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|Kryptonite Bike Lock plus Cable|
|Forenso Security Cable Lock|
|Rixow Security Bike Lock|
|On-Guard 8005 Pitbull|
|Blusmart Heavy Duty Bike Lock|
If you are a keen cyclist you’ll love the feeling of being out in the open air, getting all the exercise you need and enjoying the passing scenery. Whether you ride a racing bike, a mountain bike or use two wheels to commute to and from work, you are following in the footsteps – or should we say pedals – of many millions of people who have gone before you, and taking advantage of a great way of travelling.
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Furthermore, if you are a motorcyclist, you will have even more fun out there on the roads! There’s one element of cycling and motorcycling that causes problems: how do you keep your bike safe when it’s not in use?
A quality bike can be an expensive piece of kit, so you want it protected when you leave it outside work or park it up at the shops or at home. That means investing in the best bike lock, and we say quality because there are some cheap imitations to look out for. In the first instance, a lock is a deterrent; the thief will pick a poorly protected one that is easier to steal because it’s less hassle for him. If it doesn’t deter, and they still try to take it, you need to make sure they can’t, so you want a high-quality lock with proven properties.
There are different types of bike lock to consider – and plenty of choice from some well-known makers – so before we go on to review the top 10 best bike locks, let’s have a look at how they work.
Best Bike Locks (Our Top 10 Picks)
1: Kryptonite Bike Lock plus Cable
Our search starts with a model from one of the leading makers of quality bike locks, Kryptonite. This one is a U-type shackle lock, but for added security, you also get a chain thrown into the package. The shackle features the patented – and proven – Kryptonite deadbolt locking system, and a reinforced sleeve over the cylinder makes this one very hard to break. It is designed to be strong enough to resist twisting and other types of attack, and the U-lock is standard size for regular use.
The cable, at 4ft long, is easily suitable for added security, and is a braided steel construction with excellent strength and protection qualities. The whole package allows you to ensure the very best protection, and the brand carries a strong reputation. As for the price, this is not the cheapest, but nor is it particularly expensive, and we reckon it is sensibly priced for protecting bikes in areas where theft may be expected.
2: Forenso Security Cable Lock
For many people, a cable lock is sufficient, and this one represents good value for money with excellent protection. It’s from Forenso, a known maker, and it is a simple design the is easy to use. What you get is a 200mm long, 12mm diameter cable made from hardened stainless steel inside a plastic sleeve. It is excellent for securing bikes and other items fully, and manipulating it is difficult as it is very, very strong.
If we’re looking for drawbacks, perhaps the fact this is a combination lock could be seen as a problem for some people. The five-barrel combination offers many thousands of possible numbers, yet the temptation for many people is to use a simple number, and hope nobody guesses it. This defies the purpose, as a good combination number should be completely random so it is difficult to guess. Furthermore, if you are not good at remembering password and number codes, you risk the possibility of finding your bike is locked for eternity!
For others, the combination lock is a bonus; no chance of losing the key, for example. So whether it is for you is a personal choice. What we will say is that it is strong, and it is very much an affordable model too.
3: Rixow Security Bike Lock
This model, from the Rixow brand, is another chain lock, and another combination lock; see above for the benefits and otherwise of the combination option! You get a 900mm chain – more than enough for the very best in security – made from 6mm diameter, toughened and hugely strong manganese steel chain. This is very hard to crack, and the length gives you the ability to protect wheels and frame in one go. The chain is encased in a cloth outer; one of the complaints of chain locks is that they can damage paintwork, so this is protection against scratches.
The lock itself is, again, a five-barrel combination, default set to ‘00000’ and with a simple procedure to set your own, hard to find number. Don’t make it ‘12345’ – it may be easy to remember, but it’s probably the first thing your potential thief will try! A further notable plus side to this Rixow model is that it is very lightweight, so you are not carrying any extra bulk.
How does it stand up to rival models? It’s pretty good, as it happens, and also priced at the lower end of the market, so if you want a chain combination lock, it deserves to go on your short list for the best bike locks.
4: On-Guard 8005 Pitbull
Let’s face it, any lock with ‘Pitbull’ in the name is going to attract your attention! We liked this one the moment we saw it, and it offers a variety of impressive features. First, it’s a U-Lock plus a chain, so you get the full package. That is a great selling point, offering you two forms of protection in one go. Second, it is a key lock shackle, and it is very, very strong indeed. The shackle, at 14mm diameter, is a hefty one compared to many rivals, and is extremely resistant to cutting. It features the proven md patented On-Guard ‘XP4 Quattro’ bolt locking mechanism, which gives you the added protection of a shackle locked in no fewer than four places.
