Which high-quality bike lock has the smallest keys?
May 27, 2010 1:39 PM   Subscribe

Which high-quality bike lock has the smallest keys?

I recently lost my Master Lock U lock, which had a ginormous key. I'd like to replace it with a similarly-priced lock (though it doesn't have to be a U lock) with a key that does not demand a disproportionate amount of pocketshare.

I know that Kryptonite locks tend to have pretty small keys (or at least they used to-- now it seems they have a wider, plastic-y version as well), so I can go with one of those but I want to be sure I'm not ending up with a key that is any bigger than it needs to be.

I'm also open to non-U locks, like many of the options in this question. But the relative crappiness of my bike, and the conditions under which it is generally locked don't necessitate a fort knox solution. Key-size is definitely more important than absolute iron-clad security.
posted by activitystory to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total)
Well, I have a kryptonite, and as you say the key is pretty damn small, as far as keys go. I mean, if you really wanted to get down to the bare minimum, you could probably strip the plastic handle off.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:42 PM on May 27, 2010

Seconding kryptonite. My mini U key is smaller than my car or house keys.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:52 PM on May 27, 2010

You can see pictures of the keys in this feature article.
posted by halogen at 1:59 PM on May 27, 2010

And, you can sandpaper down the lozenge-shaped plastic "handle" of a Kryptonite key a little to make it thinner.
posted by pullayup at 1:59 PM on May 27, 2010

I have an Avenir lock and the key's about the same size as a Kryptonite lock key, but without the plastic dealie.
posted by padraigin at 2:12 PM on May 27, 2010

I love my Kryptonite U-Lock. You're better off replacing the MasterLock anyway, too many of them are faulty (mine liked to randomly unlock while in use, which kind of defeats the purpose of the lock, and then MasterLock refused to refund me, so I'm pretty unimpressed with them). I have this one and the keys are much smaller than the MasterLock ones I had. It was like $35ish, but came with a cable lock as well.
posted by ishotjr at 7:33 PM on May 27, 2010

The easiest key to carry is no key! I have a combination-type U-lock that works very well for me. I keep it on my rear rack with a bungee. The lock I have did not come with a cable.

Also, luckily, where I park my bike is probably pretty low-risk.
posted by easilyamused at 7:39 PM on May 27, 2010

My Kryptonite came with two smallish keys and one that was larger because its handle incorporated an LED. I use the smaller one on my keychain because I too dislike key bulk. (My husband put the LED-equipped key on his keychain and found it stopped working (wonky on-off button) fairly quickly, FWIW.)
posted by Lexica at 6:59 PM on May 28, 2010

My new lock came this morning and despite their length, I'm happy to have a nice new narrow key on my ring. It's probably 1/3 the width of the Masterlock key, which is fine with me.

I guess I miss the old, bic-pen-crackable circular lock and key. Those were tiny, but I guess those days are over.

The combo lock, I admit, is the best option, but I've had too many issues using combo locks in the past (mostly mental) to trust my wheels to one.

Thanks, all.
posted by activitystory at 6:53 AM on June 4, 2010

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