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

The Best Bike Locks of 2019

Bike theft is common. If you ever leave your bike outside your home  you need a lock  and preferably one that's easy to use.
Tuesday March 5, 2019
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Looking for the perfect bike lock? We researched 60+ of the best models you can buy in 2019 and choose 14 for extensive head-to-head tests. Our expert panel of testers put each lock through the grinder (literally) along with other theft tactics to test their relative strengths and weaknesses. From metropolitan bikeways to rural trails, we mounted and stowed the locks to test their portability. At the end of the review, we put ourselves in the shoes of a bike thief, systematically compromising each lock to see how long they resist defeat. Choosing the right lock for your bike and community increases your chances of finding your wheels where you left them, and this review helps you do just that.


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Awards Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $103 List$99.27 at Amazon
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$82.40 at Amazon$50 List$105.00 at Amazon
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Pros Very secure, attaches to bike, convenient size for locking upLarge and strong U-lock, relatively lightweight, beefy mountWearable design, solid security, easy to useSecures both wheels, low weight for a U-lock, inexpensive, easy to use, good security to price ratioCompact, extremely secure, heavy-duty
Cons Heavy, bulky to transportNot the highest security possible, expensiveFar from lightweight, uncomfortable with some backpacks, priceyCable is awkward to transport, rattlesHeavy, limited versatility, expensive
Bottom Line This is our favorite all-around lock for high security needs.If you prefer top-shelf quality, this German-made lock delivers a great product.The innovative design of this wearable chain lock increases this heavy lock's portability, which is great news for regular bike commuters.This lock provides a lot of security and versatility for a great price.This is the smallest high-security lock reviewed. It's security is incredible, but we found its versatility and portability to be lacking.
Rating Categories New York Standard U-Lock Granit X-Plus 540 U-Lock Original Superbright KryptoLok Series 2 Standard U-Lock New York Fahgettaboudit U-Lock Mini
Security (35%)
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Specs New York Standard U-Lock Granit X-Plus 540 U-Lock Original Superbright KryptoLok Series 2 Standard U-Lock New York Fahgettaboudit U-Lock Mini
Weight of lock (lbs) 3.96 lbs 3.28 lbs 4.31 lbs 3.26 lbs 4.36lbs
Lock dimensions 4" x 8" (16mm thick) 9" x 4.25" (13mm thick) 1.5' long x 2" 4" x 9" (13mm thick) with 4' x 10mm cable 3.25” x 6” (18mm thick)
Type of Lock U lock U lock Chain U lock U-Lock

Best Overall Bike Lock


Kryptonite New York Standard U-Lock


Editors' Choice Award

$134.34
at Amazon
See It

75
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Security - 35% 9
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 7
  • Ease of Use - 20% 6
  • Versatility - 20% 7
Weight: 3.96 lbs | Dimensions: 4" x 8" (16mm thick)
High security
Included mount is solid
Decent size
Almost 4 lbs

Years go by, and the Kryptonite New York Standard U-Lock remains unbeatable. Our Editors' Choice champ scores well across the board, thanks to its simple, well thought out design. Kryptonite built a strong theft deterrent, with 16 mm of hardened steel that we could only destroy with two separate cuts from the powered angle grinder. A "Gold" rating from Sold Secure grants you some peace of mind when locking your bike in urban areas.

Its pitfalls include its weight. It's pretty heavy, but the frame mount is lightweight and makes for convenient storage while cruising. The model is about as easy to use as any U-lock and broad enough to fit around both wheels, the frame, and a standard bike rack as long as you remove your front wheel. Kryptonite even offers theft protection policies and a key replacement program for this lock, should trouble arise. Kudos to Kryptonite for making a versatile, burly and user-friendly bike lock of such quality.

Read review: Kryptonite New York Standard U-Lock

Best Bang for the Buck


Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 Standard U-Lock


Best Buy Award

$53.95
at Amazon
See It

72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Security - 35% 7
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 6
  • Ease of Use - 20% 8
  • Versatility - 20% 8
Weight: 3.26 lbs | Dimensions: 4" x 9" (13mm thick) with 4' x 10mm cable
Locks both wheels without removing one
Affordable and easy to use
Lightweight for a U-lock
Reliable security for the price
Cable is an added pain
Mounted lock rattles

Our Best Buy Award goes to a mid-security model with an entry-level price: the Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 Standard U-Lock. This classic U-lock comes with a four-foot cable that can reach around both wheels and is efficient to secure and un-secure. The frame mount works well enough and comes with the manufacturer's name that is a theft deterrent in and of itself.

