A good bike lock keeps your bike safe
Obviously, having your bike stolen is something you want to avoid at all costs. Especially in urban environments, bike theft is a very real threat. A good bike lock is a must-have for keeping your bike secure so you can park up without worry. In fact, for maximum security we recommend always using two different kinds of lock to secure your bike.
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What are the different types of bike lock?
Bike locks come in several different varieties, and the best option for keeping your bike safe is to combine at least two different type of lock – a bike thief will typically specialise in breaking through just one type. Each variety of lock has its own advantages:
- Cable locks are made from steel cables coated in plastic, popular thanks to their flexibility, portability and length, allowing you to lock your bike to a nearby object like a lamppost. But some argue a cable lock should only be used as a secondary lock due to its relative weakness.
- Chain locks are heavier, consisting of a chain wrapped in a weatherproof coating. Though they can be a bit more work to carry around, these locks are similarly flexible and offer greater security.
- Folding locks, as the name suggests, can be folded and unfolded, making them flexible and easy to fold away when not in use. A folding lock is difficult to cut through with a bolt cutter, so it offers a good level of security.
- Frame locks are attached directly to the bike frame, so they don’t need to be carried and there’s no chance of losing them. But on their own, they can only lock the wheel of your bike, preventing it from being ridden but not from simply being carried off. So it’s usually best to combine them with a secondary lock of a different type.
- U-locks look something like a giant padlock. As you might expect, they’re heavy and strong, but not the most flexible.
In this category, you can also find bike lock accessories, such as floor anchors, additional cables and bags for storing locks.
Choosing the right lock(s) for your security needs
It can be tough to decide what kind of locks you need, and how many – the choice will very much depend on the level of risk you’re facing. There are three main factors to consider when figuring out what’s right for you:
- Location: Bike theft is generally more of a problem in urban environments than in suburbia or the countryside. Additionally, thieves tend to target bikes left in public places like university campuses or train stations, though a bike stored in your garage could still be a target.
- How long you leave your bike unattended: Naturally, the longer a bike is left unattended in a public place, the more likely it is to eventually be stolen. If you tend to keep a close eye on your bike, you might have less security needs than someone who has to be away from it for long periods of time.
- Kind of bike: Naturally, a more expensive (or expensive-looking) bike is going to represent a more appealing target for would-be thieves – and more of a loss for you if it is stolen. If you’ve spent a lot on your bike, it’s probably worth investing in extra security.
In choosing a lock, pay attention to security ratings. Various manufacturers have their own systems of security ratings; for example, AXA rates the security of their locks on a scale from 1 to 15.
There’s also the Sold Secure organisation, which provides a standardised rating system for all different brands of lock (along with other security products). Their system rates locks as bronze, silver, gold, or diamond, with diamond providing the maximum level of protection.
Decide on the level of security that’s right for you based on your budget and an assessment of the risk factors mentioned above. And bear in mind: bikes with effective locks aren’t just physically harder to steal, they’re also less attractive targets for theft. A lock acts as a deterrent as much as a physical obstacle!