I’ve been looking for a light weight bike lock for my road bike for a few weeks now and I’ve come to realise that it’s a bit of a problem!
Basically, the more heavier a lock is the stronger it is and the less likely it is that your bike will get stolen. Think of those heavy duty U type locks, these are made of hardened steel and are basically theft proof. You need an angle grinder to cut through hardened steel and it takes some time – not many would be bike thieves are going to draw attention to themselves with the noise and shower of sparks from an angle grinder – but the locks themselves are incredibly bulky and heavy.
At the other end of the bike lock spectrum you can buy what are essentially deterrent locks for very little money which are relatively light and can be stowed in a pocket. But these can be easily and quickly cut with bolt cutters and any thief will be able to have your bike within seconds.
What we really need is a bit of the best of both worlds because, with relatively expensive road bikes, we need good security however there’s no point in lugging around 5kg of hardened steel lock around with you having spent all that money on a light weight carbon frame!
The balance of weight to security has to be right as having your bike stolen is a common and unpleasant fact of life. It’s a sickening feeling as you stand there not really believing your eyes staring at the empty space where you last saw your pride and joy.
Last time it happened to me I remember thinking that I must have made a mistake, left the bike somewhere else or forgotten that I had moved it.
After all I’m always losing my keys/glasses/drink/TV remote etc etc etc.
Not this time. I hadn’t had yet another fit of absent mindedness or let my brain go off on some silly tangent rather than applying myself to the task in hand and my bike wasn’t fastened to another post down the road, safely at home or even thrown in someone’s garden over the road.
It had well and truly been stolen.
And, sadly not for the first time. I’ve had numerous bikes in my life and suffered numerous bike thefts:
Overnight after staying at a girl’s house when I really shouldn’t have been there many many years ago, outside a pub, from the back of my flat, from outside the railway station and, more recently from inside my garage!
And those are only the ones I can remember!
Deciding which type of bike lock is best for you:
1.Firstly you need to decide where the lock is going to be used and what level of security you need. For example if your bike is standing outside in the street overnight you are asking for trouble unless you invest in a heavy duty lock and attach it to a solid immovable object. My bike lives indoors most of the time and I only need a lock for the odd occasion when I’m out on a ride and want to leave the bike for a cafe stop or something similar.
So, I need something that’s really just a deterrent for opportunist thieves but it does has to be reasonably secure for my own peace of mind as my bike is relatively valuable and I am rather emotionally attached to it as well! This means that I’m looking for a lock with a good weight to security ratio as I really don’t want to be hauling around 5kg of hardened steel with me I addition to my slightly over weight and poorly conditioned self!
2.You also need to decide how you are going to carry the lock whilst you are riding. They look really, really naff around the seat stem on a road bike and very few are small enough to go in a jersey pocket. Are you prepared to pay for the extra convenience of really small or is this a compromise that can be made?
3.Do you want a tradition key or combination lock? Not having to carry an extra key around on your bike could be a great idea but , on the other hand, I’m rubbish at remembering codes and combinations so I think a key is best for me but you may think differently.
So, after some research I’ve come up with a shortlist of locks that I think will be suitable for cafe rides and briefly leaving the bike to pop into a shop or similar whilst out on a ride and they are:
I have to admit to been drawn to this because it just sounds cool and I liked the play on words of it being a “hip lock” – sad I know! However it comes in at a good weight of 2.2lb or just 1KG and it’s unique feature is that you can, of course wear it round your hips to carry it – quite a cool solution!
Basically it’s a hardened steel chain with a shackle in a reflective protective sheath, it’s specifically designed to be worn around the waist (26” – 44”) and has really good reviews on Amazon – most reviewers say that it’s comfortable, light weight and unnoticeable when you wear it and a few point out that they would like it to be a bit longer in an ideal world and that the lock itself can be a bit fiddly.
I have to be honest and say that I don’t really fancy the idea of being locked into a chain like Harry Houdini. I’m fantastic at losing keys and I can just imagine it all getting a bit hot and sweaty down there during a ride – that might just be me though! What do you think?
ABUS Bordo Condo 6100
So, now onto a completely different solution. The strangely named Bordo Condo is a combination lock that attaches to the frame of your bike. It’s about 7” long when folded up and weighs in at the same as the Hiplok Lite above at 2.2lb/1KG.
Again this has great reviews on Amazon with about 70% being 5 star. Some people find that it doesn’t attach easily to the bike frame but it is almost universally praised for ease of use and security.
The TiGR Mini
If you really can’t bear the thought of adding a whole KG to your bike’s weight then the ToGr mini might just be the solution you’re looking for. It weighs 0.9lb/0.4KG which is about the amount that a full water bottle or a can of coke weighs – not bad!
Security wise the main body is made from titanium which is why it offers such a great weight to security ratio. It’s also small and looks pretty cool too, it comes with a frame to attach to your bike and two keys.
Again the reviews on Amazon are outstanding with 77% giving it five stars. The only real down side seems to be that, with it’s relatively small size it restricts the number of things you can fasten your bike to but I guess that’s the compromise that has to be made.
Master Lock Street Cuffs
And finally, a bit of a wild card! I love these as they are basically a pair of handcuffs to fasten your bike up. They are very secure and just so cool bu they do come in at a hefty 3lb in weight so are the heaviest lock I’m considering.
So, there we have a round up of my choices at the moment. As ever it’s always helpful for me to write down and collect my thoughts before making a purchasing decision and I hope it’s been helpful for you too!
I’m not sure exactly which way I will decide yet but let me know if you purchase any of these or if you have any other good options in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!