A bicycle is a useful thing. Whether it’s part of your daily workout, a convenient way to get around town or your daily commuting vehicle, if you own a bike and ride it regularly, you likely understand how important this mode of transportation can be. Perhaps, that is the reason why it causes so much hurt and anger when a bicycle is stolen.
Bicycle theft is a surprisingly common problem, and it’s always better to prevent a problem than to cure it. The best course of action is ensuring you have a bike lock to keep your bike secure when you’re not with it.
Choosing the best bike lock for you depends on a number of factors. First, it’s a good idea to consider how widespread crime is in the area you are looking to secure your bike. If it’s behind a locked gate or inside a garage with CCTV, that in itself may deter many thieves, meaning a cheaper lock may suffice. However, if you’re looking to leave your bike in a dark alley overnight, it’s probably worth picking the most intimidating lock available. After assessing likelihood, you can think about convenience, what style of lock you’d prefer, if you need a key or combination and how much weight you can carry.
To make understanding the types of locks easier, have a read through our breakdown and see which one appeals to your needs.
The Best Types of Bike Locks
From chain locks to U-locks, these are the most popular types of locks on the market.
These locks look like a normal chain you could see anywhere, except they’re usually supersized. Their chunky build quality adds an extra dimension of protection for your bike. In addition, the chain’s flexibility provides versatility for different tasks and can be easily stored around the frame of your bike without a fixed bracket. The downside of a chain lock is that compared to other options, they tend to weigh more.
Much like chain locks, wire locks provide an impressive amount of flexibility and versatility. However, they tend to be smaller and lighter than their linked counterparts. While this trade-off does provide a number of benefits, these locks do tend to be more susceptible to theft. Depending on the thickness and quality, these are often the most budget-friendly lock style available.
U-lock are another option which sport an aptly descriptive name. These tough locks are, as expected, U-shaped and include a bar that fits over the two open ends to secure the lock. The benefit of this style of lock is that it combines toughness with portability, offering a nice balance of the two. These locks usually come with a frame-mounting bracket and sometimes include an additional wire which can be used to further secure your bicycle.
The Best Lock Styles
There are two major bike lock styles, combination and key locks. Read on for an explanation of those styles.
The major benefit of a combination lock is that it’s never necessary to carry anything extra to open the lock. This means, as long as you can remember your number (or letter) code, you can open the lock. This is a great option for anyone who may want to share their bike with others or for those who are particularly prone to losing keys. However, these benefits do come at a cost. Should your code be seen or left in place, it will be no trouble at all for any thief to release the lock and take your bike.
Like those found on most doors, key locks are probably the most common way to open and close a lock. Most of these locks come with at least two keys. This means, outside of a person cutting or picking your lock, no one can open it apart from you. Furthermore, with two keys, you’ll be able to keep a spare in a secure place should the worst happen and you misplace one. The fact you can lose the keys is the one big downside to buying a key lock. The last thing you want is to become a thief-look-alike while trying to cut or saw your way through your own lock.
Below, you’ll find 12 of the best bike locks available. From combination chain locks to keyed U-locks, there’s something for every preference. Buy one to keep your bike secure when you’re not around.
1. Via Velo Bike U-Lock
With its budget-friendly price, tough build quality and stack of over 500 five-star reviews, it’s easy to see what makes the Via Velo Bike U-Lock so popular. By ticking almost every box, this versatile, two-piece bike lock can protect single or multiple bikes at one time. It comes with a bracket for easy on-bike storage and both the U-lock and heavy-duty cable sport weatherproof covers to protect them from the elements. Furthermore, the kit includes two keys, so you can always have a backup stored somewhere safe.
2. WordLock Combination Bike Lock
BEST NUMBER ALTERNATIVE
If you struggle with remembering numbers and the idea of a four-letter word as a combination sounds a lot easier, the WordLock Prism Combination Bike Lock could be the right choice for you. You’ll be able to choose your very own four-letter code, whether that’s a name, item or random word. Five feet long and eight millimeters thick, the lock’s steel cable is ideal for attaching to racks, posts and other bikes, too. The cable is covered in a sheath which protects from extreme weather and reflects light for increased visibility.
3. NDakter Bike Lock
The NDakter Bike Lock is a pocket-sized answer to keeping your bike secure. The compact, circular design can secure a single wheel or be joined to other locks to create a longer lock. The 12mm-thick cable is covered in a PVC wrap which helps protect it from the weather and prevent scratches. It’s also available in five different colors. This lightweight and versatile lock can be used for gates, ladders and toolboxes, too.
