How To Choose The Best Bike Lock
There are a couple of things to think about when looking at the best bike locks, more of which we will discuss below:
- Security level
- Locking mechanism
You obviously want to keep your bike secure depending on where it is – using a bike lock at a relatively safe spot at the designated train station bike hub is different to leaving it on the street’s cycle rack at night. But some brands of bike lock are better than others, too.
You also need to look at the bike lock mechanism type. Do you want to be carrying a key around with you, or would you prefer a numerical padlock?
Types Of Bike Lock
There are four types of bike lock:
- U-Locks (also referred to as D-Locks)
- Chain Locks
- Folding Locks
- Cable Locks
- Wall Mounted
Each kind has its own general affordability, security and practicality. The former three bike locks are all pretty balanced when it comes to these points, with U-Locks being the most secure and price-friendly, and Folding Locks being the most practical.
U-Locks are also easy to use and lighter than chain locks but can be bulky to carry and limiting in what they will fit around.
Chain locks can be portable or stationary; the latter is the most secure but is heavier, and the former can always be carried around your bike frame.
Folding bike locks are the choice for commuters, and their flexibility means they can wrap around different sizes. They aren’t the easiest to use and get to grips with but are definitely the best for people who don’t want to carry bulk.
But cable locks are generally not recommended by professionals. It is just strips of steel covered with rubber, which makes them flexible but also thin, and pretty much any bolt cutters would get through them.
Cable locks can be recommended as a seat or wheel lock separate to the mainframe lock, however.
Wall-mounted locks are a bit rarer and pricier. But, they can be good if you want to hang your bike from a height at home to save space, or not have to carry a lock around with you.
We will say now that no bike lock is completely unbreakable if a thief is determined and has the right tools. A bike lock will just buy you time, so the more secure it is, the more time you have.
There are two forms of rating used for bike locks – the independent manufacturer score, and the independent Sold Secure rating. The former is usually a number out of 10 or 15, and the latter is either Bronze, Silver, Gold or Diamond.
Sold Secure is usually seen as a little better as it compares individual bike locks to the other bike locks on the market, but the manufacturer rating is also a good key indicator of how strong a lock is, especially if we are looking at a big brand with a wide range of lock choice.
We have given the official ratings in the review, whichever this is. But, we have picked ones which also have the reviews and praise for doing as they say.
That’s not to say ones lower on the scale aren’t efficient, nor does it mean you need a Diamond Sold Secure necessarily.
If you live in a busy residential area with higher levels of crime, you’re high risk so go as high a rating with your bike lock as possible. But a sleepy village where nothing has happened in years will likely see you only need a bike lock with a lower level of security.
Also, think about your bike. A very cheap second-hand runaround which has seen better days will likely not attract as much attention as a brand new expensive mountain bike (no offence).
As well, how long will you be leaving your bike alone for? 10 minutes outside the supermarket is different from a whole day outside (although thieves are often opportunists).
Remember that just having a bike lock won’t provide intimate protection. Read our tips on how else to ensure your bike is safe.
This refers to the length and thickness of your bike lock.
A lock thicker than 16mm will be harder to cut with bolt cutters. A bike lock which is thinner than 14mm will be simple to cut with a strong pair of cutters. Most will hover around this size, but you can get extra secure bike locks if needed, too.
As for length, get a bike lock which will go around the frame of your bike. Some are too short for this, in which case they can go around a wheel or seat but ensure you know where you need to put it so you won’t be disappointed.