The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

The Best Bike Locks of 2019

Bike theft is common. If you ever leave your bike outside your home  you need a lock  and preferably one that's easy to use.
Monday June 3, 2019
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Our reviewers have been at it again, finding the best bike locks released in 2019 and updates to past models. We researched 60+ top models and tested 16 extensively head-to-head. Our expert testers put each lock through the grinder (literally) along with other theft tactics to test their relative strengths and weaknesses. We also considered each lock's portability and how versatile it is to use with different bikes and in different situations. From metropolitan bikeways to rural trails, we mounted and stowed the locks to test their portability. The result is a comprehensive review of locks to guide you to the right one for your needs.


Top 16 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 16
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Awards Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $105.95 at Amazon
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$98.67 at Amazon
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$78.56 at Amazon
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$53.95 at Amazon
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$49.00 at Amazon
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Pros Very secure, mounts to bike, convenient size for locking upLarge and strong U-lock, relatively lightweight, beefy mountWearable design, solid security, easy to useSecures both wheels, low weight for a U-lock, inexpensive, easy to use, good security to price ratioLightweight, easy to carry and use, flexible
Cons Heavy, bulky to transportNot the highest security possible, expensiveFar from lightweight, uncomfortable with some backpacks, priceyCable is awkward to transport, rattlesCombo lock not for everyone, low to medium security
Bottom Line This is our favorite all-around lock for high security needs.If you prefer top-shelf quality, this German-made lock delivers a great product.The innovative design of this wearable chain lock increases this heavy lock's portability, which is great news for regular bike commuters.This lock provides a lot of security and versatility for a great price.This lock deters "snatch-and-grab" opportunists and then some. It's small and light enough to carry in your pocket.
Rating Categories New York Standard U-Lock ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 U-Lock Hiplok Original: Superbright KryptoLok Series 2 Standard... Ottolock Cinch
Security (40%)
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Specs New York Standard U-Lock ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 U-Lock Hiplok Original: Superbright KryptoLok Series 2 Standard... Ottolock Cinch
Measured weight (lbs) 4.49 lbs 3.28 lbs 4.31 lbs 3.26 lbs 0.33 lbs
Lock dimensions 4" x 8" (16 mm" thick) 9" x 4.25" (13mm thick) 1.5' long x 2" 4" x 9" (13mm thick) with 4' x 10mm cable 30" x 3/4" (1/8" thick)
Type of lock U-lock U-lock Chain U-lock Combo Cable

Best Overall


Kryptonite New York Standard U-Lock


Editors' Choice Award

$105.95
at Amazon
See It

76
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Security - 40% 9
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 7
  • Ease of Use - 20% 6
  • Versatility - 15% 7
Weight: 4.49 lbs | Dimensions: 4" x 8" (16mm thick)
High security
Included mount is solid
Decent size
Weight

Years go by, and the Kryptonite New York Standard U-Lock remains unbeatable. Our Editors' Choice champ scores well across the board, thanks to its simple but effective design. Kryptonite built a strong theft deterrent, with 16 mm of hardened steel that we could only destroy with two separate cuts from the powered angle grinder. It even withstood a car jack-- a feat we think is worth mentioning since thieves also use those to pry apart U-Locks. A "Gold" rating from Sold Secure grants you some peace of mind when locking your bike in urban areas.

Its pitfalls include its weight. It's pretty heavy, but the frame mount is lightweight and makes for convenient storage while cruising. The model is about as easy to use as any U-lock and broad enough to fit around both wheels, the frame, and a standard bike rack as long as you remove your front wheel. Kryptonite even offers theft protection policies and a key replacement program for this lock, should trouble arise. Kudos to Kryptonite for making a versatile, burly, and user-friendly bike lock of such quality.

Read review: Kryptonite New York Standard U-Lock

Best Bang for the Buck


Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 Standard U-Lock


Best Buy Award

$53.95
(4% off)
at Amazon
See It

71
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Security - 40% 7
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 6
  • Ease of Use - 20% 8
  • Versatility - 15% 8
Weight: 3.26 lbs | Dimensions: 4" x 9" (13mm thick) with 4' x 10mm cable
Locks both wheels without removing one
Affordable and easy to use
Lightweight for a U-lock
Reliable security for the price
Cable is an added pain
Mounted lock rattles

Our Best Buy Award goes to a mid-security model with an entry-level price: the Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 Standard U-Lock. This classic U-lock comes with a four-foot cable that can reach around both wheels and is efficient to secure and un-secure. The frame mount works well enough and comes with the manufacturer's name that is a theft deterrent in and of itself.

Although OnGuard makes this style of mid-security U-Lock with cable in their Bulldog DT, this Kryptonite product is an all-around better product. From the higher quality cable to the easy locking "bent foot" design, the KryptoLok gradually pulled ahead in points.

