With alarmingly high rates of bike theft in some cities around New Zealand it's especially important nowadays to have a decent bike lock for locking your bike. Not all bike locks are created equal and there are many different types available to choose from. Hopefully from reading this you will be able to make an informed choice on a lock to purchase for your bike.
First of all I would just like to say there are no perfect bike locks, no bike lock exists that will stop a thief from stealing your bike, no bike lock has the ultimate protection. A thief will always find a way if they are desperate enough or have the right tools to break your lock and steal your bike. In saying that there are some very good locks available that will make stealing your bike a hard task for thieves. Most thieves don't go to this much trouble to steal your bike, where most bike thefts are opportunist thefts, these are bikes with no locks or poor locks easily broken or cut.
A type of lock that is very hard to cut is a lock that leaves no room to get a cutting tool in, something that is made from a strong steel and has a good diameter. A perfect example of this type of lock is called a “D Lock” or a “U Lock”. These locks are ideal as they have a small surface area, are very strong and can be difficult to cut. Because of this they can be quite heavy but also portable due to their size. They get their name as they are shaped like the letters “D” and “U”. These locks come in both key and combination locking mechanisms with the Key version being more secure. A disadvantage of this type of lock is due to their size you may only be able to lock your frame to an anchor point leaving your wheels with no protection.
Good lock manufacturers will give their locks a rating for how good they are for protecting your bike, this is a great guide to go by when choosing a lock. Usually a lock with a higher protection rating will cost more than a lock with a lower protection rating. Always try to purchase a lock with a high protection rating and don't skimp out on a cheap non-branded locks.
Another type of lock that can be difficult to cut is a “Folding Lock” ; these are also quite heavy and can be compact in size. These are made up of steel plates that fold together or come apart to wrap around your bike and what you are attaching it to. These locks come in both key and combination locking mechanisms with the Key version being more secure.
The most common type of lock you will see is a chain or cable lock, these come in lots of different sizes and weights. The best chain locks are also very big and heavy. The advantage but disadvantage of a chain lock is they can be long allowing you more flexibility to lock all components of your bike to a given anchor point but this can also allow easy access for bolt cutters to cut or break the lock. When using a chain or cable lock ensure you leave as little space as possible to give a cutting tool access. Small cable locks can be very portable and lightweight, these can be handy for bikepacking where you're not wanting to carry a lot of weight and bulk. These locks can be ideal as a deterrent if you want to quickly pop into a shop for supplies. While this might stop a passing person from uplifting your bike, if they have a cutting tool this won't stop them. Once again these locks come in both key and combination locking mechanisms with the Key version being more secure.
A new type of lock that has recently hit the market is called the “Tie Lock bike lock”; this looks like a beefed up version of a cable Zip Tie. These locks are deterrents used for securing your bike parts, components and accessories to the frame of your bike. They are very portable and lightweight but also offer very little protection from being cut by the right tool.
Other deterrents include features some bike locks have such as move sensors, that will sound an alarm when your bike is moved. Some newer bike computers have this feature also and can send a message to your smartphone. Another way you can secure parts on your bike are using bolt up axles or “Stealth” Thru Axles on your wheels. A Stealth Through Axle will have no lever meaning a thief would need an allen key or other special tool to remove your wheels.
And if you have nice accessories like expensive lights or bike computers attached to your bike you can always remove these after locking your bike. A decent bike lock is a necessary accessory for your bike, just like a helmet. This is especially important if you choose to commute with your bike or use it as day-to-day transport.
Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what to look for in a bike lock. If you are ever not sure just pop into your local Evo Cycles and have a chat with a friendly salesperson.
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