Are Bike Locks Theft-Proof? Unlocking The Truth!

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 how many bikes were stolen in the United States this year? You would be amazed but more than 2 million bikes were reported to be stolen in 2019, and the numbers have only increased till then. This number is also calculated by taking the mean number of bikes stolen in the past 5 years, which is crazy. If I had to sum it up for you, a bicycle is stolen every 2 minutes in the United States which is very chilling. I know these statistics seem very crazy but I am just being realistic with you. Many people get the bicycle of their dreams but they fail to protect it, when you invest in something, you have to go all the way through.

We know that you might have experienced some chills while going through this information but we just want to give you awareness. When you get a bike, protecting it is equally important as riding it. I mean, you have to protect what’s yours right? Bicycle Locks are going to be your best bet against thieves, they won’t make the bike completely theft-proof but they get close to the statement. Let me answer the burning question that all of you have right now: Are Bike Locks Theft-Proof?

Powerful bike locks can provide stellar protection but there are still chances of bypassing them. Locks made from hardened steel are great options but you still need to be careful. I would suggest that you go with bike locks that open with a key rather than locks that require a combination. 

Do Bicycle Locks Provide The Ultimate Protection?

Bicycle Lock

This is a very controversial question and also the most asked, but let me ask you a counter question first. What is the ultimate protection for you? If you are talking about a lock that cannot be penetrated by any thief 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, maybe something that you weren’t looking for, 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, tools, and none of it would be possible without making some noise. We are talking about creating a ruckus, the kind of ruckus that results in unwanted attention.

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. Even after doing stuff like this, people expect that these weak locks will actually protect their bikes. Let me give you a slice of reality regarding this. 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. What about combination locks? This is something that we will cover later on, but let me just tell you this, they are vulnerable to brute attacks. 

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 right now, some offer better protection than others. Let’s take a look at the options, then we can decide which one is actually better for you.

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.

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.

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.

Folding Locks 

Folding locks are unique and they also work in an interesting manner. 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.

Combination Locks 

Till now, we talked about locks that required a key, and now I want to introduce you to 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. 

Are Combination Locks More Secure?

Combination locks are convenient but in order to use them properly, you have to remember the code. Still, these are the kinds of locks that can be easily broken by thieves, all they need is some brute force. Yes, there are some really good combination locks but they can still be penetrated by a skilled thief. If a thief has enough time then they can easily break this kind of lock, they also won’t need 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, as you can imagine, my bike got stolen and I had to change my approach. As a cyclist myself, it is very convenient to not have a key, but these locks don’t offer that much protection.

Now let me give you a thief’s perspective. When they come across a combination lock, they just need some time and that’s it. Time will be more than enough for them as these locks don’t require any kind of special tools. On the other hand, traditional locks that require a key will be troublesome to crack.

The Most Secure Bike Locks of 2023: Enhanced Protection 

In 2023, we got to experience some of the best bike locks in the market. We took our sweet time with these locks and I am sure that you are going to love them too. Let’s start!

1. Kryptonite New York 

Price: MSRP $100

Kryptonite New York Standard Bike

As the name goes this is really a Kryptonite but for bike thieves, this lock has made it to the top of the list because of its amazing protective properties. Even before buying the product, the company gives its customers an amazing offer, I would say that it is a show of their capabilities- If your bike is stolen with the kryptonite lock, the company will reimburse you $4000, well that is certainly more than the bike and the lock combined!

The construction of the lock is very special, it consists of a 16mm hardened steel shackle, and the bike is protected from those nasty twisting attacks because of the pass-through crossbar design, any thief who tries to cut it will certainly go through hell! The Kryptonite is more than just a lock, due to personal experience and usage, I would say that it can also be used as a hammer.

The lock includes a mounting bracket and that has a nylon strap that just sticks to the frame, it gives you a lot of mounting options, this is what I really love about the lock. Overall, for the ultimate protection, this is the bike lock that you should get.


  • 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 would be generously compensated, what more do you want from a lock? 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 is an amazing lock to protect your bike with and as the name suggests, it acts like a brute against all the thieves coming after your bike, It has a nice compact design that you are going to love, nothing fancy but gets the job done with extreme prejudice.

It has a square-shaped shackle as you can see, 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 proves to be an amazing bike lock, it 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, in order to beat it, you must be heavily equipped. This is a very thick lock, and with it, you will be ensured that your bike will always be protected with this. Thieves would have to go to different shops and get separate power locks to cut through the Altor SAF and they would still not succeed.

This is a really big and sturdy lock, if this won’t intimidate the thieves then I don’t know what will. Even if the thieves get lucky they will be able to cut the pole only, to which your bike will be locked on and nothing else. Trust us and get this lock ASAP.


  • 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 definitely go for this high-end protection option. Although it is high-end there are certain limitations, well it is heavy and pricey but I personally 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, and the Hiplok DX is an amazing example of that.

The Hiplok DX can easily slide on your waistband, so you can carry it without any kind of problems. The lock is very sturdy, trust me, 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

We 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, we were 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 so no matter what kind of weather it is, the Extreme 59 will not be damaged. 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 absolutely 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.

Qualities That Make Bike Locks More Secure 

Bike Locks are installed to protect your machines, and thus you must choose them carefully. 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.

Material and Build Quality 

A bike lock needs to have strong and durable materials, hardened steel is always preferred. Robust construction methods also ensure that the lock can ensure brutal attacks.

Key Control 

There are some unique locks that come with amazing keying systems. This mechanism restricts the duplication of the original keys.

Resistance To Cutting 

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

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.

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 definitely vary from person to person but everyone wants to protect their bike. After spending thousands of dollars on the bike of your dreams, it makes full sense to protect it. 

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. We have talked about different locks and their properties, some are more convenient than others while some offer amazing protection. We have also answered the query regarding the protection level of these locks. Prior to 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 us know in the comments below!

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