Best bike locks 2022: heavy duty and portable locks for keeping your bike safe

You'll want one of the best bike locks if you plan to leave your bike unattended at any time - here’s what to look for and an overview of some of the best locks on the market

Oxford bike lock on a bike Best bike locks
(Image credit: Future)

The best bike locks might not be the most exciting item to splash out on, but sadly bike theft is not uncommon and a good quality lock is an effective deterrent.

We’ve tested a wide variety of bike locks, ranging from ultimate security heavy-duty U-locks, to portable lightweight options offering a little more peace of mind at the café stop—with many others in between.

Just like buying one of the best road bikes, there are a number of considerations it’s worth reflecting on before you commit to a bike lock purchase. For instance, where are you planning on locking up your bike and for how long? What’s the value of your bike? Does your insurance specify a particular lock security rating? How is a bike lock’s security determined? Do you even have insurance?

For answers to these questions and much else besides, skip directly to the bottom of the page and get all that juicy information. We also have our own comprehensive guide to the best bicycle insurance, which will tell you everything you need to know.

However, if you know what you’re looking for and want to get straight on to our pick of the best bike locks, read on.

Our pick of the best bike locks

We’ve put the locks in order of security, starting with the most secure. For locks with the same security rating, we’ve ordered by price, starting with the most expensive.

Ultimate security

Maximum security with a reasonable price tag - Diamond rated

Specifications

Security rating: Diamond
Weight: 2,458g
Lockable area: 15cm x 22.5cm | 338cm²

Reasons to buy

+
Very secure
+
Good size
+
Three keys supplied
+
Lock barrel dustcover

Reasons to avoid

-
Not designed with portability in mind

Manufactured by Milton Keynes based security brand, Milenco, the Dundrod ++ surpasses the requirements for Gold and is one of the few locks that meet Sold Secure’s Diamond standard.

Although most bike insurers will only require a Gold rated lock for cycles worth over £1,000, if your bike has sentimental value or is a model that can’t be replaced, you’ll be wanting something more secure — which is where a Diamond rated lock comes in.

The Dundrod ++ is reassuringly plump with a shackle and crossbar that are visibly beefier than a standard U-lock. The lockable area is on the larger side for this style of lock, making it quite easy to secure the bike through the frame and wheel.

Bear in mind that if you are considering a lock of this application, it is worth using two to lock each wheel to the frame and immovable object, as well as potentially upgrading the locks to wherever you are keeping your bike.

Coming without a bike mount and weighing just under two and a half kilos, the Dundrod ++ isn’t intended as a lock for use when out and about—although this certainly isn’t ruled out, providing you have somewhere to put it.

Read more: Milenco Dundrod ++ full review

Super light and portable - Diamond rated

Specifications

Security rating: Diamond
Weight: 929g
Lockable area: 8.3cm x 15.2cm | 126cm²

Reasons to buy

+
Very secure
+
Small size leads to light weight and good portability

Reasons to avoid

-
No frame mount provided
-
Cannot get replacement keys

The Master Lock Mini U-Lock is something of a hidden gem. You’d have thought that with the top Sold Secure Diamond rating and its impressively light sub-kilo weight that Master Lock would be boasting and inflating the price to match those premium qualities.

But no, despite being one of the lightest locks on the market with a Sold Secure Diamond rating, Master Lock remains quite modest about the Mini U-Lock and its price is surprisingly low.

Naturally, the lock is on the smaller side for U-Locks, but it’s still large enough to lock the rear wheel to your bike’s frame and go around a standard Sheffield Stand, securing your bike to an immovable object. On review we found that we needed to be a bit more careful about exactly what object we chose to 'lock up' to but this didn't present any real issues.

The plastic coating helps to avoid scratches to your bike and there's a dust cover over the lock mechanism to avoid contamination.  After several uses our bikes remained scratch-free. Be careful with your keys though; the four provided are all you'll ever have, as there's no key replacement service.

Finally, a bike mount would have been appreciated. During review we found ourselves popping out and having to bring a rucksack to carry the lock in, even though we didn't otherwise require the bag.

