The best chain lock

Kryptonite New York Noose 1275Chain locks are made up of a series of steel links (usually inside a cover to protect your paintwork) and a lock. The lock can be integrated into the chain or it can be a separate padlock.

The length and flexibility of chain locks means that you can secure your bike to a wide range of objects. And because they are immune to bottle jack attacks, are more difficult to attack with power tools, and have links that need to be cut twice, the very best chain locks offer perhaps the highest level of security for your bike.

However, these advantages come at a significant cost: they are very heavy. Chain locks are far, far heavier than U-locks offering equivalent levels of security.

Because of this, we can divide chain locks into two groups: those that are light enough to carry around everyday on your bicycle and those that are so heavy you need to leave them permanently in one place.

Even the lighter chains are probably too heavy to carry comfortably in a bag on your back. But they can easily be attached to your luggage rack, carried in your basket or wrapped around your seat post…

Chain lock around seat post

The heavier chains are best used as a second, stationary lock in a two lock system. Using this method you might have one heavy chain lock that you leave wherever your bike is locked overnight and a second, lighter U-lock which you take with you during the day. And if you go somewhere particularly risky, you always have the option of taking both locks.

However, before you buy one, you should consider carefully what type of lock is best for you. And think about the best way to lock your bike as this could influence your choice too.

But, if you’ve decided that a chain lock is what you need, which one should you get? You can compare some of the most popular chain locks here. But there are a few other things you need to think about…

The Chain

Different sized bike lock chainsNot all chains are made from the same type of metal. For reliable security, the links of the chain should be made from a high quality, hardened steel alloy. The easiest way to guarantee this is to buy from a reputable brand such as Kryptonite, OnGuard, or Abus.

Some chain locks have hexagonal or square links which are supposed to be more difficult for bolt cutters to grip than round links and spread the pressure over a larger surface. In practice, any nicks in the blades of bolt cutters can catch the edges of such links, actually making it easier to get a good grip. So in fact, these different shaped links offer no more protection than round links and indeed may be easier to crop.

Obviously, the thicker the links, the stronger the chain. Links with diameters less than 10 mm can be cut relatively easily with medium sized bolt cutters if the thief can get the chain in a good position. Links with diameters of between 10 and 12 mm can sometimes be cut by medium size bolt cutters if the thief knows what they are doing and can get good leverage on the chain. Whereas links with diameters between 13 and 15 mm can only be cut by the very biggest bolt cutters which most bike thieves will not have. And at 16 mm and above the links can’t be cut by even the biggest hand operated bolt cutters.

However, the chance of of your chain being cropped can be significantly reduced by keeping the chain as far off the ground as possible when you lock your bike. In order to crop a chain, the thief will need to use one arm of the bolt cutter against the ground as leverage. The further your lock is off the ground, the more difficult and less effective this will be.

The Lock

Padlock for bike chainAny bike lock is only as strong as it’s weakest point. So there’s no point having a super thick, super heavy chain if you’re securing it with a cheap, feeble lock. Of course, chain locks generally come with their own locking mechanisms. Sometimes these look like padlocks or mini U-locks. Sometimes they are permanently integrated into one one end of the chain.

Either way, the locking mechanism should be reliable and should resist leverage attacks, picking, pulling and drilling. If there’s a shackle it should be as resistant as the chain or inaccessible to bolt cutters.

Length and Weight

One of the advantages of chain locks over U-locks is that their (generally) greater length means you can secure them around a wider range of objects. However, the longer the chain, the greater the overall weight and chain locks can get very heavy, very quickly. Don’t worry, all the major lock manufacturers produce chains at a variety of lengths so you should be able to find the best size for you.

In order to minimize the extra weight you should generally choose the shortest length that enables you to lock your bike where you want to. Be careful though, some of the short ones are really short! Before you commit to buying one, measure out a length of rope and test that it is long enough to use wherever you normally lock your bike.

Having said all this, you will just have to accept that a chain lock is always going to be heavier than a U-lock that provides equivalent protection. For example the Kryptonite Kryptolock Series 2 U-lock weighs 2.85 lb (1.29 Kg). The lightest Krytolock Series 2 Chain is 3.90 lbs (1.77 Kg), nearly a whole pound heavier and at just 21.5” (55 cm) in length, it’s hardly going to give you many more options when looking for places to lock your bike. A more practical 37.5” (95 cm) Krytolock Series 2 Chain is available but at 5.55 lbs (2.52 Kg) it weighs almost twice as much as the U-lock. Chain locks are heavy!

