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The Best Chain Lock (and how to use it!)

The Best Chain Lock (and how to use it!)

Last Updated on February 6, 2024 63 Comments

Chain locks are made up of a series of hardened steel links (usually inside a protective nylon sleeve), and a lock. The lock can be integrated into the chain, or it can be a separate padlock.

There are several great things about chain locks:

Firstly, their relative length and flexibility means you can secure your bike to a wide range of objects.

Secondly, for those that don't like those annoying u-lock frame mounts, the shorter, thinner chain locks can be carried relatively easily, wrapped around your seat post.

Chain lock around seat post

Chains: easy to carry around your seat post

And finally, they are more resistant to some of the common methods of attack used on other bike locks. For example, they can't be bottled jacked or leveraged open. And they're more difficult to cut with power tools. 

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

Because of this, we need to divide chain locks into two groups:

  1. chain locks that are light enough to carry around everyday on your bicycle
  2. chain locks that are so heavy you need to leave them permanently in one place.

So before you buy a chain lock, you should decide what you're really after: portable or stationary security? And once that's established, we can find the best chain lock for you.

Don't worry, we'll cover it all here...

Let's start with the qualities that are common to both groups and the things we should be looking out for when buying a chain lock.

The Chain

Not all chains are made from the same type of metal. For reliable security, the links of the chain should be made from a high quality, core hardened steel alloy, that's not too brittle.

The easiest way to guarantee this is to buy from a reputable brand such as Kryptonite, OnGuard, Abus or Pragmasis.

Chain links usually have rounded edges. However, some security chains now have hexagonal or square links.

These are supposed to be more difficult for bolt cutters to grip, and spread the cropping pressure over a larger surface. So they're supposed to be harder to crop...

Hexagonal chain links

Hexagonal chain links: are not more secure...

Round chain links

... than round chain links

However, used bolt cutters will have nicks in the blades which can catch the edges of such links, actually making it easier to get a good grip. So in fact, these different shaped links offer no more protection than round links. Indeed, they may be easier to crop!

But obviously the thicker the links, the tougher the chain lock...

Chain Link Thickness

Can be cut by bolt cutters?

< 13 mm

Yes (medium size)

13 - 15 mm

Yes (only biggest 36 and 42")

16 mm and above

No

Links with diameters less than 10 mm can be cut relatively easily with medium-sized bolt cutters, if the thief can get the chain in a good position.

Links with diameters of between 10 and 12 mm can sometimes be cut by medium size bolt cutters if the thief knows what they are doing and can get good leverage on the chain.

Whereas, links with diameters between 13 and 15 mm can only be cut by the very biggest 42" bolt cutters, which the vast majority of bike thieves won't have.

And at 16 mm and above, the links can’t be cut, by even the biggest hand operated bolt cutters.

Different chain link sizes

16 mm chain links are really big and heavy!

But whatever its thickness, the chance of your chain being cropped can be significantly reduced by keeping the chain as far off the ground as possible when you lock your bike.

In order to crop a decent chain, the thief will need to use one arm of the bolt cutter against the ground as leverage. The further your lock is off the ground, the more difficult and less effective this will be.

The Lock

Any bike lock is only as strong as its weakest point. So there’s no point having a super thick, super strong chain if you’re securing it with a cheap, feeble padlock!

Chain locks usually come with their own locking mechanisms. Sometimes they're padlocks or mini u-locks. Sometimes they're permanently integrated into one end of the chain.

Either way, the locking mechanism should be reliable and should resist leverage attacks, picking, pulling and drilling.

Kryptonite New York disc lock

Shackle should be at least as thick as chain or...

OnGuard Beast padlock

... shrouded so it can't be cropped

If there’s a shackle, it should be as thick as (or thicker than) the chain links, or inaccessible to bolt cutters (shrouded).

Chain locks: Length vs Weight

One of the advantages of chain locks (over u-locks) is that their (generally) greater length gives you a wider range of objects to secure your bike to.

However, the longer the lock, the greater the overall weight. And chain locks get very heavy, very quickly. Even the lighter chains are often too heavy to carry comfortably in a bag on your back.

Yes, maybe you can attach them to your luggage rack, carry them in your basket or wrap them around your seat post. But, in order to minimize the extra weight, you should generally choose the shortest length that enables you to lock your bike where and how you want to.

Be careful though, some of the short ones are really short! Before you commit to buying a chain lock, measure out a length of rope and test that it's long enough to use wherever you normally lock your bike.

Having said all this, you will just have to accept that a chain lock is always going to be heavier than a u-lock that provides equivalent protection...

Kryptonite Kryptolok Chain Lock

Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 955 Mini

Internal Space:

21.5" (55 cm)

Weight:

3.90 lb (1.77 kg)

Security rating:

6/10

Kryptonite Kryptolok U-Lock

Internal Space:

21.5" (55 cm)

Weight:

2.85 lb (1.29 kg)

Security rating:

6/10

For example, the Kryptonite Kryptolock Series 2 u-lock weighs 2.85 lb (1.29 Kg). At the same security level, the lightest Kryptolock Series 2 chain lock is 3.90 lbs (1.77 Kg), nearly a whole pound and 30% heavier.

And at just 21.5” (55 cm) in length, it provides the same internal locking space as the u-lock. Yes, its flexibility is an advantage, but it’s hardly going to give you loads more options when looking for places to lock your bike.

A more practical 37.5” (95 cm) Krytolock Series 2 chain lock is available, but at 5.55 lbs (2.52 Kg) it weighs almost twice as much as the u-lock.

Chain locks are heavy! If that's a problem, get a u-lock or a folding lock instead.

How to choose the best chain lock for you!

I imagine that you already know whether you want a mobile or stationary lock. It's a pretty clear distinction...

You'll use a mobile chain lock every day, carrying it around on your bike and securing it around your bike and the various street furniture in your neighborhood.

Whereas, a stationary chain lock will be left at home (or wherever you leave your bike overnight) and only used there to secure your bike (or more likely several bikes) over longer periods of time.

But what if you want both? Do you want a chain lock that you can carry around every day and use at home overnight? Well, there are locks that can do both. But they don't do either really well.

A two lock system (where you have one for daily use in the street and another that you keep at home for overnight protection) is usually the most secure and practical option.

But don't worry, we'll cover them all...

Choosing a portable chain lock

How secure should your chain lock be?

The best way to discover the security level of any bike lock, is to check the ratings from the independent testing house, Sold Secure.

If you want to know more about Sold Secure and why they provide the best measure of bike lock security, check out my guide to choosing the best bike lock.

All you need to know here is that Sold Secure test and measure bike locks according to their security level, rating each one Bronze (least secure), Silver, Gold or Diamond (most secure).

But how can you know which Sold Secure rating you need? Well, the best way to find out, is to answer the 3 quick questions in the quiz below…

Based on your answers to the three questions, the quiz should recommend either Silver, Gold or Diamond rated bike locks. Bronze locks aren't secure enough for any circumstances, so I don't recommend them at all!

There's quite a bit of variation in security within each rating. So some Silver rated locks are more secure than other Silver rated locks. And likewise for Gold and Diamond rated locks.

With chain locks, this will largely be determined by the link thickness. By choosing a thicker Silver (or Gold, or Diamond) chain link, you'll generally be choosing a more secure one.

How long should your chain lock be?

One reason to choose a chain lock (over a u-lock) is the extra options it gives you when you're looking for somewhere to lock your bike. More flexible and longer chain locks go places u-locks can't.

