If your one of the growing number of people who own a bike, one of the biggest concerns will be how to stop your bike being stolen. In the UK alone Bike Theft Statistics reveal over 7,500 bikes are reported stolen every month, with the average cyclist given just 23 months before their bike is stolen. Bike crime is on the rise and your especially vulnerable in large cities such as London and NYC where professional thieves operate.
If like me, you have had been a victim of bike theft you will know what a horrible feeling the realisation is that your bike is gone. After exhausting all attempts to find my stolen bicycle I nearly gave up cycling for good and started commuting to work on the train. However, after a week of standing on a packed train I decided I had to get back on my bike. First off, I realised that bike lock technology had improved significantly. For under £80 it is possible to buy a high security gold rated bike lock that is resistant to virtually all hand tools including bolt cutters.
The only bad news is that there a literally hundreds of different types of lock ranging from just a few pounds to £100 plus. To help you answer the question: What is the Best Lock for a Bike? I have set-up this website to recommend the best bike locks on the market based on independent customer reviews.
My best advice is to avoid a cheap lock and to invest in a combination of U-Lock and Cable for maximum security and flexibility.
It might seem obvious but we strongly recommend that you read our guide on How to Lock your Bike securely.
Ultimate U-Lock Quick Comparison Guide
Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit
- Main Material: Steel
- Weight: 2.76kg
- U Lock-Clamp Height: 10.3cm
- U Lock-Clamp Diameter:1.8cm
- Read Review
Abus U-Mini 401
- Material: Steel
- Weight: 980g
- U Lock-Clamp Height: 14.3cm
- U Lock-Clamp Diameter: 1.4cm
- Read Review
Abus Granit X-Plus 54
- Main Material: Steel
- Weight: 1.5kg
- U Lock-Clamp Height: 30cm
- U Lock-Clamp Diameter:1.3cm
- Read Review
The U-Locks on this chart have all achieved very high consumer ratings providing you with the best security for your bike. For more information, please follow the ‘Read Review’ link within the chart. This will provide you with more information about the lock including results of attempts to break the locks as well as essential criteria for choosing a protective lock.
What is the Best Bike Lock?
Manufacturers produce cycle locks in all different shapes, sizes, prices and types. The most common types include:
- U-Locks (Sometimes called D-Locks) – Recommended Primary Lock
- Cable Locks – Recommend Secondary Lock
- Coil Cables
- Chain Locks
- Wheel Locks
- Frame Locks
- Folding Locks
- Wall/Floor Anchors
With so many different varieties to chose from, how do you know which is best bike lock on the market ?
Obviously this will depend on your own requirements but a great place to start is with the U-Lock. Recommended by the Police and Insurance Companies alike, the U-Lock combines the latest technology with decades of manufacturing experience providing the best protection available.
Good quality U-locks are available from £50/$80+ providing resistance from most hand tools including bolt cutters, hack saws, crow bars, sledge hammers etc. Most recently we have seen the introduction of the mini U-lock which provides added resistance by limiting the amount of space inside the metal shackle, making it extremely difficult for a bike thief to insert a jack.
Factors to consider while buying bike locks:
Things to consider: What is the width and height? Will it fit into tight spaces? Remember it is not always possible to park your bike against a fixture with lots of space, there will be times when need to park up in cramp conditions against tricky shaped objects like railings. This is why we recommend a combination of D-Lock and Cable. This way you are always covered as a cable will bend in and out of tight spaces.
Often forgotten but you will need to consider the weight and size of your bike locks as you will need to carry it with you on your journeys. It is possible to attach a U-Lock to the bike frame so it can be stored when you are travelling, but bear in mind that it could come lose over time. Size is also something to consider, too big and it becomes an issue if you plan on carrying your lock in a back pack. The same can be said for weight.
Unless your bike is stolen or your lock becomes damaged through theft, a bike lock should last you a long time. Therefore it’s important to consider the potential effects of the weather over the years, especially the freezing cold and wet water that can cause cheaper locks to rust. You should be looking for a lock that is covered in a protective layer (i.e. rubber) or is specially coated to protect against the weather.
