Hints & Tips

Buying Guide: Bicycle Locks

Keep your precious safe with this bike lock buying guide

That ‘heart in mouth’ moment when you return to the spot where you left your bike to find it missing is not a nice one. However, it’s not all that uncommon either. 

A report emerged earlier this year which looked into home burglaries and theft – it revealed that in the UK, bikes are the most commonly stolen item from a home.

The experiences behind the study hit home when we hear personal stories – such as that of British downhill racer, Manon Carpenter who had her entire fleet stolen from her house. Fortunately, thanks to social media for raising mass awareness, her bikes were eventually recovered. Sadly not everyone gets to enjoy such a happy ending.

On the streets, where theft doesn’t carry the added penalties of breaking and entering, missing bikes are an even greater issue. However, regardless if your bike is at home or away, you can protect yourself with a quality lock.

Keep it Secret, Keep it Safe

Many thieves are opportunists, so if you’re leaving your bike unattended, a bike lock is essential to minimise any temptation. However, it’s also a good idea to use one inside the home, to secure your beloved to an immovable object.

There’s a variety of bike locks on the market, some are more secure than others, but they all have a common purpose: to protect your bike. Whilst there is no such thing as a unbreakable bike lock, they all act as very successful deterrents.

When selecting a bike lock, there’s a number of things to consider:

  • LENGTH/SIZE: The length or size of your locking device will depend on how many bikes you’re looking to lock up. Consider what purposes you have for the lock and choose an appropriate length or size for your bike.
  • FRAME PROTECTION: Whilst many locks come encased in a vinyl or cloth housing, it’s important to make sure that your frame won’t be damaged or scratched.
  • KEYS: Keys and combination locks are the most common types of lock. Keys are generally more reliable and secure over combination locks, but there are drawbacks if you’re prone to losing things…
  • SOLD SECURE RATING: There’s a grading system in place for security devices. A majority of locks undergo strength testing, as well as a variety of other “breaking” tests to determine how easily a lock can be broken into. The Gold Sold Secure standard is the best rating available.
  • DIFFICULTY: The more complex the lock looks, the less likely an opportunistic thief will attempt to break it.
  • TYPE: There’s generally 3 bike lock types to choose from, each with their own purpose for security. Cable Locks, U-Locks/D-Locks and Chain Locks

Cable Locks

Cable locks are the most flexible option to secure your bike with. They can coil into a compact shape which makes them great for transporting with you. Available in a variety of thicknesses and lengths, cable locks are great for threading through your components, especially handy for wheels with quick release that can be easily lifted without protection.

Kryptonite Kyrptoflex

Kryptonite is a leading brand in bike safety and locks, and their Kryptoflex is no exception to their esteemed brand selection.

Weighing in at just over 1Kg, this twisted steel cable is encased in a soft vinyl jacket to protect the bike frame, and the cable itself. Measuring  15mm in diameter and 180 cm long, there are multiple ways for this lock to be looped around the essentials including front to rear wheel linkage.

The locking mechanism is key operated and protected in a hardened shell which is both pick and drill resistant.

Available here for £15

Abus Granit Steel-O-Flex

Another leading brand name in the security industry is German manufacturers, Abus.

The Granit Steel-O-Flex is as hardy as cable locks come. It’s both highly flexible and extremely durable with hardened steel cabling sheathed in a synthetic coat, this lock is weather resistant also.

Operated by key, this lock is equipped with two keys. One has a fitted LED light which helps in low-light conditions.

Available in either 100cm or 80cm lengths, the range of locking possibilities are still vast. Ideally through a wheel and frame combination.

Available here from £50


U-Locks, or D-Locks, are arguably the most secure bike locks available. Named after their obvious parabolic shape, the U-Lock is secure like no other.

With a variety of different sizes available, the U-Lock can be used to secure multiple bikes together. Or with a smaller U-Lock, you can use for singular frames which are more difficult to break open.

A solid construction and design mean this particular type of bike lock is secure, with no rattling or jiggling around to be pushed and pulled against. A popular approach to locking your bike is to secure the frame with a U-Lock, and then add extra protection by looping a cable lock through the wheels, and we’d certainly recommend this double approach.

Abus Granit X Plus 540

The Abus Granit Plus X 540 is the ultimate U-Lock for your bike, and a tough cookie to crack.

The hardened steel shackle, combined with a sturdy casing means that it’d be pretty tough to dislodge. The ultra strong locking cylinder has been reinforced to withstand struggle and excessive force.

All of this is backed up by the Sold Secure Gold rating, so you know it’s proved itself to be the highest level of protection.

Available in 300mm and 230mm size options.

Available here for £64

Kryptonite Evolution Mini

The Kryptonite Evolution Mini is compact and ideal for single frame usage.

The hardened steel loop is coupled with a strong deadbolt locking mechanism which is pick-lock resistant. This product has been rated a Silver grade by Sold Secure for some additional piece of mind.

The Evolution Mini fits a variety of frame tube sizes from 25-80mm, and a range of frame shapes: triangular, oval and circular.

Despite weighing a hefty 1.3Kg, it’s small and compact for easy transportation.

Available here for £28

Chain Locks

These heavy duty beasts are the ultimate deterrents for thieves. They are durable, menacing and able to withstand a lot of attack power if needed.

Chain locks are ideal for home use, when coupled with a ground anchor. However, make sure the padlock is just as strong as secure as the chain itself, otherwise it becomes very weak, very quickly!

Oxford Chain 10

The Oxford Chain 10 is certainly affordable at just £30, it’s a heavy duty bike chain at a reasonable price.

Awarded with Sold Secure’s Gold rating, this chain measures 1.4m in length and is constructed from hardened steel links, with an equally hardened steel shackle padlock for additional security.

With varying lengths available, these are too hefty to take out with you, so best to thread through the frame and secured to a grounded anchor.

Available from £30 here

Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain

Another chain bike lock beast is this Kryptonite New York chain which is available in two size options: 100cm and 150cm.

Also awarded with a Gold standard rating from Sold Secure, this chain will put up a fight against thieves.

Heat treated boron manganese links provide additional hardy strength. The disc lock is equipped with a 14mm steel shackle, and the nylon jacket provides frame protection. Three keys are provided for safe keeping, with one of them fitted with a light for night time use.

Available from £81 here

Although bike locks can be expensive, it’s well worth spending a decent percentage of the cost of the bike on keeping your beloved safe 10 per cent is the oft quoted figure. After all, it’s your freedom machine, your gym partner and your social outlet – and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

You may also enjoy:

Bike Theft: Everything you need to know

Bicycle Insurance: Everything you need to know

The most common reasons why bikes are stolen

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