A bike lock only has one job to do – stop your bike being stolen – and it has to do it well. We’ve thrown all the lock-breaking tools at our disposal at a selection of leading bike locks to help you choose the best bike lock.

cyclist locking bike with u-lock

 

A strong bike lock makes the difference between your ride home being secured, and that sinking feeling when your bike isn’t where you left it. Securing your bike with a great bike lock will not only thwart thieves’ attempts to steal your bike, it could even put them off trying in the first place.

But with many bike locks looking similar, it can be tricky to know which ones are up to the job and which are likely to let you down. To find out, our lab experts posed as wannabe thieves, using bolt cutters, angle grinders and other lock-breaking tools to identify the locks that will keep your bike safe.

We’ve also checked how easy they are to transport and use. Nobody wants to be wrestling with an unwieldy bike lock in a torrential downpour.

A Best Buy bike lock will be easy to use and offer good security against even the most powerful tools – meaning a thief is likely to be spotted and interrupted when trying to steal your bike, or just give up.

Read on to discover the pros and cons of different types of bike lock, which bike locks made the grade in our tests, plus our top tips on how to buy the best bike lock.

Best bike locks for 2022 with overall score % and price

 

 Kryptonite New York Lock Fahgettaboudit Mini (U-lock)       89%      £89 

Axa Newton Pro 190 (U-lock)                                                                85%      £36

Kryptonite Kryptolok 685 (Folding lock)                                         84%       £60 

Abus Bordo Big 6000 (Folding lock)                                                  83%        £71 

LiteLok Wearable Gold Large (Textile lock)                                    78%       £110 

Hiplok Gold High 10mm (Chain lock)                                                69%        £70 

Trelock U4 Mini (U-lock)                                                                         69%        £28

 

Abus Bordo Big 6000 – typical price £71

Abus Bordo Big 6000 plus bracket holder

 

Tech Specs:

Weight: 1,390g

Length of lock (unfolded): 1,115mm

Thickness (ex. plastic coating): 5mm

Type of locking mechanism: Lock and key

Number of keys: 2

Bike mount included?: Yes Score: 83%

Our verdict: This foldable lock expands out to more than a metre in length, easily big enough to wrap around your bike frame, rear wheel and a thick bike rack post. While some other locks lasted longer against our toughest attacks, it’s secure enough to get our Best Buy recommendation. Our lab-based cutting, tensile and impact tests were no match for this lock. Passing with flying colours, this lock is objectively strong – especially compared with locks that fail these extreme force tests. It also withstood most attempts to crack it by our expert lock-breaker for the maximum three minutes. Only the bolt cutter (which took 90 seconds) and our toughest attack, the angle grinder (15 seconds) cracked it within this time. Even professional thieves usually won’t carry angle grinders around, and 90 seconds is long enough that most criminals using a bolt cutter would be interrupted. It folds up to just 164mm in length, making it compact and easy to transport – aided further by the inclusion of a bike mount. Overall, it’s easy to use, though the keys would benefit from an LED light for night-time use.

 

Abus Granit Plus 640 – typical price £72

Abus Granit Plus 640

Tech Specs:

Weight: 797g

Internal length x

width: 151mm x 83mm

Diameter of shackle (ex. plastic coating): 12mm

Type of locking mechanism:

Lock and key

Number of keys: 2

Bike mount included?: No

Score: 68%

Our verdict: 

This is a reasonable U-lock, but we’ve tested stronger ones.

This lock stood up to almost all attempts to crack it by our expert lock breaker for the maximum three minutes. Only our toughest attack, the angle grinder, beat in 30 seconds.

We also subject each lock to extreme cutting, tensile and impact forces in our lab (see how we test bike locks, further down the page) to see just how tough they really are.

The Granit Plus 640 failed the cutting and tensile tests, meaning the lock is objectively not as strong as other locks we’ve tested. This lock is one of the lightest we’ve tested, making it easy to transport in a backpack, which is just as well as there’s no bike mount included.

