Are Bike Locks Theft-Proof? 5 Unbreakable Lock Options!

Have you ever wondered about the prowess of bike locks? How effective are they really? Let's discuss the strength of bike locks and ways that you can use to make your bicycle theft-proof!
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Did you know that 2 million bikes were stolen in 2019 United States? The numbers have only increased since then. If I had to sum it up for you, according to statistics, a bicycle is stolen every 2 minutes in the United States. This is where you say what do I do? How do you protect my bicycles against theft? And I tell you well, use bicycle locks, duh. 

And you catch me with a really good question: Are bike locks theft-proof? Well, they do provide a steller protection but one cannot be 100% percent sure. I did have a bicycle stolen with the lock. But it was a combination lock. That’s why, I always recommend going with the key lock ones. They are better. 

In my research on bicycle locks, I did come across some interesting information. Let’s discuss it.

Do Bicycle Locks Provide The Ultimate Protection?

Bicycle Lock

What is the ultimate protection for you? If you are talking about a lock that any thief cannot penetrate then best of luck finding something like that. Yes, these bike locks come in varying levels of security but none of them are fully secure.

Yes, that seems like mixed noise. Let me explain something to you. Even if I was a thief and wanted to crack a really strong bicycle lock, it would require a lot of time, and tools, and none of it would be possible without making some noise. We are talking about creating a ruckus.

I always tell my readers to park their bikes at a public place, the kind of place that is always filled with people and traffic. Apart from a lively place, it is also recommended to park your bike at a place which is covered by CCTV cameras. This way if something does happen, you can always trace the culprit. This also increases the chances of retrieval. 

There are some things that I want to highlight here, I have seen people using ridiculous types of locks to protect their bikes. They expect that these weak locks will protect their bikes. Most people use thin cable locks and these locks can easily be broken in under a minute. Skilled thieves won’t even have to blink to destroy this kind of lock.

If you were using a tempered steel lock then that is something that would be troublesome for a thief. Well, for instance, they would need a torch and a lot of time to penetrate through. Most people also try using multiple locks, this enhances the level of security. If a thief is having trouble going through one lock, a second one might just be enough for them to give up. 

Combination Bike Locks Vs. Traditional Bike Locks: Which Are More Secure?

Combination Bike Locks Vs Traditional Bike Locks

There are different types of bike locks that you can use. Let’s take a look at the options.

1. Cable Locks 

Cable Locks are very common and I am sure that you might have used them. These are flexible locks made of steel cables that are covered in plastic or rubber sheaths. Since they are extremely lightweight, they are easy to carry but are less secure than other options.

2. U-Locks (D-Locks)

Have you ever seen some rigid locks that look like a U or a D, yeah those are called U-Locks (Also known as D-Locks). These locks are made from hardened steel and offer better protection as compared to Cable Locks.

3. Chain Locks 

Chain locks are also made from hardened steel. These locks consist of a chain made of hardened steel links. They are very flexible and if you go for a high-quality chain lock then they will offer the best protection there is.

4. Folding Locks 

Folding locks are unique and they also work interestingly. These locks are made up of several rigid metal bars that fold together, forming a compact unit. Folding locks are portable and provide a good balance between security and convenience. You can go for them if you are always on the move.

5. Combination Locks 

Instead of using a key, these locks require a numeric combination to be opened. They are extremely convenient but you must memorize the combination. 

So Which Lock Is More Secure?

Combination locks are convenient but to use them properly, you have to remember the code. Still, these are the kinds of locks that can be easily broken by thieves with some brute force. If a thief has enough time then they can easily break this kind of lock without any kind of tool. 

Traditonal locks on the other hand can be a pain to deal with. There is no bypassing them without the special tools. These locks require extra time and some tools, and this is the approach that you should always adopt. I used to favor combination locks a long time ago, and also got used to not needing a key. Well, my bike got stolen. So speaking from experience, it is very convenient to not have a key, but these locks don’t offer that much protection.

Qualities That Make Bike Locks More Secure 

Needless to say, bike locks can vary significantly in terms of security, and several factors contribute to making them more secure. Here are some of the qualities that make bike locks more secure.

1. Material and Build Quality 

A bike lock needs to have strong and durable materials. I prefer hardened steel. Robust construction methods also ensure that the lock can ensure brutal attacks.

2. Key Control 

Some unique locks come with amazing keying systems. This mechanism restricts the duplication of the original keys.

3. Resistance To Cutting 

Always check the bike lock for features like this. I recommend the double-locking shackles. If a lock has hardened chain links, thieves will have a tough time cutting these kinds of locks.

3. Lock Rating Or Certification 

Make sure that the lock that you are going for has gone through certain quality assurance. Certifications from Sold Secure or ART (Stitching ART) are always recommended.

5 Bike Locks That You Can Consider Buying

I got to experience some of the best bike locks on the market. 

1. Kryptonite New York 

Price: MSRP $100

Kryptonite New York Standard Bike

Get this: If your bike is stolen with the kryptonite lock, the company will reimburse you $4000. Well, that may be more than the bike and the lock combined!

