Last updated: 17/10/2022

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This article is for those who can’t live without their bike and don’t want to risk losing it: we are going to talk about bicycle locks. Cycling is one of the most efficient, healthy and sustainable methods of transport.

Unfortunately, as they are often left outside for hours on end, bicycles are a common target for thieves. To prevent them from being stolen, you need to choose a great bike lock. However, this can be a difficult task as there are many criteria to consider. Therefore, in this article we will help you choose the best bike lock, considering the existing models, best options on the market and more.




Summary

  • Avoid cable bicycle locks, they are the easiest to break into.
  • Opt for the most expensive bike lock you can afford, it is an investment, and in this case the price dictates the quality of the product.
  • Pay attention to the materials used in your bike lock and always look for items of high strength.

The Best Bicycle Lock: Our Picks

Bicycle Lock: Shopping Guide

Bike theft is a problem that won’t go away anytime soon, so it’s advisable to protect your bike at all times. But remember: no bike lock is indestructible! So, how to choose the ideal one? The trick is to identify the right amount of security the lock offers in relation to the environment where you live and cycle, its ease of use and portability. This buying guide sets out to detail each of these aspects.

Garota trancando sua bicicleta com cadeado.

A bicycle lock is an essential item, especially if you live in large cities. (Source: 4559585 / 123RF)

What is a bicycle lock and when to use one?

A bicycle lock is a security device used to prevent bikes from being stolen, usually by securing it to a fixed object such as a bike rack. It is your main line of defence against thieves, and is therefore one of the most important items for a cyclist, whether casual or professional.

But when is it necessary to use one? The answer is pretty obvious: you should always use one. Unfortunately, bike theft is something that all bike owners should fear and prevent. Choosing a lock is just as important as choosing a saddle, because it should be used just as often.

How can I tell how strong a bicycle lock is?

Having a strong lock that will actually secure your bike is the most important part of buying this item. Therefore, you need to ensure that it is really strong. But how can you know which locks will be truly strong? In short, how do you judge the security of a lock?

The first thing to remember is that no bicycle lock is unbreakable. If a thief really wants to steal your bike, with the right tools and enough time, he can steal it. A bike lock just buys you time and makes the thief’s job harder. And the better the lock, the more time you gain. Generally speaking, the thicker a lock is, the better it will resist the various tools a thief can use. So it’s best to buy a bike lock that has international security certification.

Cadeado de bicicleta resistente preso na roda.

Every lock is breakable, what you can do is just buy time to remove your bike. (Source: MabelAmber / Pixabay)

Where to lock your bike?

A poorly locked bike on the street will disappear very quickly. Fortunately, thinking carefully about where – and how – you lock your bike on the street can go a long way towards preventing this from happening. While the type of neighbourhood you park your bike in will affect the precautions you need to take, there are some general tips you should always try to follow:

  • Choose an area monitored by security systems and cameras;
  • Lock your bicycle in the midst of many others;
  • Always lock your bike to a fixed, immovable object, ideally a bike rack;
  • Don’t lock your bike near places where you will clearly be for a long time, put it a little further away;
  • If you know it’s a high theft area, use extra security measures or more than one lock.

Bicicleta com cadeado de corrente.

Choose well the place where you will lock your bike. (Source: StockSnap / Pixabay)

What are the different types of bicycle locks?

Buying a lock is something that is extremely indispensable. But in the shop you’ll notice several different types of locks, ranging from sturdy U-shaped locks to smaller cables and chains, which can leave you a little confused. So we’ve separated information about each type for you to make your decision:

  • U-shapedbike lock: A U-shaped lock, as the name implies, is a giant U that attaches to your bike. Good U-locks provide a good balance between price, practicality and security.
  • Chain bike lock: These usually consist of a long metal chain and a large lock. Chain locks are easy to carry and their longer length means you can lock your bike to a wide range of objects.
  • Folding bike lock: These are made up of a series of metal plates connected by rivets. The best thing about these locks is the way they fold into the shape of a very compact and super easy to carry package.
  • Cable bike lock: Cable locks are usually made of many long, thin steel wires braided into a plastic tube. They are lightweight, flexible and generally cheap. However, this flexibility means that they are also not sturdy.
Bike lock Construction Advantages
U-shaped They are formed by a metal U Good balance between price, practicality and security
Chain They consist of a long metal chain and a large lock They are easy to carry and more versatile
Folding They consist of a series of metal plates connected by rivets They fold into the shape of a very compact package and are super easy to carry
Cable They are usually made of many long, thin steel wires braided into a plastic tube They are light, flexible and generally inexpensive

How much does it cost?

Generally, the more money you spend, the better quality your bike lock will be and the harder it will be to steal your bike. Many bike lock brands suggest spending 10% of the value of your bike on your lock. So the best recommendation is to spend as much as you can afford. A high quality bike lock will prevent future headaches.

Purchase Criteria: Factors to Compare Types of Bicycle Locks

Are you worried about your bike being stolen? You’re not alone – most bike owners worry about it. The truth is that if you are going to leave your bike on the road for an hour or more, you run the risk of it being stolen. So you need to choose a good lock and observe certain security and quality criteria when doing this. Check them out:

  • Lock thickness and material
  • Type of keyhole
  • Size
  • Number of locks

So, let’s detail each of these items so you can choose the most secure padlock for what you need.

Thickness and material of the lock

The best bicycle lock is made from heavy tempered steel, which is extremely difficult to cut. The chain model should have hardened steel links of at least 15mm. U-locks less than 13 mm thick can be cut with medium-sized pliers. U-locks between 13 and 15 mm thick will require very large pliers, which most bike thieves do not have.

Bike presa com cadeado para bicicleta.

The thicker your bike lock, the harder it is to break into. (Source: MabelAmber / Pixabay)

Type of keyhole

Some keyholes are harder to break into and, of course, that’s what you should look for when choosing your bike lock. Keyholes placed in the centre are harder to break into. Combination locks are not recommended as these are not as strong.

Size

Size is another criterion that should be considered when choosing a bike lock. The smaller they are, the harder it will be to lock your bike as there won’t be much room to secure. On the other hand, a smaller lock is harder to break as the leverage space is smaller. So, if you tend to lock your bike somewhere where a small lock will be big enough to go around your frame, then consider the smaller models.

Imagem de bicicleta cadeada.

While when the lock is small it may be harder to secure your bike, it may also be harder to break it. (Source: freestocks.org / Pexels)

Number of locks

A U-lock has two latches, not one, making it twice as difficult for a thief to break into. This is an important aspect to consider when choosing your bike lock.

(Featured image source: MelSi / Pixabay)

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