And the longer the chain lock, the more options you'll have. But longer chains are very heavy (as well as expensive).

So get the shortest length that you need to secure your bike. You can use a length of rope to work that out if necessary.

How should you secure your bike with a portable chain?

I recommend that you don't use a chain lock to secure your frame and your wheels in the same way you might normally use a u-lock:

Chain lock close to the ground

Don't use your chain lock like this: it's too close to the ground

Chains are much more vulnerable to bolt cutters than u-locks, and if they're too close to the ground (like in the photo above) a thief can use the ground for leverage and cut through the chain.

Chain lock around top tube

Further from the ground = much more secure

If you only use it to secure your frame (tightly wrapped around your top tube), you can keep the chain shorter (and lighter). And even more significantly: it will be further from the ground, so it will be much harder for a thief to crop it.

There are plenty of other ways to secure your wheels! And I've written lot's more about how to lock your bike properly.

However, you have a couple of options if you want to protect your frame and your rear wheel at the same time:

With a longer chain, you might be able to get it around your top tube and through your wheel too (as in the photo below).

Chain lock further from the ground

Far off the ground & securing the frame and the wheel = most secure!

Or you might be able to fasten it through your seat stays and your rear wheel, in a way that also keeps it a good distance from the ground (as in the photo below).

How will you carry your chain lock around?

Thinner, shorter chains locks can be carried wrapped around your seat post. Some brands sell chain bags that you strap to your frame. And there are even some chain locks that you can wear around your waist.

Hiplok Gold chain lock belt

All the Hiplok chains can be worn like a belt

Make sure you've thought about this before you buy one. Is there room on your seat post? If not, is there room in your bag or your panniers? There are other places to put your lock when you're riding, but chains can be more challenging than other bike locks.

6 mm chain locks

I wouldn't usually recommend 6 mm chain locks under any circumstances. They can be cropped or cut far too easily.

And I've never seen a 6 mm chain lock with more than a Sold Secure Bronze rating, which is just not good enough to protect our bikes!

However, there is one very unusual exception. The tex-lock is a 6 mm chain, encased in a thick textile cover, which makes it look and feel more like a length of rope than a chain lock!

Tex-lock eyelet with X-lock

Combined with the X-lock the Tex-lock is very versatile!

The textile cover provides an additional layer of protection for the chain and if you pair it with their Sold Secure Gold rated X-lock, you get a very versatile bike lock...

In high risk circumstances, you can use the X-lock to secure your frame and the chain to protect your wheels. In low risk circumstances, you can use the chain to secure the frame, (and the X-lock to protect one wheel), with the extra length giving you loads of locking options!

Model Weight Cans of Coke Length Sold Secure rating ART rating
Tex-Lock Eyelet and X-lock S Tex-Lock Eyelet and X-lock S 1.42 kg
(3.13 lb)
4 31.5 "
(80 cm)
Pedal Gold 3 stars
Tex-Lock Eyelet and X-lock M Tex-Lock Eyelet and X-lock M 1.69 kg
(3.73 lb)
4.5 47.2 "
(120 cm)
Pedal Gold 3 stars
Tex-Lock Eyelet and X-lock L Tex-Lock Eyelet and X-lock L 1.94 kg
(4.28 lb)
5 63.0 "
(160 cm)
Pedal Gold 3 stars

But be careful...

You need to understand the different security levels of the different parts of this chain lock (and how to use them properly), to get the best out of it. The textile covered chain is not rated by Sold Secure and is only suitable for short stops in low risk circumstances.

And the X-lock is very, very narrow, so will only fit around Sheffield bike stand sized immovable objects. 

Check out my full tex-lock review here and read how the X-lock made my best lightweight bike lock list before you buy.

Update: Get 10% off any purchase of Tex-lock products by using the code "bestbikelock10".

7 mm chain locks

7 mm chain locks are at the lowest end of what's an acceptable level of protection for your bike. And the only 7mm chain that currently has a Sold Secure Silver rating is the Seatylock Viking Silver.

Click on the links in the table to check the prices at Amazon (or other retailers).

Model Weight Cans of Coke Length Sold Secure rating ART rating
Seatylock Viking Silver 90
Seatylock Viking Silver 90 1.35 kg
(2.98 lb)
3.5 35.4 "
(90 cm)
Pedal Silver
Seatylock Viking Silver 110 Seatylock Viking Silver 110 1.6 kg
(3.53 lb)
4.5 43.3 "
(110 cm)
Pedal Silver
Seatylock Viking Silver 140 Seatylock Viking Silver 140 1.95 kg
(4.3 lb)
5 55.1"
(140 cm)
Pedal Silver

* In all the tables on this page, I also give the weight in cans of Coke to help you understand just how heavy the chain locks are. On mobile, you just need to click on the small plus sign above the image to see these (plus the security ratings).

If your circumstances are low risk, then you might be able to get away with a 7 mm chain lock. Just don't leave your bike unattended for long periods, and be careful with your locking technique.

I strongly advise that you don't use a 7mm chain lock in the same way you’d normally use a u-lock. This will leave it too near the ground, where thieves can leverage a pair of bolt croppers to cut it relatively easily.

Instead, wrap the chain lock tightly around your top tube and whatever you're locking the bike to. This will keep the lock away from the ground and make it impossible for a thief to move it closer.

I think 7 mm chain locks could still be cropped without using the ground, if the thief has big enough bolt cutters and enough strength. But most bike thieves won't!

What about your wheels? With one of the longer Vikings, you might be able to get your chain around the top tube and the rear wheel. Or you may be able to wrap it around the seat stays and the rear wheel in a way that keeps it far from the ground.

But, if you're using a 7 mm chain lock, I'd imagine that neither your bike nor your wheels are particularly expensive or covetable!

So you might be able to get away with simply swapping out the quick release levers on your wheels for standard bolts. Otherwise, there are plenty of alternative ways to protect your wheels, that won't put the whole bike at risk.

8 mm chain locks

They are only 1 mm thicker than the 7 mm chains and although this makes them a fair bit more secure, they still only get a Silver rating from Sold Secure…

Click on the links in the table to check the prices at Amazon (or other retailers).

Model Weight Cans of Coke Length Sold Secure rating ART rating
Abus Steel-O-Chain 9808 85 Abus Steel-O-Chain
9808 85
1.75 kg
(3.86 lb)
4.5 33.46 "
(85 cm)
Pedal Silver 2 stars
Abus Steel-O-Chain 9808 110 Abus Steel-O-Chain
9808 110
2.55 kg
(5.62 lb)
7 43.3 "
(110 cm)
Pedal Silver 2 stars
Abus Steel-O-Chain 9808 140 Abus Steel-O-Chain
9808 140
2.8 kg
(6.17 lb)
7.5 55.11 "
(140 cm)
Pedal Silver 2 stars
Abus Steel-O-Chain 9808 170 Abus Steel-O-Chain
9808 170
3.21 kg
(7.08 lb)
8.5 66.93 "
(170 cm)
Pedal Silver 2 stars
Abus Iven Chain 8210 85 Abus Iven Chain
8210 85
1.93 kg
(4.26 lb)
5 33.0 "
(85 cm)
Pedal Silver 2 stars
Abus Iven Chain 8210 110 Abus Iven Chain
8210 110
2.5 kg
(5.5 lb)
6.5 43.0 "
(110 cm)
Pedal Silver 2 stars
Hiplok Original Hiplok Original 1.8 kg
(3.97 lb)
5 33.46 "
(85 cm)
Pedal Silver 2 stars
Hiplok Homie Silver Hiplok Homie Silver 2.6 kg
(5.73 lb)
7 47.24 "
(120 cm)
Pedal Silver 2 stars
Squire DCL1 J3 Chain Lock Squire DCL1 J3
Chain Lock
1.7 kg
(3.75 lb)
4.5 36.02 "
(91.5 cm)
Pedal Silver
Oxford Chain 8 Oxford Chain 8 2.0 kg
(4.5 lb)
5.5 39.37 "
(100 cm)
Pedal Silver
Trelock BC 480 110 Trelock BC 480 110 1.9 kg
(4.19 lb)
5 43.3 "
(110 cm)
Pedal Silver
AXA Absolute 8-90 AXA Absolute 8-90 1.74 kg
(3.84 lb)
4.5 35.43 "
(90 cm)
Pedal Silver
AXA Absolute 8-110 AXA Absolute 8-110 1.96 kg
(4.32 lb)
5.5 43.3 "
(110 cm)
Pedal Silver
Squire Chainlok 8 Squire Chainlok 8 1.8 kg
(3.97 lb)
5 33.5 "
(85 cm)
Pedal Silver

