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Ground Anchor: how to choose and fit the best protection for your bike

Whether you want to protect a motorcycle or a bicycle, a ground anchor is the best way to stop the thieves stealing your ride when it's at home or at your workplace.

Which ground anchor works best for you, very much depends on where you're going to install it. Plus how much work you want to put in! Different types of ground anchor suit different locations and different mounting surfaces.

Although any ground anchor is a vast improvement on no ground anchor, they do vary a lot in terms of security. So I only recommend anchors that have been tested and rated at least Sold Secure Gold.

And all the ground anchors I look at here are suitable for use with both motorcycles and bicycles.

So first we'll look at the various types of ground anchor. Then we'll have a really close look at how you install the different types (because how much skill and effort that involves may affect you final choice).

And then finally we can look at specific ground anchors, concentrating more on just how secure they are. At the bottom of the page is a table of all the Sold Secure ground anchors I could find for easy comparison.

Types of Ground Anchor

There are five distinct types of ground anchor:

  1. those you bolt into concrete or another hard surface
  2. those you sink in wet concrete
  3. those you bolt into wood (for sheds)
  4. temporary anchors that you screw into the earth
  5. DIY ground anchors

1. Bolt into Concrete Ground Anchors

These are probably the most popular type of ground anchor and they're most suited to garages and driveways. 

Bolt In Ground Anchor

A typical "bolt in" ground anchor

Two Styles of Bolt In Ground Anchors

Broadly speaking there are two styles of “bolt in” ground anchor. Those with a shackle. And those made from a solid piece of metal.

Ground Anchor with Shackle
Kryptonite Stronghold
Solid Ground Anchor
Oxford Anchor Force

The advantage of the shackles is that they can be laid flat when not in use, so they’re less of a trip hazard and most significantly, if they share the space with a car: you’ll be able to drive over the top of the anchor!

However, depending on the thickness and quality of the metal that the shackles are made from, they may be susceptible to attacks from large bolt cutters, which are the most common tool used by thieves in home thefts.

To be sure the shackle can’t be cropped by manual bolt cutters it should be at least 16 mm thick. However, even then, it might still be cropped by hydraulic bolt cutters.

How to install a "bolt into concrete" ground anchor

To install a "bolt in" ground anchor, you'll need a decent mains powered drill, with hammer mode, for the hardest concrete. You'll need a 16 mm masonry bit to go in the drill (some ground anchor fixing kits include this, see below). Plus a hammer to knock things in!

Tools Needed:
Mains powered drill

Mains Powered Drill (with hammer mode)

Hammer

Hammer

But you don't need much DIY skill, anyone can do it. So don't be intimidated!

Finding a suitable surface

Although concrete will provide the best surface to install these anchors to, you can also fix them to a strong brick or block wall. Some anchors are available with a selection of different fixing kits for different surfaces.

Fixing them to paving slabs is not recommended though as a slab may crack into sperate pieces when you drill into it. Or, if the installation is successful, a thief might be able to lift the slab up or just smash it to pieces with a sledgehammer!

So if you need to install a ground anchor on a paved surface it's recommended that you lift an area of paving first, dig down a bit and then install a "sink into wet concrete anchor" (see below).

How to fit...

To install a "bolt in" anchor, you simply drill four (or sometimes two), holes into the surface you're mounting the anchor to.

Then tap the supplied plugs into the holes and screw the expanding bolts through the anchor and into the plugs.

Finally, tap a supplied metal blocker into the bolt heads to prevent a thief tampering with them.

For a proper installation you'll usually need to be able to drill about 7.5 cm below the surface with a 16 mm drill bit. So the surface need to be at least 10 cm deep. Here's a basic installation guide:

Most ground anchors come with expanding bolts for extra security. Some come with epoxy resin which you pump into the holes before you screw in the bolts. This makes an even stronger bond for even more security!

I've marked the ones that come with epoxy resin for extra security in the table at the bottom of the page.

There are various systems that prevent the bolts being unscrewed by a thief. For example often there are ball bearings or metal plugs that you hammer into the heads of the screws to prevent them being unscrewed.

