At Crankboutique, we want to make it as easy as possible for consumers to buy the products that are right for them – that’s why we offer comparison for everything!
Below you’ll find the latest from our lock reviews and our up to date comparison tables. You’ll also find some in depth information on lock review types and their relative pros and cons. Our lock reviews are done to relative standards – meaning that we compare them to each other. No bike lock is going to survive a determined thief with a power tool!
Where possible we also cross reference our review performance with third party bodies to bring you the best possible data. In particular we check against Sold Secure which we consider the “gold standard” for lock tests. There’s more on Sold Secure in the section below.
Latest Bike Lock Reviews
Bike Lock Types
Broadly there are 4 main types of bike lock – find everything you need to know below.
U/D Bike Locks
A U or D lock is essentially a giant padlock. Generally made of forged and treated steel, they’re incredible tough and generally feature key tumbler locks that are hardened to picking and drilling.
One key thing to remember when choosing a U or D lock is size – you want to minimise the amount of free space between bike and your lock point. More gap provides more opportunity for leverage and a higher success rate for a thief with a crowbar
- Generally lighter than chain locks
- Time tested design
- Very tough – resistant to cutters, picking, leverage (depending on size) and drilling
- Can be mounted on frame (depending on size)
- Weight – while lighter than standard chain locks they’re still hefty
- Size restrictive – smaller or bigger locks can mean difficult placement in certain situations and may increase opportunity for leverage
Chain Bike Locks
What can you say about a chain bike lock – it’s a big, metal chain secured with a padlock! There’s a huge array of options for chain locks with various sizes and ratings – the bigger the chain the better the protection and the bigger the weight. Bike lock specific chains will often be coated or sleeved to provide protection for the bike frame.
One thing not to forgot about when looking at a chain bike lock is the padlock itself – not much point in having a big chain and a flimsy lock. Read our reviews of the best locks and lookup your options in Sold Secure and other raters before you buy.
- Very tough
- Can be expensive
Cable Bike Locks
Cable bike locks are generally made of braided steel in a sleeve or can be a mix of other synthetic materials. This cable is attached to a combination lock or less often a keyed lock. Cable locks are great for convenience and price, but compared to other types are very weak. Bike thieves love cable locks because they can’t stand up to a pair of bolt cutters!
We would advise that you only use a cable lock in a low risk area. If you need anything stronger use another type!
- Relatively cheap
- Portable and low weight
- Lowest security out of all bike lock types
Folding Bike Locks
Folding bike locks are generally a set of steel (or composite) bars held together with secured hardened rivets with a keyed lock built in at one end. As the name implies these locks fold for storage and can therefore be a more attractive option to a U or chain bike lock. The bars are very tough and will resist casual attacks, although options are more limited compared to chain and U locks.
- Pretty tough
- Few manufacturers
Bike Lock Standards
While most of the major manufacturers have their own scales for rating the security of their products, as with any other product, it’s best not to rely on these. Community reviews and reviews on shopping sites such as Amazon can be useful, but again consider that the reviews may have very different experiences and requirements to you.
While there aren’t any global “standards” around bike locks many countries have bike lock ratings provided by local cycling or locksmithing associations. The output of these bodies can be variable, however we’ve found the Sold Secure ratings system provided by the UK’s Master Locksmith Association, to be a very reliable guide in terms of product performance.
Sold Secure test all manner of consumer locks (including building and automotive). For bike locks they have a three tier ranking system – Bronze, Silver and Gold. Where we review products that have been rated by Sold Secure, we will include their rating in the review.
General Bike Security Tips
It’s important to remember that a bike lock cannot fully prevent your bicycle from getting stolen. There’s an upcoming post that will go into bike security in more detail, however here are some quick tips for keeping your bike safe:
- Where possible secure the bike via the frame and not the wheels and secure via both if possible. Bicycle wheels are easy to remove!
- Secure it in a visible are with plenty of foot traffic.
- Secure the bike to a solid immovable object and do a visual inspection of the anchor to ensure it hasn’t been tampered with.