Foil the crooks
Foil the crooks (Jake Stangel)

Which Bike Lock Is Best For You?

A primer on the three toughest types of locks

Foil the crooks

For exclusive access to all of our fitness, gear, adventure, and travel stories, plus discounts on trips, events, and gear, sign up for Outside+ today.

The U-Lock

Who Pinched My Ride?

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

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;

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;

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;

From Outside Magazine, Feb 2012
Filed to:
Lead Photo: Jake Stangel

promo logo