Why do you need a bike lock?

When you spend your hard-earned cash on the bike of your dreams, there’s nothing quite as heart-breaking as getting your bike stolen. In London alone, an estimated 70,000 bikes are stolen every year and whilst around 30% of all stolen bikes are believed to have been snatched in urban public environments, another 30% are stolen straight from your home. So, wherever you go, and however you store your bike, we thought we’d take you through some of the bike lock options available and help you decide which one is best for you.

Risk Levels

Not all situations are equal when it comes to bike safety. The level of risk involved depends on multiple factors, such as the length you’ll leave the bike unattended for, the area you live in, whether you’re leaving the bike in a public or private space, or what you’re locking the bike to.

Quite naturally, the longer you leave the bike unattended, the higher the risk that someone will spot it, and attempt to steal it. With that in mind, just because you’re nipping to the shop for 5 minutes doesn’t mean that your bike is safe either. Depending on the lock you’re using, it could take a matter of minutes for an experienced bike thief to snatch your pride and joy without anyone even noticing.

The area you live in plays a big factor too. An urban environment will have a higher risk of theft compared to a rural environment and unsurprisingly, a city environment with a rough neighbourhood nearby will present the highest levels of risk.

Of course, leaving your bike in a public place presents the highest risk of theft, but within this, some situations are riskier than others. For example, make sure that what you’re locking your bike to is securely attached to the ground and can’t just be cut through, or worse yet, simply whacked off with a crowbar or a baseball bat (thinking of rainwater downspouts in particular!).

With that in mind, don’t presume that locking your bike in a private building is 100% secure either. Whether you’re locking your bike at work, in a shop or in your own bike shed, your bike is always at risk of theft.

Luckily, whatever your bike locking setup, there are ways to considerably minimize that risk.

Sold Secure Ratings on Bike Locks

A simple way to know whether your lock will be sufficient for the type of security you need is to look at its Sold Secure Rating.

Sold Secure is a rating impartially assigned to locks by the Master Locksmiths Association. This rating is third-party, which means that regardless of what the manufacturer claims are, this rating will always give you an accurate picture on how secure the lock actually is.

The ratings range from Bronze level, the lowest level of security, to Diamond level, which provides the highest level of security.

Bronze-rated locks provide theft resistance against a standard tool list (aimed at preventing opportunist crime)
Silver-rated locks provide theft resistance against an enhanced tool list (aimed at preventing more determined attacks)
Gold-rated locks provide theft resistance against a higher selected tool list (aimed at preventing dedicated attacks)
Diamond-rated products provide attack resistance against a higher complete tool list (aimed at preventing the highest motivated attacks)

Types of Locks

There are multiple types of locks available, and all answer to a specific locking need. The most popular types of locks are D locks (also known as U locks), chain locksflexible bike locks and cable locks. Most of those come in both key and combination option.

Although combination locks provide a handy alternative for those who don’t like to keep an extra set of keys, key locks tend to be more durable and reliable option overall.

D Bike Lock Rating

D Bike Lock

D locks are the most common and most secure bike locks on the market. They look like a capital D (hence the name) and are very popular due to their simplicity, safety and portability. D locks come in various shapes and sizes: some are burly, some are lighter, some are short, some are longer. Some D locks are supplied with a frame mount, allowing you to attach your lock to your bike while you ride.

These locks are the best all-round locks available. Their ease of use and high security levels means they’re perfect for when you’re nipping to the shops for less than an hour or leaving your bike out for the day while you’re at work. We recommend using a cable extension to secure your wheels and other components.

Chain Bike Lock Rating

Chain Bike Lock

Chain locks are another very common way of locking your bike. Due to their movable nature and increased locking area, they lend themselves well to locking multiple bikes at once. However, chain locks are a much heavier option and as such, are much harder to take with you on a bike ride – there is no easy way to attach this to your bike whilst riding!

Due to their heavy nature, chain locks are best kept in one single destination. It’s a good idea to keep it at work for when you arrive in the morning, or we’d simply recommend them as your home lock for the bike shed or garage. For the best level of security, we’d recommend attaching it to a floor anchor like the Master Lock Floor Anchor.

Flexible Bike Lock Rating

Flexible Bike Lock

Flexible bike locks are a newer addition to the category. They provide a versatile and portable alternative to bike locks. Some flexible bike locks fold into one block that can attach to your frame thanks to a special mount, some others take the form of hand cuffs, like the Master Lock Street Cuff, which can work for bikes, but also scooters, push chairs and more.

If you need a versatile bike lock, then this could be it. These are fairly lightweight, easy enough to carry and will attach to many different attachment points. A cuff lock is also great if you’re looking to lock more than just your bike.

Cable Bike Lock Rating

Cable Bike Lock

Cable locks are another very popular type of lock due to their light and portable nature. However, cable locks provide the lowest level of security and should be used on very short stays, or for parts and components only (in addition to a more secure lock).

As a rule of thumb, you should always look to secure the most expensive components on your bike, such as your frame and wheels and cable locks help achieve this when using a D lock.

Our Top Picks (no pun intended)


Master Lock U-Lock Bike Lock

Master Lock U-Lock 10 X 21cm 8279 Black
Price: £39.95
Sold Secure Rating: Diamond

Our top pick for the best all-round lock is the Master Lock U-Lock – it comes in two sizes (10 x 21 and 8 x 16) and is one of the few Sold Secure Diamond Certified bike locks on the market.

Not only is it one of the most secure locks on the market, it’s also easily portable thanks to its compact size, and very affordable (starting from £34.95).


Master Lock Street Cuff Bike Lock

Master Lock Street Cuff 7.6mm Short Hardened Steel 8290 Silver
Price: £89.95
Sold Secure Rating: Gold

Got a bike, scooter, push chair and motorcycle? Why not get a lock that can do it all… The Master Lock Street Cuff is perfect if you’re looking to lock a range of different items to a variety of attachment points. Versatility at its best!


Master Lock Chain Key Bike Lock

Master Lock Chain Key Lock 8mm X 90cm 8391 Black
Price: £18.95
Sold Secure Rating: Gold

Master Lock Floor Anchor 50 X 50mm 1489 Black
Price: £24.95

The perfect home lock to keep your pride and joy safe from any intruders. Using a Floor Anchor will render your bike almost impossible to steal too.

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