Portable bike locks

I’m looking for a portable bike lock for when I do long solo rides with my road bike and have to step into a shop for food/drink/restroom. I don’t want to carry anything too heavy but don’t want something flimsy (e.g. the Ottolock cinch lock looks very light/portable but easy to cut through). Ideally it’ll be easy to carry on the bike. I suppose that’s the big tradeoff with portable bike locks.

Any thoughts or recommendations?

My Hiplok Z’s were good while they lasted and kept people honest. They were the combination variants, and their locking mechanisms stopped working for no reason. Perhaps the “keyed” version will do

I’ve the 2pronged key version and touch wood it has been and thankfully not tested. My bikes, however tend not to be far out of sight for long and I only really stop when at rural cafes where they are surrounded by mates bikes 3-4 times the cost of mine.

1 Like

Have a Hiplok z lock combo. I’d still not leave the bike out of site and would choose a shop accordingly.

1 Like

I’ve got an Ottolock for the back of the car/leaving the bike at public rack lock when I have a backpack with me. It doesn’t slide well through the mechanism and doesn’t really lay well on the bike. I’d probably try one of those “series of bars” locks if I bought another. For a cafe, get one of those retractable cable locks. https://www.amazon.com/Abus-Cable-Cycling-Equipment-Black/dp/B01N4667FL/ref=asc_df_B01N4667FL/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309849426425&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=10222574685303625531&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9021427&hvtargid=pla-349441647970&psc=1

For the most part, I don’t worry about someone stealing my bike or anyone elses bike. Just park it in a very visible spot.

There is no bike lock that you can reasonably carry on your person that will stop a bike thief. An actual bike thief will have the knowledge and tools to defeat most locks in mere seconds. What you can prevent, are thieves of opportunity. If your bike looks “free” and the moment it right they’ll grab it and go. So hopefully, you can deter with a bike lock (maybe even 2 locks with the second one hidden a bit), leaving it in a public high trafficked area and the bike is only out of your sight for a couple minutes at most.

The second lock is to just throw off the thief and stall them a bit. You can also zip tie or Velcro strap the brakes, put your bike in the hardest gear, raise your seat to the highest point, etc. Anything that buys you time until you get back to your precious.


Agree with @MI-XC . You can only stall a bike thief. Knog has a neat little alarm that mounts underneath your bidon that emits an alarm at 85db and it doubles as an apple air tag. Not a bike lock but a deterrent in addition to a little lock.

I’ve carried a lightweight lock and used it more for deterrence.

I also leave my bike in big its largest gear so no one could make a quick getaway.

1 Like

I’ve had an Ottolock for a while. I used to wrap it around the saddle bag, but it didn’t fit well. I just upgrade my saddle bag to a Silca Mattone Grande, which allowed me to roll up the Ottolock and put it in the saddle bag. Much happier with this solution.

1 Like

I carry a medium sized zip tie, a pocket knife, and a bike seat leash like this. I loop the seat leash through the frame to something sturdy and use the zip tie in place of a lock. It won’t stop anyone committed to stealing a bike, but I figure it still is a deterrent if I’m away from my bike for < 5 minutes. And, it’s a lot more simple than the Ottolock thing (but probably easier to cut through). I just cut the zip tie with the pocket knife once I’m back to my bike.

If you are not worried about someone picking up and carrying your bike away, removing the front wheel and putting inside the store door will work.

1 Like

Thanks, all for the suggestions and thoughts so far! Very helpful.

I’m definitely aware that a light, portable lock is not going to be the most secure and that someone who is intent on stealing a bike will be able to do so. I’m just looking for something to discourage casual theft (i.e. make it a harder for someone who is walking around with tin cutters) or someone who sees an opportunity while I’m using a restroom or have to go in a shop for food or water. Trying to play the odds that this will decrease the chances of my bike getting taken in the few minutes I can’t be right by it.

I’m leaning towards a folding bike lock which seems to balance size, portability, security. They are a little on the heavier side – this one in particular has a bit of a weight penalty at about 4 lbs but seems pretty solid otherwise:

Would love to hear more thoughts and suggestions!

1 Like

Away from the lock discussion, I try to find two types of shops to stop at: very large ones, and very small ones. Large ones usually have security, and I find asking nicely if they can keep an eye on your bike for your minute usually works. On the other hand, in very small shops, you can also usually directly ask the people serving you if they mind you leaving your bike inside the door while you shop, or you’re that close to your bike that you can just keep an eye on it anyway.

1 Like

No lock is going to be perfect, I’ve heard the urban myths of bikes being tracked by Strava and then stolen from shed/garage. If a thief has decided they’re going for it…

I’ve got some bright red hiplock with the two pronged key, and I have sometimes clipped my bike helmet through frame and a spoke, just to make it difficult.

For those short stops, I try and leave it somewhere that’s in sight whilst I’m inside a shop, or it it will be in sight of everyone outside so a thief will have an audience.

One time, I felt uncomfortable about how long I’d been inside and the shop layout wasn’t great for visibility, so I pretended to remember that I’d left my credit card outside, put my shopping down for a moment and went outside, then walked back in, picked up my collection and paid.