My favorite is the Hiplok Original [Amazon] chain lock, It's got the best weight to length ratio, which means it's much lighter than similarly sized, (or even smaller) chains.

Plus, it comes with an integrated Velcro strap, which allows it to be worn around your waist like a belt!

Hiploks can be worn like a belt!

Hiploks can be worn like a belt!

This is a really convenient way to carry your chain lock around. It's quick and easy to get it on. And the way the weight is distributed means you'll barely notice it's there.

I’m less keen on the Hiplok Homie though. This lock is specifically designed for stationary, home use, and to be honest I think we need better protection at home than any 8 mm chain lock can provide.

It's also worth noting that the weight of these locks is becoming significant. The lightest chain locks in the table above, are the same weight as 4.5 cans of Coke, and already heavier than many Sold Secure Gold rated standard size u-locks!

Again, with 8 mm chains, I recommend that you secure your bike by wrapping the lock tightly around your top tube or the seat stays, so it can't be maneuvered close to the ground, where it's susceptible to bolt cropper attacks.

9 mm chain locks

At 9 mm, chain locks start to get significantly more secure, and many have Sold Secure Gold ratings.

However, be aware that the Gold rating is usually accompanied by a 2/5 rating from ART (another independent security testing organization), which puts these locks at the lower end of the Gold scale.

Click on the links in the table to check the prices at Amazon (or other retailers).

Model Weight Cans of Coke Length Sold Secure rating ART rating
Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 990 Combo Chain Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 990 Combo Chain 2.65 kg
(5.85 lb)
7 35.5 "
(90 cm)
Pedal Gold
Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 912 Combo Chain Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 912 Combo Chain 3.33 kg
(7.35 lb)
9 47.3 "
(120 cm)
Pedal Gold
Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 955 Mini Integrated Chain Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 955 Mini Integrated Chain 1.77 kg
(3.90 lb)
4.5 21.5 "
(55 cm)
Pedal Gold 2 stars
Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 995 Integrated Chain Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 995 Integrated Chain 2.52 kg
(5.55 lb)
7 37.5 "
(95 cm)
Pedal Gold 2 stars
Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 912 Integrated Chain Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 912 Integrated Chain 3.04 kg
(6.7 lb)
8 47.3 "
(120 cm)
Pedal Gold 2 stars
Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 915 Integrated Chain Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 915 Integrated Chain 3.67 kg
(8.10 lb)
10 60.0 "
(150 cm)
Pedal Gold 2 stars
Abus CityChain 1010 85 Abus CityChain 1010 85 1.95 kg
(4.3 lb)
5 33.0 "
(85 cm)
Pedal Gold
Abus CityChain 1010 110 Abus CityChain 1010 110 2.4 kg
(5.29 lb)
6.5 43.0 "
(110 cm)
Pedal Gold
Abus CityChain 1010 140 Abus CityChain 1010 140 2.74 kg
(6.04 lb)
7.5 55.0 "
(140 cm)
Pedal Gold
Abus CityChain 1010 170 Abus CityChain 1010 170 3.38 kg
(7.45 lb)
9 67.0 "
(170 cm)
Pedal Gold
Axa Cherto 95 Axa Cherto 95 2.16 kg
(4.76 lb)
6 37.4 "
(95 cm)
Pedal Gold
AXA Absolute 9-90 AXA Absolute 9-90 2.24 kg
(4.94 lb)
6 35.4 "
(90 cm)
Pedal Gold 2 stars
AXA Absolute 9-110 AXA Absolute 9-110 2.73 kg
(6.02 lb)
7.5 43.3 "
(110 cm)
Pedal Gold 2 stars
AXA Newton ProMOTO-2 AXA Newton ProMOTO-2 2.35 kg
(5.18 lb)
6.5 39.37 "
(100 cm)
Pedal Gold
Milenco Coleraine Chain Lock 100 Milenco Coleraine Chain Lock 100 2.4 kg
(5.29 lb)
5 39.37 "
(100 cm)
Pedal Gold
Milenco Coleraine Chain Lock 140 Milenco Coleraine Chain Lock 140 2.98 kg
(6.57 lb)
8 55.1 "
(140 cm)
Pedal Gold
Milenco Coleraine Chain Lock 180 Milenco Coleraine Chain Lock 180 3.90 kg
(8.6 lb)
10.5 70.87 "
(180 cm)
Pedal Gold
Trelock BC 580 Trelock BC 580 2.2 kg
(4.85 lb)
6 43.3 "
(110 cm)
Pedal Gold 2 stars

I’m a big fan of the Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2 955 Mini [Amazon], which has been my pick for “best mid-security chain” for several years now.

It features an integrated lock, and its short length makes it relatively lightweight (for a chain), and easy to transport. The shorter length also means it’s easier to keep off the ground, either wrapped around the top tube, or through the seat stays.

Kryptonite Krptolock Series 2 955 Mini best mid-security chain

Kryptonite Kryptolok: a sensible mid-security choice

If you need something longer, the Kryptolok Series 2 comes in 3 other lengths. And there is even a version that uses a combination instead of keys.

The Abus CityChains [Amazon] are another good option. They have better weight to length ratios (they're lighter than the Kryptonite chains). But the Kryptonite chain locks will usually be cheaper, and are also eligible for an optional anti-theft protection, for bikes worth up to $1,500 / £800.

Don't forget, though: 9 mm locks are heavy! Even the short Series 2 955, which has the same internal locking space as a standard size u-lock, weighs more than 4 cans of Coke. And the longer chains are much heavier than that.

Both Kryptonite and Abus sell carry cases and bags that allow you to strap them to your frame. Since these cases keep the chains close to the frame, they should be more successful than most u-lock frame brackets (where the offset center of gravity makes u-locks unstable).

But check out the weights before you buy. Because people can be very surprised when they receive their chain lock and feel the weight in their hands for the first time!

Read my full, hands-on review of the Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2 955 Mini chain lock.

10 mm chain locks

At 10 mm, we're starting to reach the limits of portable security. For sure: the shorter chains can be used as daily bike locks on the move. But they're very heavy…

Click on the links in the table to check the prices at Amazon (or other retailers).

