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Bike lock Sold Secure ratings explained

Reading time: 6 minutes

Bike locks come in various different security levels, and the level you should go for depends on your specific needs. You can judge the security level of a bike lock by checking its Sold Secure rating or by using the brand’s own security ratings.

Sold Secure is an independent, non-profit organisation that tests the security levels of locks and rates them on a scale ranging from Bronze to Diamond. In this article, we’ll explain more about Sold Secure ratings and how to use them, as well as providing some tips on how to judge the kind of security you need and comparing the individual brands’ own security ratings.

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What are Sold Secure ratings?

Sold Secure independently tests the security levels of bike locks offered by various different manufacturers, providing an easy way for you to compare locks from different manufacturers whose internal security ratings might differ.

Sold Secure specialise in testing locks, and they test a wide range from various brands. Manufacturers submit their locks to Sold Secure, who then test how long it takes to break into them and rank the locks accordingly into four categories: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Diamond.

You can check a product’s Sold Secure rating on their website. Note that not all brands and locks are necessarily included. If you can’t find the lock you’re looking for on the Sold Secure site, you can still consult the brand’s own security ratings, explained later in this article.

Note that as a general rule, U-locks and chain locks are highly rated. Frame locks and cable locks are most often found in the medium security levels. And cable or spiral cable locks usually have a lower security level.

Is my bike lock secure enough?

Is my bike lock secure enough?

In order to assess whether your bike lock is secure enough, you should answer the following questions:

  • Where is my bike usually left unattended?
  • How long is it typically left there?
  • How much is my bike worth?

Consult the table to check if your bike lock is secure enough.

Security check for your bike lock
Determine the bike lock security level High risk Low risk
Where do you live? In the (big) city, on a university campus Small town, village or countryside
Where is your bike usually unattended? Publicly accessible space: train station, schoolyard, etc. Garage, shed, cellar
How long does your bike usually stand unattended? Several hours or even overnight A maximum of a few hours
Does your bike have a high (financial or sentimental) value? Yes No
High risk for all questions? Use a Diamond- or Gold-rated lock
High risk for a maximum of 1–2 questions? Use a Silver- or Gold-rated lock
Low risk for all questions? Use a Bronze- or Silver-rated lock

Note: Most bicycle insurance packages require you to use a high-security bike lock in order to be covered for theft. The lock must be in the upper third of the manufacturer’s security scale (see below for more info) for the insurance to pay out in the event of theft.

Most insurance companies issue lists you can check your bike lock against. They may also specifically require a lock that’s been rated by Sold Secure.

To prevent theft, bear in mind that we recommend always using a second lock for security. For this purpose, a basic or medium-security lock is suitable, because the second lock serves primarily as a deterrent.

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Brand-specific security ratings

In addition to Sold Secure ratings, individual manufacturers of bike locks tend to maintain their own security ratings to show how their products compare against one another.

These security ratings differ between brands. The various manufacturing companies work with different criteria to judge the security level of their locks, and the number of levels on the scale also differs. Some companies have 15 security levels, others only 6.

Because of this, these ratings are best used to compare different locks from the same brand, while Sold Secure ratings are usually best for comparing different brands.

However, the table below gives a rough indication of how the different brands’ security ratings compare to each other and to the Sold Secure ratings. Note that these comparisons are approximate, as different organisations test and rate product security in different ways.

Overview of major brands’ security ratings
Security level AXA Trelock Kryptonite Abus XLC Sold Secure
Basic:
Suitable for short-term parking in places with a low security risk: small towns, villages
Level 1-6 Level 1-2 Level 1-3 Level 1-4 Level 1-3 Unrated or Bronze
Medium:
Suitable for busy places during the day, e.g. schoolyards, train stations Suitable for use as main lock for a medium-priced bike, or as secondary lock for an expensive bike, deterring thieves
Level 7-10 Level 3-4 Level 4-6 Level 5-9 Level 4-6 Bronze or Silver
High:
Suitable for long-term parking in major cities, in metropolitan areas and/or at night.
Particularly recommended for expensive bicycles, as these locks are recognised by bicycle insurance companies.
Level 11-15 Level 5-6 Level 7-8 High security Level 10-15 Level 7-8 Prevents break-ins with light tools Silver or Gold
Level 9–10
Ultimate security
Level 9–10
Hard to crack even with heavy tools
Gold or Diamond

Read on to find out more about the security ratings of individual brands.

AXA ratings

AXA’s bicycle locks have 15 different security levels.

The chain lock AXA Newton Promoto 2 and the U-locks AXA Newton Pro and AXA Newton Mini Pro meet the highest security level. These locks are all security level 15. Locks with the highest security level are generally recognized by bicycle insurances without exception.

