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Whether for recreation, exercise, or everyday travel, bicycles are a great way to get around. Wherever cycling takes you, leaving your bike unsecured and unattended risks losing your beloved ride. Instead, use a durable bike lock that offers peace of mind, and avoid getting stranded on the road.
Ultimately, every bike lock is vulnerable to breaking by a skilled and determined thief. However, securing your bike with a quality lock to a sturdy object will encourage thieves to move on to an easier target.
To help safeguard your bike, we’ve examined dozens of bike locks to compare key performance specifications, including portability, ease of use, and, of course, security. Overall, the Kryptonite New-u New York Standard Lock earned our top pick for its user-friendly design and tough steel shackles that require two cuts to break. We also appreciate that Kryptonite offers a warranty guaranteeing up to $4,000 in reimbursement if the lock is thwarted. Depending on your portability needs and preferences, you may prefer another one of our favorite bike locks.
Kryptonite New York Lock Standard
Why We Love It: This burly u-lock delivers top-notch protection and versatility at a mid-tier price point.
What to Consider: The high-level security comes at the cost of a heavier lock.
It’s hard to miss this bold yellow and black lock — and that’s good news for deterring wishful bike thieves. The formidable Kryptonite New-u New York Standard Lock is equipped with deadbolts on each end, so it requires two cuts to the shackle to free a bike from its grip. But breaking through the reinforced 16-millimeter hardened steel shackle is no easy feat, and flying sparks from a grinder will likely draw attention before it’s compromised. The shackle is prepared for crowbars, too, since the pass-through crossbar design safeguards against twisting or prying attacks.
Measuring 4 inches wide and 8 inches long, the New York Standard can attach around the frame, rear wheel, and detached front wheel to most bike racks. When not in use, it stows nicely in the included Flexframe-u mounting bracket, which can be attached in multiple locations. The New York Standard comes with three stainless steel keys, including one LED replaceable key fob. Cyclists can register their key number with Kryptonite’s key safe program for quick replacement if lost. The lock boasts a Sold Secure gold rating and a 9 out of 10 on Kryptonite’s security rating scale. (Though another Kryptonite lock on this list earned a 10 out of 10 rating, the New York Standard has a clear advantage in portability and delivers ample security for most cyclists.) In a worst-case-scenario, having the anti-theft warranty means you can be reimbursed up to $4,000 if a bike is stolen.
Price at time of publish: $117
Weight: 4.5 pounds | Insurance: $4,000 anti-theft protection
Hiplok D1000 Anti-Angle Grinder Bike Lock
Why We Love It: It offers robust protection against a range of tools used by bike thieves.
What to Consider: It’s pricey for cyclists who aren’t frequently parking in high-risk locations.
Even when locked securely, bike locks are still vulnerable to bolt saws, hacksaws, and angle grinders. However, the Hiplok D1000 Bike Lock was created specifically to stand up to such attacks. Measuring a substantial 20 millimeters, the shackle has a steel core with Ferosafe coating — a patented material designed to withstand grinder blades and drill bits. Meanwhile, its square profile poses challenges for bolt cutters. A recessed keyhole with a rubber cover safeguards against lockpicking and the elements. The lock is opened by coded key, with three included in the purchase. These robust defenses earned the D1000 a Sold Secure diamond rating for both bicycles and motorcycles. Though it’s far from lightweight at 4.1 pounds, it’s more portable than some other U-lock and chain models. Plus, the addition of a protective rubber outer surface avoids scratching on the bike frame and makes for easier handling.
Price at time of publish: $300
Weight: 4.1 pounds | Insurance: 10-year warranty
Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain 1410
Why We Love It: Over 3 feet of steel chains offer durability and flexibility to secure both bike wheels in almost any location.
What to Consider: This hefty chain lock is a bit cumbersome to transport.
True to its name, the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain 1410 is a formidable theft deterrent. The 3-foot chain has 14-millimeter links constructed from hardened manganese steel and covered in a protective nylon sleeve. The chain is secured with a 15-millimeter steel shackle disc lock coated in PVC for added durability. The lock employs a double deadbolt and an anti-drill and anti-pull protection system to withstand hand tools and being tampered with. All of these security features earned the Fahgettaboudit 1410 diamond and gold ratings for bicycles and motorcycles, respectively. It also comes with three stainless steel keys, including one with high-intensity light. Registering for the key safe program will ensure that you will receive a replacement set if you lose the originals.
