Best bike locks 2018: don't be a victim of crime

Deter thieves, avoid insurance claims and protect your prized bike with locks from quick and convenient to Fort Knox-grade protection

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So, you've gone out and bought your dream bicycle. You've spent some additional hard-earned dollar on aero-optimised gear, and a sturdy yet sleek bicycle helmet has eaten up any additional savings.

The last thing on any cyclist's shopping list is typically a decent bike lock, but anyone thinking of parking up their fancy steed anywhere outside of an impenetrable super-fortress, should bump it up to the very top.

Bike locks have come a very long way since the days of spindly cables, easily hack-able combination chains and bulky motorcycle-style shackle locks – although for long-term protection, there's a lot to be said for them, of course.

It's now possible to get bike locks that are small, sturdy and smart, and can be whipped on while you're in the shops, to deter opportunist scumbags. Some modern criminal deterrents even come with hi-tech features such as the ability to unlock via your phone's Bluetooth, and even GPS tracking and alarm systems.

How to buy the best bike lock

There are a number of things to consider before parting with your cash in return for a good modern lock and they concern weight, size and any fancy additional features.

The first thing to bear in mind is that you will probably want not one but two locks, if you live in an area with high bike crime (ie: all big cities in the UK).

Typically, the smaller the lock, the lighter and more convenient it will be to carry around town, with brands such as Hiplok offering small devices that clip to belt loops for easy transportation. 

These are great if you only want to leave your bike behind for a short time, or as secondary locks. However, they can be a pain to loop through bikes frames and have enough lock left to reach something secure, meaning you could leave quick release wheels and saddles vulnerable to tea leaves.

At the other end of the spectrum there are enormous chains from the likes of Oxford and Abus, which will deter even the hardiest light-fingered folk but will also take up most of the room in your backpack, not to mention weigh you down.

Irritatingly, lock manufacturers don't adhere to one universal security rating, so you'll likely see sliding scales used to describe a lock's robustness. These can be from 1-10, 1-15 and 1-100, or use the SoldSecure rating of bronze, silver and gold.

Finally, many modern locks also offer additional features, such as Bluetooth smartphone tethering for keyless entry, flashing lights for safer cycling and even built-in alarm systems. These will clearly cost extra but the extra smart features could prove indispensable for those who have a track record for losing keys or simply want their lock to work harder when not in use.

What is the best bike lock?

What, you can't be bothered to read our in-depth analyses? Here are our top recommends then.

Best lock overall:  Abus Bordo Lite 6050.

Best compact, 'quick' lock: Ottolock

Best heavy duty lock: Kryptonite Keeper Folding Lock 810.

Best smart lock: Noke

The best bike lights, in order

Abus Bordo Lite 6050

1. Abus Bordo Lite 6050

Strong, light and it folds down to fit in a pocket

Specifications
Weight: 650g
Mechanism: Key
Size: 85cm
Construction: Spring steel/silicone
Reasons to buy
+Compact+Easily transportable+Good security rating
Reasons to avoid
-High price-Too small for multiple bikes

Despite its diminutive size, the Abus Bordo Lite 6050 offers a level 7 (on a scale of 1-15) in terms of security. This is thanks to the 5mm-thick bars that make up the unique design, with each featuring a core of light steel with a synthetic coating to prevent damage to your bicycle's paintwork.

Better still, it folds down small enough to stuff in a jersey pocket when tackling a weekend ride,  but can easily wrap around the rear wheel, frame and lamppost when parked up outside the favoured coffee shop.

Ottolock

2. Ottolock

Cinch lock design makes it perfect for quick coffee stops

Specifications
Weight: 120g
Mechanism: Combination wheel
Size: 46cm to 152cm
Construction: Steel and Kevlar
Reasons to buy
+Cut resistant+Super small+Quite attractive as locks go
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn't replace D-lock

Those looking to travel light should consider the Ottolock, which is darned near the lightest thing on this list. Available in three sizes (from 46cm to 152cm) it wraps around an object like a giant cable tie and fastens with a clever ratchet-esque system.

To unlock, it's simply a case of entering a unique code into the barrel lock, cinching the lock back into place and cycling away with a mere 120g in your back pocket.

