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- Kryptonite/Facebook/Business Insider
- The best bike locks are backed up with a guarantee, have thick steel shackles or cables, and they make stealing a bike a long and arduous task.
- The Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini Bicycle U-Lock has all of these features along with anti-theft protection, easy mounting, and a double bolting system.
Whether you live out in the country or in a major metropolitan area, there is no bike lock system that will stop a well-equipped thief. However, there are a number of locks that will either slow down or completely discourage a criminal.
Though some thieves will try to drill the lock, the most common way bikes are stolen is when crooks cut through the lock’s shackle, cable, or chain. Of these options, the shackle of a U-lock is the hardest to cut through. The thicker the steel, the longer it will take to get through. Also, if the lock has a double bolt system, then the robber will need to make two cuts to free the bicycle.
If the idea of slowing down a thief or hoping to just discourage them with a bulky lock is not enough to let you rest easy, there are a few products you might consider adding to your bike protection arsenal. Though they are still relatively primitive and expensive, GPS tracking devices can help you track down the location of a stolen bike.
Of course, locating your bike is half the battle. We do not recommend confronting thieves. The Scout Universal Vehicle GPS Tracker is one of the highest-rated trackers available. But, as with most GPS Trackers, you will have to pay a monthly service fee. You might also consider the Pinhead Bicycle Locking Skewer Set to thwart wheel thieves.
The bike locks we are recommending were chosen based on their price, durability, manufacturer guarantee, and reported performance based on thousands of reviews and ratings from experts and novices.
Here are the best bike locks you can buy:
- Best bike lock overall: Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini Bicycle U-Lock
- Best heavy duty U-lock bike lock on a budget: Sigtuna Heavy Duty Bicycle U-Lock with Cable
- Best bike lock on a budget: Titanker Bike Lock Cable
- Best standard-size U-lock bike lock: Kryptonite New York Standard Bicycle U-Lock
- Best U-lock/cable bike lock combo: Kryptonite Kryptolok Standard Bicycle U-Lock w/ 4-foot Flex Cable
Updated on 05/10/2019 by Les Shu: Updated links, formatting, and prices. Replaced one budget option with the Titanker Bike Lock Cable.
Keep scrolling to read more about our top picks.
The best bike lock overall
If you live in a high crime area, the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini Bicycle U-Lock does an excellent job of warding off criminals and protecting your bike.
Kryptonite is the top name in the bike lock industry. That’s why we’ve included three of its locks in our guide. One of the factors that set Kryptonite apart is its Anti-Theft Protection Offer. Basically, when you get your lock, you must register it with the company right away. Then, if your bike is stolen while it is covered by the anti-theft protection, the company will pay to replace your bike. For the Fahgettaboudit Mini, the first year of registration is free. After that, it is $24.99 for five years of coverage.
The New York Fahgettaboudit Mini offers the highest level of security of any of Kryptonite’s locks according to the company. The shackle is made of 18-millimeter hardened “MAX-Performance” steel. For extra security, the crossbar has an oversized hardened steel sleeve. The lock comes with three keys, which disengage the lock using a high-security disk-style cylinder. The cylinder is protected by a sliding dust cover. And, the center keyway is designed to make leverage attacks difficult.
Many industry experts state that the New York Fahgettaboudit bike lock is one of the best options on the market. The only reason The Wirecutter rated this model as its second pick is that it is so heavy at 4.55 pounds. Other than that, the reviewers liked that the shackle is thick and would require a thief to make two time-consuming cuts to steal a bike.
Consumer Search found this to be the top option for the above reasons as well as the location of the keyway in the center instead of the side, where most locks locate it. The Best Bike Lock ranked this Kryptonite model one of the most secure mini U-locks.
Around 84% of the reviewers on Amazon give the Fahgettaboudit Mini either 4 or 5 stars. Buyers are impressed with how heavy duty and secure the lock appears. The biggest complaint is that the U-lock is fairly small. This is helpful for security, but it does make it hard for you to lock up all of the elements of your bike, including your seat post and seat. Users recommend that you buy multiple U-locks or a cable to lock to the U-lock. Also, one verified purchaser pointed out that Kryptonite does not honor any guarantees if you do not register your lock.
Pros: Takes longer to cut through than any other lock
Cons: Small, heavy
The best heavy-duty U-lock bike lock on a budget
If you want a high-security lock without the price tag of the Kryptonite models, then the Sigtuna Heavy Duty Bicycle U-Lock with Cable is your best bet.
The Sigtuna Heavy Duty Bicycle U-Lock is thick at 16 millimeters and comes with a braided steel flex cable, mounting bracket, two keys, and an ebook, plus, it costs less than $40. One of the reasons we did not rate this as our best overall lock is that it does not come with any sort of warranty or guarantee. The lock does feature a double bolt mechanism that requires a thief to make two cuts to free the bike, which increases the likelihood they will be caught in the act. And, the cable allows for flexibility in how you lock up your ride.
ApexBikes ranked this Sigtuna as the best U-lock because of how convenient it is to use along with how resilient the thick shackle is. AmaPerfect included this model in its list of the best bike locks. The reviewers liked the convenience and reliability of it. They were also impressed with the 1200 mm (slightly less than four feet) braided steel cable. The Z9 found nothing wrong with the Heavy Duty Bicycle U-Lock and listed the price, quality, and ease of use as the main benefits of this unit.
