Going on adventures with your steel pony can be fun as long as you can make sure that someone won’t try to steal it the moment you dismount. Fortunately, there are plenty of bike locks on the market that can protect your two-wheeled buddy from potential thieves. Finding the right one, however, is a totally different story. With market being flooded by bike locks claiming to offer ultimate security, it is hard to know which one you can actually trust. To help you keep your bike safe and make you feel carefree, we’ve prepared an ultimate guide on how to get your hands on the best bike lock out there!
If you’re already in a rush and looking for an instant solution, here’s Kryptonite New York Heavy Duty U-Lock that will get you going. This heavy-duty lock is designed to offer ultimate security with its 16mm hardened steel shackle. Not what you’re searching for? Check out our other top selections and give our buying guide a peek to make sure you get the lock that will keep your bike safe!
This highly efficient U-lock offers ultimate level of security and boasts of 16-mm thick shackle and patent-pending double deadbolt design for additional protection against cut and twist attacks. It comes in a set of three stainless steel keys that are part of Kryptonite’s Key Safe program.
Top 5 Bike Locks
|Name||Net Weight (Pounds)||Locking Method||Price|
|Kryptonite New York Heavy Duty U-Lock||4.5||3 stainless steel keys, one with LED light||Check Price|
|Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain Lock||15.25||3 stainless steel keys, one with LED light||Check Price|
|Abus Bordo GRANIT X Plus Folding Lock||3.48||2 keys, one with LED light||Check Price|
|Sportneer 5-Digit Combination Chain Lock||1.48||5-digit resettable combination||Check Price|
|MYQUEEN 5-Digit Cable Bike Lock||1||5-digit resettable combination||Check Price|
1. Best Overall Bike Lock
Kryptonite New York Heavy Duty U-Lock
If you are searching for a high level of protection without sacrificing the number of places where you can lock your bicycle, the New York Standard U-lock might be the right one for you. It features a 16mm-thick shackle and patent-pending double deadbolt design for additional protection against cut and twist attacks.
This U-lock is also rated Gold by Sold Secure, giving you an assurance that it works effectively against theft.
Made with a disk-style cylinder and double deadbolt system, it comes with three stainless steel keys – one with a LED light and replaceable battery to make unlocking in the dark easy. Should you lose any of the keys, there is no need to worry as this product is part of Kryptonite’s Key Safe program. This means that you can request for free replacement keys in case you misplace them.
Like most premium bike locks, this U-lock is covered with a vinyl coating to protect the paints and prints of your bicycle.
With dimensions of 10.5 x 6.5 x 2.2 inches, this U-lock weighs 4.5 pounds and may be difficult to carry around. Despite the weight, many users are willing to give it a chance as they are confident that their lock won’t break easily. Kryptonite even offers $4,000 bike protection to back it up.
Pros and Cons
- 16 mm thick shackle
- FlexFrame-U Bracket lets you lock your bike in any location
- Up to $4,000 anti-theft protection
- Rated Gold by Sold Secure
- Heavy and bulky
- Corrodes overtime
2. Best High-Security Chain Lock
Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain Lock
This Kryptonite runner-up is a big and heavy chain with a monstrous weight of 15.25 pounds. It may be difficult to transport this lock from one place to another, but it is most suitable for securing your bike at home where most bikes are stolen from.
One of the great features of this bike lock is the 12/12 safety rank, which means that it is currently rated as one of the safest locks. The main reason why it works so efficiently is the material used by the manufacturers. The 14mm chain links are made of 3t hardened manganese, which is a harder and more resistant type of steel.
The sides of the chain links have 6-side shapes to make it resistant to threats. Because the links are not perfectly round, it is difficult to get bolt cutters to grip onto the link should a thief attempt to cut it. Its hardened double deadbolt lock provides extensive holding power.
To make this chain lock look modern and be more practical, a nylon cover is also added. The links are well-protected from elements, and the nylon also reduces the risks of being cut out. Also, this product has anti-theft protection from Kryptonite, with up to $3,000 of replacement coverage if your bike gets stolen while using this chain lock.
