Why two different locks?
The reason is simple. Bicycle thieves tend to carry one type of device for breaking a lock. This may be able to break a D lock or a chain lock but is unlikely to be able to cut it’s way through both types.
Use two different, good locks on your bike and it immediately puts itself into the next level of cycle security. The sad reality is that there are many bicycles which are not properly secured which provide easy pickings for bicycle thieves. By using two good locks a thief will probably move on to an easier target.
What’s the best lock for my bicycle?
Clearly a good lock is not something that a set of nail clippers would ease its way through…which is what I had securing my first bicycle that was stolen.
There are two main manufacturers of locks. Abus and Kryptonite. There is security to be had with these tried and tested brands. I use two sturdy Abus locks. They weigh a stack when in my courier bag but reassure me when I have to leave my bike on the streets. A good lock does provide peace of mind.
Bike lock ratings
Almost all manufacturers have their own lock ratings. Whilst these give an indication of how secure a lock is, you might as well simply look at the price of the lock. In my view these (not impartial and not standardised) ratings can be largely ignored. If you are interested I would not consider a lock below 10 on the Abus scale (out of 15) or 9 for Kryptonite (out of 12).
Of more value is a Sold Secure rating. Sold Secure is an independent organisation administered by the Master Locksmiths Association. Locks submitted receive one of three ratings: Gold, Silver or Bronze. These reflect the length of time a lock will hold out against escalating levels of attack. Bronze is a minute with basic tools; Silver is three, with a wider array of tools; Gold is five minutes with a more sophisticated array of tools.
The largest manufacturers also submit to the German and Dutch ART1 to 5+ standards. These are a very tough standard and worth looking out for. Gold or high ART-rated locks can be more expensive but they may help you get a discount on your insurance if you use one.
Both manufacturers have their own bike lock ratings for the strength of their locks. Abus’s rating goes from 1 to 15, Kryptonite’s from 1 to 12. It is fair to say anything above 10 with Abus and above 9 with Kryptonite can be classed as a decent lock (but that is for you to decide).
Cost of a lock
The rule of thumb for the price you have to pay for a lock is 10% of the value of the bicycle. Buying a cheap lock is clearly a false economy but I have sympathy with anyone who has saved up for a £500 bicycle only to then realise they should pay a further £50+ on locks (and that’s before any insurance premium is added).
However, good locks should last for a very long time. They are not subject to the vagaries of fashion and are (obviously) built to last. As such, a good lock is more than any other piece of cycling equipment a long term investment.
- Need a new lock? check out the locks section, including a Silver Rated Kryptonite for under £20.
- For more information on how to protect your bicycle visit our Prove It page.