Cities are graveyards for stolen bikes, with bent wheels and ragged frames hanging off anything nailed to the ground. The air is thick with the ghosts of bikes that were stolen completely — Fujis, Treks, Surlys. You can almost hear their cute little bells chirping. Estimates for stolen bikes in the U.S. are between one and two million per year, and they’re difficult to get back because most people don’t write down serial numbers or register their bikes — and bike theft isn’t exactly law enforcement’s number one priority. The good news is that with a serious lock, proper locking technique and the good sense to take the darn thing inside at night, we’ll all meet again in the bike lane when the sun rises tomorrow.
Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini U-Lock
Best Lock For Everyday Riders: With its yellow and black vinyl coating, the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini is as ubiquitous as it is battle-ready. The 18mm hardened steel shackle and oversized steel sleeve covering the crossbar are designed to thwart bolt cutters, and the small size makes prying with a lever downright tricky. Pair it with a secondary cable. The Fahgettaboudit comes with a theft-replacement guarantee of $4,500.
Material: 18mm hardened steel
Weight: 4.55 lbs
Best Lock For Featherweight Commuters: The OTTO Lock is for those who require not just security, but also supreme lightness. The OTTO comes in three lengths: 18, 30 and 60 inches; the shortest weighs only 120 grams. It’s also small enough to tuck under your bike seat, or even clip on to your belt loop.
Materials: aluminum, steel, kevlar
Weight: 120+ grams
Abus Bordo GRANIT X Plus 6500
Best Lock For Tossing Into a Backpack German security company Abus is very interested in keeping thieves away from your goods: they make alarm systems, surveillance cameras, even fire extinguishers. Plus, they’re German. So you can probably trust them with a bike, right? The Bordo GRANIT X Plus 6500 will cost a pretty penny, but it’s their maximum security lock, complete with a portable design of folding 5.5mm hardened steel bars with a soft coating to prevent nicks and scratches.
Material: hardened steel
Weight: 3.48 lbs
Onguard Beast Chain Lock with X4 Padlock
Best Lock For Post-Apocalypse Street War: When it comes down to it, the best protection you can get for your steed is a massive chain. The Beast is one such chain, made of 14mm link titanium reinforced chain coupled with a short shackle u-lock. The Beast comes with a theft-replacement guarantee of $5,000.
Material: titanium-reinforced steel
Weight: 15+ lbs
TiGr Titanium Bow Lock
Best Lock For Design Lovers: You’ve already invested in a beautiful piece of machinery and you’re not about to kill the look — sound like you? Consider the TiGr Lock, which looks like an avant-garde pair of tongs but is actually a titanium bow covered in clear PVC that, in it’s longer iterations, can lock around a bike frame and both wheels. The TiGr began as a Kickstarter, so you can thank crowd-funding for this beauty.
Weight: 1.7 lbs
Knog Strongman U-Lock
Best Lock For Bearded Fixie Riders Australia-based Knog makes a range of design-forward bike products, including lights, computers and bags. Their toughest lock is the Strongman, a U-lock-style 13mm hardened steel shackle with a silicone outer that won’t scratch up your bike (we can’t say the same for the strong man trying to pinch it). Bonus: it really dresses up an otherwise dull street sign or bike rack.
Material: 13mm hardened steel
Weight: 2.43 lbs
Pitlock Skewers (3-Pack)
Best Lock For Confusing Thieves: The second product of German engineering on this list, Pitlock makes what is arguably the best system of locks for wheels, seats, top caps and disc brake calipers. The skewers lock with a coded nut recessed in a free-rotating housing, which means thieves armed with pliers and vice-grips will just be flummoxed. Between a U-lock and the Pitlock, you may not even be able to unlock your bike.