Bike Locks Guide – Bike Lock Options

bike lock guideA good bike lock is the second most essential purchase after the bike itself. This is one part of cycling where saving money is a false economy – general guidance from those in the know is to spend at least 10%  of the value of the bike on the lock. This guide will take you through what to look for and recommend some excellent bike locks for use in London, or any big city. Be sure to check out our guide on how to best use your lock to secure your bike.

How to Choose a Primary Bike Lock

Gold Security rating

In the UK there is the Sold Secure rating system. For use in London you want to stick to Gold Standard locks as your primary lock. These are the most secure locks available, meaning they are the hardest to break.  If you have bicycle insurance then getting a Sold Secure lock is usually part of the terms and conditions.


A lock with a bigger locking diameter will mean you can secure it against a wider range of objects. The downside is this gives the thief more space to try and use a leveraging bar to break the lock. If you wish to be able to lock your bike anywhere then its best to get one with a larger diameter. I have a chain lock (the Kryptonite below) that I take with me when I may have to lock my bike to non-standard racks.


Obviously this is something you need to carry around with you often and any additional weight on the bike means additional pedalling effort. Usually a better bike lock will also be heavier, but there are some options. If you are going to be carrying it around on your bike, it is worth getting one with a mounting bracket that you like. If you have panniers then this is of course less important.

Bike Lock Options

Kryptonite New York Standard

krytonite new york bike lock If safety is your main concern then look no further than the Kryptonite New York Standard. It is the one we both use to keep our bikes safe in London and has served its purpose time and time again. It comes with 3 sets of keys and a code to register should you lose them all.  The two downsides are the additional weight (1.9kg) and the limited number of objects you can secure it against due to its diameter.

Knog Strongman Bike lockKnog Strongman

This is Knog’s Gold standard lock and is a small d-lock. It is a great smaller lock which is a little easier to carry than some of the larger ones mentioned here, but just as strong. It has three keys again, and a code for more should you need them. The mounting bracket is very easy to fit onto your bike should you wish and the lock goes in and out quickly. Its small size is a blessing and a curse – it really only fits around a top tube and rack, nothing larger.

Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 chainKryptonite chain lock

This lock is somewhat of a hybrid – It is a 10mm chain with an integrated locking mechanism similar to a d-lock. As it is a chain it is more flexible than the two locks above, so it can be used to lock around a variety of structures. It is also easy to lock the front or rear wheel along with the frame to a rack. The main downside of this lock is its weight, at 2.7kg it is pretty heavy. However it can be wrapped around your bike should you need to. Again, the lock comes with three keys and a code to order more.

Abus d-lockAbus Granit X Plus 540

Pretty similar to the Kryptonite d-locks, this Abus offering is as tough as they come. It is a good size for London, allowing a bike to be locked to lots of different sized racks. It is also possible to get their around a rack, frame and rear wheel on many bikes. There is a mount for attaching the lock you your bike and two keys and a code card for replacements. This lock is a little lighter than some other d-locks at 1.5kgs.

Secondary bike locks

We also recommend that you have a secondary lock. Having two different types of lock means a thief will need different tools to free your bike. It does not make your bike impossible to steal, but chances are there will be a less secure bike nearby. Sad but often true. Secondary locks also mean that you can secure accessories and both wheels, although it is worth considering locking skewers for the wheels as well.

What bike lock do you use?  Do you recommend it?

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98 Responses to Bike Locks Guide – Bike Lock Options

  1. TomM 09/04/2012 at 2:23 pm #

    I bought a big Abus D-lock rated at 9, reduced from GBP60. The bike was stolen when I popped in for about 15 mins to Tesco in Old Kent Road, alongside all the other bikes chained outside the main door to steel bars. Apparently bikes are regularly stolen there and the shop does and cares nothing. It seems all locks can be broken in seconds by well-equipped thieves and the money to buy a good one was wasted. Don’t park your bike in SE1.. I had done the police registration but this does not seem to have been any help in the following weeks.

    • TomM 09/04/2012 at 2:36 pm #

      by the way, the quality of the bike is no deterrent, mine was very old and cheap and apparently all are taken indiscriminately

      • goonz 10/04/2012 at 9:32 am #

        Mate if I remember correctly, abus rating goes up to 15 or even 20 which would mean their own rating of 9 would not be a very good lock. You would need at least a 12 rated lock. However I would not even trust their own ratings. Refer to the sold secure ratings listing and check whether they gave rated your lock first. Only get a gold rates lock and discount anything leer for real safety. Also worth having the bike marked by the police.

