What Is the Best Bike Lock? The 5 Best Bike Locks Reviewed

No one wants to return to their pride and joy to find it missing, but unfortunately bike theft is all too common.

When picking a bike lock, you want to go for one that promises to be sturdy, but is not so heavy or cumbersome that you’re more likely to take one look at it and leave it at home.

The vast majority of bike locks are rated on the independent ‘Sold Secure’ scale – and given either a Bronze, Gold or Silver level of approval. Bronze is the most breakable, and Gold the least.

You’ll pay more for a stronger ‘Gold’ standard lock, but this is one case where scrimping on quality can lose you money big time – and if you’re bike is insured, it is worth checking if they stipulate the bike must be locked with a Sold Secure Gold Standard lock – if this is the case, using an alternative, less sturdy lock could well invalidate your insurance.

Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 U-lock with FlexFrame bracket

Screen Shot 2014-10-04 at 16.02.22

This U lock (or D lock) is rates Gold by Sold Secure, and it is designed for ‘moderate to high’ crime areas. The shackle is made of 14mm hardened Kryptonium steel, and it features a patented double deadbolt locking mechanism. Though no lock is a guarantee, this one would take longer to get through, and would act as a deterrent to the opportune thief – you’d need specific tools at hand to break it.

The lock comes with 3 keys, one of which is lighted – which is a nice touch on a dark night. You also get a mount with this, and this has anti-rattle bumpers to avoid annoying noises on the roads. The lock itself is covered by a rotating dust cover, to keep the dirt and grime out, and the entire unit is weather protected.

This one isn’t small and discreet and comes in at 10.2 cm wide x 22.9 cm high – you’ll probably notice it.

D-locks are often touted as the safest option, and the toughest to get through, though it’s often recommended that you use then in conjunction with a cable lock, to keep your wheels safe.

Kryptonite Evolution Mini 7 Bicycle Lock

Screen Shot 2014-10-04 at 16.12.04

Though it does mean carrying yet another item, having a D lock / U lock and a cable does give you an extra layer of protection.

This set comes with a 13mm hardened Kryptonium steel shackle D lock, and a Kryptoflex braided steel cable for locking up wheels and saddles. A tad smaller than the Gold rated Evolution 4, it comes in at 8.3cm x 18cm.

You still get 3 keys, a rotating dust cover, anti-rattle frame mount and deadbolt locking system, but this one is rated as Sold Secure Silver – so it’s one step down on the safety ladder. However, the D-lock is not rated with the addition of the steel cable, so the two working together may well provide you with more safety.

Abus U-Mini 401 D-Lock

abus-u-mini-401-d-lock

The Abus is similarly priced to the Kryptonite offerings above, but it comes with a Gold rating, and dimensions of 8cm x 14 cm (or 81mm x 145mm).

That makes it as safe as our 14mm Kryptonite, but a lot more manageable when it comes to carrying.

A deep swivel pocket to guards the lock from water, and you get 4 keys. Though not cheap, this won the Cycling Weekly bike lock group test, with 9/10, and it certainly looks like a good option.

Unfortunatly, you don’t get a cable chucked into the deal, though you could buy one separately for £10-£20.

Hiplok V1.50 

If transportation of the lock is a major concern for you, you may want to think about Hiplok.

Hiplok create wearable locks, which eliminate the need to attach anything heavy to the bike, which can affect comfort and control, and the need to add an extra weight to a backpack or panniers.

These locks are rated Silver by Sold Secure, and consist of a 10mm hardened steel shackle, which is made comfortable with an impact resistant nylon case.

The body of the lock is steel also ,with a brass mechanism, and you’ll get 3 keys. The whole unit weighs 1.8kg, and though of course nothing will stop that weighing you down, distributing the weight across the hips can make carrying more comfortable.

Hiplok’s are available in a variety of colours, and if you’re after something less weighty, there is a ‘Hiplok lite’ which comes in at 1kg and is rated Sold Secure Bronze:

Oxford Heavy Duty Chain and Padlock 1m

Screen Shot 2014-10-04 at 16.40.42

Warning – might not be a suitable option for everybody – especially not those who want to travel light.

If you lock your bike daily at your workplace or at home, it might be possible to leave your lock there – hence inclusion of this 2.6kg beast.

This 10mm square link chain is suitable for securing a motorbike, and Oxford claim it has been attack tested, and is resistant against drills, saws, sledge hammers, and bolt croppers.

