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According to a 2019 study, more than two million bikes are stolen in North America every year. That’s a scary statistic for any cyclist – including commuters and weekend cyclists alike. For people living in big cities or universities, it’s often a matter of when, not if, your bike will be stolen. The best bike locks offer substantial theft prevention – or at least some much-needed peace of mind.
With the best bike locks, you really do get what you pay for. A quick search on Amazon may yield many enticingly cheap options, but in our opinion, it’s very unwise to pinch pennies when shopping for bike locks. To help keep your two-wheeler safe, we’ve rounded up some of the toughest bike locks on the market.
What Are the Best Bike Locks?
Before looking for a bike lock, it’s good to take a quick risk assessment. Living in a city or college town, riding a nice bike and leaving it for long periods (say, while in the office) all increase the risk of your bike being stolen. If your bike is less likely to get stolen, you can opt for a lighter, more convenient lock that’s not quite as hardcore. On the other hand, if you’ve got a high risk of theft, just look for the toughest possible lock.
Lock Type: In our experience, the best bike locks are U-locks, chain locks and folding locks. U-locks are often considered the most secure with hard steel and strong locking mechanisms. Chain locks typically offer a bit more flexibility in terms of locking positions, and they’re sometimes easier to carry when not in use. Folding locks are relatively new, offering the rigid durability of a U-lock and the versatility of a chain lock. However, some folding locks can be damaged if someone tries to break them (making them harder to use), and folding locks sometimes take longer to lock and unlock than other styles.
Security: A flimsy bike lock just isn’t worth buying. We’ve selected locks from reputed brands that have held up to rigorous testing. Look for premium materials, and check to see if a lock has been rated by third-party, non-for-profit organizations such as Sold Secure or ART. These organizations employ professional locksmiths to test bike locks and give them a rating based on security.
Versatility: While security is key, a bike lock also has to fit around a variety of anchors. The best bike locks can be secured around a pole, lamppost, or other anchors, in addition to standard bike racks.
Portability: When not in use, you’ll need to carry your bike lock around. Portability sometimes comes at the cost of security because light, flexible locks are easy to carry but easier to break. Some locks (such as many folding locks) have found ways of providing portability without sacrificing too much security.
1. Kryptonite New York Standard U Lock
As the name suggests, this New York U-lock from Kryptonite is ready to face the far-too-active bike thieves of the Big Apple. The primary means of defense is a 16mm hardened steel shackle that’s tough enough for just about any tool. The lock also uses a patented cross-bar that prevents rotation in the event that the lock mechanism is broken. These rugged features earned the New York lock a Gold rating from Sold Secure.
Despite its top-of-the-line security and four-pound weight, the Kryptonite lock is relatively easy to use. It comes with a frame mount for easier transportation and fits around a variety of anchors thanks to a four-by-eight-inch size. If you’re at a high risk of bike theft, this is the one to get.
2. Abus Granit X-Plus 540 U Lock
Another great U-lock is this Granit X-Plus 540 from Abus. The lock is a bit larger than the Kryptonite lock above with an internal space of 4.25 by 9 inches. This allows for a wide variety of locking positions at different points on the bike. It’s also a tad lighter at just over three pounds and includes a frame mount for easy transportation.
Like any great U-lock, the Granit is tough as nails. The shackle, case and parts of the locking mechanism are made of temper hardened steel, translating to a rock-solid build. It received a Diamond rating from Sold Secure, so you can be sure it will withstand just about anything.
3. Hiplok Gold Wearable Chain Lock
If you need something more portable than a U-lock, check out this Hiplok Gold chain lock. With a speed buckle fastening system, it can be worn around your waist when not in use. Plus, thanks to an 85cm locking circumference, the Hiplok also provides more flexibility in terms of locking positions. This is great if you’re not always using regular bike racks.
Despite its versatility and portability, the Hiplok is still very safe in high-risk areas. It uses 12mm hardened steel on the shackle and 10mm hardened steel on the chain. The materials and rugged design earned it a Gold rating from Sold Secure.
4. Kryptonite New York Chain & Evolution 14mm Disc Lock
This lock from Kryptonite combines the usability of a chain lock and the security of a disc lock. The 12mm six-sided chain is made of triple heat-treated boron manganese steel, which, in plain English, means the chain is damn near uncuttable. The chain comes together at an Evolution 4-disc lock made of hardened steel. It’s ultra-tough and very versatile thanks to the chain design, but this does come at a price. The whole thing weighs just over 13 pounds, making it a bit heavy for some users.
5. FoldyLock Compact Folding Lock
If you don’t enjoy searching for a place to lock your bike, consider this FoldyLock. The lock uses six arms connected by rivets to form a large circle. This award-winning design allows the lock to be configured in a wide variety of positions while still being sturdy and secure. When it’s not being used, the lock folds up into a super compact carrying case. It’s also ridiculously light at just 2.2 pounds, making the Foldylock one of the most portable bike locks on the market.
Although some folding locks don’t hold up that well to attacks, the Foldylock is capable of withstanding almost any theft attempt. It boasts a Silver rating from Sold Secure, and also uses rivet protection to ensure that the rivets will work even if they’re tampered with by a thief.