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. Balint 12/01/2010 at 2:31 pm #

    I use a Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 and it has been done an excellent job this far. The only problem I’ve encountered so far was that its width limits against what can you lock it which can often be annoying. But being annoyed is still better than being left without a bike.

    • Dorothea 27/09/2010 at 3:33 pm #

      Anyone know which company gives you a new bike if it gets stolen when you are using the lock?

      • Phil Russell 15/06/2011 at 1:22 pm #

        Yes! They’re called “Pie in the Sky” Ltd., and they’re based in Fairyland.

  2. Guilherme Zühlke O'Connor 12/01/2010 at 3:03 pm #

    This article came very timely as I need to look into this for my next bike (don’t ask), thanks.

    Now, it kept me thinking, how do the Kryptonite Series 4 and the New York Standard compare security wise, because the Series 4 seems to be lighter and cheaper, if they are similar in security features, it just wins every time.

  3. Andreas 12/01/2010 at 4:42 pm #

    The Evolution series 4 has a 14mm steel shackle where as the New York standard bike lock has 16mm. The extra steel just means it takes longer for a thief to get through it. To be honest there is not much to choose between the two. If you leave your bike in high risk areas frequently then it is worth paying more and carrying the extra weight. If you combine the Series 4 with another lock, say a cheaper chain lock chances are a bike thief won’t attempt to steal your bike. I would therefore say rather than choosing between the two, go for the cheaper one and make sure you have a second lock to back it up with. There is more tips in the How to lock your bike article I’ve listed above.

  4. Kenny 13/01/2010 at 1:00 am #

    New York standard. Its tough and locks nicely around the frame and wheel. With cable type locks vandalism is a issue, scum will kick the bike over and bend the wheels.

  5. George 13/01/2010 at 11:38 am #

    I use a couple… I have a great big ABUS chain and lock which I leave attached to the bike stand outside the office. I have a much lighter lock which is frankly little more than a deterrent that I take when I don’t expect to have to leave the bike. I just use it if I have to abandon the bike in an emergency.

  6. Andreas 13/01/2010 at 1:12 pm #

    George – if only the good locks were not so heavy!

  7. Claire 13/01/2010 at 2:08 pm #

    Please don’t even think about cycling with a lock tied around your waist – if you come off you stand a very good chance of rupturing your kidneys and injuring your vertebrae.

  8. George 13/01/2010 at 2:33 pm #

    Andreas, definitely.
    Claire. Absolutely agree. A friend of mine used to cycle with his around his neck. Always struck me as utterly imbecilic.

  9. Peter 13/01/2010 at 7:55 pm #

    Abus Granit
    it fits between my rack and my wheel, with an old inner tube to hold it in place, so I can just slip it in and out and it’s secure. If it’s easy to get out and I’ve definitely got it with me there’s less chance of being tempted to leave it for a moment.
    I’ve also got Pinhead locks on my wheels (while I was waiting for my new wheels when the old ones got stolen I kept seeing disk rotors on non-disk brake bikes, turns out they’re very specific to the bike => lot’s of stolen wheels being ridden on)
    If I was buying wheel locks now I’d get the Zefal ones I saw in my local bike shop at the weekend – they don’t need a key but are operated by gravity Very clever

    Don’t be tempted to ride around with keys left in the lock (maybe shopping) – if you drop it the key can break off in the lock and then you need a new lock

  10. thereverent 15/01/2010 at 10:23 am #

    I use a Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 with a Kryptonite cable for the front wheel. Very happy with it as it feels fairly bombproof.
    There are always someplaces where its hard to lock your bike, but normally thats overcome with a bit of playing around with different positions.

    • nick pamphilon 01/12/2010 at 6:59 pm #

      I felt pretty good about those K cables until last night, when it was cut through with a very clean & silent snip right outside my front door 🙁

      • andrew 24/02/2011 at 10:50 am #

        yeah, don’t leave a bike anywhere unsafe or for long periods of time with just a cable round the front wheel – it will most likely get cut and stolen. Wheel lock (eg pitlock, pinhead) are definately a good idea..

