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All about road bike locks and bike locks

How can you secure your road bike - without much extra weight? What should I look for when buying? Here you can find all the information about the topic.

All about road bike locks and bike locks
Photo by Josh Bean / Unsplash

The buycycle bike lock test

A bike lock is not a one hundred percent effective anti-theft device - unfortunately, there are quite a few criminals out there who have the ambition, the time and the necessary tools to crack even robust bike locks. Nevertheless, a good bike lock is a significant obstacle for thieves and indispensable if you want to keep your road bike safe in your absence. It ensures that you can leave your road bike out of sight in between times with a clear conscience.

1. how can I lock my road bike?

Road bike locks are available in different designs, which all bring their advantages. We show you the most common types of road bike locks.

Folding lock: Bicycle locks with folding technology are folded in and out like a folding rule, making them convenient to carry. The design with many rigid links makes it difficult for thieves to strike with bolt cutters.

Folding lock

Chain lock: Chain locks consist of a chain made of metal and are the most stable type of road bike lock. They are difficult to cut open with a bolt cutter, the favorite tool of bike thieves intent on speed and efficiency. But the high level of security provided by the sturdy chain also comes with a lot of weight. A chain lock can usually only be transported in a backpack or bicycle basket.

Chain lock

U-lock: A bicycle lock made of metal shackles is particularly robust and therefore difficult to break open. However, it is also very stiff due to the material and the design. This does not make it easy to lock your bike to a bike stand or a lantern.


Cable lock: A cable lock that can be stretched particularly far is much more flexible. So you can lock your road bike even from "uncomfortable" positions. Even several bikes can be locked together.

Cable lock

In addition to differences in the type of materials and construction, there is also a distinction between the type of lock.

Bicycle lock with key: This is the most common and classic variant. You don't have to remember a numerical code, but you have to make sure that you don't lose the bike key. It is best to simply attach it to your key ring.

Combination lock: To lock and unlock the bike lock, you have to enter a numerical code that you should remember. Since it is very unlikely that a random thief has personal information about you, you can confidently choose a combination of numbers that has a personal meaning for you. Only an obvious combination like your date of birth or "1234" should be avoided, as thieves can easily guess them. After entering the code, make sure to set a different sequence of numbers again.

Bicycle thieves rarely tamper with the lock when they want to steal a road bike. Instead, they simply cut the bike lock when it is stolen, usually with a bolt cutter. A good bicycle lock should therefore first and foremost be stable. Comfortable handling or light weight are also important, but secondary. A model made of hardened steel makes it particularly difficult for thieves. When it comes to convenience, you should make sure that the racing bike lock, whether folding lock, cable lock or another variant, is sufficiently long.

In addition to the bike lock, you can get a holder or a special bag to carry it comfortably without a backpack.

Tip: Lock your road bike with the bike lock on the frame or on one of the wheels. Under no circumstances should you attach the bike lock under the saddle, because the saddle can be easily dismantled and the lock removed.

2. the most popular bicycle locks in comparison

The selection of bicycle locks is large, both in terms of shape and material, as well as the manufacturer. However, the purchase should not be made lightly, after all, the bike lock should adequately protect your valuable road bike, mountain bike or e-bike. A detailed test report, for example from Stiftung Warentest, can help you decide on a bicycle lock. Three aspects are important when evaluating bicycle locks: security, price and weight or handling. We give you a brief overview of the test winners in the categories tested by Stiftung Warentest.

In addition, there are many other brands that offer consistently high quality. When choosing, it always depends on which features are particularly important to you.

4. safety

An Abus folding lock can always convince. The Abus Bordo Granit X Plus is a particularly secure lock and has the highest security level within the Bordo range. Trelock folding locks and Trelock chain lock s made of hardened steel also offer a high level of security.

5. weight/handling

A particularly lightweight bicycle lock is the Bordo Lite. The Abus Key Combo is also a lightweight and easy-to-use cable lock that can be opened and closed with both a key and a numeric code. So you are always on the safe side. A nice extra is the Abus Combiflex. The lightweight, small and compact lock you can easily stow in any pocket. With the retractable cable, you can also secure your bike helmet or backpack when you are away for a short while. The bicycle locks from Hiplok are also designed for light weight, for example, the ultra-thin Hiplok cable tie locks. The Hiplok chain lock s are also particularly lightweight and are built so that you can wear them on your body.