Although OnGuard makes this style of mid-security U-Lock with cable in their Bulldog DT, this Kryptonite product is an all-around better product. From the higher quality cable to the easy locking "bent foot" design, the KryptoLok gradually pulled ahead in points. We were not impressed that the mounted lock rattles against the frame or that the cable included on this model is not the easiest to use.

Read review: Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 Standard U-Lock

Top Pick for Lightweight Lock


OTTO DesignWorks Ottolock Cinch


70
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Security - 35% 5
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 9
  • Ease of Use - 20% 9
  • Versatility - 20% 6
Weight: 5.3 ounces | Dimensions: 30" x 3/4" (1/8" thick)
Excellent price-to-performance ratio
Cable adds versatile security
Combo lock makes locking and unlocking easy
Works well as a convenient secondary lock too
Not most robust model
Might not be secure enough for urban, high crime areas

There's a popular bike lock buying guideline that says you should spend at least 10% of your bike's value on a lock. Personally, we think you should spend as much as you need to in order to keep someone from riding away with a bike that doesn't belong to them. However, if you follow the 10% rule, the Ottolock is a good match for anyone riding something more expensive than a bargain-basement bike (read: the vast majority of bike traffic out there). Price alone, though, only tells part of the story. The Otto DesignWorks Ottolock Cinch attempts to find the right balance between bulky security and ease of transport with its multiple layers of steel and Kevlar® bands that coil up to a 3-inch circle that can fit into a saddle bag or backpack. It delivers an honest attempt at deterring thieves, especially if you're in a small to medium size town, and you're leaving your bike for a few hours at most (and not overnight). The combination lock removes the annoying possibility of misplacing keys, and the cable fits around two wheels and the frame (if you remove the front wheel and lock it to the back one.)

The lock's pitfalls are paired with its accolades. Meaning: because it's lightweight, it's not as secure as other, heavier duty locks included in this review, like the ABUS, OnGuard, or Kryptonite. Technology still hasn't created a super secure lock for this miniscule weight, or anywhere close. But, to be fair, it's a heck of a light lighter and easier to carry than those models are. The Ottolock isn't the top choice for regular commuters or folks with expensive rides, but it's more than sufficient for light to moderate use, like running errands, stopping for a pitstop or happy hour hopping. If your bike didn't cost an arm and a leg, and you need a lightweight lock for occasional use, grab the Ottolock.

Read review: Otto DesignWorks Ottolock Cinch

Top Pick for Bike Commuting


Hiplok Original: Superbright


Top Pick Award

$82.40
(17% off)
at Amazon
See It

73
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Security - 35% 7
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 8
  • Ease of Use - 20% 7
  • Versatility - 20% 7
Weight: 4.31 lbs | Dimensions: 1.5' long x 2"
Well-designed
Secure
Conveniently wearable
Easy use
Heavy
More expensive
Size-dependent

Want a lock that you'll love transporting? We do, too. It is such a rarity to find one that answers the pesky question of how to efficiently lug it around between lockups, but our Top Pick for Commuting, the Hiplok Original: Superbright does it with ingenuity. Hiplok took a beefy 8mm hardened steel chain two feet long and put a nylon sheath around it. Next, Hiplok engineered a padlock (one quite tough to break, we might add) with an extra metal bar that serves as a buckle. A swath of Velcro goes through the buckle then folds back on itself, creating an adjustable and comfortable design that you wear like a low belt. Lastly, the Superbright lock has a large reflective strip on the outside of the nylon cover, because bikers can never be too visible. A simple yet genius design, it is burly and transports well. The everyday commuting cyclist, as well as anyone else wanting a quality product, will appreciate this product.

Our only reservations come from the product's weight, which at over 4 pounds, is considerable. It's also on the expensive side of bike locks and, let's face it, not everyone wants to wear a reflective belt.

