The best U-lock

Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit MiniU-locks (also called D-locks) are basically giant padlocks in two separate parts. A rigid U shaped shackle attaches to a straight crossbar forming a closed D shape around whatever you are trying to secure.

First developed in the 1970s by the company that would go on to become Kryptonite, U-locks revolutionized bike security by providing security comparable to hardened chains at a fraction of the weight. Today, U-locks are offered by all the main bike lock brands including OnGuard, Abus and Oxford.

If you’re only going to buy one lock (and really I recommend you buy two), then a U-lock is probably the way to go. They offer the best balance of security, practicality and price.

Chain locks may provide more options when you’re looking for places to lock your bike but they’re very heavy. If you’re not sure, check out my guide to choosing a lock. But remember: cable locks offer very little security. Never buy a cable lock!

OK, so I hope I’ve convinced you to buy a U-lock. But which is the best U-lock for you? There’s a bewildering range of sizes, weights and prices from a slew of different brands. You can compare a load of different U-locks here. But there are a few other things you need to consider before you buy one…

What size do I need?

Different sized U-locks Size here refers to the space within the U-lock rather than the thickness of the metal. With U-locks, smaller is better. Smaller U-locks are not only lighter and easier to carry, as long as the metal remains a decent thickness, they are also more secure.

This is because the more full a U-lock is (with your bike and the object it is fastened to), the less room there is for a thief to insert tools that could help them break the lock. With weaker U-locks they could insert a length of metal into the space and try and twist the lock off. With stronger U-locks they could insert a hydraulic bottle jack to try and pop the lock open.

So try to choose a U-lock that fits as tightly as possible around your frame, your wheel and whatever you habitually secure your bike to. Of course the disadvantage of a small lock is that you limit the things you can secure your bike to. Lamp posts, thick sign posts and wide railings are a no-no. You might also struggle a bit in busy bike racks. But this is where you need to think about where you lock your bike and whether the increase in security is worth the decrease in choice.

How thick should it be?

Different thickness U-locksThickness refers to the diameter of the U shaped shackle. Generally, the thicker the metal, the stronger the lock. However, the type of metal is important too and to be strong, they should always be made of hardened steel.

U-locks with diameters of less than 13 mm will be susceptible to attacks by medium sized bolt cutters which some opportunist thieves do use. Better U-locks, with diameters of between 13 and 15 mm are unlikely to be defeated by anything but the biggest bolt cutters which most casual bike thieves just won’t have. However some thieves will, so at the top of the range there are the thickest locks, with diameters of 16 to 18 mm which cannot be cropped by even the biggest bolt cutters.

Of course even the thickest U-locks can be defeated by power tools such as angle grinders, but there is nothing you can do about that. All you can do is buy the strongest lock you can afford and try to limit the opportunities any thief will have to work on it with power tools!

So, the thicker your U-lock, the better. But of course the thicker the metal, the more heavier the lock and this brings us to our next consideration…

How easy is it to carry?

This is a very important consideration because if it’s too difficult to carry around on your bike, then you probably won’t bother. Maybe you’ll start using something smaller and lighter. Or maybe sometimes you won’t use a lock at all. And this is when your bike will get stolen.

Transit-FlexFrame-Bracket-On-BikeWith U-locks, portability is affected by the size and weight of the lock and the quality of the frame mount that usually comes with it. The frame mount is normally a plastic bracket that fixes to the frame of your bike, into which the lock clips while you are riding around.

Depending on what type of bike you have (and what other accessories you have attached to your frame), the mount can usually be fixed in a number of different places including the top tube, the seat tube, the down tube or even the seat stays or handlebars.

Unfortunately, lock manufacturers often neglect the design of their frame mounts and many cyclists complain about their quality, especially those that come with the cheaper locks. A good frame mount should fix securely to your frame and hold the lock tightly so it doesn’t move about while you are riding.

However, there are many reports of mounts that are difficult to attach to the bike, not secure against the frame and unable to prevent the lock rattling about or even falling off when the bike is being ridden! So, if you think you will be using a frame mount to transport your lock, try to choose a lock that comes with a good one.

Of course you don’t have to use the frame mount that comes with your lock. You could carry it in a bag. However bear in mind that locks will get wet and dirty and some U-locks are heavy enough to make carrying them on your back very uncomfortable.

You could also put it in your basket or clip it to your luggage rack if you have one. You can even fit the smaller ones in your pocket! And because most of the normal mounts are so poor there are also lots of third party solutions. Holsters that go round your waist. Brackets that attach to your handlebars.

