LockPickingLawyer Bike Locks
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LockPickingLawyer Best Bike Locks

With over 2 million bikes stolen each year in the United States, it’s very important to get a bike lock to make sure your is not one of them. That works out to 1 in 5 bikes stolen each year and of those, only a small percentage are ever returned.

This is why getting a good bike lock is so important. Unfortunately, the bike lock industry is mainly to blame for the number of bike thefts each year as they have failed to keep up with the thieves. Newer and more powerful tools are now being used, like battery-powered angle grinders but very few locks on the market can defend against such attacks.

73% of Stolen Bikes Are Never Recovered

ALTERLOCK.NET

Unfortunately, there are so many cheap locks out there that claim to be highly secure but when subjected to simple tests they completely fail. Even where the manufacturer has performed the tests themselves many times when repeated independently the products fail.

This is exactly why we have created this list of the best bike locks. All the locks we have here have been reviewed and approved as high-security bike locks by a number of different independent sources. So rest assured that these are the best of the best bike locks.

Bike Lock Security Triangle

Below is a triangle that shows you the tradeoffs you will usually make when buying a bike lock. Most bike locks will fall somewhere on this graph.

Cheaper and lighter bike locks are usually found on the bottom of the triangle but these lack durability and security to serious attacks but will deter someone in daylight when people can see them.

The most secure bike locks will be found at the top of this graph, for example, the Altor SAF is one of the strongest bike locks on the market right now but its major downfall is that it’s very heavy and not really something you want to carry around with you right now.

bike lock security

LockPickingLawyer Best Bike Locks

We hope this list helps everyone buy a good quality lock for their bike no matter their needs or your bike. This list includes the top bike locks from the LockPickingLawyer but also ones rated highly by other organizations and lockpickers.

A Good Quality Bike Lock is Cheaper than a New Bike…

LockJudge.com

Strongest Bike Lock in the WorldAltor SAF Bike U-Lock

Altor SAF Bike U-Lock

Unbreakable and Uncuttable Bike Lock…

Altor has taken a different approach with this bike lock that we have not seen before in any other locks. That is to just make the lock so big and difficult to cut through or break that it’s not worth the effort and a thief would most likely be caught because of how long it takes to defeat.

The huge shackle is so large that it is simply too thick for an angle grinder to cut through. In addition, it is made of aluminum and other metals designed to clog a cutting wheel of a grinder. So even if you do try to cut it you will likely need to keep changing the blade to be able to cut through it.


Making the strongest bike lock means there will be some drawbacks...

LockJudge

On top of that, the lock body is hardened steel and the lock core is a high-security disc detainer core that will stop all but the very best lockpickers. With all of this put together this simply is the most secure bike lock currently available.

The only downside of this lock is its overall size and weight. This is not one you will want to be carrying around in your bag.

If you want to learn more here is our full review of the Altor SAF

Upsides

  • Strongest Bike Lock in the World
  • Virtually uncuttable
  • Unbreakable

Downsides

  • Heavy
  • Big
  • Expensive

Specifications

Shackle Thickness14mm inner / 80mm outer
Lock CoreHigh-Security Disc-detainer
TypeBike U-lock
Weight13.6 lbs / 6.2 kgs
Construction MaterialHardened steel with aluminum alloy outer layer

Certifications

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LockPickingLawyer Bike Lock – Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 1090

Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 1090 lock picking lawyer bike lock

For those that want something a bit more portable but without losing a lot of security this is a great option. It can be rolled up into a bag or wound around the frame of your bike for transport.

Being a chain it is a lot harder to hold still and cut with an angle grinder. It could be cut more easily with bolt cutters but the chain is very strong and hex-shaped making it harder to grab onto.

Personally, this is the lock I have used for a long time and it’s been perfect, I have never had anyone try to steal my bike and I can always find something to lock up to because the size of the pole is not important.

Our experience with this lock has also shown that it can be used to lock up more than one bike at a time. Unlike U-locks that are too rigid and can’t easily fit around two bikes at once. The loose chain can easily go around 2 or even 3 bikes, and possibly 4 with the long version of the chain.

