The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

9 best bike locks to help keep your wheels safe and secure

From lightweight chains to Bluetooth-enabled products, protect your investment with these designs

Aaron Roe
Tuesday 11 January 2022 17:09
<p>We’d recommend locks that are certified by Sold Secure, a UK-based independent body that thoroughly tests them</p>

We’d recommend locks that are certified by Sold Secure, a UK-based independent body that thoroughly tests them

With almost 380,000 bikes stolen in the UK every year and retailer shortages meaning steeds are becoming increasingly sought after, a great-quality bike lock is the best way to protect your investment and stop your bike becoming easy pickings for thieves.

While no lock is impervious to attack, having a decent one can be enough to deter a potential thief and get them to look for an easier target.

Whatever lock you decide to go for, we recommend looking for one that’s certified by Sold Secure, a UK-based independent body that tests locks against a variety of attack methods. They then rate them from bronze to diamond, based on the protection offered. Buying a gold- or diamond-rated lock means you’ll have good protection against repeated attacks by thieves.

It’s always a good idea to lock your bike somewhere in public, in plain sight and to a strong, immovable object. For the best protection, make sure you secure both wheels and the frame. If you’ve got any accessories such as lights or a device attached, you’ll also want to make sure you don’t leave them on your bike. You could even invest in locking nuts to secure your wheels or saddle.

U-locks, sometimes known as D-locks, are great for securing the wheel and frame to a railing or lamppost. They’re easy to carry in your bag or even on your belt, and often come with mounting brackets so you can carry them on your bike.

Read more:

Chain locks tend to be heavier than U-locks, but they are more flexible and easier to fit around irregularly shaped objects. Some are long enough to fit through several bikes at the same time. You can pair both types of lock with a separate cable to secure all the main areas of your bike (frame and both wheels).

How we tested

A great lock should be easy to fit around many different immovable objects you might encounter in a city. If it’s designed to carry around with you, it should be easy to fit in your bag or to your bike frame and lightweight enough that it’s not a hindrance while you’re riding. If you’re locking up outside in Britain, you’ll also want something that’s resistant to the rain and cold, so we also looked for locks with keyhole covers. 

Although we weren’t tempted to attack the locks we tested with angle grinders or other cutting equipment – we went off their security ratings – we tested our locks in a variety of urban areas, trying them out by locking our bikes to a variety of different objects to check out their versatility. We tested how easy they were to carry and how easy they were to lock or unlock – especially from awkward angles.

The best bike locks for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Hiplok DX: £79.99, Hiplok.com
  • Best for portability – Hiplok original: £69.99, Hiplok.com
  • Best smart lock – Abus smart X 770A: £204.99, Wiggle.co.uk
  • Best heavyweight chain – Kryptonite evolution 1016 integrated chain: £124.99, Freewheel.co.uk
  • Best budget gold-rated U-lock – Trelock U4 plus: £59.99, Freewheel.co.uk
  • Best budget lock with Bluetooth – Squire inigma BL1: £159.99, Squirelocks.co.uk
  • Best for security at home – Oxford brute force anchor: £16.49, Sportsbikeshop.co.uk
  • Best small lock – Abus bordo lite 6055: £46.99, Wiggle.co.uk
  • Best heavyweight U-lock – Kryptonite New York fahgettaboudit mini: £88.99, Amazon.co.uk

Hiplok DX

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

You can carry this handy U-lock on your belt or slipped over a trouser pocket thanks to the flexible tabs on the back. The portability means it’s a lock you can always have with you – even on those short trips where you might otherwise be tempted to leave your bike leaning against a wall unprotected. The rubber-coated 15cm loop will go through your frame and wheel, around the head-tube or in a multitude of other positions. It’s Sold Secure gold rated and comes with three decent-sized keys, which are easy to handle even when wearing gloves.

Hiplok original

Best: For portability

Rating: 8/10

Struggling to find somewhere to carry your lock? Hiplok have come up with a wearable padlock and chain combination that’s Sold Secure silver rated. The chain is wrapped in a nylon sleeve with a velcro fastener, so you can wear it and adjust the fit. For a hefty bit of kit weighing in at 1.8kg, it’s actually surprisingly comfortable to ride with it strapped to your waist. We found the 85cm chain ample for locking to posts and railings, and we loved that the sleeve is reflective on one side to aid visibility at night. It comes with three keys, and you can remove the sleeve from the chain to wash it if necessary.

