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BUYER'S GUIDE

6 of the best bike locks — stop your bike getting stolen with our selection

Your buyers guide to the top-rated locks from £30

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

  • Good bike locks are heavy and expensive, but they're not as inconvenient as having your bike stolen

  • We recommend you go for a bike lock that's marked Diamond or Gold on Sold Secure's bicycle rating system, especially if you're parking in a theft hotspot like a train station or university campus

  • Carry two keys for your lock in separate places so you can still get moving if you lose one

  • Many insurance policies require you to use a high-quality lock or your claim will be denied

  • Prices for good bike locks start around £40

6 of the best bike locks for 2021

A sufficiently determined thief can breach anything. However, for the best bike locks 'sufficiently determined' means 'carrying a portable angle grinder'. While that's standard equipment for serious thieves an angle grinder is sufficiently noisy and conspicuous that most thieves don't use them on, say, a crowded high street.

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 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 bike 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.

One simple way to do that is to use two locks, preferably of different design and manufacturer. It's unlikely both will be vulnerable to the same non-grinder attack and even a thief equipped with a grinder should decide to find easier pickings.

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

Lock standards: Sold Secure

Sold Secure is the dominant certifying body for locking and other security products in the UK, and its remit includes awarding ratings to bike locks.

The Sold Secure standards go from Bronze to Diamond. According to Sold Secure, this is what they mean:

  • Diamond rated products provide the highest level of security in the bicycle category, aimed at very high value bicycles and e-bikes.
  • Gold rated products offer the next highest level of security, aimed at mid-to-high value bicycles.
  • Silver  rated  products  offer  a  compromise  between security and cost.
  • Bronze rated products typically offer defence against the opportunist thief.

Diamond is a relatively new level introduced in response to the rise of e-bikes, according to Sold Secure managing director Dr Steffan George. In the introduction to Sold Secure's 2020 Approved Products list, George says the Diamond standard "is aimed at the increasing popular phenomenon of e-bikes (electric or electrically assisted bikes). Due to their value (which can be significant) we felt that a higher level than Gold was required and hence SS104 Diamond level is being launched in Q1 this year."

Previously, Sold Secure said that the standard levels indicated how long a lock had to resist attack with a range of tools. Gold meant a lock lasted “five minutes with a sophisticated array of tools”. Those descriptions have been dropped, probably because the advent of portable angle grinders renders them moot. An angle grinder will get through most locks in well under five minutes.

That said, Sold Secure ratings are still useful, with the caveat that some quite poor locks still achieve the Bronze rating. If you're going to leave your bike out of sight for any length of time, get a lock that's rated at least Gold, and preferably Diamond. 

The following are locks that we've subjected to our own destructive testing using methods commonly employed by bike thieves, and that were sufficiently hard to breach that we'd trust them with our own bikes.

Master Lock 8274EURDPRO Large, with cable — £36.47

Master Lock Street Fortum bonus pack

For under 40 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. For this price you get the larger version with a 28cm shackle instead of the standard 21cm, which will make it easier to find a suitable place to lock your bike up.

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.

The Master Lock 8274EURDPRO is rated Sold Secure Gold (for the lock only).

Weight: 1,084g (lock only)

Read our review of the Master Lock 8274EURDPRO

OnGuard Brute LS — £35.99

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.

The OnGuard Brute is rated Sold Secure Diamond.

Weight: 2,042g

Read our review of the OnGuard Brute
Find an OnGuard dealer

Kryptonite New York — £73.99

Kryptonite New York 3000 U lock

The Kryptonite New York 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 pointed and laughed at our standard armoury. Nothing short of some quality power tools would make a dent in this lock.

The Kryptonite New York is rated Sold Secure Diamond.

Weight: 1,800g

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

Abus Granit X-Plus — £75.95

abus granit xplus lock crop.jpeg

The Abus Granit X-Plus has long been among the best and most popular D locks on the market 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.

The Abus Granit X-Plus is rated Sold Secure Diamond.

Weight: 1,525g

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

Squire SS50CS Stronghold Padlock — £69.95

Squire Stronghold padlock

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-along theft prevention.

The Squire SS50CS is a well-designed, heavily armoured bike 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.

It doesn't have a rating on its own, but the Squire SS50CS Stronghold Padlock is included with lock and chain combinations rated Sold Secure Motorcycle Gold, a higher standard than Bicycle Gold.

Weight: 650g

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

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 £138.70.

The Pragmasis Protector 13mm chain is rated Sold Secure Diamond.

Weight: 6,950g

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

Explore the complete archive of reviews of bike locks and security devices on road.cc

About road.cc Buyer's Guides

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.

Our guides include links to websites where you can buy the featured products. Like most sites we make a small amount of money if you buy something after clicking on one of those links. We want you to be happy with what you buy, so we only include a product if we think it's one of the best of its kind.

