Best bike locks in 2023 | 8 top-rated D-locks, foldable locks and chain locks…

Best bike locks in 2023 | 8 top-rated D-locks, foldable locks and chain locks

Looking for a lock to protect your bike? We tested the best bike locks to destruction to reveal the best bike lock on the market.

Our test included a selection of the best D-locks, foldable locks and chain locks for cyclists, at a range of prices. Carry on scrolling after reading our recommendations to our bike locks buyer’s guide. Buying the best bike lock is only part of the job. You need to use it properly, of course, so we have included a guide on how to lock up your bike at the end of this article.

The best D-locks for bikes

The D-lock, or U-lock as it is alternatively known, is the classic bike lock. The design consists of a big shackle and toughened crossbar with the lock mechanism built in. It has been around for years, and it’s really just a supersized padlock. The benefits are the strength for its size and relative portability. The downsides are the slightly awkward shape if you want to lock more of your bike into it. You’ll want to add in an accessory cable or second lock to cover everything.

Litelock X1

The Litelok X1 bike lock is nearly indestructible. Its steel core, armoured with a composite material called Barronium, resisted the attack of our angle grinder for more than 17 minutes. That’s almost three times longer than the previous toughest lock we’ve tested.

Besides its excellent strength, the X1 is easy to attach and remove from your bike thanks to its bottle cage mounting bracket.

At 1.6kg, the X1 is a similar weight to locks that offer inferior theft protection. Considering it’s rated Diamond standard by Sold Secure, the price is competitive too.

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Abus Granit Extreme 59

The Extreme 59 is like a lock on a high-protein diet. With a torsional resistance that’s 1,000Nm higher than its nearest rival, and tensile resistance that would handle a couple of vans pulling on each end, it’s impressive.

Weather resistance is impeccable as is its resilience against picking. Under bolt cropping, it’s in the top three of all the locks we tested. If you prize your bike, have somewhere to store your lock when not using it, or want something tough for home use, then the Extreme is perfect.

The high price is the only thing that holds it back from a full five-star review.

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Abus Granit X-Plus 540

The X-Plus 540 is one of the cleverest D-lock designs ever, with its patented square-profile shackle that resists torsional attacks better than most, taking a massive 1,750Nm of pressure.

The state-of-the-art lock mechanism beat our lock picker, and has great resistance to bolt cropping (146kN) that far outweighs its relatively light weight.

The quality of the materials and the build meant this one outlasted our corrosion test. The EaZy KF bracket took the full 200 hours of abuse. In cutting tests, it stripped the standard saw blade, and took more than two minutes of cutting with tungsten. The power grinder result of nearly four minutes was only beaten by heftier rivals.

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Kryptonite New York M18

The Kryptonite New York M18 proved best for a number of categories in our testing. Immediate Media

The New York M18 is a beast of a lock, at over 2.5kg and, with a massive 18mm-diameter shackle, it’s built of sturdy stuff.

The double-deadbolt mechanism is centred inside the ovalised crossbar using a pick-resistant disc cylinder mechanism. The New York scores with its resistance to bolt cropping, sawing (best on test), tensile (best on test) and torsional resistance (runner-up).

With only its middling performance against the angle grinder going against it, the New York is a tough D-lock built the classic Kryptonite way. It may not be as clever as an Abus in its design, but the results are much the same.

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Hiplok DX

The Hiplok DX is a good shout if you’re looking for a lock to take with you on the go. Immediate Media

Hiplok’s DX combines a compact D-lock with a casing that protects your bike with soft-touch materials. It makes carrying easy thanks to the two built-in prongs that are designed to slip into your jeans. or behind a belt. These ergonomic touches add a little extra to what is a solid-performing little lock.

It’s built to last with excellent weather protection, and it’s a tough cookie when it comes to sawing, twisting and grinding. Only a lowly performance on the tensile (pull) test gave any cause for concern, but being able to withstand 28kN is more than enough to see off most compact, portable bottle jacks easily.

The relatively shallow shackle is bolstered by a big 85mm width, so even with its compact size our tester was still able to safely get it through the frame and back wheel of their bike. You will definitely need a second lock or some accessory cables to properly secure all the extremities of your ride though.

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The best folding bike locks

Sometimes you need a lock that’s more portable than a D-lock or chain, but one that’s stronger than a simple cafe stop cable lock.

If you want a combination of light weight, portability and toughness that you can trust for shopping stops and long lunches, these might be for you. The best folding bike locks are also suitable for securing touring bikes and bikepacking bikes for short periods.

Litelok Gold

  • Price: £89.99 as tested
  • Weight: 1,120g
  • Shackle size: 265mm (circular diameter)
  • Size: 736×50mm
  • Rating: Sold Secure Gold

The Litelok Gold’s design combines a heavyweight disc lock mechanism with a mushroom stud and socket connection set within a sturdy steel casing joined by a nylon mesh-clad series of steel cables. The design keeps weight down and provides plenty of flexibility.

Carrying the lock is easy, either leave it straight and strap to your top tube or lock it into its circular shape and strap it between the seat and top tube.

The flexible nature makes it adaptable to what you lock it to, though it can be a little stiff, so hold the pressure while pushing the two locking ends together.

It performed perfectly after weather testing, and chilling and hammering only left a dent in the lock case. A standard blade sawed through the cables in 52 seconds and just 15 with a tungsten blade.

The Litelok took a massive amount of abuse (222.5kN) from the bolt cropper. Torsion tests had little effect, and it proved itself in the tensile test too. It didn’t last long against the angle grinder though.

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Abus Granit X-Plus Bordo

  • Price: £139.99 as tested
  • Weight: 1,520g
  • Shackle diameter: 5.5mm-thick plates
  • Size: 6×150mm plates
  • Rating: Sold Secure Gold

The much-imitated Bordo design uses 150mm long hardened steel plates that are linked together by domed hardened rivets for a strong lock that can fold into a compact 190×70×40mm package.

It sailed through corrosion testing and the lock mechanism, being an X-Plus unit, couldn’t be picked. You can’t pull the barrel either because it’s set within a hardened steel case with folded-over ends.

Under saw attack, it’s unfazed by a standard blade, though a tungsten blade got though in under a minute. Bolt-crop resistance was impressive for such small steel sections and it out performs plenty of D-locks here. A grinder will make pretty short work of the plates however.

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Best chain locks for bikes

A chain, by its very nature, is adaptable. You can wrap it around pretty much any shape and thread it through your bike. Its shape also makes it difficult to attack with traditional tools – just try crowbarring a chain.

Chains make sense for your place of work or home because they are usually quite hefty and ungainly to carry safely in a cycling backpack.

Hiplok Homie

The Homie, at 1.5m long, is designed to thread through multiple bikes, and as the name suggests, is for home use.

The individual links are made from hardened steel, as is the shackle to protect the cylinder lock.

When using the Homie, be careful not to drop it onto a frame tube becaues that 4.2kg of weight will cause some damage.