It’s easy to use, though its small size makes it fiddlier when wearing gloves. The master key has a handy LED light for use at night.

Axa Newton Pro 190 – typical price £36

Axa Newton Pro 190

 

Tech Specs:

Weight: 1,382g

Internal length x width: 190mm x 102mm

Diameter of shackle (ex. plastic coating): 14mm

Type of locking mechanism: Lock and key

Number of keys: 2

Bike mount included?: Yes

Score: 85%

Our verdict:

The Best Buy Axa Newton Pro 190 is a great-value lock that doesn’t compromise on security. Our expert lock breaker struggled to crack this lock.

It lasted the maximum three minutes against all tools except our toughest attack, the angle grinder, which it lasted one minute against.

No lock is unbreakable and lasting even this long against an angle grinder is a good result. The lock also passed our lab-based cutting, tensile and impact tests. These push a bike lock to its limit, so passing these means the lock is very strong.

The lock is a decent size – you’ll get the frame secured easily, and the frame and rear wheel if you have a slim road bike. It comes with a bike-attachment bracket, making it easier to transport whilst cycling.

It’s easy to use too, though it lacks an LED light on the key, which would make it less fiddly to use at night.

Hiplok Gold High 10mm – typical price £70

Hiplok Gold High 10 mm Chain Lock

Tech Specs:

Weight: 2,406g

Length of chain: 800mm

Thickness of chain: 10mm

Type of locking mechanism: Lock and key

Number of keys: 3

Bike mount included?: No

Score: 69%

Our verdict:

This Hiplok Gold Chain lock is a decent lock, but shortcomings in a key security test and bendable keys mean there are better locks out there. Against our expert lock breaker, the lock survived against almost all attempts to break it for the full three minutes.

Only the angle grinder – our toughest attack – beat it in 45 seconds. This is still a decent result, but some Best Buy bike locks lasted two minutes against the angle grinder.

The lock failed our lab-based cutting test, where we apply an extreme cutting force to push the lock to its limit. While the Hiplok is by no means weak, other locks that pass the cutting test are objectively stronger. At 2.4kg, this lock would feel heavy to transport in a backpack.

Like most chain locks it doesn’t come with a bike attachment bracket. If you want this convenience you may need to opt for a different type of lock.

It’s reasonably easy to use, and its long length makes it easy to get your bike frame and rear wheel secured. However, we found the key bent when applying a 100N force to it.

The key should be OK if used normally – it would take some deliberate effort to bend the key by hand – but if it did become bent while you’re out and about with your bike it could cause you issues.

Kryptonite Kryptolok 685 – typical price £60

Kryptonite Kryptolok 685

Tech Specs:

Weight: 1,078g

Length of lock (unfolded): 810mm

Thickness (ex. plastic coating): 5mm

Type of locking mechanism: Lock and key

Number of keys: 2

Bike mount included?: Yes

The Kryptonite Kryptolok is a tough lock that lets you easily secure multiple parts of your bike. While it didn’t last as long against our toughest tool attack as some other Best Buys, it is still worthy of the recommendation.

The lock held out against most attacks by our expert lock-breaker for the maximum three minutes. Only our toughest tool, an angle grinder, got it open in 15 seconds.

While the odds of a thief carrying an angle grinder is low, other Best Buy locks we tested lasted much longer against one. The lock passed our lab-based cutting, tensile and impact tests – meaning it was able to withstand the extreme force we tried to break this lock with.

Passing all three tests means this lock is objectively stronger than locks that fail any of these tests. As a foldable lock, the Kryptolok 685 expands from a portable 151mm long when folded to 810mm when in use as a lock, and the included bike mount means you can attach it to your bike.

It’s simple to use, and large enough to easily get your bike’s frame and rear wheel secured. We found a small amount of corrosion around one of the rivets after our durability test, but it didn’t affect the function of the lock.

