Best Bike Locks in 2020: No More Bike Theft

Last updated: November 24, 2020
Best Overall
High-Quality and Easy to Install
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Premium Pick
Heavy-Duty and Effective
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Best Mini Lock
User-Friendly and Durable
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Best Chain Lock
Sturdy and Great Quality
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Your guide

It’s pretty heartbreaking when you drop a bunch of money on a touring bicycle or motorbike, just to have it stolen days or weeks later. So, if you really want to protect your bike, it’s worth investing in the best bike lock you can afford. 

And honestly, given how much money it’s guarding, you might even consider buying an extra lock or two for added security. Of course, there are tons of really good locks to pick from, so I’ve done the heavy lifting and included a variety of different options, quite a few of which you can combine with each other for that extra level of security. For more upgrades, check our guides on some bike rack options or bike phone mounts.

Top 5 Bike Locks

While there may be tons of different designs and choices to pick from, their pros and cons are pretty clear cut. That means you can get a pretty good idea of what bike lock you should be aiming for, rather than having to do more and more research. 

bike lock on a bike

D-Locks vs. Cable Locks vs. Chain Locks

D-Locks, also known as U-Locks, are probably one of the most secure types of locks out there. 

One of the main ways that thieves try and get through bike locks is using bolt cutters, and these can be anywhere from 18” all the way up to massive 42” ones (the latter tends to be hard to hide). With D-Locks, you tend to get shackles that come in 16mm to 18mm diameter sizes and those are pretty much impossible to break with manual bolt cutters, even the 42” variety.

The downside though, is that these D-locks tend to be really heavy compared to the other lock types. As such, you should mainly go for D-Locks if you live in a high-crime area where you need as much protection as you can get.

Chain Locks are the next step down, and they’re slightly easier to cut through using bolt cutters or other techniques.

Cable Locks are probably the easiest to cut through and should, therefore, be mostly used for deterrence and for areas where crime isn’t very high, or where there are lots of crimes of opportunity (since a simple lock should suffice putting off a potential thief).

a woman locking her bike

Bike Lock Keys vs. Combinations

A lot of this depends on your use case and how you feel about things. In a super-general sense, keys tend to be safer than combination locks, but you will always find good and bad quality locks of each. 

For the most part, combination locks are pretty useful because you don’t have to carry around keys with you that you might potentially lose or forget somewhere. That being said, you will have to remember a combination, although that should be relatively simple.

So which one you go for should be based first on your budget (if you have a small one, go for keys), and secondly on whether you prefer having a key or a combination.

Bike Lock Materials

The majority of bike lots tend to be made out of steel or hardened steel, with some of them either including titanium or made out of titanium. There’s also a few lighter bike locks that are made out of kevlar. 

For the most part, I’d tell you not to worry about the material so much since most locks are made out of the same thing.

1. Best Overall - SIGTUNA

Key Features:

  • 16mm steel
  • Mounting bracket
  • Included flex cable
  • Double bolt for better securing to the crossbar

SIGTUNA Bike locks – 16mm Heavy Duty U Lock Review

Obviously the most important aspect of a bike lock is its ability to deter bike thieves. Well, with the Sigtuna bike lock, you get 16mm of ‘Viking Steel’, Sigunta’s own proprietary formula) which should certainly make life difficult for any potential thief with a power tool. The body itself is also pretty hefty, so you’re getting protection all around this U-bolt.

What’s cool is that this lock comes with a 1200 woven steel flex cable that affords you an extra little bit of protection. It’s also long enough that you can easily fit this around two bikes, so it’s great for couples or if you have kids.

Similarly, it’s easy to carry around and you should certainly be able to secure it around and to pretty much anything you want.

Honestly, one big part of any lock is deterrence, and the Sigtuna bike lock’s 16mm steel and sleek, black look means that even if somebody thinks of stealing your bike, they’ll move on as soon as they see it.

Opening and closing the lock is smooth and simple, so you don’t have to worry about struggling with getting it open. That being said, you will struggle with the fact that it’s not weather-proof, so it can get a bit tough to open.

Thankfully, with a little bit of WD-40 or other lubricants, you can get it back to full working order without much fuss. 

Finally, one nice feature I’d like to mention is the locking bracket, which really makes the whole deal incredibly handy. It’s just a matter of a quick push of the little red button, and you can angle the bike lock in any direction you need to secure it. I really wish more bike locks did this.

Overall, the Sigtuna Bike Lock is an all-around excellent bike lock that isn’t going to break the bank. It’s stylish, strong and comes with a pretty great cable that increases its usability twofold. If you’re looking for a great middle-ground option, this is a great one.

