Best Bike Locks Compared
A bike lock can keep your cherished two-wheel ride safe from potential thieves. There are endless options when it comes to bike security, and while the initial function is simple, reliability is a must for all the products. This list is made up of the highest recommended options in the industry by reviews, function, user preference and of course overall security. And for those into aesthetics, bike locks as an accessory, have come a long way from simple chains. Now thieves have to bring a lot more tools along in order to break your security.
Obviously, storage is an issue, so really take your time to think about what would be the ideal option for the kind of biking you’re into. Even though they all have the same basic job, the different designs offer a lot more flexibility than bike locks used to offer only a few years ago.
- Drill resistant
- 2 size options
- Lattis Ellipse Keyless
- Forged chromoly steel
- Self-charge solar panel
- Kryptonite Kryptolok
10 Best Bike Locks
All three of the colors are the same average price, and the same goes for the small and large seat options. Since seat theft is a very real problem, the lock pays for itself within a year.
There really aren’t a lot of options to choose from when it comes to seat theft with bikes. Seatylock has become recognizable for fighting against this type of theft and having the most unique product for the battlefront.
The available colors are chameleon black, classic black and classic brown. For a narrow seat, the 6.25-inch Trekking Saddle is a nice alternative to the original Comfort Saddle of 8.25 inches.
Underneath the soft seat is a state of the art lock that takes a lot of effort to get through. For the size, it really protects well and doesn’t have a lot of limitations.
A seat that doubles as a lock will take a lot of bike riders by surprise. It’s an ingenious design that protects bikes on multiple fronts from the common thief.
- Drill and weather resistant
- Two size options
- Can be a pain to install on some bikes
Ellipse Keyless Smart Lock
With the price once again reaching high levels on the list, this may be a hard sell for some users. Thankfully the top three placement on the list proves it is a worthwhile purchase.
Even to this point, the brand recognition is low. Originally Ellipse was known as Skylock, so the name change led to a small lapse in support.
When there is no sunshine where you bike, the backup micro usb port is perfect for charging up. Friends and family can also be auto-notified if you’re in an accident.
The U-lock shape is reinforced with a very strong shackle featuring a dual locking mechanism. And when the automatic functions for unlocking fail, you can use a personal code.
Don’t let the low brand recognition turn you away from this top three bike lock. When it was first introduced the entire industry got turned on its head, and over time it has proven to be a worthy competitor.
- 17mm forged Chromoly steel
- Self-charge solar panel
- Same price as the LINKA smart lock
Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2
At around $30, you can't beat the price of this impressive lock.
Kryptonite is a serious competitor in the lock game. It's made our list more than once and offers some of the best locks out there.
The lock also comes with a 4' extension cable. Some might find this useful while others think it was an unnecessary afterthought.
Made from 13mm hardened steel, this lock will hold up against most bike thieves.
Buyers that are looking for a lower cost for a product that will still keep your valuables safe will find this a good option.
- Disk cylinder is made to be both drill and pick resistant
- 13mm thick
Cable is pretty useless
Depending on the color you choose, the Foldylock ranges in price from about $80-$180 USD.
Like a lot of fresh names on the list, Foldylock continues to make a name for itself. The company takes flexibility and security to a new level in a small but powerful package.
The FOLDYLOCK Compact features a silent ride, meaning that the rattle elimination tool stops the lock from rattling during your rides. The foldable design makes it easy to carry. It's coated in plastic to prevent your bike from scratches.
This is as close to perfection as you can get when it comes to a bike lock that retains its flexibility and portability. The lock and hinges have a durable and strong feel to them. The metal bars would be highly difficult to cut through, and the rivets at the hinges are steel.
In all, this lock is flexible, fold-able, and offers massive protection to your bike. It's a great investment.
- Easy to carry
- Theft proof design
- Bike frame protection
- Heavier than some other options
This is another high priced bike lock. But many buyers feel it's more than worth that price. But before buying, take a look at the other options on the list to make sure you're making the right choice before shelling out some major cash.