Model Weight Cans of Coke Length Sold Secure rating ART rating
Master Lock 8234 Master Lock 8234 2.3 kg
(5.07 lb)
6 35.43 "
(90 cm)
Pedal Silver
Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 1055 Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 1055 2 kg
(4.4 lb)
5.5 21.5 "
(55 cm)
Pedal Gold 3 stars
Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 1090 Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 1090 2.77 kg
(6.10 lb)
7.5 35.5 "
(90 cm)
Pedal Gold 3 stars
Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 1016 Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 1016 4.40 kg
(9.70 lb)
12 63.0 "
(160 cm)
Pedal Gold 3 stars
OnGuard Mastiff 8019 OnGuard Mastiff 8019 3.04 kg
(6.7 lb)
8 43.0 "
(110 cm)
Pedal Gold
OnGuard Mastiff 8019L OnGuard Mastiff 8019L 4.76 kg
(10.5 lb)
13 72.0 "
(183 cm)
Pedal Gold
Abus Granit CityChain X-Plus 1060 85 Abus Granit CityChain X-Plus 1060 85 2.1 kg
(4.63 lb)
5.5 33.0 "
(85 cm)
Pedal Gold 3 stars
Abus Granit CityChain X-Plus 1060 110 Abus Granit CityChain X-Plus 1060 110 2.65 kg
(5.84 lb)
7 43.0 "
(110 cm)
Pedal Gold 3 stars
Abus Granit CityChain X-Plus 1060 140 Abus Granit CityChain X-Plus 1060 140 3.26 kg
(7.19 lb)
8.5 55.0 "
(140 cm)
Pedal Gold 3 stars
Abus Granit CityChain X-Plus 1060 170 Abus Granit CityChain X-Plus 1060 170 3.75 kg
(8.27 lb)
10 67.0 "
(170 cm)
Pedal Gold 3 stars
Abus Ivy Chain 9100 85 Abus Ivy Chain 9100 85 2.45 kg
(5.4 lb)
6.5 33.0 "
(85 cm)
Pedal Gold
Abus Ivy Chain 9100 110 Abus Ivy Chain 9100 110 2.9 kg
(6.4 lb)
8 43.0 "
(110 cm)
Pedal Gold
Abus Ivy Chain 9100 140 Abus Ivy Chain 9100 140 3.85 kg
(8.49 lb)
10.5 55.0 "
(140 cm)
Pedal Gold
Abus Ivy Chain 9100 170 Abus Ivy Chain 9100 170 4.85 kg
(10.69 lb)
13 67.0 "
(170 cm)
Pedal Gold
Hiplok Gold Hiplok Gold 2.4 kg
(5.3 lb)
6.5 33.5 "
(85 cm)
Pedal Gold 2 stars
Hiplok Homie Hiplok Homie 4.6 kg
(10.14 lb)
12.5 59 "
(150 cm)
Pedal Gold 2 stars
Hiplok EDX Hiplok EDX 3.5 kg
(7.72 lb)
9.5 39.37 "
(100 cm)
Pedal Gold
Oxford HD Loop Chain Lock Oxford HD Loop Chain Lock 2.81 kg
(6.19 lb)
7.5 47.2 "
(120 cm)
Pedal Gold
Seatylock Viking 90 Seatylock Viking 90 2.4 kg
(5.3 lb)
6.5 35.4 "
(90 cm)
Pedal Gold
Seatylock Viking 110 Seatylock Viking 110 2.8 kg
(6.2 lb)
7.5 43.3 "
(110 cm)
Pedal Gold
Seatylock Viking 140 Seatylock Viking 140 3.40 kg
(7.5 lb)
9 55.1 "
(140 cm)
Pedal Gold
Zefal K-Traz M18 Zefal K-Traz M18 3.25 kg
(7.17 lb)
8.5 43.3 "
(110 cm)
Pedal Gold
Yale YCL3 Chain Lock 110 Yale YCL3 Chain Lock 110 3.15 kg
(6.94 lb)
8.5 43.3 "
(110 cm)
Pedal Gold
Yale YCL3 Chain Lock 180 Yale YCL3 Chain Lock 180 4.63 kg
(10.2 lb)
12.5 70.8 "
(180 cm)
Pedal Gold
Pewag VKK10x35 Chain Pewag VKK10x35 Chain 2.93 kg
(6.46 lb)
8 39.97 "
(100 cm)
Pedal Gold
Burg Wachter 1010S Burg Wachter 1010S 2.02 kg
(4.45 lb)
5.5 39.97 "
(100 cm)
Pedal Gold
Burg Wachter 1015S Burg Wachter 1015S 2.94 kg
(6.48 lb)
8 59.6 "
(150 cm)
Pedal Gold
Burg Wachter 1020S Burg Wachter 1020S 3.96 kg
(8.73 lb)
10.5 78.74 "
(200 cm)
Pedal Gold
Squire Warrior 55CS Chain 1200 Squire Warrior 55CS Chain 1200 4.05 kg
(8.93 lb)
11 47.28 "
(120 cm)
Pedal Gold
Squire Warrior Combi 55CS 1200 Squire Warrior Combi 55CS 1200 4.07 kg
(8.97 lb)
11 47.28 "
(120 cm)
Pedal Gold
Oxford Chain 10 Oxford Chain 10 3.3 kg
(7.28 lb)
9 55.11 "
(140 cm)
Pedal Gold
Oxford HD Chain Oxford HD Chain 3.37 kg
(7.43 lb)
9 59 "
(150 cm)
Pedal Gold
OnGuard Mastiff 8019LP OnGuard Mastiff 8019LP 3.67 kg
(8.1 lb)
10 51.18 "
(130 cm)
Pedal Gold
Squire Stronghold IC850 Squire Stronghold IC850 3.26 kg
(7.19 lb)
8.5 85 cm Pedal Diamond
Sold Secure rating ART rating

The shortest (and lightest) 10 mm chain lock in the table above (the Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 1055), is almost as heavy as the 18 mm Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini (one of the heaviest u-locks).

It weighs the same as 5.5 cans of Coke. And that's a lot of weight to be carrying around every day.

However, these locks are also very secure. They're all Sold Secure Gold. And several with 3/5 from ART, put them at the higher end of that Gold rating. There’s even one Sold Secure Diamond rated chain lock.

They're still croppable though! If a thief has a large set of bolt croppers and can use the ground for leverage, they can definitely cut this chain lock.

So I would still recommend you keep the 10 mm chains tightly wrapped around your top tube or the top of the seat stays when locking your bike.

Again, the Hiplok Gold [Amazon] is a good choice here. It can be worn around the waist like a belt, so it's easier to carry than the other options.

Hiplok Gold around waist

Hiplok Gold: 12 mm but still easily portable!

Be aware, though, it's still heavy: the weight is equivalent to carrying 6.5 cans of Coke around your waist! Read my full, hands-on review of the Hiplok Gold bike chain lock for more information.

What about the other 10 mm chains?

The Kryptonite chains are eligible for optional anti-theft protection for bikes worth up to $2,250 / £1000. And Kryptonite's Key Safe program will replace lost or broken keys. OnGuard’s anti-theft protection is less impressive. It’s only available in the US and applies so many restrictions it’s practically useless.

Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 1055

Evolution Series 4: The LockPickingLaywer's lock of choice!

There's no anti theft protection with the other locks, but they’ll all come with a code for additional or replacement keys.

I think a lot of the locks on the list are more suited for stationary use, as they feature separate padlocks. In fact, the Hiplok Homie [Amazon] chain lock is specifically designed with home use in mind. It's a nice 60" (150 cm) in length, which allows you to secure several bikes at once.

Hiplok Homie comes with a wall hook

The Hiplok Homie: has a hook to hang it on the wall when not in use

And it comes with an integrated hook, so you can hang it on the wall when you're not using it!