Granted, the smaller locks might struggle to wrap around chunkier bikes, but these handy clasps could be used as an additional safety measure for quick-release wheels, baskets and other bicycle accessories that have a tendency to go walkies.

Kryptonite Keeper Folding Lock 810

3. Kryptonite Keeper Folding Lock 810

Heavy duty chain without the heavy duty pain

Specifications
Weight: 770g
Mechanism: Key and barrel
Size: 100cm
Construction: 8mm hardened steel
Reasons to buy
+Built tough+Folds down small
Reasons to avoid
-Barrel locks can be fiddly-Not the toughest Kryptonite lock out there

This ace Kryptonite Keeper number is like the hybrid lovechild of an old school chain lock with the portability of a modern folding number.

At 770g, it's heavier than the others here but that does mean it offers a good safety rating and acts as a pretty good visual deterrent for any opportunistic thieves on the prowl. The 360-degree link rotation means it folds down small and it comes with its own carry mechanism, for transporting in a bag or pocket, as well as a bike frame mount.

Abus Granit Extreme 59

4. Abus Granit Extreme 59

Probably the toughest D lock on the market

Specifications
Weight: 2.7kg
Type: D lock
Size: 25 x 11cm
Construction: 16mm square hardened steel parabolic shackle
Reasons to buy
+Super tough – designed for motorcycles+Double bolted+Sold Secure Gold rating
Reasons to avoid
-No carry bracket included

For full peace of mind when locking your bike up all day, this D lock is the ideal weight, being not too heavy to carry but robust enough to keep your bike secure and resist tampering. It has a 16 mm shackle and is made from hardened steel so any thief would have a tough time trying to get into this lock. 

It’s easy to carry in a backpack and it is bigger than your average lock so it’s easy to attach. Hard to beat, when it comes to D locks. 

Knog Bouncer D-Lock

5. Knog Bouncer D-Lock

Best 'designer' D-lock, with a silicone skin that's gentle on your bike's frame

Specifications
Weight: 850g
Mechanism: Key and barrel
Size: 18.5 x 12.5 x 3.5cm
Construction: Silicone over moulded plated hardened steel U-lock
Reasons to buy
+Easier on bike frames+Good value+Looks cool
Reasons to avoid
-Limited locking space

D-locks are some of the toughest cookies on the market, requiring a serious set of industrial cutters to slice through the steel construction, but they can also be tough on delicate bike frames.

The guys at Knog have simply covered their D-lock in a thick silicone material to protect your frame from damage. It also means the Bouncer looks pretty cool, with the lock available in black, white or teal.

Stylish additions aren't in place of proper safety either, with a double locking mechanism securing both sides of the shackle and a high-security disk style lock barrel designed for a minimum of 2500 key combinations.

Hiplok FLX

6. Hiplok FLX

A portable lock with a built-in light – how's that for multi-tasking?

Specifications
Weight: 100g
Mechanism: Combination lock
Size: 23cm x 7.5cm
Construction: 4mm braided steel cable
Reasons to buy
+Clips on to jeans+Additional rear light+Small and light
Reasons to avoid
-Not particularly tough-Low risk stops only

A word of warning: this lock probably isn't going to deter the most determined bike burglars but it does clip onto the back of a jersey or jeans when not needed, and acts as a pretty powerful 10 lumen rear light, as well as a deterrent to opportunist thieves.

The Hiplok FLX's construction is pretty cool. A 0.9m cable slides out of the little box and clips into the opposing shackle for stress-free short stops when out and about. A simple three-digit combination lock gives access to the bike when you return, at which point the steel cable neatly retracts back into the unit.

Hiplok Gold

7. Hiplok Gold

Best heavy-duty chain

Specifications
Weight: 2.4kg
Mechanism: Key and barrel
Size: 85cm
Construction: 10mm hardened steel chain, 12mm hardened steel shackle
Reasons to buy
+Bosses high risk areas+You can wear it like a belt+Sold Secure Gold rated
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy and chunky-Not very funky

Live in a problem area that's absolutely riddled with bike thieves? You need to bring out the big guns and, to continue the military pun, the Hiplok Gold is an absolute weapon.

