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Updated July 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best ABUS bike locks

A bicycle is a healthy, climate-friendly way to get around, but if you park your bike on the street you’ll probably need a bike lock. Over two million bicycles are stolen each year in the United States, and most American cyclists will eventually experience a loss due to theft. But a quality bike lock should deter any thief.

ABUS, a well-known German manufacturer of security products, offers an array of top-notch bicycle locks. However, before you invest, you’ll need to consider the different types of bike locks and their features in order to find the best configuration for your specific bike and security needs. With its comprehensive range, ABUS is sure to have a bike lock that will discourage bike thieves and keep your bike safe wherever you leave it.

bike lock
Use both a lock and cable to secure your bike. A strong U-lock or ABUS bike chain will hold the bike frame to a rack or pole, while an ABUS steel cable will secure the wheels.

Types of ABUS bike locks

U-lock bike locks

As its name implies, this type of bike lock has an exaggerated U shape, topped by a horizontal crossbar. It’s ideal for securing the bike frame to a bike rack because U-locks are extraordinarily difficult to cut. However, U-locks tend to be heavy and configuring them around thicker poles and other stationary objects can be a challenge.

Other downsides to U-locks are that they can be clumsy and hard to store. If a mount is provided, it can be awkward to position on some bike frames. Many cyclists toss their ABUS U-lock into their backpack or pannier while riding rather than dealing with a bracket mount.

Cable bike locks

Lightweight and flexible, ABUS steel cable locks are very versatile. They are long enough to snake through the bike frame and around bulkier parking stands or telephone poles. Longer versions can also reach through the spokes of the front wheel, securing yet another vulnerable part of the bicycle. Thin cables are ideal for snaking through the frame of a bike seat to deter thieves.

That said, even ABUS’s wrapped steel cables will yield to a bolt cutter. Cable bike locks should be seen as a backup security option, not a primary lock.

Chain bike locks

Tougher to cut than cable locks, chain locks are a common sight on city bikes. They provide the same versatility as cable locks but a higher level of security. ABUS chain bike locks boast hardened steel links that require between four and 12 tons of cutting force to break, depending on the link size.

However, chain locks are the heaviest ABUS bike lock product and can even unbalance the bike if the lock is stored in a side pannier. Some riders opt to wear the chain lock around their waist or shoulder, but neither is very comfortable. And while the chain itself may be extremely difficult to cut, it’s only as good as the lock holding it together.

Frame bike locks

ABUS frame locks are integrated into the bicycle frame. These small steel locks immobilize the rear wheel of a bicycle, providing an added deterrent to theft. Frame locks can be quickly locked and unlocked. And their small size and location make them difficult to cut.

Frame bike locks are bulky, however, and add weight to the bicycle. They may not be ideal for all bicycle frames. Frame locks also don’t stop a thief from just picking up the bike and carrying it off, so a chain or U-lock must be used to secure the bike to a stationary object.

Register your bike lock key. ABUS has a key registry and can ship a replacement set if you ever lose the key and the spare.

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Considerations when choosing an ABUS bike lock

Living in a high-theft area

While theft is an issue in any populated area, certain cities are notorious for high levels of bike theft. A U-lock and a strong cable or chain are minimum anti-theft requirements if you live in a high-theft bike area.

Daytime bike parking

Some companies provide a secure bike parking area, so you may feel comfortable with a single lock. Many commuter rail stations have locked bike garages that are accessible with a special key card. This also provides peace of mind, though you should probably double-lock your bike. Sometimes you have to park out on the street or tuck your bike into a public rack all day. Max out your lock configuration in this case.

Nighttime bike parking

Storing your bicycle in a locked shed, garage, or even inside your apartment will deter thieves. If you don’t have that option and must park outside, you’ll need multiple locks.

bike lock
DID YOU KNOW?
Keep bike locks off the ground. Thieves can use the ground as a solid base to smash a lock. By keeping chains and U-locks close to the frame and bike rack, there’s less room for thieves to apply leverage or force.
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Accessories for ABUS bike locks

Lock mounts

ABUS bike locks do not all come with mounts. These are often sold separately. ABUS offers a range of mount accessories to fit their bike locks. With a mount, you can secure your U-lock or chain lock to your bike during rides.

