The 3 Best Bike U-Locks in 2018

Best Bike U-Locks

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

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

Kryptonite New York Standard Bike 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.

  • Lock Type. The most common type of bike locks are folding locks, chain locks, cable locks and the most popular one, U-locks. U-locks are like a giant padlock used to secure your bike to a fixed object. The structure of U-locks makes it possible to withstand forces from chisels, hammers and such.
  • Security Rating. Sold Secure categorizes bike locks in 3 ratings, from Bronze to Silver and the highest rating of all, Gold. I'd only recommend you to buy bike u-locks that rated at least Silver. Ideally you should go for Gold.
  • Keys. There are combination locks and keyed bike locks in the market. Most cyclists prefer keyed bike locks over combination locks because they offer better security and they’re harder to break. In case you lose your keys, you can contact the bike lock’s manufacturer and have them replaced.
  • Size. It’s best to go for small to medium sized models, one that is enough to lock your bike frame to an object. It’s definitely not good idea to ride around with a large bike lock as it’ll be a nuisance because of the weight.

The Best Gold Rated Bike U-Locks

1. ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 U-Lock

Abus Granit X-Plus 540 Bike 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.

Pros

  • Sold Secure Gold Rated. Highest bike lock rating with maximum security level. Very effective against against bike theft.
  • Key Hole Cover. To protect the lock against corrosion and dirt overtime.
  • Double Bolted Shackle. Can resist up to 17 tons of pulling force. This means that potential thieves would need a lot of effort from very powerful tools to pull it apart.

CONS

  • No Mounting Bracket. Doesn’t come with a mounting bracket for you to mount on your bike frame. You can buy them separately though.

2. Kryptonite New York U-Lock

Kryptonite New York Standard Bike 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.

PROS

  • 16mm Thick Shackle. Made of reinforced steel, it's more than enough to outstand bolt cutters and other tools.
  • FlexFrame-U Bracket. Allows you to attach the the bike lock on your bike frame when it’s not on use.

CONS

  • Corrode Overtime. There is a tendency to corrode to rust, especially if left to the elements for a long period of time and not well maintained.
  • Heavy. At 1.9kg, this bike lock sits on the heavier side of things compared to its similar competitors.

3. Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini U-Lock

Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini Bike 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.

PROS

  • Unbending Look. Because of its look, weight and size, this bike lock could put off any opportunist thief as it would need a lot of effort to cut it open.
  • Smaller diameter. Thieves would have a really hard time doing leverage attacks because of the smaller diameter it offers. Their tools wouldn’t have much space inside the lock, something thieves would really hate.
  • Double-bolted Shackle. This means that thieves would have to cut this lock twice before fully breaking it. To cut it, they’d need to bring bolt cutters; steel jaws and a 52 inch handle leverage, most of which are awkward to walk around.

CONS

  • Heavy. With a weight of 2kg, there’s no doubt that it’s one of the heaviest u-lock around. But it’s heavy duty and has thick frames, so that's understandable.

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.

PROS

  • Gold Rated - At this price point, it's very rare that you'll find a gold rated U-lock. This is one of them and made by a very reputable brand.
  • Light - Compared to its similar competitors, this U-lock is pretty light, weighing only 1.5 kg. You can carry it in your bag and attached to your bike without really feeling its weight bogging you down.

CONS

  • Prone to Rust – It seems as if Kryptonite products are prone to rust over time due to the cold and wet weather.

2. ABUS Ultra 410 Mini U-Lock 

Abus Ultra 410 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. 

PROS

  • Light. With a weight of only 960g, it's among the lightest yet heavy duty lock in the market. 
  • Frame Bracket. Comes with a bracket where you can mount it on your bike frame. 

CONS

  • Corrode Overtime. There is a tendency to corrode to rust, especially if left to the elements for a long period of time and not well maintained.