As far as possible that means recommending equipment that we have actually reviewed, but we also include products that are popular, highly-regarded benchmarks in their categories.

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You can also find further guides on our sister sites off.road.cc and ebiketips.

road.cc buyer's guides are maintained by the road.cc tech team. Email us with comments, corrections or queries.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

Add new comment

72 comments

Avatar
Sriracha | 1 year ago
0 likes

So basically they can all* be cut with an angle grinder, which is what the thieves carry. Is there any sense in using a secondary device, enough to prevent the bike being ridden away, but which is not susceptible to anglegrinder attack?

Previously I've thought of just attaching a small padlock snugly around the chain (so yes, a teeny-tiny padlock). You couldn't attack it with an angle grinder, and you can't get your pair of spanner jaws inside. You might be able to gingerly cut it with small bolt croppers, but I'm guessing the angle-grinder mob don't pack those. In any case trying to cut it off you likely knacker the chain. So they wont be riding your bike away, at least.

* all except https://hiplok.com/d1000preview/

Avatar
RoubaixCube | 2 years ago
0 likes

Kryptonite NY is £74 now??? Wow. I bought one back in 2015 for £47 and i thought it was bloody expensive back then!!

Avatar
brooksby replied to RoubaixCube | 2 years ago
0 likes

I paid £80 for a Kryptonite New York Mini (the Fahgeddaboutit?) a couple of years ago.

Avatar
RoubaixCube replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
0 likes

a quick google shows me that prices have barely changed for that lock. Its still around £80 give or take a few quid.

Image: 
Avatar
duncanap | 2 years ago
11 likes

None of these reviews say how the locks perform against Teslas. 

Avatar
Captain Badger replied to duncanap | 2 years ago
2 likes
Duncanap wrote:

None of these reviews say how the locks perform against Teslas. 

Consider this response a second "like"

Avatar
brooksby | 2 years ago
1 like

"Couldn't you just make '10' louder?"

"Yeah, but this one goes up to '11'!"
 

(paraphrased, from memory)

Couldn't they just have made 'gold' tougher, and re-review all the Sold Secure locks?

Avatar
rjfrussell replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
0 likes

not really, I don't think, because say i bought my "gold" lock 2 years ago  (it is no longer on the market so has not been down-rated to the new "silver"). 

I look now and the best is still "gold"-  so i have the best available, i think.  If i look now, and see that they are selling "gold-plus" locks, i know that tech has moved on and there is something better than waht i have.

Avatar
quiff replied to rjfrussell | 2 years ago
1 like

I recently bought a new appliance and thought I was doing well because it is A+ rated for efficiency. Then realised the scale now goes to A+++ 

Avatar
brooksby replied to quiff | 2 years ago
0 likes

Like the current exam grades - A, A+.

(I remember when I were a lad, and A was the best you could get...).

Avatar
vthejk replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
0 likes
brooksby wrote:

Like the current exam grades - A, A+.

(I remember when I were a lad, and A was the best you could get...).

Not anymore, sadly - both A and A* are grouped together as '9' which, confusingly still, is not out of a 10.

Avatar
Steve K replied to vthejk | 1 year ago
0 likes
vthejk wrote:
brooksby wrote:

Like the current exam grades - A, A+.

(I remember when I were a lad, and A was the best you could get...).

Not anymore, sadly - both A and A* are grouped together as '9' which, confusingly still, is not out of a 10.

Not quite right. A levels still have letter grades, including A*.

At GCSE, A* and A have been replaced by 7, 8 and 9. 9 is equivalent to a high A*. And though it's never been officially said, the reason it goes to 9 is so that there's space to add 10 in years to come of needed (in the same way as A* was added).

Avatar
wycombewheeler replied to Steve K | 1 year ago
1 like
Steve K wrote:
vthejk wrote:
brooksby wrote:

Like the current exam grades - A, A+.

(I remember when I were a lad, and A was the best you could get...).

Not anymore, sadly - both A and A* are grouped together as '9' which, confusingly still, is not out of a 10.

Not quite right. A levels still have letter grades, including A*. At GCSE, A* and A have been replaced by 7, 8 and 9. 9 is equivalent to a high A*. And though it's never been officially said, the reason it goes to 9 is so that there's space to add 10 in years to come of needed (in the same way as A* was added).

and then in years to come Students will be striving for a spinal tap grade.

Avatar
brooksby replied to vthejk | 1 year ago
0 likes
vthejk wrote:
brooksby wrote:

Like the current exam grades - A, A+.

(I remember when I were a lad, and A was the best you could get...).

Not anymore, sadly - both A and A* are grouped together as '9' which, confusingly still, is not out of a 10.

Erm...  

