• Home
  • Blog
  • Angle Grinder Proof Bike Lock: Has it finally arrived?
Angle Grinder Proof Bike Lock: Has it finally arrived?

Angle Grinder Proof Bike Lock: Has it finally arrived?

Last Updated on June 7, 2024 23 Comments

The short answer to this is “no”. There are still no bike locks that are completely angle grinder proof. And I’m not sure that there ever will be. Because an angle grinder will still get through any bike lock, eventually.

But before you get all disappointed, there is some very good news: in the last 2 years we have seen the launch of several new bike locks that provide huge improvements in angle grinder resistance.

And the truth is that some of these new bike locks are so resistant to angle grinders, that in a real world situation, where a thief is trying to use a portable angle grinder to steal your bike from a street, these locks will prevent the thief from doing so.

At the moment, there’s not many of these angle grinder resistant bike locks about. But I expect a lot more to be appearing in the next couple of years.

So I’m going to keep this post updated with the current situation.

First, a quick summary of the bike locks that do offer a degree of angle grinder resistance. And then I will describe the evolution of these locks over the last couple of years.

Angle Grinder Resistant Bike Locks 2024

  1. Litelok X3: the most angle grinder resistant bike lock currently available
  2. Hiplok D1000: a very close second in terms of resistance
  3. Hiplok DX1000: a bigger version of the D1000
  4. Litelok X1: significantly less resistant than the X3 or D1000, but also much less expensive
  5. SkunkLock Carbon: less resistant but bigger than the X1
  6. SkunkLock: spays noxious gas into face of thief when attacked
  7. Abus Super Extreme 2500: I have it, but haven't tested it yet (coming soon)! 

Head-to-head comparisons:

In the table below, you can compare the different specs of the angle grinder resistant bike locks. If you click on the names, you'll go to Amazon or other websites where you can compare prices and reviews. Some of these are affiliate links.

Model Thickness Weight Cans of Coke Width Length Time to Cut
Litelok X3 Litelok X3 16 mm 2.09 kg
(4.60 lb)
5.5 3.9 "
(10 cm)
7.6 "
(19.5 cm)
5:30 min
(4 discs)
Litelok X1 Litelok X1 16 mm 1.71 kg
(3.77 lb)
4.5 3.7 "
(10.1 cm)
7.7 "
(19.7 cm)
2:20 min
(2 discs)
Hiplok D1000 Hiplok D1000 16 mm 1.93 kg
(4.25 lb)
5 3.62 "
(9.2 cm)
6.1 "
(15.5 cm)
4:25 min
(5 discs)
Hiplok DX1000 Hiplok DX1000 16 mm 2.6 kg
(5.73 lb)
7 4.4 "
(11.2 cm)
8.07 "
(20.5 cm)
4:25 min
(5 discs)
SkunkLock SkunkLock 24 mm 1.77 kg
(3.92 lb)
4.5 4.25 "
(10.8 cm)
9.0 "
(22.9 cm)
-
SkunkLock Carbon SkunkLock
Carbon
20 mm 1.97 kg
(4.34 lb)
5.5 4 "
(10.5 cm)
8.9 "
(22.7 cm)
1:01 min
(2 discs)
Abus Super Extreme 2500 Abus Super Extreme 2500 19 mm 2.2 kg
(4.92 lb)
6 4.1 "
(10.4 cm)
8.8 "
(22.4 cm)
- Not tested yet

* "Time to Cut" is the time it took me to cut both sides of the shackle with a regular 1 mm disc on a mains powered angle grinder, plus the number of discs I went through doing so.

** The Litelok X1 time is extrapolated from the time it to cut one side, as I wasn't able to cut both sides due to excessive movement caused by me not anchoring the lock properly!

*** There is no "Time to Cut" for the regular SkunkLock as it doesn't purport to take longer to cut than a regular lock.

History of Angle Grinder Resistant Bike Locks

When I first started researching and writing about bicycle security, over 6 years ago (in 2015), angle grinders weren’t such a big deal. Yes, some thieves used them. But they weren’t widely used. And they struggled to defeat the very strongest bike locks.

This was because limited power and battery life meant it would take a while to cut through a thick u-lock, with a thief often needing to swap battery packs at least once as the first one ran out of juice.