The chain is also a big boy at 10mm diameter and 120cm in length, and offers added security as a result. What makes this package even more impressive is the specially designed lock, which offers what the maker claims is the best protection in the business, and you also get five laser cut keys, one with a light for easy night use. What we especially like is this: On-Guard offers a lifetime warranty, a major bonus for many people.
Is this the best bike lock for you? It offers excellent protection, is well designed and encased carefully for protection against scratches, but it should be said it is not the cheapest. That said, it is not expensive when considering what you wish to protect, so we recommend a second look.
5: Blusmart Heavy Duty Bike Lock
This interesting and surprisingly affordable cable-chain bike lock offers excellent value for money with serious protection afforded. Granted, there’s nothing special about it – it is pretty much a standard cable-chain lock with no added frills – but it does the job at a very attractive price. What do you get for your money? A six foot long, half inch diameter reinforced twisted metal cable inside a protective rubber tube to prevent against scratches. The manufacture claims it is extremely resistant to cutting and sawing, and a flexible mount is included for added versatility.
Are there any downsides? If you don’t like combination locks – yes, here we go again – the five-barrel number lock will not be to your liking. However, we may be being a little unfair on combinations with these reviews, as they do work and are hard to crack – so long as you choose an obscure number! Setting your number is easy, and it’s notable that the lock pin is made from waterproof material, so no chance of it rusting in place.
At the price, which like many of these locks is somewhere around the ten quid mark, this is a very decent lock, and one you should consider.
6: Oxford OF178 GP Chain Lock
Chunky and of obvious quality, this model by Oxford – a highly-regarded brand – is popular with motorcyclists, and for good reason. It offers excellent protection at a sensible price, and its design provides a great deal of versatility. This one is a standard type cable-chain lock, but one that is extremely tough and effective. The chain itself consists of 8mm thick square chain links, made from hardened metal, providing exceptional protection from cutting and sawing. It is designed with motorbikes in mind, but is entirely suitable for bicycles.
At 1.8m long, the chain gives you plenty of scope for securing your vehicle securely, and a high-security key lock means added protection. The lock head is toughened and specially designed to prevent tampering, and the chain is covered with a non-scratch sleeve. With the lock you get a set of four keys, so you can never be left without access.
We like this one for its robust and strong design, but at 2.1kg it may be a little heavy for the cyclist to carry around. For the motorcyclist, however, this is one of the best locks we have seen, and comes in at a very sensible price. Well worth adding to your shortlist.
7: Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7
We’re back to the popular Kryptonite brand for number seven in our list of best bike locks, and this is an interesting model. It is designed specifically for bicycles, and offers excellent protection. The manufacturer says it is suitable for use in ‘moderate to high’ crime areas, and it is a dual purpose lock, with a U-lock shackle coupled with a strong, highly protective cable-chain. The former is made of reinforced steel and is designed for bicycle tubes between 25 and 80mm, so should suit any bike, while the reinforced hardened metal cable is very difficult to cut, even with dedicated tools.
Kryptonite has a reputation for manufacturing excellent locks for a variety of uses, and as this one is a key-lock – with a highly secure barrel for added security – it is easy to use and can be locked and unlocked quickly, with no need to remember a troublesome five-digit code! Perhaps the only drawback is the price; This is one of the more expensive models we have reviewed, but when it comes to protecting a bike worth a lot of money, it’s worth spending a few extra pounds to get the best level of security, and this offers a high level indeed.
8: Etronic Security Lock M7K
This is an interesting entry on our list; the Etronic M7K is a standard cable-chain design, but one offering a great deal of security and protection. At six feet long it is versatile enough to secure your bike – or other items – securely, and it is designed to be very hard to break. The chain itself is a braided steel, twisted cable, making it extremely secure and resistant to cutting and sawing, and it comes in a protective vinyl outer coating to protect against scratches and damage to paintwork. The cable is also a hefty half inch in diameter, which is more than enough to guarantee it will be a successful deterrent.
The lock itself is a five-pin cylinder and is guaranteed very difficult to pick, and you get spare keys with the lock. What we particularly like, as it makes carrying it easier, is that the cable is designed to be self-coiling, so you can store it away quickly when not in use. You also get a mount to fit to your bike for ease of transport. All in all, this is a usable and impressive lock for securing your bike, and at a price that is competitive and in the right bracket.
