Whether you're a cycle commuter, you ride to the shops or you enjoy a coffee stop on your weekend social ride, give yourself peace of mind that your bike will still be there when you get back with the right bike lock.
Getting the best lock for the job
You might have heard that you should spend 10% of your bike's value on a lock and this might be a good rule of thumb if you want the highest security but it's just as important to get the right locks for the job.
If you're leaving your bike out of sight for any length of time, whether that's at work, the gym, or even in your own garage, it's a good idea to back up the best lock you can afford with bike-specific insurance. Make sure you check with your insurer what the minimum standard of locks is that they would be happy with. Many companies will only pay out on bike theft if you were using a lock with a Gold or Diamond 'Sold Secure' rating.
If you'll be locking your bike somewhere in sight and relatively low-risk, for example, a cafe stop on your Saturday ride, a Diamond-rated lock can be cumbersome and heavy and not entirely necessary. For those rides when you want to travel light but you still want something that will stop passers-by from simply walking off with your pride and joy, there are some great 'cafe locks' available. It won't secure your bike for long but it will buy you the time you need to confront anyone lingering suspiciously.
What is a Sold Secure rating?
Sold Secure is a widely recognised independent rating for security products, owned by the Master Locksmiths Association. They assist lock makers with developing products and award ratings to help consumers to find the best locks for their needs. Bicycle lock ratings go from Bronze at the lowest end right up to Diamond.
The categories reflect the amount of time the locks will withstand attack.
How to lock your bike in a public place
If you need to leave your bike in a publicly accessible place, here are our top tips on keeping it safe.
Choose your location wisely
Find somewhere with purpose-built bike racks that are securely attached to the ground. Avoid locking your bike somewhere like a fence that could easily be cut or onto anything the bike could be lifted over.
If possible, find a busy place with CCTV. If there are already lots of bikes locked up, even better. Cyclists constantly coming and going will disturb would-be thieves.
Look for a space mid-rack if possible. If the space around your bike is restricted, it's harder for thieves to manoeuvre with their tools. Bike thieves often go for the easiest option so make yours the most troublesome to get to.
Use the smallest locks you can
A D-lock with a large diameter is practical if you will be locking your bike in a variety of locations where you won't always have the luxury of a standard 'Sheffield stand'-style bike rack.
However, if you know you're going to be locking up at the same sort of rack most of the time, it's worth investing in the smallest lock that will go around your frame, wheel and the stand. A smaller lock diameter means that there's less space for a thief to get tools in to leverage the lock open.
Consider more than one lock
As a minimum, you should at least make sure that the frame is locked to the bike stand securely. If you have a lock that will go through the rear triangle plus the rear wheel and the stand, that's even better.
If you can carry more than one lock, you'll be able to secure the front wheel and frame to the stand as well. Combining two types of locks, for example, a D-lock and a chain or cable lock can deter opportunists who might only have the tools for one style. At the very least, more different kinds of locks will slow them down.
How to lock your bike at home
If you're lucky enough to have the space and the consent of the people you live with, the safest place for your bike is likely to be inside your home. If that's an option for you, there are loads of hooks and stands available now that let you display your bike like a work of art or keep it hung up out of the way.
If like most people, you're forced to keep your bike in a garage, shed or communal bike store, it's worth considering a bit of extra security. Again, if you have insurance, check the documents to make sure you meet any specified requirements.
Just like when you're locking your bike in the street, you should at least make sure the frame is locked to an immovable object, and if you can you should also try to secure the wheels.
If you live in a high-crime location, you might want to also consider a heavy chain lock, especially if you're keeping your bike in a communal bike store.
The best bike locks of 2021
Security level: Sold Secure Diamond
Best for: Leaving your bike unattended in public areas for any period of time
ABUS has awarded the Granite Extreme 59 security level 20 which means that it's the highest security-level lock in their range. It also comes with the Sold Secure Diamond rating which is the very highest level possible.
The XPlus cylinder is designed to stand up to the most determined lock pickers and has a manual cover to protect it from moisture and dirt. A double-locking 16mm square parabolic shackle and hardened steel construction can withstand cropping and twisting attacks.
It comes with two keys, one of which has an LED light to make it easier to unlock your bike in the dark. Also included is a bracket to allow you to carry your lock on your bike frame.
Security level: Sold Secure Gold
Best for: Extra security at home, providing an immovable object to secure your bike to
If you're keeping your bike in a shed or garage, it might be tricky to find something secure to lock your bike to. The maximum-security hardened steel ANKR is a great solution - it can be installed in wood or concrete, in the wall or on the ground. The clever design means that whilst the fixings can be easily accessed if you ever need to move the ANKR, they become inaccessible once the chain lock is in place.
You can pair the ANKR up with the Homie chain lock for a formidable security combo. At 4.3kg with a 12mm shackle and 10mm chain, the Homie is Hiplock's strongest chain lock and holds up brilliantly under attack. The fabric cover protects your bike's paintwork and makes it super-easy to slide the chain into the ANKR mount.
Security level: Sold Secure Silver
Best for: Commuting
This popular D-Lock and cable set lets you lock your frame, wheels and saddles securely. It comes complete with the ABUS USH mounting bracket so you can carry it on your bike frame.
It's constructed from hardened steel with a 12mm shackle that can stand up to pulling tools and hammer attacks. The D-Lock diameter means you can easily get it through the frame, rear-wheel and bike stand without leaving much room for thieves to get their tools in. The 120 cm braided steel cable is long enough to take care of everything else.
The ABUS Plus locking mechanism has been designed to resist lock-picking attacks. With the Sold Secure Silver rating, this lock combo will give you plenty of assurance if you need to leave your bike in a low-to-medium-risk place like a work bike shed.
Security level: No level awarded
Best for: Cafe stops in low-risk areas or where you can keep your bike in sight, locking accessories to your bike, extra security for car rack
This armoured, reusable zip tie is lightweight and compact so you can easily slip it into a jersey pocket for long rides. Whilst it has no 'Sold Secure' rating and so is unlikely to stop a well-equipped thief for very long, it is sturdy and durable enough to prevent an opportunist from picking up your bike and riding off.
If you're out on your long weekend ride and you need to make a cafe stop or pop into a shop for emergency sugar, this is a perfect way to buy you some time if you see anybody taking an unhealthy interest in your steed.
These clever zip ties are also great for securing any accessories to your bike. In fact, they're useful for any times that you need to keep things secure and together.
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'Bike Lock Park' by chrisinplymouth
'Sheffield stands at the University of London' by Timothy E Baldwin