For mobile security, where you might be locking and unlocking several times a day in busy bike racks, an integrated lock is more convenient. It's simply quicker and easier to secure your bike when the lock is integrated into the chain rather than separate.

However, if you favor portability, definitely go for the Hiplok Gold [Amazon], as it's by far the easiest chain lock to carry around. It does feature a separate padlock, so it will take a little longer to lock your bike, but the ease of transport, makes it worth it.

If you favor locking speed, then go for either the Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 1055 Mini [Amazon], the Abus Granit CityChain X-Plus 1060/85 [Amazon] or the Seatylock Viking Gold, as their integrated locks speed things up a bit.

The Seatylock Viking [Amazon] range even has a magnetic mechanism, which makes it much easier to connect the two ends of the lock in a busy bike rack!

If you want to know more, you can read my reviews of the Hiplok Gold chain lock and Kryptonite Evolution chain lock.

A chain lock for the street and the home?

These locks can arguably be used for stationary as well as mobile security. But be aware: in order to be portable, they need to be short. And if they're short, they're difficult to use at home.

So if that's what you're after, proceed with caution...

12 mm chain locks

At 12 mm, we are definitely at the limit of what can be used daily as mobile security. These locks are big and heavy...

Click on the links in the table to check the prices at Amazon (or other retailers).

Model Weight Cans of Coke Length Sold Secure rating ART rating
Kryptonite New York<br/>Chain 1210 Kryptonite New York Chain 1210 3.92 kg
(8.65 lb)
10.5 39.0 "
(100 cm)
Pedal Gold
Kryptonite New York<br/>Chain 1217 Kryptonite New York Chain 1217 5.96 kg
(13.15 lb)
16 67.0 "
(170 cm)
Pedal Gold
Kryptonite New York<br/>Noose 1275 Kryptonite New York Noose 1275 3.15 kg
(6.95 lb)
8.5 30.0 "
(75 cm)
Pedal Gold
Kryptonite New York<br/>Noose 1213 Kryptonite New York Noose 1213 4.79 kg
(10.55 lb)
13 51.0 "
(130 cm)
Pedal Gold
Oxford HD Max Chain 120 Oxford HD Max Chain 120 2.54 kg
(5.60 lb)
7 47.2 "
(120 cm)
Pedal Gold
Oxford HD Max Chain 150 Oxford HD Max Chain 150 3.58 kg
(7.89 lb)
9.5 59.1 "
(150 cm)
Pedal Gold
Oxford HD Max Chain 200 Oxford HD Max Chain 200 4.77 kg
(10.52 lb)
13 78.7 "
(200 cm)
Pedal Gold
OKG Noose Chain Lock 80 OKG Noose Chain Lock 80 3.9 kg
(8.6 lb)
10.5 31.5 "
(80 cm)
Pedal Gold
OKG Noose Chain Lock 120 OKG Noose Chain Lock 120 5.12 kg
(11 lb)
13.5 47.28 "
(120 cm)
Pedal Gold
OKG Noose Chain OKG Noose Chain 3.4 kg / metre
(7.5 lb)
9 0.8 m, 1.0 m, 1.2 m, 1.5 m Pedal Gold
Magnum Plus Goliath HLKM102 Magnum Plus Goliath HLKM102 2 kg
(4.4 lb)
5.5 43.3 "
(110 cm)
Pedal Gold
Milenco Coleraine 12 Milenco Coleraine 12 4.96 kg
(10.93 lb)
13.5 1 m 1.4 m 1.8 m Pedal Diamond
Milenco Dundrod 12 Milenco Dundrod 12 3.87 kg +
(8.53 lb) +
10.5 1 m 1.4 m 1.8 m Pedal Diamond
Oxford Monster 12 Oxford Monster 12 5.20 kg +
(11.46 lb) +
14 1.2 m 1.5 m 2.0 m Pedal Diamond
Oxford Patriot Oxford Patriot 4 kg +
(8.82 lb) +
10.5 1.2 m 1.5 m 2.0 m Pedal Diamond 4 stars
Sold Secure rating ART rating

However, they also provide a very high level of security. Take a look at the security ratings. Not only are they nearly all Sold Secure Gold or Diamond, all those rated by ART receive 3/5 or 4/5.

This makes them more secure than all but the most extreme u-locks.

However, it does not mean they can't be cropped! A thief using a pair of 42" bolt croppers and the ground for leverage may well be able to cut all of these chain locks.

So again, even with these thick chains: keep them as far from the ground as possible.

But with a 12 mm chain you don't have to be quite so careful. There aren't too many thieves that would have the right croppers, the necessary skill and enough body weight to cut a 12 mm chain lock.

The Kryptonite New York Noose [Amazon] is definitely the best 12 mm chain lock. There's a large, circular link at one end of the chain. And by threading the other end of the chain through the circular link, you create a noose which can be tightened around whatever you're locking your bike to.

Kryptonite New York Noose 1275 strongest portable chain

The noose system gives you more length

Why is this so great? Well, it almost doubles the practical length of the chain lock, which means you don’t need to buy such a long one, saving you both bulk and weight!

It also makes it more useful at home as a stationary lock, where usually you'll need a bit more length to work with.

I explain all this in more detail in my review of the Kryptonite New York Noose 1275 chain lock.

Since even the shortest 12 mm locks are right on the limit of what is portable, the longer locks are definitely best used for stationary security at home (or wherever you leave your bike overnight).

The Kryptonite New York [Amazon] chain lock is a good choice here. It comes in three different lengths, with a separate disc lock that has a 14 mm, double locking shackle. And the optional anti-theft protection covers bikes worth up to $3,500 / £1300.

To be clear: any of these 12 mm locks will offer great high security protection at home and on the move if used correctly. But if you're going to use them as mobile protection, please check you're OK with the weight first!

Choosing a stationary chain lock

If we're choosing a chain lock to leave at home (or wherever we leave our bikes overnight), we don't need to worry about the "risk level" questions...

Both bike statistics in the UK and bike statistics in the US suggest that over 50% of stolen bikes are taken from the owner's home. So your bike is actually more at risk at home than it is when it's locked on the street.

With that in mind, my advice is: get the most secure bike lock you can afford. And this means the thickest chain lock you can afford.

And the great thing is: we don't have to worry about how we're going to carry it around!

14 mm chain locks

When we get to 14 mm chains, we’re no longer talking about mobile security. These aren’t locks that you take with you to the shops.

Their bulk and weight mean that generally you leave them wherever you secure your bike overnight.

Click on the links in the table to check the prices at Amazon (or other retailers).

Model Weight Cans of Coke Length Sold Secure rating ART rating
Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain 1410 Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain 1410 4.90 kg
(10.80 lb)
13 39.0 "
(100 cm)
Powered Gold, Pedal Diamond
Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain 1415 Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain 1415 6.92 kg
(15.25 lb)
18.5 60.0 "
(150 cm)
Powered Gold, Pedal Diamond
Milenco Dundrod Chain Lock Milenco Dundrod Chain Lock 5.6 kg
(12.35 lb)
15 39.37 "
(100 cm)
Powered Gold, Pedal Diamond
Hiplok XL Noose Hiplok XL Noose 5 kg
(11 lb)
13.5 39.0 "
(100 cm)
Pedal Diamond
Hiplok DXXL Noose and U-lock Hiplok DXXL Noose and U-lock 6.11 kg
(13.46 lb)
16.5 39.0 "
(100 cm)
Pedal Diamond
Milenco Dundrod 14 Milenco Dundrod 14 5.02 kg +
(11.07 lb) +
13.5 1 m 1.4 m 1.8 m Pedal Diamond
OnGuard 8016 Beast OnGuard 8016 Beast 6.71 kg
(14.8 lb)
18 43 "
(110 cm)
OnGuard 8016L Beast OnGuard 8016L Beast 9.98 kg
(22 lb)
27 72 "
(183 cm)

A 14 mm chain lock could be taken out with you occasionally, if you're visiting a particularly high risk area, or you'll be leaving your bike unattended for a long period. But the lightest 14 mm chain lock in the list above weighs the same as 13 cans of Coke!