Price at time of publish: $115
Weight: 10.8 pounds | Insurance: Up to $5,000 in anti-theft protection
Litelok Core Plus
Why We Love It: It’s one of the lightest and most versatile locks to earn a Sold Secure diamond rating.
What to Consider: The two length options aren’t an exact fit for all waist sizes.
The Litelok Core Plus can be worn comfortably on the waist or secured to the bike frame while riding. The belt-like lock is made with Litelok’s Boaflexicore Plus secure strap, which consists of multiple layers of plant-based polymer and steel exoskeleton wrapped around an aerospace-grade steel core. This durable design can stave off just about anything but an angle grinder, and even that would require some effort to break through. At the same time, the steel construction is plenty flexible to weave between the spokes and other bike parts. The key is only needed to unlock — simply click the ends together when you’re ready to lock up. The Core Plus comes in two colors (blaze orange or black) and two lengths: 75 and 100 centimeters, which are roughly equivalent to 30 and 39 inches.
Price at time of publish: $170
Weight: 4.1 pounds | Insurance: None
TiGr Mini Ulock with Reinforced Mounting Clip
Why We Love It: This sleek titanium lock boasts an impressive strength-to-weight ratio and noteworthy anti-theft features.
What to Consider: The inside lock area is small, limiting options for where you can lock your bike.
The TiGr Mini is a featherweight u-lock that stands out for its minimalist look and titanium construction, which gives it greater flexibility and resistance to corrosion, compared to steel varieties. Despite its reduced weight, it still packs solid security specs. The titanium shackle’s wide design enhances its resistance to bolt cutters, while the seven-disc locking mechanism makes it difficult to pick. The TiGr Mini is easy to use when you’re on the go: The ends of the titanium shackle can be pulled apart without difficulty to lock around the frame and whatever you’re locking the bike to. Then simply press the push button to automatically lock the cylinder — no keys are required until you’re ready to unlock the bike. And at just 0.9 pounds, the TiGr Mini can be easily stowed on your person or attached to the water bottle mount while you’re riding.
Price at time of publish: $160
Weight: .9 pounds | Insurance: Lifetime warranty
Best for Folding Bikes
Onguard Brute LS U-lock
Why We Love It: This U-lock boasts a thick, expansive shackle and a four-point locking system at an affordable price.
What to Consider: Weighing 8 pounds, it can be cumbersome to transport with a heavier folding bike model.
Folding bikes are convenient for commuters and cyclists with limited storage space. They’re also generally more expensive, so securing your folding bike with a dependable lock is worth the investment. With a 10 x 4.5-inch shackle, the Onguard Brute LS U-lock is well-equipped to capture the many components of a folding bike and whatever immovable object it’s locked to. The lock’s rounded design and 16.8-millimeter steel shackles stand up to cutting, prying, and jacking. The Brute uses a X4P Quattro Bolt Locking Mechanism to secure the shackle in four spots, thus requiring at least two cuts to free a bike from its grip. Its Z-cylinder is resistant to picking and drilling, too. All this advanced protection achieved a top-tier diamond rating from Sold Secure. The Brute comes with five laser-cut keys that are very tough to copy without special equipment.
Price at time of publish: $67
Weight: 8 pounds | Insurance: Anti-theft Offer: $5,001 Bicycle, $1,251 Powersport
Abus Ivera Steel-o-flex 7200
Why We Love It: Two layers of steel construction provide added security to this long and flexible cable lock.
What to Consider: It’s not as secure as the U-locks and chains on this list.
Cable locks are better known for their versatility and ease of use, but the Abus Ivera Steel-o-flex 7200 also delivers reasonable protection from theft. The cable portion includes overlapping hardened steel shells wrapped around a braided steel cable. At 22 millimeters thick, the steel cable is resistant to bolt cutters. In terms of dimensions, however, the Ivera Steel-o-flex’s length is one of its leading benefits. Stretching over 43 inches, the cable is easy to interlace around a bike frame, wheels, and whatever it’s being secured to. Still, the Ivera Steel-o-flex only has a 7 out of 15 rating on Abus’s security level system, meaning it’s most appropriate for situations with medium to low theft risk. Other noteworthy perks include a mesh sleeve for weatherproofing and reduced abrasion and a bracket for mounting on frame tubes or the saddle clamp.
Price at time of publish: $51
Weight: 1.5 pounds | Insurance: None
Kryptonite KryptoLok 990 Combo Chain Lock
Why We Love It: It offers keyless security and versatility to chain up in different locations.