        • Tim 05/08/2013 at 11:36 am #

          Totally agree – I had a Kryptonite series 4 with a cable for the front wheel and guess what… front wheel was stolen. I think you can get through it with a small pair of cutters!
          I suggest getting a min D lock or a more robust cable lock like the Abus Centuro for the front wheel (looped through the frame and bike stand)

  11. Amy 17/01/2010 at 6:32 am #

    I got an OnGuard Brute STD 5001 U Lock from Amazon (U.S.), based on reviews, and it’s a lot like the nicer Kryptonite locks. I only take it with me if I’m locking in an unsafe area, because the thing weighs almost 5 pounds! That’s like 20% of the bike weight! It came with several keys and unfortunately the one with the light on it was bent on arrival, but there are enough others it wasn’t worth messing with a return. The lock is super sturdy but I know no lock is impenetrable. I just hope to turn the thief to an easier target.

  12. Guilherme Zühlke O'Connor 17/02/2010 at 4:27 pm #

    Well, thanks for the answers I ended up buying the New York Kryptonite lock. Then a few days later I found these videos about unlocking Kryptonite locks with a bic pen (yes, a bic pen), very scary!

    I couldn’t yet find any security concerns related to the New York lock, so hopefully it’s a safe choice, but I thought I’d share the videos just in case.

  13. Guilherme Zühlke O'Connor 17/02/2010 at 4:28 pm #

    Apologies, the link in the previous comment is badly formed, here’s it again

  14. Jonathon 05/03/2010 at 11:38 am #

    The Kryptonite New York Standard has gone up to £73.99 on 🙁

    • Andreas 27/05/2010 at 12:25 pm #

      Keep an eye on the price because it varies wildly!

      • Guilherme Zühlke O'Connor 27/05/2010 at 1:20 pm #

        Or, keep an eye on price match policies. Usually I prefer to buy from the seller with the lowest price because it seems fairer but when I bought my bike I needed the lock immediately (for obvious reasons) and I bought it from cycle surgery at amazon price, so I had my lock on the same day at a price £25 cheaper.

        I did that a few other times for similar reasons and while, again, I tend to encourage cheaper retailers by buying from them, it has been very helpful at times.

        • Andreas 27/05/2010 at 1:40 pm #

          Good idea. I know Evans Cycles have the same policy.

        • Guilherme Zühlke O'Connor 27/05/2010 at 2:20 pm #

          When I asked they said they had, but I haven’t used it yet. I have only used CS so far 😉

  15. Guido 27/05/2010 at 3:37 pm #

    my bike always lives in doors, currently in a hotel with me in Canada but at home either in a locked courtyard or in locked shed at home.

    I thief managed to get through a decent d-lock and a cable lock to steel my previous bike from work… when they have time, space and a lack of working CCTV they WILL get through anything…

    (I am not at all bitter)

    • Andreas 27/05/2010 at 3:47 pm #

      It’s true a bike lock is only effective for about 10 minutes if you have the right power tools

  16. Matt 28/06/2010 at 10:49 am #

    Just had a bike stolen from Colombia Road Flower Market, London. Had it locked up with an Abus Centuro 860mm lock.

    It’s a busy area with plenty of people walking around so it must have been an easy/quick job to cut through the cable.

  17. Stef 19/07/2010 at 9:24 am #

    In case it is useful for someone – Amazon has the Krypto Fahgettaboudit Mini Lock at 55% off currently


  18. Samantha 21/07/2010 at 2:21 pm #

    Cable locks are worthless in high crime areas in my opinion- I caught someone trying to cut through my Kryptonite cable lock with garden shears. I wrote a similar article on my blog about bike locks and yes, stick to the high end ( and heavy) ABUS, Kryptonite, on On Guard U-locks or chain locks. Multiple locks don’t hurt either. And of course, what you lock it to is just as important as what you lock it with.

  19. locksbeheavy 23/08/2010 at 11:38 pm #

    U-locks can be limited by what your locking them to. Steel loops that you find in the city can be cut through surprisingly easily. I always favour locking up to lamp-posts as they just simply have more structure to them.

    I’ve used this lock for the last two years in inner london. Have even watched the ‘youfs’ in hoodies appraise and decide not to bother having checked out what they need to get thru. shop around on it & you can get it for about £80.

    Not too heavy compared to chain based krypto locks. The lock mechanism being incorporated into the last link of the chain is a little odd, but works well.

