Losing a bike to theft is not fun. Even though I’ve managed to not have a bike stolen since I was a child, I’ve been playing it safe, and no longer use cable locks to secure my bikes.
I’ve been using these three high security locks from Abus. All three use Abus’ Granit X Plus key system, which is highly pick resistant, and comes with two keys and a code card to replace lost keys. Each lock is scored as a 15, Abus’ highest rating for bicycle security. Each of these locks is part of a family, with less expensive, and less secure models available for areas of lower risk.
U54 Mini – $110
It might be a bit of stretch calling this lock “mini”, but is smaller than a full size u-lock, while being large enough to still fit around almost any pole, including reinforced parking meters. It does not fit into a back pocket though.The shackle locks on both sides, so a thief would need to cut both sides to free your bike, and the locking mechanism is claimed to be very resistant to leverage and striking attacks. I used this most often when running errands solo, and I knew where I was planning to lock up. Weighing in at 3.5 pounds, the U54 is a solid but not overly heavy piece of protection.
Granit City Chain 1060 – $200
This thing is a bruiser, and from a visual standpoint, this thing will probably make most thieves move on to less sturdy looking looks. The City Chain isn’t all looks, with 10mm thick square chain links, and a direct connection between the lock and chain, no separate lock to lose or create a weak point for attack. A heavy fabric sleeve protects your bike’s finish, and this brute weighs in at 4.6 pounds. I mostly used this to lock bikes on my porch or on days when I had both a cargo bike and kids bikes to lock up, as the 33-inch length was big enough to handle multiple bikes.
Bordo 6500 – $170
The Bordo series of locks has a lot of fans here at the Bicycle Times. A cross between a u-lock and chain, this folding lock is by far my favorite. It’s the same length as the Granit City chain, but the folding nature of the lock can be more frustrating to use. I’ve managed to lock up three mountain bikes outside a bar, and felt secure enough to head inside for drinks without constantly checking on the $15,000 worth of bikes every three minutes. It’s the same weight as the U54 U-lock, but can fit around more bikes and larger poles. It even comes with a nifty carrying case that can mount into water bottle bosses or Velcro around a frame tube. And when locking up alone, the Bordo (and City chain) is big enough to secure the frame and front wheel.
Each of these locks is a solid investment in a long relationship with your bike. For all around use the Bordo 6500 is easy recommendation for me to make. For the highest level of security and for locking up at established bike racks, the U54 U-lock is the best bet. For groups of bikes, difficult locking situations, and looking like a bad ass, the Granit City (which is also part of Abus’s motorcycle security line) get the nod.
Editor’s note: This review originally appeared in Issue #32 of Bicycle Times. To make sure you never miss a product review, order a subscription and you’ll be ready for the everyday cycling adventure.
Take a behind-the-scenes look at how Abus locks are made in our tour of its factory in Germany.