The Homie is well protected against corrosion and hammer tests didn’t affect it either. Bolt-cropping on the links was middling, but on the lock shackle much more impressive.

The lock cylinder is good against pick attacks and the links are some of the toughest on test. It’s a strong solution and one we’d recommend for home use only.

For the money, you are getting a lot of lock and one that’ll work on multiple bikes at the same time – thread it through a floor or wall anchor and you can secure two or three bikes.

However, be careful how you handle it and don’t drop it on your favourite lightweight carbon frame.

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What to look for in a bike lock

Before we begin, the first thing to realise is that no single lock is unbreakable. Armed with the right tools and knowledge, someone who really wants to steal your bike will be able to, no matter what you lock it up with.

Whether your pride and joy is one of the best road bikes or mountain bikes, it’s unwise to ever leave it unattended outside – even secured by the best bike lock. The temptation could be too much to a thief.

What you can do is deter the bike thief looking for an easy steal. With that in mind, one of the best bits of advice we can give you, after many years of busting and picking locks in our tests, is to use two locks of different types and brands.

If a thief is adept at picking a certain type of lock and has the tools to do so, it’s less likely they will also have the tools or the knowledge to pick a completely different type.

Two budget locks that are wildly different in style and key/lock-cylinder types are sometimes better than just one expensive lock. Here’s a breakdown of all the key lock lingo that you need to know:

  • Key: There are various types of keys, but all work a lock mechanism by moving pins or discs into alignment to allow the lock plug to be turned and open the lock
  • Shackle: We know the shackle as the D-shaped part of a D-lock/U-lock or padlock. It shackles two things together. In our case, it’s our bikes to something sturdy
  • Links: Chains are made up of links; hoops joined together. The smaller the internal diameter of the links the better, as this gives less space for a lever that can be used to break the link to be inserted
  • Protection: Nobody wants a bare metal lock clattering against their frame. A cloth or sponge cover is handy to keep your pride and joy looking nice and to prevent the lock from corroding
  • Lock barrel: Manufacturers will centre the lock mechanism in the barrel. Check the weight of the barrel because if it’s heavy that’s a sure sign it’s armoured
  • Multiple keys: Multiple keys are essential, with manufacturers such as OnGuard offering up to five with a lock. Keep one at home, one at work and one on your keyring
  • Maintenance: Check the action of the mechanism because locks spend most of their lives outdoors, so corrosion can be a problem. Use a light lube or water repellent (GT-85 or WD-40) liberally and top up periodically
  • Warranty: An extended warranty is always good. It’s not going to cover you against theft but it should be a sign that the lock won’t fall apart or seize up on you
  • Anti-theft guarantee: This guarantee is a form of insurance pioneered by Kryptonite. It does bump up the price, but definitely adds peace of mind into the package

How we tested the bike locks

Over the two decades that we’ve been putting together our intensive and independent lock tests, we’ve always used a combination of manual and power tools, and force and finesse to try to break locks.

Back in 2017, we used the facilities of Germany’s biggest security manufacturer, Abus, and more importantly its state-of-the-art test labs.

We devised a full-on torture chamber of tests that fully simulated each and every way a lock can be attacked and broken. For this, we needed multiple models from each manufacturer, so thank you to those who took up the challenge and supplied test samples willingly.

With nine tests on a total of 29 different models (seven of which are reviewed in this article), that’s 261 separate tests, and a total of in excess of £11,000 worth of locks tested to destruction.

Bracket test

Some of the locks come with a handy bracket to fit to your commuter bike. We tested the brackets fixed to a bike that’s attached to a treadmill, with bumps and lumps to simulate road conditions. This ‘rattle’ test runs for a total of 200 hours, which is plenty of time to see if the bracket is up to the job of carrying your lock safely.

Corrosion test

One of each lock was subjected to 168 hours in a climate chamber to ISO 9227 standards. The time is equivalent to around 10 to 12 months of outdoor use in a salty-air environment, such as living on the coast. Over the 168 hours, temperature and humidity fluctuate to further simulate real-world conditions.

Freeze and hammer test

This test simulates the use of a plumber’s freeze spray, which chills the metal. The theory is it’ll make metal more brittle when struck with a hammer. Our test lab consists of a chiller cabinet that freezes the lock down to.40°C. It’s then struck with a weight simulating a full-force sledgehammer blow multiple times from 1m and 2m.

Saw test

Our test machine is an articulated saw. Each lock was cut first with a fresh, standard steel blade. If it survived that test, it was then cut with a high-quality, precision tungsten blade in the same saw.

Bolt crop test

The bolt cropper is perhaps the favourite tool of the modern bike thief. Short, concealable bolt croppers are available for very little cash and can get through most budget locks with little fuss. Higher-standard locks are much tougher, and those that cross over into motorcycle security are stronger still.

Our bolt-cropping rig has to be capable of out-performing hand-operated bolt croppers, so the one we’ve used is a hydraulic jaw that cuts like a bolt cropper, but is capable of applying in excess of 250 kiloNewtons of pressure. That’s around the equivalent of a 1.5m-long set of bolt croppers operated by a couple of contestants from World’s Strongest Man.

Tensile pull test

This pulling rig had to simulate the bottle jack approach to breaking locks. A small hydraulic bottle uses a jack to push apart the two sections of lock, breaking the mechanism and causing the lock to fail. Our hydraulic test rig does the same by pulling on both parts simultaneously. This rig is capable of more than seven tonnes of pulling power, while your average bottle jack can perform to around three.

Torsion test

The good-old torsion attack, or crowbar to you and me, is a very effective method, but the downside is it usually leaves the bike being stolen with significant damage.

Our test rig can torsionally twist a lock to massive pressures, the equivalent of using a crowbar of more than 1.5m and one of those world’s strongest men doing the crowing.

Picking test

Picking locks is a learnable art and with many ‘picks’ available online we are seeing a rise in bikes being stolen this way. We used a resident expert armed with an inexpensive homemade pick to try to open the locks on test.

Grinder test

Hand-held powerful battery-operated angle grinders are a fast and effective way to cut through metal. However, they do generate a lot of noise and sparks, so if you park your bike in a high traffic area, and not hidden out of sight, you’re less likely to see this method of attack being used in broad daylight.

For our test, we used an off-the-shelf unit, with multiple batteries and a constant cycle of recharging, along with a fresh grinding disc for each test, so that each lock had the exact same conditions to record the time it took to cut through.

How to lock a bike

Looping the lock through the frame and the front wheel is a good way to stop any thieves from making off with your wheel, and reduce leverage space. Jack Luke / Immediate Media

There’s nothing worse than coming back to where you left your bike to find that someone has stolen it.

Investing in one of the best bike locks is an ideal first step to stopping this from happening, but there are also other things to bear in mind when locking your bike up to make sure it stays safe.

Firstly, you always want to lock your bike to a secure anchor point, such as a bike stand and avoid locking it to things like posts where a thief could simply lift the bike and lock off the top.

Choosing a location where there are plenty of people around is good too, as it will (hopefully) give thieves less time to break a lock before someone intervenes.

