In case you haven’t heard, Anchorage is in the middle of a bike theft epidemic. Bikes are being stolen from in front of coffee shops, grocery stores, when supposedly secured on car-racks, and even from home garages. Nowhere seems to be safe. With that in mind, we’ve put together a quick guide to the locks we carry and how much security you can generally expect from them. Of course, nothing can completely deter a thief with the right tools and enough time to use them, but these locks will go a long way toward making sure your pride and joy is still there when you come back.
Traditional coiled cable locks represent the lightest weight and easiest to use options, but are the least secure. A good industrial set of cable cutters will go through these like a knife through butter. We recommend using these locks only if you’ll be able to keep an eye on your bike or in conjunction with a rigid “U” style lock.
Price: $15 – $50
A little more secure
The next step up the security ladder includes light-weight chains and small folding link locks like the Serfas Puck. Compact and easy to deploy, the Puck uses small hardened steel links that form a loop like a cable lock but with greater security. Locks in this category are generally a little more expensive than the cable locks, but similar in convenience and ease of carry.
Price: $30 – $50
Now we’re talking!
These are the safest category of stand-alone locks that we carry. Large rigid “U” locks are designed to secure the frame to a rack or signpost or fence and be very difficult to pick or break. Some are rated for greater security than others, but all are going to be much more secure than even our largest cable lock.
Price: $35 – $130
Fort Knox level security
Combination “U” locks with cables, heavy transport-grade chains with pad locks, and heavy folding locks represent the best of the best locks we carry and trust our own bikes with. A new category of lock, the folding link Bordo from ABUS is similar to the Serfas puck in that is essentially a loop of hardened steel links that combine the convenience and size of a cable lock with the security of a “U” lock. If you’re going to be leaving your bike for long periods of time or parking it in the sketchier parts of town (downtown for example) we generally recommend using a “U” lock to secure the frame and a smaller cable to loop through the wheels. It might even be a good idea to use another, smaller cable to secure the seatpost to the frame. While the locks in this group are the most secure we carry by far, they are also the most expensive. But in the grand scheme of things, wouldn’t you rather spend what is a small fraction of the price of your bike for piece of mind?
Price: $65 – $150+