The ultimate guide to buying a bike lock

Cycling is a fantastic sport and those who enjoy it tend to invest a lot in clothing and accessories.

However, the item with the highest price tag is usually the bike itself.

Bike prices can be anywhere between a couple of hundred pounds for those who are looking for a bike to take them on a leisurely ride on a Sunday afternoon, to thousands of pounds for cyclists who take things a little more serious and want to ride something more exotic.

Whether you opt for a minimal bike, or a more extravagant one, one fact remains the same.

You need a bike lock.

Many bike thieves are opportunists, so using a bike lock is essential if you want to minimise the temptation.

With literally hundreds if not thousands of bike locks currently available on the market, we’ve compiled a list of the best ones that will suit your budget, and most of all keep your bike safe.

Before we get into which lock is best, here are a few general things to look out for when you’re making a decision on which lock is right for you.

Lock type

Bike locks can usually be broken down into 3 categories. Cable locks, U-locks/D-locks and chain locks. We’ll go through the benefits of each type later on.

Sold Secure rating

Sold Secure is an independent body that assigns a security rating to bike locks in the UK. They test the strength of locks as well as performing rigorous ‘break’ tests before assigning a lock one of three ratings.

The Gold Sold Secure rating is the best and is what you should always aim for when selecting a lock.

Length and size

The length and size of your bike lock will depend on how many bikes you plan on locking up, the size of your bike frame and whether you have quick release wheels.

If you do have quick release wheels, then you might want to think about a combination of a U-lock/D-lock and a cable lock.

Keys

Locks come in all shapes and sizes, but as a general rule locks that need keys to be unlocked are usually easier to use than those with a combination lock.

However, there are drawbacks if you’re prone to losing things…

Cost

As a general rule of thumb with bike locks, you get what you pay for, so try to avoid the cheap locks if you can afford to.

Our best lock picks

Kryptonite New York M18 bike lock

Kryptonite New York M18 bike lock

Kryptonite locks have built a reputation as one of the best bike lock manufacturers in the business, and the Kryptonite New York M18 bike lock doesn’t let the company’s name down.

It features a Sold Secure Gold rating and it’s a lock that means business.

Its robust 18mm steel shackle is immune to bolt cutters and totally leverage resistant. It’s also a comfortable 260mm long meaning you should have no trouble using it on any bike frame or rack, no matter how awkwardly they are shaped.

The Kryptonite New York M18 is a key lock and the base of the mechanism comes with a handy dust cover to help the lock avoid weather damage and keep grime and dirt out.

However, there are a couple of minor downsides to the lock. The price is at the higher end of the scale, but if you can afford it, it’s worth it.

The weight of the lock might also be a cause of concern for cyclists who aren’t looking for something that’ll keep their bike locked down for long periods of time.

The Kryptonite weighs in at just under 2.7kg, meaning it can be a bit of chore lugging it around for long periods of time.

All in all, whilst this lock can’t boast to be 100% theft proof, it can’t be far off.

Price: £70
Available to buy here

Abus Granit Steel-O-Flex

Abus Granit Steel O Flex cable lock

Cable locks, in general, have developed quite a bad reputation, as many models are thin, flimsy and quite often a waste of money as they are easily cut.

But that’s not the case with the Abus Granit Steel-O-Flex.

Its durable steel cabling is covered in a hardened synthetic shell which is not only weather resistant, but also a nightmare for thieves looking to cut through it and make a quick getaway.

The lock comes with two keys, one of which has an inbuilt LED light, making it perfect for dark winter nights or low-light conditions.

The lock comes in two sizes, one is 100cm and the other is 80 cm meaning your locking possibilities are almost endless.

The Abus is the perfect way to secure quick release wheels to a bike’s frame and it will work perfectly in tandem with a D-lock/U-lock for added security.

Price: from £52
Available to buy here

Oxford Chain10

Oxford Chain10 bike lock

The Oxford Chain10 is as the name suggests, a chain lock, which is the third and final type of lock that we mentioned earlier.

At £35 this chain lock is one of the most affordable deterrents out there. Measuring 1.4 metres in length, its 10mm hardened steel links and synthetic coat will keep thieves at bay, and should resist a range of attacks.

The chain also boasts a Secure Sold Gold rating making it a perfect option for those looking for incredible value for money.

Price: £35
Available to buy here

Kryptonite Evolution Mini

Kryptonite Evolution Mini bike lock

If you’re looking for a small compact U-lock/D-lock that comes with a cable lock as standard, then look no further than the Kryptonite Evolution Mini.

It’s not quite as robust as the Kryptonite New York M18, but it’s still very capable.

The Evolution Mini is the ideal choice for those looking to utilise a cable lock and U-lock/D-lock but don’t want to shell out for both separately.

The lock has a Secure Sold Silver rating, meaning it’s still a solid choice for those looking to lock their bikes for short periods of time.

Price: £35
Available to buy here

Conclusion

The four locks we have shared are just a drop in the ocean in the world of bike locks, and there are options to suit everyone’s needs.

But, stick with these and you should have peace of mind when you leave your bike unattended.

Make sure you do your research and pick the bike lock that’s both friendly to your budget, but that you know will do the job should any opportunists test its security.