A strong and dependable bike lock is essential for keeping your pride and joy secure when unattended. Especially if you want your insurance to remain valid. Depending on where you’re locking your bike, we’d recommend you choose either a chain lock or D lock over the less secure cable option, which can often be cut with pocket hand tools.
Chain locks are frequently used for motorbikes and because of their weight are often used as stationary locks in garages or sheds for bicycles. Although, some brands like Hiplok have made them wearable.
They come in a variety of different sizes, materials and Sold Secure ratings, and this guide should help you decide which is the best chain lock for your bike.
What makes a lock, a chain lock?
Chain locks are large, heavy duty chains with locking mechanisms (commonly either key padlocks or D locks) securing either end.
They’re made from a series of hardened steel chain links, and the chain is usually covered in a protective sleeve made from nylon or kevlar to prevent cutting. This sleeve also keeps the chain clean and prevents it from scratching or damaging your bike.
The weakest part of the chain lock is the padlock or locking mechanism, and as with any bike lock, the ones with the highest Sold Secure rating will be more robust and resistant to lock-picking and impact damage.
You should always choose a bike lock with the Sold Secure rating that matches the value of your bike (more on this below).
Why choose a chain lock over other types of bike lock?
Chain locks combine the flexibility of cable locks with a large locking area, and the robust reliability of strong D locks.
Because of their size it can be possible to secure multiple bikes, or secure the wheel and frame to the rack on a single bike.
If portability isn’t an issue and you’re securing your bike at home or in the same place for a longer period of time,the heavier gold or diamond rated cycle chain locks offer the best protection as long as they’re attached to a Sold Secure rated ground anchor.
Whilst many chain locks are heavy and not as portable as D locks, it is possible to ‘wear’ some locks around your chest or waist while you’re riding. For example, the Hiplok ORIGINAL or Hiplok GOLD, listed in our top picks below.
What is Sold Secure approval and why is it important?
Sold Secure is a security accreditation given to locks following rigorous ‘attack testing’ by the Master Locksmiths Association.
The attack tests are tiered and include the various methods a thief would use to try and steal your bike, such as lock picking, cutting, drilling and impact damage, with a range of handheld and power tools.
The four levels of Sold Secure ratings are Bronze, Silver, Gold and Diamond. It’s this rating you should look for first when choosing a bike chain lock due to its insurance requirements.
For your Bikmo insurance policy, the lock rating you need is based on the ‘as new’ bike value:
- Bronze: a bronze rated bike lock covers a bike valued up to £250 as new. Bronze locks are typically a good defence against the opportunist thief.
- Silver: a silver rated bike lock covers a bike valued up to £251 – £1,500, and typically fail the attack test in three minutes.
- Gold: gold rated bike locks offer maximum protection, covering a bike of any value and in excess of £1,500, withstanding the attack test for five minutes or longer, so are strong enough to put off even the most prepared thief.
- Diamond: The newest addition to the security accreditations offering the highest possible security. Not a requirement for Bikmo policies, but a definite nice to have if you really value your bike.
Tip: Check the rating of any lock using the Sold Secure Approved Product Search.
Check out Bikmo’s locking requirements to keep your bike insurance valid:
The best bicycle chain locks for 2023
There are a few key brands that manufacture good quality chain bike locks, including Kryptonite, OnGuard, Hiplok and Oxford.
We would always recommend shopping around as you can usually level up on the Sold Secure rating for similar pricing if not a bit more, for added protection.
Here are our top picks for Bronze, Silver, Gold and Diamond rated bicycle chain locks.
Best Bronze rated chain locks
Bikes valued upto £250 as new are covered by Bronze chain locks. Typically, we would recommend upgrading to a Silver and Gold rated lock which offers better protection for usually a little more in price. However if you do choose Bronze, the Oxford lock listed below is our pick.
Oxford General Purpose chain lock – RRP £24.99
8mm round link chain
Lengths: 120cm, 150cm, 200cm
This affordable chain lock from Oxford comes with an 8mm round link chain. As well as a non-scratch chain sleeve, available in three different lengths.
Get the Oxford OF178 General Purpose chain lock on Amazon for £21.99.
Best Silver rated bicycle chain locks
Covering bikes valued upto £1500 as new.
Kryptonite Keeper 785 Chain Lock – RRP £39.99
7mm four-sided chain links
5/10 Security Rating
The Kryptonite Keeper 785 chain lock with Silver Sold Secure rating features a hardened double deadbolt design and comes with a durable weather-resistant nylon sleeve preventing scratches.
Get the Kryptonite Keeper 785 chain lock from Chain Reaction Cycles for £34.99
Hiplok ORIGINAL Wearable Chain Bicycle Lock – RRP £74.99
8mm premium hardened steel chain
12mm premium hardened steel shackle
The original wearable bike lock, the Hiplok ORIGINAL features the brand’s patented adjustable belt fastening to fit waist size of 28”-44”. Comes with 3x replaceable keys and a 10 year lifetime warranty.
Get the Hiplok ORIGINAL wearable chain lock from Amazon for £63.87
Best Gold and Diamond rated bike chain locks
Covering bikes of any value and in excess of £1500 as new.
Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit (Diamond)- RRP £114.99
14mm 3t hardened manganese steel chain
15mm max-performance steel shackle
Security Rating: 10/10
Definitely on the heftier side of the chain lock scale and a good option for securing your bike at home, the New York Fahgettaboudit chain lock weighs in at nearly 5kg and is the strongest version made by Kryptonite and scores 10/10 on their security rating.
The 14mm six-sided chain links are made from 3t hardened manganese steel and encased in a protective nylon cover, and secured with a maximum security New York Disc Lock with a 15mm max-performance steel shackle.
Get the New York Fahgettaboudit chain lock from Amazon for £99.99
OnGuard Mastiff 8019 Chain Lock (Gold) – RRP £39.99
Length: 110 cm or 180cm
14mm titanium enforced steel chain links
Another heavy duty option that would work well for home security. The OnGuard Mastiff 8019 features titanium enforced hexagonal steel chain links and a 14mm offering superior protection in medium/high crime areas.
It comes with five laser-cut keys and is resistant to cutting, prying, picking, pulling and drilling.
Get the 110cm OnGuard Mastiff 8019 Chain Lock on Tredz for £39.99
Hiplok GOLD Wearable Chain Bicycle Lock – RRP £94.99
10mm premium hardened steel chain
12mm hardened hardened steel shackle
The GOLD Sold Secure Hiplok wearable bike lock is the super tough upgrade from its ORIGINAL Silver rated sibling. Like all Hiploks it features the patented adjustable ergonomic belt fastening and fits a waist size of 28” – 44”.
The Superbright version also has the added benefit of keeping you visible at night, so is a great option for commuters.
Get the Hiplok GOLD Superbright Wearable Chain from Halfords for £84.99
Need more help with your bike security? We’re here to help
When choosing the best chain lock for your bike and insurance policy. Make sure you match the Sold Secure rating to the value of your bike.
Otherwise, if your bike is stolen away from your home and the lock has an insufficient rating, you could find your claim being rejected, and no one wants that kind of double heartache!