I just thread the shackle of my U-lock through my seat rails and then lock it up in between the seat stay and the seat tube. This keeps it pretty secure and out of the way. Whether you are able to use this method will depend on the type of seat and the size and thickness of your lock. However if your lock is too short to reach the space between the seat stay and the seat tube, you can always use velcro straps to secure it to the seat post.

U-lock through seat rails

What’s important, is that you think about how you’re going to carry it before you buy your lock. Because if you can’t find a method that suits you, then the chances are you will stop using the lock altogether.

Will it be your primary or secondary lock?

You will have different requirements of a U-lock depending on whether its going to be your primary (or only) bike lock or a secondary lock. If it’s your primary lock, it is responsible for making sure your frame is not stolen. So unless you’re using the “Sheldon method” of locking your bike (and I recommend you don’t), the lock needs to be big enough to go round your frame, your wheel and whatever you’re securing it to.

If it’s your secondary lock, then usually its responsibility is making sure your other wheel is not stolen. Depending on how you lock your bike, a secondary lock may only need to secure your frame to your wheel, and in this case can be significantly smaller.

Do you really need two locks? Well I talk about this elsewhere, but generally, yes, I think it will significantly reduce the chances of your bike being stolen.

The best U-lock for YOU!

OK, so now you know the sort of things you should consider when choosing a U-lock, lets look at some of your options. I have chosen three of the best U-locks in each of four different categories: the best standard size U-lock, the best mini U-lock, the best budget U-lock and the best secondary U-lock.

Every U-lock I review below is a a great choice in it’s own particular category. Which is the best one for you will depend on your circumstances. You can also compare a long list of the most popular U-locks available today.

The best standard size U-lock

If you live in a high risk area then you need a really good lock. How do you know if it’s a high risk area? Well, if it’s a major city, a tourist center or a college or university campus, then it’s probably a high risk area. But wherever you live, if you ride an expensive bike, then you also need a really good lock. What’s an expensive bike? Well, for me anything above $650 / £400 is expensive.

In such cases, maybe you should look for the best protection you can get. The following locks are the most secure standard sized bicycle U-locks available today. The standard size (roughly 8″ x 4″) means you have lot’s of choice when you’re looking for places to lock your bike. Make sure you check the weight though, they’re pretty heavy…

Three of the best standard size U-Locks

U-lockKryptonite New York Lock StandardOnGuard Brute STDAbus Granit X Plus 540
Kryptonite New York Lock StandardOnGuard Brute STDAbus Granit X-Plus 540
Check Price:Check priceCheck priceCheck price
Bar thickness:16 mm16 mm13 mm
Weight:4.35 lb
(1.97 kg)
4.17 lb
(1.86 kg)
3.2 lb
(1.45 kg)
Width:4"
(10.2 cm)
4.4"
(11.1 cm)
4.3"
(10.8 cm)
Height:8"
(20.3 cm)
8"
(20.2 cm)
9"
(23 cm)
Sold Secure Rating:GoldGoldGold
Reviews:Coming Soon!Coming Soon!Our Review

Kryptonite New York Lock StandardThe New York Standard is Kryptonites most secure, standard sized bicycle U-lock, boasting a 16 mm shackle with double deadbolt locking. It’s slightly narrower than it’s rivals, which makes it more secure, but also gives you less things to lock it to. It’s also the heaviest of the three recommended locks.

Like all Kryptonites locks it benefits from great after sales care, which in this case includes optional anti-theft protection up to $3000 / £1200. And like all Kryptonite locks it suffers from a poor quality frame mount!

Nevertheless, if you’re looking for the ultimate in protection without sacrificing the number of the places you can lock your bike, the New York Standard could be the best U-lock for you. A full review is coming soon.

OnGuard Brute STDThe Brute STD is OnGuards most secure, standard sized U-lock and also boasts a 16 mm shackle but ramps up the lock mechanism to give you quadruple deadbolt locking! However, whether this makes it any more secure is debatable.

The real advantage the Brute has over its rivals is in the price. At almost half the price of the New York standard and much less than half the price of the Granit X-Plus 540, it’s an absolute bargain! In fact it’s only $10 / £10 more expensive than it’s budget brother the Bulldog. This is incredible value.

Yes, the after sales service may not be as good as Kryptonite. But if you’re looking for the ultimate in practical protection at a budget price, the Brute STD may be the best U-lock for you. A full review is coming soon.

abus-granit-x-plus-540-smallThe Abus Granit X Plus 540 is a bit of an anomaly. The shackle is only 13 mm thick, but because it’s made from a specific type of steel and is square rather than round, it’s strength is equivalent to much thicker shackles. This means that the lock can be lighter without sacrificing security!

So the Granit X Plus 540 has the same Sold Secure Gold rating as it’s two rivals but is much lighter despite being slightly bigger. OK, it’s also much more expensive than it’s rivals. But you get fantastic build quality with all Abus locks.

