The best bike locks are not only those that keep your bike secure but also prevent thieves from trying their luck in the first place. Some of their methods, like rotating the bike to break the lock, can cause serious damage to the frame. So even if they don't make off with your pride and joy, they can still render it un-rideable which is just as bad as stealing it.
Thankfully there are several bike locks on the market that are really proficient at deterring thieves from even trying to mess with your bike. Some locks are well-known and recognisable as too heavy-duty to be worth the time and effort, while others secure your bike in a way that doesn't give them the leverage they need to be able to do any damage to your bike.
So whether you're commuting to work, popping out for groceries, or leaving your bike latched to your car bike rack outside a venue, make sure you're equipped with the best bike lock for the job, whether it's one of the heavy-duty locks we've listed here or something a little more portable.
You should also consider using more than one lock. It may seem like overkill, but the more time and effort required to steal your bike, the less likely a thief will bother. That's why having two locks - especially two different types - is more likely to deter them.
We've put together a handy guide on how to lock a bike, which shows you the proper way to secure your bike and its components using a D-lock for the frame and a connected chain or cable for the wheels. You should also consider taking out bike insurance, so that if the worst does happen, at least you're covered.
Best bike locks available today
Best U locks / D Locks
The brand's flagship D-lock loaded with anti-thieving features
Weight: 1.5kg | RRP: £109.99
Th ABUS Granit XPlus 540 D-lock isn't cheap, but it does provide outstanding defence and deterrent against even determined attackers. Among the brand's 11 different D-locks, of which some even come with seven variants, the Granit XPlus 540 is undeniably the best on offer.
It deploys a 13mm hardened-steel square bar with a parabolic profile (as opposed to a more easily crushable circular one), and a cylinder lock that's hidden behind steel jaws that resist ice and freeze attacks. It's also designed to be pick-proof, and has an outstanding reputation despite seeming thin. The square shackle is resistant to bolt croppers, and you can’t swivel it to release the bike even if you do get through with an angle grinder.
Even after years on the street, it's fair to say that the Abus Granit XPlus 540 is still the benchmark for shackle-style security. It's a portable weight, too, even if it leaves your wallet a lot lighter.
Abus Granit Extreme 59
If you want true bike lock peace of mind
Weight: 2700g | RRP: £229.99
The bike lock market is dominated by German options, owing to the country’s nurtured metalworking industry. Abus is the foremost brand in bike locks and has been fabricating metal preventative security systems since 1924.
All that experience has matured the company’s product portfolio into a variety of options for cyclists wishing to ensure their bike does not have an involuntary change of ownership. Within the huge variety of Abus locks, the premium product is the Granit Extreme 59. This is a heavy piece of kit, but it is built to frustrate an opportunist bike thief no end.
Its substantial price premium over all other bike locks will certainly pique interest in this German product. But is the Abus worth the investment and its ranking on our list?
There are much lighter D-lock alternatives, but few feature the weather sealing of this Granit Extreme 59. If your bike is going to be in an exposed outdoor location, susceptible to rain, the Granit will last many years longer than most rivals.
It also possesses enormous structural strength, thanks to Abus using a square shackle profile – which has greater tensile resistance than a traditional round bar design.
For the daily commuter, this is ergonomic excellence
Weight: 1200g | RRP: £69.99
If you are concerned about lugging a heavy bike lock in your backpack while commuting, a lightweight solution which does not sacrifice security is the Hiplok DX. At only 1120grams, it will hardly bother you stowed in a backpack or attached to your belt, yet still offers significant safety.
An astute concept which merges the structural strength of a traditional D-lock with low mass and outstanding portability.
The Hiplok DX does what its name implies, enabling a rider to secure this lock to a belt or shoulder strap, thanks to prongs moulded into its chassis.
Although the 14mm shackle diameter might not be as large as some rivals, none can compete with the Hiplok’s remarkably low weight. If you value portability and desire the security of a D-lock, this is a compelling alternative.
