Producing a LINKA Smart Bike lock review has been on my to-do list for a while now!
I understand how annoying using a low-quality clunky bike lock is. A bike lock that’s constantly jamming and causing you hassle needs to be replaced. If you’re sick of your current bike lock, the LINKA can help.
Throughout this LINKA review, I’ll explain my experience of using this intelligent bike lock.
I’ll cover the LINKA’s strengths and weaknesses in as much detail as possible. By reading this review, you’ll understand if this smart bike lock is suitable for you!
First, we’ll take a look at how secure the LINKA Smart Bike Lock is.
Overview - LINKA Bluetooth Smart Bike Lock Review
If you’re looking for a user-friendly bike lock, that provides good levels of security for your bike and doesn’t weigh a ton, the LINKA Smart Bike Lock is your best bet.
With the touch of a button, this ART Level 2 Certified Bluetooth bike lock immobilises your bike. Keeping it safe until you’re ready to ride.
The application used to operate the LINKA is easy to get grips with and is available for Android and iOS devices.
Until recently testing the LINKA Smart Bike Lock, I thought that the ABUS 770A was the best smart bike lock on the market.
The LINKA isn’t as secure as the ABUS 770A but offers a number of impressive features that the 770A lacks. On top of this, the LINKA is much more portable weighing just 1.3lb (0.6kg)!
The LINKA is the best smart bike lock I’ve tried to date.
I advise the additional purchase of the Heavy Duty LINKA Chain, as it works flawlessly with the LINKA and will allow you to secure your bike to any immovable object.
If you want to view the most up to date and competitive price for the LINKA, view it on the LINKA website here.
Security – How Secure Is The LINKA Smart Bike Lock?
Security is definitely one of the main factors we need to assess with any bike lock.
After all, what good would a tech-packed smart bike lock be if it could be removed with a pair of scissors?
Security Ratings – What Security Ratings Does the Linka Have?
If you’re a keen bean with your bicycle security, you’ll understand what ART Level 2 Certification means.
For those of you that don’t spend your existence researching bike locks; ART are a Dutch organisation that grade and benchmark different security products.
Their security rating testing assigns ratings from Level 1 to Level 5. Below I’ve put together a brief explanation of what each level means.
- 1 star = Minimal security or “take along security” – Nothing to write home about
- 2 stars = Product is suitable for use with bicycles
- 3 stars = Product is suitable for use with mopeds and scooters
- 4 stars = Product is suitable for use with motorcycles (on the road)
- 5 stars = Product is suitable for use with motorcycles (stored at home) – Incredible security
Now that I’ve briefly explained what the ART ratings mean, you’ll be happy to know that the LINKA Smart Bike Lock achieved ART Level 2 Certification.
This means the LINKA provides more than enough security for use with your bicycle.
As always, if your bike was expensive or has sentimental value, then I advise you use two locks to secure your bike.
The ART Level 2 rating has never been awarded to a smart bike lock before, this shows the quality of the LINKA is superior compared to other smart locks.
Security Features – Will The LINKA Protect My Bike?
When the LINKA Smart Bike Lock is put into locked mode, its 9mm hardened steel shackle automatically slides through your back wheel.
A 9mm shackle isn’t super thick for a bike lock. However, because of the way the LINKA is positioned, it’d be an awkward challenge for a thief to target the shackle.
If a thief did attempt to attack this lock whilst it was securing your bike, its loud 110+dB anti-theft alarm would blast.
During testing, I found the alarm was a decent additional security feature. Its alarm isn’t as loud as the Oxford Alarm D’s, but does work as a deterrent and will shock an unsuspecting thief.
The 110+dB alarm is emitted from a small hole on the back of the lock. Unfortunately, when I mounted the LINKA to my bike, the hole was slightly covered by my seatstays.
This meant that when the alarm was activated, it wasn’t as loud as it could be.
Despite this small hiccup, I would say that the 110+dB alarm feature the LINKA offers increases the overall security of your bike whilst locked. A good addition overall.
See how the LINKA and its 110dB+ alarm works in my short video below.
If the alarm is triggered whilst your bike is secured, a “tamper alert” is sent to your phone. The LINKA Original sends this alert using Bluetooth, which means this feature is slightly limited by distance.
Unlike the new LINKA LEO 2 Pro, this does mean you have to be within close proximity to receive the alert.
If you lock your bike just outside of where you work, this feature is ideal.
The new LINKA LEO 2 has 4G LTE connectivity which means if your bike was tampered with, you could receive a warning even if you were on the other side of the world!
