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Your buyers guide to the top-rated locks from £20

The '80s and '90s saw an arms race between lock makers and bike thieves that eventually settled down when lock makers figured out how to make locks that would resist everything but hefty portable power tools. Here's our selection of the locks that have the right stuff.

A sufficiently determined thief can breach any lock. However, for the best locks 'sufficiently determined' means 'carrying a portable angle grinder'. That's not a cheap tool in itself, and while it's quick, it's also very conspicuous.

One technique of your professional thief is therefore to damage the lock so you can't open it, and then come back late at night with the big guns. If you find your lock mechanism made unusable — filled with glue, for example — break the lock yourself. Hiring an angle grinder will cost you about £20 for the day.

That's about the only way you'll quickly get through most of our lock selection here. The more you pay, on the whole, the longer it takes to breach a lock with unpowered brute force attacks, to the point where a thief won't bother with the best locks, but move on to easier pickings. It's a sad truth that the basis of on-street bike security is to make your bike too much trouble so a thief will nick someone else's.

To help you protect your bike, take a look at our Bike Locking Bible.

Master Lock Street Fortum with cable — £29.95

Master Lock Street Fortum bonus pack

Master Lock Street Fortum bonus pack

For 30 quid with a cable to help secure your front wheel the Master Lock Street Fortum is very good value in a lock that meets the Sold Secure Bicycle Gold standard. When we tested it, it resisted bolt-croppers and our persuader test, and the lock mechanism is well-protected from assault.

It can be broken, of course, but if you want a decent level of security at a sensible price for a round-town bike, it's a good choice.

Read our review of the Master Lock Street Fortum

OnGuard 5000 Brute LS — £25.99

OnGuad Brute U lock

OnGuad Brute U lock

Its RRP is over £40, but the price above is more typical, which makes this tough cookie great value.

The Brute mates a 16mm hardened shackle with a bar made from a single piece of steel, and the locking mechanism is protected against drilling and picking.

In testing it resisted our standard armoury of 3ft bolt croppers, persuader, hammer, cold chisel, screwdriver and hacksaw. The 16mm shackle was too big for the jaws of our croppers so we went after it with the persuader and hammer but after five minutes the damage was pretty cosmetic, and the lock – with a slightly bent shackle – still worked fine.

Read our review of the OnGuard Brute
Find an OnGuard dealer

Kryptonite New York 3000 — £56.43

The Kryptonite New York 3000 is plenty tough enough to repel most criminals and is a good choice for everyday use where bike security is a necessity.

It's not cheap, and it's heavy, but the New York 3000 pointed and laughed at our standard armoury. Nothing short of some quality power tools would make a dent in this lock.

Read our review of the Kryptonite New York 3000
Find a Kryptonite dealer

Abus Granit X-Plus — £59.31

abus granit xplus lock crop.jpeg

abus granit xplus lock crop.jpeg

The Abus Granit X-Plus has long been among the best D locks on the market. It has Sold Secure Gold ratings for both bike and motorbikes (the latter is a higher standard) and it's not hard to see why.

We couldn't break this one with our standard thieves' armoury. The shackle is super stiff and no amount of cropping, twisting or thwacking would do any serious damage. the plastic sleeve got a bit mangled, but that was about it. Some meaty blows to the base broke off the plastic covering, but only to reveal a serious-looking steel plate construction that does a very good job of protecting the lock mechanism and was dismissive of our efforts. After all the violence was over the lock was still in perfect working order; even the plastic cover just snapped back on.

Read our review of the Abus Granit X-Plus
Find an Abus dealer

Squire SS50CS Stronghold Padlock — £54.95

In combination with a hefty chain, a good padlock will provide high-level security for home bike storage, though the substantial total weight makes it a bit impractical as carry-long theft prevention.

The Squire SS50CS is a well-designed, heavily armoured lock that's an excellent partner to some heavy-duty chain.

At 650g it certainly feels the part. It's engineered from a hardened steel billet with a 10mm shackle that's almost fully enclosed. The barrel is protected by another steel plate to protect against drilling, with the key turning just an eighth of a rotation to allow the protective sheet to cover more of the mechanism.