What to Consider: It’s on the heavier side and not the most convenient to transport.
Never stress about losing your keys with the Kryptonite KryptoLok 990 Combo Chain Lock. This lock uses a five-digit combination to secure the hardened steel lock head with a deadbolt locking system. Each KryptoLok 990 comes with a set combination, but a patent-pending reset mechanism makes it easy to update the code. If you’re worried about remembering your combination, you can register it for free with Kryptonite to provide you the five-digits if it slips your mind. The chain portion is constructed from 9.5-millimeter manganese steel links and encased in a nylon sleeve for abrasion resistance and weatherproofing. Totaling 39 inches, the chain supports versatile use for locking up your set of wheels. On a standard bike rack, the ability to wrap the chain around both wheels, the bike frame, and a rack saves the hassle of removing the front wheel. The KryptoLok 990 has a Sold Secure gold rating for its all-around security features, though Kryptonite rated this lock a 6 out of 10 on its security scale. If your bike is stolen, having the optional anti-theft protection can provide up to $1,750 in compensation.
Price at time of publish: $72
Weight: 5.8 pounds | Insurance: $1,750 anti-theft protection
Abus Bordo Granit 6500 Folding Lock
Why We Love It: It’s compact and flexible, making it easy to transport and secure in different settings.
What to Consider: The bars are thinner than other lock types, including most u-locks.
When you’re on the go, the Abus Bordo Granit 6500 Folding Lock is a breeze to carry around for reliable security. It’s designed with steel bars that are 5 millimeters thick and 7 millimeters wide, helping resist cutters and hand tools. This security contributed to the Bordo Granit 6500 earning Sold Secure gold rating — a rare feat for folding locks due to their thinner bars and more vulnerable joints. This folding mode also stands out for its versatile use. Its flexible shape is suited for locking the bike in less conventional locations, such as lamp posts or street signs. When not in use, it conveniently collapses into a compact package (10 x 8 x 2 inches) to stow in a frame designed to attach on the water bottle mount or the bike frame via Velcro straps. Keeping the Bordo Granit 6500 tight to the frame helps protect the paintwork and avoid contact while pedaling.
Price at time of publish: $186
Weight: 2.8 pounds | Insurance: None
Tips for Buying a Bike Lock
Don’t forget about portability
Security is usually top of mind when looking for bike locks. However, portability (or lack thereof) is another important factor. Some locks come with a mounted frame to improve transport, while others can be worn around the waist or simply attached to the bike frame. Figuring out your preference, as well as how much weight you’re comfortable lugging around, are key considerations.
Weigh ease of use versus security
Most cyclists will want some balance of security and functionality in a bike lock. Lee Bibring, founder and CEO of Love Velo, advises cyclists to think about where and when they’re locking their bike. “If you’re leaving a bike anywhere in a major city, you probably want to splurge for a high-security lock,” says Bibring. But for more occasional stops in less risky settings, having a straightforward lock without top-notch security is likely adequate deterrence for would-be thieves.
Bibring notes, “U-locks [also known as “D-locks”] are usually the strongest and most secure.” Whereas cable locks have the convenience factor of being able to “secure all parts of your bike, including rear and front wheels, and panniers if you have,” says Bibring.
Consider other security features where you’ll store your bike
Bike locks aren’t indestructible but rather help deter or slow down a theft. Where you park or store your bike will impact the likelihood of an attempted theft and whether it’s witnessed by passers-by. Bibring recommends choosing areas with high visibility and foot traffic. “Use specific bike parking spots as they’re often patrolled or watched by security footage,” advises Bibring. Furthermore, “quiet areas are more likely to provide a thief cover to work on your bike,” he adds.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best way to lock a bike?
How you use a bike lock varies by type. One good rule of thumb is always locking a bike to a secure object that cannot be cut, bent, or disassembled. Some cyclists also take a part of the bike with them, such as the front wheel, so it can’t be ridden away.
How do thieves break bike locks?
Thieves have a range of tools and tactics for breaking bike locks. Bibring notes that bolt cutters are a choice tool for cable locks. “U-locks will usually be cut with a saw or an angle grinder,” he adds.
Why Trust Travel + Leisure
Kevin Brouillard is a contributing writer at T+L, specializing in outdoor gear and apparel. An avid cyclist himself, he researched dozens of bike locks, interviewed a cycling expert, and used his expertise as a travel writer to curate this list.
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