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Bike Lock Guide

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.

Types of bike lock

D-lock bike lock

D-lock

Use in medium/high crime areas

D-locks are the classic security system for bikes. They offer 360 degree protection for your frame. 

The main strength of the D-lock is the locking mechanism itself. It will resist a range of attacks from hammers, chisels and other picking tools. The D shape prevents leverage style attacks that can easily break a cable and lower grade chain locks.

See our range of D-locks

bike chain lock

Chain lock

Use in medium/high crime areas

Chain locks are very versatile. Chain locks are not as sturdy as a D lock, but they are stronger than cable options. One of their main benefits is the ability to lock your bike frame and both wheels to an immovable object. 

They are very flexible meaning you can lock to difficult and unusual objects. Thick chain links are great against bolt cutters. A strong chain lock is ideal for use with a ground anchor in your garage.

See our range of chain locks

bike cable lock

Cable lock

Use in low crime areas

Cable locks are popular because they’re lightweight. You can lug one around in your pocket or on your frame without any issues. Cables are also very flexible allowing you to secure your bike to different types of objects. 

They're also great as a visual deterrent or secondary lock to fix quick release components to your frame.

See our range of cable locks

bike combo lock

Combo lock

Use in low crime areas

Combination locks are cable locks with a 3 or 4-digit combination, rather than a key lock. 

As with all cable locks they're flexible but have the added benefit of being key-less, great if you're forgetful. 

Also good as a visual deterrent and for securing quick release components.

See our range of combination locks

Ground anchor

Use in high crime areas

Ground anchors are immovable platforms you fix to your garage floor or wall. When used with a strong chain lock you can fix your frame to the anchor. These offer the best protection for home storage.

Ground anchors come in floor mounted or wall mounted options. Wall mounted anchors are good if you don't have a lot of space.

See our range of ground anchors

What is Sold Secure?

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.

  • Gold - offers the best protection
  • Silver - compromise between price and protection
  • Bronze - protection against opportunistic thieves

Each product Sold Secure test is put through the toughest breaking process by professional locksmiths, trained in the latest attack methods and tools.

Sold Secure is bike insurance friendly

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.

See all our Sold Secure bike locks

Bike Locking Tips

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.

Summary

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.

See our full range of bike locks