If you're an everyday biker, the question isn't whether to get a bike lock but how much of a lock you really need. The bad news is that no lock can completely prevent determined thieves with the right tools from making off with your ride. But that doesn't mean you have to make it easy for them.
Here are some options to consider whether your priority is all-out protection or something to or something small and affordable to dissuade any bike-stealing rogue from making off with your wheels.
TiGr’s mini and mini+ locks are a great option if you’re looking for a sleeker and lighter alternative to the traditional U-lock without going all the way to less secure cable locks. The mini+ (a larger version of the mini) is Sports Illustrated’s for best overall bike lock, with its light weight and smartly-designed locking mechanism earning it high marks. A
s they note, however, while the design is improved from previous versions, it still won’t completely deter a truly determined thief with the right tools.
Sigtuna’s locks are among the more consistently well-reviewed (and best-selling) affordable options among Amazon customers. The company’s Gear U-lock may not be the most lightweight option, but its 16mm steel shackle should be enough to deter most thieves looking to make off with your bike, and the included 1800 mm woven steel flex cable will help to provide some added protection to ensure your entire bike is secure.
Kryptonite’s locks have long been a faithful standby for many cyclists, and it’s no surprise that the company’s New-U Evolution Mini-7 continues to maintain that status. The lock is The Wirecutter’s (replacing the previous Evolution Mini-7), due in no small part to its combination of a fairly affordable price and solid protection for your ride. That includes the ability to withstand bolt cutters, as well as a year of anti-theft protection included in its asking price.
If you're looking for an even stronger U-lock than Kryptonite's Evolution, the company's New York Fahgettaboudit Mini is another widely recommended choice. It held up well in our own bike lock tests a few years back, and has been consistently well-reviewed by customers and other sites alike. The downside to that added strength, of course, is some considerable added weight: the Fahgettaboudit Mini one weighs in at a hefty 4.5 pounds.
Both this lock and the Evolution also come with a year of Kyrptonite's anti-theft protection (longer terms are available at an ). You'll want to check the fine print to see if additional insurance might be necessary.
The strongest bike locks aren't always the easiest to carry with you on your ride, but Hiplok's Chain Lock is easier than most. It's a beefy steel chain lock, but it's wrapped in nylon with an adjustable fastening system that lets you wear it around your waist. It's still on the heavy side at just under four pounds, but the weight to be well-distributed when worn around the waist and recommend it as a great option for bike commuters in particular.
Easily one of the more unique bike locks around, Master Lock's Street Cuffs aren't just a novelty. They're made of hardened laminated steel with no fixed anchor point to give a thief leverage to cut them, and their handcuff-style design means they can be conveniently folded up when not in use. An obvious drawback to that design, however, is that they'll only lock your bike's frame to an anchor point. You might want to bring along a separate cable to also loop through your wheels.
Protecting your bike is one thing, but there are plenty of bike thieves happy to make off with some of its parts if they can't take the whole thing. A system like Pitlock's Security Skewers will let you secure your wheels, seat, and other components to the bike itself, but still let you easily remove them when necessary thanks to a unique socket that comes with the skewers. They're available individually or in bundles.
Another U-lock that's been widely praised for years, Abus' Granit X Plus 540 was a clear in the site's most recent round of tests—so much so that they called it "one of the best U-locks ever." They were especially impressed by its combination of strength and relative light weight (just over three pounds), and also with its lock that easily passed their pick test. It doesn't come cheap, though.
$70 (and up)
It may not be the best option if you're leaving your bike in areas where theft is common, but a folding lock like the Abus Bordo 5700 is worth a look if you feel comfortable trading a bit of security for less weight and portability. While the lock's 5mm steel bars are no match for a set of bolt cutters or power tools, they will put up more resistance than a basic cable lock. When not in use, the lock can simply be folded up into a neat and tidy package and tossed in your bag.