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Bicycle Locks: Expert and User Reviews

By: Saundra Latham on July 11, 2017

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U-Locks Our Sources

Bike Locks: Ratings of Sources

Duncan Niederlitz, March 9, 2017

Niederlitz puts 27 of the best-reviewed locks out there to the test, subjecting them to a litany of tools including lock picks, cable cutters, a hacksaw, bolt cutters, a cordless drill and angle grinders to see whether they would hold up to real-world theft techniques. Though security is a big factor in the ultimate recommendations, picks also take into account ease of use, portability and value.

Editors of SportsIllustrated.com, May 10, 2017

Sports Illustrated tests a range of locks, many of them new designed, by using them to lock up an old bike and then "attacking them" with tools such as wire cutters, bolt cutters and a drill. Testers also consult with an inventor, bike messenger, and police officer on the designs. Short reviews rank the locks, tackling both security and ease of use.

Rylee Sweeney and Ross Robinson, May 20, 2014

OutdoorGearLab.com conducts extensive research on seven bike locks, including tests with common bike-thief techniques and tools as well as a professional locksmith. The resulting reviews also consider ease of use, portability and versatility, ultimately rating each lock on a 100-point scale. Reviews and ratings are comparative, and a chart of important information helps prospective buyers compare information at a glance.

Contributors to Amazon.com, As of July 2017

Amazon.com includes hundreds of owner reviews of bike locks, making this a good place to find out how specific models hold up to real-world use. Many reviews are quite thorough, and reviewers often update their initial reviews after owning a lock long term. The brands Kryptonite and OnGuard consistently receive high ratings here.

Ryan Ross, Not Dated

This common-sense guide takes a look at how bike thieves work, and notes the many reasons why bike locks can be easily defeated. Still, Ross recommends 10 locks, most of them from Kryptonite, that he thinks are reasonably secure, but it's unclear if he has personally tested all of them.

Editors of Cycling Weekly, March 13, 2017

Cycling Weekly's roundup of bike locks focuses mostly on lifestyle factors and ease of use; it does not appear that any real-world security testing was done. Still, the page links to more thorough reviews that note pros and cons for each model.

Stephen Regenold, Nov. 16, 2015

Outdoor gear review site GearJunkie.com has reviewed a handful of bike locks that feature different technology or designs, including the TiGr Mini. Regenold used the TiGr for a month and subjected it to a hacksaw to see how tough it really is. The review nicely balances security and ease of use factors.

Will Henry, July 8, 2014

This recently updated list includes five picks pitched for a variety of buyers, including those who want the strongest bike lock available and riders who might want something a bit more lightweight. Write-ups are detailed and appear to be based on real-world usage, though don't involve any systematic testing. A buying guide and bike security tips are also included.

David Howard, Oct. 25, 2013

Bicycling.com commissions a bike mechanic to see how easy it is to crack chain locks, U-locks and cables, though it's not clear which were initially tested. After the tests, the site crowns a top U-lock and chain lock, but does not recommend any cable lock since none performs better than the competition.

Steve Rousseau, Feb. 28, 2013

Testers subject three popular U-locks to a variety of common theft techniques: Freeze and hammer, a bottle jack, and an angle grinder. All of the locks eventually gave way to the latter test, but it took a varying amount of effort. The short write-ups don't address ease of use, portability or other factors.

Mario Aguilar, June 28, 2012

Gizmodo.com tests four popular bike locks against a bolt cutter, hacksaw and angle grinder. Aguilar describes each lock, including how well it holds up to each theft test plus a ranking out of 5 stars. The OnGuard Pitbull STD performs best, but is still easily broken by the angle grinder.

Editors of BikeRadar.com, Not Dated

BikeRadar.com doesn't include comparative reviews in its extensive database, but these write-ups are valuable nonetheless. Although many bike locks discussed at this U.K. website aren't available in the U.S., each model is tested with various tools and assigned a rating out of 5 stars. Cycling Plus is a contributor to BikeRadar.com.

Contributors to REI.com, As of July 2017

REI.com allows customers to rate products on a five-star scale, detail their experience and state whether they would recommend the product. The bike locks available here are mostly higher-end and don't get as much feedback as they do on Amazon, but Kryptonite and OnGuard locks still net a number of reviews.

Contributors to PerformanceBike.com, As of July 2017

PerformanceBike.com is an online specialty shop for bikes and all things bike-related. Again, there aren't as many reviews here as there are at Amazon, and the ones that are present aren't as informative. Still, the reviews include informative pros and cons, focusing mostly on offerings from Kryptonite and OnGuard.

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Bike Locks buying guide

What every best Bike Locks has:

  • Tough for thieves to defeat.
  • Easy to use.
  • Durable.

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