If you’re going to leave your bike unattended, even for a moment, you need one of these — a tough, thief-foiling bike lock
What to look for
Type of lock
Generally, there are two types of bike lock: cable-chain and shackle. While shackle locks once enjoyed a go-to reputation as the toughest of the two, modern cable locks are now the shackle’s equal. Side by side, if they have independent security ratings, the choice comes down to which type of lock you will find easier to live with.
The locks in our selection weigh as much as 2.7kg, which is a significant chunk of mass to be adding to your everyday travels on the bike. While you might feel reassured by a lock’s heft, you might not want to transport it up that one-in-six hill on your daily commute. Like the cable-versus-shackle decision, this is a balancing act that relies significantly on personal choice.
An independent testing certification such as Sold Secure adds an extra level of confidence and credibility to your chosen lock. Gold, Silver and Bronze ratings are assigned by
testing bodies, with gold being the most secure. All seven of the locks here are independently rated.
Ease of use
When arriving at your destination you’ll need to secure the bike to something. This often requires a hand or body part to hold the bike still. If your lock also requires two (or more!) hands to use easily, this can be a real pain. For us, the main part of the lock needs to be controllable with one hand. If something is too complicated to actually use, the chances are you won’t bother. Not bothering either limits your bike usage or means you run the risk of ‘just nipping in here for a minute’ without locking the bike. Trust us, that’s never a good thing!
We live in a damp climate, so the chances are your locked bike is likely to be subject to at least occasional precipitation. While we don’t expect perfectly watertight seals around any opening, additional weather proofing — particularly around the key barrel —is always a good thing.
In order to use a lock to secure your bike, you’ll need to have the lock with you on the bike. It’s worth bearing in mind that the more secure the lock the heavier they tend to be. Many locks come with brackets to secure them to your bike, but we need to make sure they are both secure and not too fiddly to put you off using them. After all, the best lock is only useful if you have it with you.
Our pick of the best bike locks
This lock is small and well designed, but its strengths may also be its weaknesses. With Knog’s reputation for kookie…
This style of lock is a popular alternative to the standard D lock thanks to the flexibility it offers when…
The Squire Mako Conger bike lock is the only combination/chain lock that we have tested recently, the rest using a…
Kryptonite’s considerable reputation precedes it, and its flagship Kryptonite New York M18 bike lock did not disappoint. Plastered in approval…
Neat use of wordplay indicates Hiplok’s on-trend attitude, and the fact that it’s designed to be worn around the waist…
The Masterlock Criterion bike lock sits at the top end of the bike lock market in terms of both cost and…
Such a varied spread of prices can complicate things when it comes to choosing a test winner. In this case though, even though the Kryptonite costs nearly three times as much as some of its test rivals, we feel the extra outlay — and considerable weight — is worth it. Your bike might easily cost upwards of £1,000 — an investment worth protecting with a premium lock, we’d say. Sold Secure Gold ratings for cycle and motorcycle protection, plus Classe SRA approval, make it the most secure item on test, and it has a quality feel and finish to back that up.
While accepting that no lock is totally thief-proof, we’d trust all of the locks tested if we had to leave a bike on the street for a short while — though we’d like to see Zéfal invest in accreditation for extra confidence.
Words: James Shrubsall, Neil Webb & Hannah Bussey