The best chain lock for YOU!

The locks I review below offer different levels of security but are all (apart from the OnGuard Mastiff 8020 and 8021) good locks. Chains up to 12 mm thick are generally portable: you can carry them around on your bike every day. The long ones will be really heavy though, so please check the weight. Above 12 mm the chains are more suitable as stationary locks: you would leave them wherever you lock your bike for long periods of time.

Bear in mind that any chain less than 16 mm is theoretically crop-able with bolt cutters. But 16 mm chains are massive. If you’re concerned about this you might be better off with a 16 mm U-lock.

9 mm chain locks

It’s difficult to fully recommend 9 mm chain locks. They can be cut by medium sized bolt cutters if the thief can get the chain in a good position. However, good quality 9 mm chains are still much, much more secure than any cable lock. So for this reason, for people who might otherwise choose a cable lock I’m including them here. If you live in a low theft area and ride a low value bike and are looking for a practical, relatively light alternative to a cable lock and you don’t want a U-lock, then maybe these 9 mm chains are the best lock for you.

Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 995 Integrated ChainThe Kryptolok Series 2 locks represent Kryptonites “moderate security” bike chains and have a 6/10 in house security rating. Sold Secure rate them as Silver while ART give them a 2/5 star rating. They are available in three lengths: 21.5 inches  (55 cm), 37.5 inches (95 cm) and 59 inches (150 cm) and come with an integrated lock that makes it easy to use these chains with your bicycle. They also come with two keys and Kryptonites optional anti-theft protection for bikes worth up to $1,500 / £800.

The Kryptolok Series 2 is a great choice if you’re looking for a cheap, light chain, perhaps as an alternative to a cable lock. It certainly won’t provide high security but will deter opportunist thieves in low risk areas.

Abus CityChain 1010 110The Abus CityChain 1010 range of chain locks are described as “very good protection for high risk areas” by Abus who give them a 12/15 in house security rating. Sold Secure rate them as Gold level security while ART give them 2/5 stars. They are available in four lengths: 33.5 inches (85 cm), 43 inches (110 cm), 55 inches (140 cm), 67 inches (170 cm) and also have an integrated lock, making them easy to use with your bike. They also come with two keys, one of which has an LED light and a code card for additional or replacement keys. Abus also sell frame bags to fit these chains.

The CityChain offers a high level of security at a low weight. So if you need a reasonable level of protection and like the idea of a chain lock, but are put off by the heavy weights, this could be a great choice.

9 mm chain locks

 ModelLengthWeightCheck Price
Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 955 MiniKryptonite KryptoLok
Series 2 955 Mini
21.5"
(55 cm)
3.90 lb
(1.77 kg)
Check Amazon Price
Abus CityChain 1010/85Abus CityChain
1010/85
33.5"
(85 cm)
4.4 lb
(1.95 kg)
Check Amazon Price
Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 995Kryptonite KryptoLok
Series 2 995
37.5"
(95 cm)
5.55 lb
(2.52 kg)
Check Amazon Price
Abus CityChain 1010/110Abus CityChain
1010/110
43"
(110 cm)
5.29 lb
(2.40 kg)
Check Amazon Price
Abus CityChain 1010/140Abus CityChain
1010/140
55"
(140 cm)
6.04 lb
(2.74 kg)
Check Amazon Price
Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 915 Kryptonite KryptoLok
Series 2 915
59"
(150 cm)
8.10 lb
(3.67 kg)
Check Amazon Price
Abus CityChain 1010/170Abus CityChain
1010/170
67"
(170 cm)
7.45 lb
(3.38 kg)
Check Amazon Price

10 mm chain locks

10 mm chains offer a reasonable balance between practicality and protection. They are light enough to use as daily mobile security. And although they can still be cut by medium sized bolt cutters, it takes a skilled thief who is able to position the chain favorably. However, be aware that these chains are starting to get heavy. Even the smallest 10 mm chain is heavier than the heaviest 16 mm U-lock!

Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 1090The Evolution Series 4 locks represent Kryptonites “high security” bike chains. Kryptonite give this range an 8/10 in house security score while Sold Secure give them a Gold rating. They are available in three lengths: 21.5 inches (55 cm), 36 inches (90 cm), 63 inches (160 cm) and come with an integrated lock which makes using the chain much easier. And they all have a sliding dust cover to protect the mechanism from the worst of the weather. You get three keys, (one with an LED light) and Kryptonites Key Safe program will replace lost or broken keys. The Evolution Series 4 is also eligible for Kryptonites optional anti-theft protection for bikes worth up to $2,250 / £1000.

Abus Granit CityChain X-Plus 1060 110Abus describe the Granit CityChain X-Plus 1060 range as “good protection at high theft risk” and give them a maximum 15/15 in house rating. They also get 3/5 stars from ART. They are available in four lengths: 33.5 inches (85 cm), 43 inches (110 cm), 55 inches (140 cm), 67 inches (170 cm) and also come with an integrated lock for ease of use. The mechanism is protected from the weather by a dust cover. And they all come with two keys (one with an LED light) and a code card for additional or replacement keys.

OnGuard Mastiff 8020The Mastiff 8020 and 8021 from OnGuard offer a moderate level of protection, with OnGuard giving these integrated chain locks a 78/100 in house security rating and Sold Secure rating them as Bronze. They are basically the same locks at different lengths. The 8020 is 43 inches (110 cm) while the 8021 is 72 inches (183 cm). They come with five keys (one with an LED light). The locks also come with OnGuards optional anti-theft protection for bikes worth up to $2001. However considering the poor security rating of these locks in relation to their weight and price, I can’t see why you’d want to buy them. There are much better options. For example at a similar weight and price, the OnGuard Mastiff 8019 and the Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 have much higher security ratings with the Kryptonite also including an integrated lock. So for that reason, I DO NOT RECOMMEND the Mastiff 8020 and 8021. Read my full review of the OnGuard Mastiff 8020, possibly the worst bike lock ever!

OnGuard Mastiff 8019The Mastiff 8019 and 8019L from OnGuard offer a much higher level of protection than their other 10 mm chain locks (reviewed above) with OnGuard giving them a 92/100 in house security rating and Sold Secure rating them as Gold. Again these, two are basically the same lock at different lengths. The 8019 is 43 inches (110 cm) while the 8019L is 72 inches (183 cm). These chains come with a separate padlock with a 14 mm shackle and five keys (one with an LED light). The locks also come with OnGuards optional anti-theft protection for bikes worth up to $3001.

10 mm chain locks

 ModelLengthWeightCheck Price
Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 1055 MiniKryptonite Evolution
Series 4 1055 Mini
21.5"
(55 cm)
4.40 lb
(2.00 kg)
Check Amazon Price
Abus Granit CityChain X-Plus 1060/85Abus Granit CityChain
X-Plus 1060/85
33.5"
(85 cm)
4.63 lb
(2.1 kg)
Check Amazon Price
Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 1090Kryptonite Evolution
Series 4 1090
36"
(90 cm)
6.10 lb
(2.77 kg)
Check Amazon Price
Abus Granit CityChain X-Plus 1060/110Abus Granit CityChain
X-Plus 1060/110
43"
(110 cm)
5.84 lb
(2.65 kg)
Check Amazon Price
OnGuard 8020 MastiffOnGuard 8020
Mastiff
43"
(110 cm)
5.95 lb
(2.70 kg)
Check Amazon Price
OnGuard 8019 MastiffOnGuard 8019
Mastiff
43"
(110 cm)
6.39 lb
(2.9 kg)
Check Amazon Price
Abus Granit CityChain X-Plus 1060/140Abus Granit CityChain
X-Plus 1060/140
55"
(140 cm)
7.19 lb
(3.26 kg)
Check Amazon Price
Kryptonite Evolution series 4 1016Kryptonite Evolution
Series 4 1016
63"
(160 cm)
9.70 lb
(4.40 kg)
Check Amazon Price
Abus Granit CityChain X-Plus 1060/170Abus Granit CityChain
X-Plus 1060/170
67"
(170 cm)
8.27 lb
(3.75 kg)
Check Amazon Price
OnGuard 8021 MastiffOnGuard 8021
Mastiff
72"
(183 cm)
8.38 lb
(3.8 kg)
Check Amazon Price
OnGuard 8019L MastiffOnGuard 8019L
Mastiff
72"
(183 cm)
9.28 lb
(4.21 kg)
Check Amazon Price

