One of the worst things you as a biker can experience, aside from wrecking your bike, is walking out, kitted out for a ride and beaming a bright smile of eager anticipation…and then finding that your motorcycle is gone. Your emotions run the gamut from disbelief, shock, sadness, and then anger at the thief who snatched away your pride and joy. Unfortunately, bike theft is an all too common crime, and in many instances motorcycles can be ridiculously easy to steal.
However, there are thankfully many ways to prevent scumbag thieves from making off with your bike, whether you’re parked on your drive at home overnight, or outside a hostel in a distant land while you’re riding that bucket list cross-continental tour. In this article, we look at the best motorcycle locks on the market, to suit a variety of different motorcyclists’ needs.
Summary: Best Motorcycle Locks
Not even the best motorcycle locks are 100% theft proof – but these are some of your best options.
|Product||Best For||Our Rating|
|1. Kryptonite New York Heavy Duty LS Lock||Best Motorcycle U-Lock||★★★★★|
|2. Acekit Veison Disc Lock||Best Budget Motorcycle Disc Lock||★★★★|
|3. Xena XX6 SS||Best Motorcycle Alarm Disc Lock (Best Motorcycle Lock For Touring)||★★★★|
|4. Kryptonite New York Noose 1213||Best Motorcycle Lock And Chain||★★★★|
|5. Grip-Lock||Best Motorcycle Grip Lock||★★★|
Top Choice: Kryptonite New York Heavy Duty LS Lock
The Kryptonite New York Heavy Duty LS Lock combines the security of a chain lock
Best Motorcycle Locks Reviewed
Keeping your bike safe is as simple as using on the best motorcycle locks.
This is a heavy-duty disc lock with the added protection of a motion-sensitive 110db alarm. It’s small and light enough to carry with you almost anywhere, but provides enough security to deter casual or opportunistic thieves
Xena is a well-known name when it comes to motorcycle security, with their specialty being alarmed disc locks. Disc locks work by locking a pin (and thereby the bulky lock body around it) through the vent holes in your motorcycle’s brake. This prevents the motorcycle from being wheeled anywhere, whether the motor is running or not.
The most basic level of disc lock is exactly that: just a lock. Locks like the Xena XX6 SS step up that level of protection, though, by adding a motion sensitive alarm, which sounds off a piercing, ongoing shriek when the lock is touched.
While you can get a cheap Chinese alarmed disc lock that performs the same function as the Xena, consumer reports indicate that, like so many Chinese products, quality and longevity are both lacking, and the Xena XX6 SS will outlast a cheap Chinese imitation for many years.
The stainless steel body of the XX6 SS prevents rust from setting in, and is ideal for touring as it’s suitable for a wide range of climatic conditions and extreme weather. Also, when you’re touring and luggage space and weight is of a great concern, this little lock is very easy to cart around.
- Small and relatively lightweight
- Very loud motion-sensitive alarm
- 6mm locking pin, which is both strong and fits most bikes’ disc brake vent holes
- Stainless steel body is both strong and will withstand a range of climatic conditions
- Will not prevent a determined thief from stealing your bike
- Cannot lock the bike to an immovable object
- Much pricier than no-name Chinese locks which perform a similar function
The Kryptonite New York Heavy Duty LS Lock combines the security of a chain lock
U-locks are so named because of the shape of the shackle, which looks like the letter U. Although most often associated with bicycle security, they can readily be used for motorcycles too. Kryptonite is one of the biggest names when it comes to bicycle security, and their New York Heavy Duty LS (long shackle, there is a short shackle version too) lock is one of their strongest.
You can either hook it through your bike’s wheels to prevent the bike from being moved, or if you park up against a railing or street sign, you can lock the bike to it – which prevents the bike from being picked up and carried into a van, which thieves can do even if the bike has a disc lock on it.
The New York Heavy Duty U-lock has an extremely potent 16mm Max Performance Steel shackle, which is extremely tough and time-consuming to get through with boltcutters or a hacksaw, and even thieves with a portable battery-powered grinder will have difficulty cutting through this.
It’s much heavier and bulkier than a disc lock, though, so it might not be suitable for touring, and it’s definitely more of a hassle to carry around than a disc lock, unless you have a lot of underseat storage space.
- Provides more (potential) security than just a disc lock
- 16mm hardened Max Performance Steel shackle is extremely tough and will deter many thieves
- Iighter and more portable than a heavy chain lock
- Can only be carried easily in motorcycles with large underseat storage space, or those with topboxes or other added luggage
- Limited range in what immovable objects it can lock your bike to
The Kryptonite New York Noose 1213 chain and lock is a very secure way to lock your bike to an immovable object. The noose design of the chain means that you can extend the range of chain and lock it around a greater number of objects.
When it comes to locking up bikes, a good old chain and lock is about as traditional as security measures come. However, your average hardware store chain or supermarket bicycle chain are as easy for a thief to cut through as sliding a hot knife through butter.
The Kryptonite New York Noose 1213, which is made of 12mm thick hardened manganese steel links paired with a 14mm Evolution Series 4 lock, is about as tough as chains come. Your average thief with boltcutters won’t be able to get through this chain and lock.