Read our review of the Squire SS50CS Stronghold Padlock
Find a Squire dealer

Pragmasis Protector 13mm security chain 2.0m — £78.75

Protector 13mm chain

Protector 13mm chain

Two metres of Protector 13mm chain weighs 6.95kg so you're not going to be carrying it around, but it's a great last line of defence for your home bike storage.

We couldn't touch it with bolt croppers, and a chain is inherently resistant to prying and hammering, especially a hardened steel chain like this.

Pragmasis offers a package of a 2m Protector with the Squire SS50CS Stronghold padlock above for £117.25

Read our review of the Pragmasis Protector 13mm security chain 2.0m

 

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The aim of road.cc buyer's guides is to give you the most, authoritative, objective and up-to-date buying advice. We continuously update and republish our guides, checking prices, availability and looking for the best deals.

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Road.cc buyer's guides are maintained and updated by John Stevenson. Email John with comments, corrections or queries.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

17 comments

Avatar
Kermit77 [6 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Think I'll wait until the OTTOLOCK's bike lock is released.

Avatar
henryb [35 posts] 9 months ago
6 likes

...and of course, always lock your bike next to a more expensive bike...

Avatar
ChrisB200SX [714 posts] 9 months ago
1 like
henryb wrote:

...and of course, always lock your bike next to a more expensive bike...

Or a bike that looks easier to steal. I've got a long Pragmasis chain and the big padlock. Brilliant, but hard work to take anywhere, which I sometimes do, pretty sure it's way heavier than stated!
Still need something lighter and more mobile for CTC rides, pub/cafe stops and parkrun journeys.

Avatar
Hypoxic [59 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

Would love to see someone intergrate a Taser into a bike lock. Having had my wife's and son's bikes stolen recently the anger I feel is still smoldering. Got to agree that the best tactic is to take the shitest bike when commuting. If you don't like it, chances are no-one else is going to also.

Avatar
ClubSmed [674 posts] 9 months ago
1 like
Hypoxic wrote:

Would love to see someone intergrate a Taser into a bike lock. Having had my wife's and son's bikes stolen recently the anger I feel is still smoldering. Got to agree that the best tactic is to take the shitest bike when commuting. If you don't like it, chances are no-one else is going to also.

Or maybe you need a good bike made to look shitty with something like this:

http://customcreationpaints.co.uk/rust-effect-paint/coating/rust-in-a-can

That way you still get the fun of the bike you want (more or less) without the bling that gets it stolen.

Avatar
Mungecrundle [925 posts] 9 months ago
3 likes

Rule if thumb. If you need to lock your bike with anything more than a basic deterrent to someone simply wheeling it away, then you need a cheaper / older / crappier bike.

If some piece of shit thief wants your bike then they will have it, or parts of it, or deliberately disable your lock or otherwise damage it.

Locks whilst in garage or shed on the other hand need to be strong and also need a decent ground anchor.

Avatar
Username [237 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

"However, for the best locks 'sufficiently determined' means 'carrying a portable angle grinder'. That's not a cheap tool in itself, and while it's quick, it's also very conspicuous."

 

Sadly this is not true. Angle-grinders are very cheap these days, and of course the scum doing the nicking have been known to nick the tools of the trade in the first place.

While they are conspicous, nobody gives a damn. Bikes are being stolen in broad daylight, on busy streets, by thieves who arrive two-up on a scooter without number plates, both keep their full-face helmets on to thwart CCTV, one hops off and angle-grinds through a lock quicker than reading this post. Both ride off.

Avatar
Rapha Nadal [834 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

"stop your bike getting stolen with our selection"

And if my bike does get pinched whilst using a lock from your selection, will you buy me a new one as that's quite a bold statement?

Avatar
LastBoyScout [440 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes
Username wrote:

While they are conspicous, nobody gives a damn. Bikes are being stolen in broad daylight, on busy streets, by thieves who arrive two-up on a scooter without number plates, both keep their full-face helmets on to thwart CCTV, one hops off and angle-grinds through a lock quicker than reading this post. Both ride off.

No-one in their right mind is going to attack a thief in a crash helmet armed with an angle grinder and with an accomplice standing by and they'll be gone before the police arrive.

You don't know what other weapons they might have and aren't afraid to use - knives, acid, whatever. It isn't worth the risk.

