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Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7 U-Lock Review

A versatile U-lock and cable combo that provides strong security at a favorable price point
Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7 U-Lock
Credit: Competitive Cyclist
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Price:  $93 List | $79.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Versatile, light (for a U-Lock), easy to use, value
Cons:  Slightly less secure than other U-Lock models, bulky
Manufacturer:   Kryptonite
By Rebecca Eckland ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 26, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 18
  • Security - 40% 7.0
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 5.0
  • Ease of Use - 20% 7.0
  • Versatility - 15% 6.0

Our Verdict

The Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7 U-Lock is among the most versatile bike locks we reviewed. It combines the power of a U-lock with the versatility of a cable. While we acknowledge that cable locks are about the least effective locks out there, when paired with a U-Lock, it creates a considerable deterrent for most thieves. Its real perk is that the extra cable enables a rider to keep the front tire on the bike — a real plus when examining biking products on the market, road bikes are moving to disc brakes and hydraulic disc brakes. This lock is ideal for the person who has a nice bike, resides in a low-to-medium risk area, and plans to secure their bike and have visual contact with it for a while.

Editor's Note: We updated this gear review on January 25, 2022, with additional sections to help you narrow down the possible contenders to one that suits your needs.

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Pros Versatile, light (for a U-Lock), easy to use, valueWearable design, solid security, easy to useSecure, includes 5 keys, price is niceInexpensive, more secure than many in its price range, high qualityLightweight, easy-to-carry, easy-to-use
Cons Slightly less secure than other U-Lock models, bulkyNot lightweight, uncomfortable with some backpacks, priceyClunky mounting hardware, heavyLocking mechanism stuck a few times, lackluster frame mountMinimal security, can be compromised with the right tools quickly
Bottom Line A versatile U-lock and cable combo that provides strong security at a favorable price pointThe innovative design of this wearable chain lock increases this heavy lock's portability, which is great news for regular bike commutersThis lock provides great security and versatility at an affordable price, and while not our absolute favorite, it's pretty closeThis inexpensive U-lock offers versatility and security that is likely to fit the needs and budgets of many cyclists and commutersIf you're in the market for a highly portable and lightweight lock but without much security, this one has your name on it
Rating Categories Kryptonite Evolutio... Hiplok Original: Su... OnGuard Brute STD Kryptonite Kryptolo... ABUS Chain Lock 120...
Security (40%)
7.0
6.0
9.0
6.0
3.0
Ease of Transport (25%)
5.0
8.0
3.0
5.0
9.0
Ease of Use (20%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
Versatility (15%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
4.0
Specs Kryptonite Evolutio... Hiplok Original: Su... OnGuard Brute STD Kryptonite Kryptolo... ABUS Chain Lock 120...
Measured weight (lbs) 3.5 lbs 4.3 lbs 3.6 lbs 3.2 lbs 0.5 lbs
Type of lock U-Lock + cable Wearable chain U-Lock U-Lock + cable Chain
Primary materials/thickness 13mm hardened steel; braided steel cable 8mm hardened steel chain, 600D polyester sleeve 16.8mm hardened steel 12.7mm hardened steel; braided steel cable 4mm hardened steel
Locking dimension U-lock: 5.6" x 9.4"; Cable: 4' 33.5" circumference, 2" width 7.5" x 10.5" U-lock: 4" x 9"; Cable: 4' 43" circumference
# of keys included 3 keys (one with HID light) 3 keys 5 keys 2 keys N/A
Tin snips Cable: Yes; U-lock: No No No No Yes, requires two cuts to defeat
Hammer No No No No No
Hacksaw No No No No No
Bolt cutters, 36" Cable: Yes, U-lock: No No No No Yes, but not very easily. Requires two cuts
Angle grinder Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Number of cuts to free lock 2 cuts 1 cut 2 cuts 2 cuts 2 cuts

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7 U-Lock bike lock - if you hate taking off your front wheel, adding a cable lock to a...
If you HATE taking off your front wheel, adding a cable lock to a U-lock might be a solution for you.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

Security


The Kryptonite Evolution includes two types of locks: a U-lock and a cable lock. Since you're reading this review, we're going to assume you know something about the security of cable locks — basically that they don't offer much security against a thief with just about any tool. But that comes with a huge caveat depending upon your particular situation — and if that cable is paired with a pretty strong U-lock.


Put yourself in the mind of a bike thief: you want the greatest monetary gain with the least risk. So, if it takes five seconds to steal a bike that's $500, that's a win-win situation. However, if a bike that's $500 takes a few minutes to steal, you're more likely to lose out on that deal, especially if you're stealing a bike in a well-lit and trafficked area. And that's the power of the Kryptonite Evolution: with the cable, it adds another layer of inconvenience (a.k.a. time) that a thief will have to deal with if they want to swipe your wheels. And that is certainly worth something.

Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7 U-Lock bike lock - the kryptonite evolution mini withstood all tools but our burly...
The Kryptonite Evolution Mini withstood all tools but our burly angle grinder, which requires two cuts to pry it away from most racks/structures.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

But, you know, if you're on a college campus at night, we're not really sure what an extra minute of inconvenience will buy you. The U-lock part of the setup is less secure than other U-Locks included in this review. The steel bar has a smaller diameter than some of the competition. Evidence of this comes from Kryptonite themselves — their anti-theft warranty protection for this lock doesn't apply to Manhattan residents (where bike theft crimes are very common), which isn't true for their New York Series locks. That said, this U-lock would have to be cut twice before a thief could free your bike due to the dual-locking mechanism of the Evolutiona feature commonly found on the most secure bike locks.

Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7 U-Lock bike lock - the evolution mini-7's accompanying cable truly isn't much of a...
The Evolution Mini-7's accompanying cable truly isn't much of a deterrent to potential thieves. Our testers were through the cable in 8 seconds using these cable cutters.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

Ease of Transport


Like the Kryptonite KryptoLok, this model comes with a mount for the U-lock, but you'll need to stash the cable in your backpack during transport. The mount included isn't a masterpiece on its own (same as the one that comes with the Kryptonite U-locks we tested), but it gets the job done well enough without any noticeable shake 'n' rattle. The mount sits streamlined with the bike frame, which we prefer over the mounts that are offset on the side of the frame.


Weighing 3.5 pounds, this model isn't really lightweight. Yet, in comparison to some of the heavy-duty U-locks, it weighs a pound less. Our testers find this extra weight more noticeable in a pack than when mounted on a frame, but it's definitely appreciated either way on long commutes, mainly when they include climbs.

Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7 U-Lock bike lock - the evolution mini-7 is a tough u-lock, but it's small enough to fit...
The Evolution Mini-7 is a tough U-lock, but it's small enough to fit into a large purse or messenger bag.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

All that being said, let's be real here: there's a world of difference between a U-Lock and folding or cable-type locks. The latter has the potential to fit into a pocket, a slick frame mount, or disappear in a backpack. U-Locks, by their very nature, don't fit into pockets and add bulk and weight to your frame. Given all of that, we give the Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7 kudos for keeping the weight down while still offering a versatile option for those medium-risk areas.

Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7 U-Lock bike lock - if we were relying only on the u-lock to secure this mountain bike...
If we were relying only on the U-Lock to secure this mountain bike, we'd need two of them, since the dimensions aren't that large. The cable, though, snakes around the front wheel of the bike, which is plenty for those pit-stops or coffee-breaks when you're out and about.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

Ease of Use


The Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7 scored points in the Ease of Use metric because the cable eliminates the need to remove the front tire (in certain situations). This made the ordeal of fitting the U-lock around the tire, frame, and rack much easier to do. The lock mechanism works smoothly, and we appreciate the dust-cover to keep the lock functioning for many rides to come.


As the "U" has smaller dimensions than many U-locks we tested, we found it occasionally difficult to lock it up to an immovable structure, especially when trying to lock up the back wheel along with the frame. Bike racks were typically no problem, but some immovable structures (trees, fences, posts) were more problematic. Overall, we rarely had to really search for a place to lock up in urban environments.

Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7 U-Lock bike lock - you can also ditch the cable. here, the kryptonite evolution mini is...
You can also ditch the cable. Here, the Kryptonite Evolution Mini is more than enough to handle the wheels and frame of this road bike.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

Versatility


This metric is where the Kryptonite Evolution Mini truly shines. In our opinion, it out-performed all the other U-Locks without cables in this metric because you aren't forced to remove the front wheel in order to secure the frame and both wheels to a structure.


The Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7 has a little bit of everything:...
The Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7 has a little bit of everything: versatility, strength, U-lock and cable. The question remains: does it offer enough security for you?
Our testers were happy to trust this lock during the day in most...
Our testers were happy to trust this lock during the day in most areas of Reno, NV.

Should You Buy the Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7 U-Lock?


We give the Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7 kudos for keeping the weight down while still offering a versatile bike lock. In most low-to-medium risk situations, we suspect this lock and cable combo is more than enough to keep your bike safe — and your front tire where it belongs.

What Other Bike Locks Should You Consider?


We like this versatile U-Lock and cable combo that combines security with versatility. While it's not as portable as other bike locks, it nonetheless offers a lighter weight option than other U-Locks on the market. If your biking gear is expensive, though, it's better to go with maximum security, such as what the Kryptonite New York Standard U-Lock offers.

Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7 U-Lock bike lock - if you're in a pretty safe place, then this is more than enough to...
If you're in a pretty safe place, then this is more than enough to give you peace of mind that your bike is safe from the snatch-and-grab thieves.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

Rebecca Eckland
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