And if you’re looking for the lightest U-lock without sacrificing either practicality or security, maybe the Granit X Plus 540 is the best U-lock for you. You can read my full review of the Granit X Plus 540 here.

The best mini U-lock

If you’re looking for the highest level of security from a lock that is big enough to fit around a wide range of objects, the New York Standard, the Brute STD and the Granit X-Plus 540 are the best bicycle U-locks available today. But we know that smaller U-locks are more secure because they leave less space for a thief to exploit with tools such as hydraulic jacks. So for ultimate security let’s look at some mini U-locks.

Three of the best mini U-Locks

U-lockOnGuard Brute MiniAbus U-Mini 401 YellowNew York Fahgettaboudit Mini
OnGuard Brute MiniAbus U-Mini 401 YellowNew York Fahgettaboudit Mini
Check Price:Check priceCheck priceCheck price
Bar thickness:16 mm14 mm18 mm
Weight:3.06 lb
(1.39 kg)
2.34 lb
(1.06 kg)
4.55 lb
(2.06 kg)
Width:3.55"
(9 cm)
3.15"
(8 cm)
3.25"
(8.3 cm)
Height:5.52"
(14 cm)
5.71"
(14.5 cm)
6"
(15.3 cm)
Sold Secure Rating:N/AGoldGold
Reviews:Coming Soon!Coming Soon!Our Review

onguard-brute-mini-smallThe Mini Brute is simply a miniature version of the OnGuard Brute STD. It has the same 16 mm shackle and the same quadruple deadbolt locking.

What it doesn’t have is the same Sold Secure Gold Rating as its bigger brother. In fact Sold Secure doesn’t seem to have rated it at all. I can only assume that this is an oversight, as OnGuard give it the same in house security rating as the standard sized lock.

At 9 cm, it’s the widest of the three mini locks, giving you more options when looking for places to lock your bike. And the price once again is fantastic, costing half as much as both the Abus Mini and the Fahgettaboudit.

So if you’re looking for a small U-lock that offers the highest protection at a reasonable weight, without breaking the bank, this could be the best U-lock for you. A full review is coming soon.

abus-mini-401-yellow-smallThe Abus U-Mini 401 Yellow is the smallest, lightest U-lock with a Sold Secure Gold rating available today. With a width of just 8 cm, it’s the narrowest of the three mini locks. It’s also much lighter, being nearly half the weight of the Fahgettaboudit.

This is clearly because the shackle is much thinner. You may see this lock advertised as having a 16 mm shackle, but in fact it has a 14 mm shackle inside a thick rubber casing.

Ultimately, this makes the 401 Yellow less secure that the other two mini locks and some may argue that it’s more of a secondary lock. While it is theoretically possible that this lock could be cut by the very biggest bolt cutters, I have never heard of this happening and with double bolted locking and a Sold Secure Gold rating I think it deserves a place here.

In fact, if you’re looking for ultimate security with the lightest weight and the smallest size, this could well be the best U-lock for you. A full review will follow shortly.

Be careful with the Abus mini U-locks though, the range is confusing. The Abus U-Mini 401 Yellow is the only one with a Sold Secure Gold rating. The Abus U-Mini 40/130 which is available in both red and yellow and looks identical to the U-Mini 401, is in fact lighter, cheaper and only has a Silver Sold Secure rating. It’s still a great lock at a very reasonable price but it’s not in the top tier of the most secure U-locks.

kryptonite-fahgettaboudit-mini-smallThe New York Fahgettaboudit Mini is the only bicycle U-lock with an 18 mm shackle and is undoubtedly the most secure bicycle lock available today.

It’s only 3 mm wider than the Abus U-Mini 401, so it’s pretty narrow. But at 6 inches in height it’s the longest of the three mini locks. It’s double bolted, is the only bicycle U-lock that gets Kryptonites 10/10 security rating and is eligible for anti-theft protection up to $4500 / £2500.

However, ultimate security comes at a price. At 4.55 lbs (2.06 Kgs), the Fahgettaboudit is much heavier than it’s two rivals. In fact it’s the heaviest lock on this page!

But if you want the very best bicycle security available today then this is without a doubt the best U-lock for you. Read my full review of the Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini U-lock.

With all mini U-locks you need to be very aware of the width and height measurements. These locks are really small. If you have a mountain bike with fat tires you won’t be able to fit these locks round the frame, a wheel and a bike rack. In fact, even if you have a more standard bike, you may sometimes struggle, depending on the rack. If you’re worried about whether these locks are going to be suitable for your day to day life, I’d suggest you draw out their dimensions on a piece of cardboard, cut them out and then try them out for size wherever you habitually lock your bike!