 

Kryptonite New York Lock Fahgettaboudit Mini – typical price £89

Tech Specs:

Weight: 2,050g

Internal length x width: 157mm x 82mm

Diameter of shackle (ex. plastic coating): 18mm

Type of locking mechanism: Lock and key

Number of keys: 3

Bike mount included?: No

Score: 89%

Our verdict:

The New York Fahgettaboudit Mini is one of the toughest locks we’ve tested, and our highest-scoring Best Buy. It withstood almost all attempts to crack it by our expert lock breaker for the maximum three minutes. Only our toughest attack, the angle grinder, had it beaten in two minutes.

Against this level of attack, two minutes is impressive, and long enough that a thief is likely to be interrupted in most public areas. We also push locks to their limits in our lab-based cutting, tensile and impact tests, subjecting them to extreme forces to objectively measure just how tough they are.

The New York Mini is a strong lock that passed all three.  With ‘mini’ in the name it’s no surprise this lock is on the smaller side.

Depending on your model of bike, it may be difficult to get both the frame and a wheel secured with this lock. Despite its small size it’s fairly heavy – just over 2kg – and doesn’t come with a bike attachment bracket, so may be less handy to transport than others.

The lock itself is easy to use, though you may find its small size makes it fiddly when wearing gloves. The master key has a handy LED for use at night.

 

LiteLok Wearable Gold Large – typical price £11

Tech Specs:

Weight: 1,408g

Length of lock: 972mm

Thickness (ex. plastic coating): 9mm x 51mm

Type of locking mechanism: Lock and key

Number of keys: 2

Bike mount included?: No

Score: 78%

Our verdict:

The LiteLok Gold Wearable is a good lock, but a few niggles with ease of use, durability and its ability to hold out against our expert lock breaker mean this lock just misses out on a Best Buy.

The lock proved very strong, passing our lab-based cutting, tensile and impact tests – where we attempt to break the lock with machines applying extreme forces.

We also subject locks to an expert lock-breaker’s attempts to open them with a selection of tools. This LiteLok stood up to almost all the tools for the maximum three minutes, but the parrot beak nippers beat it in one minute.

The angle grinder – our toughest attack – took 20 seconds. While this is still respectable, our Best Buy locks stand up to more widely used tools (such as parrot beak nippers) for the maximum three minutes. The lock is available in three sizes (small, medium and large) and three colours (green, black and grey).

We tested the large black LiteLok. This size is large enough to easily get your bike frame and rear wheel secured. The LiteLok is designed to be worn around the waist while cycling, making it convenient to transport.

Overall the lock is easy to use, though we found that unlocking the LiteLok was sometimes tricky due to the lock not releasing. There was also noticeable corrosion on the lock housing after our durability test, though it didn’t affect the locking function.

 

Trelock U4 Mini – typical price £28

Trelock U4 Mini

Tech Specs:

Weight: 741g

Internal length x width: 147mm x 85mm

Diameter of shackle (ex. plastic coating): 12mm

Type of locking mechanism: Lock and key

Number of keys: 2

Bike mount included?: Yes

Score: 69%

Our verdict:

The Trelock U4 Mini is a decent lock that’s easy to transport, but we’ve tested stronger locks that will stand up to tougher attacks for longer. It held up for the maximum three minutes against many tools applied by our expert lock-breaker, but the lock was cracked by a bolt cutter in 90 seconds.

It also gave way to an angle grinder – our toughest attack – in 30 seconds. This is by no means a weak lock, but others lasted longer against these attacks.

The lock also failed our lab-based cutting test, which pushes the lock to its limits by applying a very high cutting force. This lock isn’t as strong as one that passes all our lab-based tests. The U4 Mini is smaller than a standard U-lock.

Depending on your model of bike, it may be tricky to get both the frame and rear wheel secured. It’s lightweight, though, and the supplied bike attachment bracket makes it handy to transport.

