PROTECT YOUR PRICEY RIDE
What's sadder than discovering a broken bike lock where your bicycle used to be? Bike thieves are continually refining their tools and skills. But so are bike lock manufacturers, and the best locks are tough to breach yet easy to use. Cheapism.com evaluated professional bike lock tests and reviews by outlets such as Sold Secure, a British nonprofit that tests and rates a variety of locks and other security devices. We also looked at user reviews on retail websites to see how bike locks perform in the "real world." The result: six of the best U-locks, cable locks, chain locks, and folding locks, starting with our top pick for the best value.
Prices and availability subject to change.
KRYPTONITE NEW-U EVOLUTION MINI-7 WITH FLEX
Best Value Bike Lock
Est. Price: $75 | Buy it on Amazon
- Versatile U-lock/cable lock combination.
- Weighs 3.25 pounds; relatively lightweight for a U-lock.
- Includes a mounting bracket, 3 keys, and a lighted fob.
- Comes with 1 year of free anti-theft protection up to $2,500.
- Too small to secure larger bike frames.
- Cable is not included in the anti-theft warranty; only the U-lock.
- Velcro to secure the cable is flimsy, some users say.
Takeaway: Reviewers say the Kryptonite New-U Evolution Mini is a great value because it's essentially two bike locks in one: a U-lock and a cable lock. It's a top pick on the product review site Wirecutter, where testers say, "It should withstand attacks from everything but power tools under most circumstances." Users like that the New-U Evolution Mini-7 is small enough to fit in a rear pants pocket, but some complain that the 7-inch U-lock and the cable are too small or short for some bikes. A silver rating from Sold Secure means this lock is suitable for areas with a low to medium risk of theft. Kryptonite offers buyers of this lock a free year of anti-theft protection, which means the company will reimburse the base cost of a stolen bike (minus tax and accessories).
KRYPTONITE NEW-U NEW YORK FAHGETTABOUDIT MINI
Est. Price: $117 | Buy it on Amazon
- Gold rating from Sold Secure.
- Lifetime warranty and 1 year of anti-theft coverage up to $5,000.
- Comes with 3 keys, including one with a light.
- Weighs 4.55 pounds; relatively heavy.
- 6-inch length is too small for larger bikes, some users say.
Takeaway: The Kryptonite New-U New York Fahgettaboudit Mini is a very recent update to the iconic New York Fahgettaboudit Mini. The two locks are nearly identical, but the redesign introduces an even stronger deadbolt to guard against "cut and twist" attacks. There are no expert reviews of the New-U version yet, but the original is a top pick in several roundups, including Wirecutter's. Reviewers there call the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini the most secure lock they tested. It was able to withstand an expert cutting attack for more than a minute, which may not sound like a lot, but it's long enough to deter most risk-averse thieves. Many users say they bought this lock after a bike was stolen when using another model or brand. The primary drawback, owners say, is its bulk. You can't carry it in a pocket, and it adds quite a bit of weight to a pack. Experts say this is the U-lock you want, though, if you live in a high-crime area.
Best Chain Lock for Low-Risk Areas
Est. Price: $65 | Buy it on Amazon
- Includes 3 keys.
- Weighs 2.2 pounds, less than other chain locks.
- "Wearable" lock fits a large range of waist sizes.
- Should be used in conjunction with a U-lock in high-crime areas.
- Owners say they sometimes have to fiddle with the key lock before it opens.
- Some say the 30-inch locking circumference is too small for larger bikes.
Takeaway: The Hiplok Lite is a versatile, highly portable lock for those who struggle with how to transport a bike lock. To carry the Hiplok, merely wrap it around your waist like a belt. It's adjustable from 24 to 42 inches, and it comes in several color combinations. A reflective tab on the rear of the belt/lock offers increased visibility for night riding. Although there are a few outliers, most users say it's very comfortable to wear while biking. However, its relatively light weight means it's also less secure; it earns a bronze rating from Sold Secure. According to the manufacturer and reviewers, it's best for areas with a low to medium risk of theft.
KRYPTONITE NEW YORK FAHGETTABOUDIT CHAIN 1410
Best Chain Lock for Extra Protection
Est. Price: $145 | Buy it on Amazon
- Gold rating from Sold Secure for bikes and motorcycles.
- 1 year of anti-theft insurance up to $5,000.
- Measures 39 inches, longer than many other chain locks.
- Awkward and heavy, at 10.8 pounds; difficult to transport.
- Large links can be tough to thread through some wheel spokes.
Takeaway: Experts say if you park your bike outside for any length of time, you should use a chain lock in conjunction with a U-lock to maximize protection. The Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit 1410 Bicycle Chain is a good choice because it's 39 inches long (compared with the more common 36 inches), which means it can not only be threaded through all parts of your bike but also accommodate larger rides like cargo bikes, electric scooters, and even some motorcycles. We saw plenty of users commenting that this chain lock looks so intimidating that they doubt any thieves would even try to attempt a breach. Experts say it's a great choice for high-crime areas.
Best Cable Lock
Est. Price: $65 | Buy it on Amazon
- Comes in 3 sizes and colors.
- Lightweight; largest size weighs less than 9 ounces.
- Many parents say it's ideal for younger kids, because it's easy to carry and use.
- Some reviewers would prefer a 4-digit combination, rather than 3, for extra security.
- Should be used in conjunction with a U-lock in medium- to high-crime areas.
- A few users report a learning curve when programming the combination.
Takeaway: Experts and users agree that the Ottolock cinch lock is a great little lock for low-crime areas where your bike won't be unattended for long or very far out of your sight. Made of a Kevlar/steel blend, the Ottolock is more difficult to cut through than a traditional cable lock, experts say, and Outside magazine made a video to prove it. (Sold Secure does not rate this lock.) Sports Illustrated best describes the design, saying this lock looks like a "large zip tie." It's flat, allowing it to coil into a 3-inch roll for easy transport.
SEATYLOCK FOLDYLOCK COMPACT
Best Folding Lock
Est. Price: $95 | Buy it on Amazon
- Very easy to use, reviewers say.
- Internal-cut keys make the lock difficult to pick.
- 2 options for attaching the lock to a bike frame.
- Not suitable for high-crime areas without adding a U-Lock.
- Users say the Velcro strips for attaching the lock to a bike frame don't seem secure.
Takeaway: Experts and users say the Foldylock Compact bike lock from Seatylock solves two of the biggest headaches for bikers: weight and transport. At 2.2 pounds, it's very lightweight, and it folds into a 2.35-by-1.5-inch rectangle — small enough to fit in a back pocket — when not in use. When expanded, it has a 33.5-inch circumference, which is enough for most standard road bikes. Although the cable on the Foldylock is a relatively thin 5 millimeters, reviewers say the lock is sturdier than that would imply, due to the design and coating. A silver rating from Sold Secure means this lock "offers a compromise between security and cost."