If you just got a bike, congrats! But I hope you bought a bike lock along with it, because no matter where you go, there’s always a bike thief looking for an easy score. There are many different types of bike locks, and we’ll go over their specific qualities as well as what makes the best lock for what scenario. The first thing to determine is where you’re locking it: inside or outside? Sometimes the thief lives in your building, so you’ll still want to lock it to a bar or another bike even if it’s in a designated bike storage space. Outside is a trickier story and for that you need to determine how much weight you want to carry with you while riding. Chain locks are very heavy but ideal for outside situations because they stretch further, allowing you to lock your bike in a variety of places that a U-Lock can’t reach around.
Chain locks come in a variety of sizes and weights from 11mm to 16mm. The larger the chainlink, the less likely a thief with bolt cutters will be able to break through the chain. 11mm isn’t that thick, so it’s an appropriate lock for a quick daytime scenario, but you wouldn’t want to rely on it overnight. A 16mm chain can’t be broken through by bolt cutters and the higher up you place your chain, the harder it’ll be for the thief to leverage the bolt cutters to snap through the lock. 16 mm chains are helpful for locking your bike outside overnight and can be too heavy to carry around with you while riding, so our favorite scenario is a combination of a 13mm chain lock and a U-Lock. You get the benefits and versatility of both without the weight of a heftier chain lock.
But why opt for a heavier chain lock when you can make do with two U-Locks? Chain locks are harder to break through, especially when they have a nylon sleeve to cover the chain links. Plus, they’re easier to carry, because you can wrap them around your seat post or frame which takes the weight off your back. There isn’t a great place to store a U-Lock on the actual bike, so it usually ends up in your backpack or bag. Chain locks are preferable for their durability and locking range among odd objects like fences or thicker signposts.
Some other tricks to keeping your bike secure include locking the seat to the frame with a small, thin Kryptonite lock, and having bolts for your tires. This will make your quick-release nonexistent, but if you leave your bike on the street often, it’s worth it. Watch the above video to see how to properly lock your front tire to the frame of the bike and then check out our options for U-Locks and chain locks below. Happy cycling.
1. Kryptonite 5ft. Fahgettaboudit Chain
One of our favorite chain lock brands is Kryptonite and you’ve probably seen their tell-tale black and yellow all over the street. This 5ft. chain has a New York disc lock, which will keep the interlocking links safe inside a little box, making it harder for a thief to break the chain or get inside the box. The only downside to this lock is that it weighs a whopping 14.5 pounds! It’s not exactly the best lock to be carrying around on your commute, so we’re going to place this one in the stay-at-home outside category, unless you know you’ll need it on a specific outing. Aside from the weight, it’s a great lock to use anywhere for its length and durability at 15mm chain links.
2. Ram Pro 3ft Heavy Duty Chain
Ram Pro is another ideal chain that you should consider. It is 3ft with thick, square chain links that are covered by a protective nylon sleeve. The only downside to this one is that it doesn’t come with a lock, it’s just the chain. So be sure to buy a steel lock that is thick enough to go along with the heavy-duty chain. Other than that, it’s a great 3-foot option that weighs less than the Kryptonite lock at only 4 pounds and can be carried around town on commutes.
3. Sportneer Bicycle Chain Lock
Although smaller than the locks listed above, the Sportneer chain lock is just as durable despite its weight. The chain links are smaller but still covered in a nylon sleeve and the biggest perk is the combination lock style, so you don’t need a key. Keep your sanity and ditch yet another key with an easy combo lock that weighs only two pounds. This is a great lock for commuting as it is easy to carry on your frame or in a backpack.
4. UBULLOX Bike Chain Lock 3 ft.
This five-digit combo lock might be the best size for any commuter to consider. At 3 feet, it’s not too heavy and not too light for its size and the combo lock design means you don’t have to carry an extra set of keys around with you. Simply insert the lock into itself and spin your combo to be on your way. This is an ideal lock for anyone seeking a lightweight chain, it can weave between your frame, front or back tire, and a fence or post with ease.
5. Kryptonite Keeper 7mm Chain Lock
Okay, this Kryptonite lock only weighs 1.1 pounds, so it’s by far an easier commuter lock. The Kryptonite Keeper chain is made with 7mm Manganese steel, comes in three color choices, and is a key lock. An excellent choice for a Kryptonite loyalist or anyone seeking a hardier chain lock not made from alloy steel.
6. Kryptonite Evolution Mini 10mm Chain Lock
While 10mm might sound small, but it’s a great choice for a quick stop and the Kryptonite brand can’t be beaten. With 3T Manganese Steel, a nylon protective sleeve, and three extra keys to complete the set, this worth the slightly higher price point than the other chain locks on this list. Weighing only 4.4 pounds, stow this lock around your seat post or frame and keep cycling all day long, you won’t even notice the extra weight. As a mini, it clocks in at only 1.7 feet, so be sure that it’s an okay size for your bike.
7. ABUS 6KS Maximum Security Square Chain and Sleeve
Abus makes an excellent chain and the 6KS is an ideal choice for any commuter. Weighing in at just 1 pound, it’s easy to carry or store. While it doesn’t come with a lock, this Abus chain is a high-quality format to securely lock your bike. Just pick up a steel lock at any hardware store and you’ll be all set. The chain links are protected by a nylon sleeve which proves weather-resistant, so don’t worry about rust.
8. Titanker Bike Chain Lock
With a high-quality steel chain, the Titanker bike lock comes in a choice of 6mm or an 8mm chain. As a combo lock, be key-free and lock your bike anywhere outside with this small chain lock. While 6-8mm is typically considered too small for great security, leaving it within sight is an ideal option. Not an ideal lock for nighttime, as bolt cutters will cut easily through the small chain, but it’s a good option for commuters looking for a very lightweight chain.