Avatar
Sriracha replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
1 like

What Halfords seem to do is rebrand a Gold standard OnGuard lock as their own in-house brand, and bump it up to Diamond. I'm not sure how the "Advanced" lettering keeps the baddies at bay, but at twice the price I guess it must work?
https://www.tredz.co.uk/.OnGuard-Pitbull-U-Lock-Gold-Sold-Secure-Rating_...

https://www.halfords.com/cycling/bike-accessories/bike-locks/halfords-ad...

Edit - must be getting old, I see that I'm repeating myself from last time this was "updated".

Avatar
OnYerBike replied to Sriracha | 1 year ago
1 like

The OnGuard Pitbull now appears to be rating Diamond too - https://www.soldsecure.com/search///lk8005-onguard-pitbull.html 

Not sure exactly what's gone on there, but it is now consistent between the Halfords Advanced and the OnGuard Pitbull.

Avatar
Sriracha | 2 years ago
1 like

If the article was "updated" on 17 March 2021, how come it still references superceded models no longer available, complete with broken links? Not a good look for Road.cc

Avatar
Sriracha | 2 years ago
0 likes

The Halfords Advanced, which is a rebadged Onguard Pitbull (at double the price) is now rated Diamond, although it looks to be the same item as before and is not as robust as the current version of the old Onguard Brute listed above (Advanced/Pitbull is 14mm dia shackle, vs 16.8mm for Brute).

So I'm not sure what is going on with Sold Secure ratings, but they live or die by the trust they engender. Halfords basically charging £30 premium for a sticker saying "Diamond" runs a coach and horses through that trust.

https://www.halfords.com/cycling/bike-accessories/bike-locks/halfords-ad...

Avatar
grOg | 3 years ago
1 like

An angle grinder will 'open' them all..I would never leave an expensive bike outside, unattended - I have a well maintained old steel mtb that's good for shop duty but still use a quality d-lock and cable to prevent casual ride-offs.

Avatar
froze | 3 years ago
0 likes

I'm sort of surprised that LiteLoc wasn't given a mention.

Avatar
ktache replied to froze | 3 years ago
1 like

Well...

Please see the comments on this one

https://road.cc/content/review/litelok-silver-flexi-u-lock-272985

and this

https://road.cc/content/review/243067-litelok-gold-wearable

They get good reviews, but The Lock Picking Lawyer really doesn't seem to rate them.

Though to be fair, there is nothing out there that can last more than a couple of minutes, especially when he gets out the pick that him and Bosnian Bill made...

 

Avatar
alexb | 3 years ago
0 likes

You can get a decent chain lock from online motorbike accessory retailers for about £20, £30 with a lock. It's be tough enough to require an angle grinder and to be honest that's all you need.

My bike stays in sight of me at all times.

The bike shed is filled with junk with the bikes at the back. Any thief is going to have to unload the shed before they can attack the locks and that means working their way through a lot of D-locked garden furniture first.

Avatar
Sriracha replied to alexb | 3 years ago
2 likes

How long does it take you to get your bike out?!

Avatar
caw35ride | 3 years ago
0 likes

My wife's commuter is fitted with an Abus frame lock. It is bolted to the seatstays and throws a steel bar through the the back wheel. They're clever because they are so convenient: they are always attached to the bike, when not locked the key is held captive in the lock.

They are very common in the Netherlands where they are often used in conjunction with a secondary device (frame lock secures the rear wheel, secondary lock is on front-wheel-plus-attach-to-something duty.

It would be interesting to know how they stand up to attack.

Avatar
mdavidford replied to caw35ride | 3 years ago
0 likes

Doesn't that mean a thief can just remove the front wheel, carry off the rest of the bike, and then work on the frame lock at their leisure? Surely you still want to secure the frame to something non-bikey as well?

Avatar
caw35ride replied to mdavidford | 3 years ago
0 likes

Read my entire post, inc para starting "They are very common...".

If you rent a bike in Amsterdam it'll likely come with a frame lock plus a bloody great chain with a Discus padlock.

Avatar
mdavidford replied to caw35ride | 3 years ago
0 likes
caw35ride wrote:

Read my entire post

I did.

Presumably the 'bloody great chain' goes through the frame, as well as 'front-wheel-plus-attach-to-something'? That would make more sense to me than the original description.

Avatar
Sriracha | 3 years ago
4 likes

They are all Gold standard, and all repel the standard mechanical tools, and all succumb to an angle grinder. So far, so same. So the differentiator is price, and weight. How about listing the weights please?

Avatar
luke.lon | 3 years ago
0 likes

What about disc locks? I imagine that you could cut them with an angle grinder but at least if they damage the rotor the thief won't able to just ride off with it...

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to luke.lon | 3 years ago
0 likes

Not much good if the thief removes the QR/Thru-Axle and takes the wheel off.

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