And they know it.

Avatar
Bluebug [347 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes
Username wrote:

"However, for the best locks 'sufficiently determined' means 'carrying a portable angle grinder'. That's not a cheap tool in itself, and while it's quick, it's also very conspicuous."

 

Sadly this is not true. Angle-grinders are very cheap these days, and of course the scum doing the nicking have been known to nick the tools of the trade in the first place.

While they are conspicous, nobody gives a damn. Bikes are being stolen in broad daylight, on busy streets, by thieves who arrive two-up on a scooter without number plates, both keep their full-face helmets on to thwart CCTV, one hops off and angle-grinds through a lock quicker than reading this post. Both ride off.

You aren't going to argue with a guy with an angle grinder who has a mate with him.

 

 

Avatar
Username [237 posts] 9 months ago
1 like
Bluebug wrote:

You aren't going to argue with a guy with an angle grinder who has a mate with him.

 

That's exactly my point. The article infers angle-grinder attacks are limited by such attacks being "very conspicuous" but the current crop of moped-enabled criminals don't give a damn; and know they won't be stopped.

The article then dismisses angle-grinder attacks and goes into detail about which locks resist bolt-croppers and pinch-bar attacks. Which is a pointless discussion because the thieves are using angle-grinders and conspicuousness has nothing to do with it.

Avatar
SNS1938 [138 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes
Mungecrundle wrote:

Rule if thumb. If you need to lock your bike with anything more than a basic deterrent to someone simply wheeling it away, then you need a cheaper / older / crappier bike. If some piece of shit thief wants your bike then they will have it, or parts of it, or deliberately disable your lock or otherwise damage it. Locks whilst in garage or shed on the other hand need to be strong and also need a decent ground anchor.

 

I agree. I do not remember the last time I locked up one of my good bikes. I've found that not taking a lock with me, means that I always keep them safe when away or at work. 

 

I do have two of the Abus locks above and two of the New York ones from when I used to live in Cambridge and only had bicycles for five years. Great locks, never had anyone even try to break into them. There's always someone with a couple of hundred quid bike and a combination lock that you can crack in a few minutes in the rack too. 

Avatar
darrenleroy [270 posts] 1 week ago
4 likes

I wouldn't dream of leaving my roadbike out of sight in public. Ever. I keep it in my home at all times I'm not using it (and it's only worth around a grand but you know, sentimental/practical value). If it is stolen I can claim on the insurance.

My commuter bike is covered in stickers (collected from bike shows) because it makes the bike idiosyncratic (harder to sell online without being recognised) and also a big ugly thus less appealing to criminals and unscrupulous purchasers alike. I do lock it up as well but any search on Youtube will show criminals brazenly grinding locks apart in broad daylight. Make it ugly. 

Avatar
StraelGuy [1401 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes

Completely agree Darren. All three of mine live indoors chained to 56 lb weights with gold secured chains.

Avatar
ChrisB200SX [714 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes
ChrisB200SX wrote:
henryb wrote:

...and of course, always lock your bike next to a more expensive bike...

Or a bike that looks easier to steal. I've got a long Pragmasis chain and the big padlock. Brilliant, but hard work to take anywhere, which I sometimes do, pretty sure it's way heavier than stated!
Still need something lighter and more mobile for CTC rides, pub/cafe stops and parkrun journeys.

I went with one of these as a mobile lock for my new Brompton:
https://securityforbikes.com/dib-d-locks.php

 

Avatar
Steve Garratt [15 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

I only ride a relatively unattractive 3 speed Kaldi Mongoose bike around town or to go shopping, secured with the Abus D lock featured in this article..

Learnt from bitter experience, back on Boxing Day 2011 of trusting bike security to even a thick cable type lock... Came out of WH Smiths in Croydon after just 5 minutes to see the chopped lock on the ground and my Marin San Alselmo gone..

Avatar
Oranj [40 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

It would be good to hear how easy it is to attach these locks (particularly the D-locks) to the frame for carrying around.

My present lock choice is based entirely on the security and easy of use of the mounts, some of them just aren't up to the business of carrying a +1kg D-lock on the frame without it bouncing around or fouling something rotating (the chainset, your knees, etc.)