These locks are very secure indeed. The Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit is rated both Sold Secure Bicycle Diamond and Motorcycle Gold.

That's not to say they can't be cropped, though. They can. 14 mm chains can conceivably be cut by the very biggest bolt cutters. But it takes an experienced thief, of considerable weight, who is also able to get the chain in the right position.

So again I'll say: keep your chain as far from the floor as possible. In a bike shed or garage, this might mean installing a wall anchor rather than a floor anchor to use with the chain lock.

To be honest, there's not a huge amount of choice at this level.

With Kryptonite's New York Fahgettaboudit chains, you get a 15 mm double locking shackle, the maximum 10/10 in house security rating (as well as the Sold Secure ratings). Plus optional anti-theft protection which covers bikes worth up to $3,750 / £2000.

OnGuard Beast 8017

OnGuard Beast: very secure and usually cheap!

With OnGuard's Beast chains, you get a 14 mm, quadruple locking shackle, a maximum 99/100 in house security rating and optional (but useless) anti-theft protection for bikes worth up to $5001.

OnGuard's locks aren't rated by Sold Secure, simply because they haven't been submitted, have no doubt: they are very secure!

Usually, an OnGuard chain lock will be significantly cheaper than those from Kryptonite. However, they're not as pick resistant, and the after sales care and anti-theft protection isn't as reliable.

The Hiplok Noose is another good choice, as the loop end chain enables you to significantly extend the locking options.

15 mm chain locks

There aren’t many widely available, 15 mm chain locks. For example, the very impressive Kryptonite New York Legend is difficult to find these days, but it’s a great lock…

Click on the links in the table to check the prices at Amazon (or other retailers).

Model Weight Cans of Coke Length Sold Secure rating ART rating
Artago Stone 68T100 Artago Stone 68T100 3.39 kg
(7.48 lb)
9 39.0 "
(100 cm)
Powered Gold
Kryptonite New York Legend Chain 1590 Kryptonite New York Legend Chain 1590 4.31 kg
(9.50 lb)
11.5 36 "
(90 cm)
5 stars
Kryptonite New York Legend Chain 1515 Kryptonite New York Legend Chain 1515 7.23 kg
(15.95 lb)
19.5 60 "
(150 cm)
5 stars

It's still theoretically possible for the right thief, in the right position, with the biggest bolt cutters, to crop this chain lock. But I've never heard of it actually happening!

That ART give it a maximum 5/5 stars says it all, really. This is one of the strongest bicycle locks you can buy.

The lock features a 16 mm double locking, shrouded shackle. And optional anti-theft protection covers bikes worth up to $4500 / £2500.

Kryptonite New York Legend 1515 best high-security chain

New York Legend: most secure widely available lock

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

The Artago Stone 68T100 is also an impressive looking lock and more widely available, but I haven’t tested this one.

16 mm chain locks

Finally, at 16 mm, these chains can no longer be cropped by any manual bolt cutters. They can only be defeated by power tools.

Model Weight Cans of Coke Length Sold Secure rating ART rating
Pragmasis Protector 16 mm Pragmasis Protector 16 mm 4.5 kg / metre
(9.92 lb)
12 0.8 - 6 m Pedal Diamond
Oxford Nemesis Oxford Nemesis 6.76 kg
(14.9 lb)
18 59 "
(150 cm)
Powered Gold, Pedal Diamond
Oxford Nemesis Oxford Nemesis 8.55 kg
(18.8 lb)
23 78.7 "
(200 cm)
Powered Gold, Pedal Diamond
Almax Immobiliser Series III Almax Immobiliser Series III 4.15 kg
(9.15 lb)
11 28 "
(700 cm)
Almax Immobiliser Series III Almax Immobiliser Series III 7.75 kg
(17.09 lb)
21 60"
(150 cm)
Almax Immobiliser Series III Almax Immobiliser Series III 10 kg
(22.05 lb)
27 79 "
(200 cm)
Almax Immobiliser Series III Almax Immobiliser Series III 12.25 kg
(27 lb)
33 98 "
(250 cm)
Pragmasis Protector Pragmasis Protector 5.5 kg
(12.13 lb)
15 39 "
(100 cm)
Pragmasis Protector Pragmasis Protector 7.75 kg
(17.09 lb)
21 60 "
(150 cm)
Pragmasis Protector Pragmasis Protector 10 kg
(22.05 lb)
27 79 "
(200 cm)
Pragmasis Protector
Pragmasis Protector 12.25 kg
(27 lb)
33 98 "
(250 cm)

And they're incredibly heavy. Not only are they completely non-transportable, you’ll also need to be careful that they don’t damage your bike, just through their weight!

The Protector range from Pragmasis is perhaps the ultimate bicycle chain lock. The 16 mm links are formed from hardened boron steel and are impossible to bolt crop.

It comes with a Squire SS65CS Stronghold padlock, with has a shrouded shackle which is also impossible to bolt crop!

Pragmasis Protector 16 mm with Squire lock

16 mm Pragmasis Protector with Squire Stronghold

The only way a thief is going to defeat this lock is with power tools, and it will take a long time and make a lot of noise!

Very similar to the Protector range, the Almax Immobiliser Series III is slightly cheaper, (although I’m not sure that it’s available in the US). It’s also made from 16 mm hardened boron steel links. And it comes with the same Squire SS65CS Stronghold Lock.

Personally, I'd go for a Pragmasis chain lock, because I like their environmental policies. But I appreciate that not everyone can afford to be so picky!

Best Chain Lock Summary

There are two types of bicycle chain lock:

  1. those light enough to carry around on your bike daily
  2. those so heavy they're best used as stationary security

Portable Chain Locks

Portable chains have links that are less than 13 mm thick. And even 12 mm will be too much for many people. They're far heavier than u-locks. But they do have several advantages...

  1. Because they're relatively long and flexible, you can secure your bike to a wider range of objects.
  2. Because you can wrap them around your seat post or top bar, they can sometimes be easier to transport.
  3. They can't be defeated by leverage attacks and are more difficult to cut with an angle grinder (since the links move about when you try to cut them).

However, one big disadvantage they have in terms of security is the fact that the < 12 mm links that make up a portable chain lock can be cropped by manual bolt cutters fairly easily (if they're close to the floor).

And this is why, if you choose a chain lock for portable security, I recommend you secure your bike by wrapping the chain tightly around your top tube or around the top of your seat stays

This will keep it away from the ground and make it very difficult (if not impossible) for a thief to crop a decent portable chain lock.

You might have to come up with a different way to protect your wheels, but there's loads of options and at least your bike will be safe!

Please check the weights carefully before you buy, though. Even the shortest portable chain lock will be heavy. If weight is a big issue, then you're probably best off with a u-lock.

The Hiploks have great security to weight ratios. And you've also got the useful option of carrying them around your waist.

For protection in low risk circumstances, the Seatylock Viking Silver chain lock is a good choice. For medium risk, the Kryptonite Kryptoloks or the (even more secure) Abus CityChains are more appropriate.