Kryptonite New York M18
An incredibly strong lock with the reputation to back it
Weight: 2640g | RRP: £119.99
For those who want the largest possible chassis to secure their bike, Kryptonite’s New York M18 is the answer. Kryptonite is an American brand with nearly five decades of bike lock history and specialises in D-locks. The New York M18 features an 18mm diameter shackle body, which is stouter the Abus Granit Extreme 59, yet manages to weigh 60g less. It is an incredibly strong lock and the only aspect where an Abus is superior, would be weatherproofing.
Kryptonite is an American D-lock original, having been in business since the 1970s. Its designs are proven, prioritising strength and function above fashion. The result is a heavy lock, not suited to daily backpack commuting – but with stellar strength and security features. It would make for an ideal leave-at-work lock.
Despite featuring a bulkier 18mm shackle, the M18 manages to be slightly lighter than the largest Abus locks. Massively strong and genuinely affordable, you can’t get more security for less. Ultimate weather sealing might not be comparable to the Abus, but this is an ideal home lock for your bikes.
Kryptonite Kryptoflex 410
To be paired with all of the D-locks
Weight: 317g | RRP: £9.99
The Kryptonite Kryptoflex isn't a lock in its own right. It's simply a cable - approximately four feet in length - that you should use in conjunction with any of the D-locks featured here. While a U lock generally offers increased protection over a traditional chain or cable lock, they are limited in that they cannot be manipulated to thread between both wheels, through the frame, and then onto the anchor point. Leave the D-lock to do the heavy lifting of ensuring your frame remains bolted to its anchor, and pair it with this cable to keep your wheels from being taken.
Best folding & chain locks
Abus City Chain 1010
Flexible for awkward areas but very heavy and expensive for medium/high security rating
Weight: 2700g | RRP: £99.99
For those looking for the most flexible, most portable answer to high-level bike security, then the super heavy duty City Chain 1010 is definitely one of the best.
While it gets a Gold ‘sold secure’ rating and a 12 out of 15 from Abus, it only scores 2 out of 5 from ART. The 9mm links are relatively easy to get through with grinder or large bolt croppers and the while it’s hard to pick, the lock can be vulnerable to a sledgehammer attack if the thief can get it onto the ground.
Nothing beats a chain lock for maximum flexibility and use in awkward spaces but the CityChain weighs a ton while still only offering mid/high security. There are better options around but be prepared to spend more.
A meticulous design blending lightweight construction and the combined cutting resistance of steel and nylon
Weight: 1310g | RRP: £89.99
If a D-lock is too bulky for your lightweight cycling sensibilities, the next best solution is a fabric of plastic covered chain. Steel locks can damage your frame, even if you are meticulous when using them. British brand Litelok provides a circular lock, designed by company founder Neil Barron, a former Rolls-Royce aviation engineer.
The company’s Gold model features steel cables covered by nylon, which makes it very light and flexible. That nylon finish also means that it plays nice with your bike frame and the resourceful circular design allows you the convenience of wearing it as a belt when riding.
With that belt design in mind, LiteLok is extremely commuter-friendly. It is an impressive product which manages to be both fashionable, practical and durable. A great choice for fashion-conscious commuters or children.
Abus Bordo Lite 6055
A neatly packaged deterrent against opportunist thieves but not proof against pros
Weight: 440g | RRP: £69.99
The 440g folding lock from Abus is super convenient and still beats most cable locks for security, but it can’t quite match the security of heavier D-locks and chains.
In terms of carrying and convenience, the Bordo Lite 6055 is brilliant. The mount is really well designed and it’s small enough to slip into a pocket or bag and not so heavy it’ll be too obvious if you do. Abus’ rating of 7 out of 15 ranks it as more secure than all but one of its cable locks, too.
While it's vulnerable to tooled-up attackers, the Bordo Lite is certainly enough to stop an opportunist thief and its low weight, compact size, smart mount and general convenience make it a decent - if pricey - medium-security option.
Seatylock Foldylock Compact
Portable, colourful and suitable for low-risk areas
Weight: 1kg | RRP: £64.00
This compact version of the original Foldylock from Seatylock is designed for commuters who are already weighed down by their belongings. Having said that, at around 1kg, the Foldylock is still pretty heavy compared to other folding locks we've included in this list.
Heavy is not a terrible thing though, when it comes to the best bike locks, because it often means strong materials that can withstand most attempts by the eager bike thief. The Foldylock's links are constructed from hardened steel, while the design includes several anti-theft technologies, including ultra protected rivets and anti-drilling components.