Price is one of the most important indications of the quality and amount of protection you can expect. Whilst all locks can be eventually broken using power tools such as an angle grinder, the major difference is that a cheaper lock is also vulnerable to bolt cutters, sledge hammers and hack saws. Think of a lock as more of a visual deterrent and try and understand how a thief may think, if they are struggling to break a securely locked bike they will quickly move on to another target.
Size and Weight
Generally speaking, a lightweight bike lock will offer less protection when compared to a heavy duty lock. Weighty locks tend to be more resistant to bolt cutter, leverage and brute force attacks. That is not to say the heavier the locks are the best, because the mini U locks often provide the best security. On the flip side, weight is an important factor to consider if you are planning on carrying it with you each day. Likewise the size needs to be considered for transportation purposes but also bear in mind that the bigger the diameter of the lock the more room a thief will have to insert a jack. So you need to be looking for a lock with less overall space.
Review of the Top 3 Cycle Locks
Below you will find a summary of our top 3 recommended bicycle U-locks from the comparison chart.
Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini Lock Review
Overall Rating: (5 / 5)
The New York Fahgettaboudit comes with a Sold Secure Gold Rating and was recently described by Bike Radar as ”The stiffest, toughest lock we’ve ever put to the sword.” The smaller brother of the New York 3000 this mini u-lock makes it practically impossible to insert any type of leveraging tool inside the 18mm shackle.
At a price of £64.99 / $84.00 the Fahgettaboudit offers good value for money and protection against almost any kind of tool used in bike thefts. Unlike other locks on the market, the Fahgettaboudit can only be prised open after making two separate cuts on either side of the shackle because of a double deadbolt locking mechanism.
Given a rating of 10/10 by Kryptonite they are so confident of the protection they offer an anti-theft protection scheme which covers owners for £2,500 / $4,500.
Abus U-Mini 401 Review
Overall Rating: (4 / 5)
The Abus Mini 401 U lock offers great of protection in a very small package. The 14mm specially hardened steel shackle and two pick-resistant locks provide solid protection against all but the most determined bicycle thief, all for a price of just £49.99 / $80.95.
Weighing just 980g this lightweight bike lock is ideal for the day-to-day commuter conscious about carrying any extra weight. Well made and rugged, this lock is coated with a protective rubber layer that not only protects against bike scratches but also gives the impression of a much bulkier looking lock.
Awarded the Sold Secure Gold Rating, We have awarded the Abus U-Mini 401 4 stars from a possible 5 and feel it is best used as a secondary lock.
Abus Granit X-Plus 54 Review
Overall Rating: (5 / 5)
At an average price of £70 / $130 the Abus Granit X-Plus 54 is a heavy duty bike lock (classic U-lock) that is highly recommended for owners of high end bicycles. Described by Bike Radar as “The best portable U-lock on the market.” Cyclists all over the world agree that the X-54 is one of the safest and toughest locks on the market.
Featuring a CrMO core hardened steel shackle, double bolt lock mechanism, parabolic shaped design and a 13mm U-Bar this lock is virtually pick proof against all known hand tools. Awarded a security ration of 15/15 (by Abus) the only tool capable of breaking the lock was an angle grinder. Bike thieves are much more likely to move onto another target at the sight of the X-Plus 54.
Taller than any mini-lock alternatives, the added height provides room to secure a larger section of your bike. The lock also comes with a handy LED Key which is testament to the thought gone into the product. If you’re serious about the safety of your bike, there really is no better lock than the Abus Granit X-Plus 54.
Recommended Bike Lock Brands
Abus - Founded in Germany in the 1920′s, Abus are a major manufacturer of a wide range of security devices including bicycle and motor bike locks. Abus have an excellent reputation for producing high quality locking devices.
Oxford Magnun (Link coming soon).