12 mm chain locks

At 12 mm, we’re pretty much at the limit of what can be used as daily mobile security. These locks are big and heavy. However, they do provide a great level of security. It’s unlikely that these chains can’t be cropped with medium sized bolt cutters. They can be defeated by the very biggest bolt croppers. But again, the chain would need to be in a favorable position, close to the ground. So for me, the following chains provide the highest level of (realistically) portable chain security. But if you’re thinking of buying one of these locks and carrying it around on your bike, please check the weights carefully first!

Kryptonite New York Chain 1210The New York Chain offers a high level of protection, with Kryptonite giving it a 9/10 in house security rating, while Sold Secure give it a Gold rating and ART give it 4/5 stars. The 12 mm hexagonal chain comes in two lengths: 39 inches (100 cm) and 67 inches (170 cm). The Evolution series 4 Disc lock that comes with this chain is also pretty impressive. It has a 14 mm, double locking shackle, features a dust cover to protect it from the elements and comes with 3 keys (one with a LED light). Kryptonites Key Safe program will replace lost or broken keys and the optional anti-theft protection covers bikes worth up to $3,500 / £1300.

Kryptonite New York Noose 1275The New York Noose is exactly the same as the New York Chain, but with a slightly larger, circular link at one end. This allows you to thread the other end of the chain through the circular link, creating a noose which can be tightened around whatever you are locking your bike to. Why is this so great? Well, it almost doubles the practical length of the chain, which means you don’t need to buy such a long one, saving you both bulk and weight! The New York Noose comes in two lengths: 30 inches (75 cm) and 51 inches (130 cm). It uses the same disc lock, and includes the same Key Safe program and optional anti-theft protection as the New York Chain above.

For me this is the best portable chain available today. Just about light enough to carry around daily, whilst still offering very formidable security. A great choice! Read my full review of the New York Noose 1275 here.

Abus Granit Extreme Plus 59 110The GRANIT Extreme Plus 59 range are actually classified as motorcycle locks by Abus who describe them as “very good protection at high theft risk” and give them a 20/20 in house security rating. While ART give them a very high 4/5 stars. The 12 mm chain comes in three lengths: 43 inches (110 cm) 55 inches (140 cm) 67 inches (170 cm). It features an integrated lock, with a cover to protect it from the elements, and comes with 2 keys (one with an LED light).

OnGuard Beast 8017The Beast 8017 and 8018 from OnGuard offer a high level of protection, with OnGuard giving them a 95/100 in house security rating. However, neither Sold Secure or ART have rated this range. The 12 mm, hexagonal chain comes in two lengths: the 8017 is 43 inches (110 cm), while the 8018 is 72 inches (183 cm). The lock features a shrouded, double locking, 11 mm shackle and comes with 5 keys (one with a LED light). They also come with OnGuards optional anti-theft protection for bikes worth up to $3501.

12 mm chain locks

 ModelLengthWeightCheck Price
Kryptonite New York Noose 1275Kryptonite New York
Noose 1275
30"
(75 cm)
6.95 lb
(3.15 kg)
Check Amazon Price
Kryptonite New York Chain 1210Kryptonite New York
Chain 1210
39"
(100 cm)
8.65 lb
(3.92 kg)
Check Amazon Price
Abus GRANIT Extreme Plus 59/12HKS110Abus GRANIT Extreme
Plus 59/12HKS110
43"
(110 cm)
8.82 lb
(4 kg)
Check Amazon Price
OnGuard 8017 BeastOnGuard 8017
Beast
43"
(110 cm)
9.2 lb
(4.17 kg)
Check Amazon Price
Kryptonite New York Noose 1275Kryptonite New York
Noose 1213
51"
(130 cm)
10.55 lb
(4.79 kg)
Check Amazon Price
Abus GRANIT Extreme Plus 59/12HKS140Abus GRANIT Extreme
Plus 59/12HKS140
55"
(140 cm)
10.36 lb
(4.7 kg)
Check Amazon Price
Abus GRANIT Extreme Plus 59/12HKS170Abus GRANIT Extreme
Plus 59/12HKS170
67"
(170 cm)
12.57 lb
(5.7 kg)
Check Amazon Price
Kryptonite New York Chain 1217Kryptonite New York
Chain 1217
67"
(170 cm)
13.15 lb
(5.96 kg)
Check Amazon Price
OnGuard 8018 BeastOnGuard 8018
Beast
72"
(183 cm)
13.7 lbs
(6.2 kg)
Check Amazon Price

