Bike locks might be all that is needed to protect your bike from theft. 1.5 million bikes are stolen each year, according to the National Bike Registry.
You can steal bikes from your home, restaurant, or back of your car. The highest number of bicycle thefts on college campuses is reported annually. According to the University of California, more than half of all personal property crimes that they handle each year involve a stolen bicycle.
Why bike locks are important
A study was conducted with 2,000 bicycle owners. Participants reported the following sad but true facts.
- Nearly half of those surveyed had their bike stolen at one time or another. Many of these people had multiple bicycles stolen in their lives. A staggering 961 people out of the 2,000 who participated in the survey reported having been victims of bicycle theft.
- The local police do not always consider bicycle recovery a top priority. Police departments have more serious and violent crimes to address first. Stolen personal property such as bicycles is not an important concern.
- Your bike will most likely never be found again if it is stolen. Even if police are actively searching for the missing bicycle, only 2.4% of stolen bikes are ever found.
There is only a small chance that your bike will be found again
Only 36% report a bicycle theft to the authorities
Only 8 1/2% bike owners actually take the time to register their bikes at the authorities
- Most bicycle thefts happen within two miles from your home. People are more trustworthy in their local neighborhoods. In fact, more than half of bike owners who have bike locks said that they forget to lock their bikes when they’re riding in their neighborhood or familiar area. Two bikes were stolen from my yard over my lifetime, I know this! The other one was lost forever when I found it again just a few blocks away.
Let’s suppose you bought a new bike. It could be a commuter bicycle, or a nice road bike. The model you chose was fitted so that it fit you perfectly. You love riding it. It can be difficult to ride it when you’re not riding it.
If you plan to leave your bike unattended in public areas or quasi-public places, a bike lock is necessary. Many people believe that a bike lock cannot guarantee that your bike won’t be stolen or tampered with. This statement is inaccurate. However, you can be more certain your bike will remain where it was left. With the latest bike locks, thieves will need to work ten times harder to steal your bike.
Different types of bike locks
U-locks sound exactly like what they are — a large ‘U’. U-shaped locks are highly effective if the lock is good quality and appropriate for the bike. Although they can be heavy, they are strong enough to withstand tools such as hammers or chisels. The horseshoe-shaped piece of metal is difficult to break for the average bike thief. This lock is made of a thick, horseshoe-shaped piece of metal that can be attached to a pole or other stabilized object as well as the frame of your bike. You will need some serious tools to cut one.
U-locks are available in small, medium and large sizes. The smaller locks will lock the bike’s wheel to an immobile object, while the larger locks will lock the wheels to the object.
Some people find U-locks a little cumbersome to transport.
The U-lock you choose is too big for your bike. A thief can use a crowbar or other pry bar to get enough leverage to remove the lock. It should be tight enough that it can cover all you need. Keep in mind that U-locks might not fit properly on fat bikes or other unusually-shaped bikes.
Cable locks can be a mixed bag. These locks are convenient and easy to use, but they don’t provide the same protection as other options.
Cable locks are versatile. They are easy to attach the cable to the frame of your bike or around a sturdy object. Although they can be used to deter bike theft, they won’t secure your bike as well a U-Lock. A pair of good bolt cutters can usually cut through the cable so the thief is free to ride off with your bike.
Cable locks are something we use for quick trips to the coffee shop. Cable locks are lightweight and easy to transport. They can be folded up into a compact profile that can easily be carried in a jacket pocket, backpack, or wrapped around your seatpost. You can also use them to wrap around your bike while transporting it on a bike rack. This extra deterrent might be enough to stop someone from taking your bike off your carrier while you’re in a gas station paying for your fuel.
Cable lock example
Cable locks with thicker reinforced cables are available — these are harder to steal. Many people make the mistake of buying a cable lock with thicker material, then using a padlock to secure the ends of the cable.
To make it more difficult for thieves to steal your bike, buy a thicker chain. Make sure you also get a padlock that is equally strong and will be difficult for them to cut or break. The weakest point will be found by a thief.
Chain locks can be compared to cable locks because they are longer, roll up, and flexible enough to move through different parts of the bike.
Because the steel is thicker, chain locks are often considered stronger than cable locks. A chain lock, especially one with a circular design, can be cut easily by thieves. They can also be held in place by a cutter that allows them to grip the link. You should choose a chain with square-shaped links. Make sure that the lock you purchase is specifically designed for use as a bike lock. You shouldn’t buy any chain that is too harsh for your bike frame.