And it's important to note: most ground anchors are not designed to be moved once they've been installed. The installation is meant to be permanent!

However, if you live in rented accommodation, you may need to access the bolts so that you can remove the ground anchor when you leave! In which case there are anchors where the bolts are accessible and removable, but only when there's nothing locked to them...

Removable Ground Anchors

Pragmasis Double Doofer
Hiplok ANKR

So if you know you'll be moving out of your home in the not too distant future, it makes sense to go for one of these removable ground anchors.

2. Sink into Concrete Ground Anchors

These tend to be simple, one piece, steel structures with no fixings or fittings. So you won't need a drill to install one.

But you will need to dig a hole and fill it full of wet concrete! Fence post concrete is good in this instance.

Sink into concrete ground anchor

Some ground anchors need to be sunk into wet concrete

Most of them protrude above the surface. So you need to be careful where you site them. But Y-Anchors are installed so that they're level with the surface, with the chain running into the ground.

Y Anchor

Y Anchors sit flush with the surface

How to install a "sink into concrete" ground anchor

Simply find a suitable location, dig a hole into the ground and site the anchor in the hole, making sure it's straight and at the correct height. Then add water to the fence post concrete mix, agitate thoroughly, pour it around the ground anchor and leave to set.

Easy enough!

3. Ground Anchors for Sheds

For those of us that keep our bikes in wooden sheds, the previous two types of ground anchors, which are best suited to concrete, may not be the best choice.

Some of the bolt in anchors might work with wood. And you could always sink an anchor into a pool of concrete under the shed floor.

However, there are ground anchors that are specifically designed for wooden sheds. So it's worth considering those first!

Sterling shed anchor

Sterling shed anchor

The Sterling anchor above can be fixed to the ground or a wall and has a plate that enables you to fix it to a shed frame too. It's rated by Secured by Design (see below) so it's pretty secure. But the shackle is only 11 mm, so it's certainly not a super high security option.

Stronghold Shed Anchor

Stronghold Shed Anchor (don't use a cable like this)

The Stronghold Anchor, goes under the floor, so it's best installed when you're building the shed. The shackle is 12 mm, so it's reasonably secure without being top level. Just don't use it with a cable like the one in the photo!

Pragmasis Shed Shackle

Pragmasis Shed Shackle

Or for more security, the Pragmasis shed anchor can be attached across the frame of the shed. A thief would have to demolish the shed to defeat it, and this remains the most secure shed anchor on the market.

4. Temporary Ground Anchors

These look like massive corkscrews and to install them, you simply screw them into soft ground such as a lawn. Once they're buried and your bike is chained to them, it's very difficult for a thief to unscrew them, as they would need to move your bike around as they did it.

Temporary Screw In Ground Anchor

Temporary ground anchors are very secure, once your bike is locked to one

So they can be very secure. And they're ideal for those that can't or don't want to start drilling into hard surfaces or digging holes to fill full of concrete!

For example, this could be because you're renting your property. Or it could be that you don't have the tools or the skills to install a permanent anchor. Or it could be that you don't have an appropriate surface to attach a permanent ground anchor to.

And although we call them "temporary ground anchors", there's actually no reason why you shouldn't use them permanently!

5. DIY Ground Anchor

I made several DIY ground anchors during my time living in rented accommodation all around London. In all these cases, I either didn't have the tools or wasn't allowed to install something permanent.

So I improvised.

In a communal hallway, I submerged a couple of old u-locks, upside down, into two buckets full of wet concrete to make a pair of anchors that I could chain my bike to. I decorated the top of the buckets with plastic flowers for a classy overall look!

40kg kettle bell

In a similar fashion, I've also used a pair of 40 kg kettle bells in both a back yard and inside a shed. Once your bikes chained to these two, it's going to be very difficult to carry it away. And they have the advantage of being installation free too!

Finding the right location for your Ground Anchor

You've probably already got a good idea of where you want to store your bike. Or maybe there's not much choice!

