All About Bicycle Locks
Over the past 14-months, we have not only seen a surge in bike sales and ridership, but an unfortunate increase in bike theft. Nothing is quite like that new bike feeling. Freedom and joy which are sharply inverted upon discovering your bike is no where to be found — something many of us are familiar with or know of someone close who has experienced a loss of their freedom vehicle. Along with the recent rise in ridership, the city has seen almost a 70% increase in reported bike theft this year in comparison to last year's figures within the same timeframe. You may be wondering, so, how can I best protect my bike; the following will provide a brief overview of the main styles of locks that are available, what to look for in a reliable lock, how to properly lock a bike, and some lock recommendations. Please note, that we do not guarantee the infallibility of any lock highlighted, this article is intended to be used as a guide to assist in selecting the most optimal lock for specified conditions to reduce the potential of someone lifting your ride.
Types of Locks
While there are many different lock styles and combinations on the market, the three-most popular styles are: i) cable locks, ii) chain--link locks, and iii) u-locks. Unfortunately, not all locks are created equal, and some are more prone to being breached than others, namely the exclusive use of a cable lock.
The cable lock, while light and portable, can be easily breached whether its through the locking mechanism or the cable itself. We do not recommend the exclusive reliance upon a cable lock to secure one's bike. However, cable locks when used in conjunction with a solid u-lock can provide an additional "layer" of security through deterrence.
Chain-link locks are designed to provide additional flexibility in locking one's bike, which isn't typically found with the use of a U-lock. While the quality of chain-linked locks varies drastically on the market, reliable options, such as the "KryptoLok Series 2 995 Integrated Chain", as pictured above; to verify how reliable and durable a lock is, look for a "Solid Secure" label on the lock (further information will follow in the section below on this).
U-Locks, also referred to as "D-Locks" from their shape, are typically more heavily gravitated towards and recommended because their nature makes them less prone to being broken into or pried open. However, similar to what was mentioned previously for chain-link locks, not all u-locks are created equal; to verify how secure a lock is refers to the presence of a "Solid Secure" label on the packaging.
How Can I Tell How Secure A Lock Is?
Trying to understand the lack of cohesion between the seemingly arbitrary scales which vary from brand-to-brand can feel daunting and confusing. Luckily, an organization in the U.K has developed a standardized form of measurement to classify the security of a lock. The assigned level is determined by examining how the lock's construction, materials used, and design contribute to a lengthening of efforts to breach the lock's security (or how easy it is to break a lock).There are four main categories identified and examined within a "solid secure" rating, which are, i) bronze, ii), iii) gold, and iv) diamond; these levels coincide in ascending order the degree to which they offer security. Thus, any lock that carries a solid secure verified rating has been extensively tested which provides the consumer a transparent guide to selecting the most appropriate lock for its intended use. The following is how the classification system is categorized.
Solid Secure: Bronze Approval
|"Good level of resistance against the opportunist thief"||"Should be used in a normal risk environment"|
Solid Secure: Silver Approval
|"Greater level of resistance against the more determined thief"||"Should be used in a higher-risk environment"|
Solid Secure: Gold Approval
|"The top level of resistance against the dedicated thief"||"Should be used in a high-risk environment"|
Solid Secure: Diamond Approval (NEW)
|The highest level of resistance against a targeted attack with advanced tools||"Should be used in a high-risk environment"|
Lock Recommendations According to Solid Secure Ratings (or better)
How Do I Lock My Bike Properly?
Whenever you leave you bike for any period of time, it is essential to make sure that when you go to lock it up that you secure the frame to an affixed object (such as a bike rack) that does not move. Ideally, a wheel and the frame are secured within the u-lock and an additional lock (if the bike has quick release skewers) are used to ensure you "cover all your bases" in order to prevent a potential theft.
How not to lock your bike
When locking your bike, you would want to ensure the more secure U-lock is connected through the frame to the affixed object (bike rack) and then supplemented with a cable lock. In this example, someone could easily take a pair of wire cutters, cut the existing cable and take off with the bike as the u-lock is not affixed to anything static.
How to lock your bike
Here the u-lock connects the frame and rear wheel to the affixed object. If you are parking your bike in a higher-risk area, connecting a supplementary lock ensures your bike is more secure. If your lock cannot reach from rear wheel to front wheel, you can always carefully take the front wheel off and loop your supplementary lock through it so that your whole bike is secured.
- If the lock you have purchased, or plan on purchasing has a set of keys with a serial number, write it down or take a photo of it and send it to yourself via email/ upload it in the cloud. This is key, as in the event the pair of keys that once came with the lock are misplaced, you are able to order a new pair. For example, here is the link to order new keys through ABUS.
- If you are concerned about your wheel(s) being stolen, ABUS makes a product called the "Nutfix" which are wheel locks designed to prevent your wheels and seatpost being stolen. That product can be found here.
- Ensure that you have the serial number of your bike in your personal records (if possible). This is key in identifying the re-surfacing of your bike in the event it is stolen. More information about where you can find your serial number and additional security measures can be found here.
Links to the Locks Mentioned Above and Additional Resources
- Abus' "Ultra Scooter 402 U-Lock"
- Kryptonite's "Keeper 785 Integrated Chain"
- Abus' "Ultra 410 Mini LS U-Lock (7-inch) + Cobra Cable"
- Abus' "Bordo 6000 w/o Bracket"
- Kryptonite's "New-U New York Lock Standard"
- Hiplok "Gold"
- Abus' "Granit Extreme 59"
- Kryptonite's "New York Fahgettaboudit (3.25 feet)"