The 6 Best Bike Locks in 2019

6 of the best bicycle locks

Bicycle Security that will beat the thieves

Finding the best lock for your bicycle can be difficult. There’s loads to choose from. And the wrong decision can have disastrous consequences!

The secret to success is choosing a lock that’s both secure enough to protect your bike and easy enough to use on a daily basis.

With that in mind, here are 6 fantastic locks that aim to do just that…

(And if none of them seem quite right, don’t worry, below these picks I’ll show you the three simple steps that will guarantee you find the perfect lock for your needs.)

1. Kryptonite Kryptolok

The Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2 is the archetypal u-lock and a brilliant budget choice. It’s a practical size and weight and offers good, mid-level (Sold Secure Silver) security for a very reasonable price.
Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2 best mid-security lock

Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2 Summary
Overall Score:4 Stars
Check Price:Check Amazon Price
Bar Thickness:13 mm
Weight:2.85 lb (1.29 kg)
Size (internal):4 x 9" (10.2 x 22.9 cm)
Kryptonite Rating:6/10
Other Security Ratings:Sold Secure SilverART 2 Stars

It won’t provide you with the very highest level of protection, but the 13 mm shackle should withstand all but the biggest bolt cutters. It’s very easy to use, comes with a reasonable frame mount and benefits from Kryptonite’s outstanding after sales service.

So, if you’re “Lower Risk” and looking for a dependable u-lock that will fit around almost every bike, this is a great choice.

Read my full, hands-on review of the Kryptolok which includes the best alternatives if it’s not right for you. Or compare it to other u-locks.

2. Abus Granit X-Plus 540

For me, the Abus Granit X Plus 540 is probably the best all round bike lock, of any type, available today!
Abus GRANIT X-Plus 540 best high-security lock

Abus GRANIT X Plus 540 Summary
Overall Score:5 Stars
Check Price:Check Amazon Price
Bar Thickness:13 mm
Weight:3.20 lb (1.45 kg)
Size (internal):4.25 x 9" (10.8 x 23 cm)
Abus Rating:15/15
Other Security
Sold Secure Gold ART 3 Stars

It provides a very high level of security (Sold Secure Gold) and despite being a decent, practical size, it’s still comparatively light. The 13 mm shackle is cast in a patented parabolic square shape from a special type of steel that’s as strong as the much thicker shackles on much heavier locks.

In fact, the Granit X Plus 540 is the lightest, high security, standard sized u-lock available at the moment.

So if you’re “High Risk” and looking for a light weight lock without sacrificing either practicality or security, this could well be the best lock for you.

It’s not cheap, but in my full, hands-on review of the Abus Granit X Plus 540 I suggest some great alternatives if it’s not quite right for you. You can also see how it compares to other standard size u-locks here.

3. Kryptonite Kryptolok 955 Mini

The Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 955 Mini is a short, cheap chain which is relatively light and easy to carry wrapped around your seat post.
Kryptonite Krptolock Series 2 955 Mini best mid-security chain

KryptoLok Series 2 955 Mini Summary
Overall Score:3 Stars
Check Price:Check Amazon Price
Chain thickness:9 mm
Weight:3.90 lb (1.77 kg)
Length:21.5”" (55 cm)
Kryptonite Rating:6/10
Other Security Ratings:Sold Secure Silver

With 9 mm links, it’s not the most secure bike lock (Sold Secure Silver), but it offers far more protection than any cable lock. Just keep it as far from the ground as possible to keep it safe from bolt cutters.

So if you’re “Lower Risk” and looking for something practical and reasonably priced to protect a cheaper bike, this could be a good choice for you. I’ve got more about chain locks here.

4. Kryptonite New York Noose 1275

The Kryptonite New York Noose 1275 is great because the noose system almost doubles the usable length of the chain.
Kryptonite New York Noose 1275 strongest portable chain

New York Noose 1275 Summary
Overall Score:4 Stars
Check Price:Check Amazon Price
Chain thickness:12 mm
Weight:6.95 lb (3.15 kg)
Length:30" (75 cm)
Kryptonite Rating:9/10
Other Security Ratings:Sold Secure GoldART 4 Stars

This means it can be quite short which is important since the 12 mm links put this chain at the top limit of what is practical to carry around daily.

However, these 12mm hardened steel links also make it very secure for a portable chain lock (Sold Secure Gold).

So if you’re “High Risk” and looking for a high security, portable chain that you can use every day, this could be the right choice for you. Just make sure you’re OK with the weight first.

You can read my full review of the New York Noose 1275 here which includes a couple of alternatives if it’s not quite the right lock for you. You can also check how it measures up to other 12 mm chains here.

5. Foldylock Compact

The Foldylock Compact is the lightest folding lock that still offers a reasonable level of protection (it boasts a solid Sold Secure Silver rating). What’s more, it’s also the most usable folding lock I’ve ever tested!

Foldylock Compact: Lightest Folding Lock


Foldylock Compact Summary
Overall Score:4 Stars
Check Price:Check price at Seatylock
Plate thickness:5 mm
Weight:2.2 lb (1 kg)
Length:33" (85 cm)
Other Security Ratings:Sold Secure Silver

The Foldylock Compact is 33″ (85 cm) long, which means it has around the same amount of internal locking space as a standard sized u-lock. But because it’s flexible, it should actually give you loads more options when you’re looking for somewhere to lock your bike.

And in fact, at 2.2 lb (1 kg), the only Sold Secure Silver locks that are lighter than the Foldylock are mini u-locks!

Compared to it’s nearest rival the Abus Bordo 6000, the Foldylock Compact is lighter and easier to use. It’s easier to unlock, easier to unfold, easier to get around your bike and comes with a better frame mount. Plus it’s cheaper!

So, if you’re “Lower Risk” and you’re looking for a compact and lightweight alternative to a u-lock, this could be a good lock for you. Read my hands on review of the Foldylock Compact.

6. Abus Bordo 6500

The Abus Bordo GRANIT 6500 is the stronger, heavier brother of the 6000. The folding steel plates are just a fraction thicker at 5.5 mm. But it’s significantly more secure with a Gold award from Sold Secure and 2/5 stars from ART.

Abus Bordo Granit X-Plus 6500 folding lock

Abus Bordo GRANIT X Plus 6500 Summary
Overall Score:4 Stars
Check Price:Check Amazon Price
Panel thickness:5.5 mm
Weight:3.48 lb (1.58 kg)
Length:33.5”" (85 cm)
Abus Rating:15/15
Other Security Ratings:Sold Secure GoldART 2 Stars

It’s 33.5”” (85 cm), which again should give you loads of options when you’re looking for somewhere to lock your bike. And at 3.48 lb (1.58 kg) it’s heavy, but not too heavy.

Sure, it’s heavier and less secure than the Abus GRANIT X Plus 540 230 which I think is the best all-round bike lock available today. But it’s much lighter than any Sold Secure Gold chain lock.

So if you’re “High Risk” and you need more locking options than a u-lock can give you but don’t want to lug around a massive heavy chain, the Abus Bordo GRANIT 6500 could be a very good choice. Read my full, hands-on review here.

How to choose the right lock for you

If none of my top 6 picks seem quite right for you, don’t worry! If you keep reading, I will guide you through 3 simple steps that guarantee you’ll find the perfect lock for both you and your bicycle.

As I’ve already said, the best bike lock won’t just protect your bike. It will also be easy for you to use on a daily basis.

Of course your individual circumstances are very important here. They include how expensive your bike is, where and how you use it, and how much money you can afford to spend.

