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The 6 Best Bike Locks of 2024

We tested bike locks from Kryptonite, OnGuard, LITELOK, and more to find the best solution for your bike security needs
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Best Bike Locks Review (All of the locks we tested for our latest update.)
All of the locks we tested for our latest update.
Credit: Luke Hollomon

The Best Bike Locks for 2024


With eight years of practice securing and defeating the best bike locks, our experts have tested over 35 different models. For this round of testing, we purchased 23 top contenders and put them through extensive testing and side-by-side comparisons to evaluate and compare various performance qualities. We looked at design, functionality, security, and more. Testing for months, we used them daily through different weather conditions, from the city to the country. We also attempted to cut these bike locks loose using bolt cutters, hacksaws, tin snips, and angle grinders. Our in-depth and objective review offers unbiased advice and the best recommendation to provide extra bike security wherever you may ride.

Our bike-loving experts have written an expansive array of bike gear reviews over the years. Whether you're curious about the best bikes out there or need an accessory like a top-rated bike computers, the best bike pump, or a comfortable, top-rated bike seat, we've done extensive testing to uncover the top bike gear on the market.

Editor's Note: We updated this review on May 20, 2024, to include more details and comments from our team of testers.

Top 23 Bike Locks - Test Results

Displaying 1 - 5 of 23
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  
Price $70 List
$65.12 at Amazon
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$300 List$99.99 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Tough to cut, easy to use, long enough to fit nearly any rackQuite secure, long shackle makes it versatile, lighter than mostTop security, silicone keyhole cover, soft rubber coatingWearable design, solid security, easy to useVery secure, mounts to bike, convenient size for locking up
Cons Annoying to transport, iced up in cold, unprotected keyholeAnnoying keyway, average mount, tough to transportHeavy, costly, no mountNot lightweight, uncomfortable with some backpacks, priceyHeavy, bulky to transport
Bottom Line An easy to use, versatile lock that's surprisingly tough to cut, though tough to transportA surprisingly difficult to cut U-lock that's an upgrade on its predecessor but continues to have annoying keyway and lackluster mountThis costly lock was the toughest that we tested, and due to its rubber coating it also has a soft side and won't scratch your paintThe innovative design of this wearable chain lock increases this heavy lock's portability, which is great news for regular bike commutersA great choice for high-risk areas that need higher security
Rating Categories Abus Ivera 7210 Kryptonite KryptoLok LITELOK X3 Hiplok Original: Su... Kryptonite New York...
Security (40%)
7.5
7.5
10.0
5.5
8.5
Ease of Transport (25%)
5.0
6.0
3.0
8.0
4.0
Ease of Use (20%)
8.0
7.0
6.5
7.0
7.0
Versatility (15%)
8.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
6.0
Specs Abus Ivera 7210 Kryptonite KryptoLok LITELOK X3 Hiplok Original: Su... Kryptonite New York...
Type Chain U-Lock + cable U-Lock Wearable chain U-Lock
Time to Defeat Lock 12 seconds 20 seconds 464 seconds 13 seconds 40 seconds
Measured Weight 2.8 lbs 2.5 lbs 4.7 lbs 4.3 lbs 4.4 lbs
Locking Dimension 42" circumference U-lock: 4" x 9", cable 5' 3.93" x 7.6" 33.5" circumference, 2" width 8" x 4"
Primary Materials/Thickness 7mm hardened steel square chain 12.7mm hardened steel 24-26mm, Barronium (patent pending composite material), high tensile steel 8mm hardened steel chain, 600D polyester sleeve 16mm hardened steel
Included Keys 2 keys 2 keys 3 keys 3 keys 3 keys (one with LED light)
Defeated by Tin Snips No No No No No
Defeated by Hammer No No No No No
Defeated by Hacksaw No No No No No
Defeated by 36" Bolt Cutters No No No No No
Number of Angle Grinder Cuts to Defeat Lock 2 cuts 2 cuts 2 cuts 1 cut 2 cuts


Best Overall Bike Lock


Abus Ivera 7210


71
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Security 7.5
  • Ease of Transport 5.0
  • Ease of Use 8.0
  • Versatility 8.0
REASONS TO BUY
Good security
Incredibly versatile
Easy to use
REASONS TO AVOID
Could be more secure
Annoying to carry around
SPECIFICATIONS
Time to Defeat Lock 12 seconds
Type Chain
Measured Weight 2.8 lbs
Locking Dimension 42" circumference
Primary Materials/Thickness 7mm hardened steel square chain
The Abus Ivera 7210 wowed us throughout our testing with its ease of use and difficulty in cutting. It's quite a secure lock that's surprisingly lightweight, versatile, well-designed, and convenient. U-locks have been the default choice for bike security because they're so hard to break open, but they're often a pain to use, and comparatively, the “quick method of locking was incredibly refreshing,” according to Luke Hollomon, our lead tester for this bike lock review. The Abus Ivera 7210 is a chain lock made with 7mm thick links, and at 42" long, it's super convenient. Luke says, “I loved using this chain lock because I could lock my bike anywhere with zero hassle.” We've enjoyed having it at every turn as its length and ease of locking and unlocking make it a joy.

Being nice to use doesn't mean anything if a lock isn't secure. Fortunately, the Ivera 7210 is quite tough to cut. We couldn't get through it with bolt cutters, cable cutters, or a hacksaw. It took an angle grinder to slice through this heavy chain. And even when we did break out the power tools, the mesh covering kept tangling around our grinder disc, stopping us in our tracks. It took over 60 seconds to slice this with a battery-powered angle grinder and top-notch diamond cutting disc, making it one of the more secure locks in this test; our tester called it “on par with some of the better U-locks we've seen.” The only thing we don't love about this lock is that it's a pain to carry and doesn't come with a mount, but it's lightweight and easy to stash in a bag. Our easier-to-carry high scorer is the Hiplok Original: Superbright.

