Secondary bike locks: 4 of the best

If you’ve read London Cyclist for long enough then you’ll know about our roundup of the best bike locks.

In there we talk about the importance of a heavy D-lock for your security.

However, as any seasoned London cyclist will tell you, this should always be complimented by a secondary lock.


Your primary lock goes around your frame and back wheel. The secondary lock then goes around the front wheel and the frame.

Without a secondary lock it would be easy for someone to steal your front wheel.

Also, thieves don’t tend to carry the tools required to break two different types of lock. Therefore, they are less likely to get away with your bike.

Don’t worry; we’ve got a list of the best secondary bike locks to compliment your existing lock. Now all you have to do, is figure out which one is best for your bike.

Choosing A Secondary Lock

You probably spent lots of money on bicycle accessories from your saddles, to pumps and jackets, but you worry about cost when it comes to the security of your bike.

Remember that a cheap secondary lock will likely provide cheap security that is easy to breach. This doesn’t mean you need to break the bank on your secondary bike lock, but it should be sufficient enough to back up the primary lock.

Don’t let a heavy secondary bike lock deter you from it as there are plenty of lightweight yet effective locks on the market. Besides any seasoned cyclist can carry around an extra kilo or two. If not, there are plenty of secondary locks that are small enough to fit in a sack, around your waist or on the frame.

Here are some of the best options we’ve picked out.

Best Secondary Bike Locks

Abus Centuro 860 Steel-O-Flex Lock

Flex-O-Steel is an apt name for this cable lock because it comes with an outer layer of hardened steel that protects the cylinder lock while keeping it flexible. The automatic locking and unlocking mechanism means cyclists—especially couriers—don’t waste precious time locking it down. Not as heavy as other cable locks at just 1.1 kilograms, it’s lightweight and convenient to transport.

When combined with a D-Lock you can feel confident your bike is secure.

Available from Amazon for around £30.

Knog Party Frank Bike Lock

If you’re looking for a traditional but inexpensive back up lock, Knog Party Frank is it. Made with a braided steel cable with scratch-less PVC, a fibre core and a unique key design, offering an enhanced level of security. This is definitely not your father’s cable lock.

The lightweight Party Frank lock can easily wrap around the bike, your wrist or backpack so it is easy to carry. Although it seems flimsy, as a secondary bike lock you could do worse than this coil lock. Thanks to the scratchless PVC lining, you also have no chance of scratching your frame.

Available from Amazon for around £15

Kryptonite Kryptoflex Coiled Key Cable Lock


This trusty Kryptonite bike lock provides the perfect blend of a lightweight design with sturdy protection and a Talon lock pick retention system. With a 360-degree rotating lock head you won’t have to contort your body just to lock up your bike!

What’s more, the Kryptoflex coils up easily for transport and the cable is long enough that you can secure the bike around most bike racks, lamp posts and fences.

Available from Amazon for £18

Hiplok V1.50 Wearable Chain Lock

The fact that the Hiplok is wearable is one of the biggest selling points because you don’t have to lug around a heavy lock, but instead can just strap it on and go. This is the ideal secondary bike lock for those who use their bikes for to travel without a bag or purse weighing them down.

Your Velcro strap acts as a belt while you’re cycling and it’s expandable to about 112cm for every size cyclist. Secure the bike by bringing the chains together and you’ve got a pretty nifty back up lock. It’s convenient, if a little heavy (1.8kg) but somewhat pricey for a secondary bike lock.

Available from Evans Cycles for £62

While these bike locks provide sufficient security, we recommend only using them with a sturdier primary bike lock to provide the best protection for your bicycle.

Join 10,221 fellow cyclists who are subscribed to the London Cyclist newsletter

Sign up for our free newsletter to get...

  • Advice on the best cycling gear
  • A Friday roundup of all the latest London cycling news
  • Exclusive content not available on the blog

Subscribe today, and get exclusive access forever! (It's free)

*No spam, ever!

As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.


29 Responses to Secondary bike locks: 4 of the best

  1. Pete, Rat Race Cycles 05/04/2013 at 9:23 am #

    …or, if you want to support your local bike shop, the Kryptonite is available from us at Rat Race Cycles in Nunhead SE15 for £17 – just mention this article!

    • Tim 05/04/2013 at 10:40 am #

      Which, Andreas, might make for a few nice articles – you popping round to a few local bike shops, to talk to the guys there. Everyone needs a good LBS!

      • Andreas 05/04/2013 at 3:54 pm #

        Great suggestion Tim – I’ll add that to my post ideas notebook and see what we can do. I’m always looking for great bike shops we can partner up with.