Chain locks are a common feature of bike messengers if you pay attention. This provides both convenience (bike messengers need to be able to move quickly) and protection.
Locking Wheels or Seat Skewers
The theft deterrents can be installed easily if you have the little wrench included with the skewer. Don’t lose the little wrench, you will need it again. These locks have the goal of protecting your $300 rim and your $150 saddle from being taken. However, you will still need another larger bike lock.
The bad thing about locking wheels or seat skewers, is that they can be as easy to steal as they are for bike owners. These are easy to duplicate and find. If you plan to leave your bike for a few hours, it might be less likely that your bike is the target. If used alone, it is not the best overnight solution.
Bike locks with keys
People used keyed bike locks with cylindrical keys in the past. Anyone who had a ballpoint pen was able to open them. Modern keyed locks are difficult to pick open.
Your wheel will not be stolen by a locking bike skewer.
Many U-Locks and Cable locks require you to have a lock. Some locks come with the keyed locks.
Two keys are usually provided by manufacturers to unlock the lock. This ensures that you always have one in case you lose it or misplace it.
Combination bike locks
A combination lock is an alternative to the keyed lock. A combination lock is a safer option than the keyed lock.
You will need to know four-digit codes that unlock combination locks. These locks are often used in conjunction with cable locks. These locks are generally quite reliable, but it is up to the user to have the right equipment.
GPS- and Chip-Enabled Locks
We are closely monitoring the market for chip-enabled locks. Smaller startups are developing innovative solutions that will allow you to lock your bike using technology and GPS. Two things could happen if you have a chip in your bike.
The bike would make a noise or chirp when it is paired with an application. Although it sounds great in theory, we know that up to 99% of car alarm triggers could be false alarms. We don’t want the exact same thing happening with bikes.
The second idea is that, if your bike were stolen, you would be able to find its location, much like the Find My Iphone app with your phone. This idea is more appealing, as long as a thief doesn’t know how to remove the chip from your bike.
There will be more to come as the market continues to evolve and prove itself. However, we are confident that there will soon be reliable GPS-enabled options for the mass market. We will be the first to have one. It could be a game-changer for all those who have bikes they spent a lot on.
Multiple locks can be used
Many people have found that using multiple types of locks to secure their bikes is safer than doing it all at once. People use the u locks to attach their bikes to a sturdy bike rack. Then they use a cable lock or a lock on their wheels. A thief would need to be able to bypass two locking systems to gain access to their bikes.
People may use multiple cable locks so that they can thread the cable lock through both the spokes and the frame of the bicycle.
New York 1210
A metal pole or other stable immobile object can be used as a support. Many people recommend this dual-lock combination to be the best.
These are our 5 favorite bike locks for 2021
New York 1210 Chain Lock
The New York Chain 1210 bicycle locks work best when used with an Evolution series 4 14mm disc lock. Kryptonite is the manufacturer of this locking system, which is one of our favorites when it comes to lock device brands. The New York 1210 is made from a 12-mm six-sided chain of 3T hardened manganese and steel. It is nearly impossible to cut. To make a dent in the chain, a thief must have a very serious tool.
The nylon cover protects the chain from damage and has hook-and-loop fasteners to keep the pieces in place.
Kryptonite U Lock LS – Best U Lock
Kryptonite U-Lock LS LS
U-Locks were mentioned previously. This lock is our most secure. Kryptonite 2079 Heavy Duty Bicycle U-lock comes with a 4′ Kryptoflex double loop cable to secure your wheel. This is our favorite U-Lock.
U-Lock’s double deadbolt is hardened and made to make it nearly impossible to turn the lock off. The cylinder is also made with a disc-style design that is both pick- and drill-resistant. It is strong enough to give thieves a run for their money . However, they will need to travel with serious tools if you want to cut it. It can withstand smaller bolt cutters as well as leverage attacks using a crowbar and pry bar.
It includes three keys and an LED fob which you can replace if necessary.
Kryptonite Kryptoflex cable
Kryptonite Kryptoflex1518 Combo cable, a 15mm braided stainless steel cable, is flexible and can be positioned through your bike frame, tire spokes or any other way you choose. The lock comes with a key, but the Kryptonite Kryptoflex 1518 Combo cable has an integrated four-digit combination lock. You can reset the combination quickly and easily. Both versions use the same cable material, which is the key.