        • TomM 10/04/2012 at 10:17 am #

          Thanks, good advice. Lock was Abus Varedo, sold secure silver, level 9 protection (scale up to 15). So far I hardly let replacement bike out of my sight, but will save for gold standard. I had bike marked by police a week before it was stolen.

    • Dave 11/05/2012 at 5:13 pm #

      If I am not just out for a non stop ride, I do my door to door type shopping with my Brompton. Instead of a bike lock I bought “Easy Wheels” for it and push it around like a shopping trolley, and sometimes IN a shopping trolley

      • Helen 26/01/2016 at 4:32 pm #

        Dave, do you ever lock your Brompton up outside? I was told to never do so; mine is my main bike (I ride it every day and it goes everywhere with me), but I never have the guts to leave it out of my sight, even locked up. This means that I bring it into work, restaurants, shops, everywhere. I’m not very strong, so it’s a pain to carry around and gets in the way in busy shops even on the easy wheels. Just wondering if other Brompton owners are as paranoid as me?

        • Dave 26/01/2016 at 5:29 pm #

          Hi Helen

          I’m absolutely paranoid about it. I do the same with mine, shopping, work, restaurants, visiting friends. . Only place that it wasn’t welcome was Harrods, so I didn’t go in

        • Fern 29/01/2016 at 10:41 am #

          Hi Helen
          Don’t leave your Brompton outside I have a bag on the front of mine and turns into a little shopping trolley.
          They are e easier if you have the rack with the easy wheels

  2. MikeF 22/04/2012 at 7:16 pm #

    I had a relatively nice bike (scott hybrid) stolen from outside my work about 5years ago, which had been locked with a cheap d lock. But then I got into cycling and racing, so I started using a whacking great 2m long, 18mm thick cable with a huge padlock on my various bikes. Never had one stolen since. 🙂 but despite that, I couldn’t resist indulging in a kryptonite NY 3000 when I found it on offer for under £50! My bikes are the only safe ones in my area. 😀

  3. Alistair McClymont 13/05/2012 at 11:38 am #

    a few tips that have enabled me to not get a really nice bianchi nicked in 8 years of locking it in London:
    Never lock it overnight – it won’t be there in the morning
    Take off the front wheel so you can lock through both wheels
    Lock it high and awkwardly if possible
    Make your bike look cheap – mine is worth over a grand but it looks like its 50 quid with black tape all over it. Plus if you ever want to sell it under the tape you’ve an unscratched bike.

    I use a top range abus cable lock that’s the shorter of the two lengths. Harder to lock up but harder to break. I’ve also heard WD40 kills locks. You shouldn’t ever have to use it, if the lock seizes it will fix it. But WD40 will strip the grease from the lock and destroy it eventually, mine still works fine after 6 years.

  4. urbanbear 24/05/2012 at 3:01 am #

    I visited the Wiggle site and noticed that they have a sale with 20% off all their ABUS locks, in addition to lots of other savings.


  5. Dick Bloomfield 03/07/2012 at 10:12 am #

    My advice for those who cycle to work in central London and don’t want your bike nicked is:
    1. If your company doesn’t provide anywhere that you can safely lock up your bike then insist on taking it in the building.
    2. If they want to really help, get them to provide a couple of Bykebins – where you can actually lock your bike out of sight
    3. If all they will do is buy some cycle racks them get them to buy the Sheffield Toastrack style shown here – at least then you can lock the frame and/or the both wheels. The front wheel cycle rack style are a waste of time and may as well have a sign up saying steal me!

  6. patterned wellies 03/07/2012 at 11:24 am #

    I read this paragraph completely concerning the resemblance
    of most recent and preceding technologies, it’s amazing article.

