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The best bike locks might not be the most exciting item to splash out on, but sadly bike theft is very common; a good quality lock is an effective deterrent.
We’ve tested a wide variety of bike locks, ranging from ultimate security heavy-duty U-locks, to portable lightweight options offering a little more peace of mind at the café stop—with many others in between.
We haven’t actually tried to saw through the locks, but in the UK Sold Secure does that and rates the locks – more on that in the buyer’s guide at the bottom of this page. But we do carry and use the locks we test in a variety of conditions and so can comment on their usability and portability.
Just like buying one of the best road bikes, there are a number of considerations it’s worth reflecting on before you commit to a bike lock purchase. For instance, where are you planning on locking up your bike and for how long? What’s the value of your bike? Does your insurance specify a particular lock security rating? How is a bike lock’s security determined? Do you even have insurance?
For answers to these questions and much else besides, skip directly to the bottom of the page and get all that juicy information. We also have our own comprehensive guide to the best bicycle insurance, which will tell you everything you need to know.
However, if you know what you’re looking for and want to get straight on to our pick of the best bike locks, read on.
Our pick of the best bike locks
We’ve put the locks in order of security, starting with the most secure. For locks with the same security rating, we’ve ordered by price, starting with the most expensive.
The Litelok X1 will set you back $179.99 / £149.99 which is a hefty price for a bike lock. With the premium price, however, comes premium quality. The lock is diamond rated meaning you’ll be covered under most insurance schemes, it requires multiple angle grinder discs to penetrate and weighs in at a reasonable 1.7kg, meaning that the lock is easy to carry around.
There are other locks, such as the On Guard Brute, which offer a similar security rating for a much lower price, but the security ratings only provide a lower bound – they don’t tell you much a lock passes the test by.
So, for ultimate peace of mind – when it’s the bike you care about, rather than insurance provider box ticking – the X1 is an excellent option. It’s constructed with ‘Barronium’, a brand new composite designed to resist angle grinders and lined with an environmentally friendly rubber coating that will not scratch your frame.
Read more: Litelok X1 bike lock full review
The Master Lock Mini U-Lock is something of a hidden gem. You’d have thought that with the top Sold Secure Diamond rating and its impressively light sub-kilo weight that Master Lock would be boasting and inflating the price to match those premium qualities.
But no, despite being one of the lightest locks on the market with a Sold Secure Diamond rating, Master Lock remains quite modest about the Mini U-Lock and its price is surprisingly low.
Naturally, the lock is on the smaller side for U-Locks, but it’s still large enough to lock the rear wheel to your bike’s frame and go around a standard Sheffield Stand, securing your bike to an immovable object. On review we found that we needed to be a bit more careful about exactly what object we chose to ‘lock up’ to but this didn’t present any real issues.
The plastic coating helps to avoid scratches to your bike and there’s a dust cover over the lock mechanism to avoid contamination. After several uses our bikes remained scratch-free. Be careful with your keys though; the four provided are all you’ll ever have, as there’s no key replacement service.
Finally, a bike mount would have been appreciated. During review we found ourselves popping out and having to bring a rucksack to carry the lock in, even though we didn’t otherwise require the bag.
Read more: Master Lock Mini U-Lock full review
If you prefer a chain lock over a U-lock, the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain Lock is an option that’s Diamond rated thanks to its high security locking mechanism and a U-lock-like oval steel connector between the lock and the chain.
The chain is made of hardened manganese steel with 14mm hexagonal section links and is covered by a nylon cover to protect your bike.
It’s quite a heavy lock at almost 5kg, but the decent length and flexibility makes it more adaptable than a U-lock to fit through your bike’s wheel and frame and variable shaped anchors. It’s a bit easier to carry than a U-lock too, despite its weight.
The Brute is Onguard’s highest security lock, which locks the 16.8mm diameter shackle in four places, rather than the more standard two points of engagement. There’s plenty of coverage with a flat area at the top of the lock rather than a curved one to increase space and the shackle is coated with thick rubber to help prevent frame damage.
The Brute has a high security locking cylinder, designed to prevent drilling or other assaults and with a rounded shape it helps prevent leverage around its edges. It comes with five keys, one with an LED to help you see what you’re doing and unlock your bike after dark.
There are three different lengths of lock, so you can find one to balance portability and lockable area and the Brute comes with a frame mount. Despite its Sold Secure Diamond rating, the Onguard Brute is reasonably priced too.
Manufactured by Milton Keynes based security brand, Milenco, the Dundrod ++ surpasses the requirements for Gold and is one of the few locks that meet Sold Secure’s Diamond standard.
Although most bike insurers will only require a Gold rated lock for cycles worth over £1,000/$1,000, if your bike has sentimental value or is a model that can’t be replaced, you’ll be wanting something more secure — which is where a Diamond rated lock comes in.
The Dundrod ++ is reassuringly plump with a shackle and crossbar that are visibly beefier than a standard U-lock. The lockable area is on the larger side for this style of lock, making it quite easy to secure the bike through the frame and wheel.
Bear in mind that if you are considering a lock of this application, it is worth using two to lock each wheel to the frame and immovable object, as well as potentially upgrading the locks to wherever you are keeping your bike.
Coming without a bike mount and weighing just under two and a half kilos, the Dundrod ++ isn’t intended as a lock for use when out and about—although this certainly isn’t ruled out, providing you have somewhere to put it.
Read more: Milenco Dundrod ++ full review