Read review: Hiplok Original: Superbright

Notable for Extended Parking


Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock


Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and New York Disc Lock

$114.85
(36% off)
at Amazon
See It

61
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Security - 35% 9
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 2
  • Ease of Use - 20% 3
  • Versatility - 20% 9
Weight: 15.1 lbs | Dimensions: 60" x 2" (chain), 4" x 5" x 1.4" (disc lock)
High security
Locks both wheels without removing them
Extremely heavy
Not for daily transportation
Carelessness leads to chipped paint

Want the most intimidating lock to wrap around your wheels and frame? The Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock is it. This lock is designed with extended and overnight parking in mind. If you lock up in the same place on a daily basis, you can leave this lock on the rack while you're away. No lock is impervious to defeat, but this one should deter all but the most dedicated thieves.

To be sure, you need to know what you're getting into here. It's expensive, huge, and weighs over 15 pounds, so you won't be eager to transport it around town. It also chips the paint off your frame, so if you're picky about that sort of thing, you should probably find something else to lock your bike with. Daily trips with an extra 15 pounds aren't fun, either, and we encourage you to check into lighter weight options that will make commuting with the lock less of a drag. However, if you lock your bike anywhere outside of your housing for long periods of time, this lock provides strong assurance that your wheels will be there when you return.

Read review: Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock


While inferior locks fell victim to hand tools  we had to use an electric angle grinder to defeat the ABUS Granit X-PLus U-lock.
While inferior locks fell victim to hand tools, we had to use an electric angle grinder to defeat the ABUS Granit X-PLus U-lock.

Why You Should Trust Us


We assembled a team of experts to pick apart these locks. Our lead tester, Ross Robinson, is a dedicated bike commuter who has been locking up with chains, folding models, cables (as a secondary lock!), and U-locks for 12+ years. Shackling to posts, trees, racks, and other immovable structures is part of daily life for him. He even gave up cars for bikes for over 7 years while living in major metropolitan areas like Germany (Hamburg, Berlin) and the US (Chicago, Minneapolis). Having an interest in testing gear to its limits, Ross has spent over 200 hours researching bike locks (and bike thieves) as well as hands-on assessing and directly experimenting with ways to defeat them.

Rebecca Eckland also tests and reviews locks on our team. She's a USAC Cat 3 Road bike racer, winner of the 600-mile California Triple Crown Stage race, and holds multiple racing records. As you can imagine, she isn't psyched to lose her wheels and therefore has spent a lot of time investigating which bike locks will keep her ride where she leaves it, but also for the least weight possible. Having worked at a bike shop, she also has seen all kinds of locks firsthand. Based out of Reno, NV, Rebecca practically lives on her bike, for training, and for fun. Rylee Sweeney rounds out our main testing team, who comes to us with a background in bike touring across the US, where bike security is nearly as essential as food and water. Between these three testers, we've had our collective hands on over 50 models of locks, and have followed trends and innovations over the last 15-20 years. Some impressive, others less so.

One of our critiques of this lock is its size. As you can see  you're limited on the amount of clearance...making sure you won't fit two mountain bike tires  the frame  AND a bike rack into the TiGr Mini.

We started our testing process by learning how these different bike locks perform in-transit; we shoved them in our panniers, bungeed them on trailers, placed in backpacks, installed brackets to stow them on the frame, wore them around our waists, stuffed them into saddlebags and carried them in bike baskets. Next, we rode around town, attaching them to racks, benches, trees, random posts, and fences to assess each one's usability. During these test rides, we started the process of examining secured bikes from the eyes of a bike thief. Even if the frame was secured, could somebody steal the wheels or seat? In the last phase of testing, we went deep into the world of bike thievery. Using common hand tools, we attempted to compromise each lock by combining brute strength and technology. Last of all, we pulled out a power tool and cut through each model with an electric angle grinder to see how long it took and how many cuts were necessary to free the bike from the lock. Bike security ain't no joke, and we purposefully bought, used, and destroyed every single lock in this review to leave no corner unturned.

Related: How We Tested Bike Locks

Simple and secure  this model is truly the Standard other locks wish to live up to.
Simple and secure, this model is truly the Standard other locks wish to live up to.

Analysis and Test Results


Selecting the right product is more complicated than choosing your desired level of security. Plus, the broad range of locks on the market complicates matters further! Our experts created a weighted system for comprehensive assessment. We base our scoring of each lock on four criteria: security, ease of transportation, ease of use, and versatility. While bike security is weighted the heaviest in our scoring matrix, all of these factors contribute to a bike lock that you will use regularly to entrust with your beloved ride. The importance of each metric, as well as standout products in each critical area, are discussed below.