    In general terms on locks – if the shackle is less than 8mm and they can find a decent bite point for cutting faces to make contact with the metal – then its good and stolen. If your only using one lock, this is also an invitation – they want to ride your bike away and not be there at the scene in case someone comes up and stops them violently. So if your locking your bike up – use two locks through both wheels separately so the criminals have a really hard time making easy money off you.

  20. Ben 31/08/2010 at 3:50 pm #

    Why don’t they make locks that are part of the bike frame and that disable the bike if broken? Maybe a cable that runs through the main tube and if cut releases the gear, brake, chainset… dunno… everything!

    Something for Dragon’s Den perhaps!?

    • ubear 24/10/2010 at 2:38 pm #

      Releasing the components is a really bad idea, because you are giving them the components, without the need for extra tools; just locking just the frame and components is not good enough. You need something which stops the bike from being carried away, otherwise the thieves just carry it to a work area and cut off all the locking devices, at their leisure!

  21. Chewy 15/09/2010 at 1:20 am #

    So what are the top recommendations for the 2nd type of lock, if I buy the Kryptonite New York 3000? A Kryptonite cable lock or? Options on price, length of lock and type would be great. Cheers C

  22. Timmy Locks 23/09/2010 at 12:56 pm #

    I use the kryptonite evolution series 4 for my bike and it’s a brilliant lock. I think it’s really well worth the price.

  23. ronboy 20/10/2010 at 4:50 pm #

    Hi Folks, check out almax chains on youtube to be made aware of just how flimsy most cycle locks are, they also have a wall of shame video section on their website which makes for interesting viewing, recommend scaring yourself before making any purchases, i use an almax chain at home, and a D lock and cable when out and about, even for short periods of time, every time, its the only way to ensure you have a chance against these gangs nowadays, dont be fooled be secure.

  24. ubear 24/10/2010 at 1:55 pm #

    I retired my Kryptonite U-Lock when I found out just how vulnerable cylinders keys are, and decided to buy a good Sold Secure Gold lock after seeing some cylinder lock-knocking videos, so I bought a heavy ABUS GRANIT 54 X-PLUS 300, and ABUS three point mounts for my back rack and frame; this is big enough to fit all bike stands, solid metal fences, and even some narrow car barriers, and never sticks.

    When the ABUS isn’t big enough I use a Kryptonite cable as a tether to a secure fixing (e.g. for useless narrow wheel stands) then lock the back wheel and cable to the bike. When I use my large Carry Freedom trailer, I also have a much longer Kryptonite cable to tether this to the lock.

    I haven’t bothered with lockable wheel QR, because lever cams are so useful, and I haven’t found lockable QR levers; I just use thick tie wraps as a safety measure and a deterrent. I’m amazed no supplier sells a locking cover, or a strut mounted lock, for QR levers, to stop them being pulled!

  25. Sambob 27/10/2010 at 9:11 am #

    Abus Centuro 860mm offered no protection for me – just had my bike stolen and the thief clearly just cut through the cable with bolt cutter or similar. This is the second theft from Milton Keynes Central Station in three months. I’d like to see that recommendation removed from the site. From now on I’ll be using two steel hoop style locks.

    • ubear 27/10/2010 at 2:49 pm #

      That lock is only
      * Level 8 protection on a scale up to 15
      * Sold Secure Bronze

      You need at least one Sold Secure Gold U-Lock for this location, you may even want to go for a Abus Granit Extreme 59 or an alarmed Motorcycle lock.

  26. Jonathan H 07/12/2010 at 1:54 pm #

    I can testimony for Abus City chains, my motorbike was stolen when locked with one, chain cut clean through.

  27. JonF 28/02/2011 at 12:02 pm #

    The Abus Granit Mini Futura 64 is different to most D-locks because it’s about half the size and about half the weight (730g). The reduced weight will be attractive to those who find regular D-locks too heavy to carry around, while Abus’ own security rating of level 11 puts it in the Sold Secure equivalent band of ‘Silver’ – which is commendable.

    There is a draw-back to this design. The 11mm thick D-shape shackle will fit around posts and bars up to 67mm in diameter. Most sign posts in the UK are 76mm diameter, so if you habitually lock your bike to sign posts this lock won’t work for you. Most bike racks are made out of tubes 50mm in diameter but in some towns they are thicker.
    If you’re serious about buying this lock you need to consider what you might lock it to. The Abus Granit Futura 64 (what a mouthful) is perhaps best seen as a supplementary lock – and two locks are what you need if you have a treasured bike and lock it up on city streets.