There is protective cloth chain cover, and you also get 3 keys. At 1m in length, you’d probably want to wrap this round a few times – remember the closer the coil, the harder it is to get a tool in and gain any leverage.

Have you got a great lock we’ve not mentioned?

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22 Responses to What Is the Best Bike Lock? The 5 Best Bike Locks Reviewed

  1. Andrew 10/10/2014 at 2:11 pm #

    I have the Oxford chain above and it prevented my road bike from being taken when the mountain bike sitting next to it was stolen. You absolutely wouldn’t want to take the lock anywhere with you on the bike.

    Remember though, what you lock to is as important as the lock itself. So for a permanent solution (e.g. in garage) it’s worth investing in a proper ground anchor with at least as good a rating as the lock itself.

  2. Mick Maciver 10/10/2014 at 2:23 pm #

    Kryptonite locks might be the dog’s b’s in terms of security, but the mounting system for attaching them to the bike is the dog’s excrement. There’s no way that any Kryptonite lock would make it into a top five thousand if the quality and utility of the mounting system is taken into consideration. I bought a NY lock to replace my ageing Squire lock but the Kryptonite is in the shed and the Squire is still on the bike, with its new covering of heatshrink sleeving – wish I’d thought of that before shelling on a useless lock.

    • Matt 21/10/2014 at 1:50 pm #

      I agree. I ditched my mounting system within a week. I just put the lock in my bag though.

  3. Miles Taylor 10/10/2014 at 2:34 pm #

    Actually I’d look to make the bike less attractive by fitting a Datatag pro system – I know a guy who had his frame hack sawed through just to get his components! Lock did him no good at all

  4. Roger 10/10/2014 at 7:39 pm #

    Cables are easily defeated with pocket tools, and it’s worryingly common for cyclists to only wrap the cable around the bike stand, not the d-lock. The Evo Mini is fine as a secondary or ‘cafe’ lock but not as a primary.

    Learn good locking technique. Disappointing that you don’t mention this.

    AVOID the silver series of Kryptonite locks. They’re not for London.

    My preferred and proven successful combination:

    ABUS x-Plus 54 230mm – light, strong, great mounting options, very reliable German construction far superior to the larger Kryptonite locks. Fill lock with bike – i.e. through seat stays.

    Pit Locks on wheels and seat post. If you have multiple bikes you can get them keyed the same.

    Glue/solder/ball bearings in headset bolts.

    Kryptonite Evolution Mini as secondary lock – use this in conjunction with the ABUS. When only using this lock it’ll be fine for popping in for a coffee.

    NEVER EVER leave your bike out over night! If it’s late make sure it’s outside a bar, shop or busy place. Make your bike look like its yours. Stickers, tape, customised bits.

    • Vincent 11/10/2014 at 8:53 pm #

      +1 to everything Roger wrote above.

      I’d add that the U lock should be …

      1. as tight as possible so as to leave no room to insert a crowbar

      2. top quality* (Sold Secure Bicycle Gold, ART**) , so that picking its lock takes too much work.

      * Picking “Abus Granit Extreme X Plus 59 – 180 HB 310”
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyRoWphwCy4

      ** http://www.stichtingart.nl/sloten_resultaat.asp
      “Alle typen sloten = Beugelsloten = U lock” > Tonen: Check four star-rated options

  5. Tom 11/10/2014 at 8:03 am #

    I used to use a krypronite cable to secure my saddle, but came back to my bike to find it had be cut and the saddle was gone… was only left for an hour or so in broad daylight in a busy place.

  6. David 11/10/2014 at 9:49 pm #

    Abus BordoGranit X Plus. It opens wider than a D-Lock and hence allows you more options as to what you lock your bike to. Much better for carrying, it is nice and compact and just goes in place of a bottle cage. Put pinheads on your wheels, seat post and headset to be as secure as is practical then you don’t need easily cut cables.

  7. Ross 12/10/2014 at 1:22 am #

    I have used the kryptonite evolution mini combined with a hiplock to secure my £700 Norco commuter hybrid in London for the last year and a half now. Never had any problems. I always lock it in a different place and to a proper street bike stand. I use the hiplock to secure the frame and front wheel to the stand and my d lock through the rear wheel and frame to the stand. If somebody really wanted it and was equipped I know they could get it easy enough but there are easier targets to steal.

  8. MJ Ray 12/10/2014 at 11:16 am #

    Adding a cable to a D lock doesn’t add safety, does it? The thief still only needs to defeat the D lock. It allows you to secure saddle and so on but a cable lock through them and the stand would probably be better even then, needing two sorts of lock busting skill. By that point, there’s probably easier targets.

