Many people love to ride their bicycles. They use them for exercise, to commute to and from work, to run errands, or just to see some new territory. From 2000 to 2013, bicycle commuting rates in large BFCs increased 105%, and nation average is in 65% increase.
Riding a bicycle can be a great activity, but there are some drawbacks. If you stop to eat, do some shopping, or use the restroom, you need to consider what to do with your bike. If you just leave it out front and hope for the best, odds are that it will be gone when you come back!
Many thieves recognise the high prices people pay for their bikes and their resale value. For that reason, bikes are commonly stolen every day. In the United States, over 1.5 million bicycles are stolen each year.
In New York City alone, around 5,000 bike thefts are reported every year, with many more going unreported, and in Portland, the number is 1,500+ each year. Whether your bike is expensive or a yard sale purchase, you want to protect our bicycle. You need the best bike lock to do so!
If you’re in the market for a quality bike lock to protect your bike, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll go over the things to look for when shopping for your new bike lock, and then we’ll review five of the top rated bike locks available.
At the end, we’ll name an overall champion as the best lock. Let’s get started:
Table of Contents
18 mm steel
13 mm steel
11 mm steel
7 mm steel
6 mm steel
When you begin shopping for your new bike lock, there are a few major considerations you need to keep in mind before you make a decision:
Your new bike lock needs to be able to withstand an attack from a determined criminal. In order to do this, it should be made from strong and durable materials. Look for proven tough materials like steel, stainless steel, manganese steel, hardened steel, or titanium.
These materials are tough enough to withstand attacks, even with power tools, for a long enough time that it discourages criminals from even attempting to steal your bike.
They can quickly recognise a lock made with quality materials and one that’s not.
Bike locks are available in a number of different security configurations. Some use a key to operate, while others use combination-style locks. Look for a security rating, and if your new lock uses a key, look for drill and lock pick resistance in the mechanism.
For a combination lock, the more numbers the better, because there are more possible combinations, which makes it more difficult to get the correct one.
Keep in mind your own strengths and weaknesses here also. If you’re constantly losing keys, don’t get a key bike lock. If you can’t remember your pin number, you probably shouldn’t get a combination lock. Try to select the best style lock for you.
If you don't know which type of lock is better for you, check out this video from TheBellGarage. They explained the type of best bike lock you should choose:
Every buying decision involves price to some degree. As such, it’s important to identify the amount you wish to spend before you start shopping for any item.
Before you select your new bike lock, identify the maximum dollar amount you are willing to spend, and stick to it. In general, a good bike lock will cost you anywhere from $50 to $100 and up, but there are some great locks available for less if you do some research.
Thieves don’t shop around for the bike they want to steal, they look at the locks they know how to beat and take the bikes attached to them. Choosing a bike lock made by a recognized brand can be a positive or a negative.
If it’s a lock that’s tough to break, the name can be enough that thieves won’t even try. If it’s an easy lock to get past, then the brand name can work against you. Kryptonite is a brand that’s widely recognized as a quality lock against bike theft, and their locks are notoriously tough to beat.
On the other hand, there are other brands on the market that thieves might not recognize, so they won’t even try to steal your bike. Good quality foreign-made lock brands like Abus and Zeni are a good way to ward off thieves.
Key Takeaway: Get a name brand lock with a solid track record of security. We found Kryptonite is best in the market, in terms of building quality locks.
What we mean here is keep it simple: Bike locks can be unnecessarily complex sometimes, which makes them a pain to use. Avoid complex mechanisms that include multiple cables, chains, or connections.
A simple lock that’s easy to use is ideal for everybody. If you need to, go down to your local bike shop and have them show you how the various locks you’re interested in really work. They’ll probably be happy to demonstrate how to use them, and then you can make an informed decision when you buy.
We have selected these best bike locks after hours of reviews, talk to experts & interviewing consumers. We have added these bike lock reviews in details so you can determine which one is most perfect for your need.
