In 2009, 183,028 bicycles worth an average value of $318 were stolen, accounting for 3.4 percent of all larcenies, the FBI reports. U-locks are the best deterrent to losing your bike, followed by chain and padlock locks and cable locks. When choosing a lock, look for good ratings from testing services such as Sold Secure and ART, recommends Joe Lindsey in "Bicycling" magazine.
Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit U-lock
This U-lock with an 18 mm shackle, weighing 4.6 lbs., won top rankings from Consumer Search and Slate magazine, as writer Scott Elder struggled to cut through it, estimating that finishing the job would have taken 42 minutes. The manufacturer, based in Canton, Massachusetts, has nearly a 40-year track record and backs the lock up with a $4,500, one-year anti-theft warranty. Kryptonite notes that the Fahgettaboudit features a center keyway to defend against leverage attacks and a hardened-steel shackle that resists bolt cutters. The Fahgettaboudit got top ratings from Consumer Search, which called it the “best bicycle lock,” based on a survey of editor’s picks from “Men’s Journal,” “Cycling Plus” magazine, BikeRadar.com, “New York” magazine and the New York Times.
OnGuard Brute STD U-lock
Also weighing 4.5 lbs. and with a 16 mm shackle, the Brute is mean enough to scare off thieves, according to Slate, but lacking in portability given a mounting bracket designed for OnGuard’s 2.4-lb. Bulldog model. Based in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, OnGuard offers three lines of U-locks: the Brute, Pitbull and Bulldog series. Consumer Search noted the Brute eventually succumbed to an angle grinder in one test, but the lock still won top honors in “Maxim” magazine’s test. This lock also comes with the industry-leading $5,000 anti-theft warranty. Consumer Search described the Brute as “best budget bicycle lock.”
OnGuard Bulldog Mini TC
Named “best mini U lock” by Consumer Search, the Bulldog weighs 2 lbs. and makes it harder for thieves to find purchase to leverage a lock open. It offers $1,500 of anti-theft protection. Warren Rossiter at BikeRadar.com was not able to cut the lock in a test with conventional tools, but did cut it open with a power tool.
Kryptonite Evolution Mini
Online bicycling writer Sheldon Brown says that his favorite model is the Kryptonite Evolution Mini. “The best U-locks are the smallest,” he states, because they may be more secure because of the limited space to put a jack or crowbar in. Place your mini U-lock around the rear rim and tire, inside the rear triangle of the frame, he advises. The only drawback is that as a mini model, there’s no room to also lock the wheels.