14 mm chain locks

At 14 mm, we’re no longer talking about mobile security. These are not locks to take with you to the shops. Their bulk and weight mean you leave them where you lock your bike overnight. 14 mm chains can conceivably be cut by the very biggest bolt cutters. But it takes a experienced thief, of considerable weight who is also able to get the chain in the right position.

Kryptonite New York Fhadettaboutit 1415The New York Fahgettaboudit chain offers Kryptonites highest level of protection with Krypyonite giving it a 10/10 in house security rating, while Sold Secure give it both a Bicycle Gold and Motorcycle Gold rating. The 14 mm hexagonal chain comes in two lengths: 39 inches (100 cm) and 60 inches (150 cm). The lock features a 15 mm, double locking shackle, a dust cover to protect if from the weather, and comes with three keys (one with an LED light). The Fahgettaboudit is also eligible for Kryptonites Key Safe program which will replace lost or broken keys and Kryptonites optional anti-theft protection which covers bikes worth up to $3,750 / £2000.

OnGuard Beast 8016The Beast 8016 and 8016L chains offer OnGuards highest level of protection, with OnGuard giving them a 99/100 in house security rating. Again however, neither Sold Secure nor ART have given these locks a rating. They both use the same 14 mm hexagonal chain come at two different lengths: the 8016 is 43 inches (110 cm) while the 8016L is 72 inches (183 cm). And the lock features a 14 mm, quadruple locking shackle and comes with five keys (one with an LED light). These chains are also eligible for OnGuards optional anti-theft protection for bikes worth up to $5001.

14 mm chain locks

 ModelLengthWeightCheck Price
Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain 1410Kryptonite New York
Fahgettaboudit Chain
1410
39"
(100 cm)
10.80 lb
(4.90 kg)
Check Amazon Price
OnGuard 8016 BeastOnGuard 8016
Beast
43"
(110 cm)
14.8 lb
(6.71 kg)
Check Amazon Price
Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain 1415Kryptonite New York
Fahgettaboudit Chain
1415
60"
(150 cm)
15.25 lb
(6.92 kg)
Check Amazon Price
OnGuard 8016L BeastOnGuard 8016L
Beast
72"
(183 cm)
22 lb
(9.98 kg)
Check Amazon Price

15 mm chain locks

At 15 mm, these locks are just that little bit bigger, heavier and more difficult to crop with bolt cutters. However it is still theoretically possible for the right thief in the right position with the biggest bolt cutters.

Kryptonite New York Legend 1515Despite Kryptonite giving the New York Legend chain the same 10/10 in house security rating as the New York Fahgettaboudit, this chain is a step up again in terms of security. Indeed, ART give it a maximum 5/5 stars. The 15 mm, round chain comes in two lengths: 36 inches (90 cm) and 60 inches (150 cm). The lock features a 16 mm, double locking, shrouded shackle and comes with three keys. As with all Kryptonites locks, the Legend is eligible for the Key Safe program which will replace lost or broken keys. And the optional anti-theft protection covers bikes worth up to $4500 / £2500.

This is a fantastically secure bike chain lock. In fact, from the three big lock brands, it is probably the most secure bike chain available today. Read my full review of the New York Legend here.

15 mm chain locks

 ModelLengthWeightCheck Price
Kryptonite New York Legend Chain 1590Kryptonite New York
Legend Chain 1590
36"
(90 cm)
9.50 lb
(4.31 kg)
Check Amazon Price
Kryptonite New York Legend Chain 1515Kryptonite New York
Legend Chain 1515
60"
(150 cm)
15.95 lb
(7.23 kg)
Check Amazon Price

16 mm chain locks

At 16 mm these chains can no longer be cropped by any bolt cutters. They can only be defeated by power tools. They are incredibly heavy though. Not only are they completely non-transportable, you’ll also need to be careful that they don’t damage your bike just through their weight!

