If you live and ride in a large city or town, protecting your bike from theft is a real concern and you’re probably hyper-aware that your bicycle is always at risk of getting stolen when left outside. Whether you’re locking up on the street or leaving your bike out in the yard overnight, it’s bound to be vulnerable; especially if there are high-end or custom parts on it. Even if you have a so-called “beater bike” or a cheaper model, walking outside to see your lock cut and your ride nowhere to be found is never fun.
Though there’s no foolproof way to keep your bike from getting stolen or tampered with other than keeping it in sight at all times, there are steps you can take to prevent theft. In some cases, especially for commuters, locking up on the street is necessary, especially if a workplace or local grocery store doesn’t allow bikes inside.
Bike thieves tend to work quickly and under pressure, so the harder you can make it for them, the better. Sometimes, even the look of a heavily protected bike can fend off a potential thief.
The following products, from locks to trackers, can give you more peace of mind the next time you leave your bike unattended.
U-Locks or D-Locks and chain locks are the two most common types of bike locks you’ll see around the city. The classic shape and sleek design on the U-Locks makes them a portable and reliable accessory (Check out this U-Lock Holster from Fabric Horse or Chrome’s MIni Kadet Sling Bag, which comes with a special padded holster right on the bag)!
A chain lock can be extremely robust and effective, if you can carry it in your bag as you ride. Lastly, a folding lock can solve the portability problem completely; though generally not as strong as a U-Lock or chain, it will be so compact you’ll forget you’re carrying a lock at all.
$179.00-189.00 / £137-144
The Bordo Granit X-Plus 6500 by Abus is one of the most popular and strongest folding locks on the market. Consisting of a series of 5.5mm steel bars linked by fortified rivets, this keyed lock system can be made compatible with other Abus locks, meaning you’ll only need one key to open all of them.
The rivets joining the bars are guarded with a “Link Protection Shield,” making them less vulnerable to sawing than standard joints. Reaching maximum security on Abus’ protection scale, the Granit X-Plus deters common theft tools like bolt cutters; the flat shape of the bars is extremely tedious to cut through.
The Bordo Granit X-Plus weighs nearly 3.5 pounds, not including its mount. if your bike has water bottle mounts, the included lock holder should screw right in; if not, two velcro straps (included with your purchase) will fasten the lock to your frame. Your Bordo Granit purchase comes with two keys, one of which conveniently lights up so you don’t have to fumble in the dark. The Bordo Granit X-Plus holds the maximum security rating on the Abus scale, meaning you can lock up with confidence.
$100-200 / £76-153
As Abus’ original lock with an alarm feature, the Bordo Alarm is the ultimate deterrent. Blaring at 100 decibels when theft motions are detected, the alarm runs on a CR2 battery and audibly alerts you when battery power is low. Engaging the lock in transport mode prevents the anti-theft function from going off while you are moving the bike.
The lock sensors also determine whether or not the lock has been moved by accident or tampered with; if movement is continual and agitated, the alarm will sound. If the lock stops being moved after one minute, the alarm will shut off. The lock comes with a holder that can be quickly fastened to your frame for easy transport.
$49.95- $124.95 / £38-95
OnGuard’s Mastiff Chain Series is a hardy budget option when it comes to chain bike locks. Each chain is made of tightly packed titanium reinforced links to make wedging a tool or blade in between them nearly impossible. A chain cover protects the metal links, while an automatic cover protects the key entryway from wear and tear. Your lock will come with five keys, one of which has an embedded LED light to help you see the lock in the dark.
Set between the Mastiff Combo Lock and Beast models, the Mastiff sits within the mid-range of OnGuard’s bicycle chain locks. If you’re looking for an absolute heavy duty option, opt for the Beast.
The Mastiff comes in a variety of options depending on your needs; you can choose a model based on chain length, link gauge, lock diameter and weight. The ten Mastiff models range in price from $49.95 to $124.95, making this an ideal budget option.
$81-100 / £62-76
Made of 13mm steel, the Kryptonite New-U Evolution Mini 5 Lock boasts a new and improved double deadbolt system, meant to deter twist maneuvers. A disc cylinder with anti- drill reinforcement adds an extra layer of protection, while a dust cover and vinyl coating keep the interior debris- free. Your lock will come with three keys, one of which is outfitted with a battery- powered bulb.
An included Flex Frame U- Bracket ensures easy frame attachment and transport so you can get pedaling without skipping a beat. At 2.65 pounds, this is a good option for commuters and daily riders. With a 7/10 rating based on the company’s security criteria, the Evolution Mini promises good value for under $100. If you’re hoping for the absolute strongest lock on the market, you should keep looking. However, if you’re looking for a reliable, relatively lightweight accessory, the Kryptonite Evolution Mini 5 won’t disappoint.
$90- 110 / £69-84
Kryptonite’s New-U Messenger Mini+ is similar to the Evolution 5 but features one significant bonus. The included wheel extender allows you to not only lock up your frame but conveniently secure one of your wheels as well.
The extender is a U- shaped attachment that extends horizontally from one side of the main lock, just enough to grab a wheel. The Mini + comes in at 2.60 pounds, almost exactly the same weight as the Evolution Mini. If you don’t already have a wheel protection system in mind for when you lock up, consider this innovation from Kryptonite to keep all parts of your bike safe. This is especially important if one of your wheels happens to be a quick- release and you haven’t already outfitted it with extra protection like an anti-theft skewer.
