Over the years I’ve had several bikes and countless bike parts stolen. In London, New York and Barcelona. From knackered old jalopies to top of the range mountain bikes. Seats, wheels, bells and handlebars. They’ve had them all.
Why? Because I resented paying for decent bike locks. Bike locks are just not sexy. They are heavy and ugly and expensive. And I am tight.
So I bought cheap locks and lived with the constant nagging doubts. Every time I left my bike, I wondered if this was the last time I would see it. Every time I approached where I'd last left it, I craned my head, half expecting it to be gone.
And while sometimes it had been stolen, often of course, it wasn’t.
Maybe, my mediocre attempts at security had deterred the thieves. Or maybe the thieves were having a day off. But without fail, eventually I’d come back and if the bike wasn’t gone, then the seat would be missing. Or the brakes. Or the handlebar grips. Or the basket…
Usually though, the whole bike would be gone…
And it’s not just the financial cost and hassle of replacing them. It’s not just the horrible feeling of personal violation when people routinely help themselves to your stuff.
No matter how cheap and tatty your bike is, if you’ve had it for a while and it’s doing its job, you will have formed a close emotional attachment to it. So when you loose it, it can be properly upsetting!
On top of all this, there is that underlying feeling that it’s partly your fault. If you’d been more particular about where you left it. If you’d secured it more carefully. If you’d bought better locks.
Maybe it would still be here.
So, five years ago (2015), after one too many thefts in a short space of time, I decided to learn about bike security and stop the rot!
And what I’ve learned is this: bike security is actually pretty straightforward...
If you want to stop your bike from being routinely stolen, you need to secure it with a lock that's been independently tested and rated to establish it's real security level.
This generally means looking for bike lock that's rated Silver, Gold or Diamond by Sold Secure. And choosing one of these ratings according to your own personal risk level.
And really importantly: choosing a lock that's practical to use on your specific bike and the places that you use it. This is where my reviews are meant to help you.
Of course you need to learn how to lock your bike properly and then always lock your bike in that way (properly!).
Do not secure your bike with with a cable lock. Why? Because it won’t stop someone thieving your bike! I've read some reports that suggest 90% of stolen bikes were “secured” with cable locks.
But here's some hard data from the Harvard Police Department (2011), that suggests 66% of stolen bikes were secured with a cable lock...
I’ve also learned some other stuff which is really depressing. For example, up to half of cyclists will have their bike stolen at some point. And of those victims, 66% cycle less and 25% give up cycling altogether.
So that’s loads of people, people that wanted to cycle, that actually bought bikes, but that never cycle again, essentially because they had the wrong lock. Usually a cable lock!
And because I’m passionate about cycling and want everyone to enjoy it as much as I do, I found this quite upsetting. Because there’s no reason people should be buying completely inappropriate locks.
Yeah, I know it’s more complicated than that. I know there are bikes secured with good locks being stolen all the time. I know all bike locks can be defeated.
But we can all significantly reduce the chances of our bikes being stolen by learning how to choose the best bike locks for our circumstances.
However, this situation also makes me quite angry. Because there are plenty of shops selling shoddy locks and plenty of websites promoting them. In fact, if you google “best bike lock”, on the first page of results there are respectable websites recommending some really poor locks.
So, I decided to make my own website. And this is it.
Eventually, I would like it to be the ultimate guide to securing your bike. But for starters I want to recommend some really good bike locks, help people find the best lock for their individual circumstances and make sure they know the best way to use it.
So I won’t be recommending any cable locks. In fact I won’t recommend any locks that are rated less than Sold Secure Silver or equivalent.
So I do review and recommend the best u-locks and the best chain locks and the best folding locks on the market. I do review the best ways to secure your wheels and seat.
And I think it’s perfectly possible for everyone to find a lock that meets their needs and their budget without making their bike an easy target.
But what do you think? Am I being too strict? What locks do you use? Is this website useful? What else would you like to see? Let me know below!
And if you want to discuss your bicycle security products or you're an organisation that promotes safe and secure cycling, you can get in touch with me here.
Hi I found you link linked from your reply to an article on Cycling Weekly.co.uk. You have a very comprehensive website bringing all the information together well. I’ve seen many of these tips but spread around in different places.
However the only comment I do have, which might only apply to expensive bikes, is I’ve read advice not to leave a lock behind where you normally lock your bike as this gives thieves a chance to practice on the lock. I don’t know how true this is but I think it is worth broaching the subject as you mentioned it and it is a very common practice!
Yes, that’s a good point Leon. I’ll add something about this in the page. Thanks!
Have you tried Pinhead products before? Pinheadlocks.com
I recently started importing them in Europe and only got great feedback!
Yes, I review them in the Wheel and Seats section.
The other thing they can do is sabotage the lock, e.g. by pouring glue into the keyhole. Then when you return, you can’t use the lock
I just wanted to say congratulations on an excellent site. Easy to read, informative, very friendly. Thanks.
Thanks Robert! I hope it’s helped you.
I love the website – I’ve sat reading it for three hours now!
Your website focuses heavily on Abus, Kryptonie (Spelling is my…) and OnGuard – Why do you not include Oxford? I only wonder because searching elsewhere I found this brand and I would like to know what you think of them.
I’m so happy that you’re finding the website useful!
The reason I focus on Abus, Kryptonite and OnGuard is that I’ve got lots of first hand experience of these brands and feel confident talking about their locks.
I’m not so familiar with Oxford but I would be slightly wary of their locks if I were you. As far as I understand, they don’t manufacture their own locks and bike security is only a small part of their business. What’s more, they don’t have a great reputation for quality, security or customer service!
There are some eye catching Oxford deals, especially with chain lock and ground anchor combinations. And I may review them in the future. But if you’re looking for good value for money then I would recommend OnGuard. Just make sure you choose which model carefully and clean, lubricate and grease their locks regularly.
Another brand that I haven’t reviewed yet but definitely will, is Squire. They do some Sold Secure Silver and Gold U-locks at very attractive prices and may be worth checking out (although they’ve had mixed reviews for build quality).
Anyway I will add some Oxford and Squire locks to the U-lock and chain lock comparison pages. And keep checking the website, there’s loads more stuff to come!
Thanks very much for your website. I can pretty much ‘tick’ many of the experiences you talk about. Having cycled for years I had the cheap, cute bike that I loved stolen from the communal hall of my flat (because I hadn’t locked it properly). I didn’t cycle again for 6 years. The tube strikes last year got me back on my bike, and I now have a lovely bike that I don’t want to lose! Despite being an ‘experienced’ cyclist I learnt a lot from your sited so thanks for hopefully helping me keep my bike safe.
Thanks Michele, I’m glad you’ve found it useful. And I hope you keep on cycling!
Thanks for your efforts, nice work and a great site.
I am the head engineer from Sphyke.
In 2011 we launched the C3N wheel and saddle anti-theft combination lock;
I notice that the C3N is not included on your site.
I would like to introduce it to you as a worthy alternative to the other Solutions on offer.
Firstly – The C3N is the only high level security component lock that does not require you to carry a key or special tool. You set the code to any 3 letter combination
This means riders do not need to carry a key / special tool, or find trouble at a bike shop with repairs if the key is forgetten.
2nd- Since 2011, not 1 wheel or saddle is unaccounted for while under C3N protection.
I hope you find the C3N system worthy in the fight against wheel and saddle theft.
It is available online or at our 8 Independent factory outlet stores throughout London.
We have recently released a new Saddle lock specially for Londoners http://www.thesaddlelock.com
Head Engineer / Director
They look great Ian! I’ll have a closer look this week and try to get something up on the site as soon as possible.
How about a review on current foldable and other types of locks please : )
Yep, folding locks coming soon! Are there any specific locks you’d like to see reviewed?
My wife and I are taking delivery of two Bromptons this weekend. We currently have standard Kryptonite u-locks for our regular bikes. Was thinking of getting mini u-locks for the Bromptons for the rare occasions that we have to lock them outside. The bike shop owner recommended the Abus folding locks so we would like to know how these compare to u-locks and chain locks.
I talk a bit about folding locks vs u-locks and chain locks here.
Abus are the only company making good quality, high security folding locks. So they’re definitely the brand to go for if you decide a folding lock is right for you.
The great thing about folding locks is that they’re really compact and easy to transport. And when you compare them to mini u-locks, they’ll also give you loads more options when you’re looking for somewhere to lock your bike. This is because you can fit a folding lock around much more than a mini u-lock.
They’re still not light though. And since Bromptons are highly desirable, expensive bikes, if you’re thinking about leaving them for anything longer than 15 mins, I would recommend the Sold Secure Abus Bordo GRANIT X Plus 6500, which is quite heavy.
I hope this helps! Let me know if you any more questions…
Interesting reading. I’ve been an all-Abus aficionado for some time, but I’ve been getting frustrated lately because my relatively new Abus D-lock has some … deficiencies. I found your website while searching for a way to deal with the difficulty I’ve had turning the key in my lock. I will try your tips. I will also mention that my girlfriend ran into the same problems with her relatively new Abus D-lock last summer. The other problem is that I have an Abus D-lock with a round casing, which makes it very difficult to insert correctly into the holder on the bike. It has to be done by rotating the lock within the holder, blindly, until the two pieces slide into each other. I noticed that the Granit X-plus is a square-shape, so that probably helps a lot, by making sure there is only a single way to insert the lock into the holder.
Here’s a suggestion for a type of lock that you might want to review: the so-called “O” lock, or “frame lock”. These locks are attached to your seat stay and clamp around the rear wheel when you lock them, Sheldon-style. They are less common in the UK and the USA, but they are extremely common in the Netherlands, so if you look at a Dutch bike you will likely see what I’m talking about. AXA seems to be the most common vendor of these locks, but Abus makes one too. Both can be outfitted with an extra chain that you can loop around a post before locking it into the mechanism.
My locking strategy is 2 locks: I put an Abus D-lock around a bike stand through the front of the frame and the front wheel. And I loop an Abus chain around the bike stand and fit it into my Abus O-lock that I then engage around the rear wheel. The D-lock is rated more strongly than the O-lock, but the O-lock is no slouch either, and could be used alone for short-term. It’s a lot more flexible.
In any case, that might be something to look into. The primary differences between the AXA and the Abus O-locks I found to be: (a) the AXA will not let you remove the key from the lock unless you lock it; (b) the chain attachment on the Abus is through the locking lever — which means that you have to slide the chain downwards in order to lock it. Not a problem normally, but if you’re in a tight space that extra few centimeters of necessary wiggle room can make it harder.
Thanks Matt! These are great tips. I’ve been meaning to look at “O”/fame locks for a while. I think they work really well as a secondary lock and I’ll certainly be adding them to the site. It sounds like you’ve not had the best experiences with Abus locks though!
Thanks for the tip of using WD-40 + Teflon lube. It turned out that my key was having trouble turning because the deadbolts of the double-locking mechanism were not traveling easily along the notches in the “U”. Those just needed to be cleaned and lubed. So far so good.
I think that a good question to explore with the O-locks is why Dutch find them so reliable while in many other countries they are virtually unheard of.
As far as I know these frame locks are traditional on Dutch bikes and were installed at time of manufacture. But as on their own they only block the rear wheel they don’t stop the bike from being carried away. Which probably wasn’t much of a problem in a country where everybody was already having a bike and moreover, pretty much the same one! (“Hollandrad” = “Holland bike/Dutch bike” is a category in Germany)
Just had a bike stolen, from a locker, so now kinda HAVE to research new locks and security. Thanx for doing this, some very helpful info and links to useful possibilities.
Thanks so much for this excellent resource- your losses and research have truly been the gain of many others, myself included. Just to flag a typo- the Bulldog DT page, when discussing alternatives, describes the Pitbull as being 50 gms heavier- which sounded great for significantly more protection. But your comparison spreadsheeet appears to show this is a mistake- looks like it’s 500 gms. Btw, funny that manufacturers haven’t felt market pressure to show weights routinely…
No worries Alex, I’m glad you’ve found it useful! Thanks for the typo spot, I’ll correct it now. In fact OnGuard are the only one of the “big three” that don’t list weights on their website. So I have to hunt about elsewhere or weigh them myself where I can. It’s really frustrating as I’m never quite sure the OnGuard weights are completely accurate.
Well researched and well designed website. Well done!
On your BLOG, I was attracted to the Litelok item – just what we’re looking for?
However, on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KB2ghne7sOU it is shown under test. These are my comments on their (?) video:
Hacksaw: seems to put up a good resistance.
Blowtorch: also good. Didn’t seem to cut through – but would a thief use it, anyway?
Bolt croppers: the tester is cutting half way across the strap (spreading the pressure!).
How long would it last against gradual snips or bites, I wonder?
Angle grinder: I’m the most dubious about this test. They decided to shoot in the dark like a scene from a film (why?); shot mainly at a distance and hard to see; and with too many distracting shots of the tester’s face. It also appeared that the grinder was most of the way through the strap all of the scene.
For all these tests there’s no indication of time elapsed.
At £80 for one lock or £155 for two, it’s competing with Abus U-locks (for example), but I’m very wary of it’s quality – is it Gold, Silver or Bronze in reality?
Yes, I agree that video isn’t up to much. He appears to be tickling it with those bolt cutters!
Clearly an angle grinder will cut through anything eventually. The question is: how long will it take? And the video doesn’t answer that.
We’ll have to see how well it fares when it’s actually available. But it does seem to have been tested by Sold Secure and they have awarded it a Gold rating.
Let’s hope it is as good as they say because a strong, practical, light weight lock is what we’ve all been waiting for!
I was a “backer” of Litelok when it was crowdfunding. I am sure they are well intentioned but I have found it all but unusable. It is very short, exacerbated by its inflexibility. I have super strong wrists but find it akward to bend into a circle to lock and then to (necessarily) force it straight when unlocking. Its difficult to carry as it is very “springy” (see above). Its too short to go round one’s waist. Its width makes it hard to fasten through spokes (to secure back wheel and frame) and difficult to carry if folded/locked. I don’t find the key lock mechanism well machined etc etc
It looked such a good idea!
My current faves are Abus D lock which can fit in bags quite easily and the big Kryptonite New York chain which although 4.5kg, can be worn as a belt and has a really good key mechanism.
Thank you – Fantastic site and very informative!
I really like this site, it has a lot of cool reviews, points to think about and useful hints.
But there is one point I am missing: How to care about a lock? If you read through Amazon reviews, there are a lot of people with blocked locks because they are exposed to rain and even snow. And what is your lock worth when it blocks and keeps you from using your own bike?
I think this could be avoided by proper lubrification, I tried several products including oil and graphite, but the best lubrification is achieved with a PTFE-based product. Here in Germany it sells under “Ballistol Zylinderspray”, in the US a similar product is Master Lock Lock Lubricant with PTFE.
So if you ever have problems with a sticky lock, you should give it a try.
Thanks for your kind comments!
I actually talk a lot about how to care for your lock here. And I totally agree with you, PTFE (most commonly known as Teflon) lubricants are the best.
I recommend Finish Line or TriFlow, but I’m sure Ballistol Zylinderspray is good as well!
Oh, I am really sorry, I oversaw this page. Of course you are right, these are good tipps to prevent lock jamming.
Love your site! I spent a few hours reading other bike lock and theft sites a few months ago but missed yours (I’ve already put some time in yours). I was very impressed at one site that interviewed bike thieves, and most would just not look any bike with a D-lock at all.
There is a huge tradeoff between weight, security, and ease of use. I’m planning a touring trip of New Zealand this winter, and I’ve toured NZ, UK, a bit of France, US, and Australia with a simple cable lock and survived. But I also had a one day old brand new Cannondale vanish in seconds with a cable lock just a few days before a flight to NZ! Commuting in many places across the country I’ve often had theft attempts by idiots on my cable lock. One time it looked like it was attacked by a fingernail clipper – which should work actually given enough time.
A friend of mine has lost several bikes cabled to his RV. I visited him recently and he said that it would take some time without a bolt cutter to steal his bike. He was willing to sacrifice his latest cable – got through it in 15 seconds with a small wire cutter really only suitable for cutting electronic component wire, cutting a strand or two per bite.
I’m building a new bike, and I just don’t want to worry, even in the middle of nowhere New Zealand on a dairy farm. Even losing a wheel would be a disaster (20 inch) as finding a suitable replacement would be impossible (and expensive – dynamo/disc brake wheel). So I’ve got the Pinhead wheel locks – and the dropouts will be Ritchey style with a deep rim. I even had to modify their key to get the depth. No one will be stealing those wheels no matter the attack method. Even a Gator Grip style universal wrench won’t work.
But that still leaves the bicycle. I was intrigued to discover at the last Interbike that Pinhead was now making a lock call City Lock that was killer light at 660 grams (1.45 pounds). I’ve avoided such locks on tour before because of the weight. But this is lighter than any other reasonable lock, and I already have the key (one less thing to carry). It is still a couple weeks away from delivery – real product, but they keep underestimating demand and going out of stock.
I’d be curious to hear your general comments on this lock. I doubt it will be ranked with the highest security locks (or even tested) but probably sufficient for my intended use. Online specs don’t list the diameter but I’ll measure that the first I get it. I’ll be interested to see how they protected it against tools like a Gator Grip wrench.
Thanks for the comments David.
The City Lock does look interesting. As you say though (and as Pinhead themselves say), it’s not a high security lock.
The hinge looks very vulnerable to me. I suspect that the lock could be twisted off with a wrench or length of scaffolding quite easily.
In the middle of nowhere, New Zealand it might be fine. It depends on what sort of bike its protecting as well.
Another option might be the TiGr mini which is actually lighter (408 g), doesn’t have that vulnerable hinge and has been tested and found to be quite secure. Its rated 2/5 by ART which makes it equivalent to Sold Secure Silver.
I haven’t used it myself and I’ve read some reviews that say it’s difficult to use. So since it’s a very unique design I’m not going to recommend it until I’ve used it myself.
But it’s certainly an option.
Please do let us know how you get on with the City Lock when it arrives though!
Thanks for the comments. I will be disappointed if the City Lock is low security for sure. Hopefully the hinge is a close equivalent of the Abus folders. The hinge is covered I believe – they are now using a loose sleeve rather than cladding, and the lock will be unfamiliar to most thieves which improves things somewhat. The folding nature may not be readily apparent.
The TiGr mini is new to me. Ease of use is important, and if I don’t use a frame mount with the TiGr (never used a frame mounted lock ever with the exception of the Netherlands), it is not very space efficient for throwing in a pannier or handlebar bag. I’m a little suspicious of thin titanium plate as I think a grinding disc will make short work of it. Even if it resists most tools, it looks vulnerable so you may find hacksaw marks on your paint when you return.
But the light weight is appealing. I’ve often thought an ideal lock would be one that outwardly appears to be a secure gold style U-lock that under the plastic cladding is hollow ti or even Al tubing. Very theft deterrent, and light, even though not actually secure .
Super secure locks seem like they have another potential downside besides weight. Components on high end bikes can be worth many thousands new. I’ve often wondered why professional thieves when meeting their match on a lock simple doesn’t cut through a carbon fiber or aluminum/titanium bike tube in seconds and take the whole thing. No doubt that is why some double up on locks. I myself choose to shackle my head tube when possible. That would take some extra time and nuisance to cut through the head tube and steerer.
Strange looking small wheeled bikes do draw some attention, but they are not so interesting to thieves – other than ones who are just doing it for fun or a quick ride – like a beater. You can’t resell them or their wheels easily. That is one small facet of what I like about them, that they are lower risk in urban environments. Put a cable lock on them and as I mentioned before, there are attempts. Even more annoying than petty thieves are property owners. I’ve had two employers have security cut my cable because they thought I had abandoned it. When they see it parked when they go to work and when they leave, for some reason they think it has been abandoned, not that I actually work long hours every day! Neither one left a note before removing the bike, and both replaced my destroyed lock.
I almost never use a cable style lock anymore except in really low risk environments where I’m running into a store for five minutes or going on a long ride where I may not ever ever need to secure the bike.
So of course, I had to read about the TiGr mini. This link had the reviewer attacking it with a hacksaw (presumably in a shop setting) and compromised it in five minutes. So I think I am right about cutting it quickly with a power tool. I’m a bit dubious about that ART rating.
That said, I like it! I might have to get one. Ease of use appears to be good watching a YouTube video. It looks strong so it should be a good deterrent to all but professionals. I even have an elegant place to mount it on my bike in progress.
The TiGr mini arrived! I like it a lot. Easy enough to use but it does take some hand strength to close so you can lock it. The included holder is also great, but not made to carry the lock unlocked with the protruding button – but it still works. Carrying unlocked is a great feature, saving a few seconds and a step every time you use it.
Sounds good David. So you think it’s worth me reviewing?
Hi Carl, By all means review it! I’ve also just received the PinLock and it is indeed the advertised weight of 660 grams including the bike mount and hardware (579 grams plus 81 grams). This is very light for the perceived (subjective) protection however the the TiGr mini is much lighter at 422 grams (plus 40 grams for the bike mount without the bolts).
The TiGr mini may or may not have a similar level of protection, but certainly looks more attackable so in the real world so it might inspire a bike damaging lever attack that will fail, and who wants that? I don’t, but this is likely the lock I will take on tour and use for my commute in most locations (travel sort of job).
Both the PinLock and the TiGr Mini have a deeper cross section than a traditional U-lock and take up more room in a pack or bag but the bike mount will take care of that.
Both locks no doubt have some critical weakness but a thief will have to be familiar with them ahead of time and familiarty is unlikely as neither are mass market locks. So my feeling is that unless you have an expensive bike and live in NYC, both should work well for theft deterrence.
The PinHead weakness could be the hinge as you suggest, but the hinge is not visible nor obviously present at all with the woven sleeve cover. Trivial to cut off the cover but a thief would have to do that before planning an attack. The PinHead has sharp edges (built from a rectangular cross section) which could potentially damage your paint if you are careless with handling. I think they should have rounded off the edges a bit more, or added a traditional soft cover.
I’d be happy to ship you both locks if you want to review them as long as you don’t do destructive testing! I don’t need either of them for a few months and would love to support your great site. Email me with a shipping address.
Many thanks for the detailed info on the PinHead lock. It sounds really interesting.
You make some good points here…
If a lock looks weak, it’s more likely to me attacked. And even if it’s actually strong enough to defeat the thief both your lock and your bike can be badly damaged. So locks that project toughness are definitely a good thing!
Also, as you say, thieves are less likely to know the weak points of less common locks. So unusual designs can be a good thing too!
I really appreciate the offer of the locks. I’m struggling to find the time to make new reviews at the moment though, so I’m not sure when I’d be able to get them back to you. I also like to put them to test for a good few weeks in the street, so there’s no guaranteed they wouldn’t be damaged!
The TiGr lock will be the next lock I review though. And if you check the blog later this week, I’m going to put an interview with the guys from TiGr which you might find interesting.
OK, let me know. There is a good chance I will work through the winter rather than traveling so that may give you enough time.
Somehow I doubt that the primary method of attack is ever the key lock itself. That said, PinLock did something really clever. Besides using a unique locking system, they covered it so you cannot even see it, much less deploy a Gator Grip style universal wrench that might potentially defeat it.
While I don’t believe it is necessary, I’m considering adding a similar slotted cover to the Ritchey style dropouts on my new bike for additional theft protection on the Pinhead skewers. Only perhaps two grams more in weight and will avoid any crude and damaging attacks with a hammer or a pair of vice grips or a chisel or for Gator Grip style universal wrench (which might be used if a regular parking place on a commute allows the thief to plan an attack). Wish you had an upload feature as a picture will show the protection of this cover much better than my description.
I’ve actually got a TiGr mini on the way now. Can’t wait to try it!
Thanks for the TiGr mini review!
I’d encourage you again to review the PinLock. Frankly, it looks much stronger than any u-lock and should provide a stronger deterrent to any thief against even initiating an attack versus u-locks or TiGr. It fits in a niche between the very light TiGr and the lightest u-locks but appears to offer better protection than both.
The PinLock also fits between the TiGr mini and a Kryptonite Evolution 2000 mini in effective inside locking length (bike frame to pole) with the TiGr being the longest. Long means easier to lock to a variety of real life scenarios, but less secure from attack.
I talked to PinLock at InterBike in September. They have additional running changes planned for this lock including adding cladding (per my complaint about sharp edges), improved woven cover (that hides the hinge from view), a stronger hinge, and security certification with a testing group.
Love your site and would jump at a chance to help support it. I would be delighted to send you my current PinLock for review.
Thanks so much for your informative website.
I’m looking for a lock that is relatively light but has more flexibility to lock to a wider variety of “street furniture” than a conventional U-lock. Accordingly, I’m interested in the Abus folding locks, which I know you think rather highly of, but was wondering if you had any comment on their relatively new Bordo Centium [https://www.abus.com/eng/Mobile-Security/Bike-Safety-and-Security/Locks/Folding-locks/Bordo-Centium]. How does it compare to others in the Bordo line, specifically, I have watched videos online demonstrating the cutting of a Bordo 6000 pin in ten seconds [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtCY3GC5VYY] and am curious to know if this issue has been addressed in this new model.
In addition, I’m anxious to know if you will be reviewing the LiteLok in the near future, as this might be the “silver bullet” of lightness, adaptability and toughness.
Thanks for your comments. I do like like the Abus folding locks, primarily for their practicality. However as you note, the 6000 is not a high security lock and can be defeated with a large pair of bolt cutters.
I don’t think the Centium is any more secure than the 6000. It’s just a marketing release. If you need something more secure than the 6000 then the 6500 is significantly safer. Of course it’s also significantly heavier!
I have previewed the Litelok here, but I’m waiting to get my hand on one before I give it a proper review.
But yes, a lock that’s light, gives you lots of locking options and is also secure would be the “silver bullet”. I would definitely give the LiteLok a go…
your website has been so so useful for a complete bike/lock noob like me
thanks for investing all this time and money! I really appreciate it!!
I’m really glad you found it useful Joyce!
Great website, just used it to buy a mini Krytonite. I can’t find a review of the Hiplok series tho. A friend of mine had the Silver rated version and I am thinking of the gold. It looks good for the ease of carrying as well as the security but would be interested to hear your thoughts?
I was never personally that keen on the Hiplok chains, purely because I don’t like the idea of wearing one round my waist. However they are well regarded by the people who use them. And I think their Silver rated version is the lightest Sold Secure Silver chain currently available.
Their u-locks are also worth looking at. They have good security ratings and seem good value.
So, yes although I haven’t used either their chains or u-locks I’m impressed with what I’ve heard and read and would like to have a closer look at them in the future. And if the mode of carrying suits you I would say definitely give the chain a go.
Great website, so useful ! Thank you very much (from France).
I’m having a love affair with my Trek CrossRip 3 and It lives Inside my house.
Catching someone trying to Kidnap or violate my best friend would make me very dangerous.
I don’t want to wind up In jail ..
Due to your fantastic work I am choosing the Abus City Chain 1010/85cm as the only time It would be left alone outside is If I made a dash Into a convenience store for a bottle of water or a bit of fuel. And even then I would be watching very closely.
Big City Rider I am.
Your Work here has saved and will continue to save thousands of best friends from abduction I am sure,,
Thank You Kind Sir 😛
Haha! No worries, thanks Usil.
Congrats on having the most useful website on bike locks and securing your bike generally.
Your site is so comprehensive and accurate on these topics I can now just redirect visitors to it.
In terms of overall tips on protecting your bike from theft, you might like to consider incorporating some of the factors I mention in my related blog posts:
A couple of requests for extra content/answers:
– Can you add a brief list of Frame Locks like the AXA Defender? If not too expensive I see them as very useful secondary and short-term locks. Abus and Kryptonite appear to offer alternatives. I’d ignore M-Wave as their quality is poor.
– Can you clarify how susceptible the steel cables often sold with U locks (by Kryptonite, OnGuard) are to cutting? You seem to indicate they are as useless as cable locks but that doesn’t seem right. Are cyclists using these to secure their front wheels wasting their time even in Lower Risk circumstances?
– One great use for the world’s new go-to site for securing urban bicycles is to influence manufacturers to make bicycles easier to secure directly into the frame and components. E.g. See the photo on how I sometimes use a $5 padlock to lock my front wheel via the holes in the hub flange. https://www.betterbybicycle.com/2013/05/what-lock-to-buy.html
– Would also love to hear the best tips you get from others. Not every solution relies on known commercial products. Maybe there are other great DIY ideas out there?
Thanks so much for your positive feedback! It’s really encouraging.
I’d actually come across your site a couple of weeks ago and was really impressed by the level of detail in your posts too!
Regarding your questions:
– Yes, a few people have asked about Frame Locks and I’m definitely going to write about them. I’m a big fan of these locks.
– I think those cables sold with U-locks fall into the “they keep honest people honest” category. They are absolutely no deterrent or obstacle to a thief with a pair of wire cutters. And all thieves carry wire cutters. If I had quick release wheels I wouldn’t trust those cables even in a low risk area.
– Yes I totally agree, it would be great if bike manufacturers thought about incorporating security features into the bikes themselves. That’s definitely something worth pursuing.
– And I also totally support DIY approaches. Whether it’s your padlock trick, cable ties around quick release levers or ball bearings clued into hex screws. There’s a few tricks dotted about the site already. Maybe I should amalgamate them onto one round up page?
Anyway, thanks again for your feedback and suggestions, they’re very much appreciated.
Keep an eye out for new content where I implement them!
Thanks for the reply, Carl.
– I’m looking forward to the writeup about Frame locks like the AXA Defender and any other similar locks or that affix to part of the frame.
– Regarding the Kryptoflex cable sold with the Series 2 U lock (and OnGuard’s equivalent cable): these are recommended U locks and so many people end up with the steel cables as a secondary lock. I have cut cheap cable locks with kitchen scissors but think wire cutters would be needed on the Kryptoflex cable. I couldn’t find a video of anyone cutting a Kryptoflex cable with small cutters. I feel some small cutters would struggle while wire cutters might just take 1 minute rather than 2 seconds. I think many people would be interested to know if Kryptoflex-type cables are useless like cheap cables or noticeably better (given they only carry one primary lock with them).
– Re DIY techniques, I hadn’t seen most suggestions. Could you perhaps create a blog post to collect all tips via comments and then within the blog post highlight the most useful, validated ones?
– I have noticed that almost all chain locks you review that are “integrated” – i.e. use combination locks rather than separate padlocks – have lower security ratings than their padlock equivalents. I think it may be worthwhile emphasising this as a general tip: don’t buy locks which include combination locks. I have personal experience of cracking some such locks by tensioning the lock and then rotating the numbers starting from the outer end. With many such locks there is a change in tension/stiffness (of the turned wheel and it’s adjacent wheel) as you hit on the correct number. You then move on to the next number. See here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PXaJHtLjDY I also suspect combination locks have other weak points.
– In this review: https://thebestbikelock.com/best-chain-lock/onguard-8020-mastiff-worst-bike-lock/ – you note that this otherwise very secure lock had a critical weakness in or near the locking mechanism. It would be useful to find out what this is – given your site will become an authority in this space I think you would have the best luck finding out. As manufacturers re-use mechanisms between similar locks such a weakness would likely affect all such locks from that manufacturer.
– I noted the comment from asdf June 27 2016 about many U locks from the same manufacturer having keys that open multiple locks – even of different models. This is EXTREMELY concerning. Could you please do a blog post asking visitors with recent model U locks and Chain locks to investigate and report back?
– Btw, your site really does deserve to make money from all referred purchases. So please do add affiliate links for all countries that are major visitors. In Australia, we don’t typically buy bike stuff from Amazon or Amazon UK as delivery costs are too high. I got my OnGuard U lock from here: https://www.cellbikes.com.au/Bike-Accessories/Locks
Great suggestions as always Adrian … I’m on the case!
Just had my brand new bike stolen – wish I’d found this brilliant site beforehand. Thanks.
Oh no, bad luck Ben!
How was it locked?
Did you have anything to do with the “Barcelona Lock Challenge” YouTube just “forced” me to watch via an ad (didn’t bring it over me to skip it, obviously)? I found it very interesting, especially most onlookers non-reaction. Only the Abus Granit X-Plus U-Lock held up the thief long enough for some good samaritan to step in… I would have liked to know which brand of U-lock got cut with a bolt cutter, though. It also looked as if the lock must be a lot higher off the ground than I thought (or might even be possible with my frame) to make it impossible to use the ground for leverage.
No I didn’t but I watched it with interest as well! It wasn’t until I saw it the second time that I realized it was just a big advert for Abus locks. And the finale with someone confronting the thief before he scarpered (without defeating the Abus locks) was clearly staged. Although most of the onlookers were just normal people.
The U-lock cut by the thief just looked like a cheap no-brand (or no brand we know!) to me. Probably one of the ones that still uses the mechanisms that can be opened with a pen case. I don’t think he would have been able to cut a decent U-lock so easily when it’s that far from the ground.
It was entertaining watching though!
I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the info you’ve taken the time to post on your site. I’m about to invest in a nice folding commuter bike for my future outdoor adventures, and your posts about bike security and bike locks are greatly appreciated! I’ll be out and about in Philadelphia PA, and bike theft is an issue there. Many thanks!
I do have a question…
The one bike locking technique that I plan to try out with my folding commuter bike involves folding it and then flipping it upside down so that the seat and handlebars can’t be slipped off.
A long U-bar or chain would be secured right through the middle of the bike to a secure bike rack in such a way that the bike could not be moved to access the seat or handle bar quick release levers….i.e. the bike could not be lifted upwards. Of course, I plan to fold my bike and carry it indoors to secure it most times, but invariably I’ll have to park it sometimes.
Do you have any special security advice when it comes to securing folding commuter bikes?
That sounds like a decent locking technique!
I don’t have any specific advice for folding bikes apart from: make sure it’s a good lock as from what I’m hearing, folding bikes seem to be particularly targeted at the moment.
I think your plan sounds good though, as long as any quick release levers can’t be operated.
Could you review the Abus GRANIT Plus 640 U-lock?
According to this blog, the lock was weighted on a scale and it seem to actually weigh a groundbreaking 788 grams (155mm version)!:
Apparently Abus made it of weight optimized materials and it is secured with double bolts so it cannot be twitched.
It should be very secure, it has a sold secure Silver rating.
It is probably the lightest u-lock that could be 100% bold cutter resistant.
Yes the Abus GRANIT Plus 640 is a great little lock. And I’d like to review it in full.
However, the Kryptonite Evolution Mini-6 also has a Sold Secure Silver rating and it’s actually slightly lighter. It’s true, the Kryptonite lock only has a 11 mm single bolted shackle compared to the 12 mm double shackle on the 640. So the Abus lock is likely to be more secure.
But I don’t think we can say that either of these locks is 100% bolt cutter resistant. A lock generally needs to have a 16 mm shackle before we can say it’s 100% bolt cutter resistant.
However, as I say, the 640 is a great lock and I hope to review it properly soon!
What a great website. Thank you!
I found your reviews by chance this evening and have spent a happy two hourshere. Just ordered an Abus Granit X-Plus 540. Who knew that bike locks could make such fascinating reading?
Can you recommend a site or shop in London where I can order two ABUS locks with one key – tried their website but couldn’t see it..
So called “keyed alike” locks have to be specially ordered from Germany.
I think any shop (in London or elsewhere) that stocks Abus locks, will be able to order keyed alike locks from Abus for you. Note there’s usually a 10% surcharge.
For example Evans Bikes stock Abus and will be able to do this.
Hope that helps!
I have done some research in the web for bike security and I can tell you that your site is the best that I have found. It is comprehensive, complete and gives a good analysis of the products.
Here in Brazil, in Sao Paulo, that is the major city, as incredible that it would seems the bikes parked do not call so much attention. I have used a thin cable lock for years and my bike has never been stolen. The robbers prefer to take it from you instead of try do deal with locks. Anyway, after reading your advices I will change it and will start using more secure locks from now on.
I’ve recently had my racing bike stolen. ( It was secured with a cable lock :c)
So I’ve been going through your site informing myself.
What I haven’t seen is an article about dutch style locks. They attach permanently to your frame and lock the rearwheel.
Would you consider writing an article about them?
Yes, it’s on my list of things to do Enis!
Glad to hear that frame locks are on your list!
Right now my husband and I ride around with our four year old on a Yepp Maxi bike seat. Because of the way child seats cover the back end of the bike, we find ourselves locking the frame only instead of feeding a chain through the rear wheel.
It’s laziness on our part. We are only off the bikes if we stop for a snack. However, a frame lock would make locking the wheel fast. There are photos on the internet that show Yepp seats and frame locks installed together. My concern is making sure that it can be set up so that the kid can’t engage the mechanism while we are riding.
(I may have given birth to an evil genius. At six months, she defeated a Windows password by randomly smacking the keys on the laptop.)
Haha! I would have thought it would be very unlikely that any kid could engage the mechanism while you’re riding to be honest.
You write that: “The Abus U-Mini 401 Yellow is the smallest, lightest U-lock with a Sold Secure Gold rating available today,” yet it is nowhere to be found, must be another great product that has been discontinued. Is there a successor model?
I have just bought my first bike in London, and was looking for some general advice on locks when I came across your website. I am really glad I did, for I would otherwise have just gone for the cheapest cable lock around! There is so much useful information about bike security that I had never thought of or been aware about. Thank you!
I’m glad you’ve found it useful!
Excellent advice BUT nowhere do I see the method i use. Apart from a decent U lock I attach a disc brake lock (from my motor bike days) which not only immobilizes the bike but gives off a hideous siren if moved.
I’m curious whether a Bordo 6000 lock would fit in either Foldylock case. I already own a Bordo 6000, as do other family members, so we can connect them for an extra-long lock when needed, like locking two bikes to a tree or pole. But the Bordo case doesn’t fit anywhere convenient on my bike. The best place would be the third set of bottle-cage braze-ons below the down tube, but there isn’t room between the cables for a Bordo case. A Foldylock case would fit, but I don’t want to buy another expensive lock or lose the connectivity with our other locks.
Since you might have available all of these, I’m wondering if you could either test fit a Bordo 6000 in a Foldylock case or measure a Bordylock case. I’d just try it, but Foldylocks aren’t available in shops in Canada, as far as I know.
Hi Jacquie, yes I can test that for you. I doubt it will fit, but I’ll try tonight and get back to you…
Thank you for your wonderful website. I just bought the Windsor Rover 3.0 bike and the Abus Granit X-Plus 54, bike lock; but I know I need a 2nd device to secure my other wheel and seat. You provide too many options for me to keep in my head, and I’m hoping you’ll recommend the best option for me. I don’t have a quick release front wheel or seat. I’m not mechanical, although I do have a friend who will help me put the new bike together and can attach anything you recommend. Should I get another lock or one of the other gizmos you have listed. Thanks so much for your time.
I’m a big fan of Hexlox, for wheel and seat protection.
I don’t know the specific set up of your bike, but your friend will be able to help you choose the right ones for you.
By the way, I live in a high crime neighborhood. While I mostly use my bike for shopping and quick trips around the city, I sometimes have to leave it parked for several hours.
What a brilliant website
I have just ordered a Van Moof ebike that is said to be very difficult to steal. I don’t know if you are familiar with these guys but I would be interested to read your view on adding an extra lock on top of Van Moof’s extraordinarily good built in lock alarm and tracking system.
It will be locked away at night.
Sorry about the delay getting back to you, I wanted to have a good look at the Van Moof ebike first.
It seems like a really cool bike, with some really interesting anti-theft features! However, I don’t see how you could avoid getting an extra “normal” lock to compliment the built in security.
As Van Moof concede, there’s nothing to stop a thief simply picking the bike up and taking it away (and I’m afraid many thieves aren’t deterred by flashing lights and alarms). A seemingly unsecured €3000 bike will be too much for most thieves to resist. So at the very least your bike could be damaged by the attempted theft.
And if the thief is successful, then while the tracking system should help you get the bike back, you still have to deal with the hassle of all that and it could be a considerable hassle!
Plus it seems from their blog that Van Moof bikes are indeed being stolen. So if I was you I would certainly add a very visible and very secure extra layer of conventional bicycle security.
I hope that helps!
As you rightly point out Vanmoofs do get stolen so you’ve convinced me I need extra protection. Many thanks for that and for going to the trouble of researching the brand.
Just a question of deciding between a chain and a foldaway !
As for chain vs folding locks, I presume the wheels of a Vanmoof are already protected in some way? As in they don’t have quick release leavers or standard nuts?
In which case I would go for a short thick chain and wrap it tightly around the top tube and whatever you’re locking the bike to.
A thick chain offers much more protection than a folding lock as long as you keep it away from the ground.
Good luck and I hope you enjoy the Vanmoof!
Congratulations for this very comprehensive and complete website. It helped me a lot in finding the right lock for my new $ 2500 ride.
Hello! Thanks for a great, thoughtful site. I have a question for you.
I’m about to invest in a pricey bike, which will get a lot of use around town. I always use two locks, one U and one chain. I’m planning to upgrade my current locks for the new bike.
Here’s my question: do you think it’s wiser to get two strong locks or one extreme lock and one midstrength lock? The combinations I’m considering are 1) ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 U lock and Abus Granit CityChain X-Plus 1060 110 (total weight 4.1 kg) and 2) ABUS Granit Extreme 59 and my current chain, which is a 9 mm from AXA (https://www.axasecurity.com/bike-security/en-gb/products/locks/8/5900269500SS/axa-cherto-compact-95-9). The total weight of the second combo is 4.93 kg. That’s a lot of lock but I don’t mind carrying the weight for peace of mind. What are your thoughts?
Thanks, for your help!
Both of those options are very secure! And it’s hard to say if one is more secure than another. But using the Granit X-Plus 540 with your current chain is also secure and is also worth considering!
Ultimately, which option you go for will depend on just how desirable your bike is, just how risky your area is and how long you’ll be leaving the bike unattended.
I would be tempted to go for the Granit X-Plus 540 over the Granit Extreme 59, because it’s more practical in terms of weight.
When it comes to small differences in security like this, locking technique is actually more important than which lock you have. So make sure the u-lock is full and keep both locks, but especially the chain as far from the floor as possible.
I hope that helps!
This is the most comprehensive and informative website on the topic of bike locks on the web. Keep up the great work! Thanks for doing this.
this site has been really useful in helping us think about the appropriate bike storage and security for my and my kids bikes – one question have you reviewed the Brighton Bike Shed at all? We like the idea of the “green” living roof, but would be interested in your opinion on their security if you have one.
Otherwise its between the value of the Powershed expense of the Pedalbase or security of the Asguard.
I like the idea of a green living roof too!
I haven’t reviewed the Brighton Bike Shed. And I only became aware of them after I’d written my shed guide.
If I’d have seen them earlier I would definitely have included them.
Their security features look great actually. Security crews on the hinges, drop bolts.
It would be nice to see a photo of the lock from the inside.
But I really like the elevated security bar inside.
It means you don’t have to worry about keeping you chain or u-lock away from the ground (where it might be cut relatively quietly with bolt croppers).
As long as you choose a good lock you can almost guarantee that a thief would have to use noisy power tools or pretty much destroy the shed (also noisy!) to steal your bike.
The price is nice as well!
A good choice I reckon…
This is the most informative, balanced and thoroughly researched bike security website ever. Every cyclist should have it marked as a favourite and should refer to it – there would be far less bikes stolen.
I just wanted to say many many thanks for your website, which I am recommending to all my cycling friends.
All the best
Thanks Pilar, I’m glad you find it useful!
One of the newest types of bikes out there is the ebike or electric bike. I know many of the tips that you give for bikes apply to ebikes and I can appreciate that. What I was wondering is: are there any specific tips or tricks you would recommend to someone that uses an ebike? Ebikes tend to run a bit more than a standard powered bike and often the investment is worth the cost of protection. I know I have added a Boomerang alarm and tracker to my own ebike and it seems to work well. I am hoping to see additional security aimed at protecting ebike components: battery, display, throttle as well as the bike itself.
I’ve recently written a piece about securing e-bikes for Pedal Sure insurance:
I’m thinking about expanding on it for a post here as well.
Have a read and let me know if there are things I’ve missed out or areas I could go into in more detail.
I suppose the thing with the battery, display and throttle is how they’re attached to the bike. If they’re attached with hex bolts then something like the Hexlox would work really well.
If they’re attached with something else then you’d need to look at that.
How are you finding the Boomerang? I’m planning a hands on review of that (and other trackers) soon as well.
I believe you have covered the bases on ebikes. My own ebike has two batteries and two motors, so I am a bit more concerned with security. I use two u-locks and a chain lock. Yes it adds weight but that is compensated for by the bike being electric. I am looking at adding a pannier frame for the front wheel and then fabricating attachment points just for the locks. I am also a fan of Hexlox. I am looking forward to installing them on the removable components.
The Boomerang device is something I am getting used to. It is very sensitive to any bump or movement. It beeps loudly anytime I move it. I have not tested it out in the wild yet as I am in the process of switching out my handlebars to something more comfortable. The app seems responsive and easy to use once you get logged into it. Right now it is armed in my garage.
I am hoping for new security measures to be created for ebikes to protect batteries (perhaps a cage or adjustable clamp lock).
I look forward to any updates made here that relate to ebikes and security. This page has a wealth of information.
Sounds like you’ve got a pretty secure set up already Michael!
And thanks for the info on the Boomerang.
Keep checking back, there’s loads of new content coming and I’m going to be doing more e-bike related stuff.
And please let me know if you have any suggestions of other topics I could cover!
I’ve just spent a very fruitful few hours reading through the huge amount of bike security info here after buying my first expensive (at least in my wife’s eyes!) E-bike. I knew I wanted to secure it both at home and whilst out and about and knew that my current cable lock wasn’t the answer. I also wanted to insure it and when some insurers stipulated Gold standard locks must be fitted that started my quest for information. I’ll shortly have an anchor point cemented into my garage floor and with a chain almost heavier than me attached thanks to thebestbikelock.com. Thank you Carl.
Good stuff Malcom! I’m glad to hear you’ve found the website useful. And it sounds like you’ve got a very secure home set up there!
To reset a bike lock with letters, you would not need a key to lock and it more convenient to use. There are two ways to reset your bike lock with letters. You can try to unlock the bike lock with the default combination provided by the manufacturer. It is usually effective and will allow you to reset the lock. When you reset word lock bike lock with letters without password: you have to use force to pull the ends of the bike lock. Then, twisting the rings and take a chance of guessing the correct letter of a particular hole. Finally, rotate it clockwise up to 180 degrees, set your new passcode.
Thank you Carl,
The lock review is very useful.
You summarise the feeling of having been a victim of bike theft (twice in Sweden over 22 years) very well. My not so expensive small ladies Trek was stolen during the night this week. The thief (I could call him/ her many thing but best on this forum) had the audacity to walk two car length and take it from beyond our parked cars(tight space) . I feel it was targetted as its normally stored in the shed but my teenage son had been riding it. Grrr. Sadly another statistic. I wish the police would clamp down.