Read review: Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 Standard U-Lock

Top Pick for Lightweight Lock


OTTO DesignWorks Ottolock Cinch


Top Pick Award

$49.00
(25% off)
at Amazon
See It

70
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Security - 40% 5
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 9
  • Ease of Use - 20% 9
  • Versatility - 15% 6
Weight: 5.3 ounces | Dimensions: 30" x 3/4" (1/8" thick)
Low weight
Portability
Combo lock makes locking and unlocking easy
Works well as a convenient secondary lock too
Not most robust model
Might not be secure enough for urban, high crime areas

There's a popular bike lock buying guideline that says you should spend at least 10% of your bike's value on a lock. Personally, we think you should spend as much as you need to in order to keep someone from riding away with a bike that doesn't belong to them. However, if you follow the 10% rule, the Ottolock is a good match for anyone riding something more expensive than a bargain-basement bike (read: the vast majority of bike traffic out there). Price alone, though, only tells part of the story. The Otto DesignWorks Ottolock Cinch attempts to find the right balance between bulky security and ease of transport with its multiple layers of steel and Kevlar bands that coil up to a 3-inch circle that can fit into a saddle bag or backpack. It delivers an honest attempt at deterring thieves, especially if you're in a small to medium size town, and you're leaving your bike for a few hours at most (and not overnight). The combination lock removes the possibility of misplacing keys, and the cable fits around two wheels and the frame (if you remove the front wheel and lock it to the back one).

The lock's pitfalls are paired with its accolades. Meaning: because it's lightweight, it's not as secure as other, heavier duty locks included in this review. Technology still hasn't created a super secure lock for this minuscule weight, or anywhere close. But, to be fair, it's a heck of a lot lighter and easier to carry than those models are. The Ottolock isn't the top choice for regular commuters in cities or folks with expensive rides, but it's more than sufficient for light to moderate use, like running errands, stopping for a pitstop or happy hour hopping. If your bike didn't cost an arm and a leg, and you need a lightweight lock for occasional use, grab the Ottolock.

Read review: Otto DesignWorks Ottolock Cinch

Top Pick for Bike Commuting


Hiplok Original: Superbright


Top Pick Award

$78.56
(29% off)
at Amazon
See It

73
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Security - 40% 7
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 8
  • Ease of Use - 20% 7
  • Versatility - 15% 7
Weight: 4.31 lbs | Dimensions: 1.5' long x 2"
Well-designed
Secure
Conveniently wearable
Easy use
Heavy
More expensive
Size-dependent

Want a lock that you'll love transporting? We do, too. It is such a rarity to find one that answers the pesky question of how to efficiently lug it around between lockups, but our Top Pick for Commuting, the Hiplok Original: Superbright does it with ingenuity. Hiplok took a beefy 8mm hardened steel chain two feet long and put a nylon sheath around it. Next, Hiplok engineered a padlock (one quite tough to break, we might add) with an extra metal bar that serves as a buckle. A swath of Velcro goes through the buckle then folds back on itself, creating an adjustable and comfortable design that you wear like a low belt. Lastly, the Superbright lock has a large reflective strip on the outside of the nylon cover, because bikers can never be too visible. A simple yet brilliant design, it is burly and transports well. The everyday commuting cyclist, as well as anyone else wanting a quality product, will appreciate this product.

Our only reservations come from the product's weight, which at over 4 pounds, is considerable. It's also on the expensive side of bike locks and, let's face it; not everyone wants to wear a reflective belt.

Read review: Hiplok Original: Superbright

Notable for Extended Parking


Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock


Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and New York Disc Lock

$102.99
(42% off)
at Amazon
See It

61
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Security - 40% 9
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 2
  • Ease of Use - 20% 3
  • Versatility - 15% 9
Weight: 15.1 lbs | Dimensions: 60" x 2" (chain), 4" x 5" x 1.4" (disc lock)
High security
Locks both wheels without removing them
Extremely heavy
Not for daily transportation
Carelessness leads to chipped paint

Want the most intimidating lock to wrap around your wheels and frame? The Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock is it. This lock is designed with extended and overnight parking in mind. If you lock up in the same place daily, you can leave this lock on the rack while you're away. No lock is impervious to defeat, but this one should deter all but the most dedicated thieves.

To be sure, you need to know what you're getting into here. It's expensive, huge, and weighs over 15 pounds, so you won't be eager to transport it around town. It also chips the paint off your frame, so if you're picky about that sort of thing, you should probably find something else to lock your bike with. Daily trips with an extra 15 pounds aren't fun, either, and we encourage you to check into lighter weight options that will make commuting with the lock less of a drag. However, if you lock your bike anywhere outside of your housing for long periods, this lock provides strong assurance that your wheels will be there when you return.

Read review: Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock


While every lock will succumb to power tools like a cordless angle grinder  attacking locks like this sure lights up a quiet neighborhood. So while choosing the right lock is a major part of the battle  so is choosing an appropriate location to lock your bike.
While every lock will succumb to power tools like a cordless angle grinder, attacking locks like this sure lights up a quiet neighborhood. So while choosing the right lock is a major part of the battle, so is choosing an appropriate location to lock your bike.