Pragmasis Protector 16 mm Bike ChainThe Protector range from Pragmasis is perhaps the ultimate bicycle chain lock. The 16 mm links are formed from hardened boron steel and are impossible to bolt crop. It comes with a Squire SS65CS Stronghold Lock which has a shrouded shackle which is also impossible to bolt crop. It’s available in four lengths: 39 inches (100 cm), 60 inches (150 cm), 79 inches (200 cm) and 98 inches (250 cm). The only way a thief is going to defeat this lock is with power tools and it will take a long time and make a lot of noise!

Almax Immoboliser Series IIIVery similar to the Protector range, the Almax Immobiliser Series III is just slightly cheaper, although I’m not sure it’s available in the US. It’s also made from 16 mm hardened boron steel links. And it comes with the same Squire SS65CS Stronghold Lock. So again, this chain lock can only be defeated with power tools. It’s is available in four lengths:  28 inches (70 cm), 59 inches (150 cm), 79 inches (200 cm) and 98 inches (250 cm).

16 mm chain locks

 ModelLengthWeightCheck Price
Almax Immobiliser Series III 16 mmAlmax Immobiliser
Series III
28"
(700 cm)
9.15 lb
(4.15 kg)
Check Almax
Pragmasis Protector 16 mmPragmasis Protector39"
(100 cm)
12.13 lb
(5.5 kg)
Check Pragmasis
Pragmasis Protector 16 mmPragmasis Protector60"
(150 cm)
17.09 lb
(7.75 kg)
Check Pragmasis
Almax Immobiliser Series III 16 mmAlmax Immobiliser
Series III
60"
(150 cm)
17.09 lb
(7.75 kg)
Check Almax
Pragmasis Protector 16 mmPragmasis Protector79"
(200 cm)
22.05 lb
(10 kg)
Check Pragmasis
Almax Immobiliser Series III 16 mmAlmax Immobiliser
Series III
79"
(200 cm)
22.05 lb
(10 kg)
Check Almax
Pragmasis Protector 16 mmPragmasis Protector98"
(250 cm)
27 lb
(12.25 kg)
Check Pragmasis
Almax Immobiliser Series III 16 mmAlmax Immobiliser
Series III
98"
(250 cm)
27 lb
(12.25 kg)
Check Almax

Summary

We can divide chain locks into two groups: those that are light enough to carry around on your bike every day and those that are so heavy they best used as stationary security.

The portable chains generally have links that are less than 13 mm thick. These chains have a couple of advantages over U-locks. Firstly, because they are long and flexible, you can secure your bike to a wider range of objects. And secondly, because you can wrap them round your seat post or top bar, they’re usually easier to transport.

However since theoretically these chains can be cropped by bolt cutters, they are not as secure as the best U-locks. I say theoretically because it will depend on the chain, the size and skill of the thief, how big his bolt cutters are and how you locked your bike. And remember, you can significantly reduce the threat by keeping your chain as far from the ground as possible.

If you’re looking for a cheap, light chain that still offers a reasonable level of security then the Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2 is a good choice. It’s far from being the most secure portable chain, but in low risk areas it may be enough.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a light chain that still offers a high level of security then the Abus CityChain 1010 is a great choice. It’s the lightest 9 mm chain available today but is still rated Sold Secure Gold.

But for me, the most secure chain that is still (just about) light enough to carry around everyday is the Kryptonite New York Noose 1275. The links are 12 mm thick and although in theory they could be cropped by the very biggest bolt cutters, it’s very unlikely they will be. It’s only 30″ (75 cm) long but the clever noose design almost doubles the usable length, which is great because it keeps the weight down. But beware, it still weighs 6.95 lb (3.15 kg). That’s the same as 8 cans of coke. So yes, while you can carry this round on your bike every day, it’s very heavy and will be too much for some people. If you need this level of security but can’t handle the weight, you’re probably best off with a U-lock.

The stationary chains usually have links that are thicker than 13 mm. These chains are best used with a decent ground anchor in a garage or a shed. They also have some advantages over U-locks. They can’t be defeated by bottle jacks, are more difficult to attack with power tools and if the links are thicker than 15 mm they can’t be cropped by any bolt cutters. And their greater length means you can use one chain to secure several bikes.

However, as well as being too heavy to carry around daily on your bike, they are also generally more expensive than comparable U-locks.