We call this one the LockPickingLawyer Bike Lock as this is the one that he said he would use himself. A very big claim considering the number of bike locks that he has tested including some of the strongest bike locks in the world.

See full review of the Evolution Series 4 bike chain lock

Upsides

  • 10mm 3T Manganese Steel Chain
  • Harder to cut
  • More portable than a U-lock
  • Easier to fit around locking points than a U-lock
  • Can be used to lock up multiple bikes at once

Downsides

  • Heavy

Specifications

Shackle Thickness10mm
Lock CoreHigh-Security Disc-detainer
TypeBike Chain Lock
Weight6.10 lbs / 2.77 kgs
Construction Material3T Manganese Steel

Certifications

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Best Bike U-Lock – Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini

new york forget about it

With a name that is more a joke than accurate. Like calling the huge guy tiny, don’t be fooled this lock is not “mini” at all. It weighs in at just over 4.5 lbs or 2 kgs and packs an 18mm, 0.7-inch shackle and its hardened steel body. This lock comes in as anything but mini…

So if you are looking for straight-up strength then this one is second only to the Altor SAF above. While it does have one of the thickest shackles of any bike lock on the market this little guy isn’t as big as some of the others.

To keep the weight under control it has a smaller overall shackle than a lot of other U-locks so if you have a bike with a thicker frame you might have some trouble with this one.

This lock would be best used as a long-term storage lock that you leave at home to lock your bike at night. Much like the Altor above.

See full review of the New York Fahgettaboudit Mini

Upsides

  • 18mm thick shackle
  • Not your average bike lock
  • Very well rated
  • One of the strongest bike U-locks on the market

Downsides

  • Heavy
  • Big
  • Small clearance inside the shackle for bikes with a thick frame

Specifications

Shackle Thickness18mm
Lock CoreHigh-Security Disc-detainer
TypeBike U-lock
Weight4.55 lbs / 2.06 kgs
Construction MaterialHardened Steel

Certifications

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Best Lightweight Bike Lock – ABUS Granite XPlus 540

ABUS Granite XPlus 540

The ABUS XPlus 540 is one of the most practical on this list. While it has similar security to other bike locks here like the New York Std it is lighter overall, coming in at just 3.9 lbs or 1.8kgs.

Suited quite well to the bike commuter who wants to remain low-key, with its stealth look of black and grey. If you have a black bike and want to go for the all-black look this one will fit in well.

It has a bit of a different design from the others and with its square shackle profile, and elongated shape will fit around poles much easier. We have found this really does help for the number of different places you can lock up your bike. Just making this one better for the commuter that wants the highest level of convenience combined with decent security.

While on paper this one does seem undersized because it’s only a 13mm square shackle the profile of the shackle is square, not round. So it actually has the same amount of material as a 14.6mm round shackle.

It is also very light for its size and is the lightest bike u-lock we have on our list. So if weight is a big factor then this is a good option.

See our full review of the ABUS Granite XPlus 540

Upsides

  • Lightweight
  • Sleek design
  • Large Shackle Opening

Downsides

  • Smaller shackle thickness

Specifications

Shackle Thickness13mm Square
Lock CoreABUS XPlus
TypeBike U-lock
Weight3.9 lbs / 1.8 kgs
Construction MaterialHardened Steel

Certifications

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Next Best Bike Lock – Kryptonite New York Standard Bike U-Lock

Kryptonite New York Standard

Finally, we have a good trustworthy bike lock. This is the New York Standard, nothing overly special in that it’s not super huge, super small, but it is very secure. The one thing that makes this one stand out from the rest is the guarantee from Kryptonite, they will guarantee your bike for $4000 if you use their lock correctly.

Overall a great option, one of the mouse secure locks out there without being crazy big. With its solid construction and great lock core, this one will keep your bike safe without a problem and if it does fail then Kryptonite have you covered.

The frame mount for this bike lock is a godsend too, it effectively makes the weight of the lock not matter at all as it is attached directly to the frame of the bike, meaning you can’t even feel it while riding. This feature is overlooked too easily and I don’t understand why more bike locks don’t come with this feature.

Simply very secure, easy to use, easy to carry, and comes with a mount for your bike. This is why we think this is the next best general-use bike lock on the list.