Why You Should Trust Us


We assembled a team of experts to pick apart these locks. Our lead tester, Ross Robinson, is a dedicated bike commuter who has been locking up with chains, folding models, cables (as a secondary lock!), and U-locks for 12+ years. Shackling to posts, trees, racks, and other immovable structures is part of daily life for him. He even gave up cars for bikes for over 7 years while living in major metropolitan areas like Germany (Hamburg, Berlin) and the US (Chicago, Minneapolis). Having an interest in testing gear to its limit, Ross has spent over 200 hours researching bike locks (and bike thieves) as well as hands-on assessing and directly experimenting with ways to defeat them.

Rebecca Eckland also tests and reviews locks on our team. She's a former USAC Cat 3 Road bike racer, winner of the 600-mile California Triple Crown Stage race, and is a longtime cyclist in everything from racing to commuting. As you can imagine, she isn't psyched to lose her wheels. She's also spent considerable time in bike shops and has seen all kinds of locks firsthand. Based out of Reno, NV, Rebecca practically lives on her bike, for training, commuting, and for fun. Rylee Sweeney rounds out our main testing team, who comes to us with a background in bike touring across the US, where bike security is nearly as essential as food and water. Between these three testers, we've had our collective hands on over 50 models of locks, and have followed trends and innovations over the last 15-20 years. Some impressive, others less so.

One of our critiques of this lock is its size. As you can see  you're limited on the amount of clearance...making sure you won't fit two mountain bike tires  the frame  AND a bike rack into the TiGr Mini.

We started our testing process by learning how these different bike locks perform in-transit; we shoved them in our panniers, bungeed them on trailers, placed in backpacks or camera bags, installed brackets to stow them on the frame, wore them around our waists, stuffed them into saddlebags and carried them in bike baskets. We rode all the places you probably use your bike to get to — your office, a local coffeehouse or watering hole, the library, a college campus, a bike shop, a grocery store in a strip mall.

As we rode around, we were on the lookout for things to lock the bike to. We tested the locks on racks, benches, trees, random posts, and fences to assess each one's usability. We timed ourselves using the locks, asking questions like which ones are easy to lock and unlock? Which one tends to leave us covered in chain grease? Which ones did we really dislike using?

During these test rides, we started examined the secured bikes from the eyes of a bike thief. Even if the frame was secured, could somebody steal the wheels or seat? Was the lock allowing us to secure both wheels, or did we need an extra lock for that? What limitations did each lock impose on security, and were those limitations easy prey for experienced thieves?

In the last phase of testing, we transformed ourselves into bike thieves. Using common hand tools, we attempted to compromise each lock by combining brute strength, ingenuity, and, when that failed, technology. Last, we pulled out a power tool and cut through each model with an electric angle grinder to see how long it took and how many cuts were necessary to free the bike from the lock. Bike security ain't no joke, so we bought, used, and destroyed every single lock in this review to leave no corner unturned.

Related: How We Tested Bike Locks

Simple and secure  this model is truly the Standard other locks wish to live up to.
Simple and secure, this model is truly the Standard other locks wish to live up to.

Analysis and Test Results


Finding the right bike lock is a pretty complicated process and not one that we recommend you take lightly. Make a wrong decision, and you risk losing your wheels, which is not only a huge financial bummer, but it's logistical, too. There's a huge range of bike lock products out there, and it's important that you find one that: 1) will keep your bike safe; but also 2) one that you want to carry, and 3) one that you will actually use. That's the funny thing about a bike lock-- it doesn't work if you leave it at home.

We designed this review around four central characteristics that define a useful bike lock: security, ease of transportation, ease of use and versatility. Security is the most important of these four--but, if a lock weighs a lot or is inconvenient, are you actually going to use it? That's where the rest of the criteria come into play.

Related: Buying Advice for Bike Locks

Locking up outside a watering hole during urban testing.
Locking up outside a watering hole during urban testing.

Value


We hate to say it, but the price does (for the most part) correlate to quality-- and quality, in this case, means the amount of time a lock will fend of a determined thief and make them question their return on investment (ROI) in stealing your bike. As it turns out, bike thieves and the rest of us have something in common: none of us wants to go to jail, and so they are inspired to steal bikes that are: 1) not locked properly or sufficiently, or 2) if the bike is worth the risk.


The Editors' Choice Kryptonite New York Standard U-Lock is not cheap, but it outperformed all the others, including locks costing 50% more. We consider it a good value for those looking for solid protection. For tighter budgets or less glamorous rides, our Best Buy Award winner may fit the bill. The Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 Standard U-Lock and Otto DesignWorks OTTOLOCK come in at nearly half the price. Both offer very strong bang for the buck, performing significantly better than average in our tests, while still being relatively affordable.

We really "drilled down" on the weak points of each lock we tested by using various weapons of bike lock destruction  including a cordless drill.
We really "drilled down" on the weak points of each lock we tested by using various weapons of bike lock destruction, including a cordless drill.