A good tip is to also use a second lock, or cable, to secure your wheels because it is relatively easy for a thief to remove these and make off with them.

If you do use a second lock, it’s a good idea to get one that’s a different make to your first one. this is because some thieves might be adept at picking one brand and not another, or have a particular tool that could cut through one type of lock but not another.

If someone does want to try and break your lock, you want to make it difficult for them. Keep the locks off the ground so thieves can’t use the leverage to prise the lock open, and fit the lock tightly around the bike to also reduce the amount of leverage required to break it.

You can read more tips in our article on how to lock a bike properly.

Keeping a bike inside is obviously one of the safest ways to keep it safe and we have an article on how to improve your bike shed security.

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Warren Rossiter

Warren Rossiter is BikeRadar and Cycling Plus magazine’s senior technical editor for road and gravel. Having been testing bikes for more than 20 years, Warren has an encyclopedic knowledge of road cycling and has been the mastermind behind our Road Bike of the Year test for more than a decade. He’s also a regular presenter on the BikeRadar Podcast and on BikeRadar’s YouTube channel. In his time as a cycling journalist, Warren has written for Mountain Biking UK, What Mountain Bike, Urban Cyclist, Procycling, Cyclingnews, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike and T3. Over the years, Warren has written about thousands of bikes and tested more than 2,500 – from budget road bikes to five-figure superbikes. He has covered all the major innovations in cycling this century, and reported from launches, trade shows and industry events in Europe, Asia, Australia, North American and Africa. While Warren loves fast road bikes and the latest gravel bikes, he also believes electric bikes are the future of transport. You’ll regularly find him commuting on an ebike and he longs for the day when everyone else follows suit. You will find snaps of Warren’s daily rides on the Instagram account of our sister publication, Cycling Plus (@cyclingplus).

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Nashik Engineer Quits UK Job to Build EV Startup, Launches E-Scooter With 160 KM Range

Leaving his engineering job in the UK, Nashik resident Yash Arora returned home to build Kyte Energy, an EV startup that has launched the Magnum Pro range of e-scooters that come with dual battery and a battery range of upto 160 km.

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(Above image of Yash Arora with Magnum Pro)

Kyte Energy, a Nashik-based electric mobility startup, launched the latest instalment of their Magnum electric scooter series in late October 2022. Called the Magnum Pro, it’s a high-speed electric scooter and has thus far received thousands of inquiries from prospective customers.

best, bike, locks, 2023, top-rated

Speaking to The Better India, co-founder Yash Arora announced that his startup will start physical deliveries of their electric scooter in December. Priced at Rs 80,999 (ex-showroom), the Magnum Pro is an “upgrade” on their low-speed Magnum series.

“We have been selling low-speed Magnum e-scooters since 2020. So far, we have sold more than 5,000 e-scooters. At Kyte Energy, we believe in constant improvements and since our inception in 2019, have been working on improving our Magnum line up and taking it to the next level. Our recently launched high speed Magnum Pro is a revamped version or Magnum model. Apart from its looks, everything has been worked up to the next level,” says Yash.

Giving riders a “true range of 160 km” from its 3.2 kWh lithium-ion (NMC) battery pack, the Magnum Pro comes with dual batteries, two chargers and a charging time of just three hours. Meanwhile, the e-scooter is also powered by a 2.4 KW BLDC (brushless DC) hub motor.

“The Power House (motor) and Control Unit (controller) of Magnum Pro has been designed and developed by Kyte in partnership with Lucas TVS, a Chennai-based venture dealing in auto electricals and another India-based venture, giving you a top speed of 60 kmph. The Magnum Pro also comes with a motor, controller, battery and charger warranty of three years without any clause about how many kilometres it has covered,” explains Yash.

What makes the Magnum Pro unique?

Yash notes, “The integration of dual batteries is very rare in electric vehicle (EV) space. It was a big challenge for us to integrate two batteries without disturbing the boot space of the scooter. Dual batteries inside the Magnum Pro help deliver a true range of 160 km on a single charge.”

“Also, the battery inside Magnum Pro is AIS 156-certified and comes with specially designed and programmed BMS (battery management system) which works in sync with the motor and controller to provide maximum efficiency and fire proof safety.”

AIS 156 refers to a government-prescribed standard for safety requirements with respect to the electric powertrain and rechargeable electric energy storage system of an electric vehicle.

“The integration of two batteries with an LCD display showing accurate state of charge (SOC) of the battery pack makes the Magnum Pro a unique proposition at its price point. Apart from the display, the battery pack and its BMS are specially designed and tested in extreme conditions for more than 1 lakh km to deliver a battery that is safe and free from defects. Also, the overall design of Magnum Pro is unique, delivering foot space which can comfortably fit a cylinder and is higher when compared to any of the competitors in the market,” he adds.

Kyte Energy started working on the Magnum Pro approximately 18 months ago. The extensive testing process took around six to eight months and the final vehicle is ICAT (International Centre for Automotive Technology)-certified, says Yash.

ICAT is a certification agency authorised by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for providing testing and certification services to the vehicle and component manufacturers located in India or abroad.

All the components of Magnum Pro, claims Yash, are made in India with the obvious exception of lithium ion cells that no venture in India manufactures currently. All these components are assembled at the startup’s manufacturing facility in Nashik.

But as a consumer, why should I choose Kyte Energy’s Magnum Pro electric scooter over the latest ones manufactured by other more popular ventures in this space?

“As India is a very price sensitive market, a consumer will definitely prefer a scooter which is half the price and delivers what is necessary. Magnum Pro delivers all that is necessary for a user like range, speed and durability at a very affordable price,” Yash claims.

He continues, “Aside from its true battery range, Magnum Pro gives zero down time to users as it comes with dual batteries inside, giving the user freedom to ride the e-scooter with one battery while charging the other. Also, the e-scooter is integrated with a connected ecosystem mobile app, enabling users to control multiple aspects of the scooter via mobile app and view vehicle diagnostics.”

A brief history of Kyte

Taking the long view, the Magnum Pro e-scooter marks a significant moment in Yash’s journey in the EV space since quitting his job as a mechanical engineer with a UK-based company in June 2018.

“After graduating with honours from Coventry University in the UK, I worked with a variety of ventures before joining Detroit Electric, a Warwickshire-based electric mobility venture. Working there, I realised that electric mobility is going to be the next big thing in the automotive industry. Instead of working for another foreign venture, I decided to come back home and start something of my own. I gained confidence to quit the job after discussing my passion with the other two co–founders of Kyte Energy, Kush Arora and Nikhil Sethi,” he says.

“It is after a deep discussion that the three of us decided to quit our jobs and establish Kyte Energy in September 2019. The launch of Magnum Pro is a landmark moment for us,” he adds.

Fortunately for the trio, Yash came from a family with a history in the automobile industry. Not only does his father trade in spare parts and accessories for four wheelers, he also owns two lead battery manufacturing plants. Besides this privilege, Yash also had the option of not moving away from his hometown of Nashik to start an e-mobility startup in Bengaluru, Delhi or Mumbai.

