If you like it then you better put a lock on it.
March 4, 2011 9:18 AM   Subscribe

What's the best deal on a high-quality bicycle lock and/or chain in NYC these days?

I am open to U-locks as well as chains. The bike shops in my neighborhood cater to the disposable-income set, so I don't mind traveling fairly far afield in order to get a good price. Would prefer bricks and mortar as opposed to buying online.
posted by hermitosis to Shopping (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Chains are ridiculously easy to cut. One good snip really.

Those handcuff locks seem a lot better. They're very well regarded, and last time I lost a key I had a hell of a time getting the bike out. heh.
U Bolts are of course great.

I'm not sure what the prices are like in your area, but I will definitely caution you to avoid chains, except to run through your tires to supplement a real lock.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:37 AM on March 4, 2011

Perhaps a mixed answer, but I have found the best deals on Kryptonite Evolution Mini U-locks (my preferred) through ebay. A geographically-aware search turns up one seller in Brooklyn.
posted by zachxman at 9:38 AM on March 4, 2011

Spokes and Strings prices aren't bad for the city, but in my shopping around I haven't found a great deal at a physical shop. Also sometimes NYC Velo has ok prices. Sadly, the locks that really work (like the hard core U locks and U locks with serious chains) are 40-50% less expensive if you order them online and for a $250 chain or a $100 lock, that's a huge savings. Also, these youtube vids are great for considering what does and doesn't work in terms of locks in the city and might inspire or warn against a cheaper solution: parts 1, 2 and 3
posted by jardinier at 9:38 AM on March 4, 2011

Also, I would recommend Sheldon Brown's lock strategy, for which I also use one or two cables to secure the seat, rack, or front wheel when prudent. (I also have the Kryptonite New York Chain, but the thing is really heavy...)
posted by zachxman at 9:41 AM on March 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Sheldon Brown was the king of all things bicycle, and the site should be linked in any ask-mefi about bikes.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:43 AM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm sorry to say the only thing that defeats New York City bike thieves is a 10 to 15-mm hardened steel chain, such as the Kryptonite "New York" chain with an armored lock. Expensive, ridiculously heavy, and entirely unwieldy, but it works. You can chain your bike up in the East Village all weekend and be 99% sure it will be there when you return. Bike stores have them, at least around here. Secure your back wheel and frame to something solid (they can unscrew scaffolding, for example, or lift locked bikes off short poles), and maybe also use a U-Lock or cable to secure your front wheel.
posted by jcrcarter at 9:53 AM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the rec'sT I went ahead and ordered something online, as I realized that it would probably take me a couple days to get to a store anyway.
posted by hermitosis at 10:26 AM on March 4, 2011

Response by poster: That wasn't Ouranian Barbaric or anything, it was actually meant to be "rec's" followed by punctuation.
posted by hermitosis at 10:27 AM on March 4, 2011

My strategy (which seems to be unpopular with the general biking public) is to use multiple cheap ulocks and to park in busy public areas with a bike shabbier and uglier than most of the others parked near by. I've never paid more than $40 for such a lock and the ones I use now are under $20. I haven't had a bike stolen in the past 20 years (with the exception of one I left out all night for 3 nights in a row. Also, it wasn't sufficiently shabby. What was I thinking?)
posted by Obscure Reference at 11:38 AM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I use a U-lock and cable. Get the type that has the lock itself situated in the middle of the straight bar rather than on the end, and comes with a real key rather than a dinky one like you get for your locker at the Y.

I see a lot of people with those heavy chain locks that can also be used for vespas and the like. In my opinion these aren't strictly necessary, though if you live in a bad neighborhood, ride a really nice bike, and will need to leave it locked up outside frequently (e.g. the stereotypical Bushwick denizen), it might be worth getting.
posted by Sara C. at 1:05 PM on March 4, 2011

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