Bike locks: How we test

Inside the world's toughest lock tests

Our lock tests are conducted by the safe-cracking team at Cycling Plus magazine. For every new locks test they consult the police to find out what the latest tools being used by thieves are – and if they aren’t using these already, they introduce them. Here's what they have to say about their crude but brutally effective test techniques.

Test 1: The manual attack

The first test is based on our now classic breaking kit: an extending bar for leverage to twist the shackle, a hammer, pliers, mole grips, wire cutters, a chisel and the trusty axe. This is the armoury of your average thief. We also use bolt croppers – these are around 3ft long and something a bike thief could easily conceal under a coat. We have a maximum of five minutes to complete this test.

Test 2: The professional touch

Again a five-minute limit, but we’ve introduced a high-power-output portable angle grinder. This works with a rechargeable battery and has a blade rotation rate and torque levels very close to a mains-operated grinder. One cutting disc per lock is allowed. This is what today’s more professional thieves are using, according to our sources in the police.

This article was published by BikeRadar, the world's leading source of bike reviews, gear reviews, riding advice and route information
  • Discipline: Road, Mountain, Urban, Womens
  • Location: UK, USA, Australia

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