Read more: Master Lock Mini U-Lock full review

High security

Super secure folding lock - Gold rated

Specifications

Security rating: Gold
Weight: 1,962g
Lockable area: 14cm x 31cm | 434cm²

Reasons to buy

+
Very secure
+
Large lockable area - can secure two bikes if needed
+
Bike mount included

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy
-
Only two keys included
-
Expensive

Folding locks bring a range of benefits over the venerable U-lock design. Not only do they tend to pack down smaller and have a larger lockable area, but their flexible nature greatly increases the range of objects you can lock your bike up to.

The typical downside of a folding lock is that with so many moving parts, they tend to be less secure than a simpler design, such as a U-lock. The hinge areas add a potential point of attack that's not there with  U-lock.

As such, the Abus is one of the only Gold rated folding locks currently available, but this superlative security does come with a couple of trade-offs. Costing £144.99 and tipping the scales at just under two kilos, the Abus lock is over four times as expensive and weighs just over half as much again as the Gold rated Zéfal K-Traz U17.

The Bordo Granit X Plus certainly isn’t all things to all people—but then, it isn’t trying to be. As a high security folding lock, it performs excellently. In addition to all the general benefits of folding locks, the Abus has a comprehensive rubber coating to protect your paintwork, a bike mount that is simple to set up and to use day-to-day, as well as an integrated weather seal on the lock barrel—adding some very welcome weather protection.

On review we found the bike mount not only straightforward to use but also capable of keeping the lock firmly in place, even when we were cycling on uneven and bumpy roads. Once we'd arrived at our destination the Bordo Granit x Plus' large lockable area made it easy to lock up our bike without any fuss; in fact we even locked up two town bikes using the one lock.

Read more: Abus Bordo Granit X Plus 6500 full review

Best U-lock with an alarm - Gold rated

Specifications

Security rating: Gold
Weight: 1,419g
Lockable area: 10.1cm x 20cm | 202cm²

Reasons to buy

+
Well executed alarm feature
+
Reasonable price
+
Reasonable weight
+
User friendly shackle

Reasons to avoid

-
Rubber cover doesn’t extend all the way across the crossbar

As the name would suggest, this Oxford lock comes with an inbuilt alarm that will sound if the internal motion sensors detect any tampering. It’s very simple to use, with arming and disarming controlled by just a turn of the key in the lock.

The calibration of the motion sensor was pretty spot on, detecting any suspicious fumbling, but not going off when the bike was just knocked a little when locking another up next to it. With the battery easy to access (when the lock is open), you can quite easily disable the alarm completely if you need it to work simply as a lock for any reason.

But this lock is by no means a novelty, it performs the basics really well. The bent shackle makes it easy to attach the crossbar, three keys are provided with more orderable, the bike mount is easy to set and works well in day-to-day use, plus its weight is pretty middle of the road for this style of lock.

The only reservation I have about this lock is that the rubber bumpers on the crossbar don’t extend all the way across, so some care is needed not to scratch your bike on the middle section of exposed metal.

Read more: Oxford Alarm-D Pro full review

Exceptionally cheap for such high security - Gold rated

Specifications

Security rating: Gold
Weight: 1,278g
Lockable area: 11.5cm x 23cm | 268cm²

Reasons to buy

+
Great value
+
Sold Secure Gold rating
+
Significantly lighter than expected

Reasons to avoid

-
Plasticky bike mount
-
Straight shackle

A brilliant low-cost option, making Gold Sold Secure even more accessible to everyone. At this price, it wouldn’t even be too much of an outlay to buy one for every bike in your household. Although it might be tempting to use one lock to secure multiple bikes, especially if you have a longer chain link lock, that only serves to tempt thieves. Far safer to have locks for each one.

At just under 1.3kg, the K-Traz U17 is surprisingly lightweight—especially considering its price and security rating. A complete plastic coating minimizes the risk of paintwork coming into contact with metal.

The two downsides are the straight shackle, which does make it more difficult to mount the crossbar than a bent design, and the plasticky bike mount. This is a little fiddly to set up, using two long screws to clamp the bracket to the frame, and the release mechanism for extracting the lock feels a little flimsy which makes it a bit of a struggle to dismount the lock.