Pros and Cons
- Sold Secure Gold rated
- Made of manganese steel
- 12/12 safety rank
- Chain links have hexagonal shapes, making it nearly impossible to cut through
- Protective nylon cover
- This chain is very heavy
3. Best Folding Bike Lock
Abus Bordo GRANIT X Plus Folding Lock
This folding bike lock is one of the most secure bike locks today, making it an ideal choice if you have problems carrying a U-lock or heavy chain all the time. It features 5.5mm steel bars with a plastic coating, and it is thinner and lighter than most U-locks.
Although folding locks are naturally less secure than U-locks, this product is still a high-security lock. Two keys are also included, with one LED-lighted to make it easy for you to unlock in the dark.
It comes with a sturdy rubber and plastic frame mount that can be attached to your bike in two ways. For bicycles with holes for attaching a water bottle mount, the frame mount can be screwed into these. Alternatively, the case includes two thick velcro straps that let you fasten it anywhere on the frame. Both methods work well, but most users prefer using the screwed mount as it feels more secure.
Rated Gold by Sold Secure, it collapses down into a compact package, so there are no problems when it comes to transporting it from one place to another. Weighing only 3.48 pounds, it measures just 7.75 x 3 x 2 inches when folded down, making it easy to slip into your backpack.
Pros and Cons
- Highly portable
- Gives you many locking options
- Rated Gold by Sold Secure
- 5.5 mm steel bars
- Extra soft two-part coating to protect the bike’s paintwork
- Can be difficult to use
- The case tends to get loose on the bike frame
4. Best Bike Chain Lock With Combination
Sportneer 5-Digit Combination Chain Lock
For those who prefer using code instead of keys to lock and unlock, this bicycle chain lock allows up to 100,000 5-digit combination lock codes to make it almost impossible for thieves to hack your password. This type of lock is very convenient, especially for people who don’t like the hassle of bringing or forgetting keys all the time.
Made of 6.8m-thick manganese steel, this bike lock has a protective zinc-plated coating to avoid damages and scratching. A flexible cloth sleeve is also included to cover the chain, protecting it from being sawed or scratched.
With a length of 3.2 feet, this lock is ideal not only for bicycles and bikes, but also for fences, lawnmowers, ladders, sports equipment, tool boxes, and more.
Whether you shared your code with someone and you no longer want that person to have access to your bike or you just want to change your number combination, this 5-digit combination lock is easy to set and reset.
Pros and Cons
- Secure lock mechanism without keys
- Up to 100,000 possible codes
- Made from 6.8mm manganese steel
- 3.2 feet flexible cable, ideal for bikes, fences, ladders, and more
- Thin chain
- Doesn’t offer high-level security
5. Best Low-Budget Cable Bike Lock
MYQUEEN 5-Digit Cable Bike Lock
If you are looking for an affordable bike lock without sacrificing the safety of your bike entirely, this chain lock offers combination locking mechanism for keyless convenience. It lets you set your own password with simple steps, so there is no need to worry about forgetting to carry or losing your key. Your code is also customizable, allowing you to change it from time to time whenever necessary.
The cable is made of high-strength braided steel wire that withstands 7KN shear force and 2.4KN tension. It is also covered with a protective vinyl coating for increased durability.
Thanks to its complimentary mounting bracket, this lock can be added to other objects without difficulty. It also comes with a button that makes installation or removal of the lock swift and convenient.
With a length of 4 feet, its cable is long enough for different uses. This 5-digit resettable combination chain lock is ideal not only for bicycle and motorbikes, but also for fences, gates, bikes, ladders, sports equipment, and more. It is also not very heavy or thick, making it easy to wrap around the bike and a post.
Pros and Cons
- It offers combination locking mechanism for keyless convenience
- Multi-purpose – ideal for bike, skateboards, gates, and more
- Protective vinyl coating helps prevent scratching
- Lightweight and portable
- The bike cable is 4 feet long
- Thin cable
- Doesn’t offer high-level security
Why and When to Invest in a Bike Lock?
