You'd probably agree with me that besides being involved in a crash while cycling, the other major concern for most cyclists is to have their bikes stolen.
The most common question that arises from this is,
How do I prevent my bike from being stolen?
Well, the natural answer to that is to use a bike lock. But having said that, not all bike locks are designed and manufactured the same.
For me, U-Locks are by far the best and preferred bike locks. I'll go as far as only to recommend U-locks. Of course there are others such as cable locks, chain locks, folding locks and such. But U-locks are miles ahead in terms of security.
Honestly, U-locks cost slightly more than the rest. But if you've spent a couple of hundreds or thousands on your bike, shouldn't it be fair to allocate a little budget to make sure it's safe?
BEST GOLD RATED - ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 U-Lock
A very secure, all-rounder bike lock.
The ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 is the flagship model of German based, Abus who is probably the most reputable brand in the market today.
BEST BELOW $50 - Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2 U-Lock
A Gold rated U-lock on a budget.
The Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2 U-Lock is probably the only Sold Secure Gold rated U-lock below $50 in the market today. Perfectly suited for those who are on a budget and yet wants a maximum security offering.
How to Choose the Best Bike Locks
When it comes to buying the best bike locks, there are several things you'll need to consider.
No locks are the same even though they might look the same from the onset.
So let's take a look at the key considerations when buying a bike lock.
The Best Gold Rated Bike U-Locks
1. ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 U-Lock
The ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 U-Lock is well-known to be very sturdy and tenacious against bike theft.
This lock comes with two keys; one with a LED light for increased visibility during dark hours and a code card for free replacement in case you lose your keys.
It has a dimension of 1.6 (H) x 7 (W) x 11.6 (L) inches which most cyclists consider as medium-sized. The size is more than enough for you to secure both your bike frame and a wheel (if needed) to a fixed structure.
The 13 mm shackle is made of high grade metal, making it resilient to twisting, pulling and leverage forces. To protect the paints on your bike, this lock is layered with a 3 mm protective rubberized coating.
Abus’ products are well-known to be very reliable and of high quality. The ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 surely didn’t disappoint and is their flagship bike lock.
2. Kryptonite New York U-Lock
Kryptonite New York U-Lock is another great yet cheaper alternative that gives you a very high level of protection for your bike.
It's also rated Gold by Sold Secure so you can be assured that it's really secure against theft.
It’s made with disc-style cylinder along with double deadbolt system to make it even more secure. It also comes with 2 keys out from the box and another additional key with an LED light.
To protect the prints and paints of your bike, this lock is covered with vinyl coating as with most premium bike locks.
With the shielded double crossbar design, your bike is in for double security protection.
Furthermore, this bike lock is part of Kryptonite’s Key Safe program, which means you can ask for free replacement keys should you lose them.
3. Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini U-Lock
The Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini U-Lock is a small yet very secure lock. This shackle secured by a double deadbolt, made of hardened steel and with a thickness of 18 mm. It's the thickest you can find in the market today.
It'll take the thieves a long time to cut or pull this lock apart using the most powerful tools. So you can be rest assured that they'll be turning their attention elsewhere instead.
The key lock hole is covered to protect it from the elements. From my own experience, you'll need to lube it every now and then so to extend the locking mechanism's lifespan.
Like its brother, the Kryptonite New York Standard U-lock, it's part of Kryptonite's Key Safe Program where you can request for a free keys replacement if they do get lost.
Lastly, it has a Gold Sold Secure rating, which means it’s tough and extremely durable to be used in high risk areas.
The Best Bike U-Locks Under $50
1. Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2 U-Lock
The Kryptonite Kryptolock Series 2 U-lock is probably the most budget friendly bike locks in the market.
The upgraded u-lock for 2017 is now rated Gold by Sold Secure, instead of Silver for the older model. It's rare that you'll find a Gold rated U-lock at this price point.
Going by the description for Gold rating, it means that it offers the highest level of security. From my experience, while this might be Gold rated, it's actually sitting at the bottom end of the Gold spectrum.
Kryptonite rates it 6/10, meaning it's suitable to use at medium to low risk areas. Definitely not one to use it you're planning to leave your bike any longer than 2-3 hours.
It has a 13 mm steel shackle which is thick enough to resist bolt cutters and other leverage attacks from the most opportunist bike thieves. The locking mechanism is protected from dusts and water using a sliding cover. Just remember to close them each time you're done locking/unlocking.
To give you more flexibility, this U-lock also comes with a separate cable that is 4 ft long and 10 mm thick. You can use it to wrap around other items like your wheels or accessories.
It comes with 2 stainless steel keys. And in case you misplace them, you can get free replacements via Kryptonite’s Safe Key Program for free.
2. ABUS Ultra 410 Mini U-Lock
The ABUS Ultra 410 Mini U-Lock is another great option if you're on a budget.
There are 3 variations to this model with the only difference being the shackle length. You can choose from 5.5", 7" or 9". From my experience, 7" is the ideal length as it's neither too long nor short and should be enough in most situations.
It has a Silver rating from Sold Secure which makes it suitable to use at low to medium risk areas for entry level bikes.
To prevent bike thieves from picking this U-lock, it has a hardened lock body and uses a double bolting shackle. The steel shackle is 12mm thick with an anti-twist protection.
As with all Abus U-locks, the Ultra 410 Mini includes a rubberized housing all over the shackle to prevent it from scratching your bike frame. You can also mount it on your bike frame with that plastic bracket that comes with it.
You'll be given 2 keys and should you happen to lose them all, Abus has a program where you can ask for free replacements. Just don't lose the code card.