And that’s a lot to think about! But if we work through these 3 steps it’s actually pretty straightforward:

  1. Choose the right level of security
  2. Choose the right type of lock
  3. Choose the right lock brand.

So in Step 1 we’ll work out what level of security you need and I’ll explain how to find locks that will give you the right amount of protection.

In Step 2 I’ll introduce the various different types of bike locks and show you how to choose one that suits your individual needs.

And in Step 3 I’ll explain how each of the lock brands offers something different so you’re able to choose the right one for you.

Now this is a long guide, so if you don’t have time to read it, I’ve also compressed most of it into a handy infographic

How to choose a bike lock infographic

Ready? OK, let’s get going!

Step 1: Choose the right level of security

The ultimate job of any lock is to stop your bike from being stolen. (Yeah OK, that’s pretty obvious right?!) So the first and most important step is to think about what level of protection you’ll need.

How can I know what strength lock I need?

There’s a whole load of factors that affect this. But answering the questions in the table below should give you a pretty good idea…

QuestionsHigh RiskLower Risk
Where do you live?Big town, city or university campusSmall town or village
Does your bike attract second looks?YesNo
How long do you leave your bike unattended?More than 1 hourLess than 1 hour

If two or more of your answers put you in the “High Risk” column, then you need a lock that will give you a higher level of protection.

While if two or more answers are in the “Lower Risk” column, you might be able to get away with a lower security lock.

How can I know how strong a lock is?

OK, so you’ve got a good idea what level of protection you need. But how can you know which locks will provide that protection? In short, how can you judge how secure a lock actually is?

The first thing to remember is that no bike lock is unbreakable. If a thief really wants to steal your bike, with the right tools and enough time, he can and he will. A bike lock just buys you time. And the better the lock, the more time you get.

Generally speaking, the thicker a lock is, the better it will resist the various tools a thief might use to attack it. For instance, top of their list of favorite tools are bolt cutters.

Bolt cutters vs Bike lock
Bike thieves love bolt cutters!

Chain links and U-lock shackles with diameters of less then 13 mm can be cut with medium sized bolt cutters which many bike thieves will use.

Locks with diameters between 13 and 15 mm can only be cropped by the very biggest bolt cutters. But there are thieves that use these tools too.

But at 16 mm thickness, chain links and U-lock shackles become impossible to cut with any manual bolt cutters.

Bike locks vs Bolt cutters
U-lock / Chain thicknessCan be cut by bolt cutters?
< 13 mmYes (medium size)
13 - 15 mmYes (only biggest 36 and 42")
16 mm and aboveNo

However, unfortunately it’s a bit more complicated than this. The type of steel, the shape and size of the lock, the locking mechanism and the overall build quality will all affect how strong a lock is.

And of course thieves don’t only use bolt cutters. Different tools will try to exploit weaknesses in locks that may be difficult for you to see.

So wouldn’t it be useful, if there were experts that could tell us how secure different locks are? Well, luckily there are:

  1. Online tests
  2. Lock brands themselves
  3. Independent security testers
Online tests are a bit rubbish!

There are tons of different cycling and review websites testing lots of different locks, in order to tell you which ones are the best.

Lock testing tools
Tools used to test bike locks

But they always test small samples and they all use different tools in different ways. So it’s difficult to compare the results. What’s more, they’re not necessarily attacking the locks in the same way a thief would.

In fact, beyond “all cable locks are rubbish” and “an angle grinder will cut through anything eventually” the conclusions they draw are neither certain nor particularly useful.

And there are actually some pretty dodgy recommendations made on some very high profile websites. For example I think the top rated lock on is one of the worst bike locks I’ve ever seen. So generally, I don’t trust them!

Lock brand ratings are confusing!

All the good brands provide their own rating systems for grading the security of their locks and these are useful for choosing a lock from that one manufacturer.

Different lock brand security ratings
Kryptonite, OnGuard and Abus all use different security ratings. Confused?

But they’re all very different so they’re no use if you want to compare locks from different brands.

Independent security ratings are best!

Luckily, there are also independent, third party experts that use standardized methods to test and then rate a wide range of different locks according to their security.

Sold Secure from the UK provide a Gold, Silver or Bronze rating based on how long a lock can withstand an attack. And of all the testers, they rate by far the biggest number of locks.

Sold Secure Ratings
Sold Secure rate locks from Gold to Bronze depending on how long they take to defeat.

They use a huge variety of tools and methods in their tests including screwdrivers, junior hacksaws, pliers, stilsons, steel tubes, ball-peign hammers, HSS hacksaws, punch sets, club hammers, TCT hacksaws, freezing agents, cold chisels, 24″ wrecking bars, scissor jacks, slide hammers and lock picking tools.

I’m not actually sure what some of those tools are to be honest!

And they also have close links with the police and insurers which means they get up to date information on the techniques used by thieves and can test the locks accordingly.

ART from Holland are the other big tester and they offer a 1-5 rating (5 being the strongest) based on a whole variety of tests performed by both machines (tensile strength, torsion strength, cutting, corrosion, dust and freeze tests) and by test engineers (brute and intelligent attack tests).

ART Security Ratings
ART use a 1-5 star system and are more strict but rate less locks than Sold Secure

Neither of these groups rate all the available locks and there has recently been criticism of some of their techniques. However, I think they remain the best comparative measure of security when choosing a lock.

What’s more, in the UK at least, most insurance companies will require that your bike is secured with a lock that’s rated by Sold Secure and the level of cover you receive will depend whether the lock has a Bronze, Silver or Gold rating. If you don’t use a lock that is rated by Sold Secure, they won’t cover you.

So, considering this and the numbers of locks they test, as a general rule, I recommend that you use the Sold Secure ratings to judge how secure a lock is.

If you are “High Risk” according to the table above, choose a Sold Secure Gold lock. If you are “Lower Risk”, choose a Sold Secure Silver lock.

I don’t recommend locks that are Sold Secure Bronze under any circumstances. Sure, if you live in a very low risk area, you might be able to get away with a Bronze rated lock. But they provide very little real protection. And I don’t feel comfortable recommending locks to you that are so easy to defeat.

And really, there’s such a huge range of different types of locks at different weights and prices, you should be able to find one that’s rated Sold Secure Silver or better that will suit your needs.

So, the bottom line is:

If your risk level is:High RiskLower Risk
Your lock security rating should be:Sold Secure GoldSold Secure Silver

It’s worth noting that in order to receive a rating from Sold Secure, a lock must be submitted by the manufacturer. And since they don’t submit every lock, there are some that would be worthy of a Silver or Gold rating that aren’t currently rated.

This is where the in-house rating comes in handy. For example, if one OnGuard lock has a Sold Secure Silver rating and a 63/100 OnGuard rating, you can be pretty confident that all their locks with 63/100 are Sold Secure Silver standard.

Of course this is no use if your insurance policy specifies locks that have a Sold Secure rating. But if you don’t take out insurance, it’s a useful way to find a Sold Secure Silver or Gold standard lock even if it doesn’t have an official rating.

Step 2: Choose the right type of lock

This is almost as important as Step 1. Because the type of lock you choose will determine how easy it is to use. If it’s difficult, you’ll stop using it. And that’s when your bike will be stolen!

So it’s important you don’t choose a lock that’s too heavy or too small, that’s difficult to carry, complicated to secure or severely limits the places you’re able to lock your bike.