The best budget U-lock

Usually the more expensive a bike lock is, the more secure it will be. So can you really risk a “budget” U-lock? Ideally, you should spend as much as you can possibly afford on your bike lock. But if you can’t afford very much, then there are still cheaper locks that provide adequate protection if you ride a less attractive bike or live in a low theft area. If this is the case, a budget U-lock may be the best U-lock for you.

In fact, since the vast majority of bike thefts are by opportunists with limited tool sets, a good budget U-lock that is resistant to these tools can prevent your bike being stolen in the majority of cases.

The budget U-locks I recommend here are not the cheapest on the market. On Amazon there are U-locks for as little as $5 or £6! Please don’t buy these. Locks such as the Bell Catalyst 200 Pocket Bike U-Lock, the Mongoose Large Bicycle U-lock and the Strong Anti Theft Security Lock from MSC are NOT good quality locks. The mechanisms are cheap, the shackles can easily be broken with bolt cutters or twisted off with crow bars and the Bell and the MSC U-locks even use barrel locks which can be opened with Bic pens!

The three locks I recommend will provide good protection against opportunist thieves. Which one you choose will depend on your own circumstances and priorities.

Three of the best budget U-Locks

U-lockKryptonite Kryptolok Series 2 StandardOnGuard Bulldog DTCocoweb ArmBar
Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2 StandardOnGuard Bulldog DTCocoweb ArmBar
Check Price:Check priceCheck priceCheck price
Bar thickness:13 mm13 mm14 mm
Weight:2.84 lb
(1.29 kg)
2.43 lb
(1.10 kg)
3.2 lb
(1.45 kg)
Width:4"
(10.2 cm)
4.5"
(11.5 cm)
6.7"
(17 cm)
Height:9"
(22.9 cm)
9"
23.0 cm
10.6"
(26.8 cm)
Cable thickness:1 cm1 cm1.19 cm
Cable length:1.21 m1.20 m1.52 m
Sold Secure Rating:SilverSilverN/A
Reviews:Our ReviewOur ReviewOur Review

Kryptonite-Kryptolok-Series-2-With-Cable-SmallThe Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2 is the classic U-lock. The 13 mm shackle should defeat all but the biggest bolt cutters. And Sold Secure give it respectable Silver security rating.

It’s well made, dependable and benefits from Kryptonites renowned after sales care which includes optional anti-theft protection up to $1500 or £800, replacement keys, and full refund if your key breaks in the lock. The only downside is the poor quality frame mount.

But if you’re looking for a practical bike lock for low to medium risk areas from a company that offers great customer service, the Kryptolok could well be the best U-lock for you. You can read my full review of the Kryptolok here.

OnGuard-Bulldog-SmallThe Bulldog is OnGuards equivalent of the Kryptolok. It also features a 13 mm shackle and a Sold Secure Silver security rating.

And while it’s also well made and dependable, it’s slightly lighter and cheaper than the Kryptolock. However, OnGuards after sales care is not as good as Kryptonites. And while the frame mount may be better than Kryptonites, it’s still not great.

But it’s such a good value, if you’re looking for robust, practical protection in low to medium risk areas at a discount price, then the Bulldog could well be the best U-lock for you. Read my full review of the Bulldog here.

Cocoweb-ArmBar-LotusLock-SmallThe Cocoweb ArmBar is the new kid on the budget U-lock block. With a 14 mm shackle, it’s bigger, heavier and may even be stronger than the Kryptolok and the Bulldog.

However we don’t know how strong the steel is. And there is no after sales care at all. If you have any kind of problem, you’re on your own. On the other hand, it does have a very robust frame mount.

Indeed, if you looking for a strong, cheap U-lock with a dependable frame mount and you’re not concerned by the weight, then the ArmBar may be the best U-lock for you. You can read my full review of the ArmBar here.

The best secondary U-lock

Secondary U-locks are normally used to secure your front wheel to your frame. Or if the lock is big enough, your front wheel to your frame and a bike rack. As a secondary lock, it doesn’t need to be as secure as your primary lock. In fact, if you’re going to be carrying two locks around you want the second one to be as small and light as possible which means it will inevitably be less secure.

