After buying your bike and helmet, the most important cycling accessory has to be a bike lock. Crime stats from the ONS showed around 88,000 thefts were reported in 2015 in England and Wales. These are only the reported figures and by no means the full picture. That's one bike stolen, every 6 minutes.
With that in mind, we've written this simple lock buying guide to help you choose the right lock for your bike for security and peace of mind when you're away. We cover all the major lock types, which locks are insurer friendly and give you a few locking tips to deter light fingered thieves.
When looking at bike locks on our site you'll see the term 'Sold Secure'. This is a third party independent rating system used to ensure the quality of a lock. An approved lock is graded as Gold, Silver or Bronze. The rating is chosen by how long it takes to break the lock and the tools needed to break it.
Each product Sold Secure test is put through the toughest breaking process by professional locksmiths, trained in the latest attack methods and tools.
If the worst happens you'll want to know that your bike is covered. If you're not insured, we highly recommend you get covered straight away.
Many insurers will only pay out if your bike was locked with a Sold Secure approved lock. You’ll also need to have the right rating for the value of your bike. Typically, a bronze rating covers a bike up to the value of £500, silver up to £1,000 and gold for any bike worth over £1,000.
These values vary between insurance providers so check the terms and conditions of your provider.
Even if you have a strong lock there are things you can do to make your bike appear less attractive to an opportunist.
1. Remember, no bike lock is unbreakable
With tools and determination any bike lock can be broken. So, don’t take unnecessary risks. Don’t lock your bike in a known high crime area. If you have to leave your bike, do so quickly. If there is a secure place at work to store your bike then this is ideal. Keep your bike locked in your house or garage and not in the garden.
2. Use two locks
With one lock you can secure your frame and back wheel(s) to an immovable object. But what about quick release components? You’re going to want a second lock, often a cable or light chain lock. If you’ve got any quick release components (wheels, lights, saddles and panniers) you cannot secure properly then take them with you - wheel theft in is common too.
3. Choose your location wisely
Not all locations are secure. Lock your bike in a busy area with plenty of CCTV coverage. Consider locking your bike close to others – there's safety in numbers and there is likely an easier steal than your bike.
4. Properly secure your bike
Don’t leave much space within a D-lock and your frame as a thief could use a leveraging lever to break the shackle. When using chain and cable locks don’t leave any slack as this can also be used against you.
Make sure the post or object you’re locking your bike too is completely secure. Can the thief simply lift your bike up and over? Is the object fully immovable? Can the object be broken? For instance, trees, benches and gates may be weaker than your lock.
Buying a bike lock is a must for any bike. They're not expensive and you can get a gold rated Sold Secure lock for as little as £45, which covers premium bikes valued over £1,000. It's best to pick a bike lock for the crime level of your area and which will cover the value of your bike. Follow our simple locking tips to give your bike the best chance against a thief.