Read more: Abus Ivera 7210 review

The Abus Ivera 7210 is one of the thicker chains that we tested. While it takes longer to cut with the grinder than others (12 seconds to be precise), you may want to pick a more secure option if you need maximum protection from thieves in the night.
Credit: Jon Oleson

Best U-lock on a Budget


Kryptonite KryptoLok


70
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Security 7.5
  • Ease of Transport 6.0
  • Ease of Use 7.0
  • Versatility 7.0
REASONS TO BUY
Locks both wheels without removing one
Very affordable
Quite secure
Versatile
REASONS TO AVOID
The locking mechanism is not the most user-friendly
Lackluster frame mount
SPECIFICATIONS
Time to Defeat Lock 20 seconds
Type U-Lock + cable
Measured Weight 2.5 lbs
Locking Dimension U-lock: 4" x 9", cable 5'
Primary Materials/Thickness 12.7mm hardened steel
We recommend the Kryptonite KryptoLok for those looking for a quality U-Lock on a tighter budget. Lead tester Luke Hollomon says that this U-lock hits the sweet spot of size and “offers much more versatility than smaller U-locks” without being too big and bulky when transporting. It also has a cable to wrap around the front wheel or seat post if needed. What caught our eye about this bike lock was its security. Compared to other locks at this price point, the Kryptolok blew the competition out of the water. Our hand tool armada could not defeat the 13mm hardened steel of the U and the shackle; our tester notes that this material really works, saying that “the steel truly is hard.” In this price bracket, other U-locks focus on the strength of the U section but tend to leave the shackle vulnerable to a thief cutting through with a single cut. However, the Kryptolok is strong in both components, meaning it would take a thief at least two cuts with an angle grinder to defeat this lock.

A drawback is that the locking mechanism gets sticky more easily than other locks, and it can be a pain to carry around. After some cleaning and lubrication, it works reliably but is not as smooth as other, higher-end locks. Our testers also wish Kryptonite would commit to designing a more user-friendly frame mount for their U-locks. The main competition with this lock is our highest-scoring lock, the Abus Ivera 7210, which is similarly priced but does not come with the extra cable. There are much cheaper and lighter options, like the ABUS Chain Lock 1200 Web, but remember that you get much less security. However, the Kryptonite Kryptolok is a top scorer for a reason, and our team says, “it is a great economical option to consider for tighter budgets.” You'll want to give this lock a second look if you need the security of a U-lock without the hefty price.

Read more: Kryptonite Kryptolok review

With the thinnest shackle of the Kryptonite U-Locks, the Kryptolok Standard was the quickest and easiest to cut through, at 10 seconds with the angle grinder.
Credit: Jon Oleson

Most Secure Bike Lock


LITELOK X3


70
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Security 10.0
  • Ease of Transport 3.0
  • Ease of Use 6.5
  • Versatility 6.0
REASONS TO BUY
Incredibly secure
Smooth action
Soft on your bike
REASONS TO AVOID
Quite heavy
No mount included
Expensive
SPECIFICATIONS
Time to Defeat Lock 464 seconds
Type U-Lock
Measured Weight 4.7 lbs
Locking Dimension 3.93" x 7.6"
Primary Materials/Thickness 24-26mm, Barronium (patent pending composite material), high tensile steel

The LITELOK X3 is hands down the toughest lock that we put to the test. This U-lock features a patent-pending “Barronium” (composite) shackle that took five grinder discs to get through, and even after that first cut, it was not defeated. Reviewer Jon Oleson says that “the LITELOK X3 is the most difficult-to-cut lock that we have tested.” On top of that, you have to make two cuts to get this lock-free. It took a total of 8 discs and over 8 minutes to cut through this lock, making it our top choice for security. In addition to the state-of-the-art security features, the key mechanism is fluid and easy to use, and our tester calls it “smooth like butter.” Due in large part to a silicone keyhole cover, the lock worked well in almost every environmental condition — whether soaking wet or covered in mud and dirt and in all temperatures. The only place where we ran into an issue was when covering this lock in water and then freezing. In this case, water ran down into the crossbar lock mechanism and solidified the shackle in place. We had to wait until it melted, and then it worked perfectly once more.

We did uncover some downsides to this lock. The LITELOK X3 is heavy, and we had trouble using it in certain situations. Despite the large price tag, it doesn't come with a bike mount. Also, the keys are not as fancy as some of the other less expensive locks, some of which come with an LED integrated into one of the keys to make locking/unlocking in the dark an easier task. And if the price tag is too much, there are more affordable albeit less secure locks available for half the price. Check out the Kryptonite New York Lock Standard U-Lock and the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit U-Lock Mini, for example. Still, Jon says, “the LITELOK X3 will give you peace of mind,” and if you need to lock your bike in a high theft area, or to your bike rack while you're on the go, or just long term in your garage or shed, then it is hands down our choice.

Read more: LITELOK X3 review

Although it proved to be a formidable match for the angle grinder, the LITELOK X3 was not uncuttable. It did take 2 separate cuts, 8 grinder discs, and almost 8 minutes to fully defeat this titan of U-locks.
Credit: Jon Oleson

Best Wearable Design


Hiplok Original: Superbright


67
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Security 5.5
  • Ease of Transport 8.0
  • Ease of Use 7.0
  • Versatility 7.0
REASONS TO BUY
Well-designed
Secure
Conveniently wearable
Easy use
REASONS TO AVOID
Heavy, if not worn on-person
Expensive
Size-dependent
SPECIFICATIONS
Time to Defeat Lock 13 seconds
Type Wearable chain
Measured Weight 4.3 lbs
Locking Dimension 33.5" circumference, 2" width
Primary Materials/Thickness 8mm hardened steel chain, 600D polyester sleeve

Love the idea of an effective bike lock but loathe the reality of carrying one around with you? The Hiplok Original: Superbright presents a new way to transport a lock, and tester Ross Robinson says, “This product deserves kudos for design and ingenuity.” Hiplok took a beefy, 8mm hardened steel chain two feet long and put a nylon sheath around it (a detail we loved because it won't scratch the paint on your bike frame). Next, they engineered a padlock with an extra metal bar that serves as a buckle. A swath of Velcro goes through the buckle and then folds back on itself, creating an adjustable and comfortable design that you can wear like a low belt. The Superbright lock also has a thick reflective strip on the outside of the nylon cover because when you're riding, you can never be too visible to motorists. The everyday commuting cyclist will appreciate this lock the most, and Ross comments that “when using this bike lock, it's clear that someone put time into thinking things through.” One of our testers has been using this lock on daily bike commutes for over four years and has yet to experience any performance issues, like the locking mechanism sticking (it's still markedly smooth and easy) or the Velcro becoming less adherent.

Those riding for fitness or recreation might want something more lightweight. It feels much heavier stowed in a backpack or messenger bag than when worn on your person. It's also one of the more expensive models in our lineup, yet it still outpaces other contenders in the wearable lock category. If this type of lock sounds like something you'd like, remember that wearing something around your waist while riding might feel constrictive to some. If you are looking for portability but don't want to wear the lock, check out the ABUS uGrip Bordo 5700, which comes with a mount for your bike but is also compact enough to fit in a big jacket pocket, fanny pack or small backpack. However, the burly Hiplok is our testers' favorite wearable for daily commutes, with our team saying it is a “well-designed product worth the investment if you plan to use it often.”