Related: Buying Advice for Bike Locks

Locking up outside a watering hole during urban testing.
Locking up outside a watering hole during urban testing.

Value


Buying a bike lock is a lot like shopping around for insurance. Figure out what coverage you need, then look for the best rate. With this approach, getting the most for your money is a piece of cake. Common trade-offs for lower prices include quality lock mechanisms, thicker hardened steel, and, perhaps, a brand name that leaves potential thieves looking for an easier target. As technology is lacking to produce a great weight-to-security ratio, as the security of a lock increases, so too does the weight and price typically.


The Editors' Choice Kryptonite New York Standard U-Lock is not cheap, but it outperformed all the others, including locks costing 50% to 75% more. We consider it a good value for those looking for solid protection. For tighter budgets or less glamorous rides, our Best Buy Award winner may fit the bill. The Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 Standard U-Lock and Otto DesignWorks OTTOLOCK come in at nearly half the price. Both offer very strong bang for the buck, performing significantly better than average in our tests, while still being relatively affordable.

No lock remained unbroken following our security tests. Here's part of the aftermath on the garage floor.
No lock remained unbroken following our security tests. Here's part of the aftermath on the garage floor.

Security


Bike manufacturers don't share the same security rating standards. Neither do independent security testing organizations, like Sold Secure, that are popular references here in the States. Sold Secure is an independent, not-for-profit trade association that employs a small army of professional locksmiths to assess the security of various locking devices and mechanisms. Products are then rated based on their performance during the lock-cracking tests. Other organizations, such as VdS (a German independent testing institution for security and fire protection) and the Foundation ART (a group of Dutch organizations teaming together to prevent theft of two-wheeled vehicles), also submit products to rigorous professional-grade tests and rate them according to their performance. These organizations have no ties to manufacturers and are well-respected as holding a high standard of testing on many products, including bike locks.


For most cyclists, this is the most critical criterion to consider when choosing a lock, so we went full tilt in our testing. We first assessed each lock's apparent weak point and then attacked it. We used tools commonly employed by bike thieves in an attempt to compromise each lock and make away with the bicycle. We started with hand tools, including wire snips, a hammer, a hacksaw, and bolt cutters, then switched to an electric angle grinder. News flash: With the right tools and enough time, all locks can be defeated, and it doesn't take a genius to do it. A high score for security represents the level of theft deterrence, but it's not a guarantee of safety for your bike. To date, such a guarantee doesn't exist. In other words, a higher security lock will take a thief longer to break; hopefully long enough that someone will notice the sparks flying and stop the theft from happening or you'll be back before they could crack the lock.

This is the Fahgettaboudit with 1 cut through. Notice that there is only ¾" of space between the cut bars due to the burly dual locking mechanism. Thieves have to cut through twice to get this product off the bike frame.
This is the Fahgettaboudit with 1 cut through. Notice that there is only ¾" of space between the cut bars due to the burly dual locking mechanism. Thieves have to cut through twice to get this product off the bike frame.

No matter which lock you have, there are certain practices that we explain in our Buying Advice article to boost the overall security of your bike. These include how, where, and to what you lock up your ride.

The Kryptonite New York models took the highest scores in this metric. The Standard U-lock, Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock, and Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit U-lock Mini proved the toughest locks to crack. These models have hardened steel bars ranging 14 mm to 18 mm that resisted attack from all our hand-powered tools without flinching, including a 36" bolt cutter. When it came to the angle grinder, each of these locks took the longest to slice through completely (nearly a minute of hard-core, sparks-flying slicing.) Moreover, for these locks, one cut wasn't enough. Due to their well-designed dual locking mechanisms, they required two separate cuts of their U bars to free the bike, doubling the getaway time. Extrapolating from our test results, it would take thief at least one and a half minutes of sparks a-flying to compromise one of these locks. The ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 also required two cuts from the angle grinder before releasing the bike frame. It received a lower security score due to our ability to cut through its 13 mm U bar in approximately ten fewer seconds than the above models from Kryptonite.