Abus smart X 770A

Best: Smart lock

Rating: 9/10

This one’s really clever – a Bluetooth-enabled 23cm U-lock with an ear-splitting 100dB alarm. Via an associated app, it will tell you where you left your bike locked up, and you can give trusted friends clearance to unlock it without having to hand them a key. Setting it up is simply a matter of snapping a QR code with your smartphone.

You don’t even have to take your phone out of your pocket to unlock it – just slide a switch on the base of the lock and pull it apart when the tone sounds. The built-in battery should last around three months before needing recharging, which is done via a hidden USB port. Abus gives the lock its maximum 15 security rating, and it has also been awarded Sold Secure gold. It’s expensive, but it’s an amazing device for anyone who hates fumbling in the dark with keys or combination dials. Given that it is packed with electronics, it might be a good idea to use it under a covered bike shelter where, it won’t be left sitting in the rain all day.

Kryptonite evolution 1016 best heavyweight lock

Best: Heavyweight chain

Rating: 10/10

If you’re after a hefty chain for ultimate security, this Sold Secure gold-rated model from Kryptonite is an excellent option. Weighing in at more than 4kg, it’s not one you’ll want to lug around with you – it’s a brute that’s best suited for securing bikes in your garage or leaving at a shared storage facility. A nylon sleeve stops any damage to your paintwork, and a sliding plastic cover helps to keep the elements out of the keyhole. You get three replaceable keys, one of which has a handy light to help you out when locking up in the dark.

Trelock U4 plus

Best: Budget gold-rated U-lock

Rating: 8/10

This device from Trelock is a brilliant choice if you’re after a portable lock that’s easy to carry around with you. It’s Sold Secure gold rated and the 23cm shackle offers plenty of options for securing your frame and rear wheel, plus you can pair it with a cable to secure the front wheel. The lock comes with a bracket so you can mount it to your bike and it only weighs around 900g, so you’ll hardly notice you are carrying it. You get a couple of replaceable keys, and there’s a cover to protect the keyhole in bad weather.

Squire inigma BL1

Best: Budget lock with Bluetooth

Rating: 8/10

Another Bluetooth lock, this one is a little smaller and lighter than the Abus – 1.25kg compared with its rival’s 1.8kg. It also works through a phone app and you just press a button on the base before turning a dial to unlock it. The process isn’t quite as slick as with the Abus, but it worked for us every time. The app allows you to give access to selected people at times of your choosing. It will also give you a list of times when the lock has been opened. Charging is via a USB port hidden under a rubber cover on the base, and it is rated Sold Secure gold.

Oxford brute force anchor

Best: For security at home

Rating: 7/10

If you store your bike in a garage or sturdy shed, a ground anchor is a sound investment. While locking your bikes to each other is better than nothing, if they are not attached to something, thieves could just bundle them into a van and cut the lock later. Fixing your bikes to an anchor in a garage will help to prevent this.

Installation involves drilling high-security bolts into a concrete floor or wall, so you will need access to a decent hammer drill. Ball bearings can be hammered into the bolts once it is in place, stopping anyone unscrewing them. You can then loop a chain or cable through it to secure your bikes to the ground.

Abus bordo lite 6055

Best: Small lock

Rating: 7/10

A folding lock is a great choice if you prefer to travel light. This one folds down to a neat little rectangle that will even fit inside a pocket. Made up of six foldable sections with a total length of 60cm, it weighs in at less than 500g. If you’re only going to be leaving your bike for a few minutes, we reckon the extra portability is worth the trade-off in security. This one comes with a couple of keys, which you can have replaced if you ever lose them.

Kryptonite New York fahgettaboudit mini

Best: Heavyweight U-lock

Rating: 9/10

As the name suggests, with this one you can lock up your bike and “fahgettaboudit” – only a really determined, well-equipped thief will have a chance of beating it. Tipping the scales at just over 2kg, this substantial Sold Secure gold-rated U-lock has been designed to be both pick and drill resistant. It has a 15cm shackle made from hardened steel and you get a handy LED key and two spares. There’s also a sliding plastic cover to keep dust and debris out of the mechanism.

The verdict: Bike locks

You can’t really go wrong with Hiplok’s DX U-lock. With a Sold Secure gold rating and great portability, it’s perfect for taking out and about. You can combine it with a cable and ground anchor for maximum security at home, too.

If you’re after a lock for your shed or garage, we’d recommend Kryptonite’s hefty evolution 1016 – it’s highly rated for security and is likely to deter most opportunist thieves. It’s also long enough to fit through two or three bikes. At a penny under £60 for a gold-rated lock, if you’re on a budget, the Trelock U4 Plus is a bargain.

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on bikes and other cycling kit offers, try the links below:

Need help choosing your new two wheels? Read our buying guide

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in