9: On-Guard Pitbull Lock and Cable
It’s that name again – Pitbull! Yes, we’re back to the premier On-Guard brand, famed for its heavy-duty locks and chains, and this one is a sister product to the one reviewed earlier, and is equally highly recommended. The 14mm U-lock shackle is made from highly strengthened and hardened steel for maximum security against cutting and sawing, and the specially designed lock provides protection with the patented four point Quattro locking system. The cylinder itself is specially designed to be pick-resistant, and the 120cm x 10mm cable, made from hardened steel and inside a protective cover, is also a heavy duty design.
With this On-Guard model you get the benefit of a cable-chain and a U-lock, so you are getting the full package. The manufacturer claims the lock barrel is also drill-resistant, and with the lock comes five keys, one with a light for night use. Make no mistake, this is a highly rated, well-regarded lock from a manufacturer with a reputation for excellent products and extreme protection and, although more expensive than some, it is a combined package, and we believe well worth the money.
10: Oxford Hercules Chain Lock
Our final pick is a second one from Oxford, a brand dealing in locks and other items for both motorcycles and bicycles, and this heavy-duty model – the Hercules – is a very impressive piece of kit. This is a cable chain design so is suitable for powered or pedal bikes, and at 900m long is more than adequate. It’s a very strong chain but is also designed to be lightweight, so is easy to transport, and a high quality locking barrel adds extra security to an already impressive package.
The chain itself is housed within a flexible cloth sleeve to prevent against scratches or damage to the frame and paintwork, and this proven brand has a strong reputation for great security and protection. One thing that impressed us greatly is the price: while it looks expensive, this is a surprisingly affordable chain lock, and one we have no hesitation in recommending.
How it Works
In general, there are two main types of bike lock: the shackle – or ‘U’ type – lock, and the cable-chain variety. The former was once the most preferable; it involves a strong metal U-shaped device that is used to secure the when and frame, with a highly secure key or combination lock for added protection. These days, however, many riders prefer the cable-chain variety. With this, you get a very strong chain or cable of varying length, that can be used to secure the bike fully. Whichever you prefer, we’ve had a look at the best bike locks, so let’s get down to it: here’s our review of the top ten bike locks available right now.
Important Features to Consider
Ten bike locks reviewed, across a range of styles, brands and prices, so what have we learned? First, there is great variety in the type of locks available, and prices vary too. Let’s recap some of the most important factors to look out for when choosing a lock for your bike or motorcycle.
Cable-chain or U-Lock – this is perhaps the most important question, as different people have their own preference. Once, the U-Lock shackle was considered the most secure, but developments in strengthening chains has led to the cable-chain being equally as secure. Perhaps the best solution is to choose one of the models that offers both – there are several reviewed above.
Key or Combination – also a personal choice; while combination locks are difficult to crack – if you pick a sensible, hard to find code – they are not favoured by many people, and the modern breed of key lock has reinforced barrels that are equally hard to overcome. Look for one with spare keys, and a key with a light on it.
Security Rating – many locks are subject to a security rating, influenced by the strength of their construction and difficulty of cracking. Check this out if you can.
Price – always a consideration, but what surprised us was the relatively small gap between the cheapest in the review – around ten pounds – to the more expensive which was still less that £30. Your choice depends on how much you want to spend.
Let’s Wrap It Up!
So, we gave you ten of the best bike locks to choose from, is there one that stands out for you? To be honest, we would find it a hard decision to recommend one over the rest, as all of these items offer great protection and are from known brands with a strong reputation. It comes down to, as mentioned above, whether you want a U-lock shackle type or a cable chain device – or perhaps both. Also, there is the choice of a combination lock or regular key, and both provide a strong degree of security and protection.
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We believe we have given you a sensible cross-section of available locks, from the best manufacturers in the field, and from these reviews we hope you can make a choice. Of course, these are just a few of the locks on the market, so it may be worth checking out further models from the given manufacturers.
Take your time to make the right decision, as the purpose of this purchase is to provide the best level of protection for your bike. There will always be thieves about, and it’s worth mentioning that no lock can provide 100% security, but a bike secured with a quality lock will be a less attractive prospect than one with a cheap and flimsy lock, and for a few pounds more, you can have the best available.