Someone locking up their bike with a chain lock

How to Choose Your Bike Lock

Find out what features to look out for as you browse for your next bike lock and guarantee your bike’s safety - no matter where you’re stationed.

A bike lock is a must-buy essential for many cyclists, no matter what kind of cycling disciple you engage in. Whether you’re using your bike solely for city commutes or are out in nature with your mountain bike and pushing through rough terrain, a bike lock is imperative for all cyclists.

Wherever you decide to store your bike, even on private property, bikes are prone to get stolen. A bike lock not only makes it more difficult to steal but acts as an excellent deterrent against bike thieves and is considered the most important safety measure for your bike.

Types of Bike Locks

Not all bike locks are created equal. Each design offers a different level of protection, so you need to get to know each one to understand what’s best for you. Here is an overview of the four main types of bike locks:

Cable Locks

Cable locks are the most common bike lock, made from twisted or braided steel and coated with rubber or plastic, with the ends connected to create the locking mechanism. There is a lot of variety among cable locks in terms of cable thickness, lock strength and coiling. Cable locks are looped around your bike and are easily fitted.

Light, compact and easy to carry, these locks are great for securing your bike accessories (bag, basket, saddle, helmet, etc.) but aren't enough for the bike itself.

Pros:
• Flexible
• Lightweight
• Easy to transport
• Affordable
• Basic visual deterrent

Cons:
• Easily cut through
• Not sufficient as a primary lock
• Most suitable for low-risk areas

Folding Locks (segments)

Folding Locks (segments)
A folding lock offers a compact design made of a series of connected steel plates and rivets. This make-up means the plates can be positioned independently of each other, boast incredible flexibility, and achieve a wide range of locking systems.

Folding locks are compact and easy to transport, and resistant to damage. This is why they offer a higher level of security than cable locks.

Pros:
• Compact and easy to transport
• Lighter than chain locks
• Offer lots of locking opportunities (e.g. lamposts, furniture etc.)
• Great for securing two bikes together

Cons:
• It Takes longer to lock and unlock your bike as you need to move the plates into position
• Can only last through one break-in attempt due to damaged rivets and bent plates
• Slightly less secure due to thin shackles

Man securing bike with lock

Chain Locks

Chain locks are made of hardened metal links looped around the bike. The ends connect via a padlock, which tends to weigh heavy, with thick links. The best chain locks generally feature a thick chain made of hardened steel, with minimal gaps between the links and powerful padlocks.

Chain locks come with links of all shapes and sizes and different levels of security, allowing you to easily lock your bike to a fixed point, lock several bikes together, or attach your bike to its wheel. They also come in different lengths to suit your needs.

Pros:
• Tough
• Great visual deterrent
• Fits around any bike
• Hard to break through (requires powerful cutting tools)

Cons:
• Heavy
• It Can be difficult to transport

D-locks

D locks, also known as U-locks, are made up of a solid U or D-shaped piece of metal, usually covered in plastic or rubber, to protect the paint job on your bike and minimise rattling while riding. The shackle connects to a locking system and works on a key or combination dial.

The durable shackles offer good security for your bike, often fitted with a mount that will help you attach your lock to your bike's frame. They provide the same level of security as a chain but are lighter and can be mounted on your bike.

Pros:
• Resistant to most bolt cutters
• Resistant to drilling and picking
• Value for money
• Lighter than chain locks

Cons:
• Heavier than other alternative locks
• It Can be awkward to loop around bigger objects depending on their size

You'll also need to consider the two main criteria when choosing your bike lock; the level of security (actual or perceived) and the fastening system. Don't forget to consider how easy your lock needs to be to transport based on your riding and parking habits, how long you need it to be, and the level of flexibility you need.

Bike Lock Security Rating

If you’re looking for the best type of bike lock, refer to the B’TWIN (Decathlon’s bike manufacturer) and the National Centre for Prevention and Protection’s (CNPP) independent laboratory ranking, the B’Secure Scale. B’TWIN and the CNPP charge lock manufacturers to test the effectiveness of their bike locks with some rigorous testing.

The testing includes any techniques bike thieves rely on to break through your lock, using various tools and methods.

Man attaching bike lock to road post

Find the Best Type of Bike Lock B’Secure Scale

The B’Secure Rating can range from 1 to 10, with a ten offering maximum protection. Bike locks with a score of between 1 and 4 are recommended to secure your accessories, such as your helmet, basket, saddle and wheel. It’s best to go with a bike lock scoring a minimum of 5 to trust your bike.

The higher the score, the better resistance the keyhole will have to lock picking and the better the body will withstand attacks by expert thieves with increasingly sophisticated tools.

But remember, no bike lock is unbreakable. Instead, they are intended to dissuade potential thieves from trying to steal your bike through their resistance.

Calculate Levels of Risk

So how do you determine what level of risk you’re facing? Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do you secure your bike in a busy area?
2. Do you leave your bike unattended for more than an hour?
3. Is your bike desirable?

Much of the risk depends on where you’re locking your bike up and for how long. Unsurprisingly, metropolitan areas such as city centres will pose more of a threat with higher crime rates - particularly when it comes to bike theft. This means high-level locks are the most realistic option to keep your bike safe, increasing the likelihood of deterring an expert pry bar thief from being able to break through the premium bike lock.

Extra Tips to keep your Bike Safe

While your bike safety relies on the kind of lock you opt for, there are plenty of other things you can do to minimise the likelihood of your bike becoming a target. Here are a few ways you can keep your bike safe:

• Try and lock your bike at a busy location covered by CCTV.
• If you can find a spot where other bikes are locked in, try and lock yours up in the middle of the existing line of bikes, as crammed bikes give thieves less room to manoeuvre and use their tools in comfort.
• Position your bike to an immovable object, as it is only as secure as the object it’s locked to. Your bike shouldn’t be able to be lifted over the object, nor should the object be easy to dismantle.
• Take extra locks and precautions when locking your bike in a high-theft area.

GHL LOCK 105 Blue

At Decathlon, we offer a wide range of locks to keep your bikes as safe and sound as possible, no matter where you're stationed. Find yours below. 

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