Security


Lock manufacturers don't share the same security rating standards. Neither do independent security testing organizations, like Sold Secure, that are popular references here in the States. Sold Secure is an independent, not-for-profit trade association that employs a small army of professional locksmiths to assess the security of various locking devices and mechanisms. Products are then rated based on their performance during the lock-cracking tests. Other organizations, such as VdS (a German independent testing institution for security and fire protection) and the Foundation ART (a group of Dutch organizations teaming together to prevent theft of two-wheeled vehicles), also submit products to rigorous professional-grade tests and rate them according to their performance. These organizations have no ties to manufacturers and are well-respected as holding a high standard of testing on many products, including bike locks.


For most cyclists, security is the most critical criterion to consider when choosing a lock, so we invested a lot of time in testing the security of each lock on this review roster. We first assessed each lock's apparent weak point and then attacked it. Then, we tried alternative attacks on a lock's integrity to make sure we were not missing any vital weaknesses. We used tools commonly employed by bike thieves in an attempt to compromise each lock and make away with the bicycle. We started with hand tools, including wire snips, a hammer, a hacksaw, and bolt cutters, then switched to an electric angle grinder, a cordless drill and even a car jack (because, yes, thieves also use those).

Bolt cutters 1  TiGr mini 0.
Bolt cutters 1, TiGr mini 0.

News flash: With the right tools and enough time, all locks can be defeated, and it doesn't take a genius to do it. A high score for security represents the level of theft deterrence, but it's not a guarantee of safety for your bike. To date, that guarantee doesn't exist. In the words of a skeptical cyclist: "if you think this lock is so great, why don't you take your race bike down to the college campus, lock it up, leave it overnight and see if it's there in the morning?" That's never a good idea because even the highest security lock breaks within minutes, not within hours. The hope is that those extra minutes are long enough for someone will notice the sparks flying and the evil smell of burning metal and stop the theft from happening.

The Kryptonite New York Standard Lock-- in our opinion  one of the best locks out there-- resisted the angle grinder for 42 seconds-- which means a thief would have to stick around for at least 1 minute and twenty seconds (you need to make two  not one  cuts to free a bike) in order to be successful. Cutting with this thing isn't exactly subtle  which is why we think it's a pretty awesome bike lock.
The Kryptonite New York Standard Lock-- in our opinion, one of the best locks out there-- resisted the angle grinder for 42 seconds-- which means a thief would have to stick around for at least 1 minute and twenty seconds (you need to make two, not one, cuts to free a bike) in order to be successful. Cutting with this thing isn't exactly subtle, which is why we think it's a pretty awesome bike lock.

The Kryptonite New York models took the highest scores in this metric. The Standard U-lock, Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock, and Fahgettaboudit Mini proved to be some of the toughest locks to crack. These models have hardened steel bars ranging 14 mm to 18 mm that resisted attack from all our hand-powered tools without flinching, including a 36" bolt cutter. When it came to the angle grinder, each of these locks took the longest to slice through completely (nearly a minute of hard-core, sparks-flying slicing). Moreover, for these locks, one cut wasn't enough. Due to their well-designed dual locking mechanisms, they required two separate cuts of their U bars to free the bike, doubling the getaway time. It would take thief at least one and a half minutes of sparks a-flying to compromise one of these locks. The ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 also required two cuts from the angle grinder before releasing the bike frame, as did the Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7.

While inferior locks fell victim to hand tools  we had to use an electric angle grinder to defeat the ABUS Granit X-PLus U-lock.
While inferior locks fell victim to hand tools, we had to use an electric angle grinder to defeat the ABUS Granit X-PLus U-lock.

The other U-locks reviewed also withstood all hand tool attacks but only required a single cut from the electric angle grinder to become compromised, hence a lower security score. Each of these locks took approximately 25-40 seconds to cut. No amount of hammer slamming, hacksawing, or bolt cutting was able to beat them. The same goes for the Hiplok chain and locking mechanism. Of course, the cables accompanying the Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 and OnGuard Bulldog DT locks were defeated by most hand tools in our arsenal. Cables shouldn't be used to secure a frame, but they do improve a lock's versatility by securing more components.

A cable lock alone is not a very effective deterrent, but when used in addition to another lock, it steps up the effectiveness of your bike security. Less thieves are willing to risk getting caught to steal a bike saddle or a mediocre wheel. By adding a cable, you can add another layer of inconvenience for thieves who are looking for quick saddles, panniers, or free wheels to snatch. Consider adding an inexpensive Kryptonite Kryptoflex Cable to any lock you choose. A four-foot cable is an appropriate length for most bikes.

Don't say we didn't try: our testers put their whole being into testing these locks  including the bolt cutters on the FoldyLock Compact. This little lock surprised us-- it withstood even our most aggressive assaults.
Don't say we didn't try: our testers put their whole being into testing these locks, including the bolt cutters on the FoldyLock Compact. This little lock surprised us-- it withstood even our most aggressive assaults.

