Bike locks: Which locks do London’s bike shop owners recommend?

This is a guest post by Richard Cantle, founder of Stolen Ride. The site helps cyclists re-unite with their stolen bikes.

Hackney Peddler

We sell Abus, Kryptonite and Knog. Abus and Kryptonite are the market leaders and have a long proven history in the security business. Knog have the Strongman which is well designed so it’s hard to attack from any angle. The key hole is small so can’t be easily drilled, the coating is rubber which would gum up any angle grinder and the whole thing is very compact so it’d be hard to attack with a jack. These locks are a particular personal preference.

London Bike Kitchen

We get a lot of people asking for cheap locks – which we refuse to sell. They might work in the countryside but they’re a false economy in London. I usually tell people two things when they’re looking at locks – 1) the tried and tested “spend 10% of what your bike is worth”, but this doesn’t really work if your bike is priceless. And I’m not talking about carbon frames here. If your bike is a family heirloom, or belonged to a dearly departed friend, I ask a second question 2) “How much would you spend to get your bike back if it was stolen?” That’s a better way of putting things into perspective – viewing a lock as an investment in prevention. I think D-locks are the most popular ones we sell. They’re more compact than chain locks, and are easier to carry. People like these cable locks, but I’ve seen too many cut through, and refuse to sell them. Get some security skewers for your wheels – consider them a second lightweight lock. We’re going to become a stockist for Hexlox security magnets for skewers. We think these are going to be a game changer. They’re inexpensive, incredibly lightweight, and easy to use.

London Fields Cycles

We suggest a wheel locking system such as Pitlock with a good solid D lock through the frame. Another option would be a second lock or cable securing the wheels.

SBC Cycles

We sell Kryptonite locks and Hiplok chains. We usually recommend mini D-locks and some security skewers for the wheels for lightness and ease of use.

Isambard’s Cycles

In terms of the lock itself, a small, strong D lock for portability, a strong chain for versatility and convenience – you can’t get a little D lock round a lamp post, of course, although in London you’re rarely that far from a proper bike rack or railing.

When you lock your bike, it’s important to remember to secure other readily removable parts as well as the frame. You can do this with locking skewers/bolts that remain in place on the bike all the time (Pitlock are our favourites, and the make we recommend), or by passing a chain or cable through wheels and saddle rail each time you lock.

Stayer Cycles

We do sell bike locks.  First we try to get the customer to think of where they will be most often locking their bike. We advise them to get a lock that isn’t too big that it is bulky to carry and might be easier to get a tool in to break. Keeping the lock off the floor is also something we advise as it gives thieves a point of leverage for the tool they are using. Of course all of this is very general advice as every situation is different but making sure all of the main parts, frame and wheels, are locked as well as adding further security – especially if you have an expensive saddle or components. We generally find that a smallish but solid D lock for the frame and rear wheel and then a front wheel skewer lock is preferred by people after a portable system whereas having a heavy duty lock in a permanent position at work or at home is also that popular. Aside from portability, price is always a consideration of course.


Buy the most expensive lock we have! Or at least two! We base our lock recommendations on a few bits of information; How much is the bike worth? Where abouts is it locked during the day? And will it live out doors at night? Once we know a bit more we can then show the customer a choice of locks. We always start with the wheels and saddle and usually recommend Pin Heads or some kind of bolt system. Then depending on the value of the bike we might recommend two locks as that’s always going to deter some of the more ambitious opportunist thieves. We might even recommend two locks for day to day use and a thicker chain lock for overnight use.

Seabass Cycles

I think something like 70,000 thousand bikes were stolen in London last year and I imagine only a small percentage of these were ever returned to the owners. I think you can deter an ‘opportunist’ bike thief with a good quality lock and by locking your bike in a certain way but there is big money in stealing bicycles and a lot of these bike thieves work in well organised small groups and they know exactly what they’re looking for.

We sell bike locks in both stores, as well as security skewers and the bolts for track wheels. We stock a selection of D-locks, cables and chains. We always get asked on the best way to lock a bike up, obviously the answer to this varies massively depending on the quality/value of the bike and the location you’ll be locking it.

As a general rule we always suggest a D-lock and a cable to go through both wheels. There are a number of D-lock and security cable packages on offer, we would always recommend this as an absolute minimum. For more security on a higher end bike definitely two mini D-locks, securing both wheels to the frame itself. The mini D-locks are good because they are tight fitting, making it harder to use a pair of bolt cutters.

Spending £40-£60 pounds on a lock may seem like a lot to some people but its definitely cheaper than having to buy new wheels, tyres and tubes or a whole new bike.


We always ask if the customer has a good lock and advocate getting the best lock they can afford given the value of the bike (the Sold Secure system of rating is the best guide and used by many insurers too). We also show customers how to lock through the frame to a fixed point – preferably with two. Wheels are vulnerable to theft too – so locking skewers and/or a cable to protect these too is a good idea. Sadly what everyone wants isn’t really an option – light, cheap and very secure – there are trade-offs to be made!

Heales Cycles

Yes, we sell Kryponite and Abus locks. We always give advice on how and where to lock your bike; most customers go for D type locks.

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2 Responses to Bike locks: Which locks do London’s bike shop owners recommend?

  1. Chris Ruse 19/05/2017 at 11:00 am #

    Being able to fit the lock holder to the frame is another practical consideration. It’s impossible to fit the holder to my wifes Trek which makes it a hassle to carry the lock around

  2. martin 19/05/2017 at 1:34 pm #

    For my commuter bike, I use a Seatylock. Its a combined Saddle/lock. One unhitches the saddle, unfolds it and lo and behold a strong lock.

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