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Bike theft is a serious concern in cities, big or small. It’s becoming increasingly rampant! In fact, in Seattle alone, studies show that bike theft cases rise an average of 18.3 percent for the past eight years.
And it’s not easy to find a missing bike. Despite efforts of police and bike registrars, there’s no telltale sign that this epidemic is ending soon. It’s better to prevent theft than chasing a bike thief, so in this guide, we will show you the best bike lock that you can get today!
The Best Chain Bike Locks 2023
An important factor to consider when buying the best chain locks is the chain. Remember, not all chains are made equal. Chain links made from high quality hardened steel offer the best possible protection. And obviously, the thicker the links, the stronger the bike lock.
Chain locks come in varying diameters. Some can be as thin as 10mm while other can be as thick as 16mm and above. Even the biggest hand operated bolt cutters are not strong enough to cut a 16mm chain bike lock! Having said all of these, let’s take a look at some of the best chain locks in the market today!
Abus Locks Chain Bike Lock
The Abus bike Locks Chain is one of the top choices among bike commuters. The chains are made from high quality, hardened steel. They’re 9mm in diameter and are covered with an all-weather textile webbing to protect your bike’s finish.
The Abus Locks Chain is long enough to wrap and secure your bike around a fixed railing or lamp post.
Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 Bicyle Lock
The Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 bike lock is a 10mm chain lock made from 3T manganese steel. The chain links are six-sided, carefully design to give bike thieves a hard time.
The end link of the Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 is a deadbolt with high security disc style locking system which is drill and pick resistant. To extend the cylinder’s life, the Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 bike locks also comes with sliding dust cover.
The chain links are enclosed in a durable, high quality, all-weather nylon sleeve to prevent scratches.
OnGuard 8020 Mastiff Chain Lock
The OnGuard 8020 Mastiff Chain Lock is made from super-strong and ultra-durable titanium reinforced steel. The square links of this bike lock is designed to offer maximum cutting resistance.
The end link of this bike lock is OnGuard’s unique cylinder with a locking mechanism that is picking and drilling resistant. The chain cover is made from water and heat resistant materials which prevents scratches and allows for compact coiling for easy storage.
The cylinder is protected by a rotating dust cover to extend its life.
The Kryptonite Keeper is available in purple, red, and grey. This 7mm, four-sided chain lock is made from high quality and super-durable 3T manganese steel. The end link is a deadbolt made from hardened steel for a strong holding power.
The lock is Kryptonite’s high security disc style cylinder which is pick and drill resistant. This bike lock comes with 2 ergonomic I keys. The chains are covered with an all-weather nylon sleeve to prevent scratches.
Terra Hiker Chain Lock
The Terra Hiker bike lock comes with an advance 5-digit combination lock that offers up to 100,000 possible combinations to the end user. The sheer number of possible combinations alone is more than enough to drive thieves away!
The lock cylinder is made from strengthened zinc alloy and then covered with temperature-resistant ABS shell. The lock conforms to international standards, is drill resistant, waterproof, dustproof, saw-resistant, and drill-resistant.
The chains are made from wear-resistant and rust-free manganese steel. The Terra Hiker Chain bicycle Lock is long enough to wrap and secure 4 bikes! To protect your bike’s finish, the chains are wrapped inside a high quality polypropylene fabric which is wear-resistant and scratch-free.
Lumintrail Combination Chain Lock
Another tough contender in the combination chain locks category is Lumintrail. Made from high quality steel, this bike lock comes in green, black, or red.
The combination lock is a 5-digit code which offers thousands of possible combinations. Protecting your bike’s finish is an all-weather nylon cover. The Lumintrail is approximately 3 feet long and weights about 1.8 lbs.
As a bonus, Lumintrail also offers a free keychain light as a bonus for when you are biking at night.
Beeway Bike Lock
The Beeway Bike Lock offer a smart 5-digit combination lock which is easy to use and personalize. The chain links are made from high quality and thick manganese steel, offering better protection against bike thieves.
