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Smart locks are all the rage as new technology makes super secure, keyless bicycle access a reality. With so much choice and tech available, join us as we break down the best smart locks currently available.
What is a “Smart” Bike Lock?
In their most basic form, smart locks are simply bicycle locks that communicate with your smartphone via an app. They allow you to unlock your bike without a key, deliver theft/tampering alerts to your phone and offer GPS location services.
Keyless operation is the big reason that cyclists opt for a smart lock. It works in two different ways. Either the lock will communicate with a smartphone app and unlock when you’re nearby, or you’ll be able to use your fingerprint. Both methods are undoubtedly more convenient than carrying around a key, which can be lost.
Anti-theft alerts are essential with bike theft so common. If you leave your bike in a public place and somebody tries to unlock it, you’ll receive an alert on your phone. It’s a useful feature and certainly offers peace of mind. GPS tracking is useful as well – especially if you can’t remember where you’ve parked!
Smart Bike Locks [PROS + CONS]
Smart bike locks are an attractive proposition to many cyclists and one of the most popular kinds of lock. Not having to carry around (or worry about losing) keys is a big advantage. There’s nothing worse than coming to your bike only to find that you can’t unlock it.
Keyless operation is also useful in the cold, if you’re carrying a lot of things or simply in a hurry. These locks are undoubtedly convenient and the security angle is attractive too. You’ll always know that, whatever happens, only you can unlock your bike. If anybody else tries you’ll get a notification on your phone, fantastic for commuters who leave their bicycles unattended all day.
The old adage that more technology means more things to go wrong applies to smart bike locks, though. The beauty of the traditional key lies in its simplicity: with no moving parts, it won’t malfunction, leaving you locked out of your bike. Smart locks are also more expensive. Many rely on Bluetooth too, so if your connectivity goes down or your phone runs out of battery, you could be in trouble.
Benefits of Smart Locks
Smart locks look and feel like the future of cycling. Their smooth, keyless operation makes journeys simpler and quicker and also means that it’s more difficult to accidentally leave your bike unlocked.
GPS location and those all important security features make a big difference too. They won’t be required all the time, but simply having access to them offers peace of mind. Of course, some cyclists opt for a smart lock simply because they’re fascinated by new tech! As technology advances, expect more feature rich smart locks that continue to revolutionise how we interact with our bikes.
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Best Smart Bicycle Locks [Top 3]
- ABUS 770A Smart Bike Lock [REVIEW]
- Nulock Keyless Bluetooth Lock with Alarm [REVIEW]
- eLinkSmart Digital Bicycle Lock [REVIEW]
✅ Syncs with ABUS app
✅ Toughened steel frame
✅ 100 dB alarm
Weight: 2 kg
Size: 25 cm
- 🇬🇧 £164
- 🇺🇸 $190
- 🇪🇺 €190
It might be the most expensive lock on the list (by some distance) but ABUS is renowned in the smart lock world for quality, security and reliability. This device comes with the patented SmartX locking system for true, keyless operation via Bluetooth. The system is user friendly, connects seamlessly to your phone and unlocks the bike when you’re nearby. As far as simplicity goes, you can’t do much better than that.
Elsewhere, the lock also comes with some pretty robust anti-theft features. The alarm is deafening at 100 dB (which will ring solidly for 15 seconds and then automatically resonate) and more than enough to deter interlopers. Of course, you’ll also be notified via the app when the alarm sounds so even if you’re out of earshot you’ll be able to act. The hardened steel material is a big deterrent too, making the lock exceptionally robust.
It links up with the ABUS app (happily available on both iOS and Android) and pairs easily via keycard. You won’t need to pair again after first use and connectivity is excellent. One of the frequently touted disadvantages of smart locks is that they need to be charged. While this is still the case here, the lock comes with a USB-C cable for easy charging. It’s expensive, but if you crave that extra bit of security (or own a high value bike like an e-bike), then it’s a worthy investment.
✅ 8 month battery life
✅ Fully waterproof
✅ Battery level indicator
Weight: 2.9 kg
Size: 21.79 cm
Materials: AB plastic, copper and steel.
- 🇬🇧 £72
- 🇺🇸 $82
- 🇪🇺 €82
As complicated as it looks, the Nulock is actually a simple device designed with convenience in mind. You simply connect the lock to the Nulock App to get full, keyless operation. It unlocks with your smartphone so the process is quick and seamless, ideal if you’re in a hurry to get to work! It’s worth noting, however, that you will need Bluetooth 4.0 and above for this system to work.
Any kind of tampering with the lock (even just excessive vibration) triggers the 110 dB alarm and sends a notification directly to your phone. That alarm will sound even if your phone isn’t connected, so running out of battery doesn’t mean compromising security. The Nulock’s security credentials go beyond the alarm, though. It’s made from a combination of AB plastic, copper and braided steel, so it’s exceptionally strong.
It’s waterproof too, something that not all smart locks can boast of. Nor will it overheat in summer, with an operating range of up to 140 Fahrenheit. Battery life is similarly impressive. The lock comes with 3 AAA batteries that will keep it running for 8 months. Naturally, a low battery indicator sends out a warning when the battery level sinks below 20%, so you’ll never be caught unexpectedly short.
✅ Fingerprint technology
✅ 2000 unlocks per charge
✅ Up to 20 users
Weight: 6.5 kg
Size: 22 cm
Materials: Steel and rubber
- 🇬🇧 £36
- 🇺🇸 $40
- 🇪🇺 €40
One for true gadget lovers, the eLink comes loaded with smart features and it’s a fraction of the price of most other smart locks! Fingerprint technology is the main talking point. Rather than using your phone as a key, this device unlocks at the touch of your finger. This means that, even if you run out of battery or lose your phone, you’ll still have access to your bicycle.
It doesn’t make the accompanying app redundant, though. You can use it to enable bike access for up to 20 friends/family members, making it ideal for bike sharers. Unlock is speedy at just 0.5 seconds and the device has what eLink calls “extreme running time.” This equates to a colossal 2000 unlocks. Better still, the lock won’t simply click open when the battery runs out. It will remain locked and chargeable via a supplied power bank.
The cable itself is made from steel and wrapped in a PVC rubber cover. This combination makes it extremely secure and resistant to cutting/clipping. It’s been tested with a pulling force of over 2600 pounds so you really don’t have to worry! The lock is also fully waterproof and even dustproof. Fingerprint technology is more than a novelty: it provides a unique, one-of-a-kind key and unparalleled security for your bike.