  28. bob 04/03/2011 at 3:14 pm #

    I use a magnum D lock. Secure Silver rated and came with a cable as well for securing the front wheel.

    Came with 5 (yes FIVE) Keys and also free replacement keys for life (subject to P&P) and also a £1000 Insurance backed guarantee.

    A bargin at under 20 quid a couple of years ago.

    P.S I dont leave my bike out anywhere overnght. Bike is only left unattended for maximum of a few hours and always in busy or well lit areas.

  29. Harry Hauer 10/03/2011 at 2:10 pm #

    I got my Kryptonite and it has been doing an excellent job so far. It is the best bike lock ever and now I can leave my bike anywhere.

  30. Paul F. 27/03/2011 at 2:14 pm #

    The New York Lock is good, in addition I would certainly recomend buying a thick cable
    with enclosed ends or loops, that way one can cable the bike to just about anything and still lock it up with the New York Lock. These thick cables can be as long as six feet but they are capable of carring about one ton or more. These cables can be cut, but it will take some serious work. Just thought that this may be helpfull for anyone wanting to keep their bike.
    I have locked my bike to the street sighns, a couple of guys in a pickup truck came by and lifted it over the street sighn and taking it. They waved as they drove off. I have locked my bike on the car to the rack and had someone come by with bolt cutters and take it. I was evan taught to lock my bikes up right at home. I evan lone a guy who had cancer one of my mountain bikes to use, and he ended up keeping it. I also go to Flea Markets where they sell used objects of all kinds, and evan if I lock up my bike at these sales they can still be stolen. The last one was cut off the bike rack in broad daylight. So I too have to pay attention to how I do lock up my bicycle…Thanks Paul

  31. lihjawlock 06/04/2011 at 3:11 am #

    you can take a look at this bike lock

    it combites the advantage of U-lock and chain lock


    • chris 14/06/2011 at 10:45 pm #

      This lock would be rubbish frankly and here’s why:

      It locks only the frame to something.

      It doesnt lock either of the wheels to the frame so they can easily be stolen.

      It looks like it will be cut through in less than 10 minutes with a portable angle grinder.

  32. ray whitehouse 19/04/2011 at 7:37 pm #

    I take my expensive bikes with me rather than leave them tied up anywhere, eg into the pub or cafe. I do use a cheapo lightweight lock if I leave it with friends at a pub while getting a round in or so that it won’t disappear when taking a sip.

    I use my old hybrid if I have to leave a bike anywhere and then use a heavier lock but don’t care if it goes so I can get a new one.

    PS Don’t forget to lock your bikes to your car when carryine them

    • coney 15/07/2012 at 6:19 pm #

      and for those situations where you can’t take your bike with you? i.e. tube….?

  33. Russell 20/04/2011 at 7:49 am #

    Bike theft is a major issue costing tens of millions per year for the victims. How many people have ever been arrested or convicted for this? Why do the police not do sting operations watching expensive bikes with weak locks to see scum the bait attracts?

    • ubear 20/04/2011 at 9:28 am #

      A Bicycle theft sting operation is unlikely to make the Police much money or earn much kudos, so won’t be done much, however it could make entertaining reality TV and the Police staff would probably love to get involved in that 🙂

      • Russell 20/04/2011 at 9:32 am #

        Personally I would prefer it without the police…..just about 20 cyclists (in cycling shorts, hats etc) who jump out, hold the thief and then break his fingers one by one so he cannot do it at least for a couple of months. I would pay good money to see that on youtube.

  34. Portellini 21/04/2011 at 8:09 pm #

    Hello. I own a Kryptonite Evolution Mini 7 Lock with 4′ Cable. The downside is that it’s rather small, but it reduces the possibility of being broken by leverage. The good thing is that it only weights 1.4kg and it’s small to carry around. It feels solid 🙂

  35. gerard 27/07/2011 at 8:58 pm #

    hi everyone, well i hade a criptonite lock but made a mistake and looked my bike to a parking signe that is 2.5 m higth , weel the thieves dismental the signe and slide the bike out of there, seconde time i both another bike and tied it to a lampost *5m higth# the thieves didnt take the bike but they tried and as a result my weels got bend and it cost me 30 pound to adjust theme , weel , the bigest probleme it s that there no security in our london city . police have no time for little thieves , specially the teenagers cause they have more power than police , weel the police will say the opposite if you ask theme , the solution is that either you take your bike at home at nigth or live in a posh area i mean a very posh one , may be near downing street , otherwise d ant listen to ancle david or ancle policemen they live in another world , than asse . thanks for looking