The chain lock is covered by a flexible, water-proof cloth sleeve which protects your bike from scratches and lengthens the lifespan of the chain lock. The manufacturers offer a 30-day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the product.
Sportneer Bicycle Chain Lock
The Sportneer Bicycle Chain Lock features a keyless 5-digit locking mechanism, allowing for up to 100,000 possible combinations. The chains are made from 0.27-inch thick manganese steel, coated with zinc to protect it from scratches.
This bike lock is 3.2 feet long, making it ideal not just for bikes but also for tool boxes, gates, lawnmowers, sport equipment, etc. The Sportneer Bicycle Chain Lock is enclosed in the flexible cloth sleeve which is both dustpoof and waterproof.
BV Bike Chain Lock
The BV Bike Chain Lock is made from heavy-duty and cut-resistant 6mm steel chain. It’s high quality cylinder protects your bike from pickers, drillers, and pullers. It comes with a dust cap to protect it from the elements too.
The chain itself is 43 inches long and can lock several bikes at the same time. The chain is covered with a durable nylon noose sleeve to keep it from scratching your bike’s finish.
AKM Bike Chain Lock
The AKM Bike Chain Lock is made from 10mm high strength alloy steel square links designed to resist sawing, drilling, and cutting. A non-toxic PVC material coats the chains to protect it from rust.
This bike lock comes with a nylon sleeve to protect your bike from scratches. You can get the AKM Bike Chain Lock up to 6.5 feet (2 meters) long.
The Best Cable Bicycle Locks 2023
Cable bike locks come in various colors, shapes, and sizes. Like chain locks, cable locks are not all made from the same material. The build quality also differs from one manufacturer to another. Check out the best cable locks you can buy today!
Puroma Combination Bike Lock
Another strong contender in the cable bike locks category is the Puroma Combination Bike Lock. Unlike the Titanker, this one is equipped with a 5-digit locking system that allows up to 100,000 possible combinations.
The Puroma bike lock is self-coiling and compact. It’s made from high quality flexible steel which features high tenacity to better cut resistance. This lock is over a meter long and is perfect for your bike, gates, grills, etc.
The cables are wrapped by high PVC coating to extend its lifespan and protect your bike’s finish.
Rorio Cable Lock
The Rorio Cable Lock features a 4-digit locking mechanism and is loved by many bikers because of the convenience it offers. This bike lock is self coiling, compact, and very easy to store.
It’s made from braided steel cables with high tensile strength for better cutting resistance. The entire lock is designed to deter petty thieves. Rorio’s 4-digit combination lock offers up to 10,000 possibilities.
High quality PVC coating encloses the lock to make it more durable and keep it from scratching your bike.
Kryptonite is a household name for high quality bike locks and the Kryptoflex is no exception. This cable lock is made from 8mm coiled steel cable with high tensile strength for better cutting resistance. It also comes with a 4-digit locking mechanism which offers up to 10,000 possible combinations.
To reduce the risks of leverage attacks, Kryptonite Kryptoflex comes with a flexible hinge. Protective vinyl cover extends the lifespan of the cable lock and protects your bike from scratches. The cable is 5 feet long and weighs approximately 0.70 lbs.
Enkeeo Cable Lock
The Enkeeo Cable Lock is made from high quality flexible steel cables couple with zinc alloy and PVC coating for better cut resistance. It comes with 2 wear-resistant keys which are easy to use at any situation.
Them manufacturers offer a free plastic lock holder along with the product so bikers can simply mount the lock on the seat post. This nifty feature makes the Enkeeo Cable Lock very transportable and ideal for bike commuters. It’s also self-coiling for easy and quick storage!
Lightweight and portable, the Enkeeo Cable Lock makes a great security tool not just for bikes but also for fences, gates, scooters, lawnmowers, and other valuables.
Lumintrail Bike Cable
The Lumintrail Bike Cable offers the convenience of keyless security. It comes with resettable 4-digit locking mechanism which allows up to 10,000 possible combinations.
This bike lock is made from 12mm braided steel cables that provide strong cut resistance. It’s also self-coiling which means that this cable lock is easy to store and transport.