However, it still needs to offer adequate protection. And if you have a decent secondary lock, you can always use it instead of your primary lock with the Sheldon locking technique if you’re just nipping to the shops or going somewhere relatively safe. So lets have a look at the best secondary locks available today…

Three of the best secondary U-Locks

U-lockKryptonite Evolution LITE Mini-6OnGuard Bulldog Mini 8013Abus Granit Futura 64 150
Kryptonite Evolution LITE Mini-6OnGuard Bulldog MiniAbus 64 Mini Futura
Check Price:Check priceCheck priceCheck price
Bar thickness:11 mm13 mm11 mm
Weight:1.65 lb
(0.74 kg)
2.15 lb
(0.98 kg)
1.6 lb
(0.726 kg)
Width:2.75"
(7 cm)
3.55"
(9 cm)
2.64”"
(6.7 cm)
Height:6.0"
(15.2 cm)
5.52"
(14 cm)
6”.0"
(15 cm)
Sold Secure Rating:SilverN/AN/A
Reviews:Coming Soon!Coming Soon!Coming Soon!

Kryptonite Evolution LITE Mini-6The Evolution LITE Mini-6 is a relatively new addition to the Kryptonite range. It boasts a 11 mm hardened MAX-Performance steel shackle that has the same strength as the 13 mm shackles of the Evolution Mini-5, Mini-7 and Mini-9.

This means it’s as strong as some 13 mm locks but a fraction of the weight! At 1.65 lb (0.74 kg), the LITE Mini-6 is not quite the lightest of the secondary locks but it is slightly wider than the barely lighter 1.6 lb (0.726 kg) Abus Granit Futura 64 150. And although it’s not double bolted, you do get the famous bent foot design which makes it easier to use, 3 keys (one with LED light) and Kryptonites optional Anti-theft protection up to $2000 / £900.

It’s also very reasonably priced, so if you’re looking for a strong, light, good value secondary lock that could be also used as a primary lock under some circumstances, the Evolution LITE Mini-6 may be the best U-lock for you. A full review is coming soon.

OnGuard Bulldog MiniThe OnGuard Bulldog Mini 8013 is the biggest and heaviest of the three locks here. But not by much. It features a 13 mm shackle and is 2 cm wider and 1 cm shorter than the Kryptonite and Abus locks. And in fact, the extra width may help you to lock the wheel, the frame and a bike rack, giving you a little extra security.

But as with all OnGuard locks, the best thing about the Bulldog Mini is the price. It’s half the price of the LITE Mini-6 and a fraction of the price of the Futura 64 150. Once again, this is excellent value.

So if you’re looking for the cheapest, secondary lock around, one which could also be used as a primary lock if you’re really careful, then the OnGuard Bulldog Mini 8013 could be the best U-lock for you. A full review will follow shortly.

Abus 64 Mini FuturaThe Abus Granit Futura 64 150 is the smallest and lightest of the three secondary U-locks locks I review here. In fact it’s probably the smallest and lightest U-lock available anywhere.

The 11 mm shackle is double bolted for extra security. And Abus are renowned for making the very hardest steel and the very highest quality locks. However, you won’t get the anti-theft protection you get with Kryptonite and OnGuard. And it’s by far the most expensive of the three locks.

Nevertheless, if your looking for the smallest, lightest U-lock available today, and again one which could be used as a primary lock at a push, then the Abus Granit Futura 64 150 could well be the best U-lock for you. A full review is coming soon.

Summary

U-locks are probably the best way to protect your bike in the street, offering the nicest balance between security, price and practicality. But choosing the best U-lock for your bike is difficult. What size and how thick the lock should be depends on where you lock your bike and how long you leave it. How risky is the area? What will you lock your bike to?

The most secure U-locks are small and thick and heavy and relatively expensive. But if you need to lock your bike to big objects, you’ll need a bigger U-lock. And if you ride a low value bike and live in a low theft area, you won’t need a thick, heavy, expensive lock. So the best U-lock for you will depend on your circumstances.

The Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini is undoubtedly the most secure U-lock available today. But maybe it’s too small, too heavy or too expensive for your needs.

The Abus Granit X Plus 540 is a better all purpose lock. It’s not as secure as the Fahgettaboudit Mini, but it’s still rated Sold Secure Gold and it’s much bigger, much lighter and comes with a decent frame mount. Read our full Granit X Plus 540 review and let me know what you think.

However both of these locks are expensive. If you’re looking for high security at a budget price, then you should always look to OnGuard…

The Mini Brute is the OnGuard equivalent of the Fahgettaboudit Mini. It’s not quite as thick and it’s not quite as secure but it’s less than half the price! While the OnGuard Brute Standard is comparable to the Granit X-Plus 540. The build quality might not be as good and it’s significantly heavier, but again it’s less than half the price.

But what if you don’t need high security and your main concern is price? Then maybe budget U-lock will do. The Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2, the OnGuard Bulldog and the Cocoweb ArmBar are all good choices in this case.