When locking my bike with the LINKA, I use the 10mm LINKA Heavy Duty Noose Chain to secure my bike to a bike rack or lamppost.
I’ll explain how to use this chain effectively later, but have definitely found it to be a worthwhile addition to this impressively smart bike lock.
Practicality - How Practical Is the LINKA Smart Bike Lock?
I didn’t encounter any major issues whilst using the LINKA, which is always a good sign!
However, there are a few small tweaks that I think could have been made to increase the overall user experience with the LINKA Original. I’ll explain these in this section.
The LINKA is designed to be used with any bike. Its simplistic design allows it to work with 85% of bikes on the market.
You can find the LINKA sizing guide here, if you want to make sure this smart lock will fit your bike.
If your bike uses super-wide tires or has an unusual frame design, it may be worth getting in touch with the LINKA team to double-check this smart lock will work with your bike. They’ll be happy to help!
As I explained above, the LINKA Original is operated using your smartphone. I enjoy the keyless feature as it’s one less set of keys to worry about.
After a few weeks of testing, I’ve found the LINKA app has worked well and been very responsive when paired with the lock.
After previously reviewing the ABUS 770A Smart X, I couldn’t make my mind up on keyless locks.
The 770A Smart X can only be operated by its app and doesn’t have a backup method of operation if your phone’s battery runs out.
Fortunately, the team behind LINKA implemented a clever PAC code system. This allows phone-less unlocking by entering a customisable code into your LINKA whilst it’s locked.
I found the PAC feature to be exceptionally handy and useful in several scenarios.
If you get caught in the rain and remember your phone is at the bottom of your backpack, instead of digging to the bottom of your bag and soaking its contents, enter your custom PAC code (using the power button) and the LINKA will unlock without hassle.
If you share your bike with friends or family, the LINKA Bike Share feature allows you to grant access to additional users using the Linka app.
Another great feature, which makes the LINKA one of the smartest bike locks out there.
Just like the ABUS 770A SmartX, the LINKA has an automatic unlocking feature. This means when approaching your bike, the LINKA will connect to your phone and automatically unlock.
I’ve never been a huge fan of this feature with any smart bike lock. The “auto-unlocking” bike locks I’ve tested so far, including the LINKA aren’t as smooth as they could be with this feature.
I’ve found it to be more reliable to use the app or manually double-tap the power button to use the LINKA’s Quick-Lock feature.
If your phone is nearby, and Quick-Lock is activated on the App, double-tap the power button in quick succession, and you’ll be able to lock and unlock the LINKA with ease.
As for the Auto-Locking feature, I disable it with all of my smart locks.
As I stated above, the auto-locking feature hasn’t been perfected with any smart bike lock I’ve tested. The technology we have isn’t quite up to it yet.
LINKA Adjustable Alarm Sensitivity Modes
Designed for areas with zero or low traffic where disturbances won’t occur (garages, bike sheds & indoors)
For use in areas with low to medium traffic where disturbances are less likely (quiet city areas, villages & towns).
Ideal for areas with high traffic where minor disturbances are likely (cities & town centres).
If you lock your bike in a communal bike shed, or an exceptionally busy area and are worried about the 110+dB alarm being set off by accident, don’t panic!
Within the LINKA App, you’re able to lower the tamper alarm’s sensitivity. This allows you the LINKA to adapt to its surroundings. The alarm will now only be triggered by more intense disturbances.
Weight and Size
Because the LINKA is permanently attached to your bike, you don’t notice its weight whilst cycling.
Weighing just 1.3lb (0.6kg) the LINKA is a featherweight bike lock, that packs a punch. If you’re a fan of lightweight bike locks the LINKA is a great choice.
Whilst cycling, you won’t notice the LINKA, and due to its positioning and size, it won’t get in the way whilst you’re on the move.
The LINKA is 5.3” (13.4cm) wide, 6.0” (15.2cm) tall and 1.3” (3.3cm) thick. The Inside of the link measures 2.5” providing enough room for most bike wheels.
If your Wheels are wider than 2.5”, the LINKA Original probably won’t work for you. However, the new LINKA LEO 2 has a large size that will fit larger bikes with bigger wheels/tires.
The LINKA lock is a frame lock that is permanently secured to the seatstays of your bike.
Some bikes provide mounting points on the underside of the seatstays. If your bike has these mount points, you’ll be able to use the screws supplied to firmly fasten the LINKA to your frame.
Frame locks are more common in Europe. Many European bikes will allow you to mount the LINKA using its screws.
