Cheap Bike Locks - Are They Worth It?
I totally understand that not everyone has the budget for some of the premium bike locks I recommend. Knowing this, I’ve decided to review the best cheap bike locks available today.
Opting for a cheap bike lock is like walking across a minefield. Most cheap bike locks are “reasonably priced” due to the inferior quality of the materials used in their production. Manufacturers cut their costs by reducing the overall cost of production.
Unfortunately for cyclists, this means that it’s hard to determine which of the cheaper locks we can rely on!
I want my readers to have the best possible security setup for their bicycle. This is why all of the best cheap bike locks I’ve reviewed below are Sold Secure Gold rated. Yep, that’s right, all of these affordable bike locks offer the highest level of security for your bike.
This means the locks below are also the best, cheapest Sold Secure Gold rated bike locks.
Overview - The Best Cheap Bike Lock
All of the locks in this review will provide you with an affordable, secure way to lock your bike. If you know how to lock your bike properly, you shouldn’t have a problem using any of these to secure your bike.
The best cheap bike lock available at the moment is the OnGuard Brute. This 16.8mm D lock is completely bolt cutter proof and provides incredible resistance to all forms of attack. Bolt cutters are a thieve’s best friend, so by opting for the Brute you remove the main threat.
This being said, the Brute may not be the best cheap bike lock for you. If you’re after something lighter and more portable, check out my review of the Kryptonite Mini-7 or the Mini-5.
The OnGuard Brute is the fourth lock that I cover in this short review.
|OnGuard Brute Specs|
|Shackle Width:||4.53" (11.5cm)|
|Shackle Length:||7.96" (20.2cm)|
|Shackle Diameter & Material:||16.8mm Hardened Steel|
|Security Ratings:||Sold Secure Diamond|
The 6 Best Cheap Sold Secure Gold Bike Locks
The Best Cheap D Locks
OnGuard Pitbull DT 8005
OnGuard gave the Pitbull their Ultimate Security ratings and gave it 85/100 on their in house security scale, making it one of their most secure bike locks. The Pitbull also gained the Sold Secure Gold rating, putting it up there with the best bike locks on the market.
The OnGuard Pitbull utilises a 14mm ultra hardened steel shackle, which provides maximum cut resistance and will resist most forms of attack.
OnGuard sent me the Pitbull to test, and I was very impressed by its quality. Normally cheap bike locks are lightweight (due to increased amount of plastic parts) and feel flimsy, but this is not the case with the Pitbull.
This D lock weighs 3.13lb (1.42kg) which is fairly average for a Sold Secure Gold D lock. Many cheaper bike locks cut cost by using a less secure single bolted shackle. Fortunately, the Pitbull uses OnGuard’s X4P Quattro locking mechanism, which secures this D lock’s shackle from four sides.
The X4P Quattro mechanism makes the Pitbull extremely resistant to twist and pry attacks (two methods used by thieves to defeat cheap bike locks). This is a feature that you don’t see on many locks of this price and helped the Pitbull gain its place amongst the best cheap bike locks.
The shackle of the Pitbull measures 4.53” x 9.06” (11.5cm x 23cm) which provides plenty of room for securing your back wheel and frame at the same time. The Pitbull DT 8005 also comes with an OnGuard extension cable, that is super handy for securing your front wheel without having to remove it!
5 laser cut keys are supplied with the Pitbull, one of which features a bright LED, which is helpful when operating this D lock in the dark. A key code card is also included (seen above), which will allow replacements to be cut, should you lose your original keys.
You also have access to OnGuards Anti-Theft Protection Offer, a scheme which allows users to claim up to $2251 should their bike be stolen whilst using this D lock. More information regarding this service can be found on the OnGuard website.
You can easily fit the Pitbull into a backpack whilst cycling, or it’s also supplied with a mount which allows you to attach your lock in various locations on your bike’s frame.
The OnGuard Pitbull STD is essentially the same lock, but without the extension cable, making it a cheaper option for those who don’t require the handy cable extension! I do recommend the extension cable as it allows for faster, more secure locking.
As with most OnGuard products, you’ll receive a lifetime warranty. Which is impressive for such a cheap lock. It also features extra rubber padding on either end to prevent the lock scratching your bike’s paintwork.
All in all, the OnGuard Pitbull is a secure, reliable D lock and is easily one of the best cheap bike locks on the market.
Have a read of my detailed OnGuard Pitbull review.
Zefal K-Traz U17
The Zefal k-Traz is the second lock in my list of the best cheap bike locks. Apart from its black and red outer shell, the K-Traz is almost the exact same lock as the Onguard Pitbull.
I’m fairly certain that both OnGuard and Zefal manufacture their locks in the same factory since these two locks and their accessories are so similar!