Kryptonite 997986 Fahgettaboudit bike lock was specially developed by Kryptonite to stand up to the professional thieves in New York City. It’s a beefy U-shaped lock that uses a key to operate.
The first thing you notice about this bike lock is that it’s big and beefy. The u-bolt shackle is 18mm in diameter, which is much thicker than most other bike locks available.
The thicker diameter better resists bolt cutters and saws, and makes it virtually impossible to bend. Just one look at this sturdy bike lock and thieves will keep on moving past your bike.
Most u-bolt style bike locks are all the same. You get the u-bolt part and then you get a solid crossbar that locks onto the open end of the u-bolt. Kryptonite upped the ante with this lock, providing a hardened steel sleeve over the crossbar, which gives you double the security.
Before the criminals can even get to the crossbar, they have to contend with the oversized sleeve. They probably won’t even want to try.
The key cylinder that Kryptonite uses on this lock is designed to stop the most determined criminals. It is a high security disc style cylinder, which are virtually impossible to pick, and the center keyway makes it much tougher against any leverage style attacks. You get the best key cylinder for security with this sturdy New York lock.
Most bike locks come with two keys: one for you to carry with you and a spare. That’s not what you get with this lock. You get your standard two keys, but you also get a third that you’ll really appreciate. The third key is equipped with a built-in high intensity bulb and a replaceable battery.
Yes, it’s a flashlight, so you can always see to operate your Kryptonite lock, even in the dark. Three keys is always better than two, and that’s what you get with this lock.
This is another great quality lock from Kryptonite that is well worth the money for what you get. If you want to deter criminals, this is an impressive looking and performing lock.
If you live in a small town or park your bike where security isn’t much of an issue, this standard U-lock from Kryptonite might be a great choice for you.
Kryptonite outfitted this lock with a 13mm diameter hardened steel shackle. The thickness and material make this lock resistant to bolt cutters and saws, and tougher against leverage-style theft attempts. This shackle is built tough to perform like all Kryptonite U-locks.
On this lock, Kryptonite uses their disc-style key cylinder. This style is the best one available for protection against drilling or lock picks, so your bike is as safe as possible. You also get two “I” style keys which are easier to use than standard key shapes, so you should have no problems using this quality bike lock.
Deciding where and how to carry your bike lock can be a hassle, so this one comes with a unique item that’s extremely helpful. Kryptonite calls it their Transit FlexFrame Bracket. This bracket allows you to mount your bike lock to anywhere on your bike frame’s tubing.
It fits any shape tubing from 25 to 80 mm in diameter, and has 360 degrees of rotation to further help you fit your lock perfectly in place. Simply snap in your bike lock when it’s not in use, and it’s always on board your bike when you need it.
With all of the quick-adjustment items on bikes today, we’ve made parts of our bikes very easy to steal. To prevent this, many people use a cable combined with a u-lock to make sure they don’t lose any parts like wheels, a seat, or their handlebars.
The Series 2 Lock includes Kryptonite’s Kryptoflex cable, so you can loop it around any parts you’re not interested in losing, and lock the cable eyelets inside the u-lock. When you choose the Series 2, you get a complete locking system.
This is a quality bike lock made by Kryptonite, and it’s great that it comes with a mounting bracket and cable. However, it’s not their strongest or best lock, so we’d advise only using this lock in lower crime areas.
This is a u-lock made by Abus Locks, a German company that’s been producing locking devices for over 90 years.
When you buy the U 64 Mini Futura lock, you get some top of the line features. Among them are the deluxe lighted keys that allow you to operate your bike lock in any conditions, including pitch black.
With the simple push of a button, you can illuminate your bike lock to install or remove it. There are plenty of other things you can do with a miniature flashlight to keep you safe at all times as well, such as lighting your way when you can’t see.
On every Abus u-lock, they use their world renowned ABUS-Plus locking system. This locking system protects your lock from drilling, the most popular way to defeat most u-locks around the world. You’ll never have to worry that someone’s going to drill out your key cylinder with an Abus u-lock.
One of the best features of this lock is its weight. The total weight of the Mini Futura is 1.7 pounds, which is about half of what some other bike locks weigh.