But if your circumstances are high risk, then the Kryptonite New York Noose or Gold Hiplok chain lock would be my choice.

Stationary Chain Locks

Stationary chains usually have links that are thicker than 13 mm. And there are several reasons why for immobile, overnight security these are the best option...

  1. Security: they can’t be defeated by bottle jacks or leverage attacks, are more difficult to attack with power tools (like angle grinders), and if the links are thicker than 15 mm, they can’t be cropped by any manual bolt cutters.
  2. Practicality. When you're securing a bike at home, in a garage or bike shed, then the best way to do that is with a ground (or wall) anchor. And chain locks work far better with anchors than any other type of lock. Plus, you can get a chain lock that is long enough to go around several bikes at once!

Of course, any bike lock is only as secure as its weakest link. And this is particularly relevant when we talk about stationary chain locks, which may be used in a shed or garage or even with other bike storage ideas.

Make sure that whatever you secure your bike to is as secure as the chain lock. If you don’t have anything appropriate, then you should invest in a good ground anchor. And make sure you know how to lock your bike properly.

I hope this page has been useful and that it’s helped you find the best chain lock for your bike. Once you've bought a chain lock, don't forget to clean and lubricate it every few months to stop it jamming.

And if you have any feedback or questions, please let me know below…

This page contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. You will not pay any extra. More details here.

About the author 

Carl Ellis

I've had bikes stolen in London, New York and Barcelona. Yep, I was a serial, international, bike theft victim. In 2015 I decided to stop the rot. And not a single bike's been stolen since! Brakes, yes. Bells, yes. But they're another story. Everything I learn, I document on this website. More about my story. Contact me. LinkedIn.

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

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

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

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

    • Hi Paul,

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

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

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

      I hope that helps!

  • loved the article, thank you so much for writing it 🙂 it’s a joy to read articles like this that are about very specific topics and cover every consideration.

    thanks again 🙂

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

    • Hi Sal,

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

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

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

      I hope that helps,

      Carl

  • Good article – thanks.

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

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

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

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

    Thanks for any responses,

    Mark

    • Hi Mark,

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

      Thanks

      Carl

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

    • Hi Luke,

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

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

      I hope that helps,
      Carl

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

  • I own the Onguard Best 8016. It is not 16+ pounds, I’m aware the Amazon link quotes that too. It’s 6.2 pounds. I use it for my motorcycle, but have taken in to the beach, for my bicycle. I fear all those weights are not accurate.

    Also what do you classify as small, medium, and large cutters? I would venture to say 40 inches plus for large.

    • I’m not sure where I got the weight for the 8016 from! OnGuard doesn’t publish weights so it’s difficult. But if the 8016 is 6 pounds the weight of the Kryptonite must be wrong too as they’re more or less the same length and thickness.

      I would say 36 and 42″ for large.

      • So the way I initially weighed the lock was by going on my scale at home, with and without the chain. The difference was 6.2 lbs. Knowing this probably wasn’t most accurate measure, I took the lock to work, at the airport, and used a scale they use to measure luggage. The scale is checked quarterly by LA County Weights and Measurements. The lock weighed 1.5 lbs and chain 5.5 lbs , for a grand total of 7 lbs. The chain is approximately 44 inches long. I bought this chain in 2011, so it is older, and the Boxer X4P lock is not yellow/ black, it’s silver and black. Maybe it’s just an older version of the Beast. I do find it strange that Onguard doesn’t publish the weight on thier website. All in all your website is a very good resource.

    • Hi Vanessa,

      The Ottolock isn’t a chain lock. I’ve yet to test it, but it looks like it might be a good choice as a secondary lock to secure your wheels or even as a cafe stop lock.

      But I wouldn’t let any bike out of my site if it was only secured with the Ottolock.

      Thanks
      Carl

  • The “Beast” was found wanting by YouTube content creator “Lock Picking Lawyer.” He demonstrated that it can be disassembled completely while locked and without the key, using a few simple hand tools. Just a heads-up.

  • Hi, I am looking to secure two e-bikes whee we go out and about with them. Value of bikes 2 x £1600. Would using a good quality u bolt to lock them together then a New York noose be a good combination? They will also be on a tow ball mounted bike rack when transporting them, any thoughts there? The e-bikes weigh about 18kg each thanks

    • Mmmm maybe. Depends on how risky the area is and how long you’d be leaving them for.

      But to be honest I’d be tempted to use a u-lock and a chain on each bike. £1600 is a lot of money.

      You could buy 4 locks but then mix them up and only use 2 if the risk level is lower.

      Definitely secure them with a good chain (like the NY Noose) when they’re on the rack. So many bikes are stolen from racks. Usually because they’re locked really poorly (if at all).

      But the NY Noose would do the job.

  • Does anyone remember the name of the company that offered a chain like thing? (solid chromium steel links) segmented like an armadillos tail?

    The pointed tail end passed though a hole in the ‘head’ and a rotary key caused the lock to close down in-between the links.

    I had one 20 yrs ago that I used to lock up my motorcycle when I went clubbing in Detroit.

    If anyone tried to cut or remove it, I wouldn’t have known a there were no marks on it. I was going to some rough areas too, and leaving my motorcycle outside for hours.

    I’d love to find one second hand, I’m sure the company folded, and no one has picked up the patent yet.

    It was very heavy which gave it a double purpose, as it would break concrete pretty effortlessly without showing damage.

    If anyone knows anything about, please let me know. I’d love to purchase one again. I’ve tried going so deep in Google that I run out of search pages

    My name’s Gary and I can be reached at ggabrielkish@hotmail.com

    Thanks

    • It was called the Cobra Link. I’ve been looking for one myself. Hoping a lock manufacturer would buy the patent and start making them. Would make an excellent bicycle/ motorcycle lock. As its unusual, and a thief wouldn’t know how to tackle it.

  • Hi,

    I got the Series 2 Kryptolok integrated chain recently, and I do like it. I use it combined with Fahgettaboudit mini u-lock, which I think is both a flexible and a secure arrangement.

    I just am a bit puzzled, as I too thought the Series 2 integrated chain was Sold Secure silver-rated, but this article says that it’s gold-rated:
    https://cyclingindustry.news/kryptonite-obtains-gold-sold-secure-rating-on-all-kryptolok-integrated-chains/
    And I’ve seen it being gold-rated mentioned elsewhere. Wiggle, I think.

    And this mentions it being harder to cut than the Series 2 u-lock, which surprised me:
    https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-bike-lock/

    Thought it might interest you. This is a very useful website, so glad to help, if I have helped!

  • I have a chain question. I see many/most(?) security chains advertised as being 3t heat treated Manganese alloy (or similar terms), which is very tough and work hardens as you try to cut it… However, the literature I see on the web says it is NON-magnetic. So I tried a magnet against my Kryptonite KC890 bike chain and my 1/2″ Schlage 999461 High Security Chain with Cinch Ring AND they were both strongly attracted…. then I tried all my OnGuard and Kryptonite U locks.. and they were ALL attracted by the magnet. Am I missing something? Or are the manufacturers throwing around key words just to make their products sound more secure?

    • It’s the amount of Manganese alloy that you missed. The chain is a made with a very low amount of manganese and a higher amount of steel which is magnetic. Containing only between 12-14% Manganese it’s not surprising the magnet was still attracted.

      • Hmm, so you think this chain does NOT have enough Mn (11-14%) to be “non-magnetic” “Hadfield”/mangalloy work-hardening alloy steel, and thus is not as secure as high end abus or pewag or even kryptonite chains?? How can one determine this?