Saddle bags

A bicycle saddle bag fits snugly underneath the bike’s seat. A medium-size bag can hold smaller U-locks, a cable lock, or a chain lock.

Pannier bags

Tuck bike locks into a pannier bag for quick removal and fast storage.

Spare keys

ABUS bike locks come with a spare key but consider ordering a third spare just in case.

Floor/wall anchors

Garages, basements, and sheds are popular storage spots for bicycles, and thieves know it. A lock anchor securing the bike to the floor or wall may stop a theft.

How much do ABUS bike locks cost?

Inexpensive

For $19 to $44, ABUS offers cable locks and mini U-locks. These are good supplemental bike locks.

Mid-range

Thinner ABUS U-locks and chain locks are available in the $46 to $87 range, making this an ideal entry-level price point.

Expensive

When security is top of mind, an investment of $90 to $200 in ABUS’s toughest U-locks or chain locks is crucial.

Add a floor or wall anchor in your garage or shed. Thread an ABUS bike chain through the anchor and around your bike’s frame to store it securely at night.

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Tips

  • Know your bike’s serial number. Found on the frame, the serial number is the best way to identify your bike if it’s lost or stolen.
  • Register your bike. A bicycle registry like Project 529 can help locate and recover your bike if it is stolen.
  • Learn to reset a combination bike lock. If you use a combination lock instead of keys, change the code frequently. Instructions for resetting the combination are on the lock packaging.
  • Cable locks prevent opportunistic theft. Bicycle seats and wheels are frequent targets. Use a long cable lock to snake through both the front and rear wheels and the underside of the seat, then secure them to the frame (and the bike rack if the cable is long enough).
  • Protect locks from rain and muck. Sand, salt, water, and muck can gum up the lock mechanism.
  • Replace damaged keys. Don’t use a damaged key in a bike lock as it can break off in the lock.
  • Choose busy areas during the day. Lock your bike up in an area with lots of pedestrians during the day. Thieves are less likely to act when there are potential witnesses around.
bike lock
Avoid the outside edges of bike racks when possible. Bikes locked to the outside edge of a rack are easier targets for theft or damage.

FAQ

Q. I lost the key to my ABUS bike lock. Can I get a replacement?

A. If you have the key code for your ABUS bike lock (usually found inside the packaging), register it at the ABUS website by creating an account. The company will then cut a new key and mail it to you if you lose yours. If you don’t have the key code but you have a spare key, take a picture of the spare and send it to ABUS. They may be able to reproduce the key.

Q. What’s the best way to install an ABUS U-lock bracket on my bicycle?

A. The ideal position for an ABUS bracket is on the seat tube, the vertical tube in the middle of the bike frame, between the top and down tubes. The U-lock slips into the bracket and stays out of sight under the top tube. This helps with balance, too. However, not every bicycle allows for this configuration. Electric bikes, certain carbon-fiber bicycles, and certain frame designs won’t accept the recommended mount configuration. That said, you can often find online videos from owners of these types of bikes showing creative ways to mount U-locks without damaging the bike’s frame.

Q. What if my ABUS U-lock mechanism gets jammed?

A. The cylinder discs in the locking mechanism of many brands of U-locks tend to misalign and jam up. ABUS locks are far less likely to suffer from this than competitors. But dirt, mud, and water can affect the smoothest of lock mechanisms. Clean and lubricate the lock mechanism any time it feels gritty or hard to turn. Open the U-lock and spray WD-40 into the lock chamber. Then drain the WD-40, which should remove grit and moisture. Finally, treat the lock with a Teflon-based lubricant like Finish Line or TriFlow. Avoid graphite lubricant – it can get gummed up if water enters the lock chamber.

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