However, technology moves quickly, often to the benefit of the resourcefully criminally minded first. Batteries have improved at an exponential rate, which means that thieves now easily have enough power to get through even the thickest u-locks, very quickly indeed.

For example, even the famous Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit, undoubtedly the world’s most secure portable bicycle lock up until now, featuring an unrivalled 18mm hardened steel shackle, can be defeated in 1 minute with a portable angle grinder.

1 minute 10 seconds to be exact.

To defeat the most secure bicycle lock on the planet! A lock that weighs the same as 5.5 cans of Coke and has internal dimensions so small that it severely restricts where and how you’re able to secure your bike.

Many thieves are very comfortable with a 1 minute time frame. Especially when an angle grinder can serve as a very dangerous weapon if they’re confronted by brave members of the public...

So for the last few years, we’ve been in a situation where increasing numbers of (essentially armed), thieves are using compact and powerful portable angle grinders to steal whichever bike they choose, irrespective of how it's been secured.

And usually in a matter of seconds.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this idea that all bike thieves are using angle grinders now is nonsense. It’s still a minority, and they’re largely operating in big cities. Why would most thieves need angle grinders when huge numbers of cyclists are still “securing” their bikes with cable locks that can be snipped through with a tiny pair of cable cutters?

But the problem is that the thieves using angle grinders are prolific and relentless. And up until now (in a world where the police seem to have better things to do than address bicycle crime), they’ve essentially been unstoppable.

But as is usually the case, the market responds to need. And as angle grinder theft became more of an issue, the innovative rushed to find solutions.

SkunkLock

First came the SkunkLock, a bicycle lock that doesn’t aim to prevent an angle grinder cutting through its shackle, but instead to severely punish the thief wielding the angle grinder by releasing a cloud of noxious, vomit inducing gas into their face, preventing them from actually stealing the bike.

While the SkunkLock works well and has successfully protected countless bikes, it’s very bulky, making it challenging to carry around while you’re riding and if the shackle is cut into (and releases the gas), the lock can’t be used again.

The SkunkLock warning label

The SkunkLock warning label

Altor SAF (Discontinued)

Next came the Altor SAF, a bicycle lock which I originally thought was a Photoshopped spoof, when I saw the photos!

Altor SAF angle grinder proof bike lock

The comically large Altor SAF

In fact, the SAF is a pretty standard steel u-lock with a 14 mm shackle, wrapped in a complex aluminum shell. The idea is that the aluminum shell keeps the angle grinder blade away from the steel of the u-lock.

Of course, with enough time, the angle grinder can get through both the shell and the steel shackle, but this can take over an hour and several battery changes. So in this way the SAF is certainly angle grinder proof.

The problem is that it’s enormous. It weighs the same amount as 3 Kryptonite Fahgettaboudits (and 16 cans of Coke). What’s more, it’s so bulky it’s entirely non-portable. And the internal measurements are about the same as a mini u-lock.

So you’re limited to stationary security (at home or work), as long as you’ve got an immovable object to secure your bike to that the SAF will actually fit around.

While the SkunkLock and Altor SAF are undoubtedly fantastic innovations and will certainly protect against angle grinder theft, due to their bulk, they’re unlikely to become mainstream portable bike locks.

Indeed, the Altor SAF has since been discontinued and is no longer available.

What we really needed was a regular looking bike lock that an angle grinder is unable to cut. Enter the Hiplok D1000.

Hiplok D1000

In 2020, I tweeted about a new material called Proteus which “uses ceramic spheres in a cellular aluminum structure to foil angle grinders, drills and the like by creating destructive vibrations that blunt any cutting tools used against it”.

Hiplok D1000

Hiplok D1000: the world first portable angle grinder proof bike lock

However, I’ve heard stuff like this before, and I presumed it would be several years (if ever), before any new fangled material could be used in commercially viable bike locks. Usually the material is too expensive, or the manufacturing process is too expensive. Or there are other technical drawbacks.

But I was very wrong.

Because in 2021 Hiplok (a company that's made its name with bicycle locks that are easier to carry around), announced the world’s first truly portable, anti angle grinder bike lock, and the secret sauce was a new material called “Ferosafe”.