  9. Jon 12/10/2014 at 11:33 am #

    My Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 was broken when my Trek DS4 was stolen just last January in a swipe card controlled cycle park at the basement of Bristol Eye Hospital, sadly. I am now using 3 Kryptonite New York locks – M18-WL, Fahgettaboudit Chain 1410 and Standard; at least if they are broken the bike and accesories are insured for up to £2,000

  10. Nicola 12/10/2014 at 6:27 pm #

    Does anyone know about any good locks for quick release wheels?

    • Mick Maciver 12/10/2014 at 10:07 pm #

      Buy a good U-Lock.
      Find a good object to lock the bike to.
      Take the front wheel out.
      Put the lock round the object, through the rear wheel, the seat tube then the front wheel, and lock it.

      • Alan Moore 13/10/2014 at 1:13 pm #

        This is why I don’t use quick release 🙂

        • Mick Maciver 13/10/2014 at 1:39 pm #

          Understood – each to his/her own. I’ve been locking my bike like this since 1981. It means I only have to carry one lock around and the lock is stuffed with bike, so harder to bottle jack. Oh…. and the bike is worth about £2.50 to a thief – although it’s worth a lot more to me.

  11. Alan Moore 13/10/2014 at 1:12 pm #

    I use an Abus City Chain (£90 from Evans) – it’s lighter than many chains but still Gold rated. That secures the frame and front wheel to a rack/sign/lamppost/whatever, while an Axa built-in shackle lock secures the back wheel.

    Be careful when locking to a signpost .. make sure the whole bike and lock can’t be lifted over the top.

  12. Mik 13/10/2014 at 1:13 pm #

    Agreed on the pointlessness of the cable with the D-Lock, back before I knew better my first bike was ‘secured’ with what I thought was a hefty cable lock, the CCTV footage of the thief stealing it showed he barely had to pause to cut through it. If they want whatever bits you think the cable lock is securing (saddle, wheels, whatever) then it’s not going to stop them.

    Take some photos of your bike, list what is on it and make sure you have the frame number written down somewhere. That way if it gets stolen you have the best chance (but still a slim one) of getting it back.

    I agree with the comments about pit locks (now use them) and decent D-locks and chains not cables.

    If you are looking at securing the bike while it is at home, as well as the Oxford locks, have a look at this lot – http://securityforbikes.com/ – they were at the NEC show and they primarily build stuff for motorbikes and beyond so they don’t really sell anything you’d want to carry around with you. But on the home front they have an amazing assortment of anchor options and will sell you chains and locks that will seriously inconvenience a thief. (I’m not part of the company but I’ve known the folks involved for years).

    Still, alongside a decent lock, get some insurance and know all the details about what you ride in case it’s stolen.

  13. PPP 18/10/2014 at 1:17 pm #

    It’s not only the lock which is protecting your bike, but how you use it

  14. Andrew Maclarty 25/01/2016 at 9:07 pm #

    Having lost keys for a good lock I bought a Kryptonite cable and a large Wilkinson’s padlock. At some point the key and spare for that lock were both lost. I removed the saddle to which it was normally locked when not in use, and took it to a local engineering works where an engineer spent ten minutes cutting the shackle with an angle cutter.

    A further lock was bought as before and AGAIN the spare key was lost in a house move (I blame my wife !). Again a tried a local engineering workshop where the owner said “No problem” and brought a huge pair of bolt cutters, but these were not up to the job and he gave up. I have since tried to hacksaw the shackle but could not even scratch it.

    This shows the shackle of Wilkinson’s padlocks is well up to the job, but perhaps the lock itself might be undone. But there are ways of placing the lock low down in a greasy place where it will be very inconvenient to attack it (round or between the chainstays behind the seat pillar).

    Now I am going to explore four digit combination lock.

    Great site.

    Andrew Maclarty

  15. Iain 17/07/2016 at 10:37 am #

    What’s wrong with using 2 or even 3 cheap locks. It would take 3 times as lock to remove them.

  16. Mark 16/08/2016 at 10:37 am #

    Take two padlocks ( as well as your d locks ) and attach each one of them to each wheels. So the wanker that stills your bike can’t ride away. And if they still your wheels they will have a bugger getting them off. And if you have a disc brakes put a lock on them as well. It might seem a lot of effort. But so is getting a bus with no ouster card. And then buying a new bike ect…… use your brain. Think like they do. Easy’er to nick a bike that’s easy to nick. So they will.

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