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Best bike chain locks 2022: Our choices for the most flexible locking solution

Best bike chain lock group shot
(Image credit: Josh Ross)

We've already covered the best bike locks and, in that list, there are categories of types of locks. Bike chain locks is a category we wanted to dive deeper into because some users are so die hard about them, especially in big cities where there's a subsection of users who swear by them. With that in mind we spent the time and did the research to figure out the best options. 

Part of our research has been figuring out if they are more secure than other choices. What we found is that Safe Secure ratings don't take into account what type of lock they are testing. It doesn't matter if you are talking about a folding lock or a chain lock, if it's Safe Secure Gold the security is the same. That doesn't mean there aren't differences though; the biggest advantage to bike chain locks is that they are flexible and have a bigger locking area. If you like the idea of a bike chain lock then keep reading to see our list of the best choices for different needs. 

Best bike chain locks available today

Best bike chain lock - Hiplock Gold

(Image credit: Josh Ross)
Best bike chain bike lock for most situations

Specifications

Security Level: Sold Secure Gold
Weight: 2274g
Insurance Offer: None
Lock Thickness: 10mm chain link
Included Keys: 3x Coded Replaceable Keys

Reasons to buy

+
Wearable without being locked
+
Non-scratching
+
Reflective option available
+
Safe Secure Gold rating

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy

Every time we dive into a list of our favourite bike locks the Hiplok Gold pops up again. The more security you have on hand, the harder a bike chain lock is to carry. Hiplok has been at the forefront of solving this challenge through wearability and the Hiplok Gold is both portable and Sold Secure Gold rated. 

Although it weighs over 2kg, due to the 10mm chain, Hiplok uses a system that allows it to be carried without locking. There's a bar on the lock side and a plastic buckle that snaps into the bar on the other side. When you are ready to lock a bike, take it off your waist, open the lock, and connect the lock to the chain that's on the other side of the waist bracket. 

The superbright version pictured here also adds visibility while riding. The only downside is all that security does mean you've got to deal with a bit of weight. Have a read of our Hiplock Gold bike lock review if you want to know more.

Tex-Lock eyelet with U-Lock

Best bike lock for using with a car rack

Specifications

Security Level: Sold Secure Silver
Weight: 1.16 kg (Small); 1.51 kg (Medium); 1.76 kg (Large)
Insurance Offer: None
Lock Thickness: 23mm with a 15mm U-lock
Included Keys: 2x Coded replaceable keys

Reasons to buy

+
120mm length
+
Non-scratching
+
Sold Secure Silver rated

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

We’ve been doing a lot of research on bike locks and during the process we asked cyclists who had a bike stolen while locked and how it happened. The story of a brand-new bike stolen off a rack while filling up gas on the way home was a story that stood out. The integrated cable lock on the rack got clipped while the owner was inside buying a snack. It’s a unique challenge needing a unique lock that won’t scratch a frame and has a bit more length. 

Previously we recommended the Abus Ivera 7210 and still think that’s a great option but since then, we’ve discovered another, better option. The Tex-Lock is a textile-based loop chain with a small U-lock that features a double locking shackle design. The textile portion does have a steel core but you can’t feel it. Instead, it’s like a thick rope and it’s as comfortable to handle, and use, as a rope would be. Even though it feels like a rope, it carries a Sold Secure Silver rating that should do a good job matching with use on a car rack.  

The U-lock portion actually carries a Sold Secure Gold rating but it’s so tiny that there’s very little ability to use it beyond securing the loop chain portion so consider the whole lock a functional silver rating. While the whole system is ideal for locking a bike to a car rack, the one downside is the price. It’s a lot of money to pay for the soft, rattle-free, performance. It’s for that reason we still have the Abus option in the mix here.  

Best bike chain lock - Hiplok DXXL

(Image credit: Josh Ross)

Hiplok DXXL

Best chain bike lock for ebikes

Specifications

Security level: Sold Secure Diamond
Weight: 1kg
Insurance Offer: None
Lock Thickness: 14mm chain with 14mm lock shackle
Included Keys: 3x Coded replaceable keys

Reasons to buy

+
Flexibility for different security situations with a single purchase
+
Lifetime warranty
+
Non-scratch coverings
+
Sold Secure Diamond

Reasons to avoid

-
Loop end chain limits locking options slightly

The Hiplok DXXL takes a couple of pieces and combines them in a single purchase. There's a massive chain and there's also the Hiplok DX wearable U lock. Hiplok markets this option specifically for ebikes so it only makes sense we'd include it here for that use. 

