There is a reason why U-locks are the preferred type of security for bike owners all over the world. Often referred to as “buckle locks”, U-lock are durable, reliable and very hard to break compared to an average cable locks that’s easily removed with a pair of solid bolt cutters. But there’s more than that! Read on to find out why this is one of the best models of bicycle locks around.
Table Of Contents
Best Bicycle U-Lock Comparisons
Sigtuna Gear Bike U-Lock
Via Velo U-Lock
Amazer Bike U-Lock
Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 bike U-Lock
OnGuard 8009 Bulldog Bike U-Lock
Bell Catalyst Series Bike
Things to Know About U-locks
Most U-locks that are currently available for purchase are resistant to almost any form of breaking: from hammers to chisels, from handsaws to crowbars. Depending on the inner size of the U-lock, you can leave almost no leverage space, preventing thieves from inserting tools that pry the lock open. In other words, if you’re using a U-lock to secure your bike, the gap left needs to be as small as possible. That’s why U-locks come in different buckle sizes: because they need to match the overall dimensions of your bike precisely because you’re not supposed to have a large gap.
Aside from taking into account the leverage space, it’s also important to pick a U-lock that’s easy to store and carry around, especially if you rely on your bike for daily transportation. Most modern U-locks include mounting brackets that are placed somewhere on the bike’s frame, at your convenience.Thanks to these brackets, you can secure the lock with a single press of a button and ride your bike swiftly without the lock getting in the way, as long as you’ve picked an intelligent position to mount the bracket. Since there are 3 main components that form a U-lock, you should always pay attention to the specifications and sturdiness of each.
A U-lock is made of a shackle, a spline and a crossbar. The shackle is the actual “U”, while the crossbar is the housing part of the lock cylinder. There are little variations between the shackle and the crossbar of different U-lock models (as you will come to understand after reading this article), as they are mostly made of some form of steel and feature double bolt locking mechanisms and cylinders.
Top 6 Best Bicycle U-Lock Reviews
In the next paragraphs, we’ll discuss about the most popular U-locks for avid bike riders, with an analysis on the specifications and overall customer opinions for each model.
Sigtuna Gear Bike U-lock
With a security rating of 8 out of 10, the Sigtuna bike lock is a regular beast. It features 16 mm high-performance steel that promises to resist cuts and crowbar theft attempts. The double bolt mechanism is there to secure the sides to the crossbar. The fact the Sigtuna used braided cable is a plus, as it is more resistant to bolt cutters. The U-lock and cable come with a mounting bracket that features a button which makes it easy to get the lock out of the way as you’re riding your bike. The length of the cable is almost 4 feet, providing enough product versatility for it to be used in locking more than just bikes.
You can use the Sigtuna to lock 2 bikes, as the dimensions of the lock are 200 x 105 mm. You will also receive 3 keys, meaning you have not 1, but 2 spares in case the main key gets lost or misplaced. By browsing through the customers’ questions, we’ve discovered that you can’t actually duplicate these keys, as there are no blanks for this particular key type. The keyhole itself is protected by a dust cover, a feature that should be present on all types of key locks. The 60 days money refund option is awesome so, if you’re not pleased with the level of security of this Sigtuna lock, you can get a full refund.
Via Velo U-Lock
Just as with the Sigtuna lock we talked about before, the Via Velo U-lock mechanism includes a cable, for more flexibility when it comes to securing your bike. The cable itself is made of woven steel and measures almost 6 feet in length. It’s covered with a smoke-grey transparent coating made of PVC, which ensures that the cable and the bike’s frame stay protected against scratches and rust. At the end of the cable lies the U-lock itself: a resistant lock cylinder that promises no caving in front of drills and pulling. On a general note, the Via Velo U-lock offers pretty much the same configuration as those provided by the competition. The double bolt crossbar is present on this model as well, to ensure that jacking and prying are not a threat to the bike’s safety.
Along with your Via Velo lock, you will receive 2 keys, as well as a mounting bracket that fits on just about any bike frame, as long as it measures between 0.79 and 1.65 inches in diameter. The mounting bracket also comes with an anti-slip pad, making sure that it doesn’t disturb you while you’re cycling. The keyholes are protected by a cover that prevents debris from jamming the hole.
Amazer Bike U-Lock
The differences between the Amazer U-lock and the Sigtuna and Via Velo models we’ve talked about before are not that many. First of all, the Amazer doesn’t come with cable or chain, so upon ordering, you’ll only receive the U-lock. We do recommend the additional purchase of a sturdy chain, as they are more durable and more intimidating than cables. Compared to the other previous models, the Amazer doesn’t come with a key lock, but a 4-digit combination pad. The dust cover design to protect the pad will prevent dust formations between the digits, ensuring a longer lifespan for your lock. A numerical lock is believed to be safer than a key lock, as the latter is more easily opened with the help of several lock picking tools. The combination pad is very responsive and shuffling through the digits is easy, making this lock suitable even for kids.