Abus’ specially developed hardened shackle steel is surprisingly lightweight while it remains incredibly strong for your security. This bike lock is so light, you’ll forget you even have it with you.
To haul your bike lock around without the need for a pack, Abus provides a nifty little device with this lock. It’s a bracket that uses a strap to hold your lock securely to your bike frame when it’s not in use. This is an ingenious device that most riders will really appreciate.
This is a mini lock that’s about 6 inches deep. You can use it to lock your front wheel to your frame, or your frame to a bike rack or parking meter, but not both. A great quality lock in a lightweight package.
Another style of lock that’s popular in the U.S. is the chain lock. Just like it sounds, it involves a chain and a locking mechanism. This one from Kryptonite is a great choice in chain locks.
One great advantage of a chain lock is the ability to lock more things together, like your front wheel and frame to a post with a single mechanism. This is made possible by the chain length.
This chain lock is 1.8 feet long, so you can lock up everything you need to with one lock. When you buy the Kryptonite Keeper, your days of carrying multiple bike locks are over.
Chains can often be an inviting target to experienced thieves, so Kryptonite made sure to provide you with the toughest chain possible. This lock features a chain made from 3T Manganese Steel, with the links being four sided.
The chain diameter is 7 millimeters, which is nice and thick. To protect your bike, a nylon sleeve keeps the chain inside where it can’t scratch or damage anything.
To maximize your security with this chain lock, Kryptonite uses its preferred key cylinder. The Keeper has the disc-style key cylinder so it’s tough to drill or pick. You also get two “I” keys made from stainless steel to use with your lock, and if you lose them you’ll get free replacements with Kryptonite’s Key Safe Program.
Kryptonite’s new chain design makes sure there’s no weak link in your chain. There’s no locking pin that can be easily defeated holding the chain in the lock.
Instead, there’s a hardened deadbolt that locks the end link securely in place and protects the link from any unwanted attacks. This design makes Kryptonite’s chain locks the best in the bike lock business.
For a chain lock, the Keeper by Kryptonite is a great choice. Just keep in mind that there are longer and larger chain locks available. Make sure this chain lock is long enough for your needs before you buy.
There are one hundred thousand possible combinations of five numbers, so the chances of a thief figuring out your code is extremely remote. Plus, you don’t have to worry about bringing your keys or losing them at the worst times ever again. Just pick a 5-digit passcode that you can easily remember, and you’re all ready to go.
Foneso uses a high quality chain on this lock for maximum security. It’s made from manganese steel, which is a denser steel that’s more resistant to shear, like you get from bolt cutters, and it won’t ever rust.
The chain links are each made from material that’s 6.2mm thick, with four sides that makes the links tougher to cut. The chain on this lock is specially made to keep your bike safe.
Covering the chain is a nice canvas sleeve. This sleeve has many functions, including protecting the chain from water and dust, making sawing, drilling, and cutting more difficult, and protecting the paint job on your bike.
The canvas sleeve makes this chain lock a great way to lock up practically any item with a finished surface.
This chain lock isn’t just for locking up bicycles. You can lock up anything you can wrap this lock around, including ladders, sports equipment, tool boxes, gates, lawnmowers, grills, and fences. The possibilities are endless.
This chain lock is a great affordable alternative to more expensive products. We wouldn’t use it in a high crime area. A nice lock to have on hand for use on a variety of items, but not on an expensive bike.
If a new bike lock is something you could use, all five of the ones we reviewed above are great choices. However, we must name an overall champion. For the winner of best bike locks, our champion is the Kryptonite 997986 Fahgettaboudit.
While it may cost a little more, it’s got the features that make it a respectable foe to any experienced bike thief. Made for use in New York, where bikes go missing all the time, this lock is a great visual repellent for thieves and will handle an insane amount of abuse if they do try to steal your bike with this lock on it.
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A passionate blogger! Editor at Chooserly, and a regular author at HuffingtonPost, LifeHacker & Forbes!