The K-Traz U17 is a Sold Secure Gold rated D lock, which makes this lock suitable for use in high-risk areas such as large towns and cities. Zefal rated this lock at 17/20 on their security scale, making this their most secure bike lock.
The K-Traz features a 14mm Hardened steel shackle which is secured with Z-safe technology, a highly powerful quadruple locking system. These features allow the U-17 to resist almost all forms of attack, including cutting, twisting and hydraulic attacks.
The 3.9ft (1.2m) extension cable supplied allows you to secure more of your bike’s components. If you’ve learnt how to lock your bike properly, you’ll know that securing your bike’s frame should be your priority, followed by its wheels.
I used the Zefal Extension cable to easily secure my quick release front wheel without having to remove it. A feature which would be very handy for commuters and those who use their bike throughout the day.
Zefal offer their customers a two-year warranty and will exchange any product that becomes defective within two years of purchase. A good service, but unfortunately not a lifetime warranty like Kryptonite or OnGuard.
The Zefal K-Traz U17 Weighs 2.79lb (1.27kg) making it 5.29oz (150g) lighter than the OnGuard Pitbull. This weight difference may not sound like much, but for a lock which offers the same 4.53” x 9.06” (11.5cm x 23cm) 14mm shackle it’s impressive and having to carry less weight whilst cycling is a bonus.
In the box, you’ll receive 3 laser cut keys with a key code card. Unfortunately, there’s no LED key like you get with the OnGuard Pitbull. I did find however that the locking mechanism of the Zefal operates more fluidly than all three OnGuard locks featured in this review.
The locking mechanism of the Zefal U-17 is slightly spring-loaded. I found that this feature made the U-17 easier to lock & unlock than OnGuards locks.
Unfortunately, Zefal don’t offer the same Anti Theft Protection Offer that Kryptonite and OnGuard do, which is something to consider.
The U-17 is supplied with the same mounting system that is supplied with the Pitbull. This allows you to secure this D lock to multiple locations on your bike’s frame. The outside of the U-17’s shackle is coated in a soft rubber layer to prevent scratches to your bike’s paintwork, which is a standard feature for D locks.
All in all, the U-17 is another fantastic choice of bike lock. It retails at almost the same price as the OnGuard Pitbull, and its Sold Secure Gold rating helped it earn its place amongst the best cheap bike locks.
If I had to choose between the U-17 and the Pitbull, I’d go for the Pitbull. I like its bright, daunting colours and soft silicone padding that will keep your bike scratch-free. Two features the U-17 doesn’t have.
Kryptonite New-U Evolution Mini 5
Even though the Kryptonite Evolution Mini-5 is one of the best cheap bike locks on the market, it managed to earn its place amongst the best D locks on the market. Have a read if you’re interested in some more premium locking suggestions.
Kryptonite have been in the bicycle security game since 1971 and were the creators of the first-ever D lock. So, it’s no surprise that they know how to produce top-quality locks, they created what has since become the most popular style of bike lock!
This D lock is not as hefty as the others on our list and only weighs 2.65lb (1.2kg) making it ideal for those who want a lightweight bike lock. If you’re after something a little more lightweight, check out the best lightweight bike locks, the Mini-5 made the cut!
I love the feel of Kryptonite’s locks. Unlike Zefal and OnGuard, Kryptonite use hardly any plastic on their locks. This provides you with a much sturdier feeling lock. The Evolution Mini has a rubber-coated outer layer, that helps keep the inner mechanism shielded from the elements when using this lock outside.
The rubber coating sits on top of a protective steel casing, which holds and prevents tampering with the inner locking mechanism.
Kryptonite’s Flexframe-U Bracket is supplied with the Mini-5, which provides a secure and convenient way to transport this D lock whilst you cycle.
The Mini-5’s shackle is mini. It measures 3.25” x 5.5” (8.3cm x 14cm) which does make it considerably smaller than your standard bike lock. However small this sounds, it’s normally enough to secure the rear wheel and frame of a bike to a standard Sheffield bike rack.
A smaller shackle can actually be very beneficial. If you’ve read how to secure your bike properly, you’ll know that excess unfilled space inside a lock’s shackle provides thieves with an easy opportunity to pop your lock open! Alongside the Mini-5 I’d recommend a cable extension lock, this will allow you to secure your front wheel at the same time.
This D lock features Kryptonite’s new Double Deadbolt design alongside their higher security disc cylinder which is pick and drill resistant.
The video below shows the old Evolution Mini-5 being tested against two different sized bolt cutters. Impressive!
After purchasing the Evolution Mini- and registering your details on the Kryptonite website, you’ll be covered by Kryptonite’s Anti Theft Protection Offer. Kryptonite also offer their users a Lifetime Warranty on all of their products, something you don’t see from many manufacturers.
The New-U Evolution Mini-5 Received the Sold Secure Gold rating alongside 2/5 stars from ART the Dutch security testing company.