Read more: Hiplok Original: Superbright review

The Hiplok Original: Superbright bike lock has thicker gauge chain links, which makes it resistant to bolt cutter attacks, but only take 13 seconds to defeat with an angle grinder.
Credit: Jon Oleson

Best Cable Lock


DockLocks Anti-Theft Weatherproof Cable


50
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Security 1.5
  • Ease of Transport 7.0
  • Ease of Use 7.0
  • Versatility 8.0
REASONS TO BUY
Bright, durable dials
Comes in many lengths
Not easily picked
REASONS TO AVOID
Insecure
No mounting options
SPECIFICATIONS
Time to Defeat Lock 1 second
Type Combo cable
Measured Weight 0.7 lbs
Locking Dimension 60" circumference
Primary Materials/Thickness 10mm steel cable
It's worth reiterating cable locks aren't secure, and you shouldn't count on one to protect your bike. But if you must use one, the DockLocks Anti-theft Weatherproof Cable is the best we have tested. This lock isn't especially secure; we cut through it in seconds with a hacksaw, bolt cutters, and side-cutting cable pliers. The angle grinder cut through it like butter. But what it lacks in security, it makes up for in lightness, convenience, ease of use, and versatility. Testers say “it's easy to toss into your bag or wrap around your handlebars and hit the town.” This lock has nice dials that are durable and easy to read, it weighs less than a pound, it is smooth to operate even when muddy or frozen, and it comes in five-foot lengths up to 25 feet. Lead reviewer Luke Hollomon admits, “If you have to have a cable lock, this is the one to get.”

We assessed several top-selling cable locks for this review and found that all were equally insecure. But the DockLocks cable stood out for what we mentioned above. This lock was originally designed to secure paddleboards and kayaks, so it also works well in wet conditions. Overall, we're impressed by everything about this little lock, except security. If you are looking for something almost as light and compact but with more security, consider the ABUS Chain Lock 1200 Web. But if you're buying a cable lock, you're not committed to security anyway, and at least the DockLocks is nice to use.

Read more: DockLocks Anti-Theft Weatherproof Cable review

The cable on the DockLocks Anti-Theft Weatherproof lock is thin and no match for a pair of wire snips, let alone an angle grinder.
Credit: Jon Oleson

Best Low Security Lightweight Lock


ABUS Chain Lock 1200 Web


53
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Security 2.5
  • Ease of Transport 9.0
  • Ease of Use 7.0
  • Versatility 4.0
REASONS TO BUY
Half a pound
Easy to use and transport
Simple
REASONS TO AVOID
Can be defeated by a multitude of cutting tools
Not for fat bikes
SPECIFICATIONS
Time to Defeat Lock 3 seconds
Type Chain
Measured Weight 0.5 lbs
Locking Dimension 43" circumference
Primary Materials/Thickness 4mm hardened steel

Rebecca Eckland

If you're seeking a bike lock suitable for use in high-risk areas, like a college campus, skip the ABUS Chain Lock 1200 Web. However, this simple chain lock may do the trick if you need a minimal, easy-to-carry and use deterrent. At less than half a pound, it's easy to transport, whether in your jersey pocket, a backpack, or wrapped around your seat post. Tester Rebecca Eckland sums it up by saying, “In terms of portability, this lock rocks!” We wrapped it around the seat posts of both adult and children's bikes, and in both cases, our testers barely noticed it was there. Its simple combo-opening feature means you don't need to carry a key.

Unfortunately, this lock won't stop a determined thief. Its use is limited to a minute or two out of eyesight in urban areas. But this ABUS Chain Lock might be all you need in low-security regions where there aren't tool-toting thieves around the corner. Rebecca says it was “a favorite of our testers who just needed something to keep their rides safe for a dash into the local coffeehouse.” If you're a cycle commuter and need to leave your bike unattended for the entire day, we recommend looking at the Hiplok Original: Superbright. Otherwise, while the ABUS is not super burly, but if you're looking for a lightweight lock that doesn't break the bank and is easy to carry around, it may be just right for you and your (hopefully inexpensive) bike.

Read more: ABUS Chain Lock 1200 Web review

The angle grinder cuts through the relatively thin Abus Chain Lock 1200 like a hot knife through butter.
Credit: Jon Oleson

Notable for Extended Parking


Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock


52
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Security 7.5
  • Ease of Transport 1.0
  • Ease of Use 3.0
  • Versatility 9.0
REASONS TO BUY
High security
Locks both wheels without removing them
REASONS TO AVOID
Extremely heavy
Not for daily transportation
Carelessness leads to chipped paint
SPECIFICATIONS
Time to Defeat Lock 33 seconds
Type Chain with disc lock
Measured Weight 15.1 lbs
Locking Dimension 60" circumference (chain), 4" x 5" (disc lock)
Primary Materials/Thickness 14mm 3T hardened manganese steel(chain), 15mm steel shackle (disc lock), nylon sleeve
Enough with the fluff, you say? Bring out the big guns! If you're looking for a no-nonsense lock for visual and physical security, the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock is what you need. Our testers say “just looking at it is intimidating.” If you lock up in the same place daily, you can leave this lock on the rack while you're away (as allowed), and it's a great choice for chaining up multiple bikes in your shed, garage, or basement. Every bike lock in our lineup can be destroyed, but the Fahgettabouit Chain and Disc Lock require specialized tools and a lot of time to cut through. In other words, this contender stands up to only the most dedicated thieves. Our reviewers boast, “On paper and in hand, it's a beast.”

Before you run to your nearest outdoor retailer, let's be clear about the reality of this lock: it's bulky, expensive, and weighs over 15 pounds, so you may not be eager to transport it around town. Because it lacks any nylon sheath, the chain can chip the paint off your frame. Look elsewhere if you like to keep your wheels looking shiny and somewhat new. Our tester remarks that this chain “isn't for the faint of heart; it's as burly as bike locks get.” Daily trips with an added 15 pounds aren't fun either, and we encourage you to look into lighter options that will make commuting less of a drag. However, if you lock your bike outside and leave it unattended for long periods, this lock provides an extra assurance that your wheels will be there when you return.