        Pete – next time, please contact me before advertising. I’m happy to work with local bike shops but don’t appreciate unauthorised advertising.

        • Matt P 05/04/2013 at 4:49 pm #

          Do you get a referral fee for purchases made via the above Amazon links?

        • Andreas 06/04/2013 at 1:30 am #

          Hey Matt – yep – around 5-6%. Helps me support the site – otherwise never could of put as much time in to it and there wouldn’t be half the amount of free content.

    • Daniel 09/01/2015 at 7:31 pm #

      I went to Rat Race a few months ago to buy a gear cable when my girlfriend’s snapped, got talking to the person in there, he was very friendly and knowledgeable, seems to be doing it for the love rather than the money, I would recommend it if you are in the area and as I’ve just bought my first bike I’m sure I’ll be in soon.

  2. aggi 05/04/2013 at 12:19 pm #

    It’s best not to use one of the secondary locks to secure your bike to whatever immovable object you’re locking to so, given that, there isn’t that much point in getting a bulky chain. It’s easier, and more secure, to lock your front wheel with a mini D lock like the evo mini

    • Vlad 05/04/2013 at 4:43 pm #

      indeed, but the whole point is that it’s the same type of lock as your bigger/main lock that you’re using for the rear wheel.

      that is to say, that the thief will have a tool to take one D lock apart, hence he can use the same tool to take the second one apart; it will just take longer (which is a very good thing, don’t get me wrong).

      Mind you, using 2 locks rather than one will still protect your front wheel as well as the back, and will also mean that the bike from cannot be used as a lever to break the standalone D lock.

    • Izzy 13/04/2013 at 7:01 pm #

      Aggi – I can’t believe you’re recommending a Kryptonite D-lock. The lock itself is great but the bracket to hold it to the bike is made of putty (except for the bit that rips your skin off every time you take the lock out) and designed by an idiot.

      You don’t need a second lock – just use one D-lock, take the front wheel out and use one lock to go through front and rear wheels and frame. It takes less time to do this than it does to wrestle a Kryptonite lock out of it’s cheap s***e bracket.

  3. David Knowles 05/04/2013 at 4:42 pm #

    I have never heard of you talking about Electronic alarms.Used as a secondary system it works very well.I have one fitted under my saddle.It is remotely set and goes off like a Banshee if anyone touches the makes everyone look and frightens cats!

    • Matt P 05/04/2013 at 4:50 pm #

      Which alarm did you get? Can you adjust the sensitivity so it doesn’t go off every five minutes when there’s a gust of wind or someone bumps into your bike when locking up theirs?

    • goonz 12/04/2013 at 3:43 pm #

      Where do I get one of these from?

  4. Christine 05/04/2013 at 6:41 pm #

    I’d add Decathlon’s SP 5 coil lock – £7.99, substantially thick and long enough to go around pretty much any solid object, frame, wheel and my nice Brookes saddle!

  5. Adam 06/04/2013 at 9:17 pm #

    This might be a silly question, but why does everyone assume a thief who has gone out to steal a bike wouldn’t carry tools to break more than one type of lock?

    I would imagine that they would carry all the tools they might need and would weigh up the cost of the bike Vs security when deciding which one to take.

    • Vlad 07/04/2013 at 11:42 am #

      there are different kinds of thieves;

      if you’re talking about a professional thief, then yes – they will have various tools with them (probably power tools, angle grinders, hydraulic piston type breakers, etc). Their operation will be streamlined, where they will have certain persons walking around spotting bikes, then when they see a bike worth stealing, other people will be notified and turn up with heavy tools (and a van – most likely) – to take the bike. If these people want your bike, there is nothing you can do about it! Well, you can ensure that you don’t park in the same spot every day, or that you swap bikes every other day, or both.

      However, the more common type of thief will be your opportunistic one-man-band thief walking around with a rather small tool, hoping for easy pickings. A common tool I’ve heard of is a rather tiny and concealable hydraulic piston tool, which can break a D lock with ease. The piston fits inside the D lock, and expands with force against the rigid D lock and it breaks. If you happen to have a {DECENT} cable lock as well – then they can’t use this same tool to break open the cable lock,as it is more pliable and just moved out of the way of the force. The thief is unlikely to be carrying a heavy duty cable cutter as well, so Bob’s you mother’s brother.

      Hope that makes sense and please note that last I was looking around the net on how bike thieves operate was about a year ago – things might have changed/developed since then…

      p.s. I really SHOULD get a decent cable lock as well – I’ve been making do with 2 D locks, which as I describe, isn’t great. One of the locks I use is a mini lock, which usually leaves no room for a tool to get in.