Any ground anchor will have to be fixed to a surface in this space. But which surface and where exactly?

Hiplok Ankr Wall Anchor

Wall Anchors have some advantages over Ground Anchors

Concrete is the most secure surface, but it's also the hardest to drill into, making installation more time consuming. Tall brick walls are good. But avoid tarmac and paving stones as they're just not secure enough.

And try to choose a position that's difficult to access once your bike is locked to it. For example, if your bike sits in front of the anchor, this makes it more difficult for a thief to attack it.

What about a Wall Anchor?

Although they're called "ground" anchors, it's worth considering attaching them to the wall. Presuming you can find a suitably strong wall, this provides several advantages. First of all security...

The most popular way for thieves to defeat chains that are less than 13 mm thick is with large bolt cutters.

But to do so, a thief will need to get the chain in the jaws of the bolt croppers while one of its handles is resting on the floor. Then, by bouncing up and down on the other handle, they can generate enough force to cut the chain...

This technique depends on the chain being close to the floor. Another technique is to smash the chain or the lock against the concrete floor with a sledgehammer, which again depends on the chain being close to the floor.

So if you put a ground anchor on the wall, you'll be able to keep the the chain away from the floor and nullify these two very common thieving tactics!

Fixing the anchor to the wall rather than the floor also stops it becoming a trip hazard, or something you need to be careful not to drive over if it shares the same space with your car, (although ground anchors with shackles that lie flat can be driven over, see below).

However, if you do choose a wall, it's got to be a strong one. If the wall could easily be smashed up with a sledgehammer, then it's best avoided! Equally, don't position the anchor at the edge of the wall which is also weaker.

How to know how secure a ground anchor is?

There are tons of different ground anchors available. And while all of them will provide a vast increase in security compared to not using a ground anchor, some are definitely more secure than others.

The best way to judge is to look for accreditations from Sold Secure, Thatcham and Secured by Design, all of which independently test and then rate security products according to how much protection they offer.

Sold Secure rate products as Bronze (least secure), Silver, Gold and Diamond (most secure). But there are also different categories depending on what you're trying to protect. So Bicycle Gold is less secure than Motorcycle Gold.

Sold Secure ratings

Sold Secure rate products from Bronze (least secure) to Diamond (most secure)

Ground anchors are generally rated on the Bicycle scale, the Motorcycle scale, or there is also a specific "Ground Anchor" scale. In terms of security: Bicycle < Motorcycle < Ground Anchor.

But it's confusing because if it's not rated it on one scale it's because it hasn't been submitted for testing rather than it hasn't passed a test.

The bottom line is: if you're going to go to the trouble of installing a ground anchor I don't see any point in buying anything less than Bicycle Gold.

Other things to look out for security wise

Obviously the thicker and stronger the metal that the ground anchor is made from, the greater the security it will offer. When a shackle is 16 mm thick or more it can't be cropped by even the biggest hand held bolt croppers. So that's something to look out for...

Abus Granit WBA 100

Abus WBA 100: the 16 mm shackle is uncroppable

And they should always be made from hardened steel which will be much more difficult to cut than regular steel.

However, your best bet is to use the security ratings of Sold Secure as they have tested every ground anchor exhaustively and know what they're doing!

But it's not just about how secure the ground anchor is. What it's attached to and how well you attach it are just as important. So another reminder to choose your location well and make sure you install it properly.

And also super important: how lock your bike to the ground anchor!...

How to secure your bike to a ground anchor

The best lock to use with a ground anchor is usually a chain lock. Really thick, high security chains generally offer more protection than u-locks. They're less susceptible to attacks from power tools. And can't be defeated by leverage attacks.

With 16 mm thick links, chains become un-croppable, even with the biggest, 42" manual bolt cutters.

But the truth is, anything over 13 mm will be almost impossible to crop if you keep the chain away from the ground.

Xena ground anchor and chain

A high security chain is the best lock to use with a ground anchor

If you're only using the lock at home, you won't need to carry it around, so the massive weight of a high security chain isn't an issue.

