Bike locks - Everything within locks


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Approved Bike locks

It can be hard for mere mortals to understand, and respect, the attention, energy and amount of money - passionated cyclist can invest in bikes and equipment. This energy and attention makes it even more unbearable when disaster strikes, and someone steals your bike! Even though the number of bike thefts has dropped, and was the lowest in Denmark in 44 years - with “only” 46.421 reported thefts - it is still every second dane who experiences a bike theft. In a country like the Netherlands, known for it amount of bikes - and number of stolen bikes - the number is almost double. Here authorities have started a campaign to lower the number of bike thefts, by placing special mockbikes with build in gps’s in public areas with high frequencies of thefts. This effort resulted in 2017 in charging a 1000 bike thieves. In 2019 in Denmark only 584 of the 46.421 thefts ended with someone being charged. With such a low percentage of thieves getting caught - bike thefts continues to be a lucrative marked - somewhat risk free for criminals.

So it is important to reduce the risk of your bike getting stolen. And a combination between a good lock and a insurance seems to be necessary to ensure you minimal risk as a bikeowner. You have to be aware that if you want the benefit of a bikeinsurance you have to make sure that your lock is approved. Buy a CE-certified lock, and check with your insurance company which lock they approve. When this is said, we have to stress that every bike can be stolen, no matter what lock you use. But you can make it such a hard job for thieves that they do not want to take the risk and or effort. Like almost everything else the development of locks have accelerated in recent years, so it can be a jungle to find the right type of lock. In this guide we will describe the most popular types of locks and their pros and cons.

  • Folding lock
  • Padlock
  • Kabellock
  • Plugin Chain/cable
  • Ringlock
  • U-lock

Folding locks

A folding lock is a foldable lock. It can be folded to be more handy and transportable. Some folding locks come with a kind of folder, which the lock folds into and can be stored in, when not in use. Folding locks are made of chunky pieces of metal that is fitted together in links like a chain. The folding lock is locked by inserting the chain through the frame and around a nonmoveable object, and hereby locking the two together.

Pros and cons:
+ Relatively transportable
+ Very sturdy
+ Hard to get open
+ Most is approved by insurance companies
- Heavy
- Takes time to lock
- Requires an object to lock the bike to

Padlocks

Padlocks are a lockhead that with a key or a code can lock things like a chain together. If a padlock is combined with a sturdy chain it can be used as an alternative to a bikelock. Some padlocks is sold as only the lockhead which can be used to lock other things, like your gardenshed - while others come with a mounted flexible chain or wire. If you want to increase the time it takes to steal your bike it is important to choose a very robust padlock, or it will be fast to pry open or to pick the lock.

Pros and cons:
+ Compact
+ Some can be used without a key
+ Multiple usage
- Safety

Cablelock / Wirelock

A cablelock is a cable with varied lengths of cables with a mounted lockingmechanism. Most cablelocks are not approved by the insurancecompanies and therefore should be used in combination with an approved lock - if you want you insurance to cover the theft. The lock works as a folding lock by locking the frame of your bike together with an object. To be on the safe side - choose a thick cablelock - preferable with some kind of insulation around the cable to prevent it getting cut with a wirecutter. If this type of lock is combined with one of the other types in this guide you increase the time it takes to steal your bike - hereby making the chance of the thief choosing your bike slimmer.

Pros and cons:
+ Long reach
+ Fleksible
+ Weight
+ Secure (if combined with another lock)
- Rarely approved
- Secure (if used on its own)


Plugin chain / Plugin cable

This type of lock is very similar to a cablelock - but the lockhead is of a different type. The locking mechanism is produces with a male and female plug that is plugged together. The male plug reminds me of an oldschool phonoplug. Otherwise it works as a cable lock: A cablelock is a cable with varied lengths of cables with a mounted locking mechanism. Most cablelocks are not approved by the insurancecompanies and therefore should be used in combination with an approved lock - if you want you insurance to cover the theft. The lock works as a folding lock by locking the frame of your bike together with an object. To be on the safe side - choose a thick cablelock - preferable with some kind of insulation around the cable to prevent it getting cut with a wirecutter. If this type of lock is combined with one of the other types in this guide you increase the time it takes to steal your bike - hereby making the chance of the thief choosing your bike slimmer.


Pros and cons:
+ Long reach
+ Fleksible
+ Weight
+ Secure (together with another type of lock)
+ Fast locking mechanism
- Rarely approved
- Secure (if used on its own)


Ringlock

A ringlock is a lock that is permanently mounted to the frame of your bike. It is locked by inserting a split from one side of the lock to the other through the wheel of your bike - hereby preventing the wheel from being able to spin. Even Though it is not the hardest locktype to pry open - most of the ringlocks is approved by the insurancecompanies. Ring locks have traditionally been the most used locktype. They are easy to lock and because of the fact that they are mounted to the bike - you wont forget the lock at home. The problem occurs if you forget the code or the key. Because the bike is locked by preventing the wheel from spinning and not by locking your bike to something - it can easily be stolen if picked up and thrown into a vehicle. This makes it important to combine this locktype with a locktype that can lock you bike to an object - if the purpose is to prevent the bike from being stolen.

Pros and cons:
+ Small and lightweight
+ Approved
+ Always there
- Secure (unless it is inside, or locked to an object)
- Can be locked without a key but not unlocked
- Design

U-lock

A U-lock is right now one of the most secure locktypes on the market. It almost always needs professional electric tools to be forced open. The lock is a solid metalbar in the shape of an U. It is locked by putting the ends of the metalbar into a kind of container/ toppiece. If you can not use the U-lock to lock your bike to an object - it should be combined with a lock that can or it can easily be thrown into a vehicle like with a ringlock.

Pros and cons:
+ Secure
+ Handy
- Can be harder to lock

When you buy a lock you have to have the purpose of the lock in mind. Is it bought because of the insurance or to prevent the bike from getting stolen - or both? If it is to prevent it from getting stolen - it will always be advisable to use two different locktypes. One that prevents the bike from being ridden and one that locks it to an object. Always consider which object you lock your bike to - it has little effect if you lock it to a moveable object or an object that can be destroyed. The thief will always go for the weakest link whether it is the bike, the lock or the object it is locked to. Quality and price often go together especially with locks it is the case. You get what you pay for!

I hope this guide helped you get ready to buy the right lock.

Written by Jakob Aas Thomas for Velomio

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