When biking in a big city, your safety is your number one priority. Once you’ve reached your destination safely, your bike’s security should become your next primary concern. Choosing the right bike lock for your precious ride is very important. After all, it’s one of your important investments and it is common sense that you do all you can to protect it.

Protect Your Bike from Bike Theft

Bike theft is becoming increasingly rampant. It’s the number one campus crime across various universities in the country. In fact, in Seattle, researchers show an average increase of 18.3 percent in bike theft cases in the city for the past eight years.

You know what’s even more worrying?

The police aren’t showing telltale signs that they can stop this epidemic soon.

Prevention is better than chasing a thief. So in this article, we are going to talk about the different bike locks available on the market today. Choosing the right bike lock can be tricky so we’ll help you out in that regard as well.

Different Types of Bike Locks

Bicycle locks can be narrowed down into three main categories: Cable Locks, Chain Lock, and U-Locks. Let’s talk about each one of them.

1. Cable Locks

Cable Locks come in varying length and thickness. These locks are usually made of coiled wire and are built into a combination or a conventional padlock. Cable Locks are light. They’re self-coiling, making it easy to carry them in a bike pack. You can even just hang them on your bike. Cables Lock come covered with vinyl to protect your bike’s finish.

Light and convenient. Cables are not as strong as links and solid shackles.
Easy to store and carry around. Poor visual deterrent.
Can be long enough to loop around a bike’s front and rear wheel. Combination locks are easy to crack, making them less secure than their keyed counterparts.

Of the three types of bike locks, cable locks are the weakest. Even the thickest cable locks can’t stand toe to toe with U-Locks and Chain Locks. Therefore, we strongly recommend that cable locks should only be used in safer areas.  

2. Chain Locks

Chain Locks are made of steel links and can be built into a padlock or combination lock. These locks can reach up to 6 feet. Long Chain Locks allow you to secure your bike easily without having to remove the front wheel. Chain Locks also come covered in vinyl or nylon to keep the metal from scratching your bike’s finish.

Because they’re made of steel, Chain Locks are the heaviest of the three. Keep this in mind when choosing the right bike lock for you. If weight is an issue, we strongly suggest that you pick a U-Lock instead. Or if the area is not that prone to bike theft, a lighter Cable Lock should suffice.

Very tough. Its weight can make it difficult or uncomfortable to carry around.
Very good visual deterrent.
Long enough to loop around your bike.

3. U-Locks

U-Locks are the best of the three. It’s made of steel, making it very tough without carrying too much dead weight like its chained cousin. U-Locks are also covered in vinyl to protect your bike’s glossy metal finish.

To use a U-Lock, the solid steel crossbar is removed. With the “U” open, you can now loop it around your bike’s frame and a post or railing. The “U” is then locked by replacing the crossbar.

Most U-Locks come with a cable which you can loop around your bike’s quick release front wheel. If you don’t have one, you will need to remove your bike’s front wheel and lock it together with the rear wheel. Remember, half a bike won’t take you home.

Very tough. Can be difficult to loop around some bike frames. Not as universal as the other two.
Very good visual deterrent. Although lighter than a Chain Lock, it can still be uncomfortable to carry around.
Comes with an extra cable (hopefully).
Lighter than Chain Locks.

Choosing the right bike lock is key to your bike’s safety.

chain lock

Bike Locking Tips

Bike thieves are smarter than you think. They’re quick, experienced, and are always on the lookout for unlocked or poorly locked bikes. No matter how tiring your bike commute is, always make it a habit to lock your bike — even when you’re just grabbing a quick takeout!

Here are some bike locking tips that you should keep in mind:

  • Never lock your bike to a tree. Thieves can easily cut through trees that are small enough to fit a U-Lock.
  • Two or more locks are better than one. The key here is to make it harder for seasoned bike thefts to steal your bike. After all, they don’t have all day to break all those locks — might as well find one that’s easier to steal.
  • Bring you bike inside at night. Always. Thieves thrive in the dark of the night.
  • Park your bike with other bikes. As they always say, in unity there is strength. Just kidding, an army of bikes can’t fight off a thief and his wire cutter. If your bike has better locks compared to other bikes in the rack, do you think the thief will target yours? No.
  • Always lock your wheels and saddle. Again, a bike frame won’t take you home. U-Locks aren’t that long enough to loop around your front and rear wheels, so we suggest getting a Cable Lock to up your bike’s security.
  • Keep all of your bike’s important documents — purchase receipt, serial number, upgrades, etc. Snap a photo of your bike once in a while as well.
  • Register your bike. By registering your bike, you greatly improve your chances of getting it back. Registration is easy. Check this awesome article for more information.

Unbreakable Locks Have Arrived

Choosing the right bike lock is crucial to keeping your bike safe while you’re out there hustling at work. Thanks to advancements in technology and development of new materials, several companies have now come up with unbreakable bike locks which guarantee to give even veteran bike thieves the hardest heist of their life.

We’ve made a list of unbreakable bike locks for you. Check it out now!

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