The best bike locks might not be the cheapest bike accessory you're going to buy this year, but they are essential to ensure your bicycle stays where you chained it. A tough, dependable bike lock will is a worthwhile investment; if you can stretch to buying a new two-wheeler, then it’s also prudent to factor in some extra cash to cover security, and buying the right bike lock to suit your cycle should be part of the bike-buying process.
There's been a huge increase in cycling over the last few years and the extra demand for bikes that are much more appealing to thieves. The best electric bikes, in particular, are at risk of being nicked if not secured properly, and while some have an immobilizer that stops them from being activated and ridden away without you present, that won't stop someone picking them up and stashing them in a van.
All that means it’s never been more important to get a quality bike lock to ensure your cycle doesn't go missing, and we’ve collated the best and most secure bike locks you can buy here in this buying guide. We’ve tried to mix it up a little, too, with a selection that caters for different scenarios, while others offer a little more convenience thanks to their innovative designs.
The best bike locks
It makes sense to go for a decent bike lock brand, and Kryptonite is up there with the best of them. This great little bundle comprises a 13mm hardened steel shackle, which features a double deadbolt anti-rotation design. The U-lock design doesn't weigh too much either (3.55lb/1.61kg), while the revised design is more secure than earlier editions.
The Mini-7 is much smaller than Kryptonite's standard locks, which makes it easier to mount on your bike's frame if space is limited (and gives a would-be thief much less room to manoeuvre their tools). The mount attaches to the frame securely using a rugged fabric strap that won't damage the paintwork, and the lock slides and clips into place with minimal fuss.
The Evolution Mini-7 comes complete with a Kryptoflex 410, a 4' 10" double-loop braided steel cable. This can be used to secure other bikes, wheels or accessories, which is essential since the Mini-7 U-lock is too small to attach to your bike's frame and a wheel. While it's not impregnable, the fiddly aspect of this combination makes the lock package a solid option for short-stay park-ups in cities and suburbs.
In our tests, we found that the lock can sometimes rattle a little within its holder when riding over bumpy ground, but it's firmly fixed in place and never in danger of coming loose, so this is a minor complaint.
Another bike lock from the Kryptonite security stable, the New York Fahgettaboudit Mini, is sold without a cable but beefs up the security with an extra chunky design. It's seriously weighty (4.55lbs/2.06kg), which is something to bear in mind if you cannot mount it on your bike and carry it in a backpack, but that heft comes with security benefits.
The main difference between the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini and the Evolution Mini-7 is the oversized hardened steel sleeve, which is built to withstand attack from bolt cutters and leverage attacks. It makes the Fahgettaboudit Mini a lock that will keep your bike secure all day, even in busy cities.
Like the Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7, this lock's smaller design means you won't be able to hook it around your bike's frame, wheel, and whatever sturdy piece of street furniture you're attaching it to, but you could supplement it with an additional Kryptoflex cable if you like.
This package includes the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain (with 14mm six-sided links) plus a 15mm steel shackle. Both elements are super strong, using hardened steel to ward off attacks. The disc-style cylinder locking mechanism is also pick-proof and drill-resistant. It has the same top-level security rating as the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini D-lock above. You can also use it to secure multiple bikes.
However, the chunkiness comes at a price, as this weighs 10.8lbs/4.91kg, which means it's better suited to locking your bike up at home than carrying it with you on the go. There's also a risk of the parts of the chain not covered by the nylon cover scuffing your paintwork if you're not careful.
Cable locks are known to be weak and easy to snip through with a pair of bolt cutters, but that's not the case with the Titanker Bike Lock Cable, which bucks the trend thanks to its durable steel core.
Unlike D-locks, this Titanker model offers between four and six feet of flexible freedom, allowing it to be threaded around, through or under a bike and a mounting point. The four-digit combination lock mechanism means there's no key to worry about. However, bear in mind that the cover is plastic rather than metal, making it less durable than more expensive, heavy-duty bike locks like those from Kryptonite.
It's not a lock that'll let you leave your bike outside day and night, but it's light, convenient, and a good choice for making quick stops. Better still, it can be easily attached to your bike's frame while you ride using the mount included.
Bike locks can be awkward, so having one that you can wear offers a great solution to awkward mounts and means you won’t scratch your frame. This LiteLok offers convenience on all fronts as it can be closed with a simple click. You’ll need one of the two supplied keys to unlock it again, but the click-and-go idea works a treat if you’re making a quick pit-stop while you’re out on a ride.
The LiteLok comes in three colours, Boa Green, Crow Black and Herringbone, and small, medium and large sizes. Although it’s good on the eyes, the LiteLok is robust too, with the composite strap able to fend off bolt cutters effectively and the hardened steel alloy lock housing proving very durable too. A neat take on the usual bike lock.
For some, the Abus brand is the last word in security, and this German-made lock certainly lives up to expectations. It’s big, beefy and feels very well engineered, with a construction that looks very able to fend off attacks. The trade-off for this is its weight, which at 3.30lbs/1.45kg makes it pretty heavy to lug around. Although considering its brilliant capacity for deterring thieves, that may well be a cost worth paying.
The other aspect is its price tag, which is not cheap. Again though, if you have a very valuable bike, then the cost of the Abus Granit X-Plus 540 is probably going to feel relative. The design is superb, and the use of hardened German steel is a big part of the appeal. Meanwhile, the neat double-bolted shackle makes it a nightmare for thieves to cut through—one of the best.
The Foldylock Compact is just one of a range of innovative locks from this brand, and it’s exactly what the name suggests. Bike locks can be unwieldy and, in some cases, a pain to store when they’re not in use. Foldylock has come up with a neat twist on the bike lock design by producing something that can be stored easily; plus, its weight (2.2lb/1kg) makes it reasonably portable too.
The collapsible design is comprised of hardened steel plates, which make it suitable for harnessing your bike around larger objects, such as lampposts or cycle racks. Likewise, there’s a quality feel coming from the lock, which comes with three Sidewinder keys, which have been cut by laser. Add it all together, and you’ve got a practical bike lock that also impresses with its use of rust-resistant components.
While Abus is well respected for its range of conventional bike locks, it has also ventured into the high-tech world with this smart system option. You get all of the trademark Abus design features, as seen on the excellent Granit, and that means a nifty parabolic shackle and hard-as-nails construction. The big difference, however, is the locking system that uses tech to take control.
There’s a keyless Go card that allows you to register yourself as an administrator and pair the device to your phone. From there, the Abus app and Bluetooth functionality deliver quick and easy control of the locking mechanism. There’s even an alarm, too, while the app can also help you find your bike if you’ve parked up and can’t remember where you left it. It happens. Clever stuff.