However, I would urge caution here. I think you should spend as much as you can possibly afford on a bike lock. Why? Well, firstly because it’s always better to be safe than sorry; you might not think you need a high security lock but a thief may have other ideas! And secondly, while you may not need a high security lock now, what happens if you move areas or upgrade your bike? A good lock, well looked after, can last for many years and many bikes. Maybe it’s better to invest once in a good one than to keep buying new ones every time your circumstances change?

If the locks on this page don’t meet your needs, have a look at this long list of U-locks. You can compare them for weight, size and security rating and hopefully you can find the best U-lock for you.

But whatever your circumstances, I would urge you to never choose a lock with a Sold Secure rating of less than Silver. Or if the lock is not rated by Sold Secure, the same in house security rating as one of their locks that is rated Sold Secure Silver.

I hope this page has helped you to find the best U-lock for your needs. You should also check out our article on wheel and seat security. And don’t forget to make sure you know how to lock your bike properly too! If you have any comments, suggestions or questions, please let me know below…

35 thoughts on “The best U-lock

  • January 29, 2016 at 8:49 am
    Permalink

    Not much know but somehow this lock seems to resist all that bad tools: http://www.litelok.com My bike is still at home, just can’t find proper (best) solution… Btw. Would be great if you could cover some of a GPS tracking and alarm systems. Seems to be cheaper than most of these locks and systems…

    Reply
    • January 29, 2016 at 6:46 pm
      Permalink

      The Litelok looks great doesn’t it! I preview it here, and I’m looking forward to trying it out when it’s released.

      I’d like to review some of the GPS systems too. Another thing to add to my list!

      Reply
  • March 25, 2016 at 8:26 am
    Permalink

    Thanks for the info! I’m new to the bike scene and I’ve recently bought a road bike. Had no idea what kind of lock to buy, but now I’m pretty set on a U-lock. I’m eyeing the OnGuard Brute. Any chance you know the ETA of the full review for this lock? Many thanks!

    Reply
    • March 25, 2016 at 10:16 am
      Permalink

      Hi Din

      I’m not sure when I’ll be adding a full review for the OnGuard Brute. But I can say now that it’s a fantastic lock.

      It’s probably the best value, high security lock available at the moment. A 16.8 mm shackle that can’t be cut by any manual bolt-cutters. Double-bolted. Sold Security Gold. And at the moment you can pick it up for around $50 or £24. That’s incredible value if you ask me.

      You need to check the weight is OK for your needs as it’s pretty heavy. And make sure you give it a regular clean and lubrication. But you can buy with confidence!

      Reply
      • March 29, 2016 at 7:49 am
        Permalink

        thank you for your reply! I’m definitely going to stick with the OnGuard Brute.

        Reply
  • April 5, 2016 at 12:08 am
    Permalink

    Abus u Lock broken in seconds
    This is just a few words of advice regarding bike locks.

    Today, I returned to my bike to find the lock battered and smashed but luckily still in 1 piece. Unfortunately, the key would not longer fit in the lock so I had a small problem!

    I managed to contact local security and after showing some ID they produced some bolt croppers and cut through my expensive ABUS lock in about 10 seconds!

    My point is – any non D-lock style lock can be cut in seconds with bolt croppers. My ABUS lock cost £30 and I thought it was pretty tough. Luckily it saved my bike this time but after seeing the ease at which it was cut I’ll not use a similar one again. It was a thick braided cable cover in hardened steel shells.

    I know d-locks can be broken too but not quite as easily. Take good care of your bike and get a decent lock!

    Reply
    • April 5, 2016 at 5:40 am
      Permalink

      Yep, even the armored cable locks like yours are very easily beaten. This is why I won’t recommend them. As you say a decent U-lock is usually the way to go. They are generally the most resistant to bolt cutters. But a good chain can also do the job, depending on your circumstances and the way you lock your bike.

      Anyway, at least you still have your bike!

      Can you remember which model of Abus lock it was?

      Reply
  • April 10, 2016 at 9:28 am
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    I locked my semi decent older road bike (pre fixie craze which would make this bike a prime target now) with a braided cable lock which was about 3/4″ thick. I would put it under a street light locked to the same telephone pole support cable. The lock had a heavy vinyl covering which had battle scars ….several bolt cutter notches in it from multiple attempts to cut it. I switched to this lock after the whole kryptonite BIC pen fiasco where kryptonite took my info but never followed up on replacing my lock. I often wondered if the kryptonite U lock would have saved my bike on those attempts.

    Reply
  • April 27, 2016 at 5:19 am
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    Hi,

    First of all, thanks a lot for the great reviews and suggestions.

    With their help I decided to buy an OnGuard Brute LS-8000, which is the big brother of the STD-8001. I use it along with a 7mm Abus chain like in the pictures from the links bellow. Just wanted to ask your opinion regarding this setup, especially the U-lock. Does it look too loose, allowing a potential thief to take advantage of that space in order to force the lock somehow or I’m fine like this?