The lock is easy to use, though there’s no LED light on the key to help with night-time use. Our durability test – replicating several years of water and dirt hitting the lock – visibly corroded the lock and shackle. It didn’t affect the function of the lock in our tests, but this lock may not last as long as locks that scored better in our tests.

What’s the best type of bike lock?

Security experts recommend using two different types of lock to secure your bike, one of which should be a U-lock, according to the Met Police. Different lock types need different tools to break, so using more than one lock type is likely to slow a thief down.

U-locks (or D-locks)U-lock bike lock

This lock gets its name from its rigid, ‘U-shaped’ body. U-locks vary in size, strength and weight, but are generally regarded as the most secure type of lock.

For this security there is sacrifice in flexibility. You need to be able to fit the rigid lock around your bike’s frame and wheel plus the object you’re securing your bike to, so check before you buy that it’s the right size for your bike.

Chain locks

bike chain lock

Chain locks are made up of a series of hardened steel links, usually inside a protective sleeve. They can offer similar levels of security as U-locks, but they have pros and cons by comparison.  They’re more flexible than U-locks so are easier to wrap around tight areas of a bike and secure it to a wider range of objects.

But they tend to be heavier than similarly secure U-locks and are more likely to rattle if attached to your bike frame while cycling.

Folding locks

Bike Folding Lock

Folding locks consist of several solid steel arms, joined together by steel rivets. They fold up into a compact size, making them easy to transport in a bag or on the bike frame, but open up to a larger area than many other locks. This can make them a good choice if you have a large bike or need to secure it to thick object.

However, the multiple hinge points on a folding lock are potential weak spots that can be easier for a thief to break. Our tests aggressively attack the hinge points, though, so you can be sure a high-scoring folding lock still offers great security.

 

Textile locks

Bike Textile Lock

Textile locks are made up of tough composite textiles, usually around a metal core. They offer security along with flexibility at a lower weight.

Some are designed to be worn around the waist like a belt when not in use, making them easy to transport while cycling. This security and flexibility come at a cost – other types of lock will give a similar level of security for less.

Cable locks

Made from intertwined metal fibers with a plastic coating, cable locks come in a wide variety of sizes, weights and locking mechanisms. They’re flexible and tend to be available in longer lengths than chain locks. Their flexibility and light weight come at the cost of being the least secure type of bike lock.

They may deter an opportunist, but a persistent bike thief will get through one relatively easily.  As such you shouldn’t rely on a cable lock as your main bike lock, but you could consider one as a secondary lock, as a cheaper extra layer of defence for a wheel, for example.

What features should I look for in a good bike lock?

Bike five barrel combination lock

 

As we’ve highlighted above, there are many types of bike lock to choose from, with certain locks suiting different cyclists. Secure by Design (the official police security initiative) recommends you lock your bike with at least two locks, one of them being a U-lock. Deciding on the other type of bike lock to purchase generally comes down to your own preferences, but there are some features worth looking out for across all types of bike lock, as they make it harder for skilled thieves to beat it.

Hardened steel – a heat treatment that makes steel tougher to break.

Deadlocks – a type of key lock that is harder for thieves to force open.

Pick-resistant locks – these locks have extra mechanisms in the lock barrel, essentially making it much harder for a thief to pick the lock.

Should I buy a key or combination bike lock?

For maximum convenience, combination locks usually trump key locks, as you don’t need to remember to bring the key. You will, however, need to remember the code – not necessarily that easy if you don’t use your bike that often.  Combination locks are often regarded as less secure, however, because:

An observant thief could spot your code as you lock or unlock your bike.

To reduce this risk, make sure you shield the code from observers when you enter it.  A combination lock can be ‘hacked’ without tools. A key lock needs brute force or tools to break it;

a combination lock can, in theory, be cracked by trial and error.