The noose design of the chain, with the end link being a larger ring that the rest of the chain can be looped through, greatly extends the chain’s range, giving the New York Noose the ability to be looped around a number of immovable objects to secure your bike and prevent thieves from carrying it away.
Because it’s so heavy and thick, though, the New York Noose loses out a little when it comes to portability and ease of transport.
- Innovative design means that you can lock your bike to a number of different immovable objects
- 12mm thick hardened manganese steel chain is very difficult to cut through without strong power tools
- 14mm Evolution Series 4 lock can be used as a disc lock on its own without the chain
- Heavy and bulky and difficult to carry around unless you have a lot of storage space on your bike
For bikers who want a bit of extra security, but who don’t want to make their wallets too much
If you’re looking for a basic security upgrade that won’t break the bank, the Acekit Veison Disc Lock is a decent little disc lock. Unlike the Xena XX6, the Veison doesn’t come with an alarm, but it does have a 6mm locking pin, and is sturdily constructed, so thieves won’t be able to get it off your bike too easily.
Another handy feature is the free orange reminder cable the Veison comes with. All too often riders put on their disc lock and then forget it’s there, and start up their bike and try to ride off with the lock still on, causing an embarrassing (and sometimes expensive) spill. With the brightly-colored reminder cable that you can hook around your grips, you won’t be making that mistake.
- Cheap; only around $20
- Comes with a free reminder cable so that you don’t ride off with the lock still on your disc
- Provides a step up in terms of security from just using your bike’s steering lock
- No alarm, so you won’t know if anyone is messing with your bike
- Will not stop bike thieves from simply picking up your bike and putting it in a van
The original Grip-Lock is constructed of a far better quality than its many imitators. It’s an innovative, extremely portable lock that provides a step up in security from your basic steering lock.
The Grip-Lock is an innovative product, the design of which has been replicated (usually poorly) by a number of Chinese clones, and, like a basic disc lock, it provides a step up from your standard steering lock. The level of protection is about the same as a disc lock – it stops your bike from being pushed or ridden – but it works in a slightly different way. The Grip-Lock fits over your grips and clamps your brake lever shut, fully squeezed, and thus prevents the bike from moving.
One of the main advantages of the Grip-Lock is its portability; it’s very easy to slip into your pocket and carry if your bike has limited or no storage space. Another advantage, over, say, a disc or U-lock, is its visibility; you won’t be able to attempt to drive off and thus have an embarrassing parking lot accident with this lock in place.
Of course, it shares the same disadvantages as a basic disc lock; there’s no alarm to alert you or passers-by that a thief is in the process of stealing your ride, and the Grip-Lock cannot prevent scumbags from physically picking up your bike and carrying it off.
- Very portable and easy to carry around
- Well-constructed and made in New Zealand
- Immediate visible deterrent to thieves
- Like an non-alarmed disc lock, this will neither alert you to thieves messing with your bike, nor will it stop them picking it up and loading it into a van
The (Unfortunate) Statistics
Theft, along with another NSFW occupation which we won’t mention here, is one of the oldest “professions” in history. Now, however, instead of some cave dude from across the valley sneaking into your grotto at night to steal a leg of bison, a criminal from across town with a grimy van is sneakily loading up your motorcycle while you sleep. According to MCN, In less than three years, over 45,000 motorcycles were stolen in London alone. In the US, about that many bikes are stolen every year. In both countries, the potential for recovery of a stolen motorcycle is depressingly dire; less than half of stolen bikes are ever recovered, according to the aforementioned sources. Motorcycle theft is a problem that isn’t going away anytime soon.
Prevention Is Better Than A Cure
It’s far better to prevent your bike from being stolen in the first place than it is to deal with the police and tight-fisted insurance companies (and grief counsellors, depending on how close you were to your bike) after the fact. While little can prevent a truly determined thief from stealing a motorcycle, there are plenty of ways to stop more opportunistic thefts and prevent casual bike thieves from making off with your bike. Motorcycle locks, which come in a number of shapes and forms, are a great way to keep your bike safe.
What Kind Of Motorcycle Lock Is Best For Me?
Because motorcycle theft is so widespread, a whole industry of motorcycle security products has sprung up to combat it. The choices available to motorcyclists (as they are with many motorcycle products) can often be overwhelming. What if you already have some sort of lock? How do you know if it’s good enough? It’s not exactly like checking your tire tread and wear to know when to replace your tires
The answer to this question depends on a few factors. One is what kind of bike you ride, but whether it’s a little moped, a hulking cruiser, a 200 mph sportbike, an exotic adventure bike or a motocrosser with or without street-legal tires, you can bet that there’s a thief who wants it.
A more appropriate question to ask in order to answer this question is where do you park your bike? How safe is the space in which your bike is parked the majority of the time?
What Kinds Of Motorcycle Locks Are On The Market?
There is a very wide range of motorcycle locks available, from grip locks to U-locks to disc locks to alarm locks to various types of chain and cable locks. In the same way that you’d assess, for example, what kind of tires are the best for your style of dirt bike riding, you need to consider which type of lock is most suitable for where you park your bike, how much you can carry on your bike (as some types of locks are far bulkier and heavier than others), and whether or not you have accessories on your motorcycle that could be stolen, even if your bike itself isn’t. Read on to find out what kinds of locks are most suitable for certain situations and different sets of circumstances.