    On the other hand, the pole is pretty thin and the bigger U-lock might come in handy on some bigger poles. Also, my frame is a bit wider and the STD-8001 barely fits and presses unnaturally against the wheel.

    Appreciate your help regardless of you providing an answer.

    http://imgur.com/av7oX4g
    http://imgur.com/pThxRDy

    As a side note, I plan to only take the small chain with me during day time rides. People around here apparently mostly use wire “chains” so this gives me a little more confidence.

    Best Regards,
    Alex

    Reply
    • April 27, 2016 at 11:39 am
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      Hi Alex,

      I think you’ve done a pretty good job there! The OnGuard Brute is one of the most secure locks available today. And you’ve filled up most of the space inside the lock so it should be safe from leverage and bottle jack attacks.

      If you’re worried about this you could try and fit the u-lock around the pedal crankarm as well. But in this case it might not fit. And I think it’s fine as it is anyway.

      The 7 mm chain lock is fine as a secondary lock for securing you wheel to your frame and for a bit of extra security around the frame. But I’m a little bit concerned about you using it by itself “during day time rides”. I depends on where you’re riding and how long you leave your bike for and whether it’s out of your sight etc.

      But a 7 mm chain can be bolt cropped quite easily. And it’s not Sold Secure Silver (or equivalent) so I wouldn’t recommend you use it in isolation.

      As I say though, the set up in the photos looks great. Good job!

      Carl

      Reply
      • April 30, 2016 at 7:00 pm
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        Hi Carl,

        Thanks a lot for your reply. It means a lot coming from the guy that built this wonderful piece of lock wiki.

        I’ll try to use the u-lock as often as I can and take care of my bike.

        All the best and take care!

        Alex

        Reply
  • May 23, 2016 at 4:04 am
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    Carl, your site and this article (along with several others I’ve read tonight) have been exceptionally helpful. Thanks so much for introducing me to 21st century lock products and helping me keep my new ebike more secure.

    Reply
  • June 18, 2016 at 4:48 am
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    so i just got the Abus lock above as a 2nd lock and it scares me already. While playing around with mounting options, the key had troubles opening and closing the lock on more than one occasiou. Only time will tell if i’ll be left stranded somewhere with my own lock on the bike. …I searched reviews on this and there’s a youtube video of a guy getting help cutting his own Abus U lock from a bike locked to a high wall/fence. not a good sign. Secondly, the mounting bracket is ridiculously limited. I also feel it slides in backwards. you can turn it around but then the “clever” way of prventing the lock from accidentally sliding off no longer functions. ..it uses the locking bar itself, in locked position, to stop it from shaking off the mount so flipping the slider around disables this.

    Reply
    • June 18, 2016 at 8:01 am
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      The Abus 401 Mini or the Abus Granit Futura 64 150?

      Reply
  • June 23, 2016 at 8:08 am
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    hmm. my reply disappeared.

    summary. it was the mini. the lock holder was an add on purchase. The lock in the video was probably a 40.

    then i mentioned another video i stumbled that showed my lock where a guy opened 2 locks with the same key. Again, i totally believe this because the kryptonite evolution 4 had the same problem before they changed the key type in them. I also have first hand experience with this where I had 2 heavy cable locks, bought several years apart, that were shockingly keyed the same. it makes me think the bike lock makers are extremely lazy and probably only have 20 different keys for any given lock. I don’t see how else it would be possible to have locks opening with the same key. I keep meaning to go back to a store to try my various lock keys in all the locks. i would NOT be surprised if i opened one.

    Reply
    • June 23, 2016 at 12:08 pm
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      The 40 and 401 are two of the Abus locks that are made in China rather than Germany. I’m not sure if that’s likely to effect their quality or not.

      It’s interesting what you say about the same keys opening different locks. I have heard of this before. But ABUS claim for example that their X-Plus lock cylinder has 1.4 million key variations!

      Reply
  • June 24, 2016 at 6:57 pm
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    sk them how many of those 1.4M possible keys are they actually cutting. I’ll bet there are huge cost/manuf. savings in cutting hundreds of the same keys and lock cylinders then shuffling the shipments to differnet cities or stores. …or they could have cases of all unique cylinders, but duplicates of identical cases to be used sequentially in manuf. which would stagger their release to market over several years.

    The various lock videos show guys in short uninterupted clips inserting keys and opening multiple locks. Like i said, i believe it, and i could make a video myself because I still have the 2 heavy cable loops that are keyed the same although i don’t use them anymore.

    Reply
    • June 26, 2016 at 6:15 pm
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      Mmmm it would be interesting to do some more research into this. Can you post links to the videos?