It would take a determined thief less than an hour to work through all of the unique combinations on a three-digit lock – far from impossible if your bike is tucked away in a quiet location. We recommend opting for a lock with at least four digits, which increases the number of possible combinations, and the time it would take to try them all, tenfold.  In practice, a decent combination lock with at least four dials and built-in anti-lock-picking features will offer similar levels of protection to a decent key lock. An example of an anti-lock-picking feature is ‘false gates’.

These make it ‘feel’ to a thief like they have found the right combination, but doesn’t allow the lock to open. It will take a thief much longer to beat a false-gated lock.

Can I get away with a cheap bike lock?

Bike locks prices range from around £5 for a basic cable lock, to more than £100 for a big-brand U-lock.  The cheapest bike locks are usually cable locks. While these are better than no lock at all, most thieves will be able to make short work of them.

You shouldn’t rely on a cheap cable lock as your main lock. The bike locks we’ve tested range in price from £30 to £120, including a Best Buy for less than £60. While in general the more expensive the lock, the more secure it will be, you don’t have to pay a fortune either.

Is there a bike lock that cannot be broken?

The short answer is no: no lock is unbreakable.  The aim of bike locks is to make your bike as unappealing as possible, deterring thieves from even trying to nick your bike. You should use two locks to secure your bike, with one of them being a U-lock.

Our tests have found that the best bike locks, while not unbreakable, will stand up to angle grinders, saws and bolt cutters for several minutes. This will stop an opportunist successfully breaking the lock, and make it more likely a professional will give up or be interrupted when trying to break the lock.

Bike lock security ratings explained

  Manufacturer security ratings

Bike lock manufacturers typically grade the security of their locks on a scale of one to 10.

This can be useful when comparing the different locks within a single brand. However, different manufacturers use different scales, as well as different criteria to measure their locks’ security. This means it’s not possible to use manufacturer ratings to directly compare the security of locks across brands. Our bike lock reviews are based on assessments and criteria that are comparable across all of the locks we test, so you can feel confident that the locks that score the highest are genuinely the best.  If you’re interested in a bike lock we haven’t yet reviewed, check its security rating by an independent body such as Sold Secure.

How we test bike locks

cutting bike lock with bolt cutters

 

We test every bike lock based on criteria stipulated in a British Standard: for the geeks among you, it’s BS EN 15496:2008 Cycles. Requirements and test methods for cycle locks.  What this means in practice is that we throw everything including the kitchen sink into testing a lock’s security, as well as assessing how easy to use and how durable it is.

Overall strength

We test each lock’s resistance to being cut, pulled apart and hit by machines under strict lab conditions. This ensures that each lock’s strength has been tested in the exact same way, giving an objective measure of how tough each lock is.

Cutting test – can the lock be cut by a force of 55kN? That’s about two and a half times the force that a standard bolt cutter can apply.

Tensile test – can the lock be pulled open by a force of 10kN? That’s about the equivalent of two adults hanging from the lock.

Impact test – can the lock be broken by a 3kg impact device? We drop the impact device on the lock five times in 90 seconds. Locks that pass all these tests are really tough locks, meaning they will stop an opportunist and slow down a professional thief – to the point where they are likely to be interrupted or give up trying to beat the lock.

Security against hand tools

We then test each bike lock in a real-world situation. A bike is secured with the bike lock and we give an expert lock breaker three minutes to beat the lock using selection of tools that a professional thief might have access to. The specific tools we use are targeted around each type of lock, but include bolt cutters, nippers, saws and lock picks – even a battery powered angle grinder, our toughest tool. If our experts can’t break the lock in this time, or if the locks last at least a couple of minutes against the angle grinder, you can feel pretty confident that the lock will protect your bike from thieves.

Ease of use

We access the lock for how easy it is to use and transport, including:

Can the lock be mounted to the bike?

How smooth is the locking/closing function of the bike lock?

How much does it weigh?

How noisy is the bike lock when cycling?

How durable is the lock?