Oxford has an assortment of traditional and non-traditional bike locks. They are a respected world brand that always bring their best for the customers.
Key replacement service.
This standard chain lock is made of hardened 9.5 millimeter square link chain. The padlock doubles as a disc lock. There is also a key replacement service that can get you out of a tight spot if needed.
This pretty standard chain lock is a great addition to your kit if you can afford the price tag.
- Available in various lengths
- Cloth covering protects your bike's paint job
- Key replacement service
Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini
This lock ranges in price and can be found on some sites for anywhere between $70-$110 USD.
Kryptonite has one of the most recognizable names in the industry, and not because of the Superman reference. Their products are often measured against some of the top tiers in the bike lock world.
With a max performance steel shackle it resists both bolt cutters and leverage attacks. One of the three keys is lighted and has a swappable battery for when it dies.
This lock is made from top-notch materials, such as hardened steel, a MAX PERFORMANCE STEEL SHACKLE and a high security disc cylinder.
The 'U' shape allows for easy locking in just about any location. This convenience combined with the thief-proof strength of the Kryptonite will have most bikers feeling satisfied.
- Hardened steal shackle
- 3 keys
- Keys are small
This lock comes in various colors, and according to your color choice, the price will change. There are many outlets that sell the Hiplok Mini, but on Amazon, the prices range from about $50-$70 USD.
With all of the models released by Hiplok, they have become recognizable by look alone. It’s one of the popular brands to own, with some users opting to use it as a backup.
This particular lock was designed to be worn on the body and are fully adjustable for a 26"-44" waist. Since the Hiplok mini is made to be carried on someone's body, your bike will remain clean looking.
The padlock utilizes a hard shackle that is resistant to bolt croppers and hacksaw attempts. The lock uses a disc tumbler which is next to impossible to pick. The body of the lock is stainless steel and the chain case is hardened steel alloy.
Not a lot of bike locks on the list can double as a fashion statement. With all of the versions of the Hiplok, buyers can pick or choose a style that works the best for their personal taste.
- Can be worn around your waist
- Award winning design
- Quite strong
- Can be uncomfortable to wear with certain outfits
Master Lock 8290DPS
A single pair will run at a low price while buying the bulk pack of two will offer a small discount. Bike riders that want to protect more than their bike will find this to be the best value on the list.
Master Lock is the most recognizable name on the list and is best known for their school locks. The 96-year-old company has had products used by millions of people worldwide and continues to be a leader in the lock industry.
The 22 inches of a link is both a blessing and a curse for some users. On one hand, it provides a great amount of room to attach it to an object. On the other hand, it introduces more weak points than any other product on the list.
Security is heavily dependent on how you lock your equipment. The materials are strong, but the overall security of the product will go down if you leave too much of the link loose and exposed.
As a great universal lock for more than just bikes, Master Lock may have created the perfect secondary lock for bike users. You can never be too careful, so consider this a worthwhile compliment to the harder hitters in the industry.
- Can be used for more than bikes
- Tough laminated steel construction
- 22 inch length might be a bit too much slack
ABUS Granit X-Plus
Coming at the average toward high price range, this is close to being right in the middle when it comes to cost. This is a purchase for buyers that don’t want to use apps or other fancy technology with their bike locks.
Abus is well respected and has often made their way into top ten lists. They sell both modern and traditional locks that stick to the company’s core principles.
Some early adopters were lucky enough to receive this with mounting brackets. Depending on where it is purchased, there are some older stocks that may still have this in the box.
There are two lighted keys included, so the backup can always go in a safe place. And the extra weight of the product is no coincidence, as it provides one of the strongest security levels on the list.
Note every bike user wants a high tech bike lock, and that is where the Granit X-Plus shines. It’s strong, easy to use and secures your bike in the best way possible.
- Security level 15
- Lighted key
- Weighs a bit more than expected
The best lock on the list is also one of the more expensive ones you can purchase in the industry. Linka charges a premium price for all colors, but also provides the best security.