  36. Damian 31/08/2011 at 8:25 am #

    What the bike shops forget to tell you is to check that a D-lock will actually fit your bike! I bought a Kryptonite Series 2 D-lock and (1) there is nowhere on the frame that I can fit the bracket (and the thing weighs a ton, so would prefer to let the bike carry it) and (2) the space inside the ‘D’ isn’t actually wide enough to fit around the frame-and-back-wheel anyway. Hummph. Think I’ll get myself a chain lock.

  37. Phil Russell 31/08/2011 at 5:02 pm #

    Damian—-put the D-lock through the seat-stays, or through the chain-stays (and the wheel of course) onto the street-rack or whatever fixing point is available.

  38. Steve Summers 04/09/2011 at 10:20 pm #

    Only been cycling in London for a few weeks, made my old crappy old mountain bike look like the worst ‘dog’ bike in london to deter thieves…..still got stolen from outside Peckham Pulse gym this afternoon at 3pm. Had a decent quality Oxford lock on which they broke off.
    I read earlier a comment from a wiser London cyclist than me, ” spend £30 on your bike and £80 on a lock”

    Beware the hoodie cycle thief…..may they all die aslow painful death

    I’m now thinking of using my 30 year old Dawes tourer, perhaps this will be less attractive to the low life thieves?

    • Phil Russell 05/09/2011 at 1:17 am #

      Steve S……I’ve had 7 bikes since the 60’s, and most have been good quality 531 lightweights, club or race standard, and I’ve never had one stolen. As a teenager, I would often raise the seat up to its limit b4 leaving it locked in a public place, so a potential tea-leaf would assume its owner was a six-foot five inch monster. (Bit of a faff, to say the least..) Another ploy, which I still utilise occasionally, is to remove the front wheel and walk away with it….so at any rate the thieving schmuck would have to far cough and return with a suitable wheel (not difficult I admit).
      I believe you’re right in thinking your old Dawes tourer less of a target, but I suspect these plonkers will nick whatever’s left around, just to keep in practice. So although I know I’ve been incredibly lucky over the years (most of my fanatical cycling was back in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s before bike-theft became such an epidemic), I do feel really sympathetic and bloody angry whenever I hear of cases such as yours, and I know many people in the same situation. I’d suggest getting the Dawes registered, and if you can’t take the f-wheel off the bike, think about a Q/R seat-pillar and take THAT away when you lock up….anything to discourage the bar-stewards!!

    • ubear 05/09/2011 at 2:35 pm #

      Sorry, Oxford is not a decent lock brand, so I’m not surprise they broke it.

      You need to go for premium brands like Abus, or maybe Kryptonite, with at least a Silver or Gold rating from Sold Secure; definitely Gold for high risk areas e.g. London.

      I personally prefer Abus because their locks and keys seem better engineered.

  39. Rick Sutton 11/09/2011 at 2:23 pm #

    I recently saw a number of videos on YouTube showing Kryptonite locks opened with a pen

    This seems to be a bit of a worry

    • Andreas 11/09/2011 at 5:29 pm #

      Yep, think this effected a small number of locks. Don’t think the trick still works but I’m willing to be proven wrong if anyone has managed it recently?

  40. Ride On magazine 04/10/2011 at 7:08 am #

    Ride On busted 16 locks to find the best options in Australia. The results are out now

  41. Goonz 25/11/2011 at 12:17 pm #

    Andreas have you heard of this new revolutionary lock?

    Not sure whether it has been released yet but it’s made of titanium and sounds like it means business totally take over the bike lock market.

    Maybe worth making contact to perhaps review one for the website?

  42. Dafydd 03/01/2012 at 8:26 pm #

    Many people think that two medium locks of different sorts are better than 1 maxi security on the basis that your average thief goes equipped for a particular opportunity (e.g. either a D lock or cable) and that a bike protected with both is just too much of a faff.

  43. Hello 13/01/2012 at 6:52 am #

    You shouldn’t be using WD-40 on your lock, ever.


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