The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

OnGuard Bulldog DT U-Lock Review

A solid U-lock and cable combination that allows for versatile, mid-security lockups.
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Price:  $45 List | $36.97 at Amazon
Pros:  Relatively lightweight, cable included, inexpensive, secure, mounts to bike frame
Cons:  Cable is awkward, unaesthetic
Manufacturer:   OnGuard
By Rylee Sweeney ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 24, 2017
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The Skinny

The Bulldog DT provides solid security at a decent price. The included 4' cable provides increased versatility when used with this U-lock. It allows you to lock up all parts of your bike at once with no need to remove a wheel or saddle. The mounting bracket makes on-frame portability possible (just toss the cable in your messenger bag or pannier). It isn't the most secure lock reviewed, yet its sturdy enough to resist our attacks using hand tools. And if you're prone to losing your keys, this lock comes with five keys total, giving you more chances to misplace them than any other model.

We tested two other U-lock and cable combos in our review. Our favorite is the Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2. It costs $5 more, but it's easier to use, and the bracket mounts more streamlined with our bike frame. Otherwise, you can pay just $29 and walk away with the Cocoweb Armbar Combo. For folks on a tight budget, this one offers similar security to the Bulldog and KryptoLook at a lower price. Overall, though, we have no major complaints about the performance of the Bulldog. It's a good lock.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The OnGuard Bulldog DT is a standard-sized U-lock that comes with a four-foot cable and a bracket to mount onto your frame. It offers mid-range security and costs $45.

Performance Comparison


Even after being roughed up and hammered on  the OnGuard Bulldog stays its ground.
Even after being roughed up and hammered on, the OnGuard Bulldog stays its ground.

Security


OnGuard gives the Bulldog DT U-Lock a 65 out of 100 on their security scale. Sold Secure, an independent security testing company based in the U.K., rated the Bulldog a Silver (quality products rank Bronze, Silver or Gold.) This lock performed well in our security tests. We weren't able to use bolt cutters nor use a hacksaw (we tried for several minutes, only to make a barely noticeable scratch). We had heard that some professional bike thieves can use a pry bar if it is locked loosely (the more space inside the locked U-lock, the easier it is to get leverage), but we were unsuccessful. Finally, we reverted to the angle grinder to cut through the 12mm hardened steel shackle. Comparing the Bulldog to Kryptonite's Fahgettaboudit Mini or New York Standard's top-notch security points, it is in the mid-range security. That said, it is far, far better than the cable locks we tested. It's a U-lock, after all, and a solid one at that.

Here we tried the bolt cutters on first the Onguard Bulldog and then the KryptoLok Series 2. Both U-Locks held up well.
Here we tried the bolt cutters on first the Onguard Bulldog and then the KryptoLok Series 2. Both U-Locks held up well.

The cable part of the Bulldog is not included in OnGuard's $1,501 bicycle protection offer, and for good reason. The cable is a valuable part of the BullDog DT's package, but it can be chopped with ease. Easier, in fact, than the braided steel of the (same diameter) Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 Standard U-Lock. Not that either was too difficult to get through, but a note nonetheless.

Here  you can see a cross section of this lock's included four-foot cable after it's been chopped. This cable was slightly easier to break into than the one included with the Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 U-lock.
Here, you can see a cross section of this lock's included four-foot cable after it's been chopped. This cable was slightly easier to break into than the one included with the Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 U-lock.

Ease of Transport


The Bulldog DT comes with OnGuard's mounting bracket, which we found to be easier to use and more durable than Kryptonite's version. It carries on the side of the frame, though, instead of situating inside the main triangle of the frame, as in the ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 and Kryptonite U-locks. We preferred streamlined mounts. When trying to install the bracket, large diameter mountain bike frames were too large to accommodate installation. If you own a road bike, it will fit with ease. If you want to carry the Bulldog on your mountain bike, check with a bike shop first. It's ability to be attached to your bike frame added to our appreciation of the OnGuard design. Finding a way to transport the cable was a bit more difficult. It technically can be attached to the U-lock, then clipped onto the bike frame, but we found the cable to come loose. This was annoying and potentially dangerous, so we recommend stowing the cable in your bag while riding.

The Bulldog DT U-Lock mounts on your bike frame for convenient transport.
The Bulldog DT U-Lock mounts on your bike frame for convenient transport.

Ease of Use


Straightforward and simple, the Bulldog DT is easy to use. It features the same dual locking mechanisms as the New York Standard and Fahgettaboudit Mini, which means both ends of the "U" are fitted into the crossbar at the same time. Kryptonite's KryptoLok was, in our opinion, easier to use because of its "bent foot" design and was awarded accordingly. The five keys provided are also a plus.

Versatility


We applaud the decision to buy a U-lock with a cable to secure both wheels and your frame. Perhaps the cable will even fit around your saddle stays. The Bulldog is a great choice for those of us wise enough to know how much that front (or, jeez, rear) wheel would cost to replace. A quick note on the lock-up: make sure you lock the secure part of this setup (the U-lock) to an immovable object. Do not wrap the cable around the bike and post and then secure the end loops of the cable to the U-lock. This effectively makes your U-lock a fancy cable lock that can be cut easily.

Both wheels? Check. Frame to the bike rack? Check.
Both wheels? Check. Frame to the bike rack? Check.

Best Application


We recommend the Bulldog for touring, commuting, and for general everyday use. Mid-security is best for mid-level crime areas. Get a New York Series U-lock for big city overnight parking. Use this lock in rural areas or for daylight lock-ups in college towns or small cities.

Value


OnGuard is reasonable when it comes to pricing, and the Bulldog is no exception. If you are thinking about a cable lock, we'd recommend upgrading to this U-lock (or our Best Buy award winner) so that you don't have to buy it when your cable lock gets cut.

This lock comes equipped with a four-foot cable for added versatility. In the end the Bulldog just didn't impress us quite as much as our comparable Best Buy award-winning KryptoLock Series 2.
This lock comes equipped with a four-foot cable for added versatility. In the end the Bulldog just didn't impress us quite as much as our comparable Best Buy award-winning KryptoLock Series 2.

Conclusion


When comparing the Bulldog to the KryptoLok Series 2, the KryptoLok is slightly better designed in most areas. These slights added up, and we ended up giving the KryptoLok our Best Buy Award, even though the Bulldog is a little less expensive. It is a solid lock that transports well.


Rylee Sweeney