The end of winter means one thing for cyclists: it’s time to stock up on the essentials. Having a proper helmet is number one, but after that, having one of the best bike locks in Canada comes a close second. There’s no one-size-fits-all lock: what’s “right” varies from person to person. Protecting your bike from theft is important when you’re commuting through the city or touring through mountain trails. Your lifestyle determines which lock is best for you and your bike. No matter where or how you ride, this guide will help you find the right lock for you.
Best Bike Locks In 2021
Best Overall Bike Lock
What makes the Kryptonite New York Standard Bike Lock the best bike lock overall? Its excellent theft protection includes a 6mm steel shackle, a pick-resistant lock, and a double deadbolt. Even though it’s safe to use in many urban settings, it’s not too heavy - weighing in at only 4.45 lbs, it’s light enough that you won’t feel it jostling around in a hiking or commuter bag.
Best Affordable Bike Lock
For a more affordable option, it’s hard to beat the Kryptonite Keeper 12. It’s a little bit thinner than other U-locks on the market, but the 12 mm steel shackle is still tough enough to resist many of the hand tools commonly used by bike thieves. The vinyl coating covering the lock also means that you won’t scratch your bike when locking up.
Best Lightweight Bike Lock
If you’re not as worried about theft but still want top protection, then you also don’t need to worry about lugging around a heavier lock. At only 2.5 lbs, the ABUS Ultra Mini + Cobra is built to be portable. It’s a simple cable and U-lock combo, easy to use, ultra-lightweight and compact, yet still offers solid safety features like double-bolt locking and a hardened lock body.
Best U-lock - with alarm
The U-lock is a classic bike lock with a twist - a big twist. The 440A Alarm by ABUS Ultra has a ll the security of a classic U-lock, and an alarm that will sound off when someone's trying to break through. Why not? With a 12 mm round shackle, lock-pick-resistant cylinder and the 100Db alarm, rest that much easier when you leave your bike by itself.
Best Bike Chain Lock
If you live in an urban area where theft is rampant, a bike chain may be the only lock that keeps your bike safe. This heavy-duty Kryptonite Integrated Chain KryptoLok is the ultimate protection against theft. Every detail is designed with security in mind, making the chain lock less vulnerable to breakage and cutting. And unlike regular steel chains, this lock comes with a water-resistant sleeve to protect your lock from rust and your bike from scratches.
Best Flexible Bike Lock
Some areas don’t have traditional bike racks. This means you’ll often have to leave your bike tied to a larger object, like a tree or a column, where a U-lock wouldn’t work. That’s where having a more flexible bike lock like this ABUS cable and U-lock combo comes in handy. The included mount makes it easier to remember your lock every time you leave the house.
Best Bike Lock for Touring
We love the versatility of the folding Ugrip Bordo 5700 by Abus. It's light, seriously compact, and gets the job done. The 80cm length steel bars won't damage that custom paint job on your frame, thanks to a protective coating. Light-weight flexibility in a compact design is the perfect security solution.
For those that prefer a combo, keyless foldable lock, check out the uGrip Bordo 5700 combo.
How To Choose the Best Bike Lock
It’s important to decide what your needs are before choosing the right bike lock for you. What are you using your bike for? If you’re commuting to work in an urban environment in Canada, you will need a different lock than someone who is going for a leisurely evening ride. Is bike theft common in your hometown? Then maybe you’re better off with a heavy-duty chain.
Think of different scenarios you’ll likely be in. Locking up outside the local convenience store to run in and buy milk is different than leaving your bike outside an office building for hours. Whatever your situation, decide what safety features you need to feel comfortable leaving your bike by itself.
Next, think about where you (and your bike) live or spend the most time. What’s the weather like? Would you be better off with something water-resistant that can hold up to the elements? If you’re in sunny, scorching Kelowna, you won’t need to worry about this. If you’re in drizzly Halifax, you absolutely will. It’s a good idea to consider all these factors before purchasing your lock.
U-locks are named after the steel “U” that locks into the bar. They’re the complete package, offering quality theft protection while still being portable and lightweight. Usually U-locks open with a key. Different grades of steel, thickness, and how it is secured will determine how much protection each model offers. A U-lock is the best choice for multiple scenarios, from commuting to a quick convenience store run and anything in between.
Chain locks are the toughest options. In places where theft is common, a chain lock combined with a U-lock is the best way to keep your bike safe. Many chain locks can’t be cut through or broken unless the person stealing it has specialized tools and equipment.
It’s hard to beat cable locks for flexibility and weight. They’re great for parking your bike in places where a U-lock won’t fit, with an expansive, flexible coverage. Cable locks also work well if you need to secure multiple bikes with the same lock.
Being on your bike for long periods of time, touring or otherwise, might just be the ticket for a folding lock. These are newer to the market but are already cultivating a loyal following in cycling communities. Folding locks are compact, efficient, and don’t sacrifice when it comes to protection.
If you’re unsure of what the specifications mean on any bike lock description, the Sold Secure rating system can be a great guide. Sold Secure is a non-profit that aims to reduce crime by rating security products like bike locks. The rating categories are simple to understand: Bronze is the lowest rank and has the lowest security rating, Silver is the next step up, and Gold is the most secure.
Keys vs Combination Locks
Choosing a keyed lock versus a combination lock boils down to what you’re more likely to remember. Keyed locks are most often used on U-locks and chain locks. The biggest drawback of a keyed lock is keeping the key itself secure, which is tiny and can be easily lost or forgotten. With a combination lock, you don’t have to worry about misplacing or forgetting a key. However, you do have to remember the code you choose. Cable locks are more likely to feature combinations over keys.
FAQs for Bike Locks
What are Bike Locks Made Of?
Most bike locks are made from a combination of steel and plastic or vinyl coating. The thicker and higher grade the steel, the more difficult it is to cut through. Hardened steel - popular with U-locks - is a treated kind of steel that cannot be broken with standard lock cutters. Cable locks, on the other hand, are made of a thinner wire that is then covered in a protective outer layer.
Are U Locks better than Cable Locks?
This depends on your needs. Cable locks can be easily packed away and transported. However, they are also easier to cut through. U-locks tend to be stronger and more durable but lack the flexibility of a cable. There are combo cable-U-lock sets available if you don’t want to choose between the two.
Can U-locks be cut?
Yes, U-locks can be cut. By what tool and how easily depends on the type of steel used in the lock. Locks with lower-grade steel will be easier to cut through than hardened steel. Most U-locks can’t be cut with a simple lock cutter, but if a thief has a hacksaw or a power tool, they may be able to cut through even a stronger lock if given enough time.
What Bike Lock Should I Buy?
Do you commute to work in a high-crime urban area? A chain or heavier duty U-lock might be best for you. On the other hand, if you’re riding on your local suburban Canadian bike path after work, you might not need as much protection. Think through what you need a lock for, choose the best bike lock that fits your lifestyle and setting, and then hit the road.
Location, location, location – important when choosing one of the best bike locks in 2021. Think of where you’ll be riding and locking up your bike, and of how long you’ll be leaving your bike outside. Consider weight, versatility, and security.
We found the best overall choice to be the Kryptonite New York Standard Bike Lock (yes even here in Canada) – you can’t go wrong with it, but keep in mind your needs. Lock up that bike nice and securely when you don’t need it, cause when you do, we want to help make sure your riding season is all about the good memories. Have fun, and lock up safe!