Linka is rising in the ranks thanks to a revolutionary new take on the common bike lock. Their app is always up to date and tends to be less buggy than similar bike apps.
Linka has a built-in siren that can be heard from blocks away. And in the case where your phone dies, the lockless feature can be bypassed by entering your four digit code.
This isn’t some simple lock that can be broken within a few seconds. Tools will have a tough time penetrating the vulnerable parts of the lock without triggering the alarm.
Even among the more established locks on the list, the Linka is a standout. Its cutting edge features are polished enough to make it the top choice on the list.
- Theft indicator map
- A bit higher priced
Criteria for Evaluation
Think about the different brands
There are several big brands on the list, with the most recognizable being the granddaddy Master Lock. Founded in 1921, they aren’t the first company people think about when they want a bike lock. But as a leader in security products, it only makes sense for them to have some skin in the game for bike locks. Their inclusion on the list is a result of improving on their best bike lock, one that has more use than all of the other products on the list. Sometimes having a product that has multiple uses is valuable, since it keeps you from having to purchase multiple products.
The other brands on the list take a direct approach to protecting bikes, and the surprise with the competition is that a lot of them are newer companies. A good bulk of the companies on the list got their start with Kickstarter and other fundraisings, and eventually turned into full-fledged projects. Bitlock, in particular, had a strong backing by thousands of users, who of course consisted of several people from the bike community. The bike lock industry over the years has been shaped by the users themselves, with millions being active in deciding the core features of major products. With that in mind, Master Lock is not a part of that movement, so their inclusion on the list is really remarkable. It goes to show just how useful their products are, even in an industry that has been leaning towards modern bike locks for the consumers.
Look at the price vs. the reputation of the products
This is a little difficult to say no to because of the multiple options that become available if you shop by price. Not all users will stick to just have a single lock on their bike, even if it is the best on the list. This is not a slight on the product, as users are just more at ease with having multiple locks on their bikes. For users in this category, purchasing one of the higher priced locks and a cheaper backup is the ideal security situation.
For users that only want one lock and funds are low, there is nothing wrong with getting a low priced lock. Remember that a good formula to use when deciding the price of your bike lock is to subtract 10% of the bike purchase price. That is your allowance to use when purchasing a lock, or rather in protecting your investment.
Ease of use & reliability
Two locks in particular on the list are unique in that their comfort level needs to be properly rated. The first is Seatylock, the bike lock that doubles as a seat replacement. There are two versions of the seat, with one being built for comfort while the other is built more for competition. For what it does, the seat is comfortable enough. It won’t surpass the level of comfort of your own custom seat, so don’t expect miracles on long days of biking with the Seatylock.
Hiplock Gold is the second product that will come into play when deciding comfort since it is worn around the waist when not in use. The big thing with Hiplock Gold is that the outside materials are soft, and it doesn’t rattle around while biking. Yet the downside is how heavy it might be for some users, and how uncomfortable it can get when you wear certain outfits. This is going to be a bigger issue with smaller people, so be aware of the limitations of the product before committing to it. If anything, these two products offer a very attractive option for riders that want a bike lock that isn’t too distracting or cumbersome.
Make sure the lock system fits your particular bike
When getting away from the U-lock types, the length makes an incredible difference in the security of a bike lock. The longer the lock is, the less secure it becomes due to the exposed bits. Slack is your enemy when it comes to bike locks, so if there is a lot of slack after attaching your lock, consider wrapping it more around the frame and wheels to tighten it up. This gives a potential thief less room to maneuver and takes away some of the most commonly targeted weak spots in a bike lock. Giving too much slack can result in not only your bike getting stolen, but the lock as well.
Take the weight of the lock into consideration
This question can be a bit scattered since it will come down to the user more than anything. The heaviest bike lock on the list is five pounds and some change. For some users that is a lot of extra weight to attach to your bike, but as shown on the list, the weight of the lock has a lot to do with how secure it is. Heavier locks tend to have better materials that are tough, and sometimes impossible for the everyday thief to get through. Even with the strongest tools, the heavier bike locks on the list are immune to bike thieves. If weight is a bit of a concern, then consider going for a lower weight at the sacrifice of security. It is a balancing act where you have to consider what is more important, less weight or maximum protection.