Obviously this will depend on your individual circumstances. But if we look at the advantages and disadvantages of each type of lock it should quickly become clear which is the best one for you.

There are four, well established types of bike lock to choose from:

1. U-locks2. Chain locks3. Folding locks4. Cable locks
Abus U-mini 40kryptonite-new-york-chainAbus Bordo 5700 folding lockKryptonite Cable lock

And each of these locks offers a compromise between three fundamental qualities:

  1. Price
  2. Practicality
  3. Security

The important qualities of bike locks

The main thing to notice here is that while U-locks, chain locks and folding locks all offer a reasonable balance of price, practicality and security, cable locks don’t. Yes, they might be cheap and they might be easy to use but they offer very little security…

Do not buy a cable lock!

But to work out which one of the others is best for your needs, let’s look at each one in more detail…

U-locks / D-locks

A U-lock (also known as a D-lock) is like a giant padlock that fastens around your bike.

Abus U-mini 40

U-locks: The pros and cons

  • cheaper than chain locks

  • lighter than chain locks

  • complicated to transport

  • won't fasten around bigger objects

Good U-Locks provide a nice balance between price, practicality and security. They are generally cheaper, lighter and a bit easier to use than chain locks, while still offering a high level of protection.

Because of their rigidity they can be more challenging to transport than chain locks. And their limited size means you’ll find less things you can secure your bike to. However, in general, if you’re only going to buy one bike lock, these are the locks I would recommend.

They range in price from around $30 / £18 for a decent budget lock, up to $100 / £60 for the most secure models, so you should be able to find one to suit your wallet.

However, there are a number of things you need to think about carefully when buying a U-lock, including which size and thickness you need and how you’re going to carry it around.

You can also read lot’s more about the best U-locks here. Or compare the locks in a big table of the most popular U-locks here.

The Most Secure U-lock: Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini

The New York Fahgettaboudit Mini is quite simply the most secure (Sold Secure Gold) portable bike lock available today.
Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini

New York Fahgettaboudit Mini Summary
Overall Score:4 Stars
Check Price:Check Amazon Price
Bar Thickness:18 mm
Weight:4.55 lb (2.06 kg)
Size (internal):3.25 x 6" (8.3 x 15.3 cm)
Kryptonite Rating:10/10
Other Security Ratings:Sold Secure GoldSold Secure Motorcycle GoldART 4 Stars

It’s small. It’s heavy. And it doesn’t come with a frame mount. But the 18 mm shackle means this lock cannot be defeated by hand tools. Even power tools will take a good long while to get through this lock!

So if all three of your answers were in the “High Risk” category in the table further up the page and you’re looking for the very highest level of protection, this could well be the best bike lock for you.

It’s not for everyone though. You can read my full review of the New York Fahgettaboudit Mini here, including several alternatives if it’s not right for you. And you can also see how it compares to other mini U-locks here.

Chain locks

Chain locks usually consist of a long metal chain (covered by a sleeve to protect your paintwork) and a big lock.

Kryptonite New York Chain

Chain locks: The pros and cons

  • easier to transport than U-locks

  • fasten around more objects than U-locks

  • very heavy

  • expensive

We can divide chain locks into two broad groups:

  1. those that are light enough to be portable (< 12 mm)
  2. those that are so heavy they are best as stationary security (> 12 mm).

Portable chains are easy to transport wrapped around your seat post and their relative length means you can secure your bike to a wide range of objects. However these chains will generally be no more than 12 mm thick and are not as secure as good U-locks. And they are still much heavier than U-locks.

A super thick, core hardened steel chain with a heavy, top quality lock is perhaps the most secure way to lock your bike. However these chains are so heavy and cumbersome, that they generally work best as a second, stationary lock which you leave wherever your bike is regularly secured for long periods of time.

Chain locks range in price from around $45 / £26 for a short, budget model up to $500 / £200 for the thickest, heaviest monsters. So they’re also a bit more expensive than U-locks.

As with U-locks you should think carefully about what size and thickness you need and how you will carry it about if you need a portable chain.

You can read more about the best chain locks here. Or compare the locks in a table of the most popular chain locks here.

The Strongest Static Chain: Kryptonite New York Legend 1515

Really, Pragmasis and Almax make the strongest chain locks available today. But since they are not easily available worldwide, the Kryptonite New York Legend Chain 1515 is probably the most secure bike chain that is.
Kryptonite New York Legend 1515 best high-security chain

New York Legend 1515 Summary
Overall Score:4-half-stars
Check Price:Check Amazon Price
Chain thickness:15 mm
Weight:15.95 lb (7.23 kg)
Length:60" (150 cm)
Kryptonite Rating:10/10
Other Security Ratings:ART 5 Stars

With 15 mm links it’s certainly not portable. This is a lock that stays wherever you lock your bike all day or overnight.

But if you’re “High Risk” and looking for the most secure chain from a recognizable brand, this may be the best bike lock for you.

Read my full review of the New York Legend Chain 1515 here where I also compare it to the alternatives. You can also see how it compares to other heavy duty bike chains here.

Folding Locks

Folding locks are made up of a series of metal plates linked together by rivets. The rivets allow the plates to rotate so they can be folded into a tight package and then folded out to make a stiff shape that you can fasten around your bike.

Abus Bordo 5700 folding lock

Folding locks: The pros and cons

  • very easy to transport

  • practical length

  • limited choice

  • doubts over durability

Folding locks are generally a little bit lighter than U-locks that offer similar levels of security. And their length and flexibility mean that you’ll usually have more options than you’d get with a standard sized U-lock when you’re looking for somewhere to lock your bike.

But the best thing about these locks is the way they fold down to make a very compact package that’s super easy to transport. The carrying holster can either velcro around your frame or even better, screw into your bottle holder holes.

Abus Bordo attached to bike frame
Folding locks are really compact and easy to transport!

And because it’s so compact, it won’t work loose, swing about or generally interfere with your ride in the way that U-locks sometimes do.

I don’t think they’re as easy to use as a U-lock or chain: unfolding them and then getting them around your bike and the object you’re securing it to can sometimes be a bit of a pain. And because of their comparatively complex build, I have some doubts about how well they’ll continue to perform after a thief has tried (and failed) to defeat them.

But if you’re fed up of under performing U-lock frame mounts, folding locks are a fantastic alternative.

Up until recently, Abus have dominated the market in folding locks. Indeed, many of the folding locks from other manufacturers offer dubious levels of security. However, Seatylock now produce folding locks that have been rated by Sold Secure too.

Cable locks (are rubbish!)

Cable locks are normally made up of many strands of long, thin steel, braided together inside a plastic tube.

Kryptonite cable lock

Cable locks: The pros and cons

  • long
  • light
  • cheap

  • your bike is not safe!

They’re light, flexible and generally cheap. However, this flexibility means that they’re also soft and almost all cable locks can be cut with a pair of hand held cable or bolt cutters in a matter of seconds.

And since the one tool that every every bike thief carries is a pair of cable cutters, cable locks offer very little practical security.

Bike thieves specifically target these locks and in fact, some reports suggest than 90% of all stolen bikes were secured with cable locks.

So by not buying a cable lock you are already massively reducing the chances of your bike being stolen!

You can now buy armoured cable locks which protect the cable by surrounding it with a series of articulated steel barrels. These do offer a higher level of security than regular cable locks. But they are much less flexible and are often as heavy and expensive as chain locks. And what’s more, they are still not as secure as a good U-lock or chain lock.