The folding locks were a significant step down in security in comparison to the chain and U-locks. The ABUS uGrip Bordo fared better than the INBIKE model, which was defeated in a single hammer blow. It was comparable to the FoldyLock Compact which had a superior locking mechanism and joints, but that was defeated much more quickly by the angle grinder. The obvious weak points of folding locks are the rotating rivets. The bolt cutters couldn't bite through the metal plates, but working the blades around the rivets, it took only 10-15 seconds to bust the ABUS and INBIKE models. Surprisingly, the FoldyLock resisted this attack.

Locking up at a lakeside concert in a mountain town  the Ottolock stands out as more secure than several cable locks surrounding it.
Locking up at a lakeside concert in a mountain town, the Ottolock stands out as more secure than several cable locks surrounding it.

We were surprised by the security the presented in the Ottolock Cinch. It resisted the hacksaw and wire snips in our test, although we expect a tool like tin snips might have a chance. Maybe. The large bolt cutters struggled for a few minutes before finally achieving a mangled cut. The steel band core is wrapped in Kevlar, which makes cutting through this product less straightforward — it's annoyingly tough. We found it to rival the security of the TiGr mini, which mostly only appears more secure. The mini was defeated in just a few seconds by the bolt cutters, and with 10 minutes of dedication, you can cut through it with a cheap hacksaw. Both of these locks offer mid-level security at best while weighing much less than models we tested with similar security.

The ABUS Bordo 5700 stood up to the Angle grinder for about 30 seconds. A bystander-- a bike shop employee-- commented "Dude  that smells like evil." The comparable lock-- the FoldyLock Compact-- only withstood the angle grinder for 11 seconds but was more secure against attacks from a cordless drill  bolt cutters  and a hacksaw.
The ABUS Bordo 5700 stood up to the Angle grinder for about 30 seconds. A bystander-- a bike shop employee-- commented "Dude, that smells like evil." The comparable lock-- the FoldyLock Compact-- only withstood the angle grinder for 11 seconds but was more secure against attacks from a cordless drill, bolt cutters, and a hacksaw.

As expected, the poorest performers in this metric were the cable locks, such as the cable-only OnGuard Akita and Kryptonite KryptoFlex 1218 Combo Lock. The HipLoz Z Lok was defeated rather quickly, too, as it is essentially a zip tie with a key. A thief with nearly any tool can defeat these locks, making them a perilous choice in urban and most suburban settings. They are best reserved for short periods when unsupervised in low crime areas. In other words, these locks are intended to prevent the opportunistic "snatch-and-grab" that often occurs when a cyclist dismounts the bike with the intention of only being away for seconds (a dash to the restroom, or to fill up a water bottle at a nearby fountain) only to find their bike gone the second they turn their back.

Ben hammers through the locking mechanism of the Akita in a few fatal blows.
Ben hammers through the locking mechanism of the Akita in a few fatal blows.

The security metric held the most weight in our review, but not everyone requires the same level of security out of their product. For example, someone leaving a mid-priced bike outside her or his college town workplace may not need as much security as someone securing the same bike up outside their urban apartment overnight. Or, if you're a cyclist who wants to make sure that your bike is safe when you're taking a pit stop, well, that's something else entirely. The great news is that there is a lock for every occasion, and we encourage you to think about where you're locking your bike and for how long to assess what level of security you actually need. And, it goes without saying: no matter how much you spend on a product, it won't do you any good if you don't use it properly, so be sure to practice the best methods to use your lock to maximize security.

A $6 hacksaw cut through this $80 lock in about seven minutes. (Note  we have tested two separate Bordo's  one lime green and one gray/black)
A $6 hacksaw cut through this $80 lock in about seven minutes. (Note, we have tested two separate Bordo's, one lime green and one gray/black)

Ease of Transport


How simple a lock is to transport plays a part in the likelihood of always having it with you. If a lock is so inconvenient to carry around with you, you're probably not going to use it. We examined the portability of each lock by riding around with them (mounted to the bike frame if one is included provided), by carrying them in a jersey pocket, or by shoving them in a bag (backpack, pannier, camera bags). These tests helped us to determine whether or not carrying the lock around was a habit we wanted to keep or kick. Of course, there are many bike upgrades and accessories that create more carrying options like installing a basket or buying a quality messenger bag or pannier that make it easier to ride with a load. While those options were in our minds, we focused on the features of the product and any included hardware.


The folding locks proved to be among the easiest models to transport, with the FoldyLock Compact and ABUS uGrip Bordo being preferred over the INBIKE model. Both the ABUS and the FoldyLock crunch up into a compact shape that slides into a backpack or messenger bag without taking up much space, or even in generously sized pant pockets. They also both come with easy-to-use frame mounts that can be strapped onto the bike. In fact, these frame mounts were our favorites. Both fit onto nearly any cylindrical bike frame and, while easy to slide into and remove from the mount, it remained in place without rattling or ever coming close to falling out. It's also worth mentioning that both weigh considerably less than every chain and U-lock we analyzed.