It's simple to use, mounts directly to your frame for easy portability, and protects your paintwork from being scratched thanks to the plastic-coated links.
What really makes the Foldylock stand out though, is the range of colours it comes in. There's nothing to say that a safe and secure bike lock shouldn't also look good, or match the colour of your bike, after all.
Wearable design offers backpack-free Gold security
Weight: 2400g | RRP: £84.99
One of the biggest inconveniences with transporting locks is that unless you attach the lock to the frame, which can be inadvisable on some bikes, or you have a pannier rack fitted, then you will likely need to resort to carrying a backpack. The Hiplok Gold solves this with a simple buckle design that allows the lock to be worn as a belt when riding so you aren't subjected to a sweaty back when riding or left carrying an empty backpack around once your destination has been reached.
The Hiplok Gold is a sold lock as well, the 10mm chain and 12mm shackle construction has a Gold rating from the independent tester Sold Secure. The Hiplok has an 85mm locking diameter which should be enough to get around most street furniture to secure your frame and a wheel.
How to buy the best bike lock for your bike
With the amount of choice there is, it can be a mind-boggling area to navigate. To make it easier for you, here are several factors to consider before you decide which bike lock is right for your needs.
1. Types of bike lock
The best bike locks come in various shapes and sizes, including D-locks, foldable locks and more traditional chain or cable systems.
D-locks (also referred to as U-locks) tend to be heavier, they can offer a considerable amount of security but can be limiting in their operation. Without the flexibility or length of chains and cables, the D-locks is unable to be fed through multiple awkward routing points. On its own, a small D-locks will need a small anchor point - it won't have the breadth to wrap around a lamppost. A D-locks can be paired with a cable or chain to overcome its limiters, but be aware that any security claims offered by the D-locks could be forfeited by a weak cable, enabling a quick bolt-cutter snip, before the thief can tackle the sturdy D-locks in the privacy of their home. D-locks often come with a frame-mounted bracket which enables simple, secure transportation, and reduces the likelihood of leaving it at home.
Cable or chain locks both function comparably, but their construction differs, of course. Cables tend to be more compact, as they are often coiled by design, and occasionally also come with a frame-mounted bracket. Both are generally encased in either a plastic or fabric layer as a frame-damage preventative. A chain lock will often be heavier than its cable counterpart and can be noisy in transportation - for which wrapping around a section of the frame is sufficient but a rucksack may be preferred. Some brands go further and design locks to be wearable.
The length and thickness will vary depending on manufacturer and price-point. As expected, more thickness will invariably equal greater security, and length will dictate whether or not you can route via both wheels.
There are a few additional variations in construction, such as a fabric-based cable or even a basic zip-tie option for the very quick cafe stop.
Folding locks work similarly again, but are made from solid sections that are hinged at each end. This can be unfolded to create a loop, then folded again to create a 'brick-like' shape that is easy to transport.
2. Key bike locks vs combination bike locks
The two most common locking methods utilise either a key or a combination. Both have their merits, and both have their pitfalls.
A combination lock can be susceptible to prying eyes. If the wrong person knows your combination, expect your steed to bolt from the stable. At the cheaper end of the market, a combination lock can be hacked without the need for tools.
A key lock can be less prone to compromise, however, if ever you leave your keys on the train, you could be left having to 'steal' your own bike from the station.
No matter the variant, bike locks are like front door mechanisms: they work on the principle of very close mechanical tolerances and don’t enjoy too much water or environmental contaminant ingress, which can lead to rust or jamming.
The best bike locks have weather-proof covers which protect the keyhole, but all bike locks can benefit from similar care to what you’d apply to any drivetrain chain or suspension stanchion in terms of preventative maintenance. Clean, dry and lube them – for longevity and frustration-free locking performance.
3. Insurance requirements
Most insurers have minimum locking requirements to ensure a bike is covered in the event of theft. This varies by insurer, so it's worth checking your own provider's minimum requirements before investing. Check out our guide to the best bike insurance companies for details, and ensure you read the small print, and shop around to compare bicycle insurance before you take out a policy.
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