Read more: Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock review

The chain on the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Disc and Chain lock is thick, and a bear to lug around. And although it takes longer than most to get through, at 33 seconds, an angle grinder will do the job.
Credit: Jon Oleson

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
71
Abus Ivera 7210
Best Overall Bike Lock
$70
Editors' Choice Award
70
Kryptonite KryptoLok
Best U-lock on a Budget
$71
Best Buy Award
70
LITELOK X3
Most Secure Bike Lock
$300
Top Pick Award
67
Hiplok Original: Superbright
Best Wearable Design
$110
Top Pick Award
67
Kryptonite New York Lock Standard U-Lock
$148
65
ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 U-Lock
$160
65
Hiplok D1000 Bike Lock
$350
62
Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit U-Lock Mini
$159
60
OnGuard Brute STD
$85
59
ABUS uGrip Bordo 5700
$85
59
Seatylock Foldylock Compact
$90
58
Hiplok DX Wearable U-Lock
$95
58
Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7 U-Lock
$98
54
OTTO DesignWorks Ottolock Cinch
$69
53
ABUS Chain Lock 1200 Web
Best Low Security Lightweight Lock
$18
Top Pick Award
53
OnGuard Bulldog DT
$55
52
Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock
Notable for Extended Parking
$135
51
Kryptonite KryptoLok 990 Combo
$82
50
DockLocks Anti-Theft Weatherproof Cable
Best Cable Lock
$20
Top Pick Award
49
Kryptonite KryptoFlex 815 Combo
$18
44
Hiplok Z Lok
$20
44
Master Lock Cable 8122D
$27
34
Master Lock Python Cable Lock 8418D
$28

bike lock - bike theft is unfortunate but common. having a secure and...
Bike theft is unfortunate but common. Having a secure and easy-to-use bike lock can help prevent it.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

How We Test Bike Locks


Our bike security experts have tested more than 35 locks over the past eight years, and we've followed trends and innovations in the market. Between our knowledge and testing procedures, this review is comprehensive.

Our testing of the Docklock involved many bikes and locations.
Credit: Luke Hollomon

Each bike lock endures more than 11 individual tests to rate its performance. Security is the highest weighted metric. We used five different tools common to bike thieves, and we did our best to break or cut through each lock by combining ingenuity, brute strength, and, when that failed, technology — a.k.a. a power tool. We cut through each model using a battery-powered angle grinder to see how long it took and how many cuts were necessary to free the bike from the lock. We take bike security seriously, so we bought, used, and destroyed every lock in this review to leave no stone unturned.

Show the Hiplok Original through our testing process both on the bike and on the body.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

To see which bike lock came out on the top of the pack, we created a challenging series of tests to evaluate their performance side-by-side. Our testers used these locks to visit practically every conceivable place you may want to use a bike lock, such as offices, libraries, bike shops, college campuses, local coffeehouses, watering holes, and grocery stores — spending hundreds of hours transporting and securing them in various locations. For more information on our testing protocol, see our full How We Test article.

Our bike lock testing uses four rating metrics:
  • Security (40% of overall score weighting)
  • Ease of Transportation (25% weighting)
  • Ease of Use (20% weighting)
  • Versatility (15% weighting)

Why Trust GearLab


We assembled a team of experts to pedal around with these bike locks and pick them apart. Our lead tester, Rebecca Eckland, is a former USAC Cat 3 Road bike racer, winner of the 600-mile California Triple Crown Stage race, and is a longtime cyclist doing everything from racing to commuting. She's passionate about her bikes and believes that having a bike stolen is the worst thing to happen to someone. She's worked in bike shops and has seen all kinds of locks firsthand. Based out of Reno, NV, Rebecca practically lives on her bike for training, commuting, and fun. Our team also includes Ross Robinson, a dedicated bike commuter who has been locking up with chains, folding models, cables (as a secondary lock), and U-locks for over 12 years. Ross is interested in testing gear to its limit and has spent over 200 hours researching bike locks (and bike thieves) with hands-on assessment and directly experimenting with ways to defeat them. Luke Hollomon is another member of our squad. He owns nine bikes and has never had one stolen, so he must be doing something right. He's a physiologist, physical therapist, and car-free bike commuter in Richmond, Virginia, who also races and bike packs throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Rylee Sweeney rounds out our testing team. Rylee comes to us with a background in bike touring across the United States, where bike security is nearly as essential as food and water. And finally, our latest tester Jon Oleson has been an avid biker his whole life, switching between a mountain bike, road bike, and battery powered e-bike (for lazier days). Jon has had bikes stolen and knows the pang in the heart that seeps down into the belly when you realize your trusty iron steed has been bikenapped. Thus, he knows the importance of finding the most secure lock that will (hopefully) prevent that from happening to any of you.

One of our critiques of this lock is its size. As you can see...
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.

How to Pick the Best Bike Lock for You


When you're faced with the great number of options that are available on the market today, it can be hard to choose a bike lock. We've come up with a few key considerations and questions to help you narrow down the options and find the right level of security for you.

What Style Lock is Best?


There is quite a range of designs, shapes, and materials when it comes to bike locks, and each one has its pros and cons. U-style locks typically offer the best security and deter thieves more than other locks, thanks to the shape and the connection points. However, these can also be a bit cumbersome and heavier to carry on the go. Depending on the thickness and construction quality, Chain-style locks can be a solid option to consider, and they work well for those who need to lock up multiple bikes or need more flexibility in what they can lock to. Folding locks have a unique design that makes them useful for funky shapes and angles. They are easy to transport, but their security level is not always as reliable as some other styles. Last (and probably least), cable locks are affordable, convenient, and will work in a pinch. However, they are the least secure of the locking methods we have tested due to their easy-to-cut nature. Now that you know the basic differences between lock styles, choosing the right one just means looking at your budget, desired level of protection, and frequency of use.

bike lock - bike locks come in many different shapes and designs, all with a...
Bike locks come in many different shapes and designs, all with a purpose and various levels of security.
Credit: Luke Hollomon

What Level of Security Do You Need?


If you own a bike, it's good practice to keep a bike lock handy. But depending on where you live, the type of bike you ride, and how long you plan to leave it unattended, you will likely be drawn toward one lock type over another. If you're riding an older bike through a small town to grab coffee, your security needs will be different than a big city commuter or university student sporting a shiny new bike. You will need to evaluate the safety of your typical surroundings and the value of your bike before deciding on what level of security you need out of your lock.

What Locks Are Best for Transportation?