  • Hacksaw: A hacksaw can be quiet and can work through a nonhardened lock quickly. Most chains from the hardware store, cheap U-locks, and cable locks can be defeated with a hacksaw. The main drawback is that a hacksaw can be slow on a thicker lock, may catch and bind while trying to cut through a cable, and takes some physical effort to use in general. It is a very cheap tool to come by, though, and an easy one to carry and conceal. Bolt cutters: From my experience working in shops over the years, I’ve heard hundreds of stories of stolen bikes and seen many cut locks, and most of them (not including snipped cable locks) have been cut with bolt cutters. Bolt cutters can be quite small, usually 18 to 24 inches long. They’re quick to cut through a lock, cheap, portable, and easy to conceal. They don’t work on every lock, but for the ones they do work on, it’s only a quick snip and a free bike.

  • Hi Carl,

    Thanks for a great site! Just a little note that the info about the hiplock gold on this page is inconsistent with the info on your chain lock comparison page. Here you state that it’s a 12 mm chain. According to the other page, and hiplock themselves, it’s a 10 mm chain with a 12 mm shackle on the lock. This seems consistent with the fact that it’s 1.15 kg lighter than the 12 mm Kryptonite NY noose despite being 10 cm longer.

    Cheers!

  • The 11 mm and 13 mm chains from Pragmasis are also some really solid options. Bike theft just skyrocketed in my home town (I even found 2-3 solid u-locks that where cup open + a ton of destroyed cable locks), so I’m going to go for the 13 mm version, in combination with the 16 mm super compact u-lock Abus Power and a set of Hexlox.
    Using the “Offcut Links” from the 11 mm and 13 mm chains will provide some very short, but super lightweight and strong chains.

  • I have two expensive bikes in front of my house. I can’t lock them anywhere because we don’t have a bike rack.

    So I thought.

    Which lock is better.If I buy a 16mm Gold rating lock or to go to a hardware store and buy myself a thick kettle and a plain lock so I can lock my bike. What do you guys think is better?

    • I’m not sure what you mean Mike.

      Option 1: 16 mm Gold chain. What will you lock the bikes to?

      Option 2: “thick kettle”? Do you mean a kettle bell? What kind of plain lock?

  • The way to remove all types of bike chain links like a complete master. First, look for the chain’s most vital part (Master Link) and place the pliers in a way that puts the two jaws in the holes on the link’s sides, make sure the master link is between the pliers’ jaws. Put pressure on the pliers to bind the jaws. After that, squeeze the link. Separate the link and the master pliers’ jaws by pulling them apart from the side portion of the link. When you want to put the chain back, you can just relink the rivets found at the chain’s end and secure it in place.

    • To know how to remove a link from a bike chain, you’ll also need the right tools that go along with a good set of instructions. When you are fully equipped, every step flows smoothly, and you can finish the task in no time.

  • Hello Carl,

    Thanks a lot for your complete article.

    I have a Kryptonite U-lock mini evolution 7 with its cable and I would like to complete my U lock with an another anti-theft for longer stops in the city (no overnight stays though).

    I bought the Kryptonite Evolution 1090 chain 10mm but it’s quite heavy in addition to the U-lock… 🙁

    Would a lighter 7mm chain (for example the Kryptonite keeper 785) be a good choice?
    I also saw the Abus Iven 8210 chain (1,9 kg) in 8mm.

    In the end, between the Kryptonite in 10mm and the Abus in 8mm there is 800g difference, is it really a gain ?
    Can you help me ? 🙂

    • Hi Rémi,

      The thicker the chain, the more secure it is. So yes, there is a difference in security between the Kryptonite 10 mm and the 8mm Abus.

      However, if you’ve already got the Evolution 7, then maybe it’s enough as your main security and you’ll be OK with the Abus as a secondary lock.

      It really depends on a whole load of other factors (the value of the bike, how long you leave it, how risky the area is).

      Thanks

      Carl

      • Hello Carl,

        Thanks a lot for your reply !

        I will keep the Krypotnite 10 mm, I think the extra 2 mm is worth the additional kilo. And I don’t think one kilo changes much for work cycling 🙂

  • I have a new bike with a very thick frame (21mm). I got a Kryptonite New York standard u-lock as my mother had a spare. It just doesn’t fit around the frame of the bike and the standard size bike rack for London. Is a chain my only option then? I’m looking at the Kryptonite Evolution Series 4.

    Do you have any recommendation on the length?Can I get away with the 90cm length? I usually lock my bike in the car park at my work, but I don’t have an assigned space so I can’t just leave the lock there or I’d get a bigger chain

    • Sorry about the late reply, Alberta.

      You will be fine with the 90 cm Kryptonite Evolution Series 4.

      You might even be OK with the 55 cm version; it won’t give you much more internal space than the New York Standard, but because it’s flexible, you should be able to get it around your frame, back wheel and a Sheffield style bike stand.

      Is the parking area secure though?

      • Hi,

        I’d mostly park it in the car park of my work place, which requires ID access and there are security guards and CCTV. Nothing is ever a guarantee when it comes to security which is why I would still feel more comfortable locking it up. The racks in the garage have a small hole to put the lock through and the D-Lock is just not really flexible enough, where as the chain lock would

        Since this post, I have managed to get the Kryptonite New York standard U-lock to fit around the frame so I think it was just a lot of trial and error.

        Thanks for the advice, and I will definitely get the Kryptonite Series 4 as well.

  • I’m having hard time deciding what kind lock to get for my e-bike. You have demonstrated alit good suggestion.

  • Hi Carl

    Thanks so much for all the research and testing you do.

    TLDR: Question – D1000/X3 vs 19mm Pragmasis chain?

    Long version

    My situation is this:

    1. I have, and use, an Abus Granit 540 X Plus. At the moment I leave it on a rack at slightly secure bike parking at one of my places of work. By “slightly secure” I mean it’s a set of stands, in a keypad-locked cage in an underground car park managed by the employer. However, it was angle grinder-attacked (both to get through the door and cut someone else’s U-lock) a while ago. This was apparently the first time in 14 years, so maybe a bit more secure than a bike-on-the-street.

    2. I was thinking of upgrading my lock. Partly for security, and also so I can free up the Abus for trips out, as it’s (just about) portable. I can drive into work if necessary to place the heaviest lock imaginable.

    3. I like your and others’ reviews of the D1000 and X3. They look like a massive step up. But at £250 I wonder whether one of the Pragmasis chains might be just as good? I think they don’t have the same sort of anti-angle-grinder covering, but maybe it’s harder for a thief to get an angle grinder to work on a chain? I always have a rack on the back of the bike, so I think I can arrange it so the weight of the chain doesn’t damage the frame.

    4. Do bike thieves ever damage un-stealable bike maliciously, out of frustration?

    5. The bike’s insured. I built it myself and I have several sets of backup components to rebuild it (it’s slightly dated drivetrain).

    • Hi Mike

      Have you looked at the price of the Pragmasis 19mm plus padlock? It won’t be far off the price of the D1000 or X3.

      With regards security, it’s hard to say. I suspect the D1000 or X3 will still be harder to cut, but I can’t be sure as I’ve never tried to angle grinder a 19 mm chain.

      It’s a question of what kind of purchase the thief can get on the lock or the chain.

      I’m sure thieves do damage bikes (they have tried and failed to steal) maliciously, but I don’t think it’s super common, as the reason they fail is usually due to time, so they’re more concerned about getting away quickly.

      I hope that helps

      Carl

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