Bike Lock Reviews
Unfortunately, a bicycle is not like a motor vehicle, in that you can’t just press a button attached to your keys to lock and unlock it; perhaps because there are no keys to start a bike either. However, if you’re a cyclist and intend to leave your bike unattended at some point throughout your day, you too will need some kind of lock to secure your bike while it remains out in public. There are several varieties of bike locks to choose from that employ the use of various chains, cables, and padlocks, but perhaps the most effective type, and one of the most widely used varieties, is the U-lock. Like the name implies, U-locks take the shape of the letter “U” with a bar that crosses the opening to lock in place. They are quite sturdy theft deterrents and have a locking mechanism that is resistant to break-ins by chisel or hammer. The closed horseshoe design restricts the amount of movement or leverage a thief could work with, which also helps limit potential damage caused to the bike. U-locks are usually opened with a key at the base, or flat top bar, of the lock.
Bike Lock Buying Guide
Bike locks are an absolute necessity if you are a commuter or store your bike unattended at any time where there are people around who you do not know. Theft is a major problem when it comes to unattended bikes. When not properly secured they appear as treasure on wheels to a criminal. Before you make your purchase for a bike lock, there are a few things that you should take into consideration. Not all bike locks are equally effective in deterring or preventing bike theft. The right bike lock is the best at keeping your valuable safe.
This guide will provide you with useful information on how to choose the best bike lock to meet your needs. By following the tips and recommendations included you will have no problem identifying a bike lock with the best possible features to keep thieves from taking what is yours.
Three Cardinal Rules for Purchasing Bike Locks
The first rule is that inexpensive locks give you a lower quality of protection. The old saying you get what you pay for is very true. While any lock can serve as a deterrent to some thieves, there are some who know the difference between a high quality lock and one that is easy to beat.
The second rule is that cable locks are usually fairly easy to break. When used alone, they are just a step above having no protection from theft whatsoever. There are savvy criminals out there who are well aware of this fact and may actually be happy to see the cable lock as a standalone security method because they will know that this is their lucky day. Cable locks are great for securing accessories when used jointly with a U lock, but by themselves they offer little protection.
The third rule is that the heavier the lock, the better the protection. Even though the weight may be burdensome to carry around, heavier bike locks provide more security that the lighter versions which are more susceptible to breakage. While there is no lock that is one hundred percent foolproof, the more difficult that it is to dismantle and the more time and effort that a criminal has to extend, the less likely they are to hang around until the job is finished.
Types of Bike Locks
The D lock type shackle lock is also referred to as a U lock. This is the most secure type of bike lock that is the equivalent of a high powered padlock that secures the bike to a solid structure within a heavy duty hoop. The better D locks will have armored shackles with heat treated U sections which are extremely difficult to break through. The solid bar feature is what provides the strength and safety factor for this type of bike lock. The downside to D locks is that they are bulky, rigid and heavy, making them the most difficult to carry.
Heavy chain and padlock
This provides good protection against theft and will certainly serve as a deterrent against thievery, however; it is not as secure as the D lock type. The chain is easier to saw through if a thief is truly bent on beating the security system, but it will take them time to accomplish.
Cable locks are better than no protection, but they provide the least amount of protection from bike theft. In general, they are one of the easiest lock methods to foil for savvy thieves who know how to beat them.
What to Look for in Bike Locks
The most secure type of bike lock is the D lock. When making your purchase, keep in mind that the less expensive locks are cheaper for a reason. This is because they are most likely more cheaply made with lower grade materials and possibly a lower quality of workmanship. Check the lock for any weak areas prior to purchase. If you can identify weak spots that may be easy to pry apart, move on to another brand or model.
Check the locks for the heaviness. The heavier the lock device the higher chances that they are armored making them more difficult to drill or saw through. Lightweight locks will be highly susceptible to damage.
Make sure that the lock is the appropriate size and shape to fit your bike. You don’t want to have any space in between the bike and the lock where a thief can stick a pry bar into. Next, check the security ratings that are provided by the manufacturers. This will give you a good idea of the strength of the lock. A good rule of thumb to observe is that higher ratings almost always translate into a higher price tag.
Look for a lock that offers a reasonable warranty, extended warranty option and an anti theft guarantee. The anti theft guarantee is a type of insurance that provides additional protection for you in the event that your bike is stolen. You’ll end up paying a little more for this option, but it can help to cover you in case your bike disappears.
When looking for a bike lock there are several types and brands on the market. Once you understand the level of security from theft that each provides, the choices will become much clearer to you. The chain and padlock type will offer a moderate degree of protection, but the D lock is the superior bike lock offered. If the price tag is too high, you will find more protection with the chain and padlock than with the other types such as cable locks or inexpensive D locks. The choice is yours.
Whatever type of bike lock you decide to purchase, do a quick double check to examine the unit for any potential weaknesses and a good fit for your bike that can help to prevent thieves from successfully foiling the lock. Any type of lock can help to deter thieves who are less experienced at breaking through the locking systems, but it is best to be prepared for encounters with the ones who know what they’re doing.