The other U-locks reviewed also withstood all hand tool attacks but only required a single cut from the electric angle grinder to become compromised, hence a lower security score. Each of these locks took approximately 25-40 seconds to cut. No amount of hammer slamming, hacksawing, or bolt cutting was able to beat them. The same goes for the Hiplok chain and locking mechanism. Of course, the cables accompanying the Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 and OnGuard Bulldog DT locks were defeated by most hand tools in our arsenal. These cables shouldn't be used to secure a frame, but they do improve a lock's versatility by securing more components.

A cable lock alone is not a very effective deterrent, but when used in addition to another lock, it steps up your deterrence. Use to it lock up your saddle, pannier, or front wheel without needing to remove it. Consider adding an inexpensive Kryptonite Kryptoflex Cable to any inexpensive lock you choose. A four-foot cable is an appropriate length for most bikes.

A massive pair of 36" bolt cutters unsuccessfully attacking a U-lock.
A massive pair of 36" bolt cutters unsuccessfully attacking a U-lock.

The folding locks were a significant step down in security in comparison to the chain and U-locks. The ABUS uGrip Bordo fared better than the INBIKE model, which was defeated in a single hammer blow. The obvious weak points of folding locks are the rotating rivets. The bolt cutters couldn't bite through the metal plates, but working the blades around the rivets, it took only 10-15 seconds to bust these locks.

Locking up at a lakeside concert in a mountain town  the Ottolock stands out as more secure than several cable locks surrounding it.
Locking up at a lakeside concert in a mountain town, the Ottolock stands out as more secure than several cable locks surrounding it.

We were surprised by the security the presented in the Ottolock Cinch. It resisted the hacksaw and wire snips in our test, although we expect a tool like tin snips might have a chance. The large bolt cutters struggled for a few minutes before finally achieving a mangled cut. The steel band core is wrapped in Kevlar, which makes cutting through this product less straightforward. We found it to rival the security of the TiGr mini, which mostly only appears more secure. The mini was defeated in just a few seconds by the bolt cutters, and with 10 minutes of dedication, you can cut through it with a cheap hacksaw. Both of these locks offer mid-level security at best while weighing much less than models we tested with similar security.

We were surprised that it only took seven minutes of vigorous sawing to defeat this folding lock from ABUS. That said  most thieves are only likely to spend this long breaking into a lock if the bike is left in an unpopulated area  or locked up overnight.
We were surprised that it only took seven minutes of vigorous sawing to defeat this folding lock from ABUS. That said, most thieves are only likely to spend this long breaking into a lock if the bike is left in an unpopulated area, or locked up overnight.

As expected, the poorest performers in this metric were the cable locks, such as the cable-only OnGuard Akita and Kryptonite KryptoFlex 1218 Combo Lock. The HipLoz Z Lok was defeated rather quickly, too, as it is essentially a zip tie with a key. A thief with nearly any tool can defeat these locks, making them a perilous choice in urban and most suburban settings. They are best reserved for short periods when unsupervised in low crime areas. In other words, these locks are intended to prevent the opportunistic "snatch-and-grab" that often occurs when a cyclist dismounts the bike with the intention of only being away for seconds (a dash to the restroom, or to fill up a water bottle at a nearby fountain) only to find their bike gone the second they turn their back.

Ben hammers through the locking mechanism of the Akita in a few fatal blows.
Ben hammers through the locking mechanism of the Akita in a few fatal blows.

The security metric held the most weight in our review, but not everyone requires the same level of security out of their product. For example, someone leaving a mid-priced bike outside her or his college town workplace may not need as much security as someone securing the same bike up outside their urban apartment overnight. Or, if you're a cyclist who simply wants to make sure that your bike is safe when you're taking a break at a cafe, and have your bike within your view. The great news is that there is a lock for every occasion, and we encourage you to think about where you're locking your bike and for how long to assess what level of security you actually need. And, it goes without saying: no matter how much you spend on a product, it won't do you any good if you don't know how to use it properly, so be sure to research the best ways to use your lock to maximize security.

A lock that is easy to transport is a lock that you are more likely to use regularly. The ABUS uGrip Bordo is lightweight  compact  and mounts well to the frame.
A lock that is easy to transport is a lock that you are more likely to use regularly. The ABUS uGrip Bordo is lightweight, compact, and mounts well to the frame.

