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04.Bike locks

Armoured cable locks vs. D-locks

According to Australian Cyclist, it's been estimated that one in 10 Australian bicycle owners will have their bike stolen in the next five years. So choosing a good bike lock could be the difference from an enthused thief taking your bike, or moving on to an easier target. Armoured cable locks are essentially a metal spine coated in plastic or rubber, whereas a D-lock is more of a scaled up padlock.

Bicycle Victoria tested five D-locks and five armoured cable locks. In sequence, they used a jemmy bar, hammer, hacksaw, 24-inch bolt cutters and an angle grinder to try and break each lock, with the process being timed to see how long it would take to break. Combination locks, steel cables, chains and padlocks were excluded from the test as in comparison they are easier to break. All the armoured cable locks withstood the onslaught of the jemmy bar, hammer and hacksaw; however the 24-inch bolt cutters highlighted what makes a good armoured lock. On the other hand, one D-lock broke when struck by the hammer. However, all the other D-locks survived the assault of jemmy bar, hammer, hacksaw and bolt cutters, though not surprisingly, none survived the final assault with an angle grinder. Therefore, it's fair to say that since an angle grinder is almost unbeatable, D-locks offer a superior level of protection from a thief.

With armoured cable locks, bolt cutters will work when they fit around the armour. Testing found, that when the jaws didn't fit, the hammer was used to flatten the armour in order for the jaws of the cutters to get around, in order to break the lock. D-locks are more likely to resist breakage at this point. A well-designed D-lock will have its lock mechanism in the barrel's centre as end-mounted locks are easier to attack with a drill. When it comes to the security of your bike, the sturdiness and weight of D-lock's make them more likely to do the job. 

When you're out looking for a bike lock, examine it first for any weak points. Don't buy a lock if it's going to be too small for your bike, however also don't get one that will be too hard to fill. The more space between the shackle and the bike frame, the easier it is for a theif to stick in a levering bar. When locking your bike, make sure you choose a visible well lit area, secure the frame to a solid structure and remove any lights, panniers, or anything else that isn't fixed to the bike.

What to buy

What to buy
Brand Price
Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 $100
Abus Varedo 47 $130



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Armoured cable locks
Brand / productOverall ratingFunction (performance/ease of use)Materials and componentsConstructionAppearanceValue for moneyPrice ($)
Armoured cable locks
Kryptonite Keeper 2515 3.5 3 3 4 4 3 60
Abus Steel-o-flex 1025 X Plus 3.5 4 4 4 3 3 210
OnGaurd Rottweiler 3 3 3 3 3 3 43
Basta BA24 2 1 2 2 3 2 40
Tioga TLAJ 2 1 2 2 3 2 35
Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 4.5 4 5 5 4 5 100
Abus Varedo 47 4.5 4 5 5 3 5 130
OnGaurd Pitbull 3.5 4 3 3 3 4 65
Tioga Watchdog TLSHW 3 3 3 3 2 4 35
Basta BA14 2.5 2 2 3 3 3 45


Using the table

Scores The scores are based on Bicycle Victoria's scoring system. The overall rating takes into account the component categories in the table. Each category is scored on a scale from one to five and the total score out of 25 is reduced to a star rating out of five. If you're looking for performance and ease of use, these aspects are covered in the 'function' category.
Price Recommended retail, as of March 2010.

Profile pictures

Armoured cable locks

Kryptonite Keeper 2515


Price $60






Abus Steel-o-flex 1025 X PlusSteel0flex

Price $210




OnGaurd RottweilerRottweiler

Price $43







Basta BA24BA24

Price $40






Price $35







Kryptonite Evolution Series 4Kryptonite-Evolution4

Price $100







Abus Varedo 47Abus_Varedo-47_lock

Price $130








OnGaurd PitbullPitbull

Price $65






Tioga Watchdog TLSHWTLSHW

Price $35





Basta BA14BA14

Price $45


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