The Lumintrail Bike Cable comes with a free easy to install bike frame mount for carrying the bike lock around. Covering the cables is high quality vinyl coating which extends the lifespan of the cable lock and protects your bike from accidental scratches.
The Lumintrail Bike Cable is 6 feet long.
Master Lock Cable Lock
The Master Lock Cable Lock is 6 feet long and makes an ideal bike lock for urban commuters and bikepackers. It comes with a patented adjustable locking system which can hold the cable tight in any position.
The steel cable is made from braided steel for optimum cutting resistance and flexibility. It’s covered by vinyl to extend its lifespan and protect your bike from accidental scratches. The Master Lock Cable Lock is an all-weather bike lock that comes with 2 ergonomic keys.
Tacklife Bike Lock
The Tacklife Bike Lock is a 6-feet long heavy duty chain lock. The cable is made from braided steel, boasting optimum cutting resistance and high tensile strength. The cable is covered with vinyl for better durability and The lock cylinder of this cable lock is made of zinc alloy, enclosed in high quality ABS matte rubber cover for longer life span.
This awesome bike lock is self-coiling, making it easy to store and transport. It also comes with a complimentary mounting bracket that can be easily installed to your bike frame.
The Tacklife Bike Lock offers the convenience of keyless locking. It comes with a 4-digit lock which offers thousands of possible combinations.
Dsteng Bike Lock
The Dsteng Bike Lock is an ideal deterrent for bike thieves. It’s made from flexible steel cables with excellent tensile strength and high cutting resistance. The locking mechanism is a 4-digit combination lock, offering the convenience of keyless security. This lock has more than 10,000 possible combinations.
Very easy to use and portable, the Dsteng Bike Lock is around 2 feet long weights about 0.6 lbs. The cables are covered with vinyl to keep your bike’s surfaces free from scratches and to extend the durability of the cable lock.
Temple Locked Premium Cable Lock
The Temple Locked Premium Cable Lock offers a sleek design and unparalleled security. With raving 5-star reviews, this combination cable lock offers the convenience of keyless security. Thanks to its 4-digit resettable lock system which offers over 10,000 possible combinations.
This cable lock is 3 feet long. Made from galvanized steel cables, the Temple Locked Premium offers high cutting resistance compared to other brands. The modern design of this lock is definitely worth bragging! Check it out!
Schwinn Cable Bike Lock
This cable bike lock is another high quality product from Schwinn. It’s made from high-strength coiled alloy and comes with a tough protective vinyl to protect it from the elements. There are multiple options to choose from.
You can get the Schwinn Cable Bike Lock with a combination lock, key lock, and even with a built-in light!
The Best U-Locks 2023
U-Locks were first introduced in the 1970s and has since revolutionized the bike lock industry. Compared to chain locks and cable locks, U-Locks offer high security without the additional weight.
U-Locks come in different sizes so make sure you choose the right one for you. Here, we refer to size as the space between the horizontal bar and the “U”. Obviously, the wider the space, the bigger bike frames you can fit. In terms of security, smaller U-Locks are better.
Carrying the U-Lock around is easy. But its portability is dependent on its size and weight. Here are some of the best U-Locks you can buy today.
Sigtuna Gear U-Lock
The Sigtuna Gear U-Lock boasts a 16mm thick U-Lock that’s impossible to break. It’s made from high performance steel with high cut resistance and extensive holding power.
This awesome U-Lock comes with highly secure disc style cylinder and double deadbolt locks — very effective deterrent against leverage attacks. In terms of portability, The Sigtuna Gear U-Lock comes with an easy to install mount. It also features a protective vinyl coating to keep your bike’s finish away from scratches.
Unlike most U-Locks, this bike lock comes with 3 laser-cut alloy keys.
Lumintrail Heavy Duty U-Lock
The Lumintrail Heavy Duty U-Lock is made from 18mm hardened steel — strong enough to deter even the most seasoned bike thieves! It also comes with 5-digit combination lock, offering keyless convenience and over 100,000 possible combinations that you can set and reset any time.