Ferosafe

Ferosafe: the magical material that makes it possible

So it’s not made from the aforementioned Proteus. Instead, this Ferosafe stuff is a graphene composite material specifically designed to resist angle grinders and drills, and it’s made by a British materials manufacturer called Tenmat who have partnered up with Hiplok.

Essentially this stuff disintegrates angle grinder blades!

And it seems that Hiplok have added layer of Ferosafe around a regular u-lock to protect it from angle grinder attacks.

Several online tests show impressive results. Cycling Weekly used a mains powered angle grinder against the lock while it was held in a vice and it took them over 20 minutes and they destroyed 5 cutting discs before they got through the lock...

When I tested it using a mains powered angle grinder, I got through it quicker. But it still took 4.5 minutes (not including the time to change the discs) and 5 discs to cut both sides, which is very impressive. The Fahgettaboudit only took 32 seconds with one disc!

And the italics are important here. Because real thieves don’t use mains powered angle grinders and they don’t have the luxury of vices in the street. Using a portable angle grinder and having to hold the lock steady would inevitably take much longer.

John at Bennets (who always provides level headed opinions on motorbike security), attacked it on a motorbike wheel. And while he doesn’t disclose how long it took to cut, he goes through 2.5 discs. And he’s using a mains powered angle grinder too!

So it seems like it could take anywhere between 10 and 25 minutes to cut the Hiplok D1000 with an angle grinder. In the street, where a thief might need to change a couple of battery packs and several blades, this is a really big deal.

In fact, for most real world thieving circumstances, it essentially makes the Hiplok D1000 angle grinder proof.

And it manages this while remaining relatively lightweight and svelte. So the internal dimensions of the Hiplok D1000 are slightly larger than the Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini u-lock, giving you a few more locking options. But it also weighs slightly less (well, 5% less).

Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini

Hiplok D1000

Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit

18 mm shackle

16 mm shackle (?)

4.51 lb (2.047 kg)

4.28 lb (1.942 kg)

3.25" (8.3 cm) wide

3.62" (9.2 cm) wide

6" (15.3 cm) high

6.10" (15.5 cm) high

Sold Secure Bicycle Gold, Motorcycle Gold, Bicycle Diamond, ART 4/5
Sold Secure Motorcycle Diamond, Bike Diamond

To be fair, there’s not much difference. Which makes the Hiplok D1000 a very heavy portable bike lock. It weighs around the same as 5 cans of coke. And like the Fahgettaboudit, there’s no frame mount.

The lack of a frame mount is almost certainly due to the universal difficulty in supporting that kind of weight effectively against a bike frame. However, unlike many other heavy locks, Hiplok do at least provide a solution: a carry pouch.

Which is just as well really, since Hiplok's name was made on the back of innovative ways to carry your lock!

Litelok X1

Although the Hiplok D1000 was announced first (in 2021), in an interesting twist, by the time it was available to buy, another British bike lock manufacturer, Litelok, came out of nowhere and launched their own angle grinder resistant bike lock the X1, at almost the same time.

The Litelok X1 also uses a ceramic composite to thwart angle grinder blades. But in this case it is fused to the shell of a standard, hardened steel u-lock.

Litelok X1 Review

The Litelok X1 is also more of a standard size, compared to the mini size of the D1000. And it's much cheaper, too.

However, it is significantly less secure. But it still took me over 1 minute to cut one side of the Litelok X1, and it would take several disc changes to get through both sides. So it's significantly more secure than any regular high security u-lock.

Because of this extremely high level of security, combined with the standard size and reasonable price, I reckon it's the best bike lock currently available. Read my full Litelok X1 review here.

Litelok X3

Shortly after the X1, Litelok launched its big brother, the X3, which is more of a direct competitor to the Hiplok D1000 in terms of angle grinder resistance and price.

The Litelok X3 looks just like the X1, but there is a thicker layer of the ceramic composite fused to its shell, and it has a fancy "impossible to pick", Alboy lock cylinder rather than the standard cylinder on the X1.

In my tests, again, using a mains powered angle grinder, it took 5.5 minutes (not including the time to change the discs) and 4 discs to get through both sides of the Litelok X3, making it just slightly more angle grinder resistant than the Hiplok D1000.

