Tips on Protecting Your Electric Bike

Christa E

Member
When you invest a lot of money on a new bike it's natural to want to protect it from thieves. Electric bikes are expensive, so you want the highest security rated locks.

The crucial thing to remember is that locks don't prevent your bike being stolen, but they will increase the risk factor in the risk/reward calculation. There's little you can do when someone with an angle grinder wants to take your bike, but you can put the odds in your favor as much as you can.

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Take your time in thinking about where you park your bike. A well-lit place with lots of foot traffic and witnesses is the best place to lock your bike. A bike thief will want to steal bikes in as little time as possible, but if you place your bike in a dark, ill-lit garage then you're giving that thief all the time they need.

Personally, I use a U-lock through the frame, rear wheel, and whatever I'm locking the bike to, and also a fairly thick cable lock through the front wheel, frame, and a solid post. Many riders swear by the "Sheldon Method" when it comes to locking their bikes, and it's a pretty informative read.

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A good lock will buy time and will make your e-bike look less attractive. Angle grinders are expensive and they are loud and make a lot of sparks, attracting attention. Average run-of-the-mill thieves looking to pawn bikes for cash will have regular bolt cutters. There are GPS tracking locks, DNA marking stickers, and alarms, but that is another discussion.

U-locks vs. Chains

U-locks (also called D-locks) are basically giant padlocks in two separate parts. A rigid U shaped shackle attaches to a straight crossbar forming a closed D shape around whatever you are trying to secure. The less room between your U-lock and frame means thieves have a harder time inserting their tools and make sure your lock never touches the ground. Thieves can use tools to smash the lock into the ground that way. Always make sure that the U-lock you buy leaves very little room once you attach it to a post.

Chain locks can give you more options of where to lock your bike, plus they don't have a rigid frame like U-locks that make it hard to carry. However, if you decide on chain locks, please don't go to the hardware store and buy the biggest chain you can find! Hardware store chains are regular steel, not hardened steel like special bike locks, meaning they'll be super easy to cut through plus super heavy. Also, you'll have to buy a regular lock to go with it, which is a false economy. Trying to save money protecting your very expensive investment is an oxymoron, you'll end up being out of a lot of money if you skimp on this step.

Hiplock

Bike chains can be pretty heavy, and hard to bike around with. You can wrap it around your frame or under your seat. A cool chain lock is the Hiplock, you basically lock it around your waist when you're biking like a Mad Max fanny pack. If your electric bike has a rack then this may not be an issue for you.

Remember: cable locks offer very little security. Don't buy a cable lock!

Here's a rundown of some of the more popular locks:

Abus
Abus is a German manufacturer whose steel has a better reputation than Chinese steel, and because the locks are manufactured in Germany there's a higher level of quality control. Kryptonite and OnGuard are US brands that get their locks manufactured in Taiwan and China. Here's a great article on Abus manufacturing.

Abus has a well-earned reputation for quality and durability. Their locks are exactly what you look for when protecting your investment; they are well made, they have a special anti-corrosion coating that does not rust even in terrible weather conditions, and you can expect them to be durable for a long time. While these locks aren't cheap, if you're going to spring for a pricey bike, you might as well spend the extra money for a lock that will lost for a long time. Almost all locks are double bolted, which means that any tool cutting through them will have to cut it twice. Despite their level of security most of their locks are actually not as heavy as you'd expect due to the hardened German steel they use.

Abus claims that their patented, parabolic square U-locks can resist over 13 tons of cutting force, which means that your bike is protected from a spur of the moment thief with a pair of bolt-cutters.

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The Abus Granit X Plus 540 is a Sold Secure Gold rated U-lock with a 13 mm steel shackle, it weighs under 4 pounds and is a decent size. The lock is cast from a special steel that is just as hard as thicker, heavier locks, making it a tough lock that isn't heavy. This is pretty much a gold standard in U-locks.

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The Abus Granit Extreme boasts a 12 mm-hexagonal chain with fabric sleeve to protect your bike's paintwork. Their proprietary Power Link Technology offers direct and covered chain locking. This is a really good option for people who need more length when securing their bikes.

Kryptonite

Kryptonite locks are mostly well made, perform reasonably well in adverse weather conditions and last a long time. Some reviewers note that their locks can rust easily. Kryptonite uses hardened high-grade steel and their locks are not as expensive as Abus.

Kryptonite started in the 1970's and was the first company to offer U-locks since then they've expanded and perfected their locking mechanisms and have risen to the top of lock manufacturing.

Kryptonite differs from Abus in that they offer anti-theft protection with some of their locks. If your bike is stolen because of the lock being broken they will pay you the base cost of your bike (excluding tax and accessories); or your insurance deductible. (Note: Kryptonite requires proof of payment from your insurance company prior to paying your deductible). Here is more information on this.

Note that you can't just send them an email saying your bike got stolen and that's it, there are steps to follow first. You need to sign up for it when you buy the lock, the anti-theft protection is only valid for a year, valid in select countries, and valid if the lock was cut and you send them the lock. In many theft reports, the thief usually takes the lock with them, so this might be an issue.
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Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini Weighing in under 5 pounds, this is a serious bike lock with an 18mm steel shackle. This lock comes with a hardened steel sleeve over the crossbar for added security, and double deadbolt locking. In destruction tests, this lock took testers four times longer to grind through, it is a great lock for high-risk areas. Plus it comes with a free year of antitheft coverage.

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For a chain lock, their signature Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain is a highly secure chain lock that fits over your bike frame and wheel. This chain lock is 3 feet of 14mm hardened steel links attached to a 15 mm Kryptonite New York Disc Lock.

Secure, Light-weight, Cheap- Pick Two of Three

Expect to pay over $50 for a brand name lock, although with some research and digging you will find off-brand or cheaper locks. Make sure to do more research than the price tag to see other complain or praise it. Bike insurance is a thing to consider, too, but that's another topic. Expect to pay more for Abus over Kryptonite or other brands if you are in the US.

Most major lock brands offer a key replacement service, which can buy some piece of mind if you lose a key. Both Abus and Kryptonite generally have excellent customer service and can be pretty good about replacing broken locks or replacing keys.

Summary
If you live in a high-risk area, or just want to protect your e-bike as much as you can, there are steps you can take to maximize this. No lock in the world can keep out a determined thief, but you don't have to just hand your property over, either. Lock your bike in a well-lit area, consider using more than one lock to secure both wheels and frame. Another thing to do is to get quick releases for everything you can (seat, front and back wheels, battery, etc.) and take as much of it with you as you can so that the thief cannot ride away with your bike.

Abus and Kryptonite are just two of a number of excellent brands. Every brand has their own area of expertise and some research will provide you with enough information to make an informed decision.
 

Asher

Well-Known Member
Kryptonite locks have utterly garbage mounts, the lock swings to and fro on the frame.

I upgraded to a Tigr Mini, titanium 1 pound lock. Couldn't be happier with it.

My tips:

Use hexlox to secure valuable parts like saddles and wheels.

Park your bike where you can see it at restaurants and such, from your seat in the venue, so that you can glance at your bike every so often.

Better to have a semi secure lock that you always have, than a very secure lock you never carry because it's so heavy/annoying.

If parking on private property for a while, keep your bike out of sight from the street. Can't steal what you can't see.

Try not to leave your bike out overnight in public.
 
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ebikemom

Well-Known Member
Just saw a social media post from a neighborhood group--a guy's mountain bike was stolen off of a rack. Instead of leaving the bike in the garage, ready to load in the AM for his very early morning departure, he loaded it when he went to bed and locked it to the rack with the rack's integrated cable lock. When he went to leave the house at 5AM, no bike.