If you want to keep your hands on your new bike for long, you’ll need a decent lock. But, with so many different types out there to choose from the question is: which one should you go for?
First you’ll need to think about what you’ll be using your lock for – not everyone will need the same type. For e.g. cyclists who regularly leave their bike at the train station will require a bicycle lock that offers a higher level of safety than the occasional rider nipping over to the local beer garden. Of course, this is also a bit of a generalisation! Depending on the value of your bike, a visit to the beer garden may also require a higher-security lock.
How much to spend?
Don’t fall victim to false economy here. It’s generally recommended that you spend at least 10% of your bike’s total worth on your lock. You’ll quickly regret scrimping if you end up having to replace an expensive bike because your lock wasn’t up to the task. 100% safety can never be guaranteed but let’s not make it easy for thieves to take your precious ride. But no matter how high-tech the materials and locking systems are, 100% safety can’t ever be guaranteed!
Types of locks
So let’s have a look at some of the types and models of locks that are currently available, as well as the different pros and cons they offer:
Chain Locks: As the name suggests, chain locks are made up of a series of chain links fixed to a lock. The links are usually covered to protect your bike paintwork. This type of lock means tyres and frames can be secured and chained to an object at the same time. It offers a good visual deterrent and will wrap around most bikes. However, they also tend to be heavier and more impractical to lug around.
U-Locks (D-Locks): As its name suggests, a U-Lock is made up of a U-shaped shackle with a removable locking bar. This type of lock by i.e. ABUS is very robust and makes for an excellent visual deterrent. It’s lighter than a chain lock, but its form means it can still be quite awkward to transport and may not wrap through some frames or stationary objects.
Cable & Combination Locks: The classic bicycle lock is a cable lock. Cable locks are lightweight, easy to transport and can be looped around most bikes. They can be also used to secure saddles and tyres so that thieves can’t specifically target these elements. Opting for a combination lock also means that you have no keys to lose. However, be warned that a combi-lock is less secure than a keyed version. Cables are less secure than solid shackles and links and both of these options offer a poor visual deterrent.
Folding Locks: Folding locks are made up of a series of bars and links with a paintwork-saving cover. This type of lock is particularly useful if you’re looking for a light weight and a compact design that’s easy to carry and flexible to use. However, it is one of the easier lock types to cut through.
Frame Locks: Frame locks are typically constructed from a hardened shackle and locking element. They secure the wheel and prevent it from spinning. They are best used in combination with an additional cable or chain lock to protect other elements of the bike from theft – and to prevent a bike thief from simply picking your bike up and carrying it away!