Secure on the move! It's our best portable motorcycle locks

Portable motorcycle locks
Portable motorcycle locks

Portable motorcycle locks are a great way to keep your bike safe when you’re out and about without lugging a 20kg+ chain around with you. Motorbike theft costs the industry millions every year through and also contributes to riders giving up bikes through fears over theft and security.

Arguably, one of the times your bike is most vulnerable is when you are out and about. At home, you can take almost whatever measures are necessary to prevent someone from getting away with your ride.

But if you are commuting, going into town for some shopping or an appointment, or when you are away on a big ride or a motorcycle camping tour, then making sure your bike is secure will help you breