If you’re looking for an unbreakable bike lock, then unfortunately I’ve got some bad news: no bike lock is unbreakable!
However, if you keep reading, I will introduce you to the next best thing: the 10 strongest bike locks money can buy.
But first a quick explanation. Every bike lock can be defeated if a thief has the right tools and enough time. The strongest bike locks just need more advanced tools and more time to break.
So when you buy the most secure bike lock, you’re just reducing the number of thieves who’ll have the tools and the time to steal your bike.
It’s also worth noting that the strongest bike lock doesn’t necessarily mean the best bike lock for you...
As we’ll see: with great strength comes some compromise! The more secure a bike lock is, the heavier and less practical it is. Not to mention more expensive.
But if you live in a high risk area such as a big town or city, and you ride a nice, expensive bike, then you’ll undoubtedly need a very strong lock.
The first three are new for 2023 and offer that most sought after quality: protection from angle grinders:
1. Litelok X3: Strongest Bike Lock
The Litelok X3 is the strongest bike lock available today according to my tests. But what makes the Litelok X3 so secure?
4.6 lb (2.1 kg)
3.93 x 7.6"
Other Security Ratings:
In many ways, the Litelok X3 is just like any other high security u-lock. A 16 mm, hardened steel shackle makes it impossible to cut with manual bolt cutters. And it also locks into the crossbar on both sides, which prevents leverage attacks and means it need to be cut twice to defeat it.
However, where the Litelok X3 differs from other high security u-locks, is that it has a ceramic composite material fused onto the outside of the shackle. And this material essentially wears down angle grinder discs as they are cutting through the lock.
I tested all three angle grinder resistant u-locks (plus the Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini which was the strongest portable bike lock until now), to find out which performed best against a mains powered angle grinder.
Here's the video of the Hiplok D1000 vs Litelok X3 vs an angle grinder:
The video is quite long and boring, though. You can see the results in the table below:
Time to cut
Note: This test was not designed to replicate a theft in the street (where the thief would use a battery powered angle grinder and wouldn’t be able to completely immobilize the locks).
In the street, these times would be way higher.
But this method is good for determining the comparative resistance to angle grinders of all the locks tested.
So, you can see from the table that it took longer to cut the Litelok X3 than any of the other locks.
Since the only realistic way that any of these locks will be defeated in the street is with an angle grinder, this makes the Litelok X3 the strongest bike lock!
However, it’s worth noting that these numbers don’t include the time it took to change angle grinder discs. If they did, then the overall times would be much closer, as I needed one more disc to defeat the Hiplok D1000 than the Litelok X3.
One final point: while we know that bike thieves do not pick locks in the street, the Litelok X3 also features an Alboy Sentry cylinder, which is reputed to be one of the most pickproof mechanisms in the world.
While I would prefer a more modest cylinder, if it meant a more modest price, I can’t deny that this adds another layer of security and yet more evidence that the Litelok X3 is the strongest bike lock currently available!
2. Hiplok D1000: A close second!
The Hiplok D1000 is the second-strongest bike lock available today. In my tests, when compared to the Litelok X3, it took 30 seconds less to cut the first side, and a minute less to cut both sides of the D1000.
20 x 15 mm
4.2 lb (1.9 kg)
3.62 x 6.1"
Other Security Ratings:
Which is quite a lot of time when you’re trying to steal a bike!
I did need more discs, though.
And in the street, with a battery powered angle grinder and more movement from the locks, I would expect these times to be longer and the number of discs required to be higher. So the times to defeat the locks might ultimately get closer.
But what makes the Hiplok D1000 so secure?
Like the Litelok X3, the Hiplok D1000 uses a ceramic composite to produce this angle grinder resistance. However, rather than fusing the ceramic material to the surface of regular steel, the whole lock seems to made from this composite.
You might be able to see from the video above that the experience of cutting through the two different materials is also quite different.
While the Hiplok seems to almost melt the angle grinder discs, the Litelok is more aggressive and sparky. However, the ultimate effect on angle grinder discs is essentially the same!
The Hiplok D1000 has a rectangular profile shackle (15 x 20 mm) that is impossible to crop with (even the biggest), manual bolt cutters. And of course it locks on both sides to prevent leverage attacks and require two cuts to defeat, like all good u-locks.
If you’re trying to decide between these two locks, then I have another article coming soon where I will compare their usability (which is really important when making a choice).
I can give you a quick heads up now, though: the main point to consider is the smaller internal locking space of the D1000. See my full, hands on Hiplok D1000 review for more details.
3. Litelok X1: The Practical Choice
The Litelok X1 is the third-strongest bike lock available today. And it’s basically a slimmed down version of the Litelok X3, with a standard mechanism replacing the Alboy Sentry cylinder in its big brother.
3.7 lb (1.7 kg)
3.97 x 7.7"
Other Security Ratings:
When I say slimmed down, the metal part of the shackle is still 16 mm thick, which means it's impossible to cut with any manual bolt cutters. However, there is less ceramic composite fused to the surface of the shackle.
This makes the overall profile of the shackle slimmer, and it also weighs less. Of course, this will obviously also make the shackle less resistant to angle grinders.
But how much less resistant?
Well, you can see in the table above that it took less than half as long to cut one side of the Litelok X1 as the Hiplok D1000 and about as third as long as the Litelok X3. Which is quite significant.
But it’s important to note that while I was able to get through one side of the X1 with just one angle grinder disc (using a mains powered grinder), that disc was much diminished and wasn’t able to get through the second side.
So even supposing ideal conditions in the street (with a high-powered grinder and a lock that doesn’t move), the thief would still have to change discs at least once, which is far from ideal.
And as you can see from the video (when my clamps started to let me down as I tried to cut the second side), if there is any kind of movement in the lock, the angle grinder discs wear down much faster.
In the end, the movement of the lock as I tried to cut the second side, meant that I went through another 4 angle grinder discs without being able to successfully get through the lock!
As well from being lighter than both the X3 and the Hiplok D1000, the X1 has a couple of other significant advantages over the two stronger locks:
- It’s significantly cheaper
- It comes with a decent frame mount
Bearing in mind these advantages, and the fact that, in the street, I think it should be secure enough to deter most angle grinder wielding thieves, the Litelok X1 is my choice for best bike lock in 2023, despite not being as strong as the X3 or D1000.
4. Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit: Strong but no Angle Grinder Resistance
While the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini was undoubtedly the strongest portable bike lock for many years, the advent of the three angle grinder resistant bike locks above, means that is no longer the case.
That doesn’t mean it doesn’t remain a very secure bike lock, though.
Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini
4.55 lb (2.06 kg)
3.25 x 6"
(8.3 x 15.3 cm)
Other Security Ratings:
With an 18 mm shackle, it’s completely bolt-cutter proof. Not only from the biggest, manual bolt cutters. But also from hydraulic bolt cutters!...
It’s double bolted (locking on both sides of the shackle), so it also needs to be cut twice to open it up.
And, because it’s a mini u-lock, once you’ve secured your bike, there shouldn’t be any space inside the U shape which could be exploited by leverage attacks or filled with a small hydraulic bottle jack.
However, thieves are mostly targeting high security bike locks with angle grinders these days.
And it’s just too easy to cut through the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini with an angle grinder.
In my test (in the video at the top of the page), it took just 32 seconds to cut through both sides of the Fahgettaboudit Mini with a mains powered angle grinder.
And in the video below, where the thief was using a battery powered angle grinder and the lock moved about more, it still only took 70 seconds to cut both sides.
It's worth noting that in the video above, the lock is positioned to make an angle grinder attack much easier (and therefore quicker). In the real world, you'd lock it lower down around the seat post or chain stay, where it would be much more difficult to access.
However, compared to the new generation of angle grinder resistant bike locks, the performance of the Fahgettaboudit is just not good enough.
And all this security does mean compromises elsewhere. It’s very heavy, weighing 4.55 lb (2.06 kg), which is about the same as 5.5 cans of coke. So carrying it around every day could be an issue.
And its small size means you won’t have loads of options when our looking for somewhere to lock your bike. You'll be limited to bike racks and railings.
So when there are lighter, bigger locks that are more secure against the methods that thieves are using in the street, it's difficult to recommend the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini in 2023.
5. Abus Granit X-Plus 54 Mini: Strong and Light
Abus Granit X-Plus 54 Mini
2.65 lb (1.20 kg)
4.25 x 5.51"
(10.8 x 14 cm)
Other Security Ratings:
Also known as the San Francisco Lock (because it was specifically designed to fit around the city’s reinforced parking meters), the Abus 54 Mini is often overlooked when thinking about the very strongest bike locks.
Maybe because at first glance it doesn't look that tough. But that's what makes it such a great lock...
The shackle is only 13 mm thick. But it’s made from a very strong steel in a special parabolic shape that makes it immune to bolt cutter attacks.
Just like the Fahgettaboudit it’s double bolted and its small size means it’s very unlikely it could be defeated by a hydraulic jack or leverage attacks.
So it's nearly but not quite as secure as the Fahgettaboudit.
Where it resolutely beats the Fahgettaboudit is in weight. At 2.56 lb (1.16 kg) it’s almost half as heavy as the Kryptonite lock. That’s a much more manageable 3 cans of coke!
For me, the weight advantage of the Abus beats the security advantage of the Kryptonite, and if they are more or less the same price I would tend to go for the Abus. But that’s a choice you will make yourself based on your own priorities!
6. Kryptonite New York Standard: Strong and Big
The Kryptonite New York Standard [Amazon] isn’t quite the standard sized version of the New York Fahgettaboudit. (That would be the New York M18-WL which I’m excluding here because it’s really a motorcycle lock).
Kryptonite New York Standard
4.35 lb (1.97 kg)
4" x 8"
(10.2 x 20.3 cm)
Other Security Ratings:
But in terms of security it’s the closest a standard sized bicycle u-lock gets to the Fahgettaboudit. It “only” has a 16 mm shackle compared to the 18 mm shackle on the Fahgettaboudit. But it’s still Sold Secure Bicycle Gold and gets 4/5 stars from ART.
And even though the bigger size will give you loads more places to lock your bike, it’s still lighter than the Fahgettaboudit. So you win twice!
Weighing 4.35 lb (1.97 kg), of course it’s still very heavy (around the same as 5 cans of Coke). But you won’t find another standard sized u-lock offering this kind of security that’s any lighter.
So, if you want the very highest level of protection without sacrificing the number of places you’ll be able to lock your bike, the New York Standard is a great choice.
7. OnGuard Brute Mini: Strong and Cheap
The OnGuard Brute Mini [Amazon] is a mini u-lock just like the Fahgettaboudit. It’s double bolted and with a shackle that’s 16.8 mm thick, it’s also completely bolt cutter proof.
And while it’s not quite as secure as the Fahgettaboudit, it's always available at a much cheaper price!
OnGuard Brute Mini
3.83 lb (1.74 kg)
3.55 x 5.52"
(9 x 14 cm)
It’s not actually rated by Sold Secure or ART. But don't let that worry you (unless your insurance policy requires an officially rated lock)...
It’s essentially the smaller version of the Sold Secure Diamond rated OnGuard Brute LS (and has the same in-house security rating), so it's just as secure, and I feel very confident recommending it here.
Again it’s significantly lighter than the Fahgettaboudit, weighing 3.06 lb (1.39 kg), which is about the same as 3.5 cans of Coke. So it may be a little more practical as well.
OnGuard locks sometimes have a reputation for poor reliability, but as long as you clean and lubricate it now and again, you should be OK.
All in all, this is a very strong lock. And since it’s usually much cheaper than other locks that offer the same level of protection, I’d say it was the best value high security bike lock around.
8. Pragmasis Protector: Strongest Stationary Chain Lock
Since over 50% of stolen bikes are taken from the owner’s home, how you secure your bike in your garden, shed or garage is really, really important.
And since you don’t have to worry about carrying your lock around, in these situations chain locks are generally the best option.
Why? Well, the very strongest chain locks are immune to certain types of attacks that can defeat even very secure u-locks...
For instance, hydraulic bottle jacks and leverage attacks can’t really be used on a chain. So the very strongest chains are more secure than the very strongest u-locks (apart from the three angle grinder resistant u-locks at the top of the page).
Chains are also more practical at home. Their relative length means you can use one chain to secure two or more bikes.
And they’re much more suited to use with ground anchors, shed shackles and the other immovable objects you’re likely to be securing your bike to at home.
But as we already know: stronger bike locks are heavier bike locks. That’s just the way it is. And since chain locks are always heavier than u-locks, the strongest chains are really, really heavy!
Of course, this won’t matter if you’re just using them at home. But just to be clear: these super secure chain locks are not for carrying around on your bike!
Both offer chains with 16 mm links that are guaranteed to be bolt cropper proof. No: they can’t be cropped even by the biggest, most powerful 42″ croppers.
Pragmasis Protector with Squire SS65
60" (150 cm)
This means that the only way a thief is getting through these chains is with an angle grinder. And that would obviously make a fair bit of noise!
Both chains come in a range of lengths with the well regarded Squire SS65CS Stronghold lock which has a 13 mm shackle that can’t be cropped either since the way it closes protects it from attack.
And of course, both chains are Sold Secure Bicycle Gold and Motorcycle Gold.
Which to choose? In terms of security, they’re both about the same. They’re the very strongest bicycle chain locks you can buy. (Both companies offer even more secure, 19 mm chains, but these are so heavy they might actually damage your bike, so are not recommended for bicycles).
I prefer Pragmasis simply because they have an admirable environmental policy. But that's the only reason!
If you’re in the US, then you won’t be able to get the Almax or Pragmasis chains. In which case, the next best thing is the Kryptonite New York Legend chain...
New York Legend 1515
15.95 lb (7.23 kg)
60" (150 cm)
Other security ratings:
This is Kryptonite’s most secure lock: a chain with 15 mm thick links is secured by a padlock with a 16 mm shrouded shackle.
While Kryptonite don’t guarantee it can’t be bolt cropped, it would take a very skilled (not to mention big and heavy) thief to get through this chain. I’ve certainly never heard of it being defeated by bolt croppers.
That it’s Kryptonite’s strongest lock is reflected in the security ratings. ART give it 5/5 stars. And Kryptonite themselves give it a full 10/10!
It’s available in two lengths: 35.5" (90 cm) and 60.0" (150 cm). The shorter chain weighs 9.50 lb (4.31 kg) which is the same as 11 cans of coke. While the longer weighs 15.95 lb (7.23 kg) which is about the same as 18.5 cans of coke.
As I said, these are not locks to carry around on your bicycle!
However, if you’re looking for the very strongest lock available to keep your bike safe at home: it's a fantastic choice.
9. Kryptonite New York Noose: Strongest Portable Chain Lock
While in most cases u-locks are the best choice for portable security and chain locks are best for stationary security, there may be circumstances where you’d prefer to use a chain lock out in the street.
For example, maybe you find wrapping a chain round your seat post easier than dealing with flaky u-lock frame mounts. Or maybe you need the greater locking options a longer chain gives you.
In both of these cases, I’d usually suggest you look at folding locks before chain locks.
But even the most secure folding locks aren’t as strong as a good chain. And maybe you want to use one lock to secure your bike both at home and out in the street. In which case a really secure chain lock could be a good choice.
The problem with chains is that to be portable they need to be thinner. And as chains become thinner, they become more vulnerable to bolt croppers. So, unlike u-locks, there are no portable chains that can’t be bolt cropped.
However, a thick chain of high quality, hardened steel and a good locking technique that keeps the chain off the ground can make it very unlikely that anyone will be able to bolt crop your lock out in the street.
So the strongest portable chain lock is simply the thickest chain that’s still light enough to carry around on your bike every day. And for me, that’s the Kryptonite New York Noose.
New York Noose 1275
6.95 lb (3.15 kg)
30" (75 cm)
Other security ratings:
This lock features a chain with 12 mm thick links and a disc lock with a 14 mm shackle. While both can theoretically be bolt cropped, if you keep the lock off the ground you can make this almost impossible.
And since Sold Secure award it Bicycle Gold and ART give it 4/5 stars you can rest assured this is a very secure bike lock indeed.
Now usually a 12 mm chain that’s long enough to be practical would be prohibitively heavy. Far too heavy to carry around on your bike every day.
But since this lock uses a noose system that almost doubles the usable length of the chain, it can be shorter and therefore lighter while still remaining practical. I explain how this system works in my full review here.
Don’t think that this means the New York Noose is light! It’s available in two lengths 30.0" (75 cm) and 51.0" (130 cm). Only the shorter length is light enough to be portable.
And even then it weighs 6.95 lb (3.15 kg) which is the same as 8 cans of Coke and makes it significantly heavier than even the Fahgettaboudit!
So there needs to be a good reason to choose a portable chain lock over a u-lock. But if that choice makes sense to you then this is the strongest portable chain lock available and a really great lock for high risk areas.
10. Altor SAF: First Angle Grinder Resistant Bike Lock!
If no lock is unbreakable that's largely because no lock is angle grinder proof. As countless online wags will tell you of any lock: "an angle grinder will go through that in seconds, mate".
And until the recent launch of the Hiplok D1000 and the Litelok X1 and X3, those wags weren't really wrong.
Except for the Altor SAF.
Because while the Altor SAF isn't angle grinder proof, it will slow a grinder down for long enough to make a thief give up...
13.2 lbs (6.0 kg)
3.2 x 5.5"
(8 x 14 cm)
8 x 11"
(20 x 28 cm)
How have they managed this? The SAF features a pretty standard 14 mm shackle that double locks into a hardened steel cross bar.
But the whole thing is wrapped in an aluminum shell that keeps an angle grinder blade away from the shackle.
And while the angle grinder could (of course) cut the aluminum shell to get to the shackle, it's designed in such a way that this takes a long, long time. In one test, it took over an hour, (plus several new blades and batteries)!
The Altor SAF has not been tested by Sold Secure or ART yet. And it's not clear how long it would withstand a multi tool attack. Which is one of the reasons it's not higher up this list.
But by effectively nullifying angle grinder attacks, it certainly deserves its place in this list.
Now, one thing I must stress: the SAF is absolutely massive. It weighs 13.2 lbs (6.0 kg). Which is the same as 3 Fahgettaboudits or 16 cans of coke!
And while the internal measurements of 3.2" x 5.5" (8 x 14 cm) are about the same as the mini u-lock Fahgettaboudit, the external measurements of 8" x 11" (20 x 28 cm) make it the bulkiest u-lock around!
So this is not a portable u-lock. And neither is it a u-lock that offers lots of flexible locking options. This is a lock to keep wherever you keep your bike overnight. And make sure you've got a secure immovable object that the SAF will fit around!
But as the world's first angle grinder resistant bike lock, it was a great leap forward in bicycle security!
So these are the very strongest bike locks. They’re not unbreakable. Whatever anyone tells you: no bike lock is unbreakable (and there’s no such thing as a theft proof bike). But they’re as close as you’ll get.
Don’t forget of course that this security comes at a price. The strongest locks are often small, heavy or expensive. Some of them are all three!
But if you ride a desirable, high value bike in a high risk area then you need a super secure bike lock and these are the best you can buy.
With one of these locks and good locking technique, you’ll know you’ve done the most you could possibly do to protect your bike.
If you’re not sure, I suggest you read my complete guide to finding the best bike lock for you.
This will show you the 3 simple steps that guarantee you find a lock that both adequately protects your bike and is practical and painless for you to use every day.
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