“Nashik is located in the middle of four big cities — Mumbai, Pune, Surat and Indore. With great connectivity to these cities and abundance of skilled labour, Nashik is ideal for manufacturing. Also, all three of us were born and brought up in Nashik and it’s one of the fastest developing cities in India. Currently we are a bootstrapped venture with a network of more than 25 outlets in Maharashtra and Gujarat and specialise in after-sales service,” explains Yash.

(All images courtesy Kyte Energy’s and Instagram pages.)

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The Best Bike Lock

In the “What about the Hiplok D1000?” section, we have an update on our continued testing of a promising, though expensive, new lock.

Although pandemic-related bike shortages have eased, bike thieves are still a persistent plague. The first line of defense: a good bike lock.

To find the best bike lock, we ordered 33 of the toughest we could find and then sawed, chopped, and cut them to pieces.

We learned that almost every lock can be defeated in under a minute, but the Kryptonite New-U Evolution Mini-7 offers enough of a security advantage over other locks in its price range to keep a modest commuter bike from becoming an easy target for thieves.

Things to know

No lock can keep a determined thief at bay forever. But a good one might persuade that thief to move on to an easier target.

Using hacksaws, two sizes of bolt cutters, cordless drills, and angle grinders, we destroyed 33 bike locks from 14 companies.

Our main pick, upgrade pick, and favorite chain come with insurance, but you have to register your lock for it to take effect.

The best bike lock

With a dual-locking hardened 13 mm shackle, an included cable, and a free year of anti-theft protection, the Kryptonite New-U Evolution Mini-7 is a good deterrent at a reasonable price.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 91.

The Kryptonite New-U Evolution Mini-7 should withstand attacks from everything but power tools under most circumstances.

Once our testing began, we immediately saw the huge advantage this lock had over the competition: Its 13-millimeter hardened shackle (the big U-shaped loop that gives U-locks their name) can withstand bolt cutters, eliminating a large percentage of potential thieves.

Measuring 7 inches long and weighing a little under 3 pounds, it’s the perfect size for most people—long enough to lock the wheel and frame of most bicycles to a rack while leaving almost no room for someone to wedge a pry bar or a car jack inside it.

On top of that, the shackle in this design has an additional cutout at the end, which makes rotating (and therefore removing) it after cutting it even more difficult.

The New-U Evolution Mini-7 uses a disc-detainer locking mechanism, which is much harder to pick than a typical wafer lock and should foil all but the most savvy criminal using specialty tools.

It also comes with a 4-foot cable to secure the front wheel, plus a free year of Kryptonite’s anti-theft protection. Two caveats on the latter: You must register your lock within 30 days of buying it, and the anti-theft protection on this lock does not apply to residents of Manhattan, where theft is very high. (The company’s New York lock series—including our upgrade pick and the chain pick below—is covered even in Manhattan.)

An even stronger lock

This lock is more secure than our top pick, but it also weighs a lot more.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 159.

With an 18 mm dual-locking hardened shackle, the Kryptonite New-U New York Fahgettaboudit Mini held up better than any other lock—except one—against cutting attacks. (That exception is the Hiplok D1000, which costs 300; see “What about the Hiplok D1000?” for more about it.) Even with a powered cut-off wheel, our testers took over a minute to make the two cuts necessary to remove it—four times longer to grind through than with the New-U Evolution Mini-7. However, this lock doesn’t come with a cable, and it weighs almost 4.5 pounds, a full pound and a half more than the Mini-7. But if you’re in a high-risk area, and can’t spend 300, this lock is the one to buy. Like our top pick, it uses a very secure disc-detainer mechanism, and it’s long enough to fit around your bike’s frame and your wheel without becoming too cumbersome. For extra peace of mind, it also comes with a free year of the highest level (5,000) of anti-theft coverage from Kryptonite. (Again, you have to register your lock within 30 days of purchase for the coverage to take effect.)

Best chain for the money

If you need more length in your lock and weight is of little concern, the 10-pound Fahgettaboudit Chain is really tough.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 116.

If you want to secure more than just your bike frame and wheel, if you have a cargo or electric bike that needs a longer lock, or if your favorite spot to lock up is around a street post, go with the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain, which is one of the toughest chain locks we tested. We encountered other chain locks that were harder to cut through, but they either cost more or weighed more. It has 3 feet of 14 mm hardened links held together by a 15 mm Kryptonite New York Disc Lock, and it should keep all but the most determined thieves at bay.

A medium-security folding lock

This relatively lightweight folding lock can wrap around odd angles more easily than a U-lock and is more secure than a cable lock—but it’s not nearly as strong as a chain, and it’s pricey, too.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 76.

If security is your only concern, we recommend skipping a folding lock altogether because the rivets are easy to break. But there are a few special requirements that folding locks can accommodate that other options can’t: You can lock them around large or strange shapes like handrails or lamp posts, they’re much sturdier than cables, and they’re a lot lighter than chains (and a pound lighter than our top U-lock pick, even minus its cable). We believe the Kryptonite Keeper 585 offers the best combination of security, weight, and price among folding locks. It also comes in a longer, 100 cm (39-inch) version, the Keeper 510.

The Keeper 585 measures 85 cm (32 inches) long, weighs 1.7 pounds, has 3 mm hardened steel rivets, and comes with 500 of anti-theft protection from Kryptonite. Is your bike worth thousands more than 500? That should tell you everything you need to know—get a stronger lock.

The best bike lock

With a dual-locking hardened 13 mm shackle, an included cable, and a free year of anti-theft protection, the Kryptonite New-U Evolution Mini-7 is a good deterrent at a reasonable price.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 91.

An even stronger lock

This lock is more secure than our top pick, but it also weighs a lot more.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 159.

Best chain for the money

If you need more length in your lock and weight is of little concern, the 10-pound Fahgettaboudit Chain is really tough.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 116.

A medium-security folding lock

This relatively lightweight folding lock can wrap around odd angles more easily than a U-lock and is more secure than a cable lock—but it’s not nearly as strong as a chain, and it’s pricey, too.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 76.

Why you should trust us

Duncan Niederlitz has worked in the bicycle industry since 2002 on both coasts of the United States, as well as abroad. He has owned many of the locks we’ve tested and has worked at shops selling all of them, occasionally having to cut them off bikes. Between that and the work he did for this guide, he has spent hundreds of hours researching, selling, using, and testing bike locks.

Eve O’Neill, a former senior staff writer covering outdoor gear for Wirecutter, started in 2014 as our first bike reporter.

We contacted John Edgar Park, an avid lock-picking enthusiast and instructor with over 20 years of experience, and we sat down together to review all the locks we had received to vet them for lock-picking vulnerabilities. In addition, we made arrangements to get in touch with a lock-picking group, and we visited on a night with a presentation on high-security disc-detainer locks. The meeting was in an unmarked room in an unmarked building, and everyone who gave a presentation used their Def Con code names.

We also corresponded with Mark Podob of Metlab, a heat-treating and metallurgic-consulting company, to gain insight into how locks are constructed.

