Especially if you depend on it for a ride home, someone stealing your bike is a surefire way to ruin your day. That’s why every bike owner should protect their investment with a reliable bike lock that can keep their ride safe while left unattended. Bike locks are available in several different shapes and sizes depending on which parts of your bike you want to secure and what you’ll want to hitch it to. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know before shopping for an affordable bike lock that can give you some peace of mind.
How to Find a Cheap Bike Lock
By considering these locks, you can streamline your choice. Since there are numerous types and brands of bike locks on the market, this review will help you choose correctly. We realize that you might not fancy the ten on our list, and you might want something else. To help you make the correct decision, we have created this main buyer’s guide. This section will highlight the vital factors to consider when making your choice.
Type of Lock
In the mini buyer’s guide, we highlighted the three main types of bike locks you can buy. Aside from cable locks, D-lock, and chain locks, there are also folding locks and ground anchor bike locks.
As the name implies, these locks can be folded. They have a very compact design and can be taken about. Furthermore, they have a mounting bracket on the bike frame.
Advantages of Folding Locks
- They can be folded; hence, they are easy to carry
- They are lightweight
- Due to their size, they can be used to secure the bike to different street furniture
- They are rare to find
You might think these locks do not apply to a mobile bike owner, but you have to consider that most bike thefts occur in the home. These locks are drilled into the ground and offer a strong lock. They come in different sizes and have varying ratings.
Advantages of Ground Anchors
- They are very secure locks
Disadvantages of Ground Anchors
- They can only be used at one point
- Installation of these locks might require skills
No matter the type of lock you choose, you must ensure that it suits your needs and provides adequate protection. Remember, cable locks are the least secure of the types of locks, while D-locks and chain locks are usually the most secure.
Therefore, if you reside in a low-crime area, choosing a cable lock might not be unwise. However, if your area is a medium or high-crime area, using a cable lock might not protect your bike.
Regardless of the type of bike lock you choose, the security rating is an essential factor to consider. The rating of a lock is an excellent way of determining how effective it is. Sold Secure is the body tasked with rating the security offered by a bike lock. This non-profit organization is under the auspices of the Master Locksmiths Association. It provides security ratings, not just for bike locks but for other security products.
There are different levels of ratings by the body. Let’s discuss them briefly.
Bronze: A security product with a Bronze rating can withstand an assault from a basic set of tools.
Silver: Just as silver is a superior metal to bronze, a silver rating means that the security product should withstand attacks from a slightly enhanced set of tools.
Gold: This is the ultimate rating. If a security product is rated “gold,” it means that it can withstand an assault from a highly enhanced set of tools.
It should be noted that no matter the rating of a bike lock, with the right tools and sufficient time, every lock can be broken. However, the Sold Secure rating indicates the amount of time it will take to break down the lock. A gold rating means that the lock can withstand up to 5 minutes of continuous assault by a full set of tools.
Hence, if you own an expensive bicycle or want the absolute best bike lock for your bicycle, a bike lock with a Gold Sold Secure rating is the ideal choice.
Type of Lock Mechanism
There are two main types of lock mechanisms. They are Keyed locks and Combination locks.
These locks use flat or cylindrical keys. Many folks avoided cylindrical keys in the past when it was discovered that by using a ballpoint pen, the entire system could be unlocked. However, improvements have been made to newer models. This flaw has been eliminated. Therefore, you can now conveniently choose between either style.
Since keys can be easily misplaced, keyed locks come with more than one key. That way, if you lose one, you can always have a backup.
These locks are usually found on cable bike locks. They are great because you can’t lose your key; since it doesn’t have one in the first place. All you need to do is to remember your number combination. The best combination bike locks have at least 4-digit combinations. Anything less is highly susceptible to being guessed by a thief
There are many brands on the market, with each one claiming to provide all the security that you require. Due to the number of brands, there are wide variations in quality. One way to choose the right bike lock amidst this sea of locks is by choosing a lock from a reputable brand. Reputable brands have, well, a reputation to protect. Hence, they usually produce locks of higher quality than other brands.
Furthermore, when you run into issues with the lock, they usually have excellent customer support and provide technical assistance.
These are the vital factors that should affect your choice of bike locks. To help you keep your bike more secure, the next section will show you practical ways of keeping your bike safe.
How to Lock Your Bike
No matter how good the bike lock is, a determined thief with the right tools and enough time can still steal the bicycle. Hence, aside from using a bike lock, what practical tips can help you secure the bike? Let’s see.
Park in a Busy Location
Which bike will be harder to steal, one parked in a dark alley, or one parked in a busy location? You guessed right, the one in a more bustling area. If you park where there are loads of people or even CCTV cameras, it can be enough to deter a would-be thief.
If it is possible, park in a location where there are many bikes. That way, the thief might avoid your bike and steal one that has worse protection than your bike. It makes the thief nervous as people come and go, and it gives the thief less room to “work.”
Choose an Immovable Object to Affix the Bike To
If you choose an object that can be broken or removed, daring thieves will not mind stealing your bike along with whatever it is fixed to. Therefore, choose objects that cannot be broken.
These practical steps can help you, and you should endeavor to take note of all of them.
Losing a bike to theft can be avoided by getting a bike lock. It doesn’t have to be expensive to keep your bike secure. The ten best cheap bike locks under $25 /$50 that we have reviewed are great options. We hope you use this review and buying guide to make the right choice!