The Sold Secure level 8 (silver standard) Abus 440 Alarm U-Lock is a fantastic bike theft deteriant, with a solid shackle and high level locking duel locking mechanism. Its weight and size does mean that it's not one for taking on long rides, but if your main concern is leaving your bike unattended, then it's one of the best on the market.
12mm Hardened Steel
Sold Secure level 8 (Silver Standard)
Easy to use
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After your immediate family and hopefully your house, the third most precious item in your life will probably be your bike. However, keeping your pride and joy yours is always a heart lurching concern, especially when leaving the generally more secure boundaries of your own home - which is where the Abus 440 Alarm U-Lock steps in.
Abus made their first bike lock in 1958, and now offers a whole suite of bike locks, with five ranges to choose from, and specifically 42 bike specific U-locks, with prices starting from £25 and going all the way to £200. The Abus 440 Alarm, priced at £85, sits at the upper-mid point range.
Both the shackle and body of the Abus 440 Alarm U-Lock are made from hardened steel, where the steel is heated and then plunged in to cold liquid, before heating again, which ultimately causes the grain structure of steel to become harder.
The benefit of a U-Lock, or as we often refer to them in the UK as D-Locks, are that the simplicity of their solid structure and no moving parts other than the locking mechanism makes them very difficult to penetrate and gives them pretty good theft resistance properties alone.
It is still well worth getting specific bike insurance, though, as no lock is ultimately unbreakable. This way, should the worst happen, you will at least be covered
The brand say that the duel locking mechanism on the Abus 440 Alarm is a very high quality barrel, which they claim is incredibly difficult to pick. As the user of the 440 I can assure you that you would have to be pretty brazen to even attempt it.
I've used a couple of opportunist deterrent bike alarm locks before, and found they generally have the effect of making my bike look slightly more hardwork to grab and run off with. But I would never feel happy about leaving it for any length of time, e.g at a train station or outside work.
While I can't profess to have tested the ability to hacksaw, lop or pneumatic drill through the shackle, or indeed pick the lock with a hair grip or a nail file, I can say that even lifting the set Sold Secure level 8 (silver standard) bike lock off a desk at 5am in the morning will make it emit an ear-splitting bleep that's enough to wake an entire household.
It's what Abus call it's '3D position detection' system which detects vibrations and the smallest of movements to trigger the alarm to trill at 100db. Technically this is around the noise level of a hand drill or french horn, or as I like to call it at 5am "Aaaaahhhhhhhhh, what the, ahhhh" followed by several profanities level.
There is a locking setting that allows you to use the Abus 440 Alarm U-Lock, without setting the alarm, making it much easier for transportation, and generally when the lock isn't in use.
Talking of transportation, it's this aspect of the lock where you have to make compromises. Something so robust and strong is of course going to be heavy and somewhat combersome. Weighing 1400g there's no denying the Abus 440 Alarm is going to add to your bike's weight. Even with the easy to use bike mounting system, it's not exactly a lock you're going to want take on a long club run or a ride of any real duration.
There's also the issue with product placement. Having been all over my size small road bike, the only fit was under the top tube and it meant sacrificing my standard water bottle location. I could just able squeeze a bottle in too, and it's highly likely that a bigger frame would accommodate a better mounting location. A smaller shackled lock would certainly be a better fit on the bike, and would obvious reduce the lock's overall weight, but measuring 23cm means that there's enough length to get the lock around a sturdy pole and your top tube. Personally, if keeping my bike mine was my priority, I'd happily accept the weight and bottle compromises.
This is much more than an 'opportunist anti-theft lock' option. If that is what you are looking for, you really can't go wrong with the Abus 440 Alarm. The only real downside is the battery choice. A rechargeable option would be appealing, but I suspect this opens up a weakness in the design, but Albus has selected the lesser known CR2 batteries, so it's worth getting a set in early doors as a back up.
Bike theft deterring
The Sold Secure level 8 (Silver standard) Abus 440 Alarm U-Lock is a fantastic bike theft deterrent, with a solid shackle and high level duel locking mechanism. Its weight and size does mean that it's not one for taking on long rides, but if your main concern is leaving your bike unattended, then it's one of the best on the market.
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Hannah is Cycling Weekly’s longest-serving tech writer, having started with the magazine back in 2011. She has covered all things technical for both print and digital over multiple seasons representing CW at spring Classics, and Grand Tours and all races in between.
Hannah was a successful road and track racer herself, competing in UCI races all over Europe as well as in China, Pakistan and New Zealand.
For fun, she's ridden LEJOG unaided, a lap of Majorca in a day, won a 24-hour mountain bike race and tackled famous mountain passes in the French Alps, Pyrenees, Dolomites and Himalayas.
She lives just outside the Peak District National Park near Manchester UK with her partner, daughter and a small but beautifully formed bike collection.
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