If you’re looking for a cheap, stationary chain offering a high level of security then the OnGuard Beast 8016 and 8016L are good choices. Both the chain links and the lock shackle are 14 mm thick. And while they are certainly not the most secure chains available, they do offer great value for money.

The most secure chain from a well known brand is without doubt the Kryptonite New York Legend. With 15 mm thick chain links and a 16 mm thick shrouded shackle it’s the only bike lock that boasts the ultimate 5/5 ART security rating. And while theoretically it could be cropped, I have certainly never heard of it happening in the real world.

But if you want a chain that is guaranteed to be immune to bolt croppers then you need to look at the Protector from Pragmasis or the Immobiliser Series III from Almax. They’re not cheap. But with 16 mm thick links and Squire padlocks they are the very best security you can get for your bicycle.

Of course, all bike locks are only as secure as their weakest link. But this is particularly relevant when we talk about stationary chain locks that may be used in a shed or garage. Make sure that whatever you lock your bike to is as secure as the chain. If you don’t have anything appropriate then you should invest in a good ground anchor. And make sure you know how to lock you bike properly.

I hope that this page has been useful and that it’s helped you find the best chain lock for your bike. Don’t forget, you can easily compare loads of different chain locks here. And if you have any feedback or questions, please let me know below…

23 thoughts on “The best chain lock

  • May 8, 2015 at 10:29 am
    Permalink

    Any views on EBC’s Revolution Secure chain lock? Seems remarkable value for money (esp. as often discounted in sales), and I’ve used it a number of times in South Manchester without any sign anyone’s even tried to attack it. But maybe I’ve just been lucky?!

    Reply
    • May 9, 2015 at 8:20 am
      Permalink

      Wow that is cheap Mark! And with 10 mm thick links and a 15 mm shackle, it’s an intimidating looking chain. The thing is, not all chains are created equal. Cheap chains won’t be made from the highest quality steel alloy, won’t be properly hardened and may be poorly welded. Which means they’ll be much easier to crop. So although this chain is certainly going to scare off a casual thief, someone with a decent set of bolt cutters will probably find it easier to crop that a higher quality (and much lighter) 8 mm chain. A good 8 mm chain won’t be so cheap though!

      Reply
  • June 28, 2015 at 7:13 pm
    Permalink

    I think the author of the article forgot the incredible 19mm chains offered by almax and 19.85mm protector chain but also you can custom order chain to whatever diameter going, a huge cruise ship is said to have a 150mm diameter chain!!!!!!!, so one link is likely to be a meter long!!!!! to look the same as these chains scale wise!!!, 25mm stainless steel boat chain is not uncommon either, personally i like the 15mm and above chain and u locks, why have anything less, remove bolt cropper threat and you get rid of 95% of potential thieves, if it’s a really rubbish bike they are more likely to steal the chain , just hope for the best ..

    Reply
    • July 4, 2015 at 7:02 pm
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      Hi James. Pragmasis themselves state that their 19 mm chains are a bit big for bicycles. I think there’s a danger they could actually damage the bike!

      Reply
  • April 7, 2016 at 5:18 pm
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    How are chains any better than U-locks if they are secured by a mini u-lock? Could a thief not simply turn an angle grinder to the small u-lock shackle and get through it just as easy as any other 14mm U-lock?

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    • April 7, 2016 at 8:09 pm
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      Hi Paul,

      Yes a thief can go through a mini U-lock with an angle grinder just as easily as they’ll go through a standard sized U-lock or indeed a chain link. And it’s the same with bolt cutters if they’re big and powerful enough.

      But mini U-locks are much less susceptible to leverage attacks and impossible to defeat with hydraulic bottle jacks. Which are techniques commonly used successfully on standard sized U-locks. So in that way they can be more secure.

      The weakness with chains is usually the relatively thin links rather than the mini U-lock that’s used to secure them.

      I hope that helps!

      Reply
  • May 9, 2016 at 4:30 am
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    loved the article, thank you so much for writing it 🙂 it’s a joy to read articles like this that are about very specific topics and cover every consideration.

    thanks again 🙂

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    • May 9, 2016 at 11:43 am
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      I’m glad you found it useful Alexander!

