The best bike locks: different types of bike locks explained, plus how to lock your bike securely
Lock up your bike safely and securely with our buyer’s guide to the best bike locks, including chain, cable and D-lock options and tips on how to best keep your ride secure.
When it comes to hopping off your bike, finding a spot to park it, hoisting it up against a lamppost or bike railing and locking it tight, having a reliable and strong bike lock is crucial. The last thing you want to deal with is bike theft, and sadly there are opportunists wherever you go.
Just like bike lights and helmets, bike locks vary in style, features and price points, and it can be hard to know where to start when looking, but the good news is there is one for every type of cyclist.
If you are looking to buy a new bike lock, you’re in luck. The Recommended have done the research for you and compiled a list of our top 10. Whether an avid cyclist or a newbie on the pedalling scene, check out our favourites below. Plus, we also answer some of your frequently asked questions and tips at the bottom of this page.
The best bike locks at-a-glance:
- Best reliable bike lock: Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Bike Lock
- Best bike lock set: Sigtuna Bike Lock
- Best convenient bike lock: SPGOOD Bike Lock
- Best compact bike lock: Burg-Wächter Bike Lock
- Best flexible bike lock: Diyife Bike Lock
- Best portable bike lock: Rehkittz Bike Lock
- Best heavy-duty bike lock: Momimo Bike Lock
- Best small bike lock: Master Lock Bike Lock
- Best multifunctional bike lock: H&S Bike Lock
- Best functional bike lock: Kryptonite Evolution Bike Lock
The best bike locks
Best reliable bike lock: Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Bike Lock
Tough and reliable
Bike lock type: D-Lock
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Specialising in bicycle security for more than 50 years, US brand Kryptonite is a leader in locking systems. This classic D-Lock has a double deadbolt design to give extra protection against theft.
Weighing a mighty 2.06kg and with an 18mm hardened steel shackle, this bike lock is reliably strong. Its disc-style cylinder is pick and drill resistant and is finished with a steel sleeve over the crossbar for double security. The ‘D’ shape is not huge, allowing a tighter fit to your bike and making it harder to be tampered with. It comes equipped with three stainless steel keys, one with a built-in LED blue light for low-lit conditions.
Best bike lock set: Sigtuna Bike Lock
A dynamic duo
Bike lock type: D-Lock, Cable
This pair of bike locks can be used in unison for enhanced security. Use the D-Lock through the back wheel and frame, then loop the cable lock through the front wheel and attach it to the D-Lock.
This duo set is lightweight and convenient to carry with you, keeping your bike security at the top of your priority. The D-Lock is made up of 16mm high-performance steel, with a disc-style cylinder and double deadbolt locking mechanism for a powerful, robust design, while the cable lock is 1.2m in length and flexible. It is PVC-coated for all weather and comes with three keys.
Best convenient bike lock: SPGOOD Bike Lock
Available in 14 colours
Bike lock type: Chain
Easy to attach to bike stands, trees and pillars, this bike lock is practical and simple to use and will keep your bike safe and secure wherever you go.
Made from high-quality hardened steel, this chain lock is 830mm long, 7mm thick, and ready to be wrapped around your bike, whatever the style and size. It is finished with a scratch-resistant nylon cover to protect your bike from damage and is cut-resistant for optimum defence. Super convenient, simply use the five-digit resettable combination to lock it into place, there’s no need for keys.
Best compact bike lock: Burg-Wächter Bike Lock
Great for everyday use
Bike lock type: Cable
This bike lock features an auto-locking function for easy, convenient use. Push shut the self-closing cylinder, and it will automatically lock, taking the hassle out of tying up your bike.
This lock comes with two keys and is simple to reopen. It is 60cm long for a compact and tight fit to your bike. Made from a tough steel cable, 8mm thick, this anti-theft lock is strong and durable, ready to keep your bike secure. It has a plastic coating to protect the lock itself and your bike from scratch marks.
Best flexible bike lock: Diyife Bike Lock
Bike lock type: Chain
Lock up your bike with confidence using this high-strength stainless steel chain lock, 6mm thick and 96cm long. Complete with three keys for the ultimate convenience.
This bike lock is designed to be attack-resistant, withstanding saw blades and contact with other destructive tools. It can be manoeuvred easily around your bike frame and the anchor you are locking it up to, thanks to its flexible structure and will keep your bike in good hands. It is finished with a wear-resistant cloth protective cover that is waterproof, dustproof and anti-friction, suitable for all conditions.
Best portable bike lock: Rehkittz Bike Lock
Bike lock type: Cable
Take this bike lock on the move with you, with its handy fixing bracket to mount onto your bike seat. It uses a 5-digit combination lock to ensure your bike is securely left when taking a break.
This bike lock is made from high-strength alloy materials for a robust design, 120cm long and 12mm thick. Its outer layer adds extra toughness, built with a strong PVC plastic for extra layers of protection. Both materials are rust and wear-resistant, providing a long-lasting and hard-to-break-into bike lock.
Best heavy-duty bike lock: Momimo Bike Lock
Lightweight and easy to use
Bike lock type: D-Lock, Cable
This set of D-Lock and cable locks can be used together or individually. Install onto your bike using the user-friendly mounting bracket for the ultimate convenience when out on your ride.
