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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 effort and invest. Here we break down the different types of lock out there, the lock grading system and how best to protect your bike from thievery. Read on for our favourite bike lock suggestions...

Best bike locks

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 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.

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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 Diamon 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 ££££s, 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 at soldsecure.com

Here’s a pick of our favourite silver grade D-locks:

  • This Kryptonite Mini 7 Evolution lock comes with a cable and is our favourite lock for convenient safety, buy yours from Wiggle for £49.99
  • This aptly named Lifeline D-lock has 14mm hardened steel shackle, buy from Chain Reaction Cycles for £16.99
  • The OnGuard Bulldog D-lock has a longer shackle for those after larger options, grab one from Tredz £16.49

Here’s our pick of top gold-rated locks:

  • Get yourself a classic Kryptonite D-lock with double-deadbolts and 4ft cable, reasonably priced at Amazon for £30.08
  • The chunkiest of the mini locks, this Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit lock has a hardened 18mm thick shackle that is drill proof, get yours from Amazon for £68.92
  • Check out this wearable Hiplock DX with sleek design and high security rating for £69.99 from Wiggle
  • After a larger, metal chain version? Take a look at what Albus has to offer, available on Amazon 
  • We’re blown away by the look and innovation of this LITELOK, a lightweight and trendy herringbone-design lock that looks like a band but claims to be ‘indestructible’, get yours at Amazon 

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 is 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 is ‘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 from Getty Images