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Our favourite bike locks and how to use them

When a decent bike lock is all that stands between a potential thief and your beloved bike, you need to make the right pick. So here's our guide to bike locks

Woman with a bike lock

After spending all that time researching the type of bike that works best for you and forking out the cash for a top of the range model, the last thing you want is for it to disappear thanks to a lack of security.

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That’s why we’ve put together our guide on bike locks, including some options for you to consider, so you can give yourself some added peace of mind when it’s not in your line of sight. Picks are based on in-depth research, analysis of user reviews and industry knowledge.

Which type of bike lock is best?

There are several different types of lock, but the main ones use either a metal cable of varying thicknesses, a metal chain, or a solid metal bar.

Granted, none of these are going to be light to carry, but it’s a small inconvenience in order to prevent the greater inconvenience of going bike-less if yours gets stolen.

In general, locks with a metal bar, also called D-locks (or U locks), are most reliable and strongest against unwanted attack.

Cable locks can be useful and light enough to stuff away in a pocket, and are better than nothing, but they are easier to cut through with pliers and are thus not the safest option.

What is a silver grade lock?

Sold Secure rated locks refer to the level of insurance available to the user if the bike is stolen despite using a graded lock. A silver grade lock, which is what many decent D-locks will be, provides an insured value of less than £999.99.

Lock your bike with a gold grade lock and the insured value will cover upwards of £1,000. Recently, the diamond grade has also been introduced. More work still needs to be done to differentiate between the top two grades, but both are a pretty safe bet.

If you have an e-bike or high-profile number worth several thousands, then go for the highest rated lock you can find – it’s simply not worth the risk.

Want to check the rating of your lock? Search for it on the Sold Secure website.

You can also read up on our tips of how to keep your bike safe from thieves.

Best budget bike locks to buy in 2022

Kryptonite Kryptolok U-Lock with Kryptoflex Cable

This Kryptolok from Kryptonite aims to keep your bike safe and sound. 

Featuring a classic U-lock style, the curved rod itself has been made from 12.7mm thick steel and locks into the base using a pair of hardened double-deadbolts, which the brand says provides added security. 

Kryptonite says because of these the lock has significant holding power and can withstand any tugging.

Boasting a rating of six out of 10 on their very own security scale, it also has an anti-rotation feature in the lock which aims to keep things firmly in place.

It comes with a Sold Secure Gold rating.

Kryptonite Evolution Mini 7 Bike Lock and Kryptoflex Cable

Boasting a Sold Secure gold security rating, this safety combo features a Kryptonite Evolution Mini 7 bike lock and a Kryptoflex cable, which aims to ensure your bike remains where you left it.

The brand has its very own patented deadbolt, which is reinforced to provide extra resistance to any would-be-thieves yanking at the lock, and has a cam locking mechanism for a secondary level of protection. 

LifeLine Sold Secure Steel Bike D Lock

If you’re looking for a robust lock that will keep your bike exactly where you left it, this D lock claims to be a strong and reliable option. 

Made from hardened steel, it has a double deadbolt, which is designed to keep it firmly in place and resist any tugging and pulling.

It comes with two keys so you have a handy back-up should you lose one, and there’s even a cover included that promises to protect against water and dust.

The small and medium size locks come with a Sold Secure Silver rating, while the large option is Sold Secure Bronze.

OnGuard Bulldog Long Shackle U-Lock

Boasting extra space that’s designed to help you attach it to larger bikes, or for additional reach when attaching to a fence or lamp post, this U-lock is made for the commuter who is likely to lock up in different places each day.

It’s been built with a double lock in a bid to keep things extra secure and it promises to be safe against a thief’s attempts to drill or pick their way inside. 

It comes with five sets of keys so you’ll have plenty of back-ups should you lose a couple of pairs, and one one of the keys even has an LED light attached so you can access your lock in the dark. 

It comes with a Sold Secure Silver rating.

Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Lock

Designed to protect your bike from persistent criminals, the Fahgettaboudit lock from Kryptonite aims to put up a fight against a range of attacks. 

Whether the well-equipped thieves have drilling or picking in mind, this claims to be able to withstand both. Thanks to the double deadbolt on the lock itself, they also say it’s well protected against anyone trying to twist or pull it apart.

A steel sleeve covers the bar for an additional layer of safety, which aims to make things even more difficult for vandals, and Kryptonite gives this a 10/10 on their personal security scale. 

In fact, it’s said to be strongest bike lock the brand does. It’s 18mm thick and comes with a Sold Secure Gold rating.

Hiplok DX Wearable Bike Lock

Don’t be deceived by this compact bike lock. Even though it’s on the more portable side the brand says it shouldn’t compromise on security. 

Weighing just 1.1kg in total, its hardened steel shackle is still 14mm thick and features double locking anti-twist tabs. Hiplock says that this would mean any thieves would need to cut both sides of the lock, taking double the time to carry out.

It comes with three coded keys so you have some spare, and the shackle has been rubberised to avoid any scratches appearing on your bike frame. 

You’ll also have the benefit of a 10-year warranty and a Sold Secure Diamond rating.

ABUS Kettenschloss Granit CityChain XPlus 1060

This is a heavy duty option from ABUS that aims to keep your bike well protected against thieves.

It features a hexagonal chain made out of a special hardened steel that’s 10mm thick, and it has a toothed sleeve that’s designed to give it that extra layer of coverage in the event of any vandalism or a planned attack. 

It even has two options to unlock the chain thanks to the additional code card, so you can still access your bike if you’ve misplaced both sets of physical keys. 

Litelok Go Flexi-U Large

This simple and clever bike lock from Litelok Go is designed to be especially portable, so it’s theoretically easier to carry around when it’s not in use. 

The range begins at just 641g, which the brand says is 50% lighter than equivalent D locks you can find elsewhere. 

Thanks to the versatile shape, Litelok Go also says it should easily bend into place, aiming to be simple to click the lock in tricky spots.

As well as a pair of coded keys, this set-up includes two wrap straps so you can attach the lock to the frame of your bike while you’re riding. It also boasts a Sold Secure Silver rating.

What’s the safest way to lock your bike?

In general, you want to make sure that the frame is secured to an object such as a metal bar on a bike rack, strong fence or pole. This should be secured with a strong, unbreakable ‘D-lock’.

If you have a large D-lock then you can try to also loop it round your front wheel at the same time, otherwise go for a cable to secure the front and back wheels also.

It’s more important that you secure your front than your back wheel, as this is the easiest one to remove quickly by opportunists, especially if it’s ‘quick release’. Some cyclists even choose to take their seat posts with them as these can also be nabbed by an Allen-key wielding fiend.

How can I prevent my bike from being stolen?

Bike theft is unfortunately a buzzing trade and if you’re locking your bike in busy public areas, particularly in larger cities, then be aware that it may be vulnerable to theft.

If your only option is the leave your bike locked outside in one of these areas, then a couple of durable locks will be your best friends. Lock your bike in areas that have lots of onlookers to make it harder for a thief to fly under the radar.

We also recommend you mark your bike in some way, so that if the worst happens and your bike is nabbed, you can easily recognise it when it resurfaces on Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace, and then you can alert the police with confidence.

Still feeling uneasy? We’ve broken down how to keep your bike safe from thieves for you.

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Top image credit: Getty Images