The Abus Steel-O-Flex 1025 for example, is probably the best armoured cable lock available today. But it weighs 4.3 lb (1.9 Kg), is really expensive and there are numerous reports of it being cut.

Some people recommend cable locks as a supplementary lock to secure your wheels or saddle. However there are much better ways to secure your wheels and saddle and I really wouldn’t recommend any cable locks in any circumstances.

In fact, we can find all the advantages of cable locks in other, much more secure locks. Admittedly not all at once, but at least these other locks will protect your bike!

To illustrate this I have selected three locks below that compete well with cable locks in terms of weight, length and price. The first is a great lightweight U-lock. The second is a lengthy, but not too heavy chain. And the third is a small, lightweight and super cheap U-lock.

Lightweight alternative to Cable Lock: Kryptonite Messenger Mini

The great thing about the Kryptonite Messenger Mini is that it’s small and very light, while still remaining reasonably secure.

Kryptonite Messenger Mini


Kryptonite Messenger Mini Summary
Overall Score:4-half-stars
Check Price:Check Amazon Price
Bar Thickness:11 mm
Weight:1.83 lb (0.83 kg)
Size (internal):3.75 x 6.5"” (9.5 x 16.5 cm)
Kryptonite Rating:7/10

Although the shackle is just 11 mm thick, it’s made from a special “Max Performance” steel which makes it as strong as Kryptonites other 13 mm shackle U-locks.

And this thin shackle means it weighs just 1.83 lb (0.83 kg) which is about the same as two cans of coke.

While Sold Secure have not yet rated it, Kryptonite give it a 7/10 which is the same rating as it’s highly regarded (Sold Secure Silver) Evolution range of U-locks.

It’s not actually the lightest Sold Secure Silver standard U-lock available. The lightest is the Kryptonite Evolution LITE Mini-6, but the Messenger is slightly bigger making it a bit more practical.

So, if you’re a “Lower Risk” according to the table in Step 1, and attracted to cable locks because they’re so light, then maybe this mini U-lock could be the lock you’re looking for!

You can check out how it compares to other small, light U-locks here.

Practical alternative to Cable Lock: Abus Iven Chain

The Abus Iven Chain 8210 85 is the closest you can get to a cable lock in terms of form and function while still offering a reasonable level of security.

Abus Iven chain 8210 85

Abus Iven Chain 8210 85 Summary
Overall Score:3-half-stars
Check Price:Check Amazon Price
Chain thickness:8 mm
Weight:4.26 lb (1.934 kg)
Length:33.0”" (85 cm)
Abus Rating:10/15
Other Security Ratings:Sold Secure SilverART 2 Stars

It’s 33.0”” (85 cm) long which will give you loads of options when you’re looking for somewhere to lock your bike.

And while at 4.26 lb (1.934 kg) it’s not super light (that’s about the same as 5 cans of coke), it’s still one of the lightest Sold Secure Silver chain locks available. (The other being the Hiplok v1.50). You can see how it compares to other chain locks here.

So, if you’re “Lower Risk” in the table at the top of the page and attracted to cable locks by their practical length, maybe this chain lock will suit your needs while also actually protecting your bike!

Cheap alternative to Cable Lock: OnGuard Bulldog

Finally, the Bulldog Mini from OnGuard is small, light and incredibly cheap!

OnGuard Bulldog Mini


OnGuard Bulldog Mini Summary
Overall Score:3-half-stars
Check Price:Check Amazon Price
Bar Thickness:13 mm
Weight:2.15 lb (0.98 kg)
Size (internal):3.55 x 5.52" (9 x 14 cm)
OnGuard Rating:63/100

It’s essentially a smaller version of the OnGuard Bulldog DT which is one of the best standard sized budget bike locks around.

While Sold Secure haven’t tested the Mini, it’s bigger brother gets a very respectable Silver rating and since it has the same 63/100 in house rating from OnGuard, it’s safe to assume it offers the same level of protection.

And what’s great about these Bulldog locks is the price. Usually less than $30 / £20 it offers good protection at an exceptional price.

So, if you’re “Lower Risk” and attracted to the low prices of cable locks, you’ve got no excuse: the OnGuard Bulldog Mini is also really cheap, but will protect you bike much, much better.

Check out how it fares against other mini U-locks here.

Innovative Locks!

These locks tend to be born in the minds of maverick individuals and initially funded through the pages of crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter. There’s loads of locks to solve loads of problems and they often have little else in common beyond their innovation!

Innovative locks: The pros and cons

  • address known issues with other locks
  • use new technology

  • expensive
  • largely untested

Unfortunately many of them have neglected to prove their security credentials (which should really be a priority if you’re trying to sell us a new form of security) and have consequently not been tested and rated by Sold Secure or ART.

However, there are some that have been tested and rated very highly by third parties. So here’s a couple of the best, which I’ve also tested and reviewed myself…

Lightest Mid-Security Lock: TiGr Mini

The TiGr mini is something completely different. It’s made from a single length of titanium, shaped into a bow and secured with a clever steel cylinder.

TiGr mini: Lightest mid-security bike lock

TiGr mini Summary
Overall Score:4 Stars
Check Price:Check Amazon Price
Plate width:1.25" / 32 mm
Weight:0.9 lb (0.4 kg)
Size:4 x 7" (10 x 18 cm)
Security Ratings:ART 2 Stars

It’s an incredibly elegant design, which uses the natural flexibility of titanium to produce a single piece of metal that’s able to spring open and then close around your bike. It’s also probably the best looking bike lock I’ve ever seen!

The TiGr mini has been tested and rated by ART who awarded it 2/5 stars. And this makes it a Sold Secure Silver standard lock at the very least.

It’s not cheap. But at 0.9 lb (0.4 kg), it’s 50% lighter than the next lightest lock offering similar levels of protection! The frame mount attaches in the same way as your water bottle cradle, so it’s really easy to carry too.

It’s not a lock for super high risk circumstances. But if weight and pure elegance is a priority, then this is a great choice for a lower risk area. Read my full review of the TiGr mini here.

Lightest High-Security Lock: Litelok

The Litelok looks (and works) like a big belt. The strap is made from a special material they call “Boaflexicore” which is both very strong and very light. And the two piece, plastic covered buckle is held together by a 9 mm bolt.

Litelok: lightest high-security lock


Overall Score:4 Stars
Weight:2.47 lb (1.12 kg)
Length:29" (74 cm)
Width:2.5" (6.5 cm)
Security Ratings:Sold Secure Gold

The Litelok has been tested by Sold Secure who have given it a Gold rating. And since the Litelok weighs just 2.5 lb (1115 g), this makes it one of the lightest high security locks currently available.

In fact, the only Sold Secure Gold lock that’s lighter than the Litelok is the Abus 401 which is a mini u-lock which will offer far fewer options when you’re looking for somewhere to lock your bike.

In fact, at 29″ (74 cm) in length, the Litelok actually gives you more internal space than a standard sized u-lock, so you’ll be able to lock your bike in places where you might otherwise struggle even with a normal u-lock!

It’s quite stiff so it’s not as easy to get round your bike as you might think and it’s a bit bulky if you want to carry it in a bag rather than strapped to your frame. It’s not cheap either!

But the Litelok is a great choice if you want a light weight lock but are not prepared to sacrifice either security or locking options when you’re out and about. Read my full review of the Litelok here.

U-locks vs Chain locks vs Folding locks

So if we all agree that cable locks are rubbish, how do we choose between a U-lock a chain lock and a folding lock?