Bike locks can be transported either by carrying in a pack, on your bike, or even on your body. If you have a daily commute and don't mind stashing your lock in your bag, then a larger-sized lock shouldn't be an issue. If you are planning on biking long distances and only need a lock for quick pit stops, a smaller, more portable lock you can ride with on your bike, such as a folding lock, would be ideal. The most important considerations will be the weight and functionality while either strapped to your frame or on your body.

bike lock - u-style bike locks come in a variety of different sizes, its worth...
U-style bike locks come in a variety of different sizes, its worth considering what size will fit your needs best.
Credit: Luke Hollomon

How Important is the Material?


Certain material choices and construction designs can improve the chances of keeping your bike secured. Higher-quality locks will use thicker materials to deter thieves from using hand tools such as bolt cutters. Additionally, reputable brands will create designs that help avoid the possibility of a thief utilizing leverage to pop off locks. Paying attention to material selection and design features can mean the difference between a thief successfully breaking your lock or moving on to easier targets.

bike lock - a high quality bike lock will be made with material selection in...
A high quality bike lock will be made with material selection in mind.
Credit: Luke Hollomon

Analysis and Test Results


To help you select the right bike lock for your needs, goals, and budget, we used four key performance metrics in our testing process that define a quality bike lock: security, ease of transportation, ease of use, and versatility. Security is the most important of these metrics. But will you use a lock that weighs a lot or is inconvenient to carry? That's where the rest of the criteria come into play. A product's rating in these individual test metrics makes up its overall performance score and ranking, which we use to compare the competition.


Value


We hate to say it, but the price of a bike lock usually correlates directly with its security and the time a thief will take to cut through or, in the best-case scenario, question their attempt to steal your bike. As it turns out, bike thieves have something in common with the rest of us: none want to go to jail. Many bike thefts are crimes of opportunity, and most thieves are inspired to steal bikes that 1) are not locked correctly or 2) are worth the risk.

The LITELOK X3 demonstrates this. It's a very expensive bike lock but incredibly secure. If you're looking for the best protection, it will cost you. Fortunately, other good options are significantly less expensive. The Kryptonite New York Standard offers very good security at a lower price. For tighter budgets and those in less risky neighborhoods or with less glamorous or costly rides, the Kryptolok is even more budget-friendly, though it is another step down in bike security. Presenting similar security to the Kryptolok while being more convenient to use, the Abus Ivera 7210 is a great all-rounder for those less risky scenarios. While we usually recommend exploring more inexpensive options in other gear categories, your lock is not where you should cut corners. Spending more on a quality lock now will prevent you from spending much more on a new bike later.

bike lock - of all the u-locks at this price point, the kryptonite kryptolok...
Of all the U-locks at this price point, the Kryptonite Kryptolok performed exceptionally well in the security metric, thanks in no small part to the hardened steel used to construct the U and shackle.
Credit: Rebecca. A. Eckland

Security


For most cyclists, security is the most critical consideration when choosing a lock, which makes sense; why else would you be buying a bike lock if you weren't concerned about your bike security? Therefore, we invested a lot of time in testing the security of each contender. Results from this test metric make up 40% of a product's overall score.


Interestingly, different lock manufacturers don't share the same security rating standards, and neither do independent security testing organizations, like Sold Secure, which are popular references here in the United States. The fact that these security standards aren't standardized can make it difficult to weed out precisely what a particular rating means. 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, submit products to rigorous professional-grade tests and rate them according to performance. These organizations have no ties to manufacturers and are well-respected for holding a high testing standard on many products, including bike locks.

bike lock - getting the kryptonite kryptolok to crack took some serious power...
Getting the Kryptonite Kryptolok to crack took some serious power tools, which impressed our testers.
Credit: Rebecca. A. Eckland

Our testing process began with assessing each lock's weak point and attacking it. Then, we tried alternative attacks on a lock's integrity to ensure we were not missing any vital weaknesses. We used common tools employed by bike thieves to compromise each lock and make away with the bicycle. We started with hand tools, including tin snips, a hammer, a hacksaw, and bolt cutters. We then switched to an angle grinder, a cordless drill, and even a car jack (because thieves also use those).

The Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit U-lock is the thickest that we tested from this brand, and also proved to take the longest to defeat with the angle grinder. It takes nearly a minute to make the two cuts required.
Credit: Jon Oleson

With the right tools and enough time, all locks can be defeated, and it doesn't take a genius or a big, brawny human to do it. A high score for security represents only a higher level of theft deterrence. In the words of a skeptical cyclist: “If you think this lock is so great, why don't you take your race bike down to the college campus, lock it up, leave it overnight, and see if it's there in the morning?” Even the highest security locks can be broken within minutes, not hours. The chart below represents the total time it takes to completely remove the lock from a bicycle whether that takes one or two cuts.



The hope is that those extra minutes are long enough that someone nearby will notice the sparks flying and the evil smell of burning metal and will stop the theft from happening. In a world where car alarms don't cause much panic, let's be realistic about what you can expect from a bike lock.

A thief is unlikely to be able to sit and change through grinder discs in most well lit places. We tried to attack the crossbar of the Hiplok D1000, which we got further through on one disc than any part of the shackle, but we still wore through a full disc before the job was done.
Credit: Jon Oleson

Among the competition, the LITELOK X3 scores the highest, setting a new standard in difficulty to cut. At the same price point, and not far behind in terms of determent, is the Hiplok D1000. Other top contenders include the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit U-Lock Mini, one of the hardest locks to crack, followed by the Kryptonite New York Standard U-Lock, Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock, and the OnGuard Brute STD. These models have patented composite or hardened steel bars ranging from 14 mm to 26 mm in diameter that resist attacks from all our hand-powered tools, including a 36" bolt cutter.

Regarding the angle grinder, each of these locks took the longest to slice through completely (around a minute of hard-core, sparks-flying slicing), while the Hiplok rebuffed our grinder for over 4 minutes. Moreover, for all of these locks, one cut wasn't enough. Due to their well-designed dual-locking mechanisms, they required two different cuts on the U-bar of each lock to free the bike, doubling the necessary getaway time. It would take a thief at least one and a half minutes of sparks a-flying to compromise one of these locks. The ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 U-Lock also required two cuts from the angle grinder before releasing the bike frame, as did the Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7 U-Lock, Hiplok DX Wearable U-lock, and Kryptonite Kryptolok.

The Kryptonite shackles lock into place in the crossbar, meaning that unless two cuts are made then the lock still deters theft.
Credit: Jon Oleson

While it doesn't require two cuts, the Abus Ivera 7210 chain requires you to cut through the chain and plastic mesh covering to release it, or you can go through the shackle. We found the flexible nature of the chain made it a pain to cut. It kept bouncing away from the blade until we locked it in our vise. The mesh tangled up our grinder twice, making us stop and unwind it. Meanwhile, the shackle rebuffed our initial advances, taking around 90 seconds to get through. We were surprised at the ability of a 7mm chain to resist cutting so effectively and impressed at what Abus put together.

