If you use your bicycle as a primary mode of transportation, a reliable lock is essential! A good bike is expensive; if you want yours to stay where you leave it, the models on this list will lock it up.
What Makes a Good Bicycle Lock?
You have to trust the lock you buy to keep your bicycle safe from theft. Before you choose one, you should think about what you’re looking for in a lock:
- Type: There are two main types of bike locks. Pin and tumbler are the most common, as they’re cheap to make. However, they’re also easy to pick with a paper clip, bobby pin, or lockpick. Disc-retainer locks, however, are much harder to crack. A thief needs professional tools and a lot of practice to get those open.
- Durability: The most common way thieves remove bike locks is by sheer force. Picking a lock takes a ton of time and an incredible amount of practice. So, most thieves try to cut off a lock with bolt cutters or power tools, or they leverage it against something and try to snap it off. This is why locks need to be made of strong materials with reinforced connection points.
- Weight: One of the biggest drawbacks of a strong, secure bike lock is they are usually large and heavy—the two tend to go hand in hand. Unfortunately, when you commute by bike, a heavy lock can slow you down.
- Ease of Use: If you regularly commute by bike, you’ll use your lock all the time. So, you want one that’s easy to use, and not complicated, confusing, or a chore to open.
It’s important to note that any lock can be picked or broken given enough time, determination, and, of course, power tools. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get one, though—any security measure is better than just leaving your bike on the street unattended.
A lock is intended to be a deterrent. If someone attempts to break off a U-Lock, it’s going to take a while, and it would also be incredibly obvious to passersby. A good lock will make a thief think twice about whether the risk is worth it.
However, even the best lock can only protect your bike if it’s used properly—follow these steps to get the most security out of your lock. If you’d like more info about any of the locks on our list, including their strengths and flaws, the YouTube channel LockPickingLawyer has videos about most of them.
Best for Most People: Kryptonite Evolution New U-Lock
The Kryptonite New-U Evolution gives you some peace of mind while your bike rests safely, locked by the curb. This three-pound Kryptonite lock uses a disc-retainer core that makes the picking process difficult. The 13mm hardened steel U-bolt also makes it very hard to cut or break apart. Both ends of the shackle lock into place, and they cannot rotate without being unlocked. This means a thief has to cut the lock in two places to remove it, which doubles the amount of time it would take to do so.
Kryptonite Evolution 13mm U-Lock with FlexFrame-U Bracket
The Kryptonite New-U Evolution Lock has a 13mm hardened steel shackle that locks on both sides, and a secure disc-retainer core that will keep your bike safe on the streets.
Premium Pick: Kryptonite New York Lock Fahgettaboutit
Kryptonite is famous for its high-security locks, and the Fahgettaboutit New York is one of the strongest on the market. This 4.5-pound lock has all the benefits and features of the Kryptonite Evolution, except it’s thicker, stronger, and more resistant to brute-force attacks.
It uses a similar disc-retainer core and also has to be cut in two places to be removed, but the shackle is made of better 18mm-thick, hardened steel. This means anyone who wants to remove this lock will have to have power tools.
The Fahgettaboutit New York is a bit more expensive than other models. But it provides more security and should keep your bike safe, even in high-crime areas.
Kryptonite New York Lock Fahgettaboutit Mini 18mm U-Lock Bicycle Lock
The Kryptonite Forghettaboutit New York Lock is a high-end product that will protect your bike from even the most determined thieves.
Budget Option: ABUS Mini Round Shackle U-Lock
If you’re on a budget but still want to leave your bike outside with some peace of mind, the ABUS Mini Round Shackle U-Lock is the perfect option. The shackle locks on both sides with a disc-retainer core (like the Kryptonite models), and it’s made of 14mm steel. At only two pounds, this lock also won’t weigh you down too much. It’s not as strong as the others, but still provides a layer of protection for your ride.
It would take very large bolt cutters and a lot of time looking suspicious to pick this bike lock in public.
ABUS Mini Round Shackle U Lock, 5.5"/15mm
The ABUS Mini Round Shackle U-Lock is an affordable disc-retainer lock that will protect your bike.
Best Chain Lock: Kryptonite Evolution Series-4 Chain
While U-locks are incredibly good at preventing theft, their shape makes them less versatile when it comes to where you can attach your bike. A chain lock, however, can fit around almost anything. That ensures that no matter where you are, you can lock up your bike.
The Kryptonite Evolution series makes our list again with its Series-4 chain lock. Of course, like all the Kryptonite locks, the core uses disc-retainers and is pick-resistant. If someone tries to remove this lock, he’ll probably go after the chain. But the 10mm thick steel chain on this 9.7-pound lock is incredibly hard to cut. A nylon cover protects the chain from the weather.
Kryptonite Evolution 1016 Mini 10mm Chain Bicycle Lock
With the Kryptonite Evolution Series-4, you can lock up your bike anywhere, and the 10mm steel chain will keep it safe.