Ease of Transport


How simple a lock is to transport plays a part in the likelihood of always having it with you. We examined the transport options for each different lock, then rode around to determine if that carrying the product with us was a habit we could form. Of course, there are many upgrades that people make to their bikes that create more carrying options like installing a basket or buying a quality messenger bag or pannier that make it pleasant to ride with a load. While those options were in our minds, we focused on the features of the product and any included hardware.


The folding locks proved to be among the easiest models to transport, with the ABUS uGrip Bordo being preferred over the Inbike model. It folds up into a compact shape that slides into a backpack or messenger bag without taking up much space, or even in generously sized pant pockets. It weighs under two pounds, less than every chain and U-lock we analyzed. Lastly, its frame mount was a favorite of ours. It fits onto nearly any cylindrical bike frame and, while easy to slide into and remove from the mount, it remained in place without rattling or ever coming close to falling out. The Ottolock, however, won our prize for the best lightweight model around due to its small size (it rolls up to a nice, neat coil) and at 5.3 ounces, you'll hardly notice the addition of the lock, whether you carry it in your pocket, a backpack, or wrapped around your bike frame. The one-pound TiGr mini is also convenient to transport, either with its frame mount or stuffed in a bag or pack.

A standard deck of cards for size contrast between the ABUS model on the left and the INBIKE lock on the right. Folding locks offer low to mid-security  but are awesome for easy portability.
A standard deck of cards for size contrast between the ABUS model on the left and the INBIKE lock on the right. Folding locks offer low to mid-security, but are awesome for easy portability.

The wearable design of the Hiplok Original is a great innovation that makes transporting the lock a breeze, despite weighing over four pounds. It allows you to attach the chain around your waist like a belt. Weight worn on your body is less noticeable than weight worn in a bag, pack, and even on the frame. Initially, we didn't expect this design to be comfortable around our midsection, but we were wrong. It's surprisingly comfortable, confirmed by our male and female testers. The Superbright version of this lock (which is the version we tested) comes with a large reflective stripe on the exterior of the nylon sheath which is positioned on the lower back when worn correctly. We like this attention to riding safety by adding another way to be visible on the streets in low light. No other model reviewed had reflective material. These reasons, coupled with its robust security, primarily influenced our decision to award it as our Top Pick for Commuting.

With the shackle locked to a chain link on one end  the strip of sturdy velcro runs through a bar on the shackle and secures to the nylon sheath. Even during fast and bumpy  it never loosened around our testers' hips.
With the shackle locked to a chain link on one end, the strip of sturdy velcro runs through a bar on the shackle and secures to the nylon sheath. Even during fast and bumpy, it never loosened around our testers' hips.

The lightweight nature of cable locks makes them easy to transport. The KryptoFlex 1218 comes with a frame mount, but you'll need to carry the Akita 8041 in your bag or pack. Our testers weren't huge fans of coiling the cables around their top tubes of a bike frame, which is time-consuming and not very stable. The heavy U-locks are more cumbersome to carry in a bag, and also take up a lot of space on a bike frame. Each U-lock tested comes with a frame mount, though some are better than others. The most secure U-lock mount comes with the ABUS Granit X-Plus. Be aware that the large size of this lock might be too big to fit into the main triangle of small bike frames, such as kids bikes and some adult models. We also like the Transit FlexFrame that ship with the Kryptonite New York Standard and Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2, although these too can be difficult on small frames.

The easiest product to carry in this review was by far the HipLok Z Lok which, at 1.3 ounces, weighs basically nothing. We hardly noticed this zip-tie model, whether it was attached to the frame of the bike or on our wrist, a true cyclist's accessory. While it's really not much of a deterrent for a determined thief, this inexpensive lock is enough to prevent the snatch-and-grab opportunist for when you need to park the bike for a dash to nature's call.

The included mount bracket on the ABUS Granit X-Plus is the sturdiest of all frame mounts we tested.
The included mount bracket on the ABUS Granit X-Plus is the sturdiest of all frame mounts we tested.

Kryptonite's Fahgettaboudit Mini lost points here because although it is compact, it weighs over 4 lbs and doesn't come with a mounting bracket. Lastly, the Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock is enormous and weighs over 15 pounds. Due to its great size and weight, you won't be carrying this one with you on a regular basis unless you want to relive what it was like after you gained the Freshman 15, but that's not its purpose. It's meant to stay where you want to lock up your bike, and you leave it on the rack when you pedal away.