I have full reviews of the Litelok X3 and Hiplok D1000 coming shortly. Meanwhile, you can read my comparison of the Litelok X1 vs Hiplok D1000.

Conclusion 

What does all this mean? Well, it looks like the Hiplok DC1000 will take that crown long held by the Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit to become the undisputed, most secure portable bike lock in the world.

And hopefully we’ve finally got a long term and practical solution to the angle grinder menace that is blighting our cities!

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.

  • WOW! Very impressive. Thanks for doing this. I’m taking delivery soon on a rather expensive new bike and have been wondering how the heck to best protect it against theft in this new world of angle grinders. You’ve given me the solution!

  • Never, I repeat never, underestimate the determination of a dedicated thief. They will risk their lives and limbs to achieve their goal and a badge of honor when they succeed. They simply refuse to admit defeat!!

  • I know that the average bike thief uses brawn rather than brain, but seeing “The lock picking Lawyer” on YouTube picking the Kryptonite lock in seconds, makes me wonder if a good insurance policy is needed as well as a good lock?

    • Hi Pete it’s Eldwin. A couple of things. You’re right. Bike insurance brings, ‘piece of mind,’ and I too recommend it.
      And regarding, ‘The Lockpicking Lawyer,’ he’s very good at picking locks of all types. But let’s think about it?
      1). We’re shown mostly his
      successes not his failures.
      2). His setting. Plenty of light,
      He’s likely sitting comfortably
      while he’s picking these locks,
      at a flat table, sometimes
      using a vise.
      3). He uses a special tool that
      he and ‘Bonsai Bill’ made.
      4) It’s like, ‘a walk in the park,’
      for him, time wise. No
      pressure.
      To your point Pete, his lock-
      picking skills make one
      wonder, “dang! I spent all that
      money” for that Abus, or
      Oxford, Kryptonite, OnGuard,
      or whatever lock, that guy
      down at the bike shop said
      I needed and would protect
      my bike.
      The reality is, we love cycling
      and we’re gonna continue cycle and, keep our bikes.

  • Bought 1 hiplock D1000
    Carry it in my back pack . Great lock but not big enough to lock wheel , frame and post .
    It’s my primary lock, my bike is all so insured for added peace of mind . Definitely i am overall happy with the D1000

    • Hi Peter it’s Eldwin.
      I too have the D1000 from
      Hiplok. So far, I think it’s the
      perfect lock for bikes and
      commuter ebikes. A good
      investment. This is
      because you can lock some
      point, of your
      bike frame to a solid
      foundation that serves as, a
      ‘bikerack.’ I found – so far –
      that Pinhead locks work well
      for both wheels. Of course,
      there’s other locking scenarios
      one can use that shouldn’t
      weight you down too much,
      but this is
      ‘minimalist’ to the highest
      degree. If you go with Pinhead
      as a ‘secular’ lock setup, be it
      your seatpost, bike stem, or
      wheels, just make sure to have
      the specially designed key,
      with you while riding is case
      you get a flat or want to make
      an adjustment.
      Happy riding.

  • Good stuff Mr Ellis. Thanks for your astute observations. It really helps the cycling public immensely! People like you are appreciated.
    03/15/2023

    • An angle grinder would cut through the Hiplok DX Plus in seconds, Adam.

      And since the shackle is only 14mm, compared to the Fahgettaboudit 18mm shackle, significantly fewer seconds than the Kryptonite lock.

  • Carl, thanks for all your reviews on these new, more resistant locks. Question: how do they fare up to freezing in order to make the metal brittle and easy to shatter (perhaps using dry ice or liquid nitrogen?)

    • Hi Larry,

      I haven’t tested then against freezing myself. But Sold Secure use freezing as part of their testing methods.

      And the Litelok X1 and X3, and the Hiplok D1000 wouldn’t get a Diamond Motorcycle rating if they were susceptible to a freezing attack.

      I hope that helps…

      Carl

  • Hi Carl,
    did u get your hands on the ABUS GRANIT Super Extreme 2500 yet? It’s supposed to be angle grinder resistant as well and I’d love to see you comparing it with the others in this category.
    Greetings

    Maik

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
    >