Last updated: 17/10/2022

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Welcome to our big bike lock test 2023. Here we present all the locks we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet. We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best bulletproof locks for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy bulletproof locks.




Summary

  • Bike locks protect your bike from theft.
  • They come in different shapes and strengths, and the larger ones can even be attached to two or more bicycles.
  • We show you how you can protect yourself from thieves and offer you alternatives to the bike lock.

The best Bike Lock: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for bike locks

Now that you already know more about the different types, alternatives and information you should know before buying locks, and you have decided to buy, we will simplify the next decisions for you: the buying criteria.

So that you know what is important when buying, we have listed the most important buying criteria here:

Starch

Each brand has its own strength models, there is no universal strength for all bike locks. However, it can be said that it is definitely advisable to choose a lock above the upper half of the scale of the respective brand.

For example, if you buy a Treklock lock, which is rated from 1 to 6, it should be at least stronger than 3 to protect your bike.

We show you all the popular brands and their corresponding maximum strengths, so you can use that as a guide.

Strength types

Each brand has its own strength rating, unfortunately there is no universal strength rating, but you can compare the strength of each brand among the different models.

Some brands have a maximum strength of 15, while others have a maximum strength of 6. In the next table, we present the most popular manufacturers of armoured locks and their corresponding maximum strength.

Lock brand security levels
ABUS 15
AXA 15
Treklock 6
Fischer 9
Kryptonite 10
Masterlock 10
Zéfal 5
Knog 10
Onguard 10

Size

The armoured lock should adapt to you, if you only want to use it for yourself, a small one is enough, but if you often go on trips with friends or relatives and you like to lock your bikes together, you should get a bigger one so that there is enough space for enough bikes.

Before buying, be sure to ask about the length and width of the lock so you know if it will fit your needs.

If it meets your expectations, buy it, but if you are not sure, buy a size larger to make sure it will fit.

In an emergency, you can always visit DIY shops, key shops or sports shops and ask their staff and salespeople for advice, they will be happy to help you.

Safety

Before you buy, you should make sure that your armoured lock has a drilling or picking protection and has a test seal.

You should also place it where many people pass by, as spectators are a deterrent to thieves.

If you are going to leave your bike in public places for a long time, you should put it near large squares where there are many passers-by and/or cameras to deter thieves. Dark, small alleys attract thieves and no one could see and stop him.

There are also test seals such as VdS or ADFC that make the good armoured locks more recognisable. If you buy the locks with a seal, you can be sure about their trustworthiness and don’t have to worry too much.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an bike lock

If you still have questions, or if they came up after the purchase, you will hopefully find your answer here. In the trivia section, we go into questions that you might ask yourself after the purchase or that are generally very interesting.

What materials are available for bike locks and which are particularly recommended?

Basically, locks are made of steel, which is strong and robust and protects the bikes.

Steel is used for bicycle locks, especially the lock is made of steel. In order to embellish and design the lock, you can use plastic or other materials to cover the chains and thus avoid dangers.

panzerschloss

Bicycles should always be locked, even if you leave it alone for only 10 minutes, someone can take it. (Image source: unsplash / Chris Barbalis)

The lock of the armoured lock is made of steel, locksmiths have used steel since ancient times and to this day this largely iron material is very popular.

It is case-hardened steel, which means that the iron has only a small amount (0.2-2.06%) of carbon.

What does an bike lock cost?

Armoured locks come in different price ranges, depending on how strong they are and the style of lock.

There are different lock classes and techniques, which we will go into later in the article, but the important thing here is that you know that the price is based on this.

Prices therefore range from £10 to over £80 and will suit any taste between these two extremes.

If you want something light for one-time use, we recommend the cheaper locks, but if you leave your bike unattended for several hours a day, the more expensive and secure lock is recommended.

Type of lock approximate price
light, simple, medium approx. 15 £
compact, light, modern and secure approx. 40 £
top secured, robust, uncrackable approx. 80 £

The more easily transportable bicycle locks are often easier to pick and attract thieves. However, if you want to buy them and put your bike at risk, buy one at a cheap price. Lightweight bike locks are available for as little as £10, but they don’t promise much protection.

If you want to spend a bit more money on protecting your bike, you should choose a better strength, for example the foldable locks that have proven to be very secure in tests. Kohlburg and Abus are brands that are in this middle price range of about 30 to £.

The higher price range is anything above £60 up to about £80. They promise the ultimate protection for your bike and leave thieves empty-handed.

What types of bike locks are there?

Nowadays there are four different types of armoured locks, all of which have their own characteristics and protect your bike well.

It always depends on the strength and size of the lock how well it protects your bike from thieves, but it can be said that all the locks mentioned in the following list are very well thought out. We list the special features:

Armoured lock type Special feature
Steel chains depending on size and strength a good option but can also be heavy
U-shaped, U-lock can be heavy and is very difficult to pick
Folding lock very mobile and easy to transport
Cable lock lightweight and sometimes long (can connect several bikes)

Steel chains are, as the name describes, chains made of steel. They are very mobile and therefore easy to transport. Sometimes they can be very heavy, but if they are robust enough, thieves will not be able to pick the locks.