The lock is covered by a dustcover to protect it from the elements and extend is life and durability. The crossbar of this bike lock is coated with rubber to protect the finishes of your bike.
For mounting, the Lumintrail Heavy Duty U-Lock comes with a one-button release frame mount which you can install on your seat post easily. Protect your bike today with Lumintrail Heavy Duty U-Lock!
Kryptonite New-U New York Fahgettaboudit Bike Lock
The Kryptonite New-U New York Fahgettaboudit Bike Lock boasts an 18mm hardened steel shackle for maximum deterrent against bike thieves. These shackles are so thick that even the biggest bolt cutters don’t work against them! It also comes with a hardened double dead bolt design which prevents leverage attacks.
The Kryptonite New-U New York Fahgettaboudit’s locking mechanism is a disc-style cylinder which is tested and proven to work against picking and drilling. A sliding dustcover protects the lock body from the elements — extending its lifespan and durability.
The Kryptonite New-U New York Fahgettaboudit Bike Lock comes with 3 stainless steel keys and protective vinyl coating to protect your bike’s paint and finishes from scratches.
The Titanker U-Lock is made from 12mm hardened, high performance zinc alloy steel — strong enough to deter casual thieves with regular bolt cutters. The shackle is covered by 3.85mm PVC coating for added protection against the elements and for keeping your bike finishes free from scratches.
The Titanker U-Lock features a keyless locking mechanism. You can set your own 4-digit pin and change it any time. There are thousands of possible combinations to choose from.
The entire lock is designed to resist leverage attacks. And as a bonus, there’s an included 4-feet flex cable and mountain bracket. A bang for your buck!
Via Velo U-Lock
The Via Velo U-Lock offers an all-weather protection and maximum security. Thanks to its 15mm thick hardened steel shackle! The entire bike lock is covered with thick PVC to protect it from rain, dust, corrosion, and intense heat.
This bike safety tool offers an effortless locking experience. It comes with 3 keys for your peace of mind. Biking in the dark? Don’t worry as one of the keys is equipped with LED light!
The Via Velo U-Lock comes with a 3-year warranty and 90-day money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with it. You have nothing to lose! Grab yours now!
OnGuard Bulldog U-Lock
The OnGuard Bulldog U-Lock boasts a long shackle made from high quality hardened steel for maximum cutting resistance against direct and leverage attacks. This bike lock features a double bolt locking design and weighs only 3 pounds!
The OnGuard Bulldog U-Lock comes with 5 laser-cut keys (1 microlight for unlocking at night and 4 extra grip). This lock is also packaged with a multi-position quick release mounting system for easy transportation.
The entire lock is covered with protective coating to extend its durability and protect your bike’s finishes.
U Shake Heavy Duty U-Lock
The U Shake Heavy Duty U-Lock boasts a strong shackle made from 14mm hardened zinc alloy steel. This quality build is strong enough to resist cuts and leverage attacks.
The entire lock is covered with 4mm of PVC coating to extend its durability and protect your bike’s paint and finishes from scratches. For top security, the U Shake Heavy Duty U-Lock comes with a heavy duty cylinder with dust cover to protect the locking mechanism from rain, dust, and debris.
The U Shake Heavy Duty U-Lock offer the convenience of keyless locking. It’s 5-digit combination lock offers up to 100,000 possibilities and you can reset it anytime you feel your passcode has been compromised.
Another quality product from Kryptonite, the Kryptonite Kryptolok comes with a 12.7 mm hardened steel shackle designed to resist leverage, bolt cutter, and hand tool attacks. The shackle is locked by 2 deadbolts on both ends.
This U-lock comes with a dust cover and a high-security disc cylinder that can resist picking and drilling.
Seatylock Mason U-Lock
The Seatylock Mason U-Lock is given the gold standard by Sold Secure, a leading lock testing company. This heavy duty U-lock features a patented triangular crossbars that are 17mm thick. Locking the crossbars is a double deadbolt locking system that designed to resist twisting, pulling, and prying.