3 keys are supplied; one of which features a bright LED key fob.
If you’re on a tight budget, and after one of the best cheap bike locks on the market, the Evolution Mini-5 could be all you’re looking for and more. Just make sure to check the smaller shackle size will work for your bike!
OnGuard Brute - The Best & Strongest Cheap Bike Lock
This OnGuard D lock is what it says on the tin. A Brute. The OnGuard Brute is the only D lock in my list of the best cheap bike locks that is bolt cutter proof, thanks to its 16.8mm TriRadius hardened steel shackle.
This makes the OnGuard Brute the most secure, best cheap bike lock in the list. It’s Sold Secure Gold Rated and received an eye-watering 97/100 security rating from OnGuard. If you ride an expensive bike or frequently secure your bike in a high-risk area (large towns & cities), the Brute is the best cheap bike lock for you.
The OnGuard Brute also features OnGuards X4P Quattro locking system, which adds to the Brute’s resistance to all forms of attack. If like me, you aim to keep your bike scratch-free and in pristine condition, the co-moulded crossbar cover will prevent damage to your bike’s paintwork.
The one downside of the Brute is that it’s heavier due to the increased amount of metal used to manufacture its shackle. The Brute weighs 3.59lb (1.63kg) which makes it the heaviest D lock in this list.
The Brute does come with the OnGuard quick-release multi-position bracket, which means you won’t have to carry this extra weight in your backpack whilst cycling.
The mount supplied is plastic and doesn’t feel super robust. If your bike’s frame is thicker in some areas (like mine seen below) you may struggle to attach the mount as it’s designed for thinner circular-tubed frames.
The Brute provides plenty of locking space for your bike, I was easily able to secure my frame and back wheel at the same time. Unfortunately, the 8001 Brute STD isn’t supplied with an extension cable like the Pitbull, but these can be purchased separately for a very reasonable price. I’d recommend one.
You’ll receive the standard set of 5 keys (one with LED) along with a full lifetime warranty and access to OnGuard’s Anti Theft Protection Offer. If your bike is stolen whilst secured with the Brute, you can receive the full value of your bike back up to $5001. More details can be found on OnGuard’s website.
I did find that from time to time when unlocking and locking my bike, the Brute wouldn’t operate as smoothly as I expected. It’s hard to tell if the shackle is fully inserted, so make sure to push it all the way in before attempting to lock. This seemed to prevent locking issues.
As I said, if security is your main priority, the OnGuard Brute is the lock for you. Personally, If I had to choose one of these locks, I’d go for the Brute and then purchase a cable extension to secure my front wheel.
The video above shows the Brute going up against a pair of hydraulic cutters. If you’re not convinced by the Brute, have a watch.
Most of OnGuard’s locks are slightly cheaper in Europe. However, the prices elsewhere are still affordable and provide great security for the money you’ll be spending. Bolt cutter proof, Sold Secure Gold, if peace of mind is what you need, the OnGuard Brute is the lock for you.
If you’re interested, read my in-depth review of the OnGuard Brute.
Kryptonite Kryptolok Mini-7 U-lock & Cable Extension
The fifth lock in my list of the best cheap bike locks is another from Kryptonite. Kryptonite rate the Kryptolok Mini-7 at 6/10 on their security scale, which makes it slightly less secure than the New-U Evolution Mini 5 that I reviewed above.
The Mini-7 and Mini-5 both retail for a similar price, however, the Mini-7 is supplied with a 10mm Kryptoflex cable.
The hardened steel shackle of this affordable D lock measures 12.7mm thick, which seems thin when compared to the OnGuard Brute. However, thanks to its Double Deadbolt design, the Mini-7 also does a great job at resisting twist and hydraulic attacks.
Kryptonite’s New-U locks are updated versions of old locks. The Mini-7 received an upgrade to its dust cover and includes two updated steel keys with ergonomic design to prevent them from bending or breaking.
The Mini-7’s shackle is slightly larger than the Mini-5’s and measures in at 3.25” x 7” (8.2cm x 17.8cm). This extra length should allow enough locking area to encompass your bike’s frame and rear wheel, whilst using the Kryptoflex cable to secure your front wheel.
I was surprised by the weight of this lock. As it offers more locking room than the Mini-5, I expected it to weigh considerably more. Weighing in at only 2.5lb (1.13kg) this is actually the lighter option of the two. This small loss in weight comes from the width reduction of the Mini-7’s shackle (0.3mm thinner than the Mini-5’s).
As always with Kryptonite, you’ll have access to their Key Safe Program and will be covered by a lifetime warranty. Unfortunately, you won’t be covered by Kryptonite’s Anti-Theft Protection Offer when using this affordable D lock.
A great choice of bike lock for those looking for a reliable, affordable D lock.
