ABUS Chain Lock 1200 Web Review
Cons: Minimal security, can be compromised with the right tools quickly
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Unlike other lightweight bike locks out there, the ABUS Chain 1200 deserves a special shout-out. Typically, our testers are able to defeat the lightweight locks with one cut and one tool. The 1200 Chain defies this standard because of the material it is made of: the steel chain and its nylon sheath. And, before you go PSHA! Nylon can't protect my bike, give us a chance to explain. Even on a low-priced product, ABUS provides a small innovation.
Most locks are kaput after tin snips or bolt cutters cut them — the cut opens the lock, allowing the thief to remove your bike. In contract, this ABUS chain hangs on stubbornly because the thick nylon is still wrapped around your tires and frame and whatever object you've locked it to. We seriously struggled to get through the sheath with tin snips or bolt cutters. We had to use the blade of a pocket knife to get through it. So, the ABUS 1200 chain requires a second step to steal the bike. Either the thief fumbles with tin snips or wire cutters to get through the nylon (which takes forever!), or they have to use another cutting device to go through a thick textile fabric.
Is it undefeatable? No way! But, it does require an extra step that provides additional deterrence. And that, we think, is something… especially for a lock of this size and weight.
Ease of Transport
In terms of portability, this lock rocks! Because it's so light and so flexible, you can coil the lock around your seat post, and you'll hardly notice it's there. It can also go up front (if you don't mind looking at your bike lock while you're riding), or it tucks easily into a purse, murse, messenger bag, backpack, pannier bag or saddlebag.
If you're looking for a lock to secure your bike on pit stops, you won't notice the extra 7.3 ounces on climbs (alas, it doesn't give lighter riders much assist on the downhills). It could easily fit in a jersey pocket, too, if you had to.
We also appreciate the nylon sheath not only for the added security it provides but the extra layer of padding that keeps the lock from scraping up the paint job on your frame.
Ease of Use
We appreciate the ABUS Chain Lock because it is extremely easy to use. The lock comes with a little "key" (it's not functional, just a fancy sort of tag) that tells you the lock's three-digit combination. (And that's another detail we super-appreciate. People tend to respond--and remember--information that is presented in threes.)
While it's not the smoothest combination lock we've encountered, there's nothing wrong it. The lock itself is flexible enough that you can always move it around to get the combination lock at an angle that is easy to manipulate. Of all the locks we tested, this one's simplicity stands out near the top of the pack.
Because the ABUS Chain is (no surprise here) essentially a chain, it's able to accommodate a variety of locking situations and bikes, while offering an extra layer of protection due to the nylon sheath that wont' scratch up your bike frame. Because it's so light, we also gave this lock extra points in this category because you really can carry it just about anywhere and you'll hardly notice it's there.
The lock lost points in this category because, even if you can carry it with you everywhere, it's not the most appropriate lock for ALL situations. If you're a mountain biker and you need to lock your bike to a tree, this lock won't be much help. Likewise, if you have a fat bike with really thick tires, chances are this lock will not enable you to lock both wheels to the frame (as we recommend you do).
This lock definitely won't break the bank. When compared to other lightweight locks in this review, the ABUS 1200 Chain offers a much bigger bang for your buck. Its value, though, also depends on how you'll use it. For securing your ride in a rural area, or mid-security area for a cheap bike, it has a lot of value. However, if you just want a little extra security for your saddle or front wheel in addition to a more secure lock, this is a very affordable, smart choice. You can easily spend 3x more money on a number of other bike locks with similar (or less) security and similar weight savings.
If lightweight and portability are what you're looking for, the ABUS Chain Lock 1200 Web delivers without asking you to fork a bunch of cash. We love it for low-risk situations-- like a pitstop on a long ride or small-town, daytime use. The lightness of the lock combined with its easy-to-use combo lock and ability to be stashed pretty much anywhere made it a favorite of our testers who just needed something to keep their rides safe for a dash into the local coffeehouse. If you're locking your bike up for hours, though, check out our more secure options.
— Rebecca Eckland