Anti-theft device: bicycle locks in a product test – light and cheap beats bulky and expensive

Nothing disappears faster in Germany than a parked bicycle - so you have to lock it up.

Anti-theft device: bicycle locks in a product test – light and cheap beats bulky and expensive

Nothing disappears faster in Germany than a parked bicycle - so you have to lock it up. But how? Relying solely on a beefy appearance doesn't help. Stiftung Warentest looked at 23 locks with a high or medium security level. Very simple fuses have not been tested. They only prevent someone from simply pushing the bike away, they have nothing to oppose a serious attempt to break out.

The security against being forced into was included in the rating with 70 percent, the handling of the sometimes bulky locks with 20 percent, durability and pollutants with 5 percent each. How was tested? An attempt was made to open the lock with tools for three minutes. The tools were quite suitable, but the most extreme departure variants were not tried. Why not? If a thief attacks with hydraulic scissors or a cut-off machine with a suitable disc, all locks are ultimately powerless.

What does that mean in practice? Even a professional thief does not work on a bike for more than three minutes because of the risk of discovery. A lock that performs well here should be really secure. The locks with a high security level cost up to 200 euros, the middle class is significantly cheaper. 200 euros sounds expensive at first, but the bikes have become more and more expensive. Between 2500 and 5000 euros are spent on e-bikes in particular.

Locks from Abus, Axa, Kryptonite and Trelock, the four big ones on the market, were tested. In each of the chain, U-lock and folding lock categories, two models from one manufacturer were sold, one with a medium protection class and one with a high one.

When specifying a high protection class - for which each company uses its own system - there was no cheating. In the high class, the experts "had a particularly long time to crack", according to the "Warentest". The rigid U-locks are particularly bulky and heavy. All locks of the high protection class offered good or even very good protection against burglary, beyond the limits of U-locks, folding locks or chain locks. So it's also "easy and safe". Nevertheless, the most secure lock in the test is a U-lock. The New York Lock M18-WL by Kryptonite. In the sub-rating for safety, it achieved a grade of 1.1. It doesn't get any better than that. It costs 170 euros and weighs a whopping 2.6 kilograms.

However, the price and performance winner is a chain lock. The Kryptonite Keeper 785. This lock also protects very well, even if it is advertised as "medium protection class". With a grade of 1.3, it is only slightly behind the powerful U-lock New York Lock. In addition, it only costs 58 euros and weighs just 1.3 kilograms. The chain lock Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain is just as secure - but this monster weighs 4.7 kilograms. In terms of handling, that's only enough for a grade of 3.5. It also costs 200 euros. A chain lock from Decathlon, which was tested last year and is being built unchanged, is particularly cheap. The Elops 900 Chain L costs around 40 euros. In principle, chain locks are easiest to attach to a post, mast or bracket.

No folding lock achieved a very good grade in terms of security. The Kryptonite Keeper 510 is good and cheap here for 89 euros. But there were also disappointments in the medium protection class. Two cheaper chain locks were easy to crack. What is unpleasant is that three locks received a poor rating in the test due to pollutants.

The most exciting is the result of the Kryptonite Keeper 785. A clear recommendation - it almost comes close to the best protection and is comparatively cheap. The low weight is another plus point. A weight of more than four kilograms is not only annoying for sports bikes, the whole lock is then difficult to handle.

The product testers recommend comparing the prices before making a purchase. Depending on the seller, they can vary greatly for the same product. The Kryptonite Keeper 785 is currently available for less than 35 euros instead of 85 euros. The Kryptonite U-Lock New York U-Lock M18-WL is also available for less than 105 instead of 170 euros. These differences are not uncommon for bicycle accessories and spare parts. Shippers are usually much cheaper here than the established shops that offer advice.

As mentioned in the text above, there is no such thing as 100% protection. The greatest weak point, even with a secure lock, is the attachment point. Fences, for example, are usually very easy to "crack" and then the bike and lock can be pushed or carried away.

You can view the entire test here for a fee.

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