Last updated: August 5, 2021

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Bicycles are a popular target for thieves and bicycle locks are often easy to pick. A sturdy and secure bicycle lock is therefore an essential accessory for all cyclists. Bicycle chain locks are one possible form of theft protection. They consist of several chain links, are often protected with a textile and offer high security and flexibility. With our bicycle chain lock test 2022 we want to help you find the best bicycle chain lock for you. For this purpose, we have compared several models with each other and selected the most important facts for you. In addition, we provide you with tips and valuable information that will help you in your purchase decision and in dealing with chain locks.




Summary

  • Unlike bicycle brackets or cable locks, bicycle chain locks are very flexible and yet stable and secure thanks to the robust material and the movable chains. The chain lock can be easily attached anywhere.
  • Generally, bicycle chain locks are distinguished between a key system and a numerical code. Both locks are similar in design, although a chain lock with a key is considered more secure.
  • The VdS certification informs you about the respective security level when buying bicycle chain locks and thus assures you of various quality and security features.

Best Bicycle Chain Lock: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for bicycle chain locks

In the following evaluation section, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the flood of chain locks. In summary, these are:

In the following paragraphs we will explain these criteria in more detail and what is important.

Material and weight

The material and weight of chain locks for bicycles are very important criteria. The material should be robust, preferably hardened and heavy. In the table, we show you what is important in terms of material and weight.

Type Description
Material Chain locks for bicycles are usually made of hardened metal. The favourite metal for bicycle locks is hardened steel. It is particularly robust, hard and durable. This also makes the lock heavy and thus increases its security.
Weight The most important thing besides the material is the weight of the chain lock. The heavier the chain, the higher the security and protection against theft. Of course, material and weight play a role here. Hardened steel is very heavy and therefore also promotes security

The thickness of the individual chain links is also important. Thick and therefore heavy chain locks are more secure. A good and high-quality bicycle chain lock should therefore be thick, heavy and made of hard metal. This is the only way a chain lock can fulfil its goal of security.

Mounting and locking

Chain locks for bicycles are generally very flexible compared to other bicycle locks. This also helps when fitting them to the bicycle. The individual movable chain links, often with a textile cover, allow the bicycle to be chained almost anywhere.

Precise and high-quality workmanship is important

There are also differences in mounting depending on the model. Most chain locks can be locked either with a numerical code or with a key. Both types can be locked in a similar way. Depending on the model, the lock can either be integrated into the chain, a kind of padlock, or mounted on the side. All options offer similar protection. The workmanship is very important, because chains are often cut at locking points. Both types of lock have different advantages and disadvantages, which are discussed in more detail below.

Security and theft protection

The aim of every bicycle chain lock is to protect against theft. The many different models of bicycle chain locks all guarantee a high level of security. However, many locks are less secure than others.

VdS certification is an important seal of quality for chain locks.

The VdS seal tests bicycle locks and then divides them into classes, which also serve as a basis for the police and insurance companies. In the event of a bicycle theft, the VdS certificate is particularly helpful for the insurance company. The different classes certify the locks so that you can quickly recognise the quality and security when buying.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a bicycle chain lock

In the following section, we will answer the most important questions about bicycle chain locks. After reading the guide, you should know all the essential background information and differences about bicycle chain locks.

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Bicycles should always be chained to deter thieves and prevent them from stealing them in the first place (Photo source: Rollstein / Pixabay)

What is special about a bicycle chain lock and what advantages does it offer?

Bicycle chain locks are locks that consist of several individual chain links. They are connected to each other and are often covered with a textile protection. This cover not only protects the chain lock, but also the spokes and the frame of the bicycle. Here we show you a few advantages and disadvantages of chain locks compared to other bicycle locks such as U-locks or folding locks.
Advantages
  • resistant
  • flexible and therefore easy to use
  • bike can be locked anywhere
Disadvantages
  • rather high prices
  • impractical transport
  • less security than U-locks

Thanks to these advantages, chain locks have proven themselves and are still very popular.