Around 66% of the buyers who reviewed the Sigtuna U-lock on Amazon gave it 5 stars. Users like how durable and thick the U-lock is and that the cable is long enough to lock up several bikes. One verified purchaser mentioned that a thief tried to use bolt cutters and a drill on their U-lock and was thwarted in their attempt to steal the bike. Some reviewers found the U-lock to be a bit heavy (3.1 pounds), but that was generally considered a benefit.
Pros: 16-millimeter steel shackle, durable
Cons: Reports of the keys not fitting well/sticking
The best bike lock on a budget
If you live in a low-to-moderate-crime area, the Titanker Bike Lock Cable is an affordable alternative that offers a variety of locking options.
The Titanker Bike Lock Cable is made of flexible steel cables that measure a half-inch in diameter. The 4-foot cable is covered with PVC coating and recoils back into its original shape when not in use. The four-digit combination lock has 10,000 possible passcodes. This lock is the lightest option in this guide at 11.2 ounces, and it mounts to your bike with the provided bracket.
The cable design offers flexibility in what you can lock a bike to, and the combination key is also convenient. While a lock is a good deterrent in general, this option doesn’t offer the level of protection as the other locks on this list. We recommend this lock for people who live in areas with low-to-medium crime. Otherwise, you should consider spending more for a heavier-duty lock. Still, the thick cable should deter most thieves.
The Titanker Bike Lock Cable has more than 3,000 reviews on Amazon, with 65% of them giving the lock a 5-star rating. Users with positive experiences like the build quality and the nice rotating combination dials, while 13% of one-star commenters didn’t think the cable was solid enough and wouldn’t recommend for city use.
Note: We previously recommended the UShake Bike Lock Cable, which is nearly similar to the Titanker option. Although many reviewers also recommended the UShake, that lock is no longer available.
Pros: 10,000 possible combinations, four-foot reach, flexible
Cons: Cable is relatively easy to cut
The best standard-size U-lock bike lock
The Kryptonite New York Standard Bicycle U-Lock is large enough to easily lock your bike to most racks, and it offers you protection that rivals our top pick.
Whereas the Fahgettaboudit Mini features 18mm hardened MAX-Performance steel, the shackle for the Kryptonite New York Standard Bicycle U-Lock is slightly thinner at 16mm. The other major difference is that the New York Standard is larger at 4 x 8 inches versus 3.25 x 6 inches.
This gives you more options for locking your bike up, but it also makes it easier for criminals to get bolt cutters and other devices around it. Other than these two differences, the two models are essentially the same, including the center keyway, double deadbolt, and high-security disk-style cylinder.
Outdoor Gear Lab tested out the best locks on the market, including the Fahgettaboudit Mini, and the New York Standard got the highest score. The reviewer said it is the best lock for biking in urban areas. The Best Bike Lock included this Kryptonite lock in its short list of the best standard size U-locks because of the anti-theft protection as well as the double deadbolt locking and 16-millimeter-thick shackle. The Bike Tool Box recommended the New York Standard to anyone who wants to protect their bike while it’s unattended or inside a locked shelter.
Of the users who reviewed the New York Standard bike lock on Amazon, 61% gave it 5 stars. Buyers commented that this Kryptonite lock is heavy (it weighs about 4.45 pounds), which makes them feel more secure. They also like that it’s easy to install the lock mount on your bike, and the lock can even be mounted on the side so the space inside your bike frame can be reserved for a water bottle or other accessories. One user did have trouble keeping the mounting assembly on tight.
Pros: Large enough to allow for more locking configurations, requires thieves to make two cuts to remove
Cons: May have trouble keeping mounting bracket in place
The best U-lock/cable bike lock combo
The Kryptonite Kryptolok Standard Bicycle U-Lock w/4-foot Flex Cable is one of the most affordable locks, and the 4-foot cable makes locking up easy.
The design of the Kryptolok Standard Bicycle U-Lock is fairly similar to the Kryptonite locks we covered in previous slides. It has a center keyway, high-security disc-style cylinder, reinforced hardened crossbar, and a hardened MAX-Performance steel shackle. However, there are some key differences. The shackle is 13 millimeters thick, the U-lock is 4 x 9 inches, and there is not a double locking mechanism.
Kryptonite rates the security of the Kryptolok as 6 out of 10 (versus 9 for the New York Standard and 10 for the Fahgettaboudit Mini). The company states that it should be secure enough in rural areas, in the suburbs, and when traveling with your bike on a car rack.
The Best Bike Lock rated the Kryptolok as the “best mid-security lock” because it is strong enough to dissuade criminals without being too expensive or heavy. However, the reviewers didn’t like that the U-lock isn’t double locked so it only takes one cut of the shackle to remove it. Outdoor Gear Lab called this model a “best buy” and praised the ease of use and versatility. The reviewers recommend this U-lock if you will mainly be locking your bike up overnight in rural areas or during the day in college towns or urban areas.
The Kryptolok U-Lock has more than 2,000 reviews on Amazon, with 78% giving it 4 or 5 stars. Buyers like that it works well in areas with little crime, the mounting mechanism is easy to install, and the lock is lightweight compared to other U-locks (approximately 3.3 pounds). However, there are several users that have had their bicycles stolen while using this lock for long periods of time in metropolitan areas. They also report that they didn’t have much luck getting Kryptonite to cover the cost of replacing their bike. Remember to register your bike lock with them immediately after you purchase it to take advantage of their theft protection program.
Pros: Easy to use, lightweight, inexpensive
Cons: Only requires one cut to defeat