A standard deck of cards for size contrast between the ABUS model on the left and the INBIKE lock on the right. Folding locks offer low to mid-security  but are awesome for easy portability.
The portability of the FoldyLock Compact made it a pleasure to carry around town. The bike mount adapts to your bottle cage  so you don't have to remove your bottle holder. It also comes with straps to mount to other parts of the bike frame.

The Ottolock, however, won our prize for the best lightweight model around due to its small size (it rolls up to a nice, neat coil) and at 5.3 ounces, you'll hardly notice the addition of the lock, whether you carry it in your pocket, a backpack, or wrapped around your bike frame. The one-pound TiGr mini is also convenient to transport, either with its frame mount or stuffed in a pack.

We really loved mounting this lock directly to the frame of our commuter bike. The frame size of this bike is 52  so keep in mind that smaller bikes will not have as much room for the lock as this one.
We really loved mounting this lock directly to the frame of our commuter bike. The frame size of this bike is 52, so keep in mind that smaller bikes will not have as much room for the lock as this one.

The wearable design of the Hiplok Original is a great innovation that makes transporting the lock relatively easy, despite weighing over four pounds. It allows you to attach the chain around your waist like a belt-- something that other locks of a similar weight (read: U-Locks) cannot do. Weight worn on your body is less noticeable than weight worn in a bag, pack, and even on the frame. Initially, we didn't expect this design to be comfortable around our midsection, but we were wrong. It's surprisingly comfortable, confirmed by our male and female testers. The Superbright version of this lock (which is the version we tested) comes with a large reflective stripe on the exterior of the nylon sheath which is positioned on the lower back when worn correctly. We like this attention to riding safety by adding another way to be visible on the streets in low light. No other model reviewed has reflective material. These reasons, coupled with its robust security, primarily influenced our decision to award it as our Top Pick for Commuting.

With the shackle locked to a chain link on one end  the strip of sturdy velcro runs through a bar on the shackle and secures to the nylon sheath. Even during fast and bumpy rides  it never loosened around our testers' hips.
With the shackle locked to a chain link on one end, the strip of sturdy velcro runs through a bar on the shackle and secures to the nylon sheath. Even during fast and bumpy rides, it never loosened around our testers' hips.

Cable locks, because they are lightweight and can be easily stuffed into all sorts of bags, are easy to transport. The KryptoFlex 1218 comes with a frame mount, but you'll need to carry the Akita 8041 in your bag or pack. Our testers weren't huge fans of coiling the cables around their top tubes of a bike frame, which is time-consuming and not very stable.

Now, U-locks. These heavy-hitters are secure and rigid, which is great when you're talking about security, but less great when you want to ride a bike with them. U-locks are by far more cumbersome to carry than most other locks, no matter if you carry them in a bag or on a bike frame. Each U-lock tested, except for the Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini, comes with a frame mount, though some are better than others. The most secure U-lock mount comes with the ABUS Granit X-Plus. Be aware that the large size of this lock might be too big to fit into the main triangle of small bike frames, such as kids bikes and some adult models, such as a bike for someone 5'2 and shorter. We also like the Transit FlexFrame that ship with the New York Standard, KryptoLok Series 2, and Kryptonite Evolution Mini, although these too can be difficult on small frames.

This is the only model that offers two different bracket mounts at the time of purchase. The one we tested requires the user to lock it into the mounting bracket  while the other one doesn't.
This is the only model that offers two different bracket mounts at the time of purchase. The one we tested requires the user to lock it into the mounting bracket, while the other one doesn't.

It's worth mentioning that the easiest product to carry in this review is the HipLok Z Lok which, at 1.3 ounces, weighs next to nothing. We hardly noticed this zip-tie model, whether it was attached to the frame of the bike, under the saddle, or on our wrist--making a cycling-fashion forward statement our testers could get behind. While it's not much of a deterrent for even a clumsy thief, this inexpensive lock may be enough to prevent the snatch-and-grab opportunist for when you need to park the bike for a dash to nature's call.

The included mount bracket on the ABUS Granit X-Plus is the sturdiest of all frame mounts we tested.
The included mount bracket on the ABUS Granit X-Plus is the sturdiest of all frame mounts we tested.

Kryptonite's Fahgettaboudit Mini lost points here because although it is compact, it weighs the most of all U-locks tested and doesn't come with a mounting bracket. Even though it's small, it tended to beat the crap out of loose papers and other contents in our backpacks. It wore on our tester's nerves, so we docked points in this category even though the lock itself is very secure.

Lastly, the Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock is truly a heavyweight — weighing over 15 pounds, this large lock isn't something you will probably EVER want to carry around with you. This land-bound bike anchor is meant to stay put--on a bike rack-- which means this lock scored terribly in the transportation category but got a top score in security.

Our testers tried various methods of transporting this monstrous chain lock  but we didn't like any of them.
Our testers tried various methods of transporting this monstrous chain lock, but we didn't like any of them.