We ended up choosing four Kryptonite locks, and we know how that kind of thing can look. But we think the data speaks for itself. Duncan was working at a bike shop in 2004 when the Bic pen fiasco went down (he appeared on the local news station demonstrating the technique), so we approached this guide with a skeptical view regarding any lock manufacturer’s claims.

Who this is for

If you ride a bike and ever need to leave it unattended, you should carry (and use) a sturdy bike lock—at least if you want the bike to be there waiting for you when you return. And if you live in an area where garage or apartment-building bike-room break-ins are common, you may even want to lock your bike up when it’s seemingly safe at home, too. Unfortunately, as we’ve discovered through both our testing and our own painful experience, no lock can keep a determined bike thief at bay forever. However, a good one might persuade that thief to move on to a less well-defended target.

How we picked

We spent many hours researching all the locks available from the major brands in the bicycle industry, attended trade shows to see not-yet-available options, reviewed earlier versions of this guide, and searched for well-reviewed locks from smaller companies or lesser-known brands.

Manufacturers make locks in a range of similar styles. Considering their supposedly different levels of security and proprietary ratings systems, however, it can be hard to decide which locks are comparable, other than blindly going by price or researching the ratings from independent organizations such as ART in the Netherlands and Sold Secure in England. Unfortunately these institutions use different rating scales, and not all lock manufacturers submit all of their locks to be tested. And although these independent labs return a rating, they do not make the reasoning behind the rating (or the tests they used to come to that conclusion) available to the public, so looking at their ratings still gave us only a rough idea of the security of any one lock.

best, bike, locks, 2023, top-rated

We decided that our only way forward was to order the most expensive locks from every company we could and test them to destruction to set a baseline for what each company considered its highest level of security. We then ordered the budget locks from our previous guide, as well as some of the upgrades from companies that had finished well in our first round of tests, and destructively tested all of those, too. We eventually destroyed 35 locks from ABUS, Altor, Artago, Blackburn, Foldylock, Hiplok, Knog, Kryptonite, Litelok, Master Lock, OnGuard, RockyMounts, Schlage, and TiGr.

How we tested

To truly test the effectiveness of a bike lock, you have to think like a bike thief. From our experiences working in shops over the years and interviewing professional bike thieves (yes, we’ve done that), we created a list of the most common tools that bicycle thieves use to defeat bike locks. It became the checklist that each model in our group of locks would need to survive to become a pick.

To be clear, the following is not a guide to stealing bikes. But to assess the security of bike locks, you have to really understand how they get stolen in the first place.

The tools

Lock picks: These require a lot of skill to use, and different locks require assorted tools and pose varying degrees of difficulty to pick. However, once a thief has the tools and the proficiency to quickly open a particular lock, the process merely becomes a matter of walking the streets and looking through racks of bikes for a target lock they recognize as being easy to open.

Cable cutters: Thieves carry out a large number of bike thefts (possibly most of them) using a simple pair of diagonal wire cutters. Unfortunately, the only reason simple diagonal cutters are so effective is that many people continue to lock their bicycles using just a braided steel cable and a padlock or a basic cable lock, even though such devices should be used strictly as accessory locks in most situations. A good set of bypass cutters can cut these locks in a single pass, and a tiny set of diagonal cutters can do so with multiple snips.

Bolt cutters: During Duncan’s work in shops over the years, he has heard hundreds of stolen-bike stories and has seen many cut locks, and most of them (not including snipped cable locks) have been cut with bolt cutters. Bolt cutters can be quite small and are quick to cut through certain kinds of locks.

Hacksaw: A hacksaw can work through a nonhardened lock quickly. Most chains from the hardware store, cheap U-locks, and cable locks can be defeated with a hacksaw. A hacksaw can be slow on a thicker lock, may catch and bind while trying to cut through a cable, and takes some physical effort to use in general.

Cordless drill: This is a rarer tool for bike thieves, as it works well on only a few types of locks, and most of those are also easier to defeat using other methods. But occasionally drills do see use (most often during an attempt to drill out a lock’s core). The locks that drills work well on (such as folding locks) have become more popular, though.

Angle grinder: A thief with a battery-powered angle grinder will defeat any lock if given enough time—even the Hiplok D1000, though the thief had better be carrying a pile of spare disc blades to crack that lock. For the thief, the biggest drawback of a grinder is the noise and sparks it emits as it grinds through hardened steel. In the past, cordless tools didn’t have the power for such uses, but battery technology has advanced enough that they can perform just as well as their corded counterparts, and thus they have changed the landscape of bicycle security. It’s hard not to notice one of these tools, but a thief who can mask the noise and is brazen enough to use one will probably be successful in stealing the bike.

We did not pry open any locks with car jacks, because the jack would have to fit inside the shackle. You can make that kind of attack more difficult by using good locking technique, which means choosing a lock size that leaves very little room inside the shackle to fit a tool—all of the locks we tested were too small to accommodate a jack.

After we had our list, we needed to decide how the results of the tests would allow us to rank the locks. We believe that any form of security is only as good as its weakest part—think of a locked house with an open window, for instance, or a computer operating system with a backdoor. So we decided that the more quickly a lock could be opened, regardless of how well it performed in other respects, the lower it would score.

The first test would show if any of the locks could be picked (some could). The second would reveal whether any would fall victim to bolt cutters (some did), hacksawing (sadly), or drilling (no problem). The last would demonstrate how long each lock would take to cut through with an inexpensive portable angle grinder (quicker than you might think). After we completed all the tests, we ranked the locks based on their security and price to see where they stood, and then we factored in features such as durability, weight, portability, and ease of use.

Lock picking

The next test: bolt cutters. These tools are available at any home improvement store and usually make a sound during a theft only after it’s too late, when the lock splits apart and the thief is off with your bike. You could be within 20 feet of your bike and still not hear it. For our tests we used cutters of two lengths, a 24-inch HDX pair from Home Depot and a 36-inch Tekton 3421.

Some of the locks we tested claimed to be resistant, but most of them fell to our bolt cutters eventually. The easiest U-locks to cut through appeared to be only case-hardened, which seems to do little to stop bolt cutters since the tool’s jaws can crush and split the softer metal underneath the hardened shell. expensive locks are hardened more thoroughly, via a different heat-treating process.

Despite the hardened outer shell on these U-locks, our smaller bolt cutters were still able to crush the softer inner metal. Photo: Duncan Niederlitz


We weren’t expecting notable results from the hacksaw test, as even modest case-hardened steel usually deters a hacksaw. However, the Altor and TiGr locks we tested were both made of titanium, which is tough but not very hard, and the hacksaw proved that: With the hacksaw, we cut through each lock, held in a vise, in less than 30 seconds. Using the vise probably resulted in a cut time quicker than that of most real-world scenarios, but practiced thieves have vise-like tricks (using zip ties or leaning against the bike to steady it). The RockyMounts U-lock we tested used stainless steel, a material rarely found in bicycle locks, which to our eyes appeared to have been left unhardened; despite the lock’s large shackle diameter, our hacksaw cut through in just 90 seconds.