Its 10mm hardened steel chain will withstand even the toughest cutting tools, while the steel shackle features an additional 2mm of steel reinforcement... just in case.

Luckily, the tough chain is covered in a soft nylon shroud and there's a cool buckle device at the front, which means it can be worn like a belt when not in use.

As a result, there's also a reflective chevron design on the outer casing, which lights up like a Christmas tree when hit by a vehicle's front lamps.

Bulky, yes, but this thing offers superb protection, which is a must if you're thinking of locking up an expensive bike outside for lengthy periods of time.

 

Noke Smart Bluetooth Padlock

8. Noke Smart Bluetooth Padlock

Best 'smart' Bluetooth lock

Specifications
Weight: 225g
Mechanism: Bluetooth smart lock
Size: 5.5cm x 8.4cm
Construction: Steel and a boron-hardened shackle
Reasons to buy
+Keyless entry via Bluetooth+Share access with friends+Lock location services
Reasons to avoid
-Requires separate chain-Battery needs replacing after a year

Keys have been around for thousands of years, so don't you think we should replace them with something smarter? If you're in the 'yes' camp,  take a look at the Noke smart padlock.

Obviously, you will have to purchase a separate chain to make the most of the Noke, but the way it tethers to Android and iOS devices via Bluetooth and a bespoke app is very smart. It then grants you keyless access to the lock, and you can also grant access to friends and family by sharing a code to their app. Obviously this ability to grant entry to others is more useful for post boxes and sheds than it is for bicycles, but if you are in a bike-sharing scenario, it's potentially handy.

Better still, if your phone or tablet dies the Noke has a failsafe mechanism that involves tapping a unique pattern, morse-code style, to release the lock. It can survive in temperatures as low as -23°C and as high as 65°C, as well as take a hammering from the British weather.

Litelok Gold

9. Litelok Gold

A flexible lock that’s easy to store and transport

Specifications
Weight: 1.1kg
Type: Flexible
Size: 74 (L) x 6.5cm (W)
Construction: High-tensile metal & polymer composite
Rating: Sold Secure Gold
Reasons to buy
+Super light yet strong+Frame mount straps included
Reasons to avoid
-A bit on the short side, though you can link two together

This flexible and fluorescent lock is easy to use, transport and store. It folds away neatly so you can pack it in a bag, and its radioactive yellow colour means you won’t have any trouble locating your bike in the dark. 

It’s lightweight but incredibly secure, with just a simple clicking lock mechanism that requires a key to unlock. It has two hooks and loops to make it easy to attach to the frame, and you can attach your bike to anything using this lock.

Hiplok Homie Gold

10. Hiplok Homie Gold

A lock for keeping your bike secure at home

Specifications
Weight: 4.2kg
Type: Chain
Size: 150cm
Construction: 12mm hardened steel shackle, 10mm hardened steel chain.
Reasons to buy
+Long enough to secure multiple bikes +Fabric sleeve to protect bikes+Integrated wall hook+Sold Secure Gold rated
Reasons to avoid
-Not terribly portable

This super-heavy, extra-long bike lock is ideal for keeping bikes locked up at home. Whether it be in the garden, garage or shed, this durable chain is practical and comes with coded keys. 

The chain is covered by a fabric sleeve which will protect your bike from any scratches on the paintwork, and although incredibly heavy, you’ll have peace of mind your bike isn’t going anywhere if left at home for long periods of time.

Oxford Alarm-D Midi

11. Oxford Alarm-D Midi

An alarmed bike lock to deter thieves

Specifications
Weight: 1.2kg
Type: D lock
Size: 26 x 17 x 1.4cm
Construction: 4mm Hardened steel
Reasons to buy
+Compact and light yet tough and strong+Nice, loud alarm+Sold Secure Silver rated
Reasons to avoid
-Annoying if alarm goes off accidentally-Small size limits what you can lock your bike to

This robust D lock includes an alarm system that will set off a loud alarm should someone try to tamper with the lock or your bike. This is great if you leave your bike somewhere quickly to nip into shops or when away camping. 

Simply attach the lock to your wheel if you have nothing to lock it to, and the alarm will be in place for added security. It also comes with an extendable lead so you can lock several bikes together, or secure frame, front and rear wheel in one go.