You may have experienced it, that sinking feeling or slight panic when you realise your bike is gone.  Or perhaps some of it remains…but what good is your front wheel without the rest of the bike?   What is the best way to deter a thief?  Are all bike locks the same?  If you want the answers to these important bike lock questions, read on because we are going to look at bike lock security ratings.

Use a Bike Lock

The first decision you must make is that you are going to use a bike lock.  Any type of bike lock is better than nothing at all…learn how to get the most out of your bike lock by using it in the best way possible – How to Use a Bike Lock.  You also need to commit to taking your bike lock with you when you go riding.  So what will be the easiest way for you to do this?  Store it in a convenient place so it’s quick to find and think through how you want to carry a lock – on your bike, in a bag?

U-Lock fixed to a bike rack. goRide

A contrasting colour bike lock helps it to stand out

Coiled Combination Lock on bike. On Guard Locks. goRide

Coiled cable locks are easy to carry on the bike

Coiled combination lock security rating. goRide

This packaging shows an in house/brand security rating of 3 out of 10

What is a Bike Lock Rating System?

Independent Scales – Companies that have had their locks independently tested will have the ratings they received on their packaging.  What do they do in this test?  Well they rate a lock according to what type of attack it can endure and how long it can withstand this attack.

The two testing scales you should be aware of are ART from the Netherlands and Sold Secure from the UK.  Sold Secure use a Bronze, Silver, Gold scale of toughness.  The ART scale is a 5-star rating system, with 5 stars being the best and it is a bit harder to do well on on this scale.  Any locks with 2 stars and above will be “good” locks in moderate threat circumstances. On the Sold Secure scale look for Silver and above for the equivalent protection.

In house scale – most brands will have a way for you to work out which locks are their stronger ones, better suited to high risk environments.  Whether they use a score out of 10 or stars, the difficulty is not knowing how their scale compares to others.

Choosing a bike lock according to a rating system all depends on your level of threat – how much protection do you need?  Take into account things like environment (CBD, suburbs, rural) and time away from the bike (minutes, hours, all day, overnight).  To get rewarded with a star or medal on the independent rating scales mentioned above means the lock will be suitable for use in moderate & above threat environments where your bike thieves carry tools with the intent to steal bikes.

Sold Secure bike lock rating system. goRide

Sold Secure logo

Oxford Sentinel. U Lock. goRide

This U-Lock from Oxford has achieved a Silver Sold Secure rating

Final pointers…
  • You need to determine what your greatest needs are or the most frequently occuring way you would need to use a bike lock.  Perhaps more than one type of lock would be the answer or more than one lock.  Please read The Best Way to Lock a Bike
  • 50% of bike theft is from the home (USA figures).  Store your bike in a lockable shed or garage and consider using your bike lock as you would away from your house.  Floor bolts with chain locks are a good option if you live in a high crime rate area.
  • Lock your bike to something that is impossible to move/lift/carry/cut, not a wire fence.
  • Avoid dark, quiet places think traffic and good lighting so others can see what is going on.
  • If you have the choice, lock your bike in the middle of a bunch of bikes – try to avoid the end.
  • Remember your bike bits…helmets, lights, tool bags, water bottles.  If it’s not locked down it could be stolen.
  • Unfortunately…quick release wheels & seat posts fit this category as well.  In a high crime area these need to be locked down too or taken with you.
  • The better looking your bike, the more expensive your bike, the more unique your bike is… the more likely it will be a target so protect it accordingly.
get Safe and goRide –  Bike Lock Security Ratings

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