How to Choose and Proper Use of Bike Locks

How to Choose Bike Locks

How to Choose Bike Locks

The most important factor in securing a bicycle is selecting an appropriate lock. The old adage “you get what you pay for” is most definitely applicable to bicycle locks. Inexpensive locks are easy to find at discount retailers, but many of these take little effort or experience to pick. Bicyclists should instead purchase their locks from dedicated safety shops that carry a variety of locks and locking appliances and accessories.

Below, you can find a quick rundown of lock types, their pros and cons, and a few recommended brands for beginner cyclists.

Cable and Chain Locks

Cable locks are made up of many individual metal wires – twisted together to form a cable. They make cutting through the cable difficult, but the locks are easily defeated through other means. Their length makes it easy for cyclists to secure their bikes to large objects, such as street lights. They are best used in tandem with a second lock.

Like cable locks, Chain locks offer the benefit of length, allowing cyclists to secure multiple bikes or to lock on to large objects. Inexpensive chain locks, however, can be easily overcome with bolt cutters, and high-quality locks are heavy and difficult to transport.

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U-locks offer both high security and small packaging, but they can only attach to a limited variety of objects. U-locks are often made of hardened steel, making cutting through difficult. Inexpensive locks, however, often feature simple locking mechanisms that are easily picked, while high-quality locks can get both heavy and expensive.

Mini u-locks are smaller versions of regular u-locks. They are often a bit more difficult to break than comparable regular-sized u-locks; however, they are often only big enough to secure one part of the bike, leaving wheels with quick releases vulnerable. Mini u-locks are best used in combination with cable locks when securing a bike for a long period of time.

There is also another one unique type of bike lock, presented to you by Master Lock - a Cuff Lock.

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Importance of Bike Locks

Commuters should always secure their bikes to designated bike racks, although any immobile and strong piece of street infrastructure, including lamp posts, metal railings, street signs, and telephone poles will do. First, look for a dedicated bike rack to secure your bike. Lock it to a different type of affixed object only if bike racks are not available. Securing your bike keeps it safe and ensures that you have a ride home. Commuters should avoid parking meters, short street signs, bike racks with missing bolts, and mobile street furniture. When available, commuters should place their bikes behind secured gates or in highly visible, high traffic locations, which increases the chance that someone will notice any unusual behavior. Selecting a location in front of security cameras makes tracking down bicycle thieves easier.

how to lock a bike properly

Bike Lock Keys

Keyed locks use either cylindrical keys or flat keys. Cylindrical keys got a bad reputation in years past when it was discovered some locks of this style could be picked by a ballpoint pen. Modern models have solved that problem so now either style presented to you is equally effective.


Proper Locking

Even the most expensive and durable bicycle lock is worthless unless it is properly used. Bicyclists should make sure to secure the frame and at least one wheel when leaving their bicycle in a public area (pic.1).

Securing the front wheel is better when only one is an option, as the rear wheel is more difficult to remove. People leaving their bicycles in a public place for a long duration of time should make sure that they secure both their wheels and frame with the bicycle lock (pic.2).

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