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.

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