      Reply
  • June 24, 2016 at 6:57 pm
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    *Ask is the first word. hehe

    Reply
  • June 27, 2016 at 9:07 am
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvyEEeJxNL4
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gfx-Lusml6Q
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-SJAiDLkIA

    a search will bring up bike forum posts where other people were shocked to see their key opening 2 locks.

    The abus key codes are 4, 5, 6, and 7 digits long. that means they’re using 10000 max key variations for the 4 digit code locks. …and i’d be surprised if all are used and someone has 0000 or 1234, or 1111 etc, the same way license plates do not use all combinations.

    Reply
    • June 27, 2016 at 10:25 pm
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      Very interesting asdf, thanks. I’m going to do some more research into this…

      Reply
      • July 7, 2016 at 5:44 pm
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        Yeah, it would be interesting to see what you find out.

        It would also be interesting to see what they manuf. have to say about this because it’s obviously a problem they’re aware of. Personally, i do NOT believe the “your lock is old and worn out” reasoning because there are door locks and things that have been around many many decades longer that do not open unless it’s the right key. I have keys for many homes where the same cylinder style is used on several doors and the only key that works is the right one. I suspect it’s a cost cutting measure.

        Reply
        • July 11, 2016 at 8:06 pm
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          Yes I’m going to try to get in touch with the manufacturers to get some information.

          Reply
  • September 11, 2016 at 12:32 am
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    Hi,
    Trying to find the abus 401 mini yellow
    To get the gold security rating

    In the US, thoughts on where to purchase?
    Hard to find

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • December 1, 2016 at 12:43 pm
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      Well it’s definitely cheap Yariv.

      But it hasn’t been tested by an independent security organisation. And from reading the reviews it seems that not only is the metal shackle 13.8 mm rather than 16 mm, but someone was able to cut through it very easily with a pair of bolt cutters (because the key had failed).

      This suggests the steel is probably poor quality.

      So on the plus side, it’s cheap and it looks really strong (which will be enough to deter most casual thieves). But on the negative side you have to carry around something that’s very heavy and that’s probably not very secure in reality.

      And for less than $10 more you could get the OnGuard Brute which is genuinely 16 mm and is Sold Secure Gold certified. (Although no frame mount or cable with the Brute).

      Reply
      • December 5, 2016 at 9:12 am
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        Thanks for the reply! (glad I came back to check, no email notifications?).
        You’re right, I’d rather invest in a better lock. From the comparison chart seems like the Abus U-mini 401 is the lightest Gold rated lock, and right after is the OnGuard PitBull mini. Price-wise the OnGuard seems like a better deal. Do you have any preference?

        Reply
        • December 5, 2016 at 12:28 pm
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          Hi Yariv,

          Yes, the Granit X-Plus 54 mini and the OnGuard Pitbull mini are both great locks. The Abus is lighter and probably a little bit more secure. The OnGuard is obviously much cheaper. Either one is a good choice.

          But I’m not sure about the Abus U-mini 401 Yellow anymore. I don’t think Abus still making it. I’m not convinced by the build quality. And I’m not even sure the weight I attribute to it is correct! I think the other two are better options.

          I hope that helps!

          Thanks,
          Carl

          Reply
  • March 24, 2017 at 7:48 am
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    I’m just looking for a budget lock for my 3-year-old bike. Mine just broken last week. I use the lock when I go to school and I don’t need an expensive lock. I searched on amazon and found several more cheaper locks such as this Enkeeo Bike U Lock (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GR6BFNG), it is stated to be made of heavy duty hardened steel with protective PVC coating, another one is DTLA Bikes U-lock with high temp conditioned high strength steel. I wonder if either of them could meet my daily use.

    Reply
    • March 24, 2017 at 12:35 pm
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      Hi Kirsty,

      I would be very wary about claims that these locks are hardened steel. They’re almost certainly not. And if you read the reviews a couple of people seem to confirm that.

      The first thing you should think about is what degree of security you need rather than what sort of budget you have.

      If you’ve decided you don’t need a high security lock, then how about the OnGuard Bulldog? It’s available for $24 on Amazon at the moment. You can probably even find it cheaper.

      It has a slightly thicker shackle. So it’s likely to be slightly more secure. And I would certainly trust it over the two you mention.

      I hope that helps!

      Reply
  • March 31, 2017 at 8:38 pm
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    Could you comment on the use of “freezing sprays?”

    Reply
    • April 2, 2017 at 7:26 am
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      Hi Tim,

      Decent U-locks that use good quality steel aren’t really vulnerable to freeze spray attacks. Cheap, low quality U-locks obviously are though. Another good reason to avoid them!

      Carl

      Reply

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