Pros
  • No need to memorize passcodes
  • Vinyl coating is excellent
  • Keyhole cover helps protect the lock
Cons
  • Lock can be finicky sometimes from whether
  • Not completely impenetrable

2. Premium Pick - Kryptonite LS

Key Features:

  • Double deadbolt
  • Keyway protects from leverage attacks
  • Protective dustcover to extend life
  • Comes with 3 stainless steel keys

Kryptonite New York LS Heavy Duty Bicycle U Lock Review

If you’ve been looking for a big massive lock that secures around your whole bike, then I have the lock for you!

The Kryptonite New York LS is not only a pretty heavy-duty bike lock, but it’s also pretty massive, with an interior locking dimension of 4″ x 10.25″. Much like the Sigtuna, it’s also made of 16mm heavy steel, so it can withstand from some pretty intense attacks.

Of course, that’s on par for what you should expect from Kryptonite and their brand quality.

The double-deadbolt construction means that the lock secures at two points, so you don’t have to worry about a single failure causing the loss of your bike or other property. Similarly, the disc cylinder works well against any lockpicking or drilling attempts, so it keeps you secure for much longer.

It also has a keyway that makes it difficult for potential thieves to leverage something against it and break it open.

Unfortunately, the big downside here is that because it’s a big ‘ole lock with tons of protection, it’s actually surprisingly heavy and a bit difficult to carry around. That being said, it’s actually pretty perfect if you’re in a high-risk or high-crime area, as the combination of anti-theft techniques offers an equal level of protection.

On the other hand, if you live in a remote area without much crime, it might not be as useful, although still very much worth the purchase.

Finally, and while this might not matter much, it’s actually a pretty cool looking lock, with the yellow/black color theme being pretty simple while being minimal and sort-of mean looking. Hopefully, that should also help to act as a deterrent

The Kryptonite New York is a top-notch lock and probably one of the best you’ll find in terms of the security it provides you and the features it has. Yes, it’s certainly on the pricier side, but when you consider that it’s protecting several hundred, if not several thousands, of dollars of gear, the cost doesn’t seem too bad.

Pros
  • Is well secured
  • Mounts to bike and is large
  • Lots of anti-tampering protection
Cons
  • Big and bulky, so it’s hard to carry around

3. Best Value - Via Velo U-Lock

Key Features:

  • Mounting Bracket
  • Included flex cable for extra security
  • Double bolt crossbar mount

Via Velo Heavy Duty Bicycle U-Lock Review

While not as expensive or fancy as the Kryptonite, the Via Velo is still a pretty good bike lock if you don’t want to make a big hole in your wallet.

At 14mm, the shackle is more than durable to handle all types of stresses, and it should still present a difficult situation for anybody who wants to break it open with bolt cutters. Adding to that is the overall PVC casing around the shackle, so there’s some extra protection there.

Similarly, the lock is designed in such a way as to make it lockpick resistant, which is pretty good for a lock this cheap. 

You also get yourself a nice 180mm steel cable which will help to secure your bike, whether you wrap it around both wheels, or to a fixed point. There’s also a super-handy mount, much can fit crossbars between 20 – 42mm in diameter.

You’ll also certainly appreciate the keyhole cover which should help with resisting a variety of different weather. 

Honestly, there’s not much more to say about the Via Velo except that it’s a consistent and good quality lock for a pretty amazing price. If you put all the security features together, you get a sturdy lock that can take quite a beating before it gives, and hopefully, past any point a bike thief would be willing to invest.

The added cable and two keys also make this an attractive package, so you should check it out if you don’t want to drop $100 on a bike lock.

Pros
  • Corrosion resistance
  • PVC outer coating
  • Extra key
  • Cover to protect keyhole from dust
Cons
  • Might not be long enough for the whole bike

4. Best Mini Lock - Kryptonite Evolution 4

Key Features:

  • Cover to protect the cylinder
  • Double deadbolt
  • 3 keys, one with an integrated LED

Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 Review

If you don’t necessarily want a big U lock and would prefer to go with a chain, the Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 is a great option for locking up your bike. Plus you can always lock it into your brake disk directly if it’s motorized, so you might not even need a chain.

Being a smaller bike lock, the shackle is only 14mm, although that’s still quite thick and great for deterrence, especially considering it will likely be mounted in a difficult spot. While there’s no external coating such as PVC on the shackle, the cylinder itself is disc-style, and so it has some protection against drilling and leverage attacks, which is great.