U-lock vs Chain lock vs Folding lock

I talk about the pros and cons of U-locks and chains in much more detail in the U-lock vs chain lock page.

But to summarize here: if you’re looking for a lock that you can carry around with you every day, then a U-lock is generally the better choice. U-locks provide the nicest balance between security, practicality and price. So they are usually lighter, cheaper and more secure than portable chains.

Of course, there may be good reasons to choose a chain over a U-lock. For instance, maybe you need the greater locking options that a long chain offers. Or maybe you don’t like the frame mounts that come with U-locks and prefer the ease of wrapping a chain round your seat post. But in most cases, U-locks are the best option for portable security.

If on the other hand you’re looking for a lock that stays in one place, at home or at work, then a big, heavy chain is the better choice. A thick chain with a strong lock provides the highest possible level of security for your bike.

They are more difficult to attack with power tools, impossible to bolt crop and immune to bottle jack attacks. You can secure multiple bikes with one chain. And they also work well with good ground anchors. Just don’t try to take them with you when you nip to the shops!

But what about folding locks? Just like U-locks, folding locks are best suited to mobile security. And they address two of the main problems that we can face with U-locks: their limited size and how difficult they can be to carry around on your bike.

Because they are longer and more flexible, you will find more places you can lock you bike up. And because they are so compact when folded up, they are much easier to transport. They also compete well with U-locks in terms of weight.

Since only Abus and Seatylock make decent quality folding locks you’re very limited in your choice. But if you have specific needs that U-locks don’t meet, then consider a folding lock before a chain lock.

Step 3: Choose the right lock brand

So, by now you should know what level of security you’re going to need and have a good idea which type of lock is most appropriate. The final step is to decide which lock brand suits you best.

There are obviously many, many bike lock brands. But the big three are Abus, Kryptonite and OnGuard. And not only do these three generally provide the best quality, I think that between them they also cover most peoples needs.

To give some of the others honorable mentions, Squire make some good quality locks. I like the U-locks from Hiplok and the Pentagon from Seatylock.

However, here I’m going to concentrate on the big three: Abus, Kryptonite and OnGuard.

Abus vs Kryptonite vs OnGuard

I look at the three brands in much more detail in the Abus vs Kryptonite vs OnGuard page (which includes a very detailed review of the different “Anti-theft Protection” schemes). But I’ll also provide a quick summary here.

Abus vs Kryptonite vs OnGuard

Abus produce the best quality locks. They are well made, endlessly tested, very reliable (even in poor weather conditions) and will last a long time. They also have the best strength to weight ratio. However, they’re the most expensive of the three brands.

Kryptonite also produce high quality locks. While not quite up to the standard of Abus, they make up for this with exceptional customer service. This includes free key and lock replacement in certain circumstances and the best of the anti-theft protection schemes.

OnGuard have had a slightly poorer reputation for both quality and particularly customer service. However, in recent years they have significantly improved the build quality of their locks. And they beat both Abus and Kryptonite in terms of price. OnGuard locks are nearly always the cheapest of any locks at the same level of security.

So if you want the very best quality go for Abus, if your looking for the best price go for OnGuard and if your looking for the best customer service go for Kryptonite!

The best bike lock: A summary

OK, this is a very long guide. A quick summary might be useful. Follow this simple 3 step process to find the best bike lock for your circumstances:

Step #1: Choose the right level of security

The best way to judge the security level of a lock is to look for a Sold Secure rating. Sold Secure award locks Gold, Silver or Bronze ratings, based on how long they take to defeat.

How do you know which rating you need? Just answer the questions in the table below.

QuestionsHigh RiskLower Risk
Where do you live?Big town, city or university campusSmall town or village
Does your bike attract second looks?YesNo
How long do you leave your bike unattended?More than 1 hourLess than 1 hour
Your lock security rating should be:Sold Secure GoldSold Secure Silver

If two or more answers put you in the “High Risk” column you should probably look for a lock that’s Sold Secure Gold or equivalent.

If two or more answers put you in the “Lower Risk” column then you can probably get away with a lock that’s Sold Secure Silver or equivalent.

Step #2: Choose the right type of lock

There are four main types of bike lock:

1. U-locks2. Chain locks3. Folding locks4. Cable locks
Abus U-mini 40kryptonite-new-york-chainAbus Bordo 5700 folding lockKryptonite Cable lock

Cable locks are utter rubbish. Whatever you do, don’t buy a cable lock, it won’t protect your bike! One last time:

Do not buy a cable lock!

If you’re looking for a portable lock that you’ll carry around on your bike every day, you’re probably best off with a U-lock or a folding lock.

U-locks offer a great balance of price, practicality and security. And there’s a huge variety of sizes, weights, security levels and prices and to choose from, so you’ll nearly always find one that meets your requirements.

However, in some circumstances, the limited size and rigid shape of U-locks can make it difficult to find places to lock your bike. And the frame mounts that come with U-locks are often frustrating to use.

In these cases, a folding lock is a good alternative. The extra length and flexibility will give you more options when you’re looking for somewhere to secure your bike.

And because they fold up to such a compact size, they’re easy to attach to your frame and don’t interfere with your ride. They’re also much lighter than chains!

However, since Abus and Seatylock are the only companies making decent folding locks you’re pretty much limited to the two locks I review above!

If you don’t think U-locks or folding locks will meet your needs, then a portable chain could be the answer. But be aware, chains that offer a decent level of security are much heavier than U-locks or folding locks.

However, if you’re just looking for a stationary lock to keep wherever you leave your bike for long periods of time, then a thick chain is the best choice.

Not only are the very thickest chains the most secure way to protect your bike, they also work better with ground anchors in shed and garages.

Step #3: Choose the right lock brand

There are so many lock brands to choose from these days. And a lot of the locks are of both poor build quality and low security.

To keep it simple, I like to stick to the big three: Abus, Kryptonite and OnGuard. And I honestly think that between them, they can provide something for everyone.

If you want the very highest quality then go for Abus. Just be aware that you’ll pay a little bit more.

If you’re on a tight budget, then OnGuard locks are usually the most competitively priced. Just bear in mind that their customer service is not always so hot!

And If you want the very best customer service go for Kryptonite. The quality is not quite as high as Abus and the prices are not quite as low as OnGuard but the after sales service is second to none.

Making the final decision

If you’ve followed the three simple steps you should now be well equipped to choose the best lock for both you and your bicycle. But in case you’re still not sure…

If you’re thinking that a U-lock is the way to go, but you’re not sure about sizes, check out this guide. Once you’ve got a better idea which is appropriate, you can compare loads of different U-locks in this table.

If you’re leaning towards a folding lock, then it’s probably just a case of choosing between the different Abus models above.

And if you’re thinking a chain lock is the best option, then I have a more detailed guide here and a huge comparison table here.

How much money should I spend on a bike lock?

It’s the same as anything else really. Generally, the more money you spend, the better quality the lock and the more difficult your bike will be to steal.

How much money should I spend?

Many lock brands suggest spending 10% of the value of your bike on your lock. But if you have a $200 bike and you only spend $20 on the lock, you’re asking for trouble.

So I recommend you spend as much as you can. This will give you the best protection you can afford. And it will also give you the peace of mind that you’ve done the best you can to protect your bike.

And don’t forget: a good bike lock can last many years and many bikes. Maybe you’ve got a cheap bike now but if you upgrade to a better bike in a couple of years, you wont need to shell out again for a better lock as well!

