Guess how many bike thefts there are every year in England and Wales? 10,000, 30,000 - maybe even 50,000? Guess again. In 2021/2022 there were 77,465 reported bicycle thefts. An extraordinary number, wouldn't you agree? Albeit one that was significantly lower than the 115,902 reported in 2011/2012.

With their inherent portability, bicycles have always been a target for ne'er-do-wells, especially in our busy towns and cities, where a flourish with some bolt cutters or the rev of an angle grinder can free a target in seconds. As electric bikes with expensive batteries have come onto the scene, it's now more important than ever to protect your pride and joy, wherever it is left.

That bike needs locking down, now!

This guide assesses the different types of bike lock available, looks to explain the industry-standard sold secure rating and finally offer a few hints and tips when it comes to locking a bike in the wild.

In this article
The different types of bike lock
What is Sold Secure?
Why do you need a Sold Secure lock?
Sold Secure bike lock ratings
5 Simple tips for locking your bike

The different types of bike lock

First up, let's have a look-see at the different types of bike locks available and the different situations they suit.

D-Lock

The most common type of lock. The D-shaped (or U depending on how you look at it!) shackle is locked into a horizontal crossbar which houses the locking mechanism and key slot. They're sold in various shackle lengths to suit different requirements. Most are sold with an accompanying cable to protect removable components such as wheels or accessories such as a helmet.

Abus is one of the biggest names in bike security.

Folding Bike Lock

Next up, is the folding lock. Steel plates concertina back and forth to create a lock that stores small, but when opened, provides an excellent locking circumference. Their compact nature means they're good for cyclists who are on the go and not frequently locking a bike in the same place

Chain Bike Lock

Chain locks tend to be heavy beasts, so they make the most sense when left at home or work to perform locking duties. Their flexible nature helps them wrap around awkward objects. They're especially useful for bikes with odd shapes, like electric cargo bikes.

Wearable Bike Lock

Wearable bike locks are a relatively new bike lock type. They've been pioneered by the likes of Hiplok and Litelok. Rather than weighing down a rucksack or taking up valuable space on a bike frame, these locks wrap around your waist or slot behind a belt. Riding with one of these can take a little getting used to, but shouldn't bother most after a week or so.

Round the waist, clip and ride. Wearable bike locks are great.

Frame Lock

These days many bikes are sold with a frame lock fitted. These locks are a temporary safety feature that prevents a bike from being easily ridden or wheeled away. Many also have a port to add a chain lock for further security.

All the above being said, buying the right bike lock is only half of the battle. Using it correctly is also crucial if you are to keep your pride and joy in your hands. More on that below.

What is Sold Secure?

Sold Secure is an independent body that provides ratings for locks of all kinds, not just bicycle locks. Their simple scale helps everyone determine the robustness of a lock. For obvious reasons, Sold Secure doesn't disclose the exact nature of its tests, but it does involve picking, drilling, cutting and levering.

Why do you need a Sold Secure lock?

That depends. Many bike insurance companies, including our own partner Velolife, use Sold Secure as standard due to its ubiquity amongst manufacturers and understanding from people like you and me. Usually, the Sold Secure lock requirement is based on the value of the bike including in your policy: i.e. Bronze for £1000, Silver for £1000-£1500 and Gold for £1500+.

Just be aware that bike locks sold in combination may not all have the same rating. For example, a Kryptonite Kryptolok D-Lock is rated Sold Secure Gold whilst its accompanying Kryptoflex cable isn't rated.

Sold Secure bike lock ratings

Here's some more detail on Sold Secure ratings. The Diamond rating was added as recently as 2021.

Sold Secure RatingDescription*Example LockLink To All Locks
Sold Secure Bronze"Offering theft resistance against a basic tool list (aimed at preventing opportunist crime)."Abus Bordo 5700Buy Sold Secure Bronze Bike Locks
Sold Secure Silver"Offering theft resistance against an enhanced tool list (aimed at preventing more determined attacked)."Hiplok OriginalBuy Sold Secure Silver Bike Locks
Sold Secure Gold'Offering theft resistance against a dedicated tool list (aimed at preventing dedicated attacks)."Abus Granit Plus 470Buy Sold Secure Gold Bike Locks
Sold Secure Diamond"The highest level of theft resistance including use of specialist tools (aimed at preventing the most destructive attacks that could include angle grinders)."Hiplok DX+Buy Sold Secure Diamond Bike Locks
*Descriptions are taken directly from soldsecure.co.uk

5 Simple tips for locking your bike

Unfortunately, not all of us are blessed with secure bike storage at home or at work but irrespective of where your bike is locked, here are 5 simple tips to follow before you lock up and walk away.

A good example of tip 4, from Hiplok.
  1. Busy areas are better - As the first line of defence, it's a good idea to lock your bike in a busy place. Constant footfall and the good citizens of this world are your friends when it comes to seeing off someone with a balaclava and a crowbar.
  2. Choose a secure anchor - This is critical. The best, most expensive lock in the world isn't going to protect anything if it isn't fixed to something anchored or removable. A proper bike rack is usually a good choice, just watch for any way that it may have been altered.
  3. Lock the main frame and use additional locks for accessories - Lock your bike through the main frame (the rear triangle in particular) and the rear wheel. Loop additional cable locks to secure the front wheel.
  4. Lock as tight as possible - Don't leave space around the bike lock. This gives thieves an opportunity to use leverage to break the lock.
  5. Use two different brands of lock - This final piece of advice is a good one. Sometimes thieves have a knack for successfully attacking certain brands or models of bike lock. By using two different brands, you're doubling the complexity and potential time it will take to steal a bike.

There's a thorough rundown of bike locks and sold secure ratings. Our small, but perfectly formed, selection of bike locks can be purchased online or via a Velorution store.