10 Best

Bicycle Locks

of October 2023

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A Guide to Selecting a Bicycle Lock

Yehudah Posnick

It’s estimated that over 2 million bicycles are stolen yearly in the United States! The police do manage to recover hundreds of thousands of bicycles every year, but, unfortunately, since only around 1% of bike owners register their bikes, it’s almost impossible to track down the owner of the bike. And, surprisingly, 54% of bike thefts are where the bike was stolen from the owner’s home! With so much at risk, you can see that it’s important to lock up your bike with a tough bicycle lock, even at home.

Depending on where you live, maybe you can risk it and settle for a simple cable lock. But statistics show that 33% of all thefts are bikes that were locked up with a cable lock! (Theft of the other lock types is: chain lock, 15%; U-lock, 13%, and folding lock, 1%.) If your bike means a lot to you, you should invest money in protecting it with a U-lock or folding lock. Besides the material of the lock, such as hardened steel, there are also features of these locks, like protective vinyl coatings, that make them resistant to rust, dirt, dust, and other types of exposure to the elements. Some of these can even secure electric bikes, scooters, and motorcycles!

We’ll go through the features of some of the best bicycle locks in the Best Reviews Guide list. You may want to invest in several locks, to secure your bike even more!



How do they determine the security rating of a bike lock?

The security rating of a bike lock is typically determined by various factors, including its design, materials used, construction quality, and resistance to different types of attacks. Several organizations and testing bodies exist, such as Sold Secure and ART, that evaluate and assign security ratings to bike locks based on standardized testing procedures. For example, a combination cable lock provides low-level security, while a Seatylock Mason Bike U-Lock is secure against bolt cutters, drills, and saws. Here are some common factors considered in determining the security rating:

  • Strength and durability: The lock's resistance to physical attacks, such as cutting, prying, or drilling, is assessed. The lock is subjected to tests using tools like bolt cutters, hacksaws, pry bars, and drills to evaluate its resistance to these attacks.

  • Locking mechanism: The security and reliability of the lock's mechanism, such as the cylinder or key mechanism, are evaluated. The lock should be resistant to picking, manipulation, or bypassing attempts.

  • Materials and construction: The quality and strength of the lock's materials, such as the shackle or chain, are considered. Hardened steel or alloys that resist cutting and drilling are preferred. The construction and design of the lock also play a role in its security.

  • Time-based attacks: Locks may undergo tests to assess their resistance against time-based attacks, where attackers attempt to defeat the lock within a certain timeframe. This can include timed cutting or prying attempts to gauge the lock's effectiveness.

Types of Bicycle Locks

There are several types of bike locks available on the market, each with its own features, advantages, and levels of security. Here are some common types of bike locks:

  • U-Locks: U-locks, also known as D-locks, are widely used and recognized for their strength and security. They consist of a hardened steel U-shaped shackle that connects to a crossbar or locking mechanism. U-locks are resistant to cutting and provide good security against theft. There are U-locks that can be opened with a key and those that require a combination. The Seatylock Mason Bike U-Lock is an example of a U-lock that opens by means of a key. It has a pentagonal crossbar, which tends to be stronger than round, square, or hexagonal crossbars. Combination locks are more convenient since you can open the lock without carrying around the key. But may have lower security compared to locks with keys. An example is the Kryptonite Combo Bike U-Lock.

Seatylock Mason Bike U-Lock