• Ben Amer
  • Bike Tech
  • 16th December 2016

Possibly the most common style of bike lock is the U-Lock (also called the D-Lock), which are robust, practical, and ideal for almost any situation.

What Are They Made From?

U-locks are comprised of two components; a U-shaped steel shackle and the locking barrel. When connected, they give it a distinctive “D” shape, and are one of the most robust form of locks for day-to-day use. Lighter than chain locks, the steel shackle is a single bar of solid steel, coated in a rubber or plastic shell to insulate it from the weather and add an extra layer of protection to the lock, and for the paintwork on your bike.

The locking barrel detaches completely from the shackle when operating the lock, and almost always utilises a key-operated locking mechanism.

How Much Are They?

Depending on the size, U-lock prices vary quite a lot. Some U-locks are designed specifically to work with additional cables, so they are quite small. Others are built purely to secure your bike with minimal fuss to the nearest immovable object. The strength of the locking mechanism, as well as the quality of the steel, has a substantial impact on prices.

What Features Should I Look For?

  • Sold Secure Rating: Look for the highest rating possible required for your bike value. Gold is the highest rating on their scale; you can see who Sold Secure are here.
  • Tamper-Proof Locking: Resistant to lock picking and forced entry.
  • Protective Coating: Adds to the resistance of the lock, and protects it from the elements.

If your U-lock comes with an additional cable, please be aware that the cable is not included in the Sold Secure rating and should not be relied upon alone to secure your bike to an immovable object.

In addition to the basic features mentioned above, there are a new breed of ‘smart locks’ that utilise technology to dispense with elements such as a key. Using Bluetooth and/or proximity sensors, the lock is able to communicate with your phone, and know when you’re close to it, causing it to automatically unlock. These ‘smart locks’ are currently pretty expensive, but as is the case with all technology, they will become more common, and therefore the price will become more suitable to a wider range of consumers.

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