The straightforward design of the New York Standard from Kryptonite makes locking up an easy task.
The straightforward design of the New York Standard from Kryptonite makes locking up an easy task.

Ease of Use


How quick could we secure and un-secure a bike with the different models tested? What design features made the securing up process that much easier? What styles were easier to use and what styles are more difficult? If we were a bike messenger with 20 different stops on our route, which piece performs the best? These were some of the questions we sought to answer when looking at the usability of each contender.


A shout out to the manufacturer's here: all the products we tested ran smoothly through the gauntlet of opening and closing countless times. We experienced no jams or stuck keys throughout our three months of testing with each product. Still, some were easier to use than others. The cable locks are straightforward and easy to weave through wheels and frames at bike racks, and their flexibility was convenient when faced with awkward structures, such as trees or lampposts. Likewise, the Hiplok model was simple to guide the chain around irregular structures and our bikes. The Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain, on the other hand, is hard to control its links when wrapping up our bikes to immovable structures. We lived in constant fear of chipping the paint on our bikes as the huge links clunked around. If you're picky about the appearance of your bike, be wary of this chain model. In a similar vein, the folding locks tended to spring open when turning the key, which sometimes sent the exposed steel plates flying into our frames. The coating on the Ottolock Cinch ensured us that it won't nik or damage our paint jobs and brewery stickers.

Bike theft is common. If you ever leave your bike outside your home  you need a lock  and preferably one that's easy to use.
Bike theft is common. If you ever leave your bike outside your home, you need a lock, and preferably one that's easy to use.

When it comes to standard bike racks, U-locks are simple enough to use. The Fahgettaboudit Mini is easy to manage due to its small size, as is the lightweight TiGr mini. The Kryptonite Series 2 Standard U-Lock has a feature they call the "bent foot" which allows you to insert one end of the "U" then leverage that side to insert the remaining end. This feature is excellent for usability but decreases the product's security, so we understand why the burly New York series U-Locks have dual locking mechanisms within their crossbars. When it comes to abnormal sizes and shapes to lock your bike to, though, the inflexible U-locks struggle. Consider where you want to lock up your wheels, and if there are secure bike racks nearby, before selecting a lock.

Notice the "bent foot" design that the KryptoLok offers. This end of the shackle is inserted into the crossbar first  and then you can use the leverage of the first end to insert the other side.
Notice the "bent foot" design that the KryptoLok offers. This end of the shackle is inserted into the crossbar first, and then you can use the leverage of the first end to insert the other side.

Bike locks aren't known as feature-laden devices, yet there are a few that stand out. The three Kryptonite New York locks, as well as the ABUS Granit X-Plus 540, come with a small light (either LED or HID) on one of the included keys, which is convenient when fiddling with your lock in the dark. We also appreciated the dust covers that were featured on every U-lock, plus the disc lock of the Fahgettaboudit Chain. The best one, though, belongs to the Granit X-Plus which is an automatic cover that is pushed out of the way by the key as you insert it. Keeping precipitation and sediment out of the locking mechanism reduces friction within the locking mechanism and prolongs its lifespan, and we appreciate that ABUS doesn't leave that protection up to our forgetfulness.

Use the hook and loop straps to mount this lock in mere seconds.
Use the hook and loop straps to mount this lock in mere seconds.

We installed each mount onto multiple bikes and found that they were not created equally regarding user-friendliness. While the ABUS U-lock mount was annoying to install, yet the mount for the folding ABUS lock was a cinch to install and adjust. It either attaches to the screw holes of a water bottle cage or anywhere on the frame using two heavy duty hook and loop straps, which takes seconds to install. The zip ties included with the INBIKE folding model were all but useless, which was frustrating.

It's also worth noting that size of your bike will impact the ease of a frame-mount. While you could probably attach a whole handful of lock mounts to a 60+ bicycle frame, if you're petite and riding a 48 (think: the 5'2 and under club), then mounting a lock to the bike might mean you lose your capacity to carry a water bottle. This isn't a huge deal if your commute is short and you don't mind carrying your water in your backpack, but if you're out for a longer distance or it's warm out, you're going to miss your bottle cage.