For the money, the K-Traz U17 is a brilliant lock, but if you’re after quality all-round performance, you will need to set your price bracket a little higher.

Read more: Zéfal K-Traz U17 full review

Medium security

A cheaper alarm option - Silver rated

Specifications

Security rating: Silver
Weight: 1,400g
Lockable area: Not specified

Reasons to buy

+
Includes alarm
+
Easy to use bike mount

Reasons to avoid

-
Weight
-
Works on harder-to-find CR2 batteries

The Abus 440 Alarm combines a robust hardened steel shackle with an in-built 100dB electronic alarm that's triggered by motion. It's an effective combination, although with only a Sold Secure Silver rating, the lock itself isn't as theftproof as the best. You can turn the alarm off for portage.

It operates using CR2 batteries. They're not that easy to source, so you might want to keep a stock in for when those supplied run flat.

There's a bike mount supplied that's easy to use, although finding a position for the lock within your frame might be an issue. The Abus 440 Alarm is heavy too.

Read more: Abus 440 Alarm full review

Light and super effective for its size - Silver rated

Specifications

Security rating: Silver
Weight: 1,109g
Lockable area: 9.5cm x 16.5cm (main lock); 8.3cm x 9.5cm (extra shackle) | 236cm²

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Extra shackle is genuinely useful
+
Relatively secure
+
Sliding dustcover

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn’t come with a bike mount
-
Only comes with two keys

Usually, the consequence of a lightweight and compact U-lock is a bit of a sacrifice in its usability, being too small to loop around objects and actually reach your bike.

But that simply isn’t the case with this lock. By the addition of a secondary shackle, the weight and size are kept low, but the total lockable area remains very respectable. Securing a wheel to the frame—in addition to reaching an immovable object—simply doesn’t present a struggle.

The main shackle even has a bent foot, making it quite easy to mount the crossbar—exactly what you’d want in a lock designed around portability.

Regarding that portability, though, is a significant omission. The lock doesn’t come provided with a bike mount and the mount available that is compatible with this lock is quite a cumbersome looking handlebar mounting option. For a lock that’s supposed to be used on the go, needing to bring some kind of bag to stow it in is quite an inconvenience.

It is also a little on the expensive side for its combination of security rating, weight, lockable area and portability. That said, if you do always have somewhere to keep the lock on your trips about town, you won’t be disappointed in its application.

Read more: Kryptonite Messenger Mini With U-Lock Extender full review

Low security

best bike locks Hiplok Z Lok Combo bike lock

Featherweight and stowable - Unrated

Specifications

Security rating: Unrated
Weight: 70g
Lockable area: 6.8cm (diameter)| 147cm²

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and portable
+
Combo lock gives a bit of extra security over the standard Z Lok
+
Cheap
+
Long enough to take in the down tube and rear wheel
+
Easy to operate
+
No keys to lose

Reasons to avoid

-
Will not stop a concerted attack with tools for long

The Z Lok weighs only 70g, so you’re not going to feel burdened by it if you stuff it into your pocket or clip it round your frame. The design is like an oversize zip tie and inside the plastic covering is a steel ribbon.

If you use the Z Lok to secure your frame to a post or railing, it’s enough to stop a thief from walking away with your bike, although it’s unlikely to stand up long to a bolt cutter and its security level is unrated. Its steel band design is significantly more robust than other lightweight locking options, which tend to use thin cables, though.

At 40cm long, there’s enough length to secure your frame to something immovable and possibly your rear wheel too. Because of its zip tie-like design, you can also shorten the loop to make it harder to get leverage with a cutter. There’s a release lever to undo the ratchet when unlocked.

It’s a clever, useful bit of kit to carry around for the coffee stop or quick errands on the bike and cheaper than a full-strength lock too.

Read more: Hiplok Z Lok Combo bike lock full review

How we test and what to look for

Bike lock security ratings

Sold Secure is an independent lock testing company and its ratings are the industry standard for the security of bike locks. At the purpose-built laboratories in Rugby, locks are put through their paces against a variety of different attacks including—but not limited to—drilling, sawing, wedging and lock picking. Sold Secure is cagey about exactly how it tests, for obvious reasons, and it liaises with police forces to identify new attacks and incorporate them into its protocols.