Ease of Use


It probably sounds silly to say, but just because you have opposable thumbs doesn't necessarily mean that you're an expert in using a bike lock. If you're not used to the mechanics of taking off the front wheel of the bike and threading a lock through two sets of spokes and a bike rack, well, there's a little bit of a learning curve. This metric tested the added difficulty each lock imposed on this process, whether due to its size, shape, weight, or structure. Specifically, we asked how quickly it was to secure and unsecure each lock? What design features made the securing up process that much easier?


A shout out to the manufacturer's here: all the products we tested ran smoothly through the gauntlet of opening and closing countless times. We experienced no jams or stuck keys throughout our three months of testing with each product. Still, some were easier to use than others. The cable locks are straightforward and easy to weave through wheels and frames at bike racks, and their flexibility is convenient when faced with awkward structures, such as trees or lampposts.

The Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain, on the other hand, is hard to control its links when wrapping up our bikes to immovable structures. We lived in constant fear of chipping the paint on our bikes as the huge links clunked around. If you're picky about the appearance of your bike, be wary of this chain model. In a similar vein, the folding locks tended to spring open when turning the key, which sometimes sent the exposed steel plates flying into our frames. The coating on the Ottolock Cinch ensured us that it won't nick or damage our paint jobs and brewery stickers.

The Ottolock is easy to use. And  with the combination lock  easy to lock up and take off.
The Ottolock is easy to use. And, with the combination lock, easy to lock up and take off.

The U-locks tend to be less accommodating when it came to locking a bike to anything but a bike rack-- especially if your wheels are mountain bike or fat bike wheels. These locks serve cyclists best when there is a rack present at their destination, and not for most fat bike tires. A U-lock for the frame and another lock (cable or otherwise) for the wheels would work nicely, but this arrangement also increases the amount of time spent locking up.

However, when it comes to standard bike racks, U-locks are simple enough to use. The Fahgettaboudit Mini is easy to manage due to its small size. The KryptoLok Series 2 Standard has a feature they call the "bent foot" which allows you to insert one end of the "U" then leverage that side to insert the remaining end. This feature is excellent for usability but decreases the product's security, so we understand why the burly New York Series U-Locks have dual locking mechanisms within their crossbars.

Consider where you want to lock up your wheels, and if there are secure bike racks nearby, before selecting a lock.

Notice the "bent foot" design that the KryptoLok offers. This end of the shackle is inserted into the crossbar first  and then you can use the leverage of the first end to insert the other side.
Notice the "bent foot" design that the KryptoLok offers. This end of the shackle is inserted into the crossbar first, and then you can use the leverage of the first end to insert the other side.

Even though bike locks aren't known as feature-laden devices, some of these features really did make these easier to use. Four Kryptonite locks, as well as the ABUS Granit X-Plus and OnGuard Bulldog, come with a small light (either LED or HID) on one of the included keys, which is convenient when fiddling with your lock in the dark. We also appreciated the dust covers that were featured on every U-lock, plus the disc lock of the Fahgettaboudit Chain. The best one, though, belongs to the Granit X-Plus which is an automatic cover that is pushed out of the way by the key as you insert it. Keeping precipitation and sediment out of the locking mechanism reduces friction within the locking mechanism and prolongs its lifespan, and we appreciate that ABUS doesn't leave that protection up to our forgetfulness.

Use the hook and loop straps to mount this lock in mere seconds. You can easily trim the straps specific to your bike frame.
Use the hook and loop straps to mount this lock in mere seconds. You can easily trim the straps specific to your bike frame.

We installed each mount onto multiple bikes and found that they were not created equally regarding user-friendliness. While the ABUS U-lock mount was annoying to install, yet the mount for the folding ABUS lock was a cinch to install and adjust. It either attaches to the screw holes of a water bottle cage or anywhere on the frame using two heavy duty hook and loop straps, which takes seconds to install. The bike mount for the FoldyLock Compact also had a neat feature: it attaches to the water bottle holder, but you don't have to remove your bottle cage to snap it into place. Sadly, the zip ties included with the INBIKE folding model were all but useless, which was frustrating.

It's also worth noting that the size of your bike will impact the ease of a frame-mount. While you could probably attach a whole handful of lock mounts to a 60+ bicycle frame, if you're petite and riding a 48 (think: the 5'2 and under club), then mounting a lock to the bike might mean you lose your capacity to carry a water bottle or (sometimes) that the mount won't work at all. This isn't a huge deal if your commute is short and you don't mind carrying your water in your backpack, but not having water within easy reach gets annoying for many cyclists, including some of our testers.

Our Best Buy Award winner  the Kryptolok Series 2 Standard  out and about on the streets of Reno  NV. Shown here  this lock wouldn't likely fit on a bike frame any smaller than this one from one of our 5'4" testers.
Our Best Buy Award winner, the Kryptolok Series 2 Standard, out and about on the streets of Reno, NV. Shown here, this lock wouldn't likely fit on a bike frame any smaller than this one from one of our 5'4" testers.

