A simplified answer to the question “how much should I pay for my bike lock?” is “as much as you can afford”. No single bike lock can guarantee to ward off a determined and well-equipped thief, so depending on the value you place on your treasured bike, it pays to protect it as well as you can.A more in depth answer takes into account all the different factors that affect how safe your bike is when you lock it up.
Your bike is safest locked up inside, but in reality this is rarely possible, so choose your location carefully! Look out for CCTV coverage, and try to avoid making it obvious if you are leaving your bike somewhere all day – if it is locked up in front of a busy café a thief can’t be sure you’re not one of the customers keeping an eye on it. Check out our post on the top 6 places to lock your bike for more tips.
What you lock it to
It should be common sense to lock your bike to an immovable object, so don’t be tempted to use something more convenient and make sure your bike and best bike lock(s) can’t be lifted off or over it! This means you need to have a lock that is long enough to attach to the most common objects (bike racks, lampposts, railings), but not so long as to give thieves space to work with to gain leverage or insert tools.
How you lock it
For maximum peace of mind (and in order to make your bike appear a much tougher option for thieves), using two locks can be a very good idea. It is commonly recommended to use one lock to attach the rear wheel and frame to something permanent, with the other around the front wheel and frame. If you are securing your bike near other locked bikes, you want to make sure yours isn’t the easiest target!
The type of bike lock you use
There are three main types of bike lock – D-locks, chain locks and cable locks. For a great guide on choosing the right type of lock, click here. The type of lock you choose will determine how much you pay, and the overall level of security you achieve. It will also decide how it is easiest to carry your lock – with options to wear chain locks around your waist, and D-locks available to attach to your frame or clip onto clothing or bags.
Security rating of the bike lock
Manufacturers will often have their own classification system for grading how secure their locks are, but it is worth looking out for the industry standard Sold Secure approved grading for a product. These gradings range from Gold (highest security to metropolitan areas and leaving your bike for over an hour), through to Silver and Bronze. You will pay more for Sold Secure Gold rated products owing to the greater protection offered.
So once you’ve worked out how much you value your bike, where you’re likely to leave it and what type of lock you want, it’s time to decide what you can afford, and whether that will achieve the level of security you feel you need.
You may need to factor in the cost of two locks if you want to be as secure as possible, but with excesses on specialist bike insurance policies ranging from £25 to £200 (not to mention the increase to annual premiums after a claim, the hassle of filing police reports and then trying to replace your beloved wheels), it should be seen as an investment every bit as important as your latest component upgrade! Make sure you get the best bike lock possible and keep your trusty steed safe.