Depending on how a lock performs in these tests, it is awarded a rating of Bronze, Silver, Gold, and more recently, Diamond. As a broad rule of thumb, Bronze is only deemed to be effective against opportunistic theft, Silver is good for bikes up to £1,000 and Gold is for bikes more valuable than £1,000 and for particularly high crime areas.

How testing is done

SingerGM / Getty Images
(Image credit: SingerGM / Getty Images)

How our bike locks are tested

We put the locks through the varied rigours of urban and utility cycling, using them for locking up outside work, the supermarket, pubs and running errands around town. 

In use, we consider aspects such as the weight, shape, locking mechanism, mounting attachment, tactile feel, security rating, price, and general user experience – essentially every quality of the lock, in real world situations. 

We don't try to cut through the locks ourselves – and there's a good reason for this. As we've mentioned in many places in this guide, no bike lock is ultimately unbreakable. The actual best way to protect the worth of your bike is through an insurance policy – and that will stipulate which level of security rating your bike lock should have.

Just to underline this point, it's the security ratings given by third-party testing companies, such as Sold Secure in the UK, that are important here.  Aside from the fact that these companies have professional testing protocols beyond what might be applied in a backyard test, insurers don't care about the results from anyone other than these companies. As they only use established third-party testers, their results are the only thing that's relevant here. 

For more details on how Cycling Weekly tests products, check out our How We Test page.

How do I choose the right level of security for me?

The first thing to make clear is that no bike lock is 100 per cent effective. With the right tools, enough time and the know-how, a concerted bike thief will be able to get through any lock. So, with that as the starting point - what exactly is the purpose of bike lock?

The most basic function bike locks provide is a deterrent. It might be possible to ultimately get through any bike lock, but if it stands to be difficult, take a lot of time, and come with a much higher risk of getting caught - most thieves will leave it alone.

The most effective way to protect the worth of your bike is through an insurance policy, so if your bike does unfortunately get stolen, you'll at least not be out of pocket. Insurers will stipulate the level of security your bike lock needs to meet in order for them to pay out.

So, the level of security you need will depend on what’s required by your insurance. Some insurers will always require a lock of at least Gold Sold Secure standard. Others will be happy with Silver rated locks for bikes under £1,000 - but you’ll need to check the wording of your own policy first.

Lightweight locks that are Sold Secure Bronze or not rated at all can be good for a bit of extra peace of mind when at a cafe, with your bike in sight. But beware, if your bike were to be stolen, then you wouldn’t be insured. Lightweight locks can also be good for a bit of extra security for low value accessories, such as helmets or a cheap front wheel.

How do I lock my bike securely?

First we'll run through the minimum required by most insurers, then how to go better than that. Don't forget to keep your bike secure at home, not just when out and about - we've covered that too.

Typical insurer requirements

How to lock your bike up securely

kryptonitelock.com
(Image credit: kryptonitelock.com)

Not only will your insurer require you to use a certain level of lock, but you’ll also have to lock your bike in a particular fashion in order to be covered.

This isn’t to try and catch you out, it’s just there’s a very different level of risk depending on the way in which you’ve locked your bike up. We’ve all seen lonely front wheels securely locked to railings with the quick release undone and the rest of the bike long gone.

You’ll need to lock your bike through the frame – and preferably the rear wheel – to an immovable object. An additional cable may need to be used to secure the front wheel as well. This generally applies both to bike security at home and when locking the bike away from home.

Ultimate security

How to lock your bike up securely

Webstockreview
(Image credit: Webstockreview)

Sometimes the worth of a bike is measured in more than money – if your bike has sentimental value or is a model that can’t be replaced, an insurance payout is not going to cover what was lost. In this case, prevention is much, much better than any ‘cure’.

For the ultimately secure set up, you should use two Diamond rated locks and use them to lock each wheel to the frame and through to an immovable object. When locking each wheel, make sure to go around the rim rather than just through the spokes – these can be cut and replaced very easily.

You’ll want to be sure that the object you’re locking to is genuinely immovable, being at least equally as secure as the locks. Depending on your garage setup, you may need to purchase a ground anchor to ensure this is the case when your bike is parked at home. Check out our piece on bike security at home for more.