Full review of the Kryptonite New York STD bike lock

Upsides

  • Very secure
  • Frame Mount is awesome
  • Guarantee from Kryptonite

Downsides

  • Not the lightest bike lock

Specifications

Shackle Thickness16 mm
Lock CoreHigh-Security Disc-detainer
TypeBike U-lock
Weight4.45 lbs / 2.02 kgs
Construction MaterialHardened Steel

Certifications

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Best Folding Bike Lock – ABUS Bordo Granit X-Plus 6500

ABUS GRANIT XPLUS 6500 Folding Bike lock

Without a doubt one of the strongest folding bike locks on the market.

If you are looking for something a bit smaller and more practical than the options above then maybe this is the one for you. Being the lightest bike lock we have on this list this one will be perfect for people who need something that will be portable and small.

While the Lockpickinglawyer says in this videoIt does pack a lot of security into a small package, it is just not quite up to the standards of a high-end U-lock.”

While this lock is not a lot larger than a normal bike D-lock it is much more versatile in what it can be locked to due to the high movability of the links. Obviously not as much as a chain lock but it is somewhere in the middle.

Perfect for a commuter that wants something more versatile than a D-lock but still small and easy to manage. Chain locks can be a little clumsy to use and this one helps out with that a lot.

When folded up this is one of the best-looking bike locks available. It gets very small and looks super sleek, especially if you have a bike with a black or dark grey frame this lock will look very professional.

In every way this is a great lock there is only one minor point we will mention. Over time the joints on the lock do wear slightly and tent to allow for a bit of movement. The good thing is that the rubber coatings stop most of this but you may still hear a little rattling from this one after a couple of years of use.

Upsides

  • Very light
  • Compact
  • Minimalist Professional Design
  • Has a bike frame mount
  • Variable size allows locking to almost anything like a chain lock

Downsides

  • Not as strong as a U-lock
  • Joints get loose over time

Specifications

Bar Thickness5.5mm hardened steel bars
Lock CoreABUS X-Plus Disc-Detainer
TypeFolding bike Lock
Weight3.48lb / 1.58 kgs
Construction MaterialHardened Steel

Certifications

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We hope you have found what you are looking for here with our list of LockPickingLawyer recommended bike locks.

You may notice that there are no bike cable locks on here and this is because the LockPickingLawyer, and us here are LockJuddge for that matter, would never recommend these types of locks because they just don’t provide enough security. If you want to learn more we have some more information for you here.

Remember…
A bike lock is only as good as what it is attached to

Make sure what you are attaching your lock to is as strong as the lock you are using. There is no point in spending hundreds of dollars just to attach the lock to a piece of fence someone can cut with simple pliers.

Choosing a bike lock

When choosing a bike lock many people just go out and buy whatever is the first thing they find.

You just need something to stop the bike from being taken right? Well yes, that’s the idea but it’s a bit more complicated than that.

If you don’t want to walk outside on your way to work only to find your bike is gone then you should think about it a bit more.

Even with the list of LockPickingLawyer’s best bike locks you still need to work out the one that will suit your bike and your situation best.

What is the best bike lock?

The best bike locks are U-locks, followed closely by chain locks. A good quality model of one of these types of locks will give you the highest level of security.

Unfortunately, no bike lock is perfect and can stop a determined thief but a high-quality lock will most deter all but the most determined thief.

Purpose of a bike lock

Ok, this one sounds a little strange to have on here right… Duh, the purpose of a bike lock is to stop someone from taking your bike, yes this is true.

But there is more to it than this. If you live in an area where bike theft is common then really what you want to do is get a bike lock that will look like too much trouble to a thief so that they will move on.

There is no such thing as a perfect bike lock

LockJudge.com

There are only locks that are harder and will take more time to break into. The time that a thief will not want to spend, they will want to go for the easiest possible option.

So, the real purpose of a lock is to be secure enough that a thief will not bother trying to steal your bike.

A Bike lock is like insurance

best bike locks

If you have an expensive bike you should have insurance and you should have a good bike lock. First, if it does get stolen you don’t want just to lose your bike especially if it’s worth several thousand dollars.

