff and hard. Wire cutters and hammers will not get through them. The devices lock around either the frame and a tire or the frame and both tires if they are large enough. However, the design itself also makes getting through it difficult for even the most trained thief. They significantly reduce the amount of room necessary for a thief to break through the lock.
While crowbars are their one weakness, the decreased amount of space on u-locks makes it difficult for would-be-robbers to get leverage. When you purchase a u-lock, you should always consider what size you want carefully. If you get one that is too big for your vehicle, then it will be all too easy for someone to get through it. As such, you want your u-lock to find around what you lock it also with as little space between it as possible.
One thing that makes chain locks nicely is that you do not need to a bike rack or something similar for securing them. Instead, you can lock your bike onto anything that it will fit around — for example; you could use a telephone pole or a tree. You can also lock multiple bikes together with a chain lock, so if you bike with friends or a significant other, then you can get a bit more value by buying one big chain lock instead of multiple smaller ones.
However, there is a big drawback for most people, and that is the weight of a chain. Chains must be locked on to the frame of the bike each time you ride, and they can easily add five-plus pounds of weight. What is more, they can sometimes scratch the structure itself. While you can solve this problem by carrying the chain separately in a bag, the weight remains an issue you should consider. As such, some smaller and lighter bikes cannot take the strain of the chains.
If you commute long distances each distance (over twenty miles), then we do not recommend going with a chain lock. Another problem associated with the product is the lock itself. While you cannot cut the chains with most power tools, the locks themselves are a different story. Even if the chains remains sturdy and reliable, a cheap or thin padlock can easily succumb to force. As such, we recommend investing in a good lock if you go with the chain method of protection.
Wheel Locks and Seat Skewers
Often the thing that we worry about the most when it comes to bike theft is the frame of the bike going missing. Just walk down any busy street in New York, and you are bound to find a bike frame with no wheels or seat. The structure is the most critical part of the bike, but losing a wheel or a seat can be just as bad — especially if you spent the right amount of money upgrading the bike.
Luckily, there are additional security measures you can take to secure them, like wheel locks and seat skewers. These devices make it harder for crafty bike thieves to pick apart pieces of the bike when they cannot get the whole thing. Many locks today also include wheel protection safety measures that attach to the central bolt, so be on the lookout for those.
We generally do not recommend combination locks for securing your bike. While this method will prevent the average passerby from snatching your bike, they are even less useful than cable locks at protecting from actual thieves that want to take your bike. They are also harder for attaching to bike posts when you try and park. As such, you should probably steer clear of them, unless your bike is incredibly inexpensive and easily replaceable.
Where Should I Lock My Bike When Parking?
Before you pick something to park too, you first need to know the area you want to park. Choose an area that remains out of reach of cars or other machinery that might run into it while parked. You might think that a busy or well-lit street would deter criminals from stealing your bike, but in reality, bike theft occurs so quickly that not too many thieves are concerned about being seen. As such, you should never assume that other people you don’t know are watching over your bike. Your priority is safely securing it.
Now that you chose an area, you need something to lock it to so it is secure physically. A bike lock is an excellent thing for securing your bike. But not all cities offer the same levels of bike rack availability. As such, you should know some good alternative things you can achieve your vehicle on while you work, eat or shop. If you park in a city then out of the way street signs and parking meters remain the best options, but fences or anything your lock can secure to work equally as well.
Locking your bike on a tree is a contentious subject in the biking community. While it might not seem like a big deal, the act of securing your vehicle on a tree can contain some pretty severe repercussions. The most extreme example we can provide is someone cutting down the tree to get your bike. IN this case, your bike not only gets stolen, but a piece of nature is gone forever. A more common example is the bike scraping against the tree’s bark, breaking its branches or just damaging its structure.
How Do I Lock My Bike?
While this question might seem obvious, many people make simple mistakes when it comes to locking up their bikes. First off, keep your bike upright and on two wheels. You should also make sure that the lock covers the bike frame itself and not the seat. Otherwise, someone could remove the place and take off the bolt. Next, make sure that the lock fastens adequately shut. You can test the secureness by performing a quick tug. If the lock comes undone, then try again.
How Much Money Should You Spend on A Bike Lock?
People ask this question for as long as there have been bikes, and the answer remains the same: however much you can. Bike safety is crucial if you care about the safety of your bike. But not everyone cares about the safety of their bike as much as others. No one wants their bike stolen, but there is a big difference between losing a one hundred dollar bike and losing a three thousand dollar bike.
If you do not care about the safety of your bike, then you do not need to worry that much about dropping big dollars. Think about it this way: if you think that you cannot afford an expensive, then ask yourself if you can provide to get your bike stolen. If the answer is no, then you should probably invest in the best you can buy. You do not need to, but it helps always to prepare for the worst.
Luckily, we included a wide variety of models — each at different prices — so you can choose the best types from each category. For people who are unsure we generally recommend a U-lock. These locks combine the strength of chain locks, with the affordability and portability of cable locks. As such, they remain a good compromise between the two main types of bike locks.
We hope this article helped you find the best bike lock possible for protecting your bicycle. As you can see, the answer to the question of what is the best bike locks comes down to your specific needs when buying one. When you live in a crowded, urban area, then the crime is, unfortunately, an inevitable that you likely will not be able to avoid. However, this does not mean that you need to live in constant fear of getting your bike stolen.
Every bike owner deserves the peace of mind in knowing that their bikes will be waiting for them outside when they get ready for their commute. Unfortunately, individual companies do not make their products with the same standard as others. As such, you should do some careful research before committing to a product. We firmly believe that most of the products — especially ones found on the first half — will adequately protect your bicycle from theft. Happy riding!
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