I know that buying a bike lock is not very exciting. And it’s galling that you have to spend so much money to protect your stuff. But a cheap lock is a false economy. Because when your bike is stolen, you’ll have to buy a new bike and a new, better lock.

I learned the hard way, but surely it’s better to get it right first time!

Do I need more than one lock?

Possibly. In most cases one lock is only going to secure the frame and one wheel. What about the other wheel? What about your seat? If you don’t want to lose them, these should be secured too.

The safest way to protect your second wheel is a second lock. And there’s also an argument that a second lock of a different type to the first will further deter a thief because they’d need to carry two different types of lock breaking equipment.

Bike locked with chain and U-lock
Two different locks = highest security. But they’re heavy and difficult to carry.

However even a small, decent second lock will significantly increase the weight you’re carrying around and you’ve also got to find space in your bag or on your frame for that extra lock. And this can be a real pain!

So in most cases I’m now recommending that you use secure skewers rather than a second lock. Whereas not quite as secure as another u-lock, security skewers and bolts have a whole load of other advantages…

IXOW gravity based Wheel Skewers use a regular hex key
Secure skewers are a much more practical option

First of all they’re much, much lighter. And of course because they’re already attached to your bike, you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to carry them around anyway.

Secondly, you don’t have to go through any extra locking up steps. They’re always securing your stuff. This makes locking your bike much quicker and easier. Anyone whose ever wrestled with one of those thin cables (which won’t protect your wheel anyway) know what I’m talking about.

And thirdly, because you don’t have to worry about your wheels, you can get a smaller, lighter primary lock and actually keep it further from the ground where it’s much safer from attacks. So your whole bike is actually more secure.

This is especially useful if you’re using a chain as your primary lock. If you only have to secure your frame, you can use a much shorter chain, which will be much lighter. And wrapped tightly around your top tube it will far enough from the ground to be safe from bolt cutters.

4 mm, 5 mm and 6 mm Hexlox
Hexlox can be used to protect anything that’s attached to your bike with a hex bolt

You can get secure skewers and bolts for pretty much every component on your bike. They’re not super cheap but they’re no more expensive then a decent mini u-lock. And they’ll make your life much easier. Read much more about wheel and seat protection here.

What next?

Once you’ve bought a lock, don’t forget to look after it! Clean it with WD-40 and lubricate it with TriFlow or Finish Line every few months, and it will last many years and maybe many bikes too! But if it does get stuck, check out my guide to fixing a jammed lock here.

And, please check out the rest of the site…

I have tips on how to prevent your wheels and seat being stolen including both DIY techniques and secure skewer reviews.

I have the ultimate guide on how to lock your bike properly, where I talk about street, work and home security as well as recommending some good ground anchors.

I have article on how to choose the best bike insurance including a discussion of whether we even need it and an investigation of the various alternatives.

And let me know what you think of the site. What do you think of the locks I recommend? What locks do you currently use? Do you have any tips or tricks I haven’t mentioned? Let me know below…

152 thoughts on “The 6 Best Bike Locks in 2019

  • December 9, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Hi, Carl, great site, it really helped me choose the locks I’m currently using! I would just like to leave my experience with my security options over the last few months. I live in a major metropolitan area and bike theft here is a real problem, so I usually need very high security, even though I don’t ride a very expensive bike (and I think a beater bike is better and safer to ride around in the city). I use pinhead nuts on my wheels and seatpost, and I further secure them with ottolocks. As a primary lock, I’ve been using the Abus granit 54 mini for the frame, and when I feel I need more security in some areas of the city, I take the Kryptonite NY Standard. So far everything has been going pretty well, haven’t had any problems. Thanks again for helping me decide which locks were better for me!

    • December 9, 2017 at 3:08 pm

      That sounds like very secure and sensible combination!

  • December 16, 2017 at 12:16 am

    Right now I’m using the HipLok 1.5 and Knog Strongman, as my main high security locks. I also have a Kryptonite Series 2 and a Knog Kabana cable sausage lock for the front wheel and frame. But downtown for a long lockup I’ll use the hiplok for front wheel and frame. And the Knog Strongman for the rear wheel via sheldon brown method. I liked the frame mount for the knog way better than anything kryptonite was using 2 years ago. And it’s hard to find a nice wearable chain by krpyto also. Although their new Mini Messenger double deadbolt locks look very sick.

    • March 4, 2018 at 5:00 am

      Thank you for your research and thoughtful overview. I hope to improve its utility.

      In multiple places, you mention the inconvenience of carrying U-locks. To maximize accuracy that statement, you should always mention HipLok for offering a likely exception. For anybody who rides while wearing any type of bag or belt, a HipLok DX is more convenient to carry than most folding locks. The DX requires no janky frame attachments, and it is awarded the Sold Secure Gold status at 1250 grams. I would call that a winning combination of attributes for *most* bike commuters.

      When you format your comparisons to U-Locks in tabular form, you can add short words to indicate the exception caused by HipLok’s uniqueness. Words like “typical,” as in, “easier to transport than typical U-Locks.”

      For the record, I am not affiliated with HipLok, nor have I received any favors. I have tested the DX for usability, but never owned one. My personal lock is actually made by TiGr, a light weight, 24-inch bow lock. It just happens that I can run it up through my downtube’s bottle cage and lock it over my top tube for a perfect and convenient fit on both of my bikes. That’s just lucky. YMMV, and probably will.

      Back to the subject of U-Lock convenience, there is also the ‘convenience exception’ of a U-Lock which fits in the rear pocket of men’s jeans. Personally, I think this convenience is irrelevant because of the security compromise. I do not want something heavier or less portable than a titanium lock if it is *also* easier to cut. There is a class of U-Locks which can be cut very easily with large bolt croppers, and I have not found ANY U-Locks outside of that class which fit in my largest dude-pockets.

      Fancy metals with 11-mm cross sections are still highly vulnerable. Your Kryptonite example is rapidly cropped in many test videos. It might really be “as strong as Kryptonite’s other 13mm shackle U-locks,” but measurements like tensile strength do very little to resist cutting.

      In contrast, the HipLok DX Shackle is 14mm thick. On the downside, I have not found any 3rd party tests recorded for that lock, despite its laudable independent security rating.

      Thank you for your time.

      • March 12, 2018 at 9:44 pm

        I’ve just written a review of the Sold Secure Gold Hiplok DXC, and I really like it!

  • December 31, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    Great resource – thanks so much for the hard work.

    I have a number of bikes but even more varieties of locks. I find they break down into Locks Used at Home/work (or static – that is, the locks never go anywhere), Mobile Locks and Locks That Never Get Used.

    The static locks are used on bikes in the garage or shed. The bike goes out, but the lock stays there. The Locks That Never Get Used are the odd ones, like the Seatylock integrated seat/lock that I backed on Kickstarter, the three Tigr locks that I backed (starting to see a trend?) and the folding locks.

    Everyone has their own situation to consider, but I ride in London or in the countryside. In London, I ride a mid-price singlespeed with nutted wheels. Bicyclebolts offers inexpensive security nuts (as well as pinhead socket cap screws for parts) that secure the wheels at a reasonable cost. You could spend €120 for HexLox’s version, or try and use Kinmar security nuts (the special socket weighs a ton, though). Glue in a few ball bearings and that’s pretty secure, or “more trouble than it’s worth”. I lock the frame with a Kryptonite U-lock (I like their frame mount).