Do you have a bike and care about it? Do you often take it for a ride and leave it unattended in areas accessible to the public? If yes, then you definitely need a bike lock.
Not everything is as simple as this though. If you’ve grown up in a safe, crime-free area, you may have a hard time comprehending why you should invest in a bike lock. After all, it’s just a lock, right?
On the other hand, if you’re accustomed to the metropolitan life, you probably know that thieves will try to steal literally anything that can be stolen. Unfortunately, bike theft is also gaining popularity, especially for the last decade.
All in all, we would strongly advise you to get a reliable bike lock unless you are living in a highly rural area where having a lock would make little difference.
Required Level of Security
Location, Location, Location.
When it comes to determining the level of security needed, location plays the leading role.
If you are living in a rural area or taking your bike for a ride in one, you are less likely to require a high-security lock for your bike. While rural areas are usually not targeted by bike thieves, you are still advised to invest in a bike lock, even if it’s just a simple one.
Suburban and metropolitan areas are a subject to an increased number of unwanted guests who prey upon bikes that aren’t sufficiently protected. Depending on the exact location, you will need a medium- or high-level security lock, especially if you intend to leave your bike unattended for extended periods or overnight.
Major metropolitan areas and college campuses are a hotspot of bike theft. Whether you intend to leave your bike unattended for a few minutes or several hours, maximum-level security is advised. Bike predators know just how easy it is to blend in with the environment and steal your bike before anyone notices.
Different Types of Bike Locks
There are several types of bike locks with entirely different structure and components but the same end purpose – keeping your bike safe.
While some bike locks are weaker than the others, they might hold the advantage when it comes to weight and ease of use. On the other hand, stronger locks are more reliable but come at a greater expense.
Before you decide anything, let’s take a look at different types of locks as well as their advantages and drawbacks.
Sometimes also referred to as D-locks, U-locks fasten around your bike and another fixed object and look like giant padlocks.
The good ones provide an excellent balance between security and price. While they are lighter and cheaper than most chain locks, they still offer decent protection. Due to their structure, however, they might be a bit challenging when it comes to carrying them around with you.
- Relatively cheap and light
- Offers high security
- May be complicated to transport
- Might not be big enough to fasten around big objects
Before buying a U-lock, carefully consider its dimensions, thickness, and the method of carrying it with you.
2. Chain Locks
Chain locks are the masters of security – that is if you invest in a thick, 14mm+ chain. They fit around most objects and can be easily fastened on your bike. Even though they are usually very heavy, they are relatively easy to transport.
- Maximum-level security
- Easy to fasten around fix objects
- Fairly easy to transport
- Very heavy
Be considerate about the length, thickness, and the weight of the chain lock before you buy it.
3. Folding Locks
These locks are constructed out of several metal plates joined together by rivets. This allows the plates to extend or collapse through the rotation, meaning you can make a stiff shape as you are fastening your bicycle.
- Very convenient for transport
- Satisfying length
- Questionable level of security
- Limited choice
4. Cable Locks
Cable locks are made of series of metal strands braided together to form a cable. While they are very transport-friendly, light, long, cheap, and easy to use, they offer minimal security.
- Very convenient for transport
- Satisfying length and weight
- Minimal security
Cable locks can be easily cut by cable cutters in a matter of seconds which is why bike thieves usually target them first.
Important Features to Consider When Picking a Bike Lock
The Type of Lock
The type will greatly determine how portable, secure, and reliable your lock is. If you’re aiming for portability and lightness, you’ll most likely be satisfied with a folding lock or a U-lock.
U-locks, especially, offer an excellent balance between security, price, and features. They also come in a wide variety of sizes and weight, letting you examine the market until you find your ideal pick.
In some cases, however, the rigid form of U-locks might cause you inconvenience when it comes to securing your bike. As a hassle-free alternative, many people opt for folding locks. These are easy to use, transport, and usually aren’t too heavy. The options to choose from are insufficient though.