This lock is great for those who need a lock they can carry around or toss into a backpack. The lock is long enough to wrap around your bike and secure the wheels, frame, or other parts.
The cable is made to resist cutting so any thief who wants your bike will have to work harder to get it.
OnGuard Doberman- Best Coil Lock
This cable lock has a steel ball combination lock. It is permanently forge to medium duty 185cmx12mm self-coiling cables. They are used to secure your bike or any other heavy frame to a strong pole. This is the most popular coil bike lock we see.
The combination lock is built into the lock so you don’t have to carry it around. Additionally, the cable coils up into an extremely compact unit that can be easily carried in a backpack. A coil bike lock is not meant to be used for long-term storage. However, it can be useful to secure your bike for when you need to stop for a break or to go to the shop for a while. The combination numbers are clearly visible, which is something some lock manufacturers seem to forget. They must have good eyesight!
Simple coil lock that does the job well.
Get it on Amazon.
Knog Strongman Bike Lock
Another U-Lock is made from 13mm hardened metal so it can withstand most bolt cutters without getting damaged. However, it is sleeker and more modern looking. The silicon mounting frame is a nice addition, which can be attached to your bike. It is unlikely that you would do this with a carbon road bicycle, but it might work well if your goal is to lock a basic bike.
It is very difficult to get the locking space around large objects.
Get it on Amazon.
Are Bike Locks Effective?
Many people ask us if bike locks actually work. A skilled thief with the right tools can likely steal your bike. A lock’s purpose is to discourage them. It is important to make it difficult for thieves to steal your bike. You want it to take enough time for someone to notice.
Some bikes are also stolen by joyriders. These people are not out to steal your bike or sell it on black market. They just want to use the bike to get somewhere, or to help them drink, and then plan to leave it along a trail. These thieves can use a bike lock to their advantage.
Even if your $3,000 Felt is being used for cruising, you might want to consider bringing it indoors. Another option is to buy a “townie”, which is a cheaper bike that can be taken anywhere, but won’t attract bike thieves.
What about Bike Tracking Chips?
We are closely monitoring the market for bike tracking devices and chips. We are seeing several that have received funding rounds and are hitting the European market. We know of a few that are available in the U.S. but don’t have enough experience to recommend them. The concept is appealing to us. A chip is embedded in your bike and you can track it with FindMyPhone. It sounds great, but the thief could quickly take the chip.
The University of California Berkeley actually useddummy bicycles with chips in them to catch more than 30 bike thieves and decrease bike theft by over 40%. A tracking chip and an app could be the future of bike locks. Secure your bike until then!
Other Bike Theft Prevention Tips
- Register your bike as soon as you receive it. Register your bike so that you can report any theft to the authorities.
When you are carrying your bike on a bike rack don’t forget about locking it.
They must be able search for your property. Many bikes that have been recovered are stored in police warehouses. However, they don’t know who the owner is.
- It is best to keep your bike away from thieves at night, when they have the opportunity to hide their activities under the cover of darkness. While bikes can be stolen at night, it is possible to leave a bike outside.
- Multiple locks are safer than one. Many bike commuters who are experienced prefer to use one U lock and one chain lock.
- When you are carrying your bike on a bike rack, make sure to lock it up. Imagine that you drive an hour to get a nice ride and then decide to stop at a convenience store for some snacks. It is very easy for thieves to take your bike off your rack if it isn’t locked to anything.
- You should not tie your bike to a tree. It can cause damage to the tree. If the tree is smaller in circumference, a thief could just cut the tree to gain your bike.
- Your wheels and saddles should be locked. These components can be easily stolen by thieves so make sure to take all precautions to keep them from being taken from your bike.
- Place your bike with other bicycles. Safety is in the numbers. The possibility of theft increases when there are other bikes on the bike rack.
- Make a file about the bike. This file should contain serial numbers, receipts from where the bike was purchased, and photos of your bike. You can quickly show authorities what you need if your bike is stolen. You might consider adding the information to the National Bike Registry.
- You can lock your bike to something permanent if you have it in your garage. Garage doors are often left open, making them easy to break into. You may feel your bike is safe in your garage, but it is best to lock it and bolt it to a rack.
- You should not give out your bike lock combination to anyone. If you do have to, make sure you change it often to avoid theft.