4. Sportneer Bike Lock
BEST COMBINATION CHAIN
If you prefer a keyless lock for your bike but still want a heavy-duty option, consider the Sportneer Bike Lock. It features a five-digit combination lock with over 100,000 possibilities to choose from and also includes a solid zinc-alloy cylinder for additional strength. The durable and extra-thick chain is made from manganese steel for greater-than-average cut resistance and includes a waterproof and dust-proof cover to prevent scratching and inhibit sawing. Furthermore, the 3.2-foot length delivers plenty of flexibility, meaning it’s easy to attach your bike to posts, racks and other bikes. This feature also allows you to comfortably store the lock around your bike frame, too.
5. LandAirSea 54 GPS Tracker
BEST GPS TRACKER
If you want a second level of protection should your lock fail, try adding this LandAirSea 54 GPS Tracker to your bike. This discreet and compact device has no lights, is 100% waterproof and sports a built-in magnet, making it quick and easy to fit to your bike. The USA-made tracker is capable of both Bluetooth and GPS, SIM-based tracking (which requires an additional fee), and is also compatible with Macs, PCs, iPhones and Android devices. For convenience, the tracker’s rechargeable battery can last up to two weeks, depending on how heavily used it is.
6. Onguard Bulldog Combination Standard U-Lock
BEST COMBINATION U-LOCK
By removing the potential disaster of losing your keys, the Onguard Bulldog Combination Standard U-Lock is a safe option for those prone to misplacing things. Instead of keys, all you have to do is remember your four-digit code to undo the lock. This is a handy answer for people looking to share their bike with friends. The lock also includes a quick-release, multi-position mounting bracket along with a double rubber coating on the U-lock crossbar.
7. Kryptonite Keeper Chain Bike Lock
BEST KEY CHAIN
If you prefer the flexibility and security of having a heavy-duty chain wrapped around your bike, the Kryptonite Keeper Chain Bike Lock could be the right choice for you. The flexible chain is made from 7mm-thick, four-sided, 3T manganese steel chain links which provide the ideal mix of security and versatility, allowing you to join multiple bikes together or to store the lock around your frame with ease. For a secure hold, the heavy-duty chain includes a deadbolt design key lock and also sports a weather-resistant nylon sleeve to protect it and prevent scratches during application. Additionally, this bike lock is available in four different colors.
8. SIGTUNA Folding Bike Lock
If space is at a premium, consider the SIGTUNA Folding Bike Lock. This folding bike lock sports a smart design that allows it to fold down into a compact and easily stored 7.5-inch by 1.5-inch block. When folded out, this 8mm hardened steel lock offers enough length to secure multiple bikes together or to secure your bike to a post. The pick-resistant lock sports an extra-soft plastic casing to prevent scratches and comes with two quick-access brackets that can be attached to your frame using screws or velcro, depending on your preference.
9. KRYPTONITE Evolution Mini-7 U-Lock
If you’re looking for a U-lock and a versatile heavy-duty cable, the KRYPTONITE Evolution Mini-7 U-Lock could be right up your alley. It features a 13mm hardened steel shackle which is resistant to both bolt cutters and leverage attempts. It also sports a high security, disc-style cylinder with an additional sliding dust cover. The cable provides a versatility that allows you to secure both wheels at the same time or multiple bikes together. In addition, the lock comes with a frame-mounting bracket, three stainless steel keys and one LED key fob. Plus, you can register it online to enjoy a potential payout if your Kryptonite product is ever defeated.
10. Steaylock FOLDYLOCK Compact Bike Lock
The Steaylock FOLDYLOCK Compact Bike Lock is another impressively well-reviewed folding bike lock option. With over 85% of Amazon reviewers scoring it with top marks, you can be confident you’ll be happy with it, too. The folding lock is made from heavy-duty and cut-resistant bars with ultra protected rivets and anti-drilling components. It’s also covered in weather protection and specifically designed for e-bike use. The lightweight, compact lock is easily stored using either the included Velcro straps or screws. Furthermore, it comes with three keys, which is great if you often lose them, and it comes in a choice of four different colors.
11. Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini U-Lock
The Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini U-Lock is an ideal choice for anyone whose top concern is bike safety. This tough security device has been awarded 10 out of 10 on Kryptonite’s security rating scale, and with its 18mm, disc-style, pick- and drill-resistant cylinder and double dead-bolt design, it’s easy to see why. The lock comes with two standard “I” keys and a single LED lighted key. You can also add Kryptonite’s anti-theft protection cover as discussed above.
12. TiGr Mini+ Titanium Bike Lock
The TiGr Mini+ Titanium Bike Lock is minimal and lightweight in design but maximal in function. At four by eight inches, the lock is large enough to fit through your wheels and around the frame and rack to deliver a secure hold. It also weighs only one pound, making it one of the lightest bike locks available. The lock includes a tough-to-break disc-style lock cylinder along with a PVC coating to prevent scratches. The kit also includes an easy-to-install, frame-mounting bracket, and two keys.