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    • July 23, 2016 at 10:05 am
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      Good Question Jim. The Kryptonite 15 mm New York Chain usually comes with it’s own padlock. This is very secure and I would be tempted to stick with it. For the Pragmasis, I’d go with the Abus 37RK/80 GRANIT. Yes, the GRANIT padlocks cost more. But if you’ve got the best chain, you should pair it with one of the best padlocks.

      Reply
  • September 3, 2016 at 1:08 am
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    Any thoughts on the Abus Bordo 6000? Thank you.

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    • September 3, 2016 at 8:45 am
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      Hi Sal,

      I talk about the Abus Bordo 6000 a bit on the home page. I think it’s a good mid security lock. Perhaps not quite as secure as mid security u-locks. But it has several advantages in terms of ease of use and practicality.

      I talk a fair bit about folding locks vs u-locks vs chains on the home page. have a read and tell me what you think.

      In summary, I think folding locks are a better alternative to most chains for portable security if a u-lock doesn’t suit your needs. And the Bordo 6000 is great for low risk areas.

      I hope that helps,

      Carl

      Reply
  • September 7, 2016 at 4:41 pm
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    Good article – thanks.

    How do the Abus Granit 37RK/80 and Squire SS65CS-XLN compare?

    Like Jim Haley, I already own & use some keyed-alike Abus locks, but I plan to supplement/augment my security with something VERY BEEFY (motorbike, not bicycle)

    I’m looking at Almax Immobilisor Series IV or Pragmasis Protector 19mm. Both can be bundled with the Squire SS65CS, which I’m sure is a fine lock, but I’d like to maintain my one-key set-up if I can.

    So – any comments or advice on how the Abus Granit 37RK80 and Squire SS65CS stack up against each other? If the Abus trumps or equals the Squire (in terms of effective security), I’d fork out for that. But if the Squire trumps the Abus I might settle for the reduced convenience.

    Thanks for any responses,

    Mark

    Reply
    • September 7, 2016 at 9:08 pm
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      Hi Mark,

      I’d go with the Abus for convenience. I’m not an expert on either of these, but I know they’re both really good quality secure padlocks. The Abus has a thicker shackle but I doubt there’s much between them to be honest.

      Thanks

      Carl

      Reply
  • September 18, 2016 at 5:06 am
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    Doesn anyone can explain why Kryptonite New York Chain 1210 is rated 9/10 and ART 4/5 when as padlock it uses mini version of my Evolution Series 4 LS U-Lock which is 8/10 and ART 3/5. This chain must be kind of joke.

    Reply
    • September 18, 2016 at 9:32 am
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      Hi Luke,

      I think this is because the Evolution Series 4 is more secure as a padlock than it is as a much bigger U-lock.

      Why? Well because as a padlock it’s not susceptible to leverage attacks from crow bars etc and it can’t be popped open by a hydraulic bottle jack.

      I hope that helps,
      Carl

      Reply
  • September 18, 2016 at 5:24 am
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    Personally as a second lock (first is Kryptonite Series 4 LS) I use MasterLock 8234 hardened steel chain, which is 90cm long and 10mm thick. Mini U-lock was working really poorly and I changed the padlock to GERDA S60 which has 12mm hardened steel shackle. I don’t know if this MasterLock chain is good, it has Sold Secure Silver award and measured link thickness varies from 9,5mm to 10mm. MasterLock is well known from making really crappy lock cylinders that aren’t pick proof at any way.

    Reply
    • September 18, 2016 at 9:35 am
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      Yes, MasterLock is renowned for poor build quality! I don’t really recommend their bike locks on this site.

      Reply
      • September 18, 2016 at 6:43 pm
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        What do you think about using ABUS 12KS80 Loop Chain together with GERDA HSS closed 12mm hardened steel shackle padlock which is rated 4/6 according to PN-EN 12230:2013?

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        • September 18, 2016 at 8:15 pm
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          Yes that’s a pretty secure combination. The chain is 12 mm as well?

          Reply
          • September 18, 2016 at 8:26 pm
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            Yes, chain is 12mm thick. From what I noticed in XXKSYY, XX means thinkness and YY means length. XX can be 6, 8, 10, 12 or 14.

          • September 18, 2016 at 9:06 pm
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            Ahh OK good to know, it must be pretty heavy to carry around with you though?

  • September 19, 2016 at 6:29 pm
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    ABUS 12KS80 weigths about 2,5kg without padlock.

    Reply

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