The U-shaped armoured lock is also called a U-lock. Before you buy it, make sure you check whether and how you can attach it to your bike, as the steel shackles can often be too thick or too short. They are easy to transport, but can often only protect one bike.

The folding lock is a newcomer to the armoured lock genre. As many tests prove, this is a very robust and mobile lock and can also lock two bikes together if necessary. They are sold with an attachment to the bike to increase mobility.

panzerschloss

Your bike should always be tethered when you are not in its immediate vicinity. (Image source: unsplash / James Pond)

The cable lock is an absolute lightweight, but it’s easy for thieves to pick if it’s too thin and light, so this is more of a cheap option among armoured locks.

What are the alternatives to the bike lock?

If you don’t want to buy a bulletproof lock because it’s too heavy or big for you, you can just park your bike and hope no one takes it.

If you leave it for a short time without going far away, you can be confident that no one will take it, but if you ride your bike to work and leave it alone in front of the entrance for hours, it is quite possible that it will be stolen.

Especially in big cities, bicycles are often stolen.

If you don’t trust that no one will steal your bike, you could get a dummy to deter thieves. There are also some bicycle parking areas with camera surveillance, where thieves prefer not to be seen.

Dummies

Cheap dummies are unfortunately not much protection, as thieves can recognise them and easily take them off, and even if they don’t recognise them and want to break them open, they open very easily.

However, they are cheaper than real locks and therefore well made for one-time or infrequent use as they deter thieves.

So they deter thieves but are only moderate protection against thieves.

Advantages
  • cheaper than real locks
  • deter thieves
  • look like real armoured locks if well made
Disadvantages
  • little protection if thieves try to pick them
  • only moderate protection
  • some dummies are very poorly made

On the off chance

If you want to park your bike and you don’t have an armoured lock with you, make sure you find a place to park it where there are lots of people around who might be watching to see if a thief is coming.

But these passers-by can’t know if it’s his or someone else’s bike he’s cycling away with, so it’s hard to judge.

It’s a very cheap option because the bike is unprotected and if you’re lucky no one will take it.

However, we advise you to put it with parked bikes as it will look more protected. If you know a well-frequented parking place in a public area, park it, but don’t wait too long or it will soon be gone.

Advantages
  • no money for a dummy or lock
  • nothing to transport
  • easy if you know that many people are watching the parking place
Disadvantages
  • you have to know the good parking places
  • if you are not careful, the bike can be gone quickly
  • no protection

However, some cyclists do not necessarily need armoured locks, because they ride for miles without parking and have a parking place at the end of their ride, for example on trips to a hotel or to friends with garages and accommodation for bicycles.

So there are some solutions for those cyclists who are happy to do without the burden of a lock.

Which brands produce bike locks?

Many brands produce armoured locks, here are some examples of the most popular brands: Maurer, Kohlburg, Abus, Nean, Kryptonite, etc.

The best-selling lock brands are ABUS and Kohlburg, but Nean and Kryptonite are also very popular.

What types of bike locks are there and which one is right for you?

Now you have learned a lot about bike locks. Now we want to make it easier for you to decide which one to buy, in case you still want some questions answered.

One of these questions could be which locking mechanism is right for you. We have identified the following types:

  • Armoured lock with numerical code
  • Armoured lock with key

We have done some research and collected the pros and cons to give you a better overview.

If you have any other questions, please be sure to read our “Buying Criteria” or “Trivia” section and make sure we have a detailed answer to all your questions.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a combination lock?

If you want to buy an armoured lock with a numerical combination, you can think of the code yourself and be sure to remember it, maybe write it down somewhere so you don’t forget it, or choose your date of birth or something similarly easy.

If you forget your code, you can get into trouble because you will not be able to untie your own bike, especially if you have several locks with different combinations.

In this case, everyone in your family can remember the codes and everyone can use each lock, this is a big plus!

Never choose a simple code like 1-2-3-4 or 0-0-0-0, because these are the first codes thieves try when they want to steal a bike with a combination lock.

Advantages
  • you can choose the code yourself
  • possible to change the code
  • you don”t need anything but the code
  • anyone can remember the code
Disadvantages
  • you must not forget the combination
  • easier to crack if the code is &#8220
  • 1-2-3-4&#8221
  • if you have several locks you can easily get mixed up

What are the characteristics of an armoured lock with a key and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Armoured locks are also available with a keyhole and often come with two or three keys.

This means you have spare keys, which you should definitely keep in a safe place, because if you lose one, you can use one of the spare keys to unlock your bike.

Each member of the family can have a key if you share the lock, which is very practical because you can easily share the bike and the lock without necessarily exchanging so that the other person has a key.

Also, you don’t have to remember another code, in this day and age there are already enough pins, passwords and the like.

You always have to have the key with you, so it would be good to just hang it on your key ring, but with bad keys it can easily rust or break, so be careful with it.

Advantages
  • there are spare keys
  • every family member can have a key
  • you don”t have to remember a code
Disadvantages
  • you must not lose the key
  • always take keys with you
  • if the quality is poor, the key can break or rust

Image source: Popov / 123rf

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