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Bike Locks Buyers Guide + Video

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Buying a bike lock is a good investment - so get the low down on the different types available.

Bike Locks Buyer's Guide

It makes sense to lock your bike up, and having a decent lock could be one of the best investments you make. Of course no lock can guarantee anything, but with an estimated 33,000 bikes stolen in the UK in 2015 (one bike every one and a half minutes!), it's worth getting the right lock.

It goes without saying that the more secure the lock, the more expensive and heavier it'll be, but it'll be worth it in the long run. When it comes to choosing the best bike lock for your needs, there are a few things you'll need to have a think about, which we've outlined below.

How Valuable Is Your Bike?

No matter how much your bike cost, the true value of it lies in what it means to you. This could be pure emotional value, or the fact that your bike is your only form of transport. If this is the case, you'd be best off with a very high security lock, regardless of how much money your bike is worth.

Have a think about what it'd mean to you if your bike was stolen, and then ask yourself how much you're willing to spend to prevent that from happening.

Where Will You Be Using & Leaving Your Bike?

Even if you're only popping into the local shop for 30 seconds, you should secure your bike. It takes less time than that for an opportunistic thief to ride your bike off into the sunset.

Most bike locks use a numbering system to identify how secure they are. Many brands use a 1-10 rating system; at Halfords, we classify our locks into 4 groups:

Basic Security
medium Security
high Security
ultimate Security

Where you're leaving your bike and for how long is something else to think about when it comes to considering which lock you should buy. The chart below will point you towards the security level you should be on the lookout for.

Halfords Lock Security
Halfords Lock Security

When shopping around, you may see Sold Secure ratings. Sold Secure are an independent body that test locks and then assign them one of three Sold Secure accreditations; Bronze, Silver, or Gold.

Types of Lock

So, you've chosen what level of security you're after. Now you need to decide what type of lock you need.

Key or Combination?

Locks typically use one of two locking mechanisms: a key or combination code. Both have their positives and negatives; with a key lock you may lose your key, with a combination you might forget the code. Combination locks also tend to be easier for a thief to pick. Keep an eye out for locks that come with spare keys or offer a key replacement/combination code reminder service such as our range of Bikehut locks.

Cable Locks

The most versatile type of lock, cable locks are made of interwoven metal fibres which makes them flexible and easy to wrap around most objects. Lightweight and easy to carry, the trade-off is that they're also the least secure and are easily cut with a pair of bolt cutters. Thicker cables are better so look out for hardened steel for added strength, as well as cables with a vinyl cover to protect your bike's paintwork from scratches. Cable locks are best used for short stops in low risk areas, or for securing accessories.

cable lock
cable lock


Also known as U-locks or shackle locks, D-locks loop around both your bike's frame and objects such as lamps or railings. These aren't flexible and can be pretty heavy, but they offer solid security and are pretty hard for a thief to defeat without a lot of effort and noise.

cable lock
cable lock

Chain Locks

Consisting of steel chain links that are usually wrapped in a cover to protect your bike's paintwork, chain locks span a broad range of security ratings, from basic up to ultimate security. Longer and more flexible than D-Locks, these are a great compromise between versatility and security.

cable lock
cable lock

Other Stuff

Even if the frame of your bike's secure, thieves can still steal your wheels. To prevent this, you can add a loop cable to a D-lock to max out your security.

cable lock
cable lock

Sometimes there isn't a solid point to lock your bike to, which is where a wall or ground anchor comes in. These can be fixed to solid surfaces and give you somewhere to secure your bike to. They're are also great for adding a bit of extra security, for example securing your bike to a ground anchor inside a locked shed.

Unfortunately, despite all of these measures, bikes will still get stolen. To give you the best chance of getting your bike back, it's a good idea to use a bike marking and registration service such as Immobitag or Bike Register.

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