What types of bicycle chain locks are there?

Chain locks for bicycles can generally be differentiated by the type of lock. There are either chain locks with a numerical code or with a key lock. In this section we will show you how the two models work and what advantages and disadvantages they have.

Bicycle chain lock with key lock

Bicycle chain locks with a key are the most commonly used security locks. They are available with 2 to 3 keys and offer high to very high security depending on the model. Most of these chains have the lock integrated. Some manufacturers, however, also offer chain locks that function like handcuffs in that the lock is mounted on the side of the actual chain.

Advantages
  • Keys are more secure
  • very easy to lock
Disadvantages
  • Key can be lost
  • key can be broken

Handcuff locks are very practical because they make it even easier to lock the bike. Locks with keys have the significant advantage of greater security, although you should take good care of your key.

Bike chain lock with combination code

A bicycle chain lock with a combination code consists of a chain, just like a lock with a key, but with a turning device. With this device and your own combination of numbers, you can open the chain. With a chain lock with a combination code you do not need a key, but can simply enter your combination of numbers. In the table below we show you some advantages and disadvantages of these models.

Advantages
  • no accessories such as keys necessary
  • simple operation
Disadvantages
  • Remembering the code is important, otherwise there is no way to apply the lock
  • not as secure as locks with keys

If you are good at remembering combinations and don't want to have another key on your waistband, a combination lock is a good choice, but the security of locks with keys is somewhat higher.

Do I need a bicycle chain lock?

Whereas people in the countryside often wonder whether a bicycle chain lock is necessary at all, almost all city dwellers use a bicycle lock.

Bicycles are a very popular target for thieves and should definitely be locked.

Although it is advantageous to park the bicycle in a room or garage, this possibility does not always exist. Therefore, a bicycle lock offers the necessary security.

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You should always play it safe with a bicycle chain lock. Experts also recommend two locks per bicycle to put a stop to thieves (Image source: Magdalicja / Pixabay)

Be it at night as well as during the day, bicycles get stolen. With a bicycle chain lock, theft can often be prevented. Although almost every bicycle lock can be broken open with professional equipment, thieves often do not even try to break into locked bicycles. You should not hope that they won't hit you, but trust in a high-quality and secure bicycle chain lock.

What is the best way to lock my bicycle chain lock?

Bicycles are often locked only with a lock between the rear wheel and the frame. However, this does not stop thieves from lifting up the bike and taking it away. In order to lock your bike securely and protect it from theft, we have put together a few important points for you:

  1. Fixed object: Always lock your bike to fixed objects that cannot be dismantled or carried away.
  2. Bright surroundings: At best, lock your bike in well-lit places.
  3. In view: Lock your bike in a busy area.
  4. Secure parts: Lock the front and rear wheels and do not leave lights or other accessories hanging from the bike.
  5. Lock your bike as tightly as possible to make it harder for thieves.
  6. At home: At best, park your bike in a locked room or garage.

What is the best way to attach a chain lock to a bicycle?

Bicycle chain locks all have the same disadvantage. This is the impractical attachment of the lock to the bicycle while riding. Unlike lever or U-locks, chain locks cannot be mounted directly in a holder on the bicycle. They are therefore often wrapped around the handlebars or carried in a backpack. However, many locks take up a lot of space and are very heavy. For this reason, some manufacturers offer small bags that are attached to the bicycle as accessories to carry the chain lock in. If you have the advantage of a bicycle with a basket, you can also transport the lock in it.

Conclusion

With the help of bicycle chain locks, you can protect your bicycle and sometimes also your scooter or other movable objects from thieves. The stability, workmanship, material and weight of the chains are particularly important. Heavy and solid chain locks made of hardened steel are therefore more secure and harder to break open. A bicycle chain lock belongs to every cyclist. The chain locks for bicycles presented above will help you decide which model is right for you. The tips and recommendations from the guide should help you to put a stop to thieves. With our recommendation, the buying criteria and the guide, you should find the right chain lock for your bike. Photo source: 123rf / Oleksandr Kozak

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