And the extra locking length that a chain gives you over other locks, is better suited to the home environment, where you may want to secure multiple bikes at once.

There's no point spending the time, effort and money to install a ground anchor if the chain you pair with it is rubbish, because the thieves will just attack the lock rather than the anchor!

So you need to make sure you get a decent one. And looks can be deceiving...

If a thick heavy looking chain has not been properly hardened it will be easier to defeat than a thinner chain that's made with good quality steel.

Kryptonite ground anchor and chain

The 15 mm links of the Kryptonite Legend chain make it almost impossible to bolt crop

So you should definitely look for the ratings of the independent testing organisation Sold Secure.

Get a chain lock that's rated at least Sold Secure Gold, or even better, Sold Secure Diamond. This will guarantee you've got the best possible protection for your bike. I have a full guide to chain locks here.

If it doesn't come with a lock, make sure whichever lock you buy to pair with the chain is also rated Gold or Diamond by Sold Secure!

Finally, how you use the chain is really important too. As we've already discussed, try to keep it as far from the ground as possible (to prevent bolt cutter and sledgehammer attacks). Make sure you're securing the frame of your bike, rather than just the wheels which could be removed by a thief.

And get the chain through as many things as possible. Multiple bikes. And anything else that you can attach it to that might make it more difficult for thief to access and more intimidating to attack.

Ground Anchor Comparison Table

Here's a list of all the Sold Secure Gold (or higher) ground anchors I could find.. If you click on the names of the anchors in the table, you’ll be taken to Amazon or other websites, where you can further compare prices and reviews. Some of these are affiliate links.

Header

Model

Features

Max chain size

Sold Secure Rating

Abus WBA 100

4 bolts

Can drive over

22 mm

Bicycle Gold
Motorcycle Gold

Abus WBA 75

2 bolts

Can drive over

16 mm

Bicycle Gold
Motorcycle Gold

Kryptonite Stronghold

3 bolts
Drill bits included

Can drive over

14 mm

Bicycle Gold
Motorcycle Gold

Ground Anchor Gold

Magnum Plus

4 bolts

Can drive over

Cell

Bicycle Gold
Motorcycle Gold

Pragmasis Torc

4 bolts, 5 fixing kits

Drill bits included

Can drive over

22 mm

Bicycle Gold
Motorcycle Gold

Oxford Rotaforce

4 bolts
Rotates

22 mm

Motorcycle Gold

Squire GA6

4 bolts
Resin fixing kit

Cell

Motorcycle Diamond

Hiplok ANKR

4 bolts

Movable

Cell

Bicycle Gold
Motorcycle Gold

Ground Anchor Gold

Milenco Dundrod

4 bolts

Resin fixing kit

Cell

Motorcycle Gold

Ground Anchor Gold

Oxford Anchor Force

4 bolts

22 mm

Motorcycle Diamond

Oxford Beast

4 bolts

22 mm

Motorcycle Diamond

Oxford Anchor 14

4 bolts

15 mm

Bicycle Gold

Ground Anchor Gold

Pragmasis Double Doofer

4 bolts

Drill bits included

Movable

19 mm

Ground Anchor Gold

Pragmasis Beefy Bridge

4 bolts, 4 fixing kits

Drill bits included

19 mm

Ground Anchor Gold

Ground Anchor Summary

Installing a ground anchor at home or work is one of the best things you can do to improve the security of your bicycle or motorbike.

And if it's properly installed, the vast majority of thieves will simply walk away when they see it.

But you must choose a good one and install it correctly. And you must pair it with a decent lock. This means looking for Sold Secure ratings of Gold or Diamond for the ground anchor and the bike lock.

It also means making sure you choose a solid floor or wall to fix the anchor to, identifying the best location on the surface and using the correct fittings for maximum security.

With the right set up, the only way your security system will be defeated is with an angle grinder. And most thieves either won't have one or will be wary about using one where the noise and light they generate can be very disturbing.

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.


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Last Updated on October 31, 2021 by Carl Ellis

Carl Ellis
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