We were able to cut the RockyMounts Compton Large with a hacksaw when we held it in a vise. Photo: Duncan Niederlitz

We were able to cut the RockyMounts Compton Large with a hacksaw when we held it in a vise. Photo: Duncan Niederlitz

Cordless drill

Although a small cordless drill is louder than bolt cutters, it’s still barely noticeable over the sounds of a busy street. The drill we used in our testing was a 12 V Milwaukee Fuel, which is small enough to put into a jacket While the Altor gave in to the bolt cutters and the ABUS Folding Lock Bordo Granit X-Plus did as well after much effort on our part, the drill easily defeated both. A quick look was all we needed to see that the hinge was probably the weakest component of each system, and we quickly removed the locks by drilling straight through the rivet holding the hinge together.

Angle grinder

We knew all the locks would fall to the 7,000 rpm of an aluminum-oxide disc—we just weren’t sure how long it would take. After years of hearing anecdotes from bike-shop customers, reading marketing literature, and removing the odd lock here and there, we expected it would take more than a minute for us to complete one cut.

We charged all the batteries we had for our cordless grinder, made extra coffee, and mentally prepared for the hours of grinding that lay ahead of us. Then the first lock took 14 seconds to cut through. The next, 15. Some of the locks couldn’t survive past the 10-second mark; the thickest and strongest ones resisted for only 30 seconds before we made one cut. (In 2022 and 2023, we took an angle grinder to the Hiplok D1000 U-lock, which its makers says resists angle grinders. See “What about the Hiplok D1000?” for the results.)

best, bike, locks, 2023, top-rated

The best bike lock

With a dual-locking hardened 13 mm shackle, an included cable, and a free year of anti-theft protection, the Kryptonite New-U Evolution Mini-7 is a good deterrent at a reasonable price.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 91.

The Kryptonite New-U Evolution Mini-7 U-lock incorporates a wider combination of theft-resistant features than almost anything we’ve looked at that isn’t twice the price or twice as heavy. It has a more thoroughly hardened, dual-locking shackle, which lesser locks don’t have, and it’s outfitted with a more secure disc-detainer locking mechanism. It also comes with a 4-foot cable and a free year of the company’s anti-theft protection (as long as you don’t live in Manhattan and you remember to register your lock within 30 days of purchase). This model is nearly 30 more expensive than the New-U KryptoLok Standard, which shares some of its technology (specifically, the locking mechanism and the dual-deadbolt shackle), but it includes a year of Kryptonite’s protection coverage, up to 2,500. (You have to pay 10 for the first year of protection on the KryptoLok, and that coverage pays up to 1,750 at most.)

Instead of using just a case-hardened shackle, the Evolution series uses a harder steel shackle and a hardening process that, while not technically “through hardened,” still allowed the Mini-7 to withstand more abuse in our tests than other locks at the same price. We cut lesser locks with only 24-inch bolt cutters, but the New-U Evolution Mini-7 withstood even our 36-inch cutters, surviving with just a couple of small scratches.

The New-U Evolution line also uses deadbolts on both sides of the shackle, rather than having a non-locking bent foot on one end. The advantage of the new shackle is that a thief would most likely need to make two cuts with a power tool to pry it open. And after making those cuts, the thief would need to twist the shackle off; on the New-U series, Kryptonite has added a small cutout to each end, making it that much harder to twist off.

The lock also incorporates the more secure disc-detainer locking mechanism. This style of keyway and mechanism is resistant to picking, requiring specialty tools, patience, and skills. After consulting with multiple lock-picking enthusiasts and experts, we decided that the chances of having a disc-detainer lock picked on the street are very slim, in contrast to the likelihood for some of the other lock types we tested. (The YouTube personality LockPickingLawyer posted a video in February 2021 demonstrating how, with a tool he designed, he was able to pick the New-U Evolution in less than a minute. However, considering his level of expertise and the conditions he was working in—able to hold the lock in his hands under good lighting—we believe that brute-force attacks pose more of a problem in real life.)

A look at the dual-locking shackle from our pick. Notice that the end is not rounded, a feature designed to prevent rotation of the shackle if it’s cut. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

A look at the dual-locking shackle from our pick. Notice that the end is not rounded, a feature designed to prevent rotation of the shackle if it’s cut. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

The New-U Evolution has a durable protective rubber coating on all the main parts to prevent scratches on your bike’s paint. It’s also available in multiple sizes, but we think the 7-inch size (which weighs about 3.5 pounds, cable included) is ideal for most people. If you are commuting on a bike with large tires and need to lock both wheels, the Mini-7 might not be long enough to fit over the tire and frame. You can solve that problem by adding locking wheel skewers, but Kryptonite also sells the New-U Evolution in a larger size without the cable. If you are unsure about the fit, swing by your local shop to check.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

We still believe that thanks to the hardness of the shackle and the difficulty of squeezing a car jack into a properly locked New-U Evolution Mini-7, it will thwart most attacks (other than with an angle grinder) better than any other lock at this price. But if you’re in a high-risk area or if you live in Manhattan, where the only locks covered by Kryptonite’s anti-theft protection are the New York series, you should probably upgrade to the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit. And if you own a particularly expensive or hard-to-replace bike, you might even want to consider the Hiplok D1000.

And although the Mini-7 comes with one of the better mounts for attaching it to a bike frame, that isn’t saying much. U-locks are the bane of bicycle mechanics everywhere because the mounts always seem to be in an awkward spot or to come loose over time. If at all possible, carrying this lock on a rack or in a basket is definitely the preferred method, but the mount will suffice.

Upgrade pick: Kryptonite New-U New York Fahgettaboudit Mini

An even stronger lock

This lock is more secure than our top pick, but it also weighs a lot more.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 159.

The Kryptonite New-U New York Fahgettaboudit Mini U-lock is a workhorse. You won’t find any special features or frills, just a lot of lock—4.55 pounds’ worth. It uses a through-hardened dual-locking shackle and extra metal in the crossbar for even more security. The 18 mm shackle has a cross-sectional area twice that of the New-U Evolution’s 13 mm shackle and thus takes twice as long to cut through. Since this lock is in Kryptonite’s New York series of locks, it’s covered by the company’s theft protection even in Manhattan (The coverage is for 5,000—or the cost of your insurance deductible, should the theft be covered—and it’s free for the first year. You can extend it for up to five years, for an additional cost of up to 35.)

Like the New-U Evolution, this lock employs a disc-detainer locking mechanism; also like the New-U Evolution, the New-U New York Fahgettaboudit wasn’t able to withstand the attentions of YouTuber LockPickingLawyer for more than a minute. However, as with the New-U Evolution, we’re less concerned about lock picking than we are about bolt cutters and angle grinders.

The only significant downside to this lock, other than an increase in price over the New-U Evolution, is that it’s much heavier. But as our tests showed, a more hardened metal (and more of it) is the key to more security. The New-U New York Fahgettaboudit Mini also does not include any mounting hardware for attaching it to your frame (though we doubt that the mount would even stay in place considering this lock’s weight), and unlike our top pick it does not come with a cable.

