A colleague of mine recently had the misfortune of having her bike stolen. Was it locked up? Yes. So what happened? Unfortunately she had chosen to use a cable lock, which is one of the least secure options available—it can be snipped in seconds with a bolt cutter, as hers was.
In researching a replacement lock system for her next bike, she turned me on to an entirely different species: ring locks. As their name indicates, they are essentially a small heavy-duty ring that attaches permanently to your bike and is quickly snapped closed to secure your wheel directly to the frame. Kind of like a set of handcuffs for your bike tire.
The convenience factor is high, given that the lock is always in place and can be secured in seconds with the turn of a key, but there’s one obvious drawback. A ring lock prevents the wheel from turning, and thus helps dissuade would-be thieves, but doesn’t actually secure the bike to a rack or other immovable object. So you’re still going to need another lock to accomplish that important theft deterrent.
One of the best reviewed ring locks is the AXA Defender RL (pictured above), which is produced by the Dutch company AXA Stenman Industries. Popular in Holland, it has only recently become available in the U.S.
Made from hardened steel and featuring an anti-drilling cylinder, the Defender also features a click-in chain system that allows you to quickly and easily secure the bike to a rack or other fixed object. A line of optional click-in chains and cables snap directly into the Defender lock for a quick and simple second line of defense. The burliest appears to be the DPI 110, though other (less burly) options are available.
Depending on where you buy, the Defender retails for roughly $50 to $60. The optional click-in cables and chains retail for $30 to $50.
Learn more about bike locks:
“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.