      • aggi 08/04/2013 at 10:28 am #

        If you’re using a d-lock properly though then the bottle jack won’t work. You should always try to fill as much of the gap in the d-lock with your bike. The mini d-locks have an advantage there in that they’re easier to fill

        • Vlad 08/04/2013 at 10:43 am #

          Yes, that’s precisely why I use 2 D locks, a normal one and a mini one.

          Mini D locks are great as you said, except for the instances when they’re not big enough to allow you to park your bike at your destination, which happens with monotonous regularity!

          I like to have both, because either one or the other will be the main lock to use, depending on where I park…

  6. Chris 09/04/2013 at 1:50 pm #

    Personally, I take the front wheel off using the quick release and put the D lock through both wheels and the frame. Not had a bike nicked yet, although to be honest I don’t lock my bike up in the street very often (it mostly lives in my flat or in the bike cage at work).

    Riding an antiquated touring bike helps too, I suspect.

  7. Alan Moore 11/04/2013 at 10:44 am #

    Any suggestions on what to do with a Dutch bike with a built-in lock for the back wheel? What should I be putting round the front wheel/frame/street lamp.. another D lock, or a cable?

  8. Matti Kinnunen 20/04/2013 at 1:07 pm #

    Instead of 2nd lock, you can also fit Pitlocks instead of quick release or ordinary bolts. Pitlocks require a special key to open.

  9. Matt 28/11/2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Hang on, what about a simple looped cable (e.g. Kryptonite) for protecting the wheel, going through the main lock? Or is that considered too feeble?

  10. Matt 28/11/2013 at 5:59 pm #

    oh, compl – E – mented, unless you mean those new smart locks that say “that’s a very nice main lock you have there sir”.

  11. Rossithebosi 28/11/2013 at 10:42 pm #

    I have an Abus Granit X-Plus 54 230mm as my primary lock and Kryptonite Evolution Mini as secondary. Combined with Pit Locks on wheels and seatpost and solder in Allen bolt head, never let me down, touch wood.

    If you do go for the small flexible lock as a secondary NEVER EVER use as the only point as which your bike is secured to the immoveable object. The number of times I’ve seen people do this, only using a D-Lock as ‘padlock’!

    • Adrian 09/05/2014 at 11:34 am #

      I use an Abus Granit d-lock, which seems to have worked well. Also have a heavy-duty Abus flexible lock, but don’t use this so much now as it doesn’t go through my new pannier rack as easily as the old one (where it eventually wore a groove through the rack frame).

      I’ve also got Pinhead locks on the front wheel (not the back, it would take a while to get that off when its locked to an immovable object) and on the seatpost.

      Someone stole my Fizik saddle a while back – they undid the bolt securing the saddle to the seatpost. Since then I’ve invested in another Pinhead saddle lock, which sits under the saddle bolt, on the seatpost.

      Also tried replacing the saddle bolt with a Torx (needs a slightly non-standard allen key to remove), but this seemed to restrict the up-down angle range of movement in the saddle, so scrapped that.

      Any other ideas on preventing saddle theft greatly appreciated.

      • Chris H 24/04/2015 at 3:41 pm #

        Unless your saddle bolt is very unusual it should be possible to get a torx (or torx with a pin) bolt to fit – you may need to keep trying different ones.

  12. michael. 02/03/2015 at 12:38 pm #

    I used 2 rubbish locks for 3 months and had it stolen. 🙁
    I was snipped outside a railway station.
    I’ve got a new bike nearly 2 years now and I got 2 gold rated locks.
    One of the locks is a magnum plus d lock from halfords, and the other is a abus 1010 city chain plus lock, and its never been touched.
    I’ve also got a silver rated cable locks just in case one breaks, so I’ve a back up.
    2 good locks is a must!
    Watch Barry Mason or Hal on you tube and they gave me real help.
    Lock your bike properly and don’t listen to that rubbish, if a thief wants your bike he will steal it.

  13. Chris H 24/04/2015 at 3:40 pm #

    Even a 2nd lock defeated in the same way as the first lock means the bike takes twice as long to steal. But a big advantage of dedicated cable locks (though not all shown here) is that they’ll go through a helmet vent hole, meaning that the helmet would be destroyed to steal it. Another advantage is that you’re not completely without a lock if you forget your D-lock (I keep my cable lock in my pannier and my D-lock on the front fork, after washing the bike I’ve been known to forget it. Compared to a double-loop cable lock on a D-lock a completely independent lock allow you to lock to 2 separate things (e.g. with flimsy bike racks or railings)

Leave a Reply