Versatility


In case you've never thought about it, a bike isn't rideable with its front wheel stolen unless you've got skills like these. If you're not interested in learning how, consider getting a lock that secures that front wheel. Quick release skewers make front tires easy pickings. Other components thieves like to snatch include: saddles, bike lights, and rear wheels. If bikes are left out long enough, the entire bike might get stripped down to the locked frame.


The most versatile models we tested are the U-locks that come with cables (although there is always the option to buy two U-locks, of course). The OnGuard Bulldog DT, KryptoLok Series 2 and the Evolution Mini-7 all come with a four-foot long rubberized cable to secure both wheels and seat (through the stays). Some of us found this cable to be a relief because it meant we didn't have to take the front tire off. Which, now that bikes have disc brakes, made it a lot easier to use.

Cable-only models also cover your whole bike (except that the ends are often too large to secure seats), yet we don't consider leaving your entire bike security up to a single cable to be a brilliant idea in most environments. The long chain of the Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock is long enough to secure both wheels and the frame to an immovable structure, but don't expect to feed the hefty links through your saddle stays.

The Fahgettaboudit chain provides enough length and flexibility to lock up both wheels with the frame without needing to remove the front one.
The Fahgettaboudit chain provides enough length and flexibility to lock up both wheels with the frame without needing to remove the front one.

Even though it's not always easy or convenient, it's a good practice to remove the front wheel and position it to lock up with the rear wheel and frame. The U-locks and folding locks can lock up a wheel and the frame, but depending on your tire size, they might not handle two wheels in the method described. The Hiplok is more flexible and provides a larger internal area for fitting even fat tires, the frame, and the structure you are using as an anchor.

Here's a photo demonstration of how to secure both wheels and the frame. The Hiplok makes this maneuver easy with its flexibility and above-average size.
Here's a photo demonstration of how to secure both wheels and the frame. The Hiplok makes this maneuver easy with its flexibility and above-average size.

Even with recent additions to our bike lock roster, three locks still made it all but impossible to lock both wheels and the frame to a structure. The INBIKE, TiGr mini and Fahgettaboudit Mini were too small to even fit two thin road tires along with the frame to most bike racks. They could, at least, lock a wheel and the frame together, although the mini struggles with fat tires.

Even the Fahgettaboudit Mini fit around the frame and a wheel of our road bike with skinny tires.
Even the Fahgettaboudit Mini fit around the frame and a wheel of our road bike with skinny tires.

Other Uses for Your Lock


Throughout testing, we found many other uses for these products, especially the bigger U-locks and the chain models. We locked the back tire of a dirt bike to its brake rotor, tire of a trailer to its frame so it couldn't move, a mountain board to a bike trailer, and some random items in our gear garage when traveling.

Keep your mind open to other things a lock can secure — the bigger the lock, the more options for locking things. However, if the lock were too big and cumbersome, we wouldn't bring it. So for the dirt bike and mountain board, we liked the medium sizes (6-8 inches in total length).

Want the security of a U-Lock and the versatility of a cable? The Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7 offers both! This lock is ideal for riders who HATE taking off their front wheel (and live/work in a place where  with just a little added security  they don't have to.)
Want the security of a U-Lock and the versatility of a cable? The Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7 offers both! This lock is ideal for riders who HATE taking off their front wheel (and live/work in a place where, with just a little added security, they don't have to.)

Lock Maintenance


To prolong the life of your security device, regular maintenance is key. How frequently you do this is largely dependent upon your climate. If you live in a harsh climate with high amounts of rain and snow or an area near salt water, monthly maintenance may be necessary. In other climates or regions, though, a little lock love every two to three months should suffice.

Focus your cleaning and lubrication efforts on any moving parts and areas where parts attach, such as keyholes, deadbolts, the ends of u-lock shackles, and cylinders. Clean these parts first with a rag, using a spray product like WD40 if there is any visible corrosion or heavy grime. After cleansing, apply a lubricant. Dry, Teflon-based lubricants are typically recommended for use on locks. Lubricate as directed on the bottle or box. Make sure to insert your key and turn it several times to spread the lubricant around. Your local bike shop can help you select products for cleaning and lubricating.

The ABUS Bordo 5700 gives you peace of mind at your favorite cafe knowing that your bike is safe  enabling you to enjoy your day.
The ABUS Bordo 5700 gives you peace of mind at your favorite cafe knowing that your bike is safe, enabling you to enjoy your day.

Conclusion


Choosing a bike lock can be overwhelming! But, it's a necessary evil for most cyclists, especially those who use their bike as their primary (or only) method of transportation. Losing your bike to a faulty or insufficient lock is unacceptable, so we want you to find the one that works right for you. Think about what you want, where you lock your bike, and what level of inconvenience you are prepared to deal with, and pair those considerations with the locks outlined here. Your decision depends on a handful of factors varying from whether you are looking for the strongest lock on the market, the most convenient for quick stops or if you want a lock that is light and easy to carry around. We hope this review sheds light on this sometimes complicated product so that you can make the decision that's the best for you and your bike.


Ross Robinson and Rebecca Eckland