Bike lock buyer's guide

If you've splashed the cash on a top-of-the-range bike, or just don't fancy leaving your mode of transport open to thieves, then a bike lock is a simple and effective way of making sure nobody makes off with your wheels.

That said, there are a lot of different types of bike locks out there, so knowing exactly which lock is best for you can be tricky. That’s why we’ve put together this cycle locks buying guide which will take you through the different options and help you to choose a bike lock that fits your needs.

How do bike locks work?

Different bike locks do different jobs, but the main purpose they all share is to deter thieves from attempting to steal bikes. They do this in a couple of ways:

By immobilising the wheels

The easiest way to make off with someone's bike is to jump on and pedal it away. If you've got a bike lock that feeds through the wheels and stops the bike from moving, then it makes it harder for someone to ride off on it!

By fastening the frame to an immovable object

Securing your bike to an immovable object, such as a fence or railing, thieves will have a hard time simply picking it up and taking it away.

In most cases, a bike lock will fasten around the bike (either through the frame or through both the frame and wheels) and then lock in place, using either a combination lock or a conventional lock that uses a key. When you’re fastening the lock to a lamppost, bike rack, railing or even a bench - just make sure the whole bike and lock can't be lifted over whatever it is locked to!

Which is the best bike lock?

There isn't a straight answer to this one, as different bike locks provide varying levels of security for differing scenarios. The main thing to look out for is the security rating, which indicates how secure the lock is. The bike locks we sell at Halfords all come with either a standard security rating or a Sold Secure approval.

Products with Sold Secure approval have been tested externally by Sold Secure, the UK’s premier test house for security products, which test to a bronze, silver, gold, or diamond grade. This is determined by the security level of the product. Tests are carried out annually and determine how well the product protects against theft. The grades are also based on the time it takes for the lock to be removed or bypassed using hand tools and, at diamond grade, power tools. Typically, the higher the grade, the heavier duty of tools required and the longer the attack time.

At Halfords we test our locks in a similar way, using various tools commonly used by criminals and ranking them accordingly on a scale of 1-10, with locks rated 10 lasting the longest.

It's important to note that no lock, no matter how secure, is 100% thief-proof. Locks will only ever act as a deterrent to a committed thief, but the tougher the lock, the stronger the deterrent. For this reason, most cyclists with expensive bikes will consider using two bike locks instead of just one.

Bike lock types

Let’s take a look at the common types of bike locks you’ll find in stores.

D locks

A popular choice, D Locks uses a strong, curved tube of steel that can be slotted between wheel spokes or around the bike frame. The lock then hooks around a bike rack, railing, piece of street furniture, or secure unit. A locked bar is then added to each end of the tube to keep it in place, with a key or combination code used to secure everything in place. Most D locks come with a frame that can be attached to your bike so you can easily ride with your D lock without having to carry a bag around.

The Halfords Advanced 23cm D-Lock is our first ever 10/10 rated lock and is Diamond Sold Secure approved – the highest possible rating. The lock comes with an additional cable that can be used to secure components so that these can’t be removed from the frame. A real deterrent against thieves!

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Chain locks

Chain locks use a set of heavy-duty chain links with locking mechanisms at each end to keep them in place. Again, the chain can be fed through the bike frame or around a wheel and then fastened around a bike rack or alternate mooring. The bonus of a chain lock is that it can easily be wrapped around your bike frame while you ride, making it much easier to transport.

With a 12mm hardened steel shackle and 10mm hardened steel chain, the Hiplok Superbright Wearable Chain Lock is a great deterrent against would-be thieves. The model boasts a Gold Sold Secure grade, making it the ideal choice for high-risk areas.

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Cable locks

Using a specially twisted steel cable, these locks work in the same way as a chain lock but are much lighter and flexible, potentially being wound through both the frame and wheels before securing to a bike rack. Historically, they aren't as secure as other bike locks and are best used in addition to a D lock to deter thieves even further. They are also great for securing your accessories to your bike.

The Halfords 185cm Cable Lock is a great choice, with its combination lock meaning you won’t have to worry about losing a key!

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Anchor lock

If you park your bike in your garden shed or garage, then an anchor lock may be a good solution. Using a heavy-duty ring that fastens to a wall or even into the ground, cyclists can then feed shackles or a chain around their bike frame or wheels to moor it in one place.

Attaching to walls or the floor via four masonry screws, the Halfords Advanced Ground Anchor is as secure as they come. Gold Sold Secure approved, it has a weather-resistant shackle that folds flat when not in use to help prevent a trip hazard.

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Best bike lock brands

Here are our picks for reputable bike lock suppliers that sell properly tested, secure products.

Halfords

Halford's locks offer enhanced bike security while providing great value for money. They're tested using both our rating and the SoldSecure rating, so you'll be able to see exactly how durable they are on the packaging or product page on our website.

Shop the range

Kryptonite

Kryptonite is one of the world's most trusted bike lock brands, with over 40 years of security innovation. Featuring premium build materials and the best technology, their locks provide a great deterrent against thieves.

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Abus

Abus ensure that their locks are highly reliable and provide long service life while also being easy to use. Providing security solutions since 1924, few brands can match the quality of their locks.

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Our top bike security tips

Beyond carefully choosing the right lock(s) for your bike based on its safety rating and mechanisms, there are extra steps you can take to improve your bike security. These steps include:

Looking out for CCTV or security staff

Look out for cameras or other forms of security when choosing a location to store your bike. A thief will be less likely to target an area that's being watched!

Use a high-security bike lock in conjunction with other security products

By using a locking system with a higher security rating alongside another bike lock, the chances of a thief giving up or simply walking away without trying increase considerably. The easy formula to remember is more locks = less chance of your bike being stolen!

Lock your bike with other bikes

Dedicated bike parking areas or bike racks are more likely to deter thieves, thanks to the increased chance of someone turning up just as they're attempting to steal a bike!

Register your bike

Make life easier for the authorities if your bike does get stolen by adding it to BikeRegister. This police database makes it very hard for thieves to sell your bike and helps to reunite you with your bike should it be found. Marking up your bike with a registration number and a warning label also puts off thieves from taking your bike.

Make sure you grab one of our marking kits so you can add your registration number to your bike.

Get your bike register kit

Make sure your bike is harder to steal by following our top tips and investing in a decent, highly-rated lock. If you catch someone stealing your bike or return to find it has been stolen, then always let the police handle the situation - it's much safer and you'll stand a better chance of getting your bike back. Check out our full range of bike locks.

If you're still looking for more ways of securing your bike, then don't forget that you can always ask one of our in-store bike experts - just head to your local Halfords store and we'll be happy to help!

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