There’s also a dust cover for the keyhole which should help prevent rust or wear and tear on the cylinder. Unfortunately, it is possible to lockpick by a very skilled lockpicker, although, given the price, that’s to be expected, and even so, don’t let it put you off the Series 4, it’s still not easy.

Also, the cylinder can lock up from time to time, but some WD-40 should fix that right up, just like with the Sigtuna. I also particularly like that this has a double deadbolt, even though it’s a somewhat smaller lock.

On a little side note, when I was doing some research on the lock, I found out that somebody used it to lock their guitars by placing it on the neck, and apparently it worked great as a deterrent. So, if you have guitars that you also want to keep secure, this might actually be a good option!

All in all, the Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 is a great lock in a small package. Yes, the use-cases aren’t as many as larger locks, since you’d need a chain or to place it on a disc brake, but for those applications, it’s awesome. The anti-drill and anti-pull safety is super useful, although it gets some marks knocked off for being slightly easier to lockpick.

Pros
  • Small and portable
  • Great price
  • Sturdy construction
Cons
  • Needs a chain or flex cable to work

5. Best Chain Lock - XZSUN

Key Features:

  • PVC coating helps prevent weather damage
  • 120cm long 
  • 5-digit combination lock
  • Cylinder made of zinc alloy and has ABS rotating discs

XZSUN Bike Lock Bicycle Lock Chain Review

All the bike locks we’ve looked at so far have been key-based and essentially U-locks, but maybe that’s not necessarily what you want. With the XZSUN you get a tumbler-style lock with a flex cable, which makes it easier to carry.

In terms of the cable itself, its 120cm long, made of braided steel wire so while not super thick, it’s still thick enough and will be quite difficult to cut through.

Helping with the anti-tampering is the external vinyl coating of the cable itself, which will offer at least a little bit of extra security, plus it helps avoid scratching your gear. Finally, the cable is self-coiling, so you don’t have to worry about manhandling it into a small size for storage. 

One thing I will say though is that the cable might be just long enough to cover two wheels, although if you have more than one, it might not work that well. It also probably won’t be long enough to hook up two bikes to a rack or some other fixed point. That being said, you can use this bike lock for a bunch of different stuff, not just your bikes, so there’s a silver lining there.

Much like the other bikes on the list, this comes with an easy to use mount so you don’t have to worry about carrying it around in a pouch or basket. 

Probably the nicest thing is the 5-number tumbler lock, with 5 numbers being pretty good to safeguard against somebody trying to brute-force it. The combination is pretty easy to change, and the tumblers themselves are easy to turn and pretty smooth. On top of that, the whole thing is covered in PVC, which helps a lot with weatherproofing and tampering. 

The XZSUN bike lock is probably one of the best you can find on the market if you’re looking for a tumbler-style flex cable lock. True, it’s not as thick as some of the other options here, but it does offer great protection in a light and easy-to-carry product.

The only real downside might be the length of the cable, so you should take a couple of measurements to make sure it will be enough for you.

Pros
  • Offers a lot of protection for the price
  • Flex cable is long
  • Has a lot of use-cases beyond just bikes
Cons
  • Not as secure as other options
  • Flex cable diameter is not that thick

Bike Locks: Frequently Asked Questions

Are U Locks Better than Cable Locks?

Yes, absolutely. A U lock is usually pretty thick, whereas a cable lock is thinner and easier to cut through. That being said, they each have their advantages. While the cable lock is thinner, it’s also lighter and easier to carry around, as opposed to a U-lock which is usually quite big and heavy.

Is There a Bike Lock That Cannot Be Cut?

Pretty much anything can be cut through, the real question is how much effort it takes. For example, cutting a cable lock is easier than cutting a U lock and cutting a thin U lock is easier than cutting a heavy U lock.

At the end of the day, you want to go with the option that takes the most effort and therefore acts as the biggest deterrent. Similarly, locks are only as strong as whatever they are secured to.

Are U Locks Easy to Break?

No, they usually require a lot of effort and work. Most of the time you’d probably have to use an angle grinder or some other drilling or heavy-duty tool to cut through it. Since those tend to be noisy, they’re likely to tip off people nearby, so thieves are not likely to chance it.

Can You Pick a Bike Lock?

Absolutely, but again, it’s all about the amount of effort it takes. Tools will always be made to pick locks, but newer locks have newer security measures, and so they tend to be harder to pick.

Similarly, it’s not easy to pick a lock in general, especially on a higher-end lock, so if you’re worried about this, I’d suggest you go for something on the more expensive side.

Best Bike Locks in 2020: No More Bike Theft — Bike Hacks