  7. Kostas 20/09/2012 at 10:03 pm #

    I had my brand new bike nicked from just outside my office. i had it stranded on a metallic rigid pole with the abus centruro 860mm shown here. They had even taken the lock so I don’t even know if they cut it or picked it. The only thing I am sure about is that it had only taken them less than 5 minutes

  8. Goodwheel 17/03/2013 at 12:08 am #

    Another good technique is to have a strong D-lock as your main lock and a secondary lighter lock utilising a padlock and chain. A thief would have to carry with him two sets of tools to break these two very different kinds of locks. He is more likely to move on and look for easier pickings.

  9. Phil Russell 09/08/2013 at 1:07 pm #

    I’m beginning to think there’s only one way to stop these thieving bar-stewards from stealing your pride & joy—-and that is to NOT LEAVE IT ANYWHERE, locked or otherwise.
    So how should we commute, or shop, or visit, or socialise? Answer: we’ll all end up with 2 bikes—-a good one for enjoyment, and a crappy one for locking-and-leaving. I say this because clearly, from the heartbreaking stories of busted “secure” locks, no bike is ever safe, not even for three minutes. And if any bike-stealing rats are after my best bike, it won’t be my locks you have to deal with—it’ll be me—in person.

  10. Dave 10/08/2013 at 7:10 pm #

    My road bikes live inside the house and are ridden away and back. For shopping and commuting I use my Brompton and where I go, it goes

  11. Bod 24/07/2014 at 9:32 pm #

    Anyone heard of these new fangled GPS based bike locks eg lock 8. They have sensors for motion, temperature and have alarms. After looking at several models I reckon they are way too hi tech for the job. Lock 8 costs 200 euro plus a sub for the GPS tracking. Insurance would be cheaper.

    I have an idea of just covering both wheel in a metal clamp made of stainless steel plate armour, as I have seen many bike plundered for the wheels. Also I hear gans armed with angle grinders, bolt croppers do the round. Maybe what is needed are mini bike garages or lockers like those loos which disappear underground below street level, ticket like in a multi story.

    • Andreas 25/07/2014 at 12:00 pm #

      Hey Bod – We’ve got a post coming next week about the GPS bike locks.

    • Jasio 25/10/2015 at 10:44 pm #

      It requires a little bit of the invention if you want to protect your bike chain form the angle grinder. I used magnesium powder (fire starter) covered in a thick layer of rubber wire insulation, wrapped between chain links and hidden under the sleeve. Any attempt of cutting the chain with the grinding machinery will result it loud, bright, chemical fire unable to significantly harm the motorcycle. If it explodes and hurt the theft, I will simply plead guilty…

  12. chris 29/01/2016 at 5:09 pm #

    sorry to say there is only one way to lock a bike safely and that is to not let it out of your sight? I had a bike long time ago trashed at Sainsburys in Streatham because the thieves COULDNT steal it or any thing on it , so they rammed a trolly into the 531 steel frame writing it off. You cant trust that there are other people around – locked another bike out side Mc Donalds past Norbury. it was summer time with lots of people around and outside , didnt put off an attempted theft but didnt come off as a friend with a dog was next to it and it gave him the look – steal it and I bite you

  13. Roger 31/01/2016 at 11:21 pm #

    The Abus Granit X-Plus 540 is great. It comes in 230mm and 300mm (looks like the 300mm in the photos) and is available with various brackets – all of which a good for their different applications.

    Various German bike website sell it for around £60 including postage to UK (prices fluctuate) – rather than £95 on the high street.

    Some of the On Guard Brute locks get great reviews and feedback too – much cheaper than comparitive Abus and Kryptonite – important if you don’t have a lot of money to spend, and have a not massively attractive bike, but one you’d like to keep nonetheless! I’d rather buy an On Guard than one of those not-so-good ‘silver’ Kryptonites.

  14. jhon roadbiker 07/02/2016 at 11:42 am #

    Hi there. Interesting things to share that few days ago my bike lock was stolen! lol. May be the thief tried to steal my bike but couldn’t and then he thought about the lock only!
    Well anyway i already bought a new lock.

  15. Har hari 29/05/2016 at 8:10 pm #

    This to the guy who is in the video about locking your bike safely. Which particular locks are you using?

  16. Alehouse Rock 30/05/2016 at 9:23 pm #

    Very interesting stuffo.

  17. Cable Lock 22/09/2016 at 5:53 am #

    Thank you for sharing very informative guide about Bike Locks. A good bike lock is the second most essential purchase after the bike itself. Keep it up!


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