Bike commuting means bike theft. You need a good lock. we used a hammer, bolt cutters, and a Dremel rotary saw on these (way beyond what most thieves would deploy) to see how they’d hold up.
1. Kryptonite new York Legend 1590
The 15-mm-thick hardened-steel links on this 10-pound beast slide uncooperatively when you try to violate them. Bust the plastic off the dead bolt and it reveals a scarier-looking steel shackle. The Dremel took a battery-killing 15 minutes to get through one link, and we still needed a second cut to slide the neighboring link out. your bike is safe.
WIRED Cylinder has a drill-resistant protection system. $4,500 antitheft protection.
TIRED Literally heavier than some bikes.
Rating: 9 out of 10
2. Blackburn San Quentin
Like any U-lock, this presented a tantalizingly long expanse to work with, but the hexagonal profile of the 18-mm-thick alloy steel makes it hard to find a good angle. The saw got through in about eight minutes, but we’d have needed a second cut to remove the thing: It locks on both sides. and by that point we didn’t have the juice to go full-power for another eight minutes.
WIRED Smooth locking mechanism. $4,000 antitheft guarantee.
TIRED Liner on inner surface only; not really paint-job friendly.
Rating: 7 out of 10
3. Trek U-Lock LS
Our bolt cutters and hammer got nowhere against Trek’s 13-mm hardened-steel shackle. but the big 11.5-inch-long U, which makes for hassle-free hitching, offers plenty of room for sawing. in four and a half minutes, we were clean through with the Dremel and sliding off the opposing piece; unlike the Blackburn, this locks on only one side.
WIRED Light and intuitive. Spare design makes it the best-looking of the group.
TIRED Antitheft protection runs to only $1,500.
Rating: 5 out of 10
4. Kryptonite HardWire 1518
Cables are deterrents, not defenders. even Kryptonite gives the HardWire a 5 on its 12-point security scale. The lock can withstand a hammer attack, but so what: A pair of 24-inch bolt cutters (far from the biggest available) got through the 15-mm braided-steel key cable in two minutes. The Dremel took 30 seconds.
WIRED Light, flexible, and portable. Six-foot length reaches both wheels.
TIRED For friendly areas only. It’s about as daunting as a licorice whip.
Rating: 4 out of 10
5. OnGuard 5023L Rottweiler
While OnGuard makes some of the best chain locks, this armored cable is more practical in terms of weight, even at 7 feet long. It’s a 30-mm twisted-steel cable inside a length of steel vertebrae wrapped in a vinyl cover. but cut through the coating and you see the Achilles’ heel: gaps in the vertebrae that expose the cable. The Dremel took it out in less than three minutes.
WIRED Built-in light on one of the keys. Recessed ball lock resists crowbar attacks.
TIRED Price. Theft.
Rating: 4 out of 10
6. Master Lock Street Cuff 8200D
The clever pivot point in the middle makes it hard to get any leverage with a tool. unfortunately, the steel closures (which are small enough to limit your anchoring options) aren’t very thick. They resisted our saw for all of two minutes. Worse, it took only a couple of hard whacks with the hammer to bust open the locking mechanisms.
WIRED Light and compact. $3,500 antitheft guarantee. might actually work as handcuffs.
TIRED looks tougher than it is.
Rating: 3 out of 10