The OnGuard Brute has much more play in the shackle after one cut with the angle grinder, and may not require a second cut to make off with your would-be secured property.
Credit: Jon Oleson

The budget-friendly Kryptonite Kryptolok also performed exceptionally well in this area. Most products at this price point sacrifice security by not adding durable materials to the lock's shackles. The Kryptolok shone in this metric; it's remarkably more robust than the OnGuard Bulldog DT U-lock. We also like that it required two cuts at any point on the lock to defeat it. A dual-lock mechanism such as this is less common in this price range.

The Kryptonite New York Standard U-lock is a step up from the bargain locks, and thanks to the engineering of Kryptonite locks would take over 40 seconds to make the two cuts required to remove the lock.
Credit: Jon Oleson

The other U-locks we reviewed also withstood all hand tool attacks but only required a single cut from the electric angle grinder to become compromised, so they earned lower security scores. Each of these locks took approximately 25-40 seconds to cut. No amount of hammer slamming, hacksawing, or bolt cutting could beat them. The same goes for the Hiplok Original: Superbright chain and locking mechanism. Of course, the cables accompanying some of the U-locks, like the Kryptonite Kryptolok, were defeated by most hand tools in our arsenal. As a rule of thumb, cable locks should never be used on their own to secure a frame, but when paired with another lock (like a U-Lock), they improve a lock's versatility by securing more components.

While the U Lock puts up more resistance, an angle grinder slices right through the cable that's attached to the Kryptonite Evolution.
Credit: Jon Oleson

A cable lock alone is nearly worthless, but when used with another lock, it increases your bike security's effectiveness. Fewer thieves are willing to risk getting caught to steal only a bike saddle or a mediocre wheel—a cable lock inconveniences thieves looking for quick saddles, panniers, or free wheels to snatch. Consider adding an extension cable to any lock you choose. A four-foot cable is an appropriate length for most bikes.

We added cable locks to our review in this cycle as they remain incredibly popular even though they provide minimal security. No one should use a cable as a primary locking method. We could pop through every cable we tested in just a few seconds with 24" bolt cutters. Still, we know people will buy and use them even though they definitely shouldn't, so we compared them across the same categories as all other locks. No cable stood out for security; they were all equally easy to slice. Some were even easily hackable by checking if the lock loosened up as we tested combinations. The DockLocks Anti-Theft Weatherproof Cable was just as cuttable as all other cables, but we couldn't guess the combination by wiggling it, which was nice, at least.

bike lock - don&#039;t say we didn&#039;t try: our testers put their whole being into...
Don't say we didn't try: our testers put their whole being into testing these locks, including the bolt cutters on the FoldyLock Compact. This little lock surprised us. It withstood even our most aggressive assaults.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

The folding-style locks are much better than cables but were still a significant step down in security compared to the chain and U-locks. The ABUS uGrip Bordo 5700 was comparable to the FoldyLock Compact, which had a superior locking mechanism and joints but was defeated much quicker by the angle grinder. The weak points of folding locks are the rotating rivets. The bolt cutters couldn't bite through the metal plates, but it took only 10-15 seconds to bust the ABUS model by working the blades around the rivets. Surprisingly, the FoldyLock resisted this attack.

We were at first surprised that the Ottolock Cinch's metal band resisted bolt cutter attack, but ultimately it was defeated by a cheap pair of tin snips.
Credit: Jon Oleson

Conversely, we were disappointed by the security offered by the OTTO Design Works Ottolock Cinch. After reading all the hype about this lightweight lock, we were excited when the Ottolock survived a few common tools (wire snips and hacksaw) during our first trial of destruction. However, upon further inspection, the Ottolock doesn't provide much protection at all — it cuts in less than a few seconds with a pair of very inexpensive and inconspicuous tin snips. Despite the hype, this lock doesn't protect you from a thief with a very basic set of tools.

Although the Abus uGrip Bordo 5700 resisted attack by bolt cutters, the angle grinder cut through in 5 seconds flat.
Credit: Jon Oleson

As expected, the weakest performer is the locking zip-tie Hiplok Z Lok. Almost any tool can defeat this lock, including a hammer, making it a poor choice in urban and most suburban settings. This lock is best reserved for short periods when the bike is unsupervised in low-crime areas. We certainly don't recommend it when leaving your bike out of sight.

It's important to remember that security comes at the cost of other attributes, including ease of use and weight. The more secure a lock, the heavier it likely will be. The Hiplok D1000 was an exception to this, keeping its weight around 5 lbs. Not light, but not so heavy as to make us hate carrying it everywhere. The larger Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock offers great security and ease of use with its length, yet it weighs 15 lbs. There's no way any commuter will want to carry that around (unless you have a top-ranked electric commuter bike. Typically, cyclists who use this lock leave it where they will park and secure their bike, like in their shed or on the rack at the office. It's also worth a little cost-benefit analysis, as some of the most secure locks likely cost more than the single-speed beater you may be rolling around town on.

bike lock - the most secure locks are usually the heaviest. you have to decide...
The most secure locks are usually the heaviest. You have to decide between the hassle of carrying a heavy lock and piece of mind you get when drinking your coffee in a cafe.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

Ease of Transport


What is the likelihood that you will carry around a bulky, heavy lock, particularly if your bike is your daily commuting vehicle? We tested portability by riding around with them (mounted to the bike frame if a mount is provided), carrying them in a jersey pocket, or shoving them in a bag (backpack, pannier, camera bag, hip pack, the lot). These tests determined whether carrying the lock was a habit we could realistically keep. Of course, there are many bike upgrades and accessories that create more carrying options, like your favorite messenger bag, installing a basket, or buying a pannier, that makes it easier to ride with a bulky or heavy load. Although those options were in our minds, we focused on the product's existing features and any included hardware.


Folding locks are some of the easiest models to transport. The ABUS uGrip Bordo and FoldyLock Compact fold into a compact shape that fits easily into a backpack or messenger bag without taking up much space and could even fit inside generously sized pant pockets. They also come with easy-to-use frame mounts that can be strapped onto the bike and were among our favorite mount designs. Both fit onto nearly any tubular bike frame and are easy to slide into and remove from the mount, yet remain in place without rattling or ever coming close to falling out. It's also worth mentioning that both weigh considerably less than all the chains and U-locks that we analyzed.

