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Why You Need a Better Lock for Your Electric Bike

Please don't make it easy for thieves.

u-shaped bike lock being used by a man.
Kozak_studio/Shutterstock.com

You just bought a fancy new electric bike with all the bells, whistles, fat tires, and upgrades, and it’s an absolute blast to ride. So why are you still using a cheap bike lock from some big-box retailer based on a decade-old design?

No matter your bike type, you’ll want a good lock to prevent thieves from wandering off with your ride. Electric bikes are fun, growing in popularity, and are expensive yet easy to sell, which makes them a massive target for theft.

Thieves will want your ebike, and they’ll get it if you’re not careful. Even if you don’t use your electric bike as a primary mode of transportation and store it somewhere indoors, like a garage, you’ll want a reliable and trustworthy lock. Here’s what you need to know.

Why You Need At Least One Electric Bike Lock

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner

Simply put, electric bikes are a bigger target for thieves than regular bikes. This reason alone is why you’ll not only want a good lock, but you’ll also want to consider buying a secondary lock. Thieves know they can get away quickly on an ebike. Then, sell it with ease and for lots of money later.

Even if you have a decent lock already, you should strongly consider getting a better one for your electric bike. I have one excellent lock and a secondary hardened chain for good measure. Two systems are better than one, even if one isn’t the best.

Why? Well, no matter what any brand says, someone will have enough patience or power to free your bike. Most chains are easy to cut or break, people can pick locks, and power tools are a popular method these days. All it takes is a few seconds, and someone could be enjoying your bike instead of you.

If someone is wandering around searching for a bike to steal and sees yours, then notices it has not one—but two locks— there’s a good chance they’ll keep looking for an easier target. Make it hard for these awful humans to take your stuff!

What Makes a Good Bike Lock

Different bike lock styles sitting on a tire.
Kozak_studio/Shutterstock.com

Obviously, you’ll want a good lock to keep your ebike safe, but what makes a good bike lock? For starters, having more than one will deter lazy thieves, and one that looks rugged and durable will also thwart some would-be bad actors. If it seems well-built, hopefully, they’ll walk past it.

Either way, you’ll want a bike lock that’s tough, built to handle abuse, and made to stand up to common tools used by thieves. You don’t want something easy to pick, cut, and destroy. Here are a few things to look for when choosing:

  • Ease of Use: If you regularly ride your electric bike, you don’t want a difficult lock that’s a hassle to use. Otherwise, you’ll stop using it for a quick stop at a convenience store or think it’s not worth the effort for a few minutes. That’s a mistake. You want something fast and easy to use yet still gets the job done. That way, you use it every time.
  • Durability: Picking a lock takes time and skills, and most thieves have neither. Instead, they’ll go the easy route of trying to break and destroy a lock. Most thefts happen when someone cuts a lock with bolt cutters. That’s why you’ll want a lock with a steel shackle that resists power tools and has a reinforced design. And again, get a second lock.
  • Weight: A durable lock will be heavy. No one wants to ride around with a weighted lock, but get over it and buy one. Durable and secure locks will be big and heavy, but they’ll save you from replacing a stolen bike.
  • Size: Another factor is the size of the lock. A chain and lock are easy to store in a backpack but easy to break. A U-shaped lock is generally better but takes up more space. Folding locks work, too, as long as you buy a high-end one built to handle getting bent and twisted by a thief.

There are two main types of locks, cheap ones with an internal pin, and strong disc-detainer locks. Your best option is to choose a disc-detainer lock with reinforced materials. To make things easier, most locks these days have a security-rating level. I wouldn’t go with anything under a 7 on the scale, but the higher you go, the more expensive the lock. We’ll recommend a few below.

When to Use a Lock with Your Electric Bike

Cory Gunther / Review Geek

Always. Always use a lock with your electric bike. More importantly, if you leave it anywhere with the battery still installed, you’ll want to lock it up. Yes, taking out the battery could make a thief look for a different bike, but that won’t stop all of them. I recommend taking the battery off when possible and always keeping the rest of the bike safe and secure.

When you’re in a public place that’s easily accessible or somewhere it’ll be stored for more than 15-30 minutes, use a darn lock. Honestly, this section doesn’t need to be very long, as it should be self-explanatory regarding when you should or shouldn’t put a lock on your bike.

That said, I also suggest locking up an ebike stored in your garage. That may sound silly, but people accidentally leave garage doors open all the time, even if they’re actively going in and out of the house and working in the garage. It only takes a few seconds for someone to walk by, jump on, and throttle away.

My electric bikes are safely in the garage, with the battery removed and stored inside for longevity and to make it harder for anyone to steal one.

Here Are a Few Great Locks

ABUS folding bike lock attached to a bike rack.
ABUS

Several excellent brands are available when looking for a good bike lock, but two that come to mind are Kryptonite and ABUS.

The Kryptonite Evolution series is wildly popular thanks to the hardened steel U-shape design and disc-detainer inner core. The reinforced steel is strong enough that typical bolt cutters won’t work, and anyone trying to steal your bike has to cut both sides, not just one end. Furthermore, the model we recommend below comes with a steel shackle and a steel rope, giving thieves more to deal with.

Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7 Bike U-Lock with Cable, Heavy Duty Anti-Theft Bicycle U Lock, 13mm Shackle and 10mm x4ft Length Security Cable with Mounting Bracket and Keys

This 13mm hardened steel u-bolt lock is hard to pick, comes with three keys, an extra steel rope, and even a mounting bracket to store it on your bike between uses.

The ABUS Bordo 6000 is another excellent option, especially if you prefer a folding ebike lock. This also allows you to wrap around the larger frame on some electric bikes. And if you want to go all-out, get the ABUS Bordo 6500.

ABUS Bordo Alarm Plus 6000A/90cm Shy Security Level 10 Bike Locks, Black

The ABUS Bordo folding bike lock is a level 10 lock, has a 100dB alarm, along with two keys to keep your ride safe.

How about a solid U-lock with a built-in alarm to run off potential thieves? The ABUS 440A Alarm below is a good route. Use it combined with a hardened steel chain lock.

ABUS U-Lock 440A USH Alarm - Bicycle Lock with Mount and Alarm Function - ABUS Security Level 8-230 mm Shackle Height, Black

The ABUS 440a alarm bike lock is durable thanks to reinforced steel, then has a loud 100 dB intelligent alarm system that'll go off when someone messes with it.

And last but not least, if you really want to spring for the latest and greatest lock to protect that fancy electric bike, get the ABUS 770A Smart Lock. It’s a level 15 on the security scale, has a loud 100 dB alarm, and you can unlock it with your phone thanks to supporting Bluetooth.

Cory Gunther Cory Gunther
Cory Gunther has been writing about phones, Android, cars, and technology in general for over a decade. He's a staff writer for Review Geek covering roundups, EVs, and news. He's previously written for GottaBeMobile, SlashGear, AndroidCentral, and InputMag, and he's written over 9,000 articles. Read Full Bio »