You love your bike and you want to keep it secure. That’s great! Now the search for the best bike lock begins. With so many options, where do you start? This article will show you how to choose a bike lock.
Know Your Goals
For practical purposes, finding the right lock is an act of risk management (tweet this). The best security is the same across the board: multiple locks firmly fastening all of the parts of your bike together and the bike itself to an immovable object.
However, this security comes at a cost — both in the price of purchasing all those locks as well as the difficulty in transporting those locks with you every where you go and the difficulty of actually fastening and unfastening them every time you go somewhere.
Figuring out which bike lock is best for you depends on where you plan to ride and park your bicycle. Obviously the best lock for a weekend-only recreational biker in the country will be different than a daily commuter in an ultra-urban setting.
The nice folks over at Kryptonite have created a handy little chart to break it down visually.
Where you park your bike, for how long, and during what time of day will determine how much security you need, which in turn will help you figure out your ideal lock(s).
Minimum Security: Inside Your Home
If you have a home large enough to keep your bike inside, you don’t need any additional security for your bike other than what you already have in protecting your home.
Moderate Security: Rural Areas, Suburb Lock-Ups (Short Time)
[easyazon-image align="right" asin="B000Y8JOKA" locale="us" height="156" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51xNB6GvwPL._SL160_.jpg" width="160"]Bikers in rural areas (like where I grew up) will need to consider purchasing a lock, but not necessarily the most robust or expensive bike security equipment. An hour or less should be fine with a cable lock like the Abus Numero as a deterrent.
[easyazon-image align="left" asin="B005YPK9FW" locale="us" height="156" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/410Z2whrY1L._SL160_.jpg" width="160"]For longer periods of time or for lock-ups in the suburbs, a basic U-lock like the Kryptolok Series 2 is a good choice.
If you’re feeling especially brave, you might risk a solitary U-lock in a metropolitan area if it will only be for a short period of time and if the lock-up is under surveillance. Anything longer than that requires high security.
High Security: Suburb Lock-Ups (Overnight), Metropolitan Areas (Daylight)
[easyazon-image align="right" asin="B000LPG3D2" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41rVLE7IWAL._SL160_.jpg" width="99"]If you’re locking up your bike for a long period of time in metropolitan areas during the day or overnight in the suburbs, you should consider a high security option.
The Kryptonite Evolution is a tougher U-lock that is perfect for these situations. Its thicker shackle and double deadbolt locking mechanism make it stronger than the standard U-lock, providing you more security with minimal increase in inconvenience.
Major metropolitan areas and college campuses are two of the most likely places to have your bicycle stolen. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is or how long you plan to have your bike parked: in these locations, you’ll need to practice ultimate bike security to make sure your bike is still waiting for you when you return.
[easyazon-image align="right" asin="B001SMSUNI" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41clniKO1eL._SL160_.jpg" width="129"]Adding an extra layer of security with a chain lock is an excellent way to boost your security even higher. The Kryptonite New York Noose makes a great addition to your lock combo.
With this many locks on your bike, not only does it make it extraordinarily difficult for a thief to steal your bike, it’s more likely that a thief — seeing so many locks on the bike — will pick an easier target without even attempting to snatch yours.
Now that you know how to choose a bike lock, take a moment to consider your situation and your bike security needs. Then get the best lock for your situation.
Photo credit: hang_in_there