BIKE LOCKS BUYING GUIDE
Anyone who loves their reliable two-wheeled steed will know the horrible gut wrenching feeling when you discover your bike has been stolen. It is not only inconvenient and expensive, it can be heartbreaking too. Today’s bike thieves are well equipped with portable cutting tools, but they are opportunist and will help themselves to easy pickings. Investing in a good quality bike lock will make stealing your bike much more difficult and will probably put anyone off even trying.
With so many different bike locks on the market, it can be hard to know which one is best for your bike and the places where you might leave it, so here’s our guide to the different types of locks available…
PROS: Robust, hard to break, good for medium to high risk theft areas
CONS: Heavy, awkward to carry
D-Locks are very robust and much more resistant to cutting tools than a chain. Made up of two parts, a U-shaped bend of steel with a lockable cross bar, simply place the u-shaped metal around a secure non-movable object as well as your bike and secure them together with the cross bar. Although D-locks offer a good level of security, they are best used in combination with a chain lock. D-locks are a bit heavy and can be cumbersome to carry on the bike but there are many bike lock brackets available to secure the lock to the frame of your bike for easier transportation.
Pros: Robust, hard to break, easier to transport than D-locks, good for medium to high risk theft areas
Cons: Most secure chains are very heavy, you need a high quality lock for the chain to be secure
Bike Lock Chains with an integrated lock or padlock will secure your bike to an immovable object with ease. Made up of steel links with a cover (to prevent damage to your bike), the flexible nature of the chain means it is easy to lock your bike anywhere you choose and, if long enough, it will pass through both the wheels and frame for maximum bike security. However, always make sure the lock is as strong as the chain as a weak lock will simply leave your bike open to lock pickers. Also, some of the most robust chains are very heavy so you might need to leave it at your destination for use when you arrive.
Pros: Light and easy to carry around, flexible, inexpensive, good for low theft risk areas
Cons: Easy to cut through
Cable locks are the lightest and most flexible bike lock option. However, they are very easy to cut through so may not be as secure as the D-Lock or Chain options and should only be used in low risk areas. Simply thread the cable around an immovable object and through your bike and secure with a padlock or integrated lock. Cables are also used in combination with D-Locks for added security. Most cable locks are made of a spring cable that automatically coils itself when released making transportation nice and easy.
An easy way to asses how good a bike lock might be is to look at its security rating. Sold Secure is a non-profit organisation administered by the Master Locksmiths Association who provide a rating system for security products and many insurers now require you to use locks of a certain rating depending on the value of your bike. All of the Sold Secure rated locks on the Cycle Surgery website are marked with the appropriate level.
- BRONZE - Can withstand attack from a basic set of tools. Only suitable for cheaper bikes or low-risk use.
- SILVER - Silver rated locks should withstand attack from an enhanced set of tools but are not recommended for bikes worth over £1,000.
- GOLD - This is the highest rating available. Able to withstand at least 5 minutes of attack from a full set of tools. Recommended as first defence for bikes worth over £1,000.
There are many suggested methods on how to lock your bike up securely but there is no surefire way to guarantee that your beloved steed won’t get pinched. However, here are a few tips to that may make stealing your bike a bit more difficult and help prevent it disappearing...
Top Tips For Locking Your Bike:
- Leave your bike in an area that has a low theft risk whenever possible
- Make it hard for thieves to access your bike by placing it amongst other bikes or in a place where it is awkward to operate cutting tools.
- Lock your bike in a busy public place that is well lit.
- Avoid leaving your bike unattended overnight.
- Keep the lock high above the ground; thieves will often need to leverage cutting tools against the ground to cut through the steel, so the higher the lock is, the more difficult it is to break.
- Make sure there isn’t any slack in a chain and that a D-Lock is not big enough to allow a thief to easily insert tools to break the lock.
- Avoid leaving your bike in places where a thief could tell how long it is going to be unattended for, for example, outside a cinema.
- Lock your bike when it’s indoors too.
- Point the lock mechanism downwards so that access is more difficult.
- Get your bike security tagged. All new bikes sold through Cycle Surgery include Alpha Dot security tagging. Engraving is also an option.
- Use multiple locks to secure both the frame and wheels.
- Make sure that the object you are locking your bike to is fully secure, immovable and unbreakable.