The Best Cheap Bike Chain Locks
Kryptolok Series 2 955 Mini Integrated Chain
The 1055 Mini Integrated Chain and the Onguard Mastiff below are slightly more expensive than my previous suggestions in this article. I always aim to include a range of different locks, so wanted to include these two chain locks for those who prefer a flexible shackle.
The Evolution Series 4 1055 Mini is a smaller chain lock that offers increased portability when compared to larger chains. This lock received the Sold Secure Gold rating, as well as 2/5 stars from ART and a 6/10 rating on Kryptonite’s security scale, making this a “moderate security” chain.
The 1055 Mini Chain weighs 3.90lb (1.77kg) which allows its to be used on-the-go just as you would with any D lock. The chain is 21.5” (55cm) long, which gives for enough room to secure your bike’s rear-wheel and frame. I did expect this chain offer slightly more locking room, so it’s a good idea to check its size will work with your bike, before committing to purchase.
This Series 2 chain features Kryptonite’s ergonomic I Keys, which operate the pick and drill resistant high-security disc cylinder.
Each link of the 1055 Mini is made from 9mm thick 3T (3 tonne hardened) Manganese Steel. The 3T hardening process makes the links of this chain resistant to cutting and blunt force attacks, however, this isn’t thick enough to be considered bolt cutter proof.
The 1055 Mini definitely won’t provide as much protection for your bike as the bolt cutter proof, 16.8mm OnGuard Brute. However, if you’re riding a cheaper bike that doesn’t attract second looks, this chain provides an increased number of locking options thanks to its flexible chainlink shackle.
OnGuard Mastiff 8019 - The Best Cheap Bike Chain Lock
Before I cover the Mastiff, after checking supplier I’ve found that some of OnGuard’s locks are normally more expensive outside of Europe, but still come in cheaper than most other brands. The majority of OnGuard’s products are manufactured in China, so the shipping cost to specific regions probably affects their retail price.
If I had to choose between the Kryptonite 1055 Mini and the OnGuard Mastiff, I would with the Mastiff. For me, the 1055 Mini doesn’t better any of the D locks in this list of the best cheap bike locks because of its shorter length chain.
Fortunately, thanks to the Mastiff’s 3.5’ (1.06m) 10mm hardened steel chain you’re provided with many more locking options than with the 1055 Mini.
Either end of the Mastiff Chain is secured by OnGuard’s Boxer Lock. This impressive Disc Lock features a thick 14mm shackle, which resists all attacks, cutting, prying and jacking.
Because of the Mastiff’s increased length, it is the heaviest lock featured in this article. Weighing 6.94lb (3.15kg) I wouldn’t consider this lock hugely portable. I was able to easily fit it into my backpack and didn’t struggle whilst riding for 15 minutes.
If you’re a commuter who plans to use this lock every day, it might be worth using it as a static bike lock. You could leave the Mastiff at your workplace so that you don’t have to carry it every day whilst cycling.
I’ve only had this lock for a few weeks and it’s been hot and sunny, but I’ve read online that leaving this lock exposed to the elements for a long period can cause it to stiffen up. Fortunately all that’s needed to prevent this is decent lubrication and a tiny bit of maintenance. I’ve put together a quick guide on how to increase the life of your bike lock here.
Otherwise, the Mastiff is a great choice of bike lock. Its 10mm chain is surprisingly resilient and will shrug off most attacks. This is the best cheap chain lock on the market.
Best Cheap Bike Lock - Summary
The best cheap bike lock has to be the OnGuard Brute. It’s one of the cheaper locks I’ve covered in this article and its 16.8mm shackle shrugs off bolt cutters with ease.
If you frequently secure your bike in high-risk areas such as large cities and towns, a bolt cutter proof lock will give you peace of mind whilst you’re away from your bike. Bolt cutters are a thieves go-to tool, so it’s important to make sure your bike isn’t left vulnerable.
Thieves normally target the least secure bike they can find. Just the sight of the 16.8mm Brute should be enough to deter most thieves, but if they decide it’s worth the risk they’ll have a nightmare trying to remove it from your bike.
At the end of the day, no lock is “undefeatable” and with enough time and the right tools, any bike lock can be beaten. By opting for the most secure option (Brute) you’ll increase the time needed to break your bike lock, subsequently increasing the chance of the thief being caught!
If used properly, any of the bike locks in this list will serve you well. It’s important that you pick the lock that works best for you and your bike, so make sure that the shackle size/chain length suits you before committing to purchase.
If you’ve ordered a lock and want to learn about essential bike lock maintenance, have a read. A simple clean and lubrication will dramatically increase the working lifespan of your bike lock. I recommend every cyclist to carry out these simple steps.
If none of these cheap bike locks work for you, have a look through some of my recommendations below.
Remember, lock it, or lose it!