Let's face it: although there are many biking products on the market, many of us commute on a sub-thousand dollar bike, and it can be hard to stomach purchasing a lock that costs more than a tenth of your ride. The OnGuard Brute STD provides comparable security to high-end locks at a more affordable price. Plus, it comes with five replaceable keys, including one with an LED for nighttime use. After attacking this model with multiple implements of destruction, we can safely say that this model can deter thieves with the best of them. Our biggest gripe is how it mounts to our bike frame, but if that's not a big deal to you, this wallet-friendly contender might be the bike lock you seek.Editor's Note: We updated this gear review on January 25, 2022, with additional sections on whether or not we would purchase this product and other contenders we would consider.
OnGuard Brute STD Review
Cons: Clunky mounting hardware, heavy
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|Pros||Secure, includes 5 keys, price is nice||Inexpensive, more secure than many in its price range, high quality||Lightweight, easy-to-carry, easy-to-use||Inexpensive U-lock, durable, good quality||Lightweight, flexible, easy to use|
|Cons||Clunky mounting hardware, heavy||Locking mechanism stuck a few times, lackluster frame mount||Minimal security, can be compromised with the right tools quickly||Lacks the security of better U-locks, clunky design, mount is not our favorite||Too small, minimal security|
|Bottom Line||This lock provides great security and versatility at an affordable price, and while not our absolute favorite, it's pretty close||This inexpensive U-lock offers versatility and security that is likely to fit the needs and budgets of many cyclists and commuters||If you're in the market for a highly portable and lightweight lock but without much security, this one has your name on it||The Bulldog DT is large and accommodating, but if you need a U-lock for higher security needs, this one might not be the best option||Great for preventing the "snatch and grab" while you make a pit stop but does little to prevent a real bike thief from swiping your ride|
|Rating Categories||OnGuard Brute STD||Kryptonite Kryptolo...||ABUS Chain Lock 120...||OnGuard Bulldog DT||Hiplok Z Lok|
|Ease of Transport (25%)|
|Ease of Use (20%)|
|Specs||OnGuard Brute STD||Kryptonite Kryptolo...||ABUS Chain Lock 120...||OnGuard Bulldog DT||Hiplok Z Lok|
|Measured weight (lbs)||3.6 lbs||3.2 lbs||0.5 lbs||3.0 lbs||0.1 lbs|
|Type of lock||U-Lock||U-Lock + cable||Chain||U-Lock + cable||Reusable zip tie|
|Primary materials/thickness||16.8mm hardened steel||12.7mm hardened steel; braided steel cable||4mm hardened steel||13mm steel; braided steel cable||Steel core security tie|
|Locking dimension||7.5" x 10.5"||U-lock: 4" x 9"; Cable: 4'||43" circumference||U-lock: 6" x 11"; Cable: 4'||16.5" circumference|
|# of keys included||5 keys||2 keys||N/A||5 keys||1 key|
|Tin snips||No||No||Yes, requires two cuts to defeat||No||Yes|
|Hacksaw||No||No||No||Yes, eventually||Yes, quick|
|Bolt cutters, 36"||No||No||Yes, but not very easily. Requires two cuts||No||Yes|
|Number of cuts to free lock||2 cuts||2 cuts||2 cuts||1 cut||1 cut|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The OnGuard Brute STD is a tough, no-nonsense U-lock that's just big enough to secure your bike's frame, back wheel, and front wheel (should you choose to remove) to a standard bike rack. It includes a frame mount that maintains a surprisingly secure hold on the lock while still providing easy removal. While it's a bit heavy, it's still lighter than similar competitors, and the heft boosts our confidence that our bike isn't going anywhere once it's locked up. Bikes and biking accessories are in high demand these days, and the Brute STD increases the likelihood that your bike stays yours.
Constructed from hardened steel and measuring 16.8 mm in diameter for the "U" section, the Brute STD only succumbed to an angle grinder after making two separate cuts to the "U" section. That's as good as any bike lock we have ever tested. We could hardly scratch this lock with our standard bolt cutters. This lock requires two cuts to free a bike, and after a valiant effort with the hacksaw, we determined that while possible, cutting through this lock twice with a hacksaw would take the most determined thief all night. Onguard considers it one of the most secure locks they manufacture, giving a 97% security rating, and Sold Secure backs this up by awarding the Brute their illustrious Diamond rating. No beef here; this U-lock offers great security.
A lock of this security is the only type we regularly rely on when locking up our bikes and heading out of sight in urban areas where bike theft is more common. OnGuard does offer a bike theft warranty program, but we do not place much confidence in these sorts of programs from bike lock manufacturers. If your bike is stolen and you meet all of their (stringent) criteria, you might receive compensation for your lost ride.
Ease of Transport
At 3.6 pounds on our scale, the Brute STD is not lightweight, but it is a pound lighter than almost any other lock with the same level of security. A pound is pretty significant if you're overloading your little commuter pack with books, food, a jacket, and a laptop.
The lock's included frame mount system is very easy to install and has two different sets of screw lengths to accommodate a range of frame thickness. The lock snaps securely in place and can be released with a touch of a button. Bumps in the road are no issue for this mount — the mount holds the lock in place without much rattling or making a racket.
We do not love everything about the bike frame mount for this lock, though. Be considerate about where you install it on the frame since the lock will be next to (not underneath) your crossbar, and your thighs or knees could hit while you pedal (annoying). However, bikes with size small frames might not be able to fit most U-locks and their mounts inside (and in-line with) the main triangle, making this mount that sits to the side more appealing.
Ease of Use
The bike is not going to lock itself, and there is no getting around kneeling to ground level while you fiddle the U section around the frame, between spokes, and around whatever securing your bike to. This is the price of admission for any bike lock, though, and OnGuard provides several features to make the process of securing your bike easier. The locking mechanism itself has a very smooth action, even after months of use.
The Brute STD comes with a generous smattering of 5 keys, including one with a little LED light to help find the keyhole in the dark. You've got five opportunities to lose your keys, and OnGuard has a key registration program so you can order (and lose) even more keys if you need to.
All U-style locks have limited versatility due to their size and rigidity, and admittedly, we wouldn't want to carry around a U-lock much bigger than this one. At 7.5" wide and 10" long, we could easily get two road bike wheels and the frame attached to any standard bike rack, as well as many of the more "artistic" racks around town. Doubling down and securing two frames is also a viable option most of the time with thin frames.
Fences and signposts are well within the wheelhouse for this lock, but if you often need to lock up to trees or wider lamp posts, you'll want to go with a longer (and often heavier) chain-style lock. The Brute STD is more than adequate for most urban applications.
Should You Buy the OnGuard Brute STD?
The OnGuard Brute STD is truly a budget-friendly bike lock with quality very close to its more expensive competitors. While the frame mount isn't our favorite, it works well enough, and we appreciate the five included keys. It would take a dedicated thief with power tools to defeat this lock when appropriately used, and at the price-point, that is enough to convince us.
What Other Bike Locks Should You Consider?
Since the OnGuard Brute STD is a strong contender among the U-Locks, it's challenging for us to nominate an all-around runner-up option that offers the same level of security but doesn't break the bank. If you're willing to sacrifice some protection, the Kryptonite Kryptolok Standard is a very affordable contender. It's also easier to transport, an area of performance the OnGuard Brute STD struggles.
— Matt Bento
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