Bike Lock Buying Guide
Types of Locks
- D Locks- D locks, also called U locks, are the most durable lock available. They will vary in weight, solidity, length and features. D locks or U locks as they are also called will lock your bike securely to any non-movable object.
Just loop the cable through the wheel and frame, secure it to whatever non-movable object you choose such as a post, bike rack, telephone pole or some other secure place and lock it. Your bike will be completely safe and resistant to all kinds of attacks including picking and cutting.
- Chain Locks – A chain bike lock is made from anodized chain that is covered with plastic to protect the chain from rusting and also to keep it from scratching the frame of your bike. This type of bike lock is available in a variety of lengths and thicknesses.
Most chain locks are rated using the Solid Secure ratings. Chain locks can be keybased or combination based. Some don’t like chain due to the fact that is can be cut with bolt cutters easier than the twisted cable locks can.
- Cable Locks – A cable lock is much more flexible than a chain lock and comes in longer lengths which provide a lot more versatility for the user. Cable locks are designed with intertwined metal fibers that are covered in plastic to prevent rust.
Cable locks are available in key and combination models and are perfect for carrying with you in a backpack or bag due to their light weight.
No lock is 100% failsafe, so in the event that someone does steal your bike, you can give yourself some additional protection by using a marking kit. This type of kit can help the police identify your bike if it is recovered so you can get it back. Sometimes police departments offer free marking services, so you can ask your local station if they have anything of this nature.
Location Information and Tips
Where you choose to leave your bike is very important in regards to keeping it safe. Side streets, alleys and secluded places should be avoided as places to leave your bike even with a lock. Look for places that have heavier foot traffic and good lighting. This will discourage anyone from trying to steal the bike because it is out of eye sight.
Types of Locking Mechanisms
There are two types of locking mechanisms that bike locks use: key locks and combination locks. Keyed locks will either have regular flat keys or cylindrical keys. The older cylindrical locks used to be able to be picked easily but advancements in design have eliminated this problem and now either type of key is good. Bike locks that are keyed come with two keys so you will have a back up if needed. Keyed locking systems are usually found on U locks and sometimes cable and chain locks.
Combination locks are convenient because you don’t have to worry about remembering to bring a key. You do have to remember the combination, but as long as you choose one that you can remember easily then they are extremely easy to use. Don’t choose a combination that is easy to figure out such as consecutive numbers. Think of a 4 or 5 digit combination but make sure that it is one that you will not have a hard time remembering. Cable locks usually use a combination locking mechanism
Things to Consider
There are a few things to consider when it comes to choosing the right bike lock for your personal needs. These are things that you want to look for when you start searching through the different locks that are available. We have outlined these considerations below.
- Ease of Use – Once you get to where you’re going, you’ll need to lock your bike to something solid and immovable. This usually requires you to hold the bike up against the object you are locking it to. Make sure that the lock you choose is easy to use and doesn’t require both hands to work, if at all possible. If using the lock is really complicated, chances are you won’t bother with it and that increases the chances of your bike being stolen, even if you only leave it for minutes.
- Weatherproofing – Make sure that the bike lock you choose has protection from the elements. At some point the bike will be locked up in the rain or snow and it can rust if it is not weatherproofed. The major place that weatherproofing can come in handy is around the key barrel where rust can cause the key to not work at all.
- Lightweight – Since you will have to carry your bike lock with you when you’re riding, you don’t want to have to lug around a heavy, big lock. In general, the heavier the lock the more secure they usually are. There are some locks that come with special brackets that they can be attached to the bike frame. You will need to make sure that using the bracket to hold the bike lock is secure and you’re not in danger of losing the lock because the bracket fell off.
Bike Security Tips
These security tips will help keep increase the safety of your bike whenever you leave it locked up.
- Lock your bike every single time you leave it, even if you think you’ll “only be a minute” It doesn’t take but a second for someone to swipe it.
- Always keep the cable or shackle tight. Slack can be used against you, especially by an experienced thief.
- Don’t make the lock mechanism easy to get to. It may be a little bit of inconvenience to you to get it locked and unlocked, but if it is not easy to reach, it could deter them from even trying since it would take them longer to work with the lock.
- Don’t secure the bike to something easy to break such as a wooden fence or tree. Use immovable and unbreakable things such as concrete poles, telephone poles, bike racks and other large, unbreakable things.
- Lock the bike up in plain sight. The more traffic there is around your bike, the less likely it will be messed with. Busy streets don’t guarantee safety of course, but if you have it in a quiet, out of the way place that is secluded, it gives the thief plenty of time to steal the bike.
Locking your bike up prevents others from just walking off with it. Your bike is a valuable item and leaving it unprotected is a sure way to lose it. With all of the choices available for bike locks, you may think that it is difficult to choose. We’ve taken the guess work out of the situation by sharing with you the things to look for when it comes to choosing the right bike lock. Securing your bike properly with a high quality bike lock will bring you peace of mind whenever you have to leave your bike unattended.