This is where chains come in. Chain locks are excellent at keeping your bike safe and reasonably easy to use regardless of what you intend to lock your bike onto.
Lastly, we encourage you to stay away from cable locks as they offer nothing but minimal security. While they might be fine as long as you’re using a non-expensive bike in an area that isn’t prone to bike theft, thieves will likely work around it if you use it on your bike in a densely- or mid-populated area.
The Level of Security It Offers
First of all, it is important to point out that no bike lock is unbreakable. While high-quality locks offer much higher security, they too can be cracked if enough determination and time is invested in the process.
Second, find out exactly where you’ll lock up your bike and how risky that area is. Once you’ve determined the risks, you’ll have a better idea of what you need.
As a general suggestion, opt for locks that are at least 14mm thick, as these can’t be broken by bolt cutters. The majority of thieves only steal bikes with locks that they can quickly cut. We suggest investing in a high-grade U-lock or chain lock or a combination of both.
Lastly, keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Be ready to pay up to a few hundred bucks to ensure the ultimate security of your bike.
The Length / Dimensions
Consider the length of the chain or cable lock that you will buy. Will it be long enough to allow you to fasten the bike around different types of fix objects?
Similarly, consider the dimensions when picking U-locks or folding locks. While the latter are normally more versatile when it comes to securing your bike, U-locks are smaller and might not fit around all bike racks.
Weight is of crucial importance, especially if you’ll carry the lock with you on a daily basis, such as the case might be if you’re commuting to work by bike.
In general, U-locks, folding locks, and cable locks shouldn’t make much difference when it comes to carrying them with you. High-quality chain locks, however, can be very heavy and you may find them inconvenient for that reason.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to fasten the chain lock around the handlebar or the frame of the bike to distribute the weight evenly as you are commuting.
Are you looking for keyless convenience or a solid stainless steel key? Most high-quality locks come with a set of several keys of which one is usually accompanied with LED light. Additionally, some companies such as Kryptonite offer to replace your keys for free in case you lose them.
Combination locking method is another popular way that many people opt for due to its keyless convenience. Most modern locks with this type of locking offer customizable 5-digit resettable combination.
Don’t buy products from unverified brands. Our top picks all derive from tested and trusted manufacturers, of which some even offer reimbursement in case their locks get hacked into.
And finally, the price. How much should you pay for a bike lock?
The answer depends on the level of security you require and on the value of your bike. In general, we recommend spending anywhere from 10% and up to 20% of the bike value on its security system. If your bike’s value lies in the 4-digit zone, make sure not to deter away from this percentage and invest any leftover amount in supplementary locks.
Do I Need More Than One Lock?
It depends. If you value your bike and have already invested in a reliable lock, you are advised to purchase another one and use it as a supplementary lock.
Most people apply a cable lock as the extra, as they are light, easy to transport, and affordable. Additionally, using two types of locks will repel most thieves as that means they require different sets of tools. If you want hardcore protection, then you might consider pairing up a chain lock and a U-lock or a folding lock.
Keep in mind that using only one lock will most likely protect only the frame and one wheel. Since your seat and the other wheel might hold significant value as well, the thieves might focus merely on those if they are not secured.
Another thing to consider is the way you lock up your bike. Make sure it’s done correctly and that your bike is locked up better than those around it.
Having a reliable bike lock with you as you go on a ride will allow you to take a carefree break without worrying about the safety of your bicycle. Since there are hundreds of different products on the market, you should be careful with what you pick, as not all locks offer what they promise to.
To help you out with this overwhelming task and make sure you get what you deserve, we have prepared this buying guide that focuses on delivering the information you need to make a well-informed decision.
While the Kryptonite New York Heavy Duty U-Lock ranked #1 on our list due to high-level security and outstanding performance, all of the locks introduced in this guide will likely safeguard your bike from mischief.
Now that you know what type of lock to look for it’s time to pick the best bike lock and take your steel buddy on an unforgettable adventure!