Versatility


A bike isn't rideable with its front wheel stolen (at least, for most mortals). In this testing category, we explored how much of a bicycle could be secured. The most common components stolen off bikes are front wheels with quick release skewers (and also happens even if owners don't have quick release wheels), saddles, bike lights, and rear wheels. If bikes are left out long enough, the entire bike might get stripped down to the locked frame, component by component — a sad sight.


The most versatile models we tested are the U-locks that come with cables (although there is always the option to buy two U-locks, of course). The OnGuard Bulldog DT and Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 come with a four-foot long rubberized cable to secure both wheels and seat (through the stays). Cable models also cover your whole bike (except that the ends are often too large to secure seats), yet we don't consider leaving your entire bike security up to a single cable to be a brilliant idea in most environments. The long chain of the Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock is long enough to secure both wheels and the frame to an immovable structure, but don't expect to feed the hefty links through your saddle stays.

The Fahgettaboudit chain provides enough length and flexibility to lock up both wheels with the frame without needing to remove the front one.
The Fahgettaboudit chain provides enough length and flexibility to lock up both wheels with the frame without needing to remove the front one.

For shorter locks, it's a good practice to remove the front wheel and position it to lock up with the rear wheel and frame. The U-locks and folding locks can lock up a wheel and the frame, but depending on your tire size, they might not handle two wheels in the method described. The Hiplok is more flexible and provides a larger internal area for fitting even fat tires, the frame, and the structure you are using as an anchor.

Here's a photo demonstration of how to secure both wheels and the frame. The Hiplok makes this maneuver easy with its flexibility and above-average size.
Here's a photo demonstration of how to secure both wheels and the frame. The Hiplok makes this maneuver easy with its flexibility and above-average size.

Three locks made it all but impossible to lock both wheels and the frame to a structure. The INBIKE, TiGr mini and Fahgettaboudit Mini were too small to even fit two thin road tires along with the frame to most bike racks. They could, at least, lock a wheel and the frame together, although the mini struggles with fat tires.

Even the Fahgettaboudit Mini fit around the frame and a wheel of our road bike with skinny tires.
Even the Fahgettaboudit Mini fit around the frame and a wheel of our road bike with skinny tires.

Other Uses for Your Lock


Throughout the review, we found many other uses for these products, especially the bigger U-locks and the chain models. We locked the back tire of a dirt bike to its brake rotor, tire of a trailer to its frame so it couldn't move, a mountain board to a bike trailer, and some random items in our gear garage when traveling. All this is to say: keep your mind open to other things a lock can secure. The bigger the lock, the more options for locking things. However, if the lock were too big and cumbersome, we wouldn't bring it. So for the dirt bike and mountain board, we liked the medium sizes (6-8 inches in total length).

A U-lock and cable combo provides versatile security. If you're heading into an area of higher crime rates  bring the cable along as an additional deterrent.
A U-lock and cable combo provides versatile security. If you're heading into an area of higher crime rates, bring the cable along as an additional deterrent.

Lock Maintenance


To prolong the life of your security device, regular maintenance is key. How frequently you do this is largely dependent upon your climate. If you live in a harsh climate with high amounts of rain and snow or an area near salt water, monthly maintenance may be necessary. In other climates or regions, though, a little lock love every two to three months should suffice.

Focus your cleaning and lubrication efforts on any moving parts and areas where parts attach, such as keyholes, deadbolts, the ends of u-lock shackles, and cylinders. Clean these parts first with a rag, using a spray product like WD40 if there is any visible corrosion or heavy grime. After cleansing, apply a lubricant. Dry, Teflon-based lubricants are typically recommended for use on locks. Lubricate as directed on the bottle or box. Make sure to insert your key and turn it several times to spread the lubricant around. Your local bike shop can help you select products for cleaning and lubricating. Otherwise, most hardware stores carry the products you need.

Biking is fun  cost-effective  and eco-friendly  and using a quality bike lock keeps it that way!
Biking is fun, cost-effective, and eco-friendly, and using a quality bike lock keeps it that way!

Conclusion


Choosing a bike lock can be overwhelming yet necessary for most cyclists out there. Protection is the top priority for all of us when purchasing this product. Your decision depends on a handful of factors varying from whether you are looking for the strongest lock on the market, the most convenient for quick stops or you may want a lock that is light and easy to carry around. We hope our process has helped you choose the best product for your needs.


Ross Robinson and Rebecca Eckland