    In the country, the bikes I ride are more valuable, but I’m not about to lug a heavy lock. Then again, the chance of coming across your tooled-up dedicated Urban Bike Thief are pretty small. More likely you will find the Thief of Convenience – no tools but a criminal mind. For them, a simple cable (!) lock is probably enough. I actually use a cheap-as-chips Abus lightweight chain lock (slightly harder to cut through). And of course the bike is hardly ever out of sight and if so for five minutes at most. So far so good.

    So, I’d say *any* lock is much better than no lock. I think a lot of bikes reported stolen are either not locked at all or locked incorrectly (like the ones you see locked to themselves but not even securing the wheels from turning).

  • February 9, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    Please could you do something on security wheel skewers for bikes. I can’t find any independent tests or objective opinions on the best options.

    • February 12, 2018 at 8:45 pm

      Hi Adam,

      I do cover them quite extensively here.


    • March 29, 2018 at 11:30 am

      Yes: it’s very insecure. I wouldn’t use it under any circumstances!

    • April 3, 2018 at 9:30 pm

      The Kryptonite chain is definitely the better of the two. Because the cable is a very very bad lock! But even the Kryptonite Keeper is a little thin for my liking. I’d be tempted to go for the thicker Kryptonite Kryptolok 955 Mini instead.

  • April 3, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    So you state that cable locks are bad (not effective). What about the cable locks that come with U Bolt locks (i.e. Kryptonite lock). I see some of these cables are 16mm to 18mm thick; would these be good to use or hard to cut? Or are all cable locks useless? Thank you

    • April 3, 2018 at 9:41 pm

      Hi Brandon,

      I can’t find any 16 – 18 mm cable locks that come with Kryptonite u-locks. Usually they’re 10 mm. But even at 18 mm they’re useless as a pair of hand held cable cutters can just chew through them!

      I would steer well clear!


  • May 22, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    Hi there,

    Truly excellent site! Lots of valuable information here and your time is truly appreciated. I have a question for you.

    I was considering purchasing the New York Legend chain with the padlock along with a ground anchor by either Kryptonite or Abus to lock up our bikes in the back yard beside our house under a patio. There is a fairly high secure fencing that goes completely around the house in the back..

    However, I was recently thinking that since we have 4 bikes in the family perhaps running the chain around the upper frame of all 4 bikes and leaving it at that may be just as secure as a ground anchor since with the ground anchor the chain would be resting on the ground making it easier for a thief to use long bolt cutters with their bodyweight on one of the handles of the bolt cutter.

    What’s your opinion? Would a ground anchor affixed to concrete be still more advisable?

    • May 24, 2018 at 8:19 am

      Hi Attila,

      This is a very good question! And one I’ve considered many times myself…

      A ground anchor means the chain is closer to the ground which makes it more vulnerable to bolt cutters for sure.

      Having said that, the Legend has 15 mm links which although theoretically crop-able, are very unlikely to be cut by even the biggest bolt cutters. Such croppers would also need to be wielded by a heavy man who knows exactly what they’re doing!

      Whereas, if a thief can cut a hole in your fence, with a bit of help, they could maybe carry all 4 bikes out without having to cut anything else. It’s difficult for me to make a judgement here as I don’t know what your fence is like or how big/heavy your bikes are.

      But I would perhaps tend towards the ground anchor to me honest.

      I hope that helps!

      • May 25, 2018 at 9:09 pm

        Thank you Carl. I suspected as much but thank you for your opinion on this! Again, great site and keep up the good work. It’s very much appreciated.

  • July 3, 2018 at 9:17 am

    wonderful guid and lots of information easy to catch.

  • July 15, 2018 at 1:26 am

    What are your thoughts about the C-shaped bike locks I saw in the Netherlands, that are attached to the frame under the seat?

    • July 15, 2018 at 5:24 pm

      Frame locks. Yeah they’re good secondary locks. I will be writing about them soon.

  • July 26, 2018 at 4:26 am

    if u want a regular bolt cutter… hacksaw and freon proof setup- get a pewag 10 millimeter security chain along with a abus 92/65 monoblock lock. the thieves will definitely have to get a hydraulic bolt cutter … torch or a angle grinder

  • July 28, 2018 at 1:24 am

    Great info! What do you recommend I use for locking two bikes (big dummy and road bike) to a garage floor secured kryptonite 16mm stronghold anchor bike lock? I’m open to using one lock or two separate locks. thanks!

    • July 30, 2018 at 11:46 am

      Hi Emily

      The Kryptonite New York Legend chain is probably the best choice here.

      Alternatively, the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit or OnGuard Beast chains are also good, but won’t be quite as secure.

      All the locks are available in longer lengths, so securing two bikes shouldn’t be a problem.

      Hope that helps!

    • October 1, 2018 at 5:23 pm

      Well, they’re very cheap and the Catalyst you link to in the video is pretty secure. But they have a very bad reputation for reliability. So the mechanism starts to seize up and jam very quickly.

      My advice is to spend a little more to potentially save yourself a lot of grief later on!

  • October 30, 2018 at 10:17 am

    Great site – thanks for your hard work helping us keep our bikes safe.
    I am looking for a lock for my kids, that is not too heavy for them to carry & not useless. Seems like a hard task, without spending £80. I do believe in investing in locks, and whilst their bikes are relatively expensive for kids bikes, that’s not quite proportionate.

    I have found this site and like the look of the Woom chain lock, but can’t see any Sold Secure rating. Have you heard of them? Or would you point me in the direction of other short / small locks that could be used by kids?


    • October 31, 2018 at 12:23 pm

      Hi Tash,

      This is good question and I should probably have a similar page!

      The Woom lock isn’t rated by Sold Secure. And 6 mm links aren’t very secure. However it depends on how expensive the kids bikes are and how risky your area and routines are.

      It’s a tricky one. Because it’s not just about security. It’s about making sure the kids know how to use the use the lock properly (and do so!).

      My sons had 2 bike stolen in the last 6 months and I’m always suspicious that it’s because he hasn’t locked them up properly!

      I would prehaps recommend the Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 955 Mini. It short, relatively light for a chain and easy to wrap around a seat post when your riding.

      It’s much more secure than the Woom. But maybe too much for your kids (depending on their age)?


  • October 31, 2018 at 10:01 pm


    Parents with multiple children may be in a good position to experiment, and then report back to us here. It would interesting to give one child the KryptoLok Series 2 955 Mini, and give another child the Hiplok DX. After a few weeks of observation, tell us which child would rather use her sibling’s lock, and which lock appears to be more convenient from the perspective of the kids.

    Both options are rated “Gold” by Sold Secure.
    Kryptolock-2-955 wieghs 1.77 kg.
    HipLok DX weighs 1.25 kg.
    Kryptolock-2-955 is better for carrying on a bike frame.
    HipLok DX is better and faster for attaching to any bag or belt.
    Kryptolock-2-955 requires a thief to cut twice through 9mm steel.
    HipLok DX requires a thief to abrade through 14mm steel, then either bend it, or repeat.

    But, which lock is less trouble for the kids?
    The human is always the weakest link in a security system.
    People of all ages consistently reject any security measure which is perceived as too difficult.

    I would hate for your experimental results to be skewed merely because one lock cylinder began to seize before the other one did. Remember to lubricate your locks with graphite powder, available in spray cans or cheap squeeze tubes at any hardware store. Wet weather could require the use of a light machine oil, like 3-in-1, or my favorite: automatic transmission fluid (ATF). (ATF is easy to apply with a paint brush, or use it to fill empty Tri-Flow bottles)

    Don’t forget that wheels, saddles, and other components may be secured by relatively weightless and effortless Hexlox.