Second, if you leave an expensive bike around without a good lock to keep it secure you are just asking for it to be taken. If a bike is worth a couple of thousand dollars then thieves will go to a lot of effort to steal it. From someone that has had several bikes stolen over the years, now I don’t even leave my bike in a place where the public has access to it.

It’s locked up inside my house or apartment, I have lived in both and I will only use a lock when I am out and about with the bike and need to keep it secure for a little while.

Where will you keep your bike and for how long?

Do you only leave your bike outside the supermarket for 10 minutes to run in and grab a few things? then you could probably afford to have a smaller lock and maybe even a combination lock but I still wouldn’t recommend that.

Or do you live in a high-crime area and need to leave your bike on the street through the night? If this is your situation you need the strongest lock you can get your hands on and even then maybe you need several locks, like a super high-security D-lock and a chain lock. this is the most dangerous because it gives wanna-be thieves the most time with your bike to be able to get through whatever lock you use.

Types of Bike Locks

Should you use a U-lock, chain lock, or folding lock? This one is a much harder one to work out, there are 3 questions you should ask to help you work this out.

1. Where will you use the lock? If you will be carrying it around then weight and mounting the lock on your bike will be important so a smaller and lighter lock is better. But if you plan to just lock up your bike at home then it’s best to find the biggest, baddest lock you can get your hands on.

2. What will you be attaching it to? Most bike u-locks are big enough to fit bike racks and poles but if you really want some versatility, for example, if you live in an area that doesn’t have a lot of infrastructure for bikes then you might be better off with a chain or folding lock for the added versatility of what they can attach too.

3. This is a difficult one but if you have some history of crime in your area then that will help you make the choice. If thieves in your area use bolt cutters more then you should go for a U-lock that is more resistant to this attack. But if they use angle grinders then a big diameter hardened chain would more likely be the most secure option.

Bike U-Lock

Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini bike u lock

Usually, the strongest type of lock available for bikes U-locks is great for a number of reasons. They consist of a large u-shaped shackle that goes around your bike and something you are securing it to. Then the lock body is attached to the two ends of the shackle securing it.

If you want something that is as strong as the other bike locks but a bit lighter then maybe something like the ABUS Granite Xplus 540 is a good option for you.

U-locks come in many variations but they all have the basics in common, they have a large u-shaped shackle to go around your bike and an immovable object.

Benefits of a Bike U-Lock

They are one solid piece of metal this gives them a lot of strength and makes them very hard to break. They are also easier and faster to handle than a chain or folding lock in general as there are only two pieces to worry about.

Downsides of a U-lock

The main downside of a u-lock is what it can be attached to. You can only attach it to something small enough to fit into the U end of the lock. This means that big poles are out and whatever it needs to be the right height and orientation for you to attach your bike.

Bike Chain Locks

Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 1090 bike chain lock

If you are traveling all over the place and need to be able to attach your bike to anything and everything to keep it safe, then maybe a chain lock is a better way to go.

This is because you can attach a chain lock to anything small enough to get the chain around. Unlike U-locks which are much more limited in what you can attach it to.

Chain locks are much harder to cut with an angle grinder, but they are easier to cut with a pair of bolt cutters.

They are generally similar weight to a U lock of a similar size but they can collapse or even wrap around the frame of your bike so that you don’t have to carry it in your bag.

Really it does just come down to personal preference with this one though.

Folding Bike Locks

folding bike lock

mainly meant to bridge the gap between the versatility of a chain lock and the raw strength of a U lock the folding lock is usually made up of a series of solid bars connected with pivoting links.

While they can be good if a thief wants to use a pair of bolt cutters they usually have other issues, mainly the pins between the solid bars can be broken with enough force by twisting the whole lock with a long bar.

Regardless of this, they do remain a decent option for some people, and like all locks, if you buy a decent quality folding lock then it should still serve well as a deterrent to even the most ambitious thief.

Remember though, cheap locks will always be that, cheap locks, if you have something worth protecting then pay the bit extra money and protect it well.

Bike Cable Locks

While these are some of the lightest and easiest bike locks to use this is exactly why we suggest that you stay away from them.