The construction of the lock consists of a 16mm hardened steel shackle. The bike is protected from those nasty twisting attacks because of the pass-through crossbar design! Due to personal experience and usage, I would say it can also be used as a hammer.

The lock includes a mounting bracket that has a nylon strap that just sticks to the frame. It gives you a lot of mounting options, this is what I love about the lock. 


  • Amazing Protection
  • Lightweight Construction


  • Mounting Bracket
Why I Like It: The Kryptonite Bike Lock offers amazing protection like none other and if your bike gets stolen, you will be generously compensated. Also, upon damage, your lock will be replaced free of cost thanks to the lifetime warranty!

2. OnGuard Brute STD 8001

Price: MSRP $75

On Guard 8001 Brute

The OnGuard Brute acts like a brute against all the thieves coming after your bike. It has a nice compact design. What I like about this lock is that it’s nothing fancy but gets the job done.

It has a square-shaped shackle. This particular feature widens up the lock-up poles, making things easier for you. The shackle is hardened which enhances the effectiveness of the lock. The keyhole of the lock also closes automatically, this is to keep all the foreign particles out!


  • Very Secure Mechanism
  • Offers Different Lock-Up Options 
  • Portable Design


  • Mounting Bracket
Why I Like It: The OnGuard Brute has a nice design and offers a lot of locking options and styles. This is one of the things that I value in a bike lock. Thieves will have a really hard time going through this lock!

3. Altor SAF

Price: $300

Altor SAF

From the looks and feel of it, the Altor SAF is an amazing angle grinder-proof lock. This is a very thick lock, don’t you think? This is a really big and sturdy lock. Even if the thieves get lucky they can only cut the pole, to which your bike will be locked and nothing else.


  • Super Difficult To Cut
  • Ultimate Protection


  • Extremely Heavy
  • Very Expensive
  • Not Portable
Why I Like It: The Altor SAF is one of the best locks for the money, if you have the budget then you can go for this high-end protection option. It is heavy and pricey but I don't consider them deal breakers at all.

4. Hiplok DX

Price: MSRP $90

Hiplok DX

Do you know what is the most favorite accessory of urban cyclists? Mini U-locks that they can stuff into their pockets! These locks are great but it is certainly not comfortable to carry them like that. Hiplok has changed that amazing idea into something more precise, U-locks with clips.

The Hiplok DX can easily slide on your waistband so that you can carry it without any problems. The lock is very sturdy, I have tried it out. The DX comes with a 14mm shackle that can be locked easily on either side. The only thing that can cut through the DX would be a cordless angle grinder, other than that your bike would be pretty safe.


  • Lightweight Construction
  • Easily Portable


  • Useless Against An Angle Grinder
Why I Like It: A U-lock that can be easily carried? I am completely sold on the idea, U-Locks are great sturdy machines. The Hiplok DX is something that I cherish every day, it keeps my bike completely safe and makes me look cool when I carry it.

5. Abus Granit Extreme 59

Price: MSRP $300

Abus U Lock

I have tried out protection products from Abus before but nothing comes close to the Extreme 59. It feels and performs like the X-Plus on steroids and that is no joke! This amazing D-lock offers the best torsional resistance and resistance against most of the power tools on the market. Honestly, I was really impressed by the performance of this lock, you need to be the Hulk to break the Granit Extreme 59.

This lock is weather-proof. Plus, no matter what kind of picklock the thieves have in their collection, it is nearly impossible to access this beauty of a lock. The Granit Extreme 59 can be used in a lot of situations, not just light ones.


  • Amazing Torsional Resistance
  • Toughest Construction


  • Very Expensive
Why I Like It: The Granit Extreme 59 is the bigger and stronger brother of the X-Plus and that is what I love. It is extremely resistant against torches and power tools of any kind, even the design of the lock feels revamped. The only drawback to this lock would be the price but for me, that was not a dealbreaker.

Watch: How To Lock Your Bike In Town 

How do you correctly secure a bike in town? Do you park it in a busy area or do you just double lock? Watch this insightful way to fully secure your bike.


Bike Security is a very controversial yet necessary topic, it isn’t covered that much but it should be. Let me ask you this question: To what extent would you go to protect your bike? The answer will vary from person to person but everyone wants to protect their bike. 

No matter how they are marketed, bicycle locks are not fully secure but they offer amazing protection. They are secure enough to prevent a thief from stealing your bike, just be sure to go for the right choice. I have talked about different locks and their properties, some are more convenient than others while some offer amazing protection. I have also answered the query regarding the protection level of these locks. Before going for a bike lock, make sure to pay extra attention to the qualities that make these locks superior to others. 

What do you think about bicycle locks and how can they be better? Let me know in the comments below!

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Should you have any questions or require further clarification on the topic, please feel free to connect with our expert author Rhodes Perry by leaving a comment below. We value your engagement and are here to assist you.

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Rhodes Perry

Rhodes Perry

Rhodes is a writer, social justice advocate, and passionate cyclist. He primarily spends his time in the saddle commuting or riding multi-day, self-supported tours, and volunteers time wrenching at his local bike coop.


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