If (like me) your bike doesn’t have these mounting points, don’t worry. Four cable ties are supplied with the LINKA, which allow you to mount the lock to your bike effectively.
These standard cable ties aren’t the prettiest mounting system, but they do the job.
If you’d rather a more robust solution, you can buy a slightly more durable pair of LINKA branded mounting straps.
The branded LINKA straps were actually fiddlier to use.
I found the cable ties to be more than sufficient and slightly easier to use than the branded ties.
Once you’ve attached the cables to the frame of your bike, cut them down, and you’ll hardly notice they were there.
Once tightly mounted, the LINKA held firmly in place and was completely silent whilst riding.
Quality & Maintenance
The LINKA’s ultra-durable die-cast body is made from thick, strong aluminium, which has a textured & polished finished and gives the Linka a premium feel.
For those interested in how the LINKA will cope when exposed to the elements, it’s IP56 rated.
This IP rating means that the LINKA is “protected against harmful dust” and provides “Protection from strong water jets. No harmful effect of strong water jets from all directions”.
I water tested the LINKA, and saturated it with a garden hose for around two minutes, applying water from all angles.
To gain the IP56 rating, products are subject to strong water jets from all directions for at least 3 minutes.
This means the LINKA shouldn’t struggle over time whilst being exposed to bad weather.
However, as with any electronic, it’s not the best idea to leave the LINKA Lock water resistant testing constantly exposed to the elements.
If you leave your bike uncovered whilst locked at home and when cycling, regardless of the lock you’re using, your bike will slowly get rusty with your lock following suit.
If you don’t use a weatherproof bike cover or a good quality bike shed, either of these would be a good investment.
LINKA's Battery Life
The advertised battery life for the LINKA is up to 16 months. Out of the box, I didn’t charge my LINKA as I was too eager to test it out. After three days of moderate usage, the battery has gone from 39 to 34%.
I haven’t had my LINKA for 16 months yet, so can’t comment on that. But once fully charged, its battery is designed to last a long, long time.
This is great as you won’t need to constantly bring your bike inside to charge the LINKA.
Understand that “up to 16 months” means in optimum conditions, probably with no usage an in sleep mode the battery will last 16 months.
I’d expect the LINKA’s battery once fully charged, to last around 3 months with daily usage.
How Much Does the LINKA Smart Bike Lock Cost?
When you consider just how smart the LINKA is and the fact that it’s the only smart lock to have achieved ART Level 2 certification, its price seems very reasonable.
For a lock with so many convenient, smart features, I think it’s a good deal.
You can view the most up to date and competitive price for this smart bike lock, here on the LINKA website.
Now instead of spending half an hour each day locking & unlocking your bike, you can do it with the touch of a button with LINKA.
The Best Way to Use the LINKA Lock
As I explained above, when mounting the LINKA lock to your bike, you should make sure to mount it to the inside of your seatstays, rather than the outside.
The images below show the two different ways you can mount the LINKA and highlight the most secure option.
By mounting the LINKA to the inside of your seatstays, it secures the rear wheel and the frame of your bike at the same time.
If a thief tried to remove your rear wheel, the LINKA would be too wide to be pulled out of your rear forks. This method of locking is called the Sheldon Brown method.
How to Use the LINKA Heavy Duty Chain Lock
If you’re buying the LINKA Lock, I recommend the additional Heavy Duty LINKA Chain. It provides great additional security and is easy to transport in a backpack.
Without the chain, when the LINKA is locked, your bicycle is immobilised, with the chain your bike is immovable and more secure.
When locking my bike the first few times, it was hard to position the end chain link so that the LINKA’s shackle would go straight through the middle and lock the first time.
If the shackle detects resistance, the locking procedure is cancelled, and you have to attempt to lock again.
However, after securing my bike in several different areas, I’d mastered the technique needed to quickly and effectively lock up using the LINKA and its chain.
If anyone from LINKA reads this article, It’s probably a good idea to slightly increase the size of the end link you use to lock up with!
Increasing the end link size would increase the user-friendliness of the LINKA & chain and allow for quicker, seamless locking.
Apart from that, the Heavy Duty LINKA Chain is worth the money for the peace of mind it provides.
If you’re considering the LINKA Smart Bike Lock and live in the US or the UK, I’d strongly advise this chain or the use of a secondary bike lock to lock your bike to an immovable object.
What's Included with the LINKA Bike Lock?
- LINKA Smart Bike Lock
- Micro USB Charger
- Quick Start Manual
- 2 x Mounting Hex screws
- 2 x Nylon Washers
- 4 x Standard (non-branded) Zip Ties
Optional Extras (not included in box):
- LINKA Heavy Duty Chain
- LINKA Heavy Duty Mounting Straps
How Does the LINKA Compare to Other Bike Locks?