How Does A Motorcycle Steering Lock Work?
Before we look at aftermarket locks, though, let’s have a look at what you likely already have. First up is something that every motorcycle made in the last forty or fifty years generally comes with: a steering lock. This is the most basic level of anti-theft motorcycle security, and it works by keeping the handlebars turned at full lock. This type of lock is generally found in the bike’s ignition lock, usually by depressing the key and turning it to a certain position.
In theory, it’ll prevent someone from riding off with your bike if they manage to start it up, or pushing it away if they can’t start the motor, as without being able to turn the handlebars all they’ll be able to do is push it or ride it in an endless circle.
Unfortunately, this is the easiest form of anti-theft device to override. Physically strong thieves can often break the lock simply by giving the handlebars a few violent tugs
. Other times they can jam something like a screwdriver into the ignition keyhole and override it this way. The bottom line is, you shouldn’t rely on your bike’s steering lock to keep your ride safe.
How Do I Lock A Motorcycle Seat?
The other universal security device that most relatively modern motorcycles come with is a seat lock. This, however, doesn’t prevent the motorcycle itself from being stolen – it only protects whatever you’re storing under your bike’s seat. Most motorcycles have a small underseat storage compartment, and these range from the huge underseat bins, often large enough to fit a full face helmet, that you find on scooters, to the tiny, barely-able-to-fit an A5 notepad underseat spaces you find on sportbikes. If however you don’t have space for a helmet, it’s worth looking into a motorcycle helmet lock.
Generally, these are locked automatically simply by clicking the seat into place, and unlocked via key, with the keyhole generally being on the side of the bike’s bodywork somewhere near the tail end of the motorcycle. Sometimes they’re connected via a cable to the ignition lock.
Again, like steering locks, these represent only a very basic level of security, and are easily bypassed by thieves. It goes without saying that you should never store valuables like wallets, cash, phones or expensive electronics under your motorcycle’s seat. These spaces, however, are good for storing more portable forms of motorcycle locks, like disc locks or U-locks, that you can carry with you on a trip.
How Do I Lock Motorcycle Saddlebags?
Another consideration, beyond simply keeping your motorcycle itself from being stolen, is preventing thieves from stealing accessories off your bike. With motorcycle touring becoming increasingly popular, a huge industry has sprung up around providing luggage for motorcycle touring, and often the prices of such luggage, like saddlebags, for example, which are very popular among riders of cruisers, can run into hundreds or even thousands of dollars – making them as much a target for theft as the motorcycle they’re strapped to.
While topboxes are usually locked into place from the inside, and require a key to open and remove, motorcycle luggage items like saddlebags are often simply screwed into place, or held with straps that can very quickly be cut with scissors or a knife.
Steel cables, used by bicyclists to extend the range of their own locks to cover more of their bicycles, can be used in conjunction with an aftermarket motorcycle lock to secure something like a pair of saddlebags to the bike’s frame or wheels, and a simple but creative measure like this will prevent opportunistic thieves from making off with your luggage and its contents.
What Type of Lock Fits My Motorcycle?
While different types of motorcycle locks are sometimes marketed toward specific kinds of motorcycle, and won’t fit on some styles of bike (for example, a smaller U-lock which could fit around a scooter’s small, thin wheels and tires wouldn’t fit on a sportbike’s fatter tires and wider wheels), generally most forms of aftermarket motorcycle locks are quite universal in nature, and can be fitted from everything to a 50cc moped to a 1400cc hyperbike, and everything between.
Generally, the questions you’re going to be asking yourself in terms of selecting a motorcycle lock (or locks, because often multiple types of locks on a bike will make it far harder for thieves to steal, and such a challenge will often make them simply move on and look for an easier target) are whether this lock is going to be used primarily at home, where your bike is parked overnight, or whether the lock is going to be something you take with you on trips into towns or cities, whether you’re aiming to simply prevent the bike from being moved by locking the wheels in place, or whether you’re actively locking the bike to an immovable object like a pole or street sign, and questions such as whether the lock is light and portable (but secure) enough to take on an extended motorcycle tour.
Better Safe (And Secure) Than Sorry
The best motorcycle locks on the market can greatly increase the security level of your bike, and, particularly if you use multiple locks together (like an alarm disc lock combined with a lock and chain) the sight of them can convince potential motorcycle thieves that taking your bike would simply be too much effort, causing them to move on to an easier target. As is the case with many things in life, when it comes to motorcycle security and theft prevention, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
The sad reality of motorcycle ownership today is that it comes with risks, and not just the inherent danger of riding a vehicle that can be prone to accidents. Motorcycles, by nature of their value, and small size and light weight (relative to cars), are always going to attract the attention of thieves. While there are no completely bulletproof security solutions, short of locking your bike inside a gigantic safe or keeping it in your living room at home, there are ways to make the thieves’ work that much harder for them, and thus hopefully deter them from attempting to steal your bike.