Unlocking the Secrets of Bike Locks
By Jeremy Wright at Eversure,
23 August 2022, 5 min read
To the uninitiated, bike locks are a proverbial minefield containing confusing gradings, different configurations and manufacturers serial numbers. Insurance companies make it a condition that their policyholders utilize the correct locks commensurate with the value of the bike and it is imperative that one pays attention to all this rather nebulous detail as it could potentially affect the outcome of your claim.
The Evolution of Bike Theft
When I was a kid, I locked my Raleigh racing bike with a chain no more robust than rappers’ bling and a four-digit combination lock which was alarmingly easy to crack but generally guaranteed my bike’s security. Times have changed occasioned by the precipitous raise in the quality and value of bicycles facilitating a thriving black-market trade driven by syndicates dedicated to bike theft (there were 77465 bikes stolen in England & Wales in the period 2021 / 2022 with less than 5% ever recovered). The tool of choice for these bike criminals was generally the ubiquitous bolt-cutter which would have made short work of my chain link lock, but modern bike locks are more than a challenge for these rudimentary tools of trade and thieves are reverting to more sophisticated methods of cracking the locks necessitating an endless realignment of lock grading.
The System of Grading
Locks have what is referred to as a ‘Sold Secure Rating’ which is divided into a four-tier security grading system, with the Diamond rated locks offering the highest level of security. Sold Secure is an independent company owned by UK’s Master Locksmith Association. It charges lock makers to perform independent tests on locks thus ensuring objective, standardized grading. They work in close collaboration with insurance companies to ascertain the latest methods utilized by thieves to overcome the lock’s resistance and updating their testing methods in response thereto. Some of the tests conducted include resilience against drilling, cutting, leveraging and picking.
Which Lock Should I Choose?
Bike locks come in several shapes and forms the most common being D Locks which are regarded as the most resilient, chain locks which use an anodized chain in tandem with a locking system, cable locks which tend to be longer and more flexible than chains and come with a locking mechanism and lastly ground anchors which are heavy duty rings drilled into the floor of one’s home or office. Whatever the configuration you choose, ensure that it corresponds to the Sold Secure rating determined by your insurance company. You may elect to increase your bike value year on year to keep abreast of inflation and in doing so you may inadvertently move from one lock threshold to a higher threshold; ensure that you chat to your insurers when performing this adjustment to ascertain whether you would require a lock upgrade.
In summary, when purchasing your lock, retain the proof of purchase as thieves often dispose of the damaged lock elsewhere. If possible, in addition to locking the bike frame, lock the wheels too as thieves will often settle to a good set of rims if they cannot easily commandeer the entire bike. Nearly 40% of all bikes stolen are from a garden shed or poorly secured garage; don’t fall for the false sense of security that these structures manifest and get into the habit of locking your bike indoors as well.
At Eversure we love nothing better than basking in the glory of a five star claim review and to that end, we ensure that our clients are well informed of their obligations when purchasing a bike or simply increasing the value of an existing bike. For those who are currently Eversure clients, feel free to chat to us should you have any concerns about your bike security and for those not part of the Eversure tribe, check out our fantastic rates and cover on our cycle insurance page.