The Seatylock Mason U-Lock is weather-resistant. This hardened steel lock is coated with plastic to protect your bike from scratches.
How to Choose the Best Bike Locks
You buy a bike lock to keep your bike from getting stolen. But there are a lot of bike locks out there! So, how do you choose the best bike lock for your bike? Here’s a quick 3-step guide to help you get started.
Step 1. Get the right level of security
To determine the right level of security you need for your bike, we need to assess your risk first. Refer to the table below:
University, city, or big towns
Villages or small towns
How do you intend to park your bike?
Over one hour
Less than one hour
Is your bike attractive?
You will need a high-security lock if you answered two or more yeses on the high-risk column. If you have two or more yes answers on the low-risk column, a lower security lock will do.
Step 2. Choose your type of bike lock
Now that you have a good idea of how much protection you need, it’s time to choose the type of bike lock to buy. There are at least three main types of bike locks in the market. These are:
Cable locks – flexible and lightweight bike locks that you can store and transport easily. These locks provide a basic deterrent for low-risk areas. Cable locks are usually locked with a combination lock. If you are living in medium and high-risk areas, don’t use cable locks as your primary deterrent as these can be cut by bolt cutters in less than a minute.
Chain locks – these locks are made from hard metal links that are chained together. Chain locks are usually locked with a padlock and key. Depending on your needs, these locks come in a variety of weight, strength, and size. Heavier chain locks offer more protection than lighter ones but are less portable. Chain locks are a good visual deterrent and will require power cutting tools to break.
U-locks – these bike locks look like a giant padlock. Protecting bikes since the 70s, U-locks features a tested and proven design that’s resistant to leverage attacks, drilling, and picking. High-quality U-locks are highly resistant to bolt cutters. They can come in varying sizes, weight, and strength. Best used in combination with chain locks. With U-locks, make sure you have a tight fit to reduce the space thieves can use for a leverage attack.
Step 3. Go with trusted brands
Always avoid knock offs. Your bike is a major investment and the last thing you want is to cheap out in keeping it safe.
Tips on How to Keep Your Bike Safe
Your bike is a major investment. And it’s a waste to see it in the wrong hands because you failed to protect your bike against theft. Below, we’ve listed some of the top tips on how to keep your bike safe. Read on.
1. Invest in a high-quality bike lock
Your bike lock is your number one deterrent against bike theft. So, investing in reliable and high-quality locks is a must. Remember that with the right tools, any determined thief can still get through your lock. Here’s a way to give them a very, very hard time:
- Don’t use cable locks. Any garden cutters can get through these.
- Use heavy-duty bike chains and U-locks for the best protection.
- Don’t just lock the bike frame. Lock your wheels too.
- Always use two U-locks to secure the front and rear of your bike. You can also use different set of locks. For example, a U-lock for the front and a heavy-duty chain lock for the back. This way, the thief will be forced to use different tools and strategies to get your bike — making it riskier and time-consuming for them.
- Get the smallest U-lock that fits your bike. The smaller the lock, the less space the thief has for leverage.
2. Register your bike
We all register our cars, so I don’t see any reason why you should not register your bike. Bike registration is not expensive and it increases the likelihood of recovering your bike in case it gets stolen. Your city or independent organizations in your area should have this service.
Registering your bike is easy. All you need is the manufacturer, model, and serial number of your bike. You will then receive a unique code associated with your bike. Some bike registration services give warning stickers alerting bike thieves that your bicycle is registered.
3. Install a GPS on your bike
Take advantage of technology! If you consider your bike as a valuable investment, then you should install a GPS tracker on it. Most trackers for bikes look like standard bike components like a top cap or bike light — thieves will not even know it’s there. GPS trackers can transmit a signal so you can pinpoint the location of your bike in case it gets stolen. Some models even have a feature that notifies you when your ride is moved.
You can also install a bike alarm that works in the same way as car alarms.
4. Avoid parking in the same spot every day
Do you know that most bike thieves work in groups of three? The first person scouts the area for vulnerable bikes while the second accomplice brings in the tools to free your bike. The last person will then simply ride away with your bike.
