A 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.
Best bike locks
Kryptonite New York Standard
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.
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.
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 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.
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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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.