Which Bike Lock Is Best For You?

A primer on the three toughest types of locks

Foil the crooks

Foil the crooks     Photo: Jake Stangel

Who Pinched My Ride?

A revenge-fueled report from the seedy underbelly of urban bicycle theft.

The U-Lock
Difficult to cut, reasonably portable

Best In:
Moderate-crime areas
What to Look For:
A flat-key locking mechanism; cylinder locks are easily picked.
Our Favorite:
Blackburn San Quentin ($90; blackburndesign.com)

The Chain Lock
Extremely cut-resistant, heavy
Best In: High-crime areas
What to Look For:
Reinforced links made of high-quality metal
Our Favorite:
OnGuard Beast 5016 ($140; onguardlock.com)

The Cable Lock
Easy to cut, lightweight

Best In:
Low-risk towns and as a backup for a heftier lock
What to Look For:
A cable at least 20 mm thick, threaded through overlapping steel jackets, and a flat-key mechanism (avoid combination locks)
Our Favorite:
Kryptonite Hardwire 2018 ($65; kryptonitelock.com)

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