6. price

The prices for a racing bike lock vary greatly and depend on the type of lock and less on the brand. A simple cable lock you get for under 10 euros, a particularly robust chain lock can cost over 100 euros.

You can find bike locks at your nearest bike or sports store, directly on the manufacturer's website or on Amazon and other platforms.

7. how can I additionally secure my road bike?

With a bike lock, you can prevent your beloved road bike from being stolen. However, you should not regard it as the ultimate protection against theft. Even with a secure lock, a thief may still manage to cut or break open the lock. Therefore, it is advisable to take additional precautions to protect your road bike from theft. You have these options:

1. park your road bike at your home if possible

When you ride your bike to work or shopping, or stop for a snack during a road bike tour, you usually have no choice but to park it outside. At your home, however, you should refrain from leaving your road bike outside if there is another way. The garage or the cellar are the optimal storage place for your racing bike. If none of these are available to you and you have enough space, you can also store your racing bike in your apartment or on your balcony.

If you park your road bike in a safe place at home, you will not only protect it from theft, but also from damage due to weather conditions. Even if you live in a block of flats and have to use the general bike racks, it can happen that other cyclists push your racing bike roughly to the side or bump into yours with their bike, resulting in scratches and other damage. Apart from that, criminal parts collectors have plenty of time to calmly remove your saddle or the wheels of your bike. If you take your road bike with you to your apartment, garage or basement, you play it safe in every respect.

2. take out insurance

Since your racing bike can be stolen despite a bike lock, you should take precautions and take out appropriate insurance. You can insure your racing bike either through a household insurance or a special bicycle insurance. The simplest type of insurance cover is theft protection. Some insurance packages cover additional benefits such as compensation for vandalism or pay if your bike is damaged in an accident. Think in detail beforehand about how you want to protect your road bike with insurance and which additional offers you can do without. In any case, the insurance cover should also include the theft of components of your bike, be it the saddle, the front wheel or the battery of your e-bike.

The prices for bicycle insurance vary greatly and depend on the provider and the scope of services used. Providers of bicycle insurance are, for example, ADAC, GVO, hepster or Barmenia.

3. double holds better

This also applies to racing bike locks. If a thief has to pick two bike locks at once, he is more likely to forego the theft due to time constraints. In addition, many bicycle thieves specialize in one type of lock. Anyone who is already skilled at using bolt cutters or picking a U-lock will most likely still fail with a folding lock. A good road bike lock is not very expensive, which is why you can buy two locks without hesitation.

4. park your road bike well visible

If you park your racing bike in a dark, remote corner, this is of course particularly inviting for thieves. So, logically, if you have a bike, park it in a public bike stand and, if there is none, in a place that is easily visible to passers-by (for example, under a streetlight). This reduces the likelihood that a thief will take his time to cut open the bike lock or disassemble your racing bike into its components.

5. use GPS

If your road bike was stolen, a GPS tracker can be a great help. The tracker alerts you in case of theft and records the position of your bike, so that you or better yet the police can start looking for it. The GPS tracker is mounted in an inconspicuous place on the bike, for example on the taillights, on the bottle cage or on another bracket.

Apart from that, the use of GPS also has disadvantages: If you like to share your road bike tours with others and use a GPS tracker for this purpose, you should keep in mind that you are also sharing the location of your road bike with potential thieves. So make sure you have enough privacy.

Conclusion: A good bike lock is an absolute must!

Bike locks don't cost much, but they are an effective theft protection and simply indispensable if you don't want to lose your road bike to a thief. The selection of bike locks is large, with each variant having its advantages and disadvantages. With our overview, you now have an idea of which designs are available, which brands and models are particularly good and how you can protect your road bike from theft. This way, your road bike will stay with you - at least until you want to sell it and get a new bike at buycycle. Until then, we wish you: Happy locking, happy cycling!