The AXA Victory (security level 14), AXA Defender (security level 12) and the AXA Solid Plus (security level 11) are frame locks with a slightly lower security level, which, according to the manufacturer, are also recognized by international bicycle insurance providers.

In addition, AXA also offers locks with which you can secure mopeds, scooters and motorcycles. These are available up to security level 25.

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Trelock ratings

Trelock bike locks work with a so-called parking meter scale, consisting of security levels 1–6.

The longer you park your bike for, the higher the safety level you should go for. A rating of 4–6 is recommended for leaving your bike anywhere overnight, in order to optimally protect against theft.

Locks with security level 1 or 2 are mostly cable locks or spiral cable locks. Some examples are the KS 106 and the SK 210. The folding lock FS 580 (security level 5; Sold Secure Gold) and the chain lock BC 680 (security level 6; Sold Secure Gold) offer a particularly high level of security. The UL range of U-locks, available in security levels 4 to 6, is also popular.

Kryptonite ratings

Kryptonite divide their locks into 10 possible security levels.

According to the manufacturer, you should only use a bike lock from level 1 to 3 in the countryside or in a village, as they may deter theft but cannot prevent it.

The medium security levels, on the other hand, are sufficient for all-day parking in a village or small town. In the city you should only secure an expensive bike with a lock rated 6 or lower during the day, not at night.

If your bike is particularly expensive and you park it in busy public places and/or overnight, you should use a level 9 or 10 bike lock for ultimate security. Level 7 or 8 locks also offer a high level of security, which is sufficient during the day in the big city. However, you should always choose the highest security level for overnight parking, especially in large metropolitan areas.

The popular U-lock called the Kryptonite New York Lock has a security level of 9, and Sold Secure rates it Gold. The Kryptonite Evolution Lite Mini 6 chain lock, meanwhile, has a security level of 7, and Sold Secure rates it Silver.

Abus ratings

As with AXA, Abus locks have 15 different security levels.

If you usually park your bike in a rural area, village or small town in quiet places during the day, a basic lock with security level 1–4 is sufficient. For example, the Abus Combiloop 205 cable lock.

If your bike is parked outside unattended for a long time at night, you should think about a lock with security level 5–9. The Abus Centuro 860/85 cable lock is rated at security level 7 (though Sold Secure only gives it Bronze).

If you park your bike in the big city, in particularly lively places for long periods of time or even at night, a bike lock level from 10 to 15 is recommended. Use this safety level especially if your bike has a very high value. A particularly secure Abus U-lock is the Abus Granit X-Plus 540, with the highest security level, 15, and a Diamond rating from Sold Secure.


XLC ratings

XLC bike locks, like those from Kryptonite, are available in 10 different security levels. However, in contrast to Kryptonite, there is an additional distinction between levels 4–5 and 6 at the medium security level.

The simplest bike locks from XLC have security levels 1–3. A common lock here is the XLC coil cable lock.

With medium-security locks, a distinction is made between levels 4–5 and level 6. With a level 4 or 5 lock, it’s not possible to secure your bike to a lamppost, fence or street sign. This security level is suitable for bicycles with only a minimally increased risk of theft.

From security level 6, your bike can also be connected to lampposts, etc. If your bike is at an increased risk of theft due to its value or location, XLC recommends at least security level 6.

A distinction is also made between levels 7–8 and 9–10 within the highest security level. Level 7 or 8 locks reliably protect against theft, preventing quick opening with light tools. Level 9 or 10 locks usually prevents a break-in completely, as the lock is very difficult to crack even with heavy, specialised tools and ample time.

From security levels 6 to 9, the XLC Cosa Nostra Plus chain locks, available in various diameters, are very popular options to protect your bike against theft.

Frequently asked questions

How many bike lock security levels are there?

Sold Secure rates bike locks Bronze, Silver, Gold or Diamond. In terms of the security ratings of specific bike lock brands, these can vary. AXA and Abus work with 15 security levels, XLC and Kryptonite with 10, and Trelock with 6.

What is the highest security level for a bicycle lock?

The highest number on the manufacturer’s security rating scale represents the highest security level for a bicycle lock. Depending on the manufacturer, the highest security level can be 15, 10 or 6.

In Sold Secure ratings, the highest level is Diamond, but this is awarded quite rarely. The next level down, Gold, also indicates a very secure lock.

How secure should my bike lock be?

Your security needs depend heavily on where, how long and at what time you usually park your bike. The value of your bike also plays a role. The longer and more publicly you park your bike, the more secure your bike lock should be.

In the article on safety levels of bike locks, you can see which safety level we recommend for your bike.

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