If you have an expensive ebike then the highest security makes sense both because of the price of the bike and because of the ease of carrying extra weight. We also like how this system ends up being a two-for-one purchase. If you've got an ebike as well as another bike that requires less security this you get the flexibility to choose the level of security you need each time you leave the house. The U lock and the chain work together but you can leave the chain at home if you don't need it. 

The Hiplok DX alone is one of the most secure, and convenient, U locks on the market. When it's time to take your ebike out add in a massive chain with 14mm thick links. When using the chain, the loop end design makes sure that you've got the most length available. 

Best bike chain lock - Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain 1415 & New York Disc Lock

(Image credit: Josh Ross)

Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain 1415 & New York Disc Lock

Best bike chain lock if you want a massive chain plus an insurance offer

Specifications

Security Level: Sold Secure Diamond and Kryptonite 10/10
Weight: 6.92 kgs
Insurance Offer: $5000
Lock Thickness: 14mm six-sided chain links
Included Keys: 3x Replaceable Keys, one with integrated light

Reasons to buy

+
Shape of chain links helps defend against angle grinder attacks
+
Keyhole cover
+
Includes an insurance offer
+
Sold Secure Diamond

Reasons to avoid

-
Not every link has a cover to limit scratching

 

The Ktyptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain 1415 & New York Disc Lock is another option in the massive chain lock category. It's even heavier than the Hiplok DXXL and the security is similar. In fact, the two offerings are similar in a lot of ways but they are unique enough that each has a place on this list. 

The Kryptonite chain doesn't loop through itself the way the Hiplok does and instead of a U-lock you get a lock that's a lot closer to a padlock. What Kryptonite does offer instead of the flexibility that comes with the Hiplok is an insurance offer. Make sure you've followed all the rules exactly and if your bike disappears you could be eligible for up to a $5000 payout. 

Another plus for the Kryptonite is its longevity. Another writer here at Cyclingnews left his New York Chain locked up at his university campus for a whole year, rain or shine, with and without his bike, and just commuted home leaving it in place. It still worked perfectly with just the odd squirt of GT85 needed every few months through the winter.

Best bike chain lock - Kryptonite 790

(Image credit: Josh Ross)

Kryptonite Keeper 790

Best chain bike lock if you want a combo lock

Specifications

Security Level: Sold Secure Bronze and Kryptonite 5/10
Weight: 1646g
Insurance Offer: $500
Lock Thickness: 7mm four-sided chain links
Included Keys: Combo

Reasons to buy

+
Lots of options for size and security
+
It’s possible to keep the lock closed without being locked
+
Includes an insurance offer

Reasons to avoid

-
No clever way to carry it

We chose to feature the Kryptonite Keeper 790 as a placeholder for a range of options. The Kryptonite Keeper 712 and Kryptonite Keeper 790 represent a pair of Sold Secure Bronze bike chain locks that are the same other than size and weight. 

The 712 is 120cm in length and 2041 grams while the 790 is a bit shorter at 90cm 1646 grams. Both options use a 7mm chain and carry a Sold Secure Bronze rating as well an insurance offer of $500. The Kryptonite insurance is always a topic of debate because, like all insurance coverage, it’s difficult to take advantage of. Just remember to read carefully and follow the fine print. Also keep in mind that the lock is a quality lock on its own so consider the insurance a bonus that doesn’t hurt anything. 

Beyond that, we featured the bronze security option because of the weight and convenience. Typically, if you are looking for a combo lock you are also looking for convenience. If that’s not quite your need and you want more security paired with a combo lock then there are also the Kryptonite Kryptolok 990/912 locks available. The design is the same but the chain increases from 7mm to 9mm and with the weight and security rise as well. Those locks feature a Sold Secure Gold rating and the insurance offers raises to $1750. Whatever ends up fitting your needs, it’s nice that there are options and they all have the peace of mind that comes from the insurance offer. 

Best bike chain lock - Hiplok Spin chain lock

(Image credit: Josh Ross)

Hiplok Spin

Best bike chain lock for convenience

Specifications

Security Level: No Sold Secure rating
Weight: 800g
Insurance Offer: None
Lock Thickness: 6mm
Included Keys: Combo

Reasons to buy

+
Super light
+
Wearable
+
Available in reflective superbright

Reasons to avoid

-
Low security

Every option on this list carries a Sold Secure rating except the Hiplok Spin. In general, we think it’s better to go for more security vs less but lots of people have different needs. 

