How to Choose The Best Bike Locks

Using a bike to get around the city is probably one of the most healthiest, efficient, and all-around sustainable methods of transportation. Unfortunately, because they are often left outside for hours on end while their users are doing errands or at work, bikes are a common target for thieves.

However, the fear of losing you bike should not deter you from using it, as long as you have the right security in place. When buying bike accessories, don’t forget to throw a lock into the mix, so you’ll park your bike with ease of mind.

Want to  make sure your bike doesn’t get stolen? Protect it, it’s an investment. A bike lock is a smart expense and you should not think twice when it comes to quality vs non-quality. Some research is also welcome.

When searching for bike locks, you should do a significant research and consider your environment and situation. You don’t want you bike lock to rather “annoy” the potential thief than offer actual protection. If you want to avoid bulky and large locks, you must know that purchasing bike locks requires some intuition AND research.

Remember: all bike locks can be broken, but a smart locking strategy and a sturdy lock will highly reduce the risk of your bicycle being stolen by a thief.

This article compares the leading styles of bike locks.

U-Locks

The U-shaped lock is probably the best bike lock available – the best thief deterrent. This bulky, sturdy locking system resists chisels and hammers. One amazing benefit is the horseshoe shape, which can effectively limit leveraging – but make sure it’s not oversized for your bike. U-Locks greatly reduce the leverage potential thieves can attain to pop it apart.

How many types of U-locks are available?

  • Small to medium models lock the frame and one wheel to a stationary object.
  • Large models lock the frame and both wheels to a fixed object.

However, be sure to consider the added weight a U-lock brings to your commute. While they are certainly the safest, they also take up the most space and weigh much.

I’m saying this again: tt's crucial to note that when you are choosing the right-size U-lock to add to your BIKE EQUIPMENT, make sure to find one that doesn't leave much empty space between your wheels/frame and the object you’re attaching it to. This will make it harder for a thief to wedge a crowbar into the space. Since U-locks cannot be cut, this is often the only method a thief can attempt.

Arguably the best best lock available on the market, the U-shaped lock provides enhanced protection against thieves.

Cable Locks

Adaptable to multiple stationary objects, easy-to-carry, and versatile, cable locks are less theft deterrent than U-locks. Use cable locks on their own for low-crime areas. Otherwise, it is an excellent choice when combined with an U-shaped locks to secure easily-removable parts, like a basket, seat, or handle bar. Most cable locks come with integral locks but some may need another padlock. For the cyclist who craves for a really classy bike lock, there’s a huge variety of lock models available on the market, with different designs and colors.

However, remember that when you buy a cable lock, you're essentially buying deterrence, not protection.

Cable locks are easy to carry and adaptable to various objects, but offers more detterence than actual protection.

Chain Locks

In a way, chain locks are a union between U-locks and cable locks. These BIKE LOCKS come in various sizes and shapes and are perfect for high-crime neighbourhoods. The mechanism is designed to disallow leveraging and resist chisels and hacksaws. Chain locks are specifically engineered to prevent theives from gaining leverage and jimmying the lock. Make sure you also purchase a padlock sturdy enough – it’s vital for your bikes safety.

The main downside: bulky and heavy, that’s why chain locks are best for stationary uses.

Make sure you choose a chain lock that has a durable and protective cover, so that you bike won’t get scraches while you are riding. 

Bukly and heavy, chain locks are recommended for high-crime areas.

Seat/Wheel Skewers

As many bicyclists know, wheels and seats are perfect targets for a thief.

Skewers are excellent for high-crime neighbourhoods because you can just remove the seat/wheel when you park the bike, but remember that thieves can do that too – don’t leave your bike unattended. Use locking skewers to make it challenging to steal - the thieves will need to force the skewer(s) off. This will draw attention and this might be actually useful.

Do you use skewers for your bike? Switch to locking skewers to stop your seat/wheel from getting stolen.

Other Locks

Yes, the bike locks list is extensive, but you just have to choose what’s best for you. However, let’s see some less popular bike locks that can sometimes be really effective.

  • O-Locks

Buy one of these and mount if on you bike. The concept is borrowed from the “wheel boots" (used for illegally parked vehicles), and it simply stops the wheel and doesn’t allow it to rotate. Since they are usually not big enough to be secured to big objects, are not recommended for areas with high crime rates.

  • Cuff Locks

Cuff locks are quite similar to police handcuffs, being used to attach a bike to a fixed object.

O-Locks and Cuff Locks are equally as effective as the other bike locks presented, but they are less popular.

The Principles of Bike Locking

  1. Your bike should be more secure than the bike parked next to it.
  2. Never ever ever rely solely on a cable lock to secure your bike.
  3. The smaller the u-lock the better.
  4. Use multiple bike locks.
  5. Make your bike ugly (e.g., put a piece of tape on your bike seat).
  6. Spend as much as you can afford for your lock.
  7. Try not to park your bike in the same place every day.
  8. At night, lock the bike in a well-lit area.
#4 Use multiple bike locks.

Conclusion

Remember that nothing’s absolute. Any lock can be picked, cut with a welding rig or shattered with a hammer and liquid nitrogen. However, with a good quality lock, all are about as impractical. Invest in a decent bike lock and do your research before purchasing anything. 

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