A standard deck of cards for size contrast between the ABUS model on...
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 portability of the FoldyLock Compact made it a pleasure to carry...
The portability of the FoldyLock Compact made it a pleasure to carry around town. The bike mount adapts to your bottle cage, so you don't have to remove your bottle holder. It also comes with straps to mount to other parts of the bike frame.

Likewise, we were impressed by the 0.46-pound ABUS 1200 Chain that easily wraps around the seat post of basically any bike. And due to its nylon sheath, that chain wouldn't scratch up the paint job on our sweet ride.


The wearable design of the Hiplok Original is a great innovations that makes transporting a lock relatively easy. This model allows you to attach the chain around your waist like a belt, something other locks of a similar weight (read: U-Locks) don't do. Weight worn on your body is less noticeable while riding than weight worn in a bag, pack, or even on the bike frame. Initially, we didn't expect this design to be comfortable around our midsection, but we were wrong. It's surprisingly comfortable for both our male and female testers.

bike lock - cruising the streets of reno with the hiplok carried around this...
Cruising the streets of Reno with the Hiplok carried around this tester's waist. We like that this model adds reflective material (the white portion of the nylon sheath) to our night rides.
Credit: Ross Robinson

The Superbright version of the Hiplok (the version we tested) comes with a large reflective stripe on the exterior of the nylon sheath. When worn correctly, this reflective stripe is positioned on the rider's lower back. The LiteLok is also reflective. We appreciate this attention to riding safety, adding another way to be visible on the streets in low light. No other models we've reviewed have reflective material that helps promote the rider's visibility.

bike lock - the kryptonite kryptolok standard frame mount functions, but it&#039;s...
The Kryptonite Kryptolok Standard frame mount functions, but it's not the best design ever.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

Next up are the U-locks. These heavy hitters are secure and rigid, which is great when discussing security but not so much when riding a bike with them. Unlike other locks, U-locks are far more cumbersome, regardless of whether you bring them in a bag or on your bike frame. Each U-lock tested, except for the Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini, the LITLOK X3, and the Hiplok D1000, comes with a frame mount, though some are better than others. The most secure U-lock mount comes with the ABUS Granit X-Plus. However, due to its size, it's most likely too bulky to fit into the main triangle of small bike frames, such as kids' bikes or bikes for someone 5'2" and shorter. We like the Transit FlexFrame that ships with the New York Standard U-Lock and Kryptonite Evolution Mini, although these can also be difficult on small frames. The compact Hiplok DX Wearable U-Lock has a plastic clip attached to it, allowing you to clip it to your belt or back pocket, but be prepared to tighten your belt because it weighs 2.4 lbs and will pull your pants down. While convenient for short commutes, its small size is limiting.

bike lock - this is the only model that offers two different bracket mounts at...
This is the only model that offers two different bracket mounts at the time of purchase. The one we tested requires the user to lock it into the mounting bracket, while the other one doesn't.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

It's worth mentioning that the most comfortable product to carry in this review is the Hiplok Z Lok, which, at 1.3 ounces, weighs next to nothing. We hardly noticed this zip-tie model, whether attached to the bike's frame, under the saddle, or on our wrist — making a cycling-fashion forward statement our testers didn't mind so much (it was so light, we barely noticed we were wearing it). While it's not much of a deterrent for even a clumsy thief — and scored extremely low in the security metric — this inexpensive lock may be enough to prevent the theft of a saddle or pannier.

bike lock - the included mount bracket on the abus granit x-plus is the...
The included mount bracket on the ABUS Granit X-Plus is the sturdiest of all frame mounts we tested.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Kryptonite's Fahgettaboudit Mini lost points here because although compact, it weighs most of all U-locks tested and doesn't come with a mounting bracket. Despite its small size, it tended to beat up the loose papers and other contents in our backpacks. The LITELOK X3 and Hiplok D1000 presented similar problems, lowering their score. And while the Abus Ivera 7210 is pretty light and coils up small, we couldn't come up with a way we like carrying it other than in a bag; it's just unwieldy. Lastly, the Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock weighs over 15 pounds and is the ultimate heavyweight bike lock. Large, burly, and no-nonsense, this lock isn't something you will probably ever want to carry around. This land-bound bike anchor is meant to stay put on a bike rack, which means this lock scored terribly in the transportation category to offset its high score in security.

bike lock - our testers tried various methods of transporting this monstrous...
Our testers tried various methods of transporting this monstrous chain lock, but we didn't like any of them.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Ease of Use


While a bike lock is straightforward, you may be surprised that some of today's models can have a bit of a learning curve. It can take practice getting used to the mechanics of removing the bike's front wheel and threading a lock through two sets of spokes and a bike rack to get comfortable and efficient. We tested each contender's added difficulty imposed on this process for this test metric, whether due to its size, shape, weight, or design. Specifically, we asked some critical questions: how quick was it to secure and remove each lock, and which design features made that process more natural or difficult? Results from this test metric make up 20% of a product's overall score.


Most 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. Still, some were easier to use than others. Most cable locks are straightforward to weave through wheels and frames at bike racks, and their flexibility is convenient when faced with awkward structures, such as trees or lamp posts. The exception here is the Masterlock 8112D. It has too much “memory” and quickly recoils on itself if you lose tension on it. This resulted in a couple of bruised shins in our testing.

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 constantly feared 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. Similarly, the folding locks tended to spring open when turning the key, sometimes sending the exposed steel plates flying into our frames. The nylon sheath on the ABUS Ivera 7210 assured us it wouldn't nick or damage our paint jobs, and prized brewery stickers and its length made it easy to wrap around the most awkward of obstacles. We even locked two bikes with it a couple of times to lighten our load on the way to the coffee shop.

bike lock - the longer-than-most onguard bulldog dt adds versatility...
The longer-than-most OnGuard Bulldog DT adds versatility, accommodating more objects inside the u-lock.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

The U-locks tend to be less accommodating when locking a bike to anything but a bike rack, especially if you have wider wheels on a mountain bike or fat bike. These locks best serve cyclists when a bike-specific rack is at their destination. A U-lock for the frame and another lock (cable or otherwise) for the wheels would work nicely, but this arrangement also increases the time spent locking up. However, U-locks are simple enough to use for standard bike racks. The New York Standard U-Lock is easy to manage due to its reasonable size, while the Kryptolok is larger, making it more convenient. On the other side, the incredible security of the Hiplok D1000 is partially offset by how annoying it was to lock at times; it's just a touch too small. The LITELOK X3 offers a similar level of security to the D1000 and has a larger shackle, causing it to beat out the close contender in this category.

bike lock - a size comparison of the hiplok d1000, the kryptonite new york...
A size comparison of the Hiplok D1000, the Kryptonite New York Standard U-Lock, and the Kryptonite KryptoLok.
Credit: Luke Hollomon


Before selecting a lock, consider where you'll park your bike and if a secure bike rack or other attachment points are nearby. If no bike racks are available, a U-lock likely won't work.