$79.95-$89.95 / £60-68
As one of the cycling community’s favorite budget locks, On Guard’s Brute D- lock comes in at 6-8 pounds, depending on theBrute model you choose. This might be a heavier option than some of the more portable locks on the market, but the trade off can be worthwhile. Its protection guarantee, Sold Secure Diamond rating and four-point locking system overshadow the few extra ounces, especially if you need to lock up in a high crime area. The lock’s steel shackle measures nearly 17mm thick and offers ultimate resistance to maneuvers like cutting, sawing and prying; the lock’s rounded form also limits prying angles..
Five keys are included with your purchase, including one with an LED light. A universal Snap Lock Quick Release mounting bracket is included with your purchase, although transporting it in your bag may be a more foolproof choice because of the weight of the lock. Like most OnGuard products, the Brute comes in a few different model varieties. While all three models have a high company security rating of 95, they range in size and weight; the locks can be used for motor powersport vehicles as well as bicycles.
Wheel safety is often omitted when it comes to locking up a bike, and many bike owners don’t realize how easy it is to make off with one or both of their wheels before its too late. Locking the wheels to the frame is an option, but requires you to carry one or even two extra locks with you. To save yourself time, space and a headache, opt for an anti-theft skewer instead. These nifty security devices usually replace the existing quick release skewers inside your wheels with ones that need either a special tool or one-of-a-kind key to undo.
$20-30 / £15-23
Velo Orange’s Anti-Theft Skewers offer mid- range protection for your wheels. They require a specially designed Allen wrench to be loosened, so if your thief did not arrive armed with a well-stocked toolbox, they have no chance of getting at your wheels. It’s worth noting that these skewers work best with frame spacing between 127 and 135mm; if you find that they are not a perfect fit, you may need to cut off a sliver of the skewer. Extra allen keys compatible with the skewers can be bought separately from Velo Orange in case you lose the one that came with your original purchase.
Starting at $65.00 / £50
Hexlox’ Wheel Anti- Theft Skewer Set is an easy-to-install set of skewers that replace your existing quick- release hardware. After choosing a black or silver set, you’re all set; your purchase will come with two different skewer lengths for each wheel, guaranteeing a seamless fit no matter the type of wheel you have. Use Hexlox’ online Selection Helper tool for more guidance on which products are best for your needs. Have multiple kinds of bikes that need protection? no worries- The Hexlox No Worry Skewer Set will work for either road or mountain bikes.
$78.00 / £59
To take things up a notch, check out the Total Bike Security Set. This all- around combo pack from Hexlox includes saddle, seat post, stem, fork and wheel locks, meaning every single element of your bike will be covered after you let it out of your sight.
When making your purchase, you’ll have the option of adding an extra key to your set and picking the size of each lock. To figure out the sizes you need, get out your trusty hex tool and measure the bolt in each area you’re planning to protect. Then, be sure to check whether or not your bolt is magnetic with a kitchen magnet. If your bolt happens to be non-magnetic, you’ll need to purchase a Hexlox Magnetic Insert to make sure your locks work effectively. The Total Bike Security Set is the ultimate package, covering all your bike’s vulnerabilities with a super simple lock set that fits in the palm of your hand.
$118-136 / £90-104
If your special someone is also a bike lover, surprise them with the Hexlox Road & MTB Bike Security Gift Pack. The pack comes with 2x Hexlox Security Skewers, 5x Hexlox 5mm, 1x Hexlox 4mm, 1 Hexlox Key and 5x seat post bolts. Hexlox customer service is on hand to make sure you have all the technical information you need before buying a lock set.
GPS can be a crucial, low-key addition to your bike that will give you an added sense of security; if you know exactly where your bike is at any given moment, your chances of getting it back are much higher.
Alterlock’s GPS Tracker is a 50 gram tracking device that you can easily install yourself; the tracker mounts to your bottle cage screws and will fit underneath the cage itself if the space is already occupied. The Alterlock is outfitted with motion- sensitive alarm settings fine-tuned to recognize false alarms. You can control the Alterlock with a few taps once you connect it to the AlterLock app on your smartphone. As soon as you hit the “Lock” function, the AlterLock will activate its motion alarm and turn on GPS tracking. The lock’s battery has a life of about two months between full charges.
The first time your lock senses your bike being moved, it will emit a warning and notify you via your phone. If it happens again soon after, the alarm will begin to blare. You have full control over every part of the AlterLock, including alarm volume and motion sensitivity. If your bike is taken, the app will track it until it loses the GPS signal (if the bike is taken indoors, for example), after which it will track its general location via WIFI signal.
Before making your purchase, make sure your area of residence is covered by Sigfox, the app’s communication service. (Most of the Sigfox service area is within Europe). You can do so on the Alterlock website, where you can also ensure your phone supports the AlterLock app. You will have to register on the app and subscribe to the Bicycle Guard Service in order to use the device; the subscription has a monthly fee of £3.49,, which will be added to the one time cost of the device itself (£114.99).
If your bike does get stolen despite you taking all the necessary precautions, local bike shops will be one of your best resources towards getting it back. Make sure you have detailed photos of your bike from all angles, as well as the serial number. If you find your bike missing, distribute the photos to local bike shops in case your bike is brought in for a tune up or quick fix. Also make sure to keep an eye on online used bike listings in your area; whoever stole your bike may be hoping to resell it quickly.