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Practicalities of chain vs d lock

beegeebeegee Posts: 160
edited March 2011 in Commuting general
I am just poised to order a bike lock. The two contenders are Pragmasis 11mm 1.0 m chain and squire padlock or a 30 cm Abus Granite x plus 54 d lock. The chain in total weighs about 2.7 kg I think and the d lock weighs about 1.6 kg (I think).

Anyway, my question is : what is more practical for locking the bike when out and about - a flexible chain or a solid d lock ?

Often it would be locked to a lampost, or fence or maybe a cycle stand (cannot quite see how I can lock wheels, and frame to a normal cycle stand though).

What do I do at the moment ? I have a 2m lightweight lock that goes through everything

Presumably there isn't much point in padlocking the bike only to itself. The bad people will just lift it up and put it in their van.

Thinking about it seems to me that a 1m chain must be equivalent in size to about a 40cm d lock so the chain gives me more useful length - in theory (I could get a longer chain but if I got a longer chain I would be worried about me collapsing under the weight).

So are there any helpful suggestions ?


  • davmaggsdavmaggs Posts: 1,008
    I have a giant kryponite chain and a d-lock. The chain goes through the body and front wheel and the D-lock is for the rear wheel to the body. I only do this if I have to leave the bike in public, and I try to avoid that.

    Chain is generally massive looking and long enough to go around odd shaped things so I prefer that.

    If you can't find an object to chain the bike to then you are asking for trouble. One trick used by motorcycles is to loop your chain through the chain of someone else's machine. That way they can still leave, but at you are at least anchored for some of the time.
  • I use a d lock with a flexible cable. I put the D so it goes through around the rim of the rear wheel and the frame bit that the seatpost goes in. push it from the side and if there is anything on the other side like a post or stand you can get that in the D. then, before putting the bar on D, put one end of the cable onto the D and pass it through the rim of the front wheel and aropund any pillars etc and then slip the other end onto the D and put the bar on.
  • beegeebeegee Posts: 160
    So the advice seems to be belt and braces or chain and d lock. The trouble is that these locks are £70-80 each which according to my rough calculation is about £150. That is nearly as much as my soon-to-be current bike cost me on ebay (haven't collected it yet). Or maybe I should buy a 2m chain ?
  • This is all I use ... MP_650.php

    Believe me as a motorcycle lock it is good. The only drawback is that it is HEAVY. About the same as a good chain and padlock.
    Peds with ipods, natures little speed humps

    Banish unwanted fur - immac a squirrel ... heads.html
  • pete54pete54 Posts: 488
    I would only use a chain as secondary security as most are easy to cut with bolt croppers.

    You can buy Abus Granit x-plus 54s for £50 online, or get Evans or Cycle Surgery to price match. If you take your front wheel out you can lock through it and the chain stays with one d-lock.
  • redveeredvee Posts: 11,921
    One thing, don't ride 20 miles with a 110cm Abus City Chain X-Plus Lock over your shoulder as it's a pain in the neck, quite literally.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • Think we've had this debate before but for what it's worth I'd favour a top quality D lock such as the Abus Granite as primary protection and always secure rear wheel through frame to a solid object such as sheffield stand. I'd use a mid quality cable and or lighter weight D lock to secure front wheel and to prevent the bike frame being used as a level to attack the primary lock.
    Nobody told me we had a communication problem
  • AQs I have commented before, it is horses for courses, a massive D lock in Tavistock would be overkill regardless of the bike, whereas I am sure a £20 chain in London would be about as good as a piece of string.
    Peds with ipods, natures little speed humps

    Banish unwanted fur - immac a squirrel ... heads.html
  • ValyValy Posts: 1,321
    Kryptonite Series 2 and a 2m cable for £19 from ebay. Ibought two from that guy and both seem fine. There is also a thing included allowing you to hand it on the seat post.
  • dilemnadilemna Posts: 2,187
    Abus Granit X Plus are the only D locks to bother with. I wouldn't touch Kryptonite with a barge pole as I had a bike stolen when using one of their expensive so called secure D locks. Alternatively use hardened anchor chain with an unbreakable padlock. I s'pose if thieves want your bike that much as it is very valuable then don't leave it unattended or fit a tracker device in the seat tube or steerer. Take saddle with you is another deterrent as well as locking with x2 Abus Granit D locks.
    Life is like a roll of toilet paper; long and useful, but always ends at the wrong moment. Anon.
    Think how stupid the average person is.......
    half of them are even more stupid than you first thought.
  • beverickbeverick Posts: 3,461
    AQs I have commented before, it is horses for courses, a massive D lock in Tavistock would be overkill regardless of the bike, whereas I am sure a £20 chain in London would be about as good as a piece of string.

    Absolutely. Where i work we've had one bike stolen in five years, and that turned out to be the "mate" of the bike's owner playing a practical joke. Sure, bits such as lights and pedals have been stolen from bikes (most likley and annoyingly by other cyclists) but I only use a lightweight cable lock and that's more as a defence against the bike being knocked over!

    However, there wouldn't be enough D-locks and cable locks to get me to leave my bike at our London office where there are still two bikes stolen each week, on average, despite the installation of additional and overt CCTV cameras and more frequent security patrols.

    The recent post christmas glut of B2W bikes has been blamed for a spike in thefts during late January and into February.

  • crazy88crazy88 Posts: 560
    I have a d-lock with a cable to go through the wheels as they're quick release. I did consider taking the quick releases off, but as a commuter it's so much easier if I get a puncture to have a quick release.

    My bike it black and all fancy name stickers are taped up though to detract attention from it. I don't like leaving it at the station all day, but I hate taking it on the train even more.
    Out with the old, in with the new here.
  • mousetoomousetoo Posts: 53
    I don't understand why those with quick release wheels don't take the front wheel with them - I reckon an opporuntistic theif is less likely to nick my bike if he can't ride it away
  • crazy88crazy88 Posts: 560
    Probably true, but if I don't like taking my bike on the train I am less likely to want to take a single wheel with me and walk around town with it. Plus, they get filthy so quickly too when commuting, so run the risk of anything it touches becoming black.
    Out with the old, in with the new here.
  • mousetoomousetoo Posts: 53
    you could always lock up the wheel in a separate location ...
  • crazy88crazy88 Posts: 560
    I'd rather just leave it on and put a chain through them both. Just seems like loads of hassle to take a wheel off and lock it up elsewhere. Would require a second lock, which is money and weight, and would stand out so may be subject to vandalism.
    Out with the old, in with the new here.
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    read and understand

    In summary:

    Go for the fattest thing you can (effectively anything over 16mm thick becomes impervious to hand tools as most wont fit in the jaws of bolt crops)

    Avoid all cables, including armoured ones

    Square/hexagonal section is better than round

    Nothing will stop and angle grinder for more than a few minutes, so insurance is a must.

    My Opinion:

    A long d-lock is the best compromise between security, portability and convenience. I very rarely have to leave my rear wheel and frame unlocked (most used bike has a lefty so no worries about the front wheel going missing, and no chance of removing it without a lot of tools/know-how [home-built design on the steerer tube]) At the weekend I left my bike vertically with the rear wheel and frame locked about 1.5m up a lamp-post, best and most convenient way to secure it at the time.

    I tend to use an abus granit x-plus extreme for "portable" security and an Oxford Nemesis chain for static security. I also have a big oxford disc alarm which either goes round the chainring or locks the crank to the chainstay.
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