Also, don’t overlook the security of the place you are locking your bikes, you may need to upgrade the locks to your garage, for example. But equally, don’t go overboard. Five sets of locks on a door and three security cameras are only going to intrigue a thief. Discrete but high security is the best combination.

This is well in excess of what any insurer would ask you to do. If you would be satisfied with an insurance payout should your bike be stolen (provided it was locked to the insurers’ standards), then this level of security is completely unnecessary. But if your bike is genuinely irreplaceable, these are the step to take.

Locking Axles and seatpost clamp

For a cheap and simple, pared down town bike, you could get away with using a small Silver rated lock and some lockable quick release skewers to keep the wheels safe. This is a lighter and simpler solution than the lock and cable method preferred by insurers, but as a consequence, you may not be covered locking your bike up in this way.

Either double check with your insurer that they will cover you locking your bike in this way, or make sure your bike is cheap enough that if it does get stolen an insurance claim wouldn’t be worth it anyway.

What is the best style of bike lock?

There are many different styles of bike lock, each designed with a particular use case in mind.

Types of bike lock

D- / U-locks

D- / U-locks with their simple and robust design lend themselves to high security applications, although with a consequential high weight. But the same elements which make U-locks an easier design to make high security, also means that mid-level security can be offered at a sometimes surprisingly low weight. This versatility is why the U-lock design is so popular for bike locks.

Folding locks

Folding locks bring a different set of benefits. Not only does their design allow folding locks to pack down smaller for easier transportation, but they also tend to come with a larger lockable area and their flexible nature greatly increases the range of objects you can lock your bike up to. The typical downside of a folding lock is that with so many moving parts, they tend to be less secure than a simpler design - the rivets are an easy target and it's quite easy to apply leverage between the links.

Abus Bordo Granit X Plus 6500

Chain locks

Chains go some way to merge the benefits of folding locks and U-locks, tending to have a similar security level to U-locks but being flexible like a folding lock. The downside mainly centres around the weight, which is often considerable (over 3kg) and therefore limits them to use only at home.

Having said that, there are options like Hiplok's range that are designed to be carried, it's just that the lock may be a bit weighty. Most chains come with a fabric covering too, so they shouldn't damage your bike when in use.

But for securing multiple bikes, using a couple of U-locks is much safer than a single chain – and with Gold rated options such as the Zéfal K-Traz U17, the total price and weight will probably even be similar.

Lightweight locks

Lightweight locks tend to use a cable design. These are pretty vulnerable to cutting attacks, but are effective against opportunistic thieves without specialist tools. These are good for providing a bit of extra security at a café stop, so someone can’t just sneak off with your bike while you’re looking in the wrong direction.

However, they aren’t robust enough to use in high crime areas when you are leaving your bike for any length of time, and your insurance probably won’t cover you if your bike is stolen while locked up with one.

For extra security you can combine a lightweight lock with a bike alarm like the Alterlock, which sounds a siren if your bike is moved.

Do I need bicycle insurance?

Unfortunately, perfectly secure bike locks simply don’t exist. With the right tools, know-how and inclination, a determined thief will be able to get through any lock.

As such, it is important to make sure that you have the best bicycle insurance (opens in new tab) to suit your needs so that if your bike is stolen, you are at least covered.

The importance of cycle insurance

Westend61 / Getty Images
(Image credit: Westend61 / Getty Images)

Many home insurance policies will only cover bikes up to £1,000, so if your bike is worth more than that, you really should take out some specific bike insurance. These policies also tend to include other benefits such as public liability and personal accident cover, so are well worth the investment.

Different insurers will have different requirements, so make sure to check the policy wording of your own insurance, but typically, if a bike is worth over £1,000 it will need to be locked using a Sold Secure Gold rated lock. If the bike is worth under £1,000, it will need to be locked with a Silver rated lock. Few insurers will cover a bike locked with a bronze or unrated lock.

Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor following an MA in online journalism.


In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.


What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Mercian Classic fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.


And the vital statistics:


Age: 53
Height: 178cm

Weight: 69kg