At Brains Report, we are always at the beck-and-call of our followers. A couple days ago, a bright-eyed student at one of the two elite Midwestern universities contacted us with this polite query about bike locks:
Do a post about bike locks so I know if I should get a cable lock or spend $20 more and get a U-lock.
Once I got this message, I immediately jumped down the rabbit hole of bike locks. Below is a summary of what I found.
Bolt Cutters Still Beat Bike Locks
In the game of bolt cutters-bike locks-bikes, bolt cutters still almost always win. This video demonstrates which types of locks are easiest to cut through. As you can see, it appears that U-locks are harder to cut through than their chain and cable counterparts, but they are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. And, I have a pretty good imagination. Of course, one would think that someone would manufacture a lock made of bolt cutters to neutralize bolt cutters, but the geniuses in the bike lock industry have not thought of that yet.
Keep in mind that a thief can’t use the ground for leverage if your lock is located higher up. However, a motivated and troubled individual will be able to get your bike. Still, if you park your pedal-driven recreational vehicle with its heavy-duty lock near a sea of bicycles featuring dental-floss cable locks, you can rest assured that scofflaws will go after the other bikes. Which brings us to…
The Best Lock Money Can Buy
Anyone who knows anything about bike locks will agree that the best lock money can buy is the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and New York Disc Lock. It consists of 14 millimeter, six-sided chain links made of either Superman’s bones or hardened manganese steel. The lock comes with a lifetime warranty. And, Kryptonite supplies an Anti-Theft Protection Offer that can cover your bike up to $5,000. The plan is free for the first year (but you must register first) and $25 for five years.
There are several problems with this behemoth, though. First of all, most of us don’t want to spend $110+ for a bike lock. Secondly, the five-foot model weighs fifteen pounds. I carry around enough weight as it is. I don’t want to add on another 15 el-bees. Though it is by no means perfect and you’ll still be susceptible to theft, this is the best lock you can get.
The Best Cable Lock
The Bike Lock Cable from Blusmart is about $100 less than the Kryptonite lock above, but as you saw in the video, ne’er-do-wells can get through cable locks the quickest. Or, if the thief is concerned about creating waste, they may sit there and try the 100,000 different combination possibilities until they hit the right one. They can then use the lock for their own personal use. For this incredibly unlikely scenario, you should choose a combination that begins with 9. This way, if they go in numerical order, you can maybe catch them before they get to the right passcode.
Anyway, the Blusmart Bike Lock Cable is six-feet long, comes with a mount for your bike, weighs a little more than a pound, and comes with a one-year warranty. This lock will protect your bike in moderate crime areas, such as farmlands and suburbs. You should consider something better for college campuses.
The Best U-Lock
The Club UTL810 Utility Lock is the best U-lock I found. It can withstand more than 1,500 pounds of pressure. It’s made by the same people who brought you The Club, which protects your car from people who like to play real-life Grand Theft Auto. Users like that it’s durable (it weighs in at 3.4 pounds), nearly impossible to break, and is easy for the owner to use. Plus, it’s relatively affordable at just under $25.
Verdict: Get the U-lock if you are in a high-crime area. And, choose a smaller size to make it harder for thieves to work their bolt-cutting magic. Also, make sure you put the lock through at least the frame of your bike since wheels are easy to remove. Better yet, consider a Pinhead Bicycle Locking Skewer Set.
If you have a really expensive bike, you should buy a GPS tracker for hunting down the troubled individual who jacked your ride. Currently, this technology is quite expensive (count on about $200 per year), but it’s sure to become more affordable in the near future. Lastly, everyone should have renters’ or homeowners’ insurance. This will help cover the cost of a new bike if yours is stolen from your property.
Do you know someone who keeps getting their bike jacked? Clue them in to the wonders of bike locks by sharing this post with them!