Also great: Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain

Best chain for the money

If you need more length in your lock and weight is of little concern, the 10-pound Fahgettaboudit Chain is really tough.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 116.

Sometimes you need a chain lock. The Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain is the best chain for the money for high-security situations. It uses 14 mm through-hardened links and comes in a fairly standard 39-inch length (which weighs more than 10 pounds) as well as in a giant, 5-foot version (15-plus pounds). The chain is connected by Kryptonite’s 15 mm New York disc lock, which employs a dual-locking shackle and a disc-detainer mechanism. And because it is in Kryptonite’s New York series of locks, it is covered by the company’s anti-theft protection in Manhattan.

A medium-security folding lock

This relatively lightweight folding lock can wrap around odd angles more easily than a U-lock and is more secure than a cable lock—but it’s not nearly as strong as a chain, and it’s pricey, too.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 76.

There’s a small intersection in the bicycle-lock world, a place where the features of a U-lock, chain, or cable don’t neatly triangulate. Perhaps you regularly find yourself in a location where a U-lock can’t fit around what you’re trying to lock your bike to, but a chain is much too heavy for you to carry, and a cable lock isn’t secure enough (for what it’s worth, we do not recommend cable locks used alone, ever, because they are so easily snipped). In that case, a folding lock might be the solution to your problem, and among models in that category, the Kryptonite Keeper 585 offers the best combination of security, weight, and price.

The Keeper 585 folding lock measures 85 cm (32 inches) long and weighs 1.7 pounds, and it comes with 500 of anti-theft protection from Kryptonite (this protection, as with all Kryptonite locks that are not part of the company’s New York series, is not valid in Manhattan). A folding lock is not very secure because the rivets in the hinges are easily compromised with a drill. And folding locks also don’t provide that much weight or size advantage over a U-lock.

The rivets on the Keeper 585 are 3 mm hardened steel. You can find folding locks that use thicker, 5 mm rivets, such as the Rocky Mounts Hendrix and even other Kryptonite models, but we drilled through them in nearly the same amount of time as we did the smaller rivets. Judging from our findings, we can say it takes a lot more than an additional 2 mm of metal—more like 10 mm (which you’ll find on the 13 mm shackle on our top pick)—to get in the way of power tools.

One advantage of a folding lock is that it can wrap around large or awkwardly shaped objects. (We locked this bike-share bike for demonstration purposes only!) Photo: Sarah Kobos

The Keeper 585 comes with a carrying case that you can strap onto your bike’s frame. Photo: Sarah Kobos

One advantage of a folding lock is that it can wrap around large or awkwardly shaped objects. (We locked this bike-share bike for demonstration purposes only!) Photo: Sarah Kobos

Giving up on those bigger rivets in favor of the Keeper 585 gives you a lock that’s nearly a pound lighter and 10 to 30 cheaper. And it still carries a bronze rating from Sold Secure, the same rating as on all other Kryptonite folding locks, even the bigger, more expensive versions. The folding lock with the highest Sold Secure rating is the ABUS Bordo Granit X-Plus, but that’s 4 pounds of lock that costs over 100. If you need something very strong, such as if you’re trying to lock up an ebike, we recommend passing on a folding lock and getting a fat chain instead—same price, but you get 14 mm of steel versus 5 mm of steel. For greater security, it’s a no-brainer.

In addition, Kryptonite offers an anti-theft warranty with its folding locks, in this case up to 500 in the event the lock is compromised. (Again, you have to register your lock within 30 days of buying it.) This lock also comes in a longer version, the Keeper 510. It’s the same thing but 100 cm (39 inches) long and an extra 0.2 pound as a result of the longer length.

What about the Hiplok D1000?

In the fall of 2021, the British bike lock company Hiplok announced that it had made a lock, the D1000, using a graphene-reinforced ceramic composite designed to withstand a portable angle grinder, and it launched a Kickstarter campaign to publicize it. After the funding period was over, at the end of October, Hiplok sent us a sample lock (we don’t test or evaluate products while they’re still in crowdfunding) that was, they told us, one of the first 30 made. Duncan Niederlitz, who did the lock testing (and destroying) for the 2017 edition of this guide, hauled out his portable angle grinder to demolish the sample lock. He went through two disc blades cutting through the lock on the first try, going very carefully and trying not to let the disc blades catch. On the second attempt, he went faster, pushing harder, and it took five blades to cut through the lock. A third, slower attempt also took five blades. “If I was a thief,” he said, “I’d probably quit after the second wore out—if I even carried a spare.”

In order to be sure that the lock we tested ends up being the same lock regular customers will receive, we ordered two more locks as soon as we could, in May of 2022, on the Hiplok website. When they arrived, late in September, Duncan took one and revved up his angle grinder again. He reported that the lock we bought performed just as well as the preproduction one: “Took another five blades to cut through it once, which left a 0.75-inch gap if pulled apart, so someone would probably need to cut it twice” to actually get it off. (The shackles are square, so you can’t twist them to make the gap wider.) He then tried a metal-cutting diamond blade, which didn’t wear down as the regular blades did, but it took him three minutes and 40 seconds to cut once through the shackle—it lasted far longer than any other lock we’ve tested. And this was, of course, under optimal conditions: in a well-lit area, with a vise holding the lock steady.

Hiplok’s specs say that the lock weighs 1.9 kilograms (4 pounds, 2.8 ounces); our kitchen scale says 1.925 kilograms (4 pounds, 3.9 ounces). Either way, that’s less than our upgrade pick, the Kryptonite New-U New York Fahgettaboudit Mini, weighs. (The two locks are nearly identical in terms of their interior dimensions.) The Hiplok costs twice as much as our upgrade pick, and it doesn’t offer any kind of protection coverage like Kryptonite does. Still, given the results of our testing, we’re weighing making it our upgrade pick later this year, after we’ve seen how the lock withstands other modes of attack and how it stands up to daily life (and dirt, water, and wear) on the streets of New York City. Update: As of May 2023, no would-be thief has tried to defeat the D1000 that one of our NYC-based staff members is using to lock his bike. He’ll keep tempting them.

Other good bike locks

If you need a lock for a bike-storage room or garage: Consider the Kryptonite New York Legend Chain, which is the strongest chain we tested but too big and heavy to carry around. (It weighs nearly 15 pounds and measures nearly 5 feet long; unlike the New York Fahgettaboudit Chain, it does not come in a shorter, lighter version.) The New York Legend Chain’s bulk makes it best suited as a leave-in-place lock, not one you would bring with you and use multiple times a day.