ABUS 770A Smart X – The Best Smart D Lock
The 770A Smart X is ABUS’ first attempt at a smart bike lock. For a first attempt, this super-smart D lock is impressive.
However, when it comes to “smart” features, I would say the LINKA is a better lock. Sadly, the 770A doesn’t offer its users the ability to use it without a phone.
For me, a Smart lock needs to provide multiple ways for users to unlock it. If you don’t want to be left stranded with an unlockable bike, I’d recommend the LINKA.
The LINKA doesn’t provide the same levels of security but offers increased portability and a better all-round experience.
Oxford Alarm D Max Duo – The Best Bike Lock with Alarm
Okay, Oxford’s Alarm D isn’t quite as smart as the LINKA lock, but it does pack an extremely powerful 120dB alarm.
Let me tell you this alarm is deafening and is easily loud enough to attract the attention of passers-by or scare off a thief.
It doesn’t have the ability to pair with your phone and doesn’t offer keyless locking, but what it does, it does well.
The Max Duo is one of my favourite bike locks and is surprisingly affordable [Amazon link].
TiGr Mini – Super Lightweight ART Level 2 Certified
For those of you that want a super-lightweight bike lock, look no further. The TiGr Mini is one of the first bike locks on the market that’s made from titanium.
If you didn’t already know, titanium offers the best strength/weight ratio of all metals, which make the TiGr extremely portable and impressively strong.
ART gave the TiGr Mini their Level 2 Certification which sits it alongside the LINKA in terms of security.
TiGr don’t yet offer a smart bike lock, but if you’re looking for a lightweight bike lock that isn’t going to weigh you down, the TiGr Mini Would be a smart choice!
How to Setup Your LINKA Smart Bike Lock
Connecting your phone and your Linak lock is very easy.
Once you’ve downloaded the app, and created an account, you’ll be asked to press the power button on the LINKA until its blue button begins flashing.
Your phone will search for the LINKA, once the LINKA has been discovered, tap on it to pair.
You’ll then be able to name your LINKA lock. You could give it a memorable or funny name, or give it your name. I called mine “James’s LINKA”.
Next, you’ll be prompted to enter a PAC code. Your PAC code is your Phoneless Access Code. If your phone is out of battery, this is the code you’ll need to open the LINKA.
Keep your PAC code secret.
Once you’ve completed these steps, your LINKA bike lock will be good to go!
LINKA Setup Guide & App
All of the settings for the LINKA lock can be accessed from the homepage of the app.
There are two different settings menus; each offers a list of different toggle-able features.
My diagram below explains what the buttons within the app do.
The app can be downloaded on both Android and iOS.
I used the iOS version of the app, which may be slightly different from android, but the features within the app will be pretty much the same.
The best way to learn about your LINKA is to test out each feature. I found the LINKA app to be very straightforward and user friendly.
There isn’t a huge amount of pages within the app, which keeps it nice a simple, but it’s also easy to modify the LINKA’s settings to your preference.
About LINKA - What is the LINKA Lock?
Mohamed Mohamed is the founder and mastermind behind LINKA. In 2014 Mohamed began to develop the LINKA after struggling to find a bike lock that met his needs.
He spent months researching features craved by cyclists and not offered by existing locks, intending to create the most user-friendly & reliable smart lock the world had ever seen.
In 2015 after catching headlines at the Bike Expo New York, the LINKA was added to the crowdfunding website Kickstarter. Within three days, the LINKA was funded.
The LINKA has won multiple prestigious awards such as the Eurobike Gold Award and the TAIPEI Cycle D&I Gold Award.
Since 2015 the team behind LINKA haven’t sat still. They’ve recently released the LINKA LEO 2 Pro which is an even smarter 4G LTE ready smart lock.
If you value your bike, LINKA is definitely a company you should keep an eye on.
Summary – LINKA Smart Bike Lock Review
I’ve really enjoyed using the LINKA Smart Bike lock. After having a few issues with the ABUS 770A, it was a pleasant surprise just how well polished and user friendly the LINKA is.
It’s elegant, comes in two different colours and will keep your bike secure whilst you’re on the move.
If I had to pick between the LINKA Smart Bike Lock and the ABUS 770A Smart X, I’d go for the LINKA.
It’s affordable and offers many well-rounded features for its users—a top-quality smart bike lock and the best one I’ve reviewed so far.