Even though bike locks aren't known for their fancy features, some extra touches make them easier to use. Four Kryptonite locks, as well as the ABUS Granit X-Plus, the OnGuard Brute STD, and OnGuard Bulldog 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 featured on every U-lock, plus the disc lock of the Fahgettaboudit Chain. The best one, though, belongs to the Granit X-Plus, an automatic cover 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. We also appreciate that ABUS doesn't leave that protection up to our forgetfulness.

bike lock - the abus bordo 5700 features velcro straps for fast mounting to your...
The ABUS Bordo 5700 features Velcro straps for fast mounting to your bike frame. Once you have dialed in the best fit for your frame, the straps are trimmable.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

We installed each frame mount onto multiple bikes and found they are not created equally in terms of user-friendliness. While the ABUS U-lock mount was annoying to install, the mount for the folding ABUS lock was much easier to put on and adjust. It either attaches to the screw holes of a water bottle cage or anywhere else on the frame using two heavy-duty hook and loop straps, which take seconds to install. The frame mount for the OnGuard Bulldog U-lock is easy to install, whereas the mount for the Kryptonite U-locks received mixed reviews. The bike mount for the FoldyLock Compact also has a neat feature where it attaches to the water bottle holder, but you don't have to remove your bottle cage to snap it into place.

If you're committed to mounting your U-lock onto your bike frame, you could also consider purchasing an aftermarket mount.

bike lock - if your bike has a smaller frame, there are aftermarket mounts that...
If your bike has a smaller frame, there are aftermarket mounts that may be a better carry option for your lock.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

The size of your bike will impact the ease of installing a frame mount. While you could probably attach a whole handful of lock mounts to a 60cm+ bicycle frame, if you're petite and riding a 48cm (think: 5'2" and under riders), then mounting a lock to the bike might mean you lose your capacity to carry a water bottle or (sometimes) that the mount won't work at all. This isn't a huge deal if your commute is short, and you don't mind carrying your water in your backpack, but not having water within easy reach on longer rides can result in dehydration and could be a deal-breaker for some.

bike lock - as you can see, those with smaller bike frames face issues when...
As you can see, those with smaller bike frames face issues when trying to mount a U-lock onto their frame. The solution? Purchase an aftermarket bike mount (which could offer more flexibility) or strap the lock to your rear rack with bungee cords.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

Versatility


A bike won't be rideable without its front wheel unless you have serious wheelie or unicycle skills. We encourage you to stay on two wheels and consider getting a lock that secures that front wheel. While more bikes nowadays offer disc brakes, making front wheels a little more difficult to remove (but not much), securing that front wheel creates an extra deterrent for thieves looking to make a quick grab. Other components thieves like to snatch: saddles, bike lights, and rear wheels. If bikes are left out long enough, the entire thing might get stripped down to the bare locked frame. Results from this test metric make up 15% of a product's overall score.


The most versatile models we tested are the U-locks that also come with cables (although there is always the option to buy two U-locks, of course). The OnGuard Bulldog DT, Kryptonite KryptoLok, and the Evolution Mini-7 come with a four-foot-long rubberized cable to secure both wheels and the seat (through the seat stays). Some of us found this cable a relief because it meant we didn't have to take the front wheel off, making it much easier to use. The Abus Ivera 7210 was also quite versatile since its length means the frame and both wheels of a smaller bike can be locked all in one go in some situations.

bike lock - want the security of a u-lock and the versatility of a cable? the...
Want the security of a U-Lock and the versatility of a cable? The Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7 offers both. It's ideal for riders who dislike taking off their front wheel, plus live and work in a place where you don't need maximum security.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

Cable-only models can also cover your whole bike (except the ends are often too large to secure seats). This is especially true for the DockLocks Anti-Theft Weatherproof Cable that comes in lengths up to 25 feet. That said, don't leave your entire bike security up to a single cable. It's not secure at all. The immense chain of the Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock is long enough to secure both wheels and the frame to a solid structure, but don't expect to feed the hefty chain links through your saddle stays.

bike lock - here&#039;s a photo demonstration of securing both wheels and the frame...
Here's a photo demonstration of securing both wheels and the frame. The Hiplok makes this maneuver easy with its flexibility and above-average size.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Even though it's not always easy or convenient, removing the front wheel and positioning it to lock up with the rear wheel and frame is a good practice. The U-locks and folding locks can lock up a wheel and the frame, but they might not handle two wheels in the method described, depending on your tire size. The larger U-locks are the OnGuard Brute STD, Kryptonite KryptoLok, and the ABUS Granit X-Plus, which accommodate more bike parts inside the U. The steel chains have an advantage here, especially when locking up to irregular or awkward structures. The Hiplok Original: Superbright is flexible and provides a larger internal area for fitting even fat tires, the frame, and the structure you use as an anchor in ways a U-lock cannot compete.

bike lock - even the fahgettaboudit mini fit around the frame and a wheel of our...
Even the Fahgettaboudit Mini fit around the frame and a wheel of our road bike with skinny tires.
Credit: Rylee Sweeney

Other Uses for Your Lock:
We found many other uses for these products throughout our testing, especially the bigger U-locks and chain models. We locked the back tire of a dirt bike to its brake rotor, a trailer tire to its frame so it couldn't move, and some random items in our gear garage when traveling. Keep your mind open to other uses for your lock. The bigger the lock, the more options for locking things.

bike lock - the onguard brute std lock is large enough to encompass a road bike...
The OnGuard Brute STD lock is large enough to encompass a road bike frame, a wheel, and most bike racks.
Credit: Matt Bento

Conclusion


A bike lock is critical for almost every cyclist, especially those who use their bikes as their primary or only method of transportation. Losing your bike to a faulty or insufficient bike lock is beyond a bummer, so please find the perfect lock that suits your needs and is easy to use. Before purchasing, consider the level of security you need and the inconvenience you are willing to tolerate. Whether you need robust security, convenience for quick stops, or a lightweight lock that's easy to transit, this review will help you make the best decision for you and your bike.

Luke Hollomon, Rebecca Eckland, Ross Robinson, Rylee Sweeney, Jon Oleson