If you want a folding lock with more anti-theft insurance: Check out the Kryptonite KryptoLok 685, 610, and 610 S folding locks, which are all stronger versions of our folding-lock pick. The main difference is that they have rivets measuring 5 mm thick, instead of 3 mm. We wouldn’t spend the extra money on any of them for that reason alone, as in our tests a drill still defeated them easily. However, they all come with a much bigger insurance policy: 1,750, versus the 500 of coverage that comes with our top folding choice. If that’s of value to you, upgrading to one of these versions would be worth the investment. Of the three, we’d choose the 610 S; all other things being equal, the narrower design is nice and gives the 610 S a more streamlined fit if you mount it on a down tube.

The competition

Kryptonite Evolution Mini-7: This model, our previous top pick, was replaced by our current pick, the New-U Evolution Mini-7. (Although you may still see it for sale at some retailers and on Amazon, it no longer appears on Kryptonite’s website.) The main difference is that it locks on only one side, in contrast to the New-U Evolution Mini-7, which has a dual-locking shackle.

Kryptonite New-U KryptoLok Standard: This U-lock employs a disc-detainer mechanism, like the New-U Evolution does, and it now comes with the same double-deadlock design as our top pick. (The version we tested did not.) However, the biggest problem with this lock hasn’t changed: Bolt cutters can cut through it. We believe that spending more on a more-hardened lock, such as the New-U Evolution, could drastically reduce the percentage of thieves with the tools necessary to cut your lock.

Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 995 Integrated Chain: This chain’s biggest drawback is that a thief could cut it with bolt cutters, but in our tests the square shape of the 9 mm chain tended to slip out of the jaws of the cutters, and breaking it required quite some work on our part. This model would be a good secondary lock and chain.

Kryptonite New York Cinch: This chain is lighter and less expensive than the New York Fahgettaboudit Chain, and as a result it brings a slight decrease in security. If you already need so much security that you’re considering this model, getting the New York Fahgettaboudit Chain makes more sense.

Kryptonite TKO Folding Bicycle Lock: This folding lock is sold exclusively at Walmart, and for a very tempting price (about 25). It is made by Kryptonite, but that’s all it has in common with our picks. Walmart describes it as a “modern, high-security lock,” but its Kryptonite Security Level is “3”—suitable only for a quick stop in a rural area. Our tester was able to pop the rivets on the one we purchased, using a short length of pipe, in less than 10 seconds.

OnGuard: Generally, OnGuard locks did very well in our strength tests, with cutting times close to those of our top picks. But when we did our testing, we discovered that the huge deficiency of OnGuard locks, including the OnGuard Brute STD, OnGuard Beast 8016, and OnGuard Pitbull STD, was the lock mechanism itself. At that time, OnGuard used wafer locks, in contrast to the more secure disc-detainer style on our picks; wafer locks are particularly easy to pick without fancy tools or advanced skill. Since then, OnGuard has changed its models’ cylinders to the slider type, which can be more secure depending on how many sliders are involved. We’re putting these locks back on our list to test.

ABUS Folding Lock Bordo Granit X-Plus: Though folding locks are tempting for their light and compact design, they’re not as high-security as their makers claim, as a thief can easily defeat them by drilling out the unhardened pins that hold the links together. With enough patience we were also able to pop this model’s links apart by working large bolt cutters into the joints, as House of Chain demonstrates on a smaller version of the Folding Lock Bordo in this video. The Bordo Granit X-Plus would be okay for low-crime areas, but its price is too high relative to the level of protection it provides.

ABUS Folding Lock Bordo Alarm 6000a: This upgraded version of the ABUS Folding Lock has all the same perks and flaws, with the added annoyance of incessant beeping every time it senses motion.

ABUS U-Lock Granit X-Plus: This U-lock was one of the lightest for its size, and we took significantly less time to cut through it than we did cutting through the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini.

Hiplok Gold: This chain lock has a design that allows you to wear the chain around your waist without locking it. (Wearing one locked is something that you should never do—keys get lost, locks jam, accidents happen, and paramedics need to be able to remove the lock easily in the event of an emergency.) It’s a nice feature, but the cut time for this lock was one of the quickest in our tests, and the real dealbreaker was our ability to snip it quickly with large bolt cutters.

Hiplok D Bike Lock: This lock has a double-locking shackle and is hardened, and we were unable to cut through it with bolt cutters. It uses a wafer-style locking mechanism (which is less secure than the disc-detainer locks on our picks), albeit a much better one than on the OnGuard models we tested; a thief could still pick it with more basic tools than they’d need for a disc-detainer mechanism, but to us it seemed much more secure than any of the OnGuard locks. Even with the dual-locking shackle, though, the Hiplok D showed some movement after one cut in our tests, enough for a thief to remove it from many bike frames.

RockyMounts Compton Large: This 18 mm lock was one of the heaviest we tested. It is made of stainless steel, which is harder than mild steel but definitely not as hard as hardened steel—something we proved in our tests, as we were able to cut through it in just over half the time we took to breach the Artago and Kryptonite locks, both of which also use 18 mm shackles. In addition, this was the least ergonomic lock we tested, with nonrubberized, sharp steel edges. (This lock appears to have since been discontinued.)

TiGr Mini: This has our favorite frame mount of all the locks we’ve tried, but the big dealbreaker is that it easily succumbs to cutting with bolt cutters, despite the maker’s claims to the contrary. We found a severe weak point between the main shackle and the locking mechanism, a gap that permits even small bolt cutters to shear the lock open. Also, titanium is tough but not necessarily hard, and we were able to saw through the TiGr Mini in under 30 seconds when we had it in a vise. TiGr now makes a “hardened steel” version of the lock; that version is on our list of locks to test next.

Litelok One: We found the Band of this lock extremely difficult to cut through without power tools. The arrangement of the cables against a flat metal strip is a clever idea and works particularly well for slowing these types of attacks. The dealbreaker: We used just a pair of small bolt cutters against the lock mechanism (this is where most thieves actually cut many cable locks, as it tends to be quicker), and the entire mechanism spread open. A second cut through the post made the lock come apart.

RockyMounts Hendrix: A folding lock, the Hendrix is more compact and slightly lighter (by 0.2 pound) than our folding-lock pick, but that’s because it’s 10 cm shorter (only 74 cm total). That length limits its usefulness—for instance, it didn’t fit the mountain bike we tried it on.

Foldylock Classic: Although this model carries a silver rating from Sold Secure—one step higher than the rating on the Kryptonite Keeper 585—we found security upgrades on folding locks to offer almost negligible benefit. (That is, the rivets on such locks are still vulnerable to drills.) The Foldylock Classic is a pound heavier than our top pick of the same length, and more expensive. The Foldylock Compact, despite being “compact,” has the same problem, as it’s still heavier and more expensive than our pick of the same length. And neither version comes with any theft protection.

Care and maintenance

Locks take a lot of abuse, from drops to rain to snow to road grime. Luckily, maintaining the locks we’ve chosen is easy: Just open the lock, clean out any grime you can see with a cloth, spray in some degreaser if it’s feeling gritty, and then spray in a dry lube (such as Tri-Flow Superior Dry Lubricant or Finish Line Dry Bike Lubricant) and rotate the key a few times in the lock. Kryptonite offers easy-to-follow instructions on its website.

This article was edited by Christine Ryan.

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