    The HipLok reviewed at is the DXC model. This is identical to the HipLok DX model with a 1mm cable included, hence the somewhat heavier weight. Personally, I have no use for fussing with a cable, because my hex screws are filled by Hexlox, and I would not expect a child to use anything more complicated than my own system.

    • November 7, 2018 at 12:14 pm

      Good points.

      As you say, the human is always the weakest link in a security system and this is especially the case with kids and bike locks.

      This is a subject very close to my heart as my kids keep having their bikes nicked!

      So I’m thinking an article on the best locks for kids is a good idea for the coming updates 🙂

  • February 16, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    Hi Carl,
    First, like many others, I would like to thank you for your very useful website! For example, you convinced me about the Hexlox system, which I am now using for my new trekking bike.

    Second, I would like to add one point. In my opinion, for those who have a bike rack, you are a bit overemphasizing the weight of locks in general. I use the Kryptonite New York M18-WL (18 mm U-lock; the bigger version of the Fahgettaboudit Mini that you recommend) plus the Kryptonite New York Noose 1213 (the longer version of the Noose 1275 that you recommend). According to many of your comments, this combination should be almost impossible to carry on the bike, but thanks to my pannier (rear bag; I use this one:, it is actually no problem at all. Both heavy locks easily fit into it, they are not shaking around, and I hardly notice the extra weight when cycling, even not when going uphill. For short trips within high-risk cities, and when leaving the bike for a few hours at a swimming pool etc., this looks like a good solution to me. Of course, I am aware of the fact that an angle grinder could easily cut both locks…

    Third, one question: would you agree that the “Skunklock” ( could be the only promising defense against angle grinders and similar power tools? Well, I “ordered” one, but it is still not yet available for shipping…


    • February 26, 2019 at 9:20 pm

      Sorry about the delay getting back to you Heimo.

      I think, if you’re OK with the weight of those locks then obviously that’s fine. I think for some people that would be waaaaay too much though!

      People complain about the weight of their locks all the time. Of course most cyclists don’t use panniers either so your combination wouldn’t work at all for them (I reckon even you would feel that weight if you had the locks in a bag on your back!).

      I’m a big fan of the Skunklock concept, it’s good to see a lock coming at things from a different angle and I’ll definitely be reviewing it once it’s released.

      And I’m glad I managed to convinced you about the Hexlox: they are definitely my favorite bicycle security innovation of the last few years!

      • February 27, 2019 at 11:22 pm

        Carl said: “Of course most cyclists don’t use panniers either so your combination wouldn’t work at all for them (I reckon even you would feel that weight if you had the locks in a bag on your back!).”
        Yes, that was my whole point: whether the weight of heavy locks really matters in real-world situations depends on whether the bike we look at has a bike rack or not. If there is a bike rack, than to use a pannier to store the locks properly while cycling can basically solve the weight problem. So I would encourage cyclists who have that option to give it a try – the alternatives I see would be either to pay a lot for an insurance (about 300 Euro per year in my town!), or to increase the risk of theft significantly by saving on locks weight (which means, in most cases, to save on quality).

  • March 27, 2019 at 2:00 am

    Hi, thank you for writing up this article. It was immensely helpful. I have been using the Hiplok Gold to secure the front wheel and frame to a fixed structure. Recently, i have just bought a more expensive bike and intend to park it in the city for a few hours which is a high risk area. I have then invested in a Hiplok DX U-lock after reading your article. I like being able to “wear” the locks hence i went with Hiplok over Kryptonite. Both locks are Sold Secure Gold.

    I was initially going to lock the front wheel, frame and fixed structure with the chain and the back wheel to the frame with the U-lock. I usually have to lock my bike to a lamppost so won’t have the luxury of locking both wheels to fixed structures. Would you recommend this method of locking or should i be using the U-lock for the fixed structure and the chain for just the frame and the back wheel?

    Many thanks.

    • March 28, 2019 at 12:26 pm

      Hi Mag,

      It’s a tricky one. Obviously, ideally both the chain and the u-lock would be secured to the fixd object.

      Both of these are good locks. But the chain is more susceptible to bolt cutters. Therefore it’s important to keep it as far from the ground as possible. If you can acheive that with the lampost (whilst also threading the chain through the wheel) then your prferred method would be fine.

      Otherwise, (if as you say the area is high risk) I’d be tempted to use the U-lock on the fixed structure. Of course if you’re locking the bike to something that you can fit the DX around they’d be nothing stopping you putting the chain around the object too, no?

      I mean the chain is a good lock and you should be OK. But in my advice I’d prefer to er on the cautious side.

      Are there no purpose built bike racks in the area?


  • July 14, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    Does anyone know anything about the Tex-Lock? It’s made in Leipzig and doesn’t yet seem to have any official ratings.

    • July 23, 2019 at 11:35 am

      It’s OK for very short stops. But it can be cut with a hacksaw in a matter of seconds.

  • July 18, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    Hey thanks for the fantastic resource. Purchased my first bike ever as I got a glorious volt Ebike for a song – and now the invariable step two of security for the bike begins.

    However, I already have too many keys that I carry around and I worry about loss. I notice you do not review or cover any numbered or code locks, even though these are available for sale from all the brands you mentioned.

    Any reason why? Is there a best code u-lock or folding lock?

    • July 23, 2019 at 11:53 am

      Hi Ronaldinho,

      Yes, the simple answer is: coded locks are less secure. If you’re determined to get coded lock make sure hey are at least Sold Secure Silver or better Gold. I’m not sure there actually are any at the moment! I’ll try and research them and write a post about them.


  • August 20, 2019 at 8:57 pm

    Your site is amazing. It kept me awake till 2 in the morning. Only after a thorough read I decided 2 buy the locks to leave my bike sleeping outside in Barcelona city. Let’s see if that’s enough after all. Thanks!

  • September 15, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    Most concise article Ive seen to date. Thanks very much! You talk about the big 3 manufacturers
    but I see many other “leading brand” options that don’t appear to be junk, based solely on specs. (Titanker, Sigtuna, Via Velo, etc.) For example I’m considering a a Zukka U lock as an upgrade to my Krytonite Kryptolok (not series 2) based on the shackle size 13mm vs 16mm at a similar price point. There are a host of similar “leading brand” locks with robust specs. Are there problems with their consideration I’m over looking? Thanks in advance

    • September 16, 2019 at 11:48 am

      Hi Dwight,

      I think alot of these locks (the Zukka included) are simply branded white label locks from Chinese suppliers.

      Now there’s nothing wrong with this per se. But I have doubts about both the quality of the steel and the mechanisms.

      On a 16mm u-lock like the Zukka, the quality of the steel is not super important, cos the shackle is so thick. But if the mechanism is poor quality (or indeed it has poor anti rust qualities where the schackle meets the cross bar), it won’t be long before you’re left with a lock that is impossible to open.

      So I would say: proceed with caution! Cheaper locks like these need more care. So regularly clean and lubricate both the mechanism and the ends of the shackle. More details here.

      If you look after your Zukka it should do a good job. But you need to remember to regularly clean and lubricate.

      Hope that helps!

  • September 16, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    I was chatting with the Abus rep at the recent UK bike show and he told me that Abus locks can be ordered “keyed alike” through any Abus dealer as long as you have the original key card. This could be very handy for families with multiple bikes and locks or even some of us who have a variety of locks to use depending on where we intend to leave a bike – no more searching for the correct key


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