These bike locks are both tool resistant (including hammers and hydraulic shears) and built from tough materials to guarantee safety for your bike when left unattended. The D-Lock has a heavy-duty shackle made from high-quality alloy steel and is covered with a rubberised silicone cover which is dust, dirt and scratch resistant. The double-looped cable lock is 120cm long and lightweight. The set comes with three keys, useful for always having a spare.
Best small bike lock: Master Lock Bike Lock
Easy to store
Bike lock type: Cable
Master Lock has been a leading brand in security products and safety solutions for over 100 years, and this self-coiling cable bike lock lives up to its reputation.
This steel cable is super flexible to fit around most bike types and has a protective vinyl coating for extra shielding. Protect your bike from thieves and scratches with this high-quality bike lock, fit with a pick-resistant locking system for ultimate security. The cable is 1.8m long, comes in multiple bright colours for easy identification and has two sets of keys.
Best multifunctional bike lock: H&S Bike Lock
Bike lock type: Chain
Also suitable for motorcycles, scooters, camping equipment and other valuables, deter thieves with this lock and keep your bike safe and secure when out and about.
Made up of chain links of triple-heated boron manganese steel, this bike lock is extra strong and complete with a heavy-duty padlock. It features a durable nylon protective cover to prevent any unnecessary damage to your bike frame and comes with five keys which are super handy. The lock is 1.2 long and 10mm thick.
Best functional bike lock: Kryptonite Evolution Bike Lock
With three stainless steel keys
Bike lock type: D-Lock, Chain
This D-Lock features a double deadbolt design with a pick and drill-resistant disc-style cylinder for ultimate protection. It also includes a 1.2m double-loop cable.
Defensive to leverage attacks and bolt cutters, both bike locks will make it very difficult for thieves to take your bike. Both are finished with a protective vinyl coating to ensure no damage is made to your frame. The cable is a great secondary lock and can be wrapped around most styles and sizes of bikes thanks to its flexibility and long length.
What are the different types of bike locks?
Cable varieties are lightweight and super flexible options and can be locked up to your bike with either a key or combination lock. They are easy to carry around and convenient, however more advisable for low-crime areas only as they are the easiest to crack into. Use if leaving your bike for short lengths of time or within a visible distance.
Chain locks are made up of large metal links and are locked with a padlock. They vary in weight and size and can be looped around your bike thanks to their long and flexible design. They are often finished with a plastic or fabric covering to protect your bike frame from any damage. They are a heavier option, so less portable, but generally, the heavier, the more secure.
‘D’ shaped in its form, the D-Lock (also known as a U-Lock) is like a giant padlock. It is made up of a solid metal shackle with a strong crossbar across the top, with a built-in lock. It’s simple to use and easy enough to carry - just watch out for what you are locking your bike up to, as the D-Lock is not flexible.
What features should you look for when buying a bike lock?
- Materials: Strong and tough steel materials will make it harder for any potential thieves to cut into your bike lock. They are robust, hard-wearing and built to last.
- Protective covers: Metal chains and locks can cause damage to the frame of your bike. Ensure you look for ones with protective coatings, whether silicone, plastic, nylon or vinyl. These will provide scratch resistance and prevent dirt, dust and poor weather conditions from affecting your bike.
- Length and thickness: Cable and chin locks are available in various lengths and thicknesses. Think about the size of your bike and where you are likely to attach it. Longer lengths are useful if attaching two bikes together. Thickness is important as it will make it more difficult to cut through.
- Weight: Check out the weights of the different locks. While heavier locks can often provide more protection, think about how portable, and travel-friendly you need your lock to be. A lightweight option may be better suited to your commute/ride.
- Keys/Combination locks: Bike locks can either be sealed with a combination lock or closed with a key. Combination locks with 5 digits are the best, as over 10,000 combinations can be made, making it impossible for anyone to break into. Those with key locks often provide more than one, just in case you happened to lose it!
- Fixing bracket: Some bike locks will come with their own bracket to mount onto your bike. This is super handy when cycling out as you do not have to have the bike lock on yourself. They are usually quick and easy to install and take the hassle out of carrying your lock.
How to lock up your bike
When it comes to leaving your bike unattended and using your bike lock, there are several tips to follow. These include the following:
- Lock it up against a secure anchor point: e.g. a bike stand. Ensuring the object you lock it up to is strong and well-routed is essential.
- Pick the right location: Choosing a busy place where there are other bikes is always a good idea, and in a location where there are plenty of passers-by. This will make it difficult for any thief to get away with trying to get into the lock discreetly.
- Positioning of the bike lock: The frame and wheels are the most expensive parts of your bike. Make sure to use your lock around the frame with a tight fit, limiting excess space between the bike and the lock. This will make it harder for a potential thief to access it with tools.
- Secondary Lock: It might be worth investing in a second lock to secure your wheels too. This will only make it harder for the bike to be tampered with.
If you would like to read more expert-recommended fitness round-ups, check out our Fitness page for a full list of recommendations, including the best exercise bikes, the best fitness trackers, the best weight benches, and the best bike lights.
Cordelia Aspinall is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media, working across brands including The Recommended, RadioTimes.com, MadeForMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. She has previously worked and written for digital publications including Condé Nast Traveller, The Evening Standard, Cosmopolitan, and several other lifestyle brands.