As we mentioned at the top of this article 90% of bikes stolen we stolen when they were stolen because the owner was using a cable lock. Unfortunately, there really isn’t any material that works well as a cable that is sufficiently strong not to be cut. Not yet anyway.

Many manufacturers have tried to make a high-security bike cable lock but as far as we are aware no one has succeeded yet. the only place we would ever think of using a lock like this is in a place with almost no crime like a rural area and even then you are taking a big risk.

Many cable locks also use combination locks that are very easy to simply brute force by trying codes one by one and if they have some skills and tools much-much faster in as little as 30 seconds.

If your bike is worth any reasonable amount of money we would recommend staying away from cable locks entirely.

Locking Mechanism

The type of locking core in your bike lock is also very important. This is because it is possible that instead of trying to pry your lock open with a car jack, they will just pick the lock if it’s not secure enough and take your bike anyway.

A lot of higher-end bike locks use better locking mechanisms like disc-detainer-style locks. So that they pose a challenge to the average thief lockpicker.

Try to stay away from combination locks and simple key locks unless the lock is in a very secure neighborhood or you are only leaving your bike for very short periods of time.

Bike Lock FAQs

Bike Locks

If you have some questions about bike locks you have come to the right place. There are so many options out there it can be very confusing. We have listed some of the most commonly asked questions below to help you get the best one for your needs.

Do Bike Locks Actually Work?

Yes, bike locks can be very effective at keeping your bike secure. But this depends a lot on the type of lock you choose and where you lock it up.

Low-security locks like cable locks are not very effective at stopping a thief but a high-quality D-lock or chain lock will provide security to all but the best bike thieves with powerful tools.

What is the Most Secure Type of Bike Lock?

Generally, U-locks are the most secure type of bike lock. But there is still considerable overlap in the security level of all types of bike locks.

How Much Should I Spend on a Bike Lock?

You should spend around 10% of the value of your bike on your bike lock, with a minimum of around $30. So if your bike costs $700 you should be prepared to spend $70 on a bike lock for adequate security.

Bike locks are a form of insurance for your bike that you should only have to pay once. They ensure that you don’t lose your bike and all the inconvenience that this can cause. So they should not be looked at as simply an additional item for the bike but rather a necessary expense like car insurance.

They are especially important if you don’t plan on having insurance on your bike. Because the lock is your only security your bike will not go missing.

Why Are Bike U-locks Better?

They are superior because they are solid and have thicker metal making them harder to cut or break. Overall making them stronger than other types of bike locks. This also tends to make them heavier than other types of locks.

Which Bike Locks are the Best?

The best type of bike lock depends on the application but U-locks and chain locks are generally the best balance of security and portability.

Do Bike Thieves Pick Locks?

Professional bike thieves will carry grinders, bolt cutters, and other heavy cutting tools rather than a suite of lockpicking tools. This is simply because cutting tools are useful against more bike locks than lockpicks, they also take less skill to use and take a more reliable amount of time to use.

For example, how to lock it will take to cut a bike lock with a grinder can easily be estimated. Alternatively, every lock is different when it comes to picking and even with exactly the same model of lock one could be easy and only take 1 minute to pick while another is more difficult or the picker just has trouble picking it meaning it could take 10 minutes and in that time someone could call the cops.

Is There a Bike Lock That Cannot be Cut?

No, But there are locks like the Altor SAF that make it impractical to cut in a short period of time making it, in effect uncuttable.

It depends on the amount of time someone has and the tools they have. With enough time and the right tools, any bike lock can be cut. But some locks make it extremely difficult while others don’t do a great job.

How to Prevent Bike Theft?

If you want to know how to secure your bike, the first thing you should be looking for is a good-quality bike lock. The second is to make sure that you are securing your bike well whenever you lock it up. Make sure you are attaching your bike to something that is stronger than your lock.

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Patrick Wise

 ABUS Granite Xplus 540 is a great option for me. The first time I insert the shackle into the lock, I feel the sense of security and the toughness of this product from Abus. The size is just enough to get it around the rear tire of my bike to the seat post and secure it in a bike rack. 

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