How Much Do You REALLY Need to Spend on a Bike Lock?

Bicycle lock
Bicycle lock

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Ever thought about the right amount to invest in securing your bike? Perhaps you’ve heard the common advice of spending 10% of your bike’s value on a lock. But is this guideline really effective?

We’re diving deep into a question that every cyclist has considered; how much do you really need to spend on a bike lock to ensure its safety?

Intrigued? Well, stay tuned to find out the verdict, as well as our number one affordable tip for how to safeguard your bike. And, spoiler alert: it isn’t just about buying an expensive lock!

Why Are So Many Bikes Stolen?

Bike theft is a particularly persistent and irritating crime. According to data from the National Office of Statistics, a bike is stolen on average every 7 minutes in the UK alone. What’s worse is, that’s just the reported ones! One study by Stolen Bikes UK estimated that over 70% of people don’t even bother to report a stolen bike to the police.

While it may be disheartening, the truth is that bike theft is an unfortunate reality for cyclists. Criminals find it to be a low-risk, high-reward crime, especially when bikes are inadequately locked or left in vulnerable locations.

To make matters worse, according to the House of Commons Library, almost 90% of bike thefts in England go unsolved. It is a constant fear for cyclists to have a bike stolen, but fortunately, there are preventative measures, and they don’t have to break the bank.

How Much Should I Spend on a Bike Lock?

Now, let’s be realistic – any bike lock can be cut. None are invincible. If you’re hoping for a lock that you can use absentmindedly to protect your bike from theft, regrettably, it doesn’t exist.

There’s a popular saying that says you should spend 10% of your bike’s value on a locking system. Whilst this might be a reasonable approximation, it doesn’t really add up in many instances. If you buy a bike for £250, would a £25 lock be sufficient? Probably not.

In all honesty, this figure is largely arbitrary. There are so many factors to consider, such as the location it’s locked in, the value of the bike, and the amount of time it’s kept outside. However, we will say that If 10% of your bike’s value sounds like too much to spend on a lock, then maybe you should consider whether you could afford to lose 100% of your bike’s value if it’s stolen. 

But how much should you spend on a bike lock? Well, the hard truth is, as much as you can afford to. The more secure the lock you use, the less likely it is that your bike will be stolen. A cheap lock is a false economy and will have you shelling out in the future for both a new bike and a new lock.

Of course, a more expensive bike warrants better protection, but even cheaper, less desirable bikes deserve a good lock. If your lock can be cut quickly with cable cutters, in an urban environment, it’s borderline useless. For a bike thief, it’s barely even a deterrent.

The bottom line is that if you can’t afford to have your bike stolen, you should be doing everything that you can to protect it. There are more fun ways to spend money than on a bike lock, but one things for sure, it definitely beats buying a new bike.

Two Locks Are Better Than One

But here’s the catch: it’s not just about a single lock. Even the best D-Locks, Smart locks, and folding locks still only require one break to make your bike stealable.

When it comes to security, there’s one surefire way to make your bike as secure as possible. Our number one tip for protecting your bike from theft is to use two locks. If you’re leaving your bike in a public place, using two locks is the best way to help prevent it from being stolen.

Ideally, you’d use a combination of two different lock types. For example, a D or U lock combined with a solid chain or a folding lock. When using a standard bike rack, this allows you to secure the most vulnerable parts of your bike, i.e. the frame and both wheels. It might also require more tools for your bike to be stolen, deterring any potential thieves from more work, especially if there are easier targets nearby. 

Whilst this won’t deter the most persistent thieves, two locks are usually going to create enough of a challenge to stop potential thieves from wanting to steal your bike. 

litelock core plus key

Bike Security System: Further Protection

Locking your bike with two locks should be the norm, but there are some further steps that you can take to make your bike a more difficult target.

To prevent your bike from being stolen, a solid, multi-layered security system is key. This involves not only using a reliable lock but also employing good locking techniques alongside other security measures. It’s this combination of steps that is the most foolproof way to prevent your bike from being stolen.

Outside of the lock itself, here are 4 more things you can do to improve your bike security system:

1. Lock Your Bike in a Safe Place

The next best thing after staying with your bike is keeping it indoors. Bikes left outdoors, especially if they’re left overnight, in areas of poor visibility or for long periods of time, are always going to be more susceptible to theft. If you do lock it outside, try to keep it in the public eye. Most bike thieves want to operate discreetly, so make sure it isn’t somewhere where only a few people pass by.

2. Lock it Well

The locks you use are important, but they’re no good if you don’t use them well. Make sure to secure both wheels of your bike and your frame to a solid, immovable object. The best choice is usually a designated bike rack.

It’s also important to make sure that the locks you’re using don’t have too much wiggle room. This way, thieves can’t so easily use leverage to their advantage when attempting to break them.

3. Bike Cover

Out of sight, out of mind. If you’re fortunate enough to have a valuable bike, consider using a bike cover to prevent it from drawing too much attention. There are loads of options for lockable bike covers and they don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Bike covers also have the added bonus of protecting your bike from the elements, so it’s a win-win for both your bike and your wallet in the long run.

4. Prepare for the worst-case scenario

Prepare for the worst-case scenario when it comes to bike theft. For this reason, insurance is a great way to get some piece of mind. Most insurers will want you to use at the very least one decent lock, such as the Gold and Diamond level locks that Sold Secure recommends. 

litelock core plus worn

Investing in a bike security system is the way to go, and it’s this combination of steps that provides the greatest level of protection for your precious travel companion. 

If there’s one takeaway from this video, it’s that you should probably be spending more on your bike security system, especially if replacing your bike would cause you financial stress. No lock is immune to breakage, but by taking a few key steps you can create a secure fortress around your bike. 

While the lock’s cost is crucial, your bike’s security isn’t solely dependent on it. Protect it wisely and ride safely.

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