Parking your bike on the same spot every day allows these criminals to create a plan of attack. Don’t be deceived by the false sense of security offered by your “favorite” parking spot.
5. Bring your bike inside
Don’t leave your bike exposed on the streets or in the hallway. If you can, bring it inside where it can be safely stored. This tip applies to all instances — whether you are at work or home. There are a lot of bike storage solutions available for all types of spaces.
6. Lock your bike ALL the time
Even if your bike is parked in a closed garage or balcony, always lock your bike. Believe it or not, bike thieves are masters of their craft. Some of them are so good they can even steal bikes on second-floor balconies!
Frequently Asked Questions
Types of Bike Locks
Bike locks come in various types and sizes. There are at least three common ones:
1. Chain Locks
Made of steel links, chain locks can be built into a combination lock or a padlock. Chain locks are long. The most common ones can reach up to 6 feet — long enough to around your bike’s front and rear wheels. This type of bike lock is usually covered in nylon or vinyl to protect your bike’s frame from scratches.
Chain locks are heavy. So, if you worry about taking too much weight while biking around the city, pick a different type of bike lock instead.
2. Cable Locks
Cable locks are usually made of coiled wires of varying length and thickness, covered in nylon or vinyl to protect your bike’s finish from scratches. Like chain locks, this bike lock can also be built into combination locks or padlocks. Because they’re light, cable locks are a favorite among bike commuters.
The convenience cable locks offer has a serious downside. Compared to the other two types of bike locks, it’s the weakest. Because of this, cable locks are not reliable deterrents to scare away bike thieves.
U-locks are at the sweet spot between convenience and security. Made from steel, they’re very tough and offers great visual deterrent for thieves. It’s also lighter compared to chain locks, making it easy to carry around when biking in the city.
U-Locks have a solid crossbar, which when removed, allows the “U” to wrap around your bike’s frame and a post. Replacing the crossbar locks the “U” into place.
If you’re lucky enough, you can even get a U-Lock with a cable lock that you can wrap around your bike’s wheels.
Types of Bike Locks
If you really want to secure your bike from bike thieves, you need to know how to lock it properly. Here are some tips:
When locking your bike in the street, make sure you choose a busy place. Bike thieves are not comfortable “working” with many people passing around.
Choose a place with CCTV coverage. If your bike gets stolen, a CCTV footage can help identify the thief and help recover your bike.
Choose a place with lots of bikes already locked up. With a lot of bikes to choose from, thieves will most likely go for a badly locked bike. More bikes mean less space for thieves to maneuver their gears.
Lock your bike on an immovable object such as railings. Avoid trees, sign posts, chain link fences, and wooden posts as much as possible.
If you are going to a restaurant, a cinema, or any places where you’ll obviously take significant time, consider locking your bike a couple of streets away. Why? Because when thieves see you enter these premises, they’ll know they have more time on their hand to do their dirty work. Don’t give them this clue.
Always lock your frame. Many cyclists carelessly secure their bikes through the wheel.
Keep your bike locks elevated. Locks that are close to the ground can be broken when smashed with a hammer against the hard floor. The floor can be also used by thieves for added leverage!
Position your bike lock so its difficult to access. If you can position it facing downwards, all the better!
Another great way to secure your bike is to use more than one lock or a combination of the locks we’ve discussed above. When thieves see that your bike is secured by two or more locks, they are more likely to walk away and find an easier target.
For U-Locks, fill the inside space as much as you can. Feel free to include the pedal, chain, and even wheels when locking your bike. U-Locks are known for the security they offer but they aren’t safe from a bottle jack attack. Prevent thieves from using this method by giving them less space to work on.
Keep your bike secure at all times! It’s a big investment. So, protect it with the best bike locks you can find. For an added layer of protection, consider getting it registered as well. The authorities are not getting better at handling bike theft cases and there are several organizations that keep tabs of your bike for a minimal fee.
Your bike got stolen? Here’s what you can do.
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