If you live in an area where a bike is unlikely to have to defend against a serious attack then it might not matter that this is a lower security choice. Outside of the security, the Hiplock Spin has a very similar design to the Hiplok Gold. As we mentioned in that description, Hiplok is all about making security hassle free. People have always worn chains but Hiplok made it safe with systems that don’t require locking the chain to your body. 

Since the Spin is so light, they’ve been able to use a simple hook and loop closure system but the concept is the same. There’s also still an option for the highly reflective superbright colourway to add safety when riding at night.  

How to choose the best bike chain lock for you

Is a chain lock better than a U-Lock?

We talked about this a little in the intro but bike chain locks are just one option of many so you might wonder why choose a chain vs a U-lock? The big advantage of chain locks is that they are big and flexible. U-0locks work best with bike specific infrastructure but the most secure options are also smaller. As they shrink in size, they get very difficult to use to lock a bike to a signpost. Chains make it easy to lock your bike to all kinds of anchor points. They also tend to do a little better against portable angle grinders because they can be difficult to hold still. 

Which chain lock is the best?

There’s no simple way to answer that question because you have to define what you are looking for. We have tried to cover a range of different options for different situations. The lock we chose as the best balance of all the competing interests is the Hiplok Gold but even that isn’t necessarily the best option for you. It’s not the cheapest and it’s heavy so if you don’t have a need for that much security then it won’t be best for you.  

How do you lock an ebike?

Locking an ebike is the same as any bike and we have an article covering all the details of how to lock a bike. The only difference with an ebike is that often the larger frames and bulkier componentry will make it more of a challenge for small locks. There are also extra pieces to consider, like batteries, but typically the battery has its own integrated lock. 

Other than those specifics, you’ll want to limit extra space between the lock and the bike and keep the lock farther from the ground. These small changes in how you use the chosen lock will make it more secure. Keeping the lock farther from the ground makes it more difficult to use the ground as leverage on a bolt cutter. Limiting extra space between the lock and the bike means it's more difficult to get a tool positioned for a leverage attack.  

What about insurance offers for bike chain locks?

Some bike locks come packaged with insurance offers. These are nice for peace of mind but there's a few details you should be careful about. The biggest thing to remember is that these are insurance offers and that means they are very specific. There is no wiggle room for not quite meeting some requirements. Make sure you follow the instructions exactly. In the case of Kyrptonite that means you need to have registered at the time you bought the lock so make sure you start there. 

Another good option for insurance is to add your own bike specific insurance and we have an article covering the best bike insurance. More coverage is better than less so doubling up won’t hurt.  

Do I need to register my bike?

While you are following the directions for registering your new lock, make sure you also register your bike. Bike Index is a non-profit that works to register bikes then help with recovery if something happens. There's no guarantee of anything but they are doing amazing work and it doesn't hurt. If a bike goes missing you can access a community of people who will keep their eyes open and help you recover it. 

It's also a great opportunity to record the serial number of your bike and make sure you have it on hand. If law enforcement happens to recover a bike it will only come back to you if you've filed a police report and given them a serial number.  

How we tested the best ebike locks?

We’ve used bike locks for years as we commute through the city running errands and having fun riding bikes. We’ve looked at a lot of bike locks both high-tech and low-tech and we’ve managed to keep our bikes where we’ve left them even in areas that are a little rougher than we’d like. 

As we worked on transforming that experience into actionable recommendations we’ve spoken to law enforcement, countless lock companies, and as many people as we could to figure out what works best for locks. For this list we held everything in our hands and put it to the test to see what it was like to use. If you are looking for a bike chain lock everything in this list is something we feel confident recommending.  

Josh hails from the Pacific Northwest of the United States but would prefer riding through the desert than the rain. He will happily talk for hours about the minutia of cycling tech but also has an understanding that most people just want things to work. He is a road cyclist at heart and doesn't care much if those roads are paved, dirt, or digital. Although he rarely races, if you ask him to ride from sunrise to sunset the answer will be yes.
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 140 lb.
Rides: Cannondale Topstone Lefty, Cannondale CAAD9, Enve Melee, Look 795 Blade RS, Priority Continuum Onyx