It’s easy to understand why a bike lock is never considered an exciting purchase. You’ve just splashed out on a super amazing new £1,000 carbon dream machine, and now you’re being told you need to spend a further £100 to keep it safe? Not a great thing to hear. However, it’s often quoted that you should look to spend 10% of the value of your bike on a lock.
I am sorry to bring bad news, but Transport for London tell us that around 20,000 bicycles are reported stolen each year. Considering many people don’t actually report a theft, that’s a lot of runaway bikes in the capital, so you do need to protect yourself.
Most brands have a rating scale for their lock, but insurance companies usually want you to have a Sold Secure rated lock, of a certain standard. Sold Secure are an independent organisation, that grade locks as Gold, Sliver or Bronze – Gold being the most thief proof. If your bike is insured and you don’t want to be told you are not covered in the event of a theft, make sure to stick with the regulation.
If you’ve chosen not to insure your bike, and you want a lock based upon how breakable it is, a Bronze rated lock can be busted in a minute with basic tools, Silver locks take three minutes with more tools, and Gold locks take five minutes with sophisticated tools.
Cable locks are light and easy to transport, but they’re also pretty easy to destroy with a pair of cable clippers. D-Locks are heavy and cumbersome, but they are safer as a rule, and chain locks are harder to break through.
Here’s a look at some of the best on the market at each sold secure level:
Boom! This one says don’t mess with me. And for your convenience, the chain lock folds up and comes with a storage pouch, ready to attach to your bike. At 85cm long, it will wind around the frame, through the wheels, and can be attached to a wider anchor, such as a lamppost. Protection comes from 5.5mm hardened steel links.
One customer review states: “The lock is a little on the heavy side but that is probably why it has such a good strength rating , and because it attaches lower on the bike where your water bottle would you don’t notice the weight as much.”
Admittedly, if you’ve bought a lovely light and lively bike, this might not be the ideal accessory, but bear in mind if you’re regularly commuting to the same location, such as work, you could find somewhere safe to leave it at your desk or in the reception – but this option isn’t available for everyone.
I really do think that Hiplok are onto a bit of a winner here. It’s simple – the lock sits around your hips – which means no nasty heavy lumps in your backpack, or weighing down your bike. Admittedly, the weight is still on you – so it will have the same adverse affect as gaining 1.8kg, but it’s kept central and in a more manageable position and doesn’t, for example, make just the back end of the bike feel heavy, as a seat post mounted lock would. The 9mm chain is encased in a 8mm material wrap, so you don’t experience any rubbing, and just to be quirky, this comes in several colours – safety can be cool!
Here’s a quick video to show how much the Hiplok (doesn’t) effect your movement:
Bronze is the lowest rating, and a minute with basic tools doesn’t sound too reassuring. However, this Abus lock does provide you with dual safety, through a cable and D-lock – which both use the same key, to reduce the liklihoood of that horrible “breaking into your own bike lock” experience. The system comes with a frame mount, too.
This system is good because it adheres to the method of locking that is often advised by industry experts. The most popular theory on the best way to lock your bike is that you use the D-lock to secure the frame and rear wheel to the secure object, then loop the cable through your front wheel, round the frame, and onto the d-lock – creating two security devices. If you can use the cable to fill any gaps in between the d-lock and the immovable object, this will help as it prevents a thief getting much leverage.