The 16 mm U-lock features hardened steel and a PVC coating, to make sure your bike stays safe while the lock is also protected. The sturdiness of the U-lock makes it difficult to cut through using a handsaw and it’s resistant against bolt cutters as well. Depending on how large of a gap you leave after securing your bike, it also is prying resistant, provided that a crowbar doesn’t actually fit in the remaining space
Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 bike U-Lock
With an overall security rating of 6 out of 10, it’s safe to say that this isn’t the best Kryptonite bike lock on the market. So why exactly do people prefer this product over the others? It could be because Kryptonite is a leading brand on the anti-theft bike market and it’s no secret that sometimes people pay for the brand and not the actual product. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and see just what the KryptoLok has to offer.
The first thing you’ll notice about the KryptoLok is the fact that it costs about 150% more than your average U-lock. It features a 13 mm hardened steel shackle that’s built in such a way as to stay strong during leverage attacks of cutting attempts. The lock is delivered together with a 4-foot double loop cable, to make it easier for you to secure your front wheel and bike frame. The disc style cylinder is pretty common on U-locks and the KryptoLok makes no difference. We do love the rotating disc cover that keep dust and debris away from the key lock. And speaking of keys, you get 2 of them, just in case you lose one. The keys are made from stainless steel and feature an ergonomic design that promises to reduce the amount of torque. When you receive your KryptoLok, head over to the manufacturer’s website to register your keys into the Key Safe Program. This program guarantees that if you lose all keys, you will receive another set of 2 for no additional cost.
The mounting bracket of this particular product is named the FlexFrame-U and it allows for fast and convenient storage of the lock whenever you’re not using it. This KryptoLok is also part of their Anti-Theft protection offer (or ATPO, for short). This program will reimburse registered customers for a sum of money in case their bike or motorcycle gets stolen due to forced breaking of the lock. In order to register and be a part of this program, you will need to provide the manufacturer with the following information: your personal contact details, a copy of your purchase receipt and lock information, the key number of your lock, information on the stolen vehicle as well as a photo, a copy of the bill of sale.
OnGuard 8009 Bulldog Bike U-Lock
Next on our list of best bike U-locks, we’ve decided to talk about the OnGuard 8009, a very on-point and accessory-free product. With a total weight of 3 pounds, this U-lock promises to deliver bike safety at almost half of the price of the KryptoLok we’ve described above. However, the lack of a cable doesn’t make it a product as versatile as some of the others covered in this article. The lock itself features a X2P double bolt locking mechanism which is quite common on U-locks. The double bolt mechanism means that thieves are required to cut into 2 different places in order to break the lock. The long shackle of the lock measures about 12 inches, providing enough length to secure several other items, not just your bike.
Compared to other U-locks, the Bulldog offers not 2, not 3, but 5 keys, one of which features an integrated light that help you find and unlock the bike in the dark. The mountain bracket is an accessory delivered together with your OnGuard lock, which allows placement on the bike frame and lock storage in several positions.
Bell Catalyst Series Bike U-Locks
As part of their Catalyst series, Bell has included 5 different U-locks, to provide a wider array of options for people who are looking into several bike locks before settling on a single one. Depending on your budget, needs and preferences, the Amazon product page will allow you to choose between the 200 U-lock, the 300 U-lock, the 500, 550 and 750 U-lock. Each of these models comes with its own set of specifications, and we’re going to briefly go over them, just to give you a sense of what the Catalyst series can deliver:
- The 200 U-lock comes with a hardened steel shackle, as well as a dual bolt locking mechanism. It includes 2 keys, weighs about 1.6 pounds and measures 1.1 x 4.9 x 6.7 inches.
- As advertised, the 300 U-lock is great for high-theft areas, although we are a bit skeptical about this statement. The 8-inch steel shackle is combined with a vinyl crossbar and coating. A mounting bracket is included, as well as 2 keys. The 300 U-lock is part of their anti-theft program that promises to reimburse the buyers with $500, in case the bike is stolen due to lock damage. The product measures 5 x 6 x 3 inches while the weight is around 2 pounds.
- Next in line is the 500 U-lock, available in both black and gray. The 9.25-inch steel shackle is accompanied by a 4-foot steel cable. Upon ordering, you will receive a mounting bracket, as well as 2 keys, one of which features a light to help you unlock your bike in the dark. The key hole is protected by a cover. This lock is also part of the anti-theft program, but this time you get a $1,000 reimbursement. The total weight of the lock is 4.2 pounds.
- The 550 U-lock comes with the same specifications as the 550.
- The final upgrade is the 750 U-lock, made of 12.5-inch hardened steel and featuring a dust cover that protects the keyhole.
Even with all these available options within the Catalyst series, the locks only have a 3.2 rating out of a maximum 5, which isn’t exactly reassuring for bike owners. By registering you lock on the official website, you can get extra spares if needed.
As far as choosing the best bike U-lock is concerned, we’re going to go with the Kryptonite model. We’re not particularly thrilled with the performance of the lock, as we are pleased by the anti-theft program offer that reimburses the owner in case the bike gets stolen due to lock breaking. While the KryptoLok is a good product, if we were to judge only the product itself and not the adjacent services provided by the manufacturer, we’d opt for the Sigtune U-lock instead. Its sturdiness and security rating provide more confidence that thieves won’t swiftly ride away on your bike.
As always, the theft level in your area is super-important when choosing one lock model over another. As you’ve noticed, some of the locks we’ve spoken about today don’t come with additional cables, but they are lower in costs. Most of these locks are versatile enough as to lock several items and almost all of them include mounting brackets, to help get the lock out of your way as you’re pedaling.