Q: Which is better, traditional or digital locks?
This is where the electronic bike locks have an edge over the traditional ones. Any bike lock on the list with a companion app will allow you to let people ‘borrow’ your bike. And some apps even have a timing interval that rearms the alarm after a certain amount of time has passed. Such features allow for you to set up a schedule for people to use your bike, even when you’re nowhere near it. And for someone that is really close to you, sharing the backup code can bypass having to let allow sharing in the app.
With traditional bike locks that are locked with keys, sharing is a bit more difficult. Even with backup keys, letting go of a spare that can be potentially lost is a bit of a pain. Bike users that tend to lend out their bikes a lot should definitely lean more towards the modern options with bike locks.
Q: Is there any maintenance required?
No set schedule has to be followed to clean a bike lock, but it is important to make sure it doesn’t get too dirty. For traditional bike locks that operate with key only, some companies have included a built-in dust cover to keep the keyhole from getting debris trapped in it. The smallest amount of dirt in a keyhole can make the entire experience annoying since the keys are precise in their shape.
Dirt collecting in the hole can throw this precision off, resulting in multiple attempts to get your lock off. And in worse scenarios, the dirt will be lodged in so deep that your key won’t work. It takes a lot for this to happen, so unless you’re accumulating a record amount of dirt while riding, it shouldn’t be an issue. Just be aware that wiping your bike lock down every now and then will only benefit the long-term life of the product.
Q: What is the best attachment points to keep your bike secure?
Whether you have a flexible lock or a U-lock, location is key to getting the most out of their features. It isn’t as simple as choosing a stationary object and walking away. Pay attention to some key things, and always be aware of your surroundings. Is the area you’re locking your bike up deserted or busy? The latter would be the better option, and it gets even better if it is near a place that has camera coverage.
Your best bet in this situation is choosing a place where there are already a lot of bikes that are locked up. In this case, security is stronger in numbers, so always lock up with the rest of your peers. Now back to the original point, a stationary object that is immovable is an absolute must. Attaching your lock to an object that can be moved is begging for attention, and offers a thief more room to maneuver. Always be on the lookout for a Sheffield stand since they are made for keeping locked bikes secure.
In areas that are less ideal for locking bikes, a second lock might be the solution to end your paranoia. This second layer of protection is great for when you’ll be away for an entire day and can’t check on your bike. When the location is taken care of, turn your focus to the actual lock. Always keep locks away from the ground, and always attach your lock to the frame when possible. The biggest mistake people make when locking their bike is only securing a wheel. A thief can simply remove the wheel and walk away with the rest of your bike. And lastly, when positioning the lock, make the weak points as difficult as possible to access. The less room a thief has, the less likely he is to attempt to take your bike.
Q: Should I get a U-Lock, Cable or Chain Lock?
A U-Lock is a widely used lock style that acts as an excellent deterrent to potential thieves. The bulky locky mechanism resists hammers, chisels, and similar tools. The horseshoe shape limits leveraging–as long as it fits your bike well–and limit the amount of space a thief can insert a crowbar. A cable lock is versatile and adaptable but will generally offer less theft deterrent than a U-Lock. Bolt cutters can cut through most cable locks, and on their own, may be suitable for low-crime areas. Elsewhere it might be good to lock into a U-Lock as an additional form of security. A chain lock is another alternative that can hold up to high crime areas and is designed to resist hacksaws or chisels and the chain makes it tough to leverage. If you choose this option, you need to make sure you get a padlock that is just as tough. A negative of a chain lock is the weight of the chains while you’re carrying it from place to place.
Bike locks of all types have an important place in the lives of anyone that wants to protect what’s theirs. Even if you aren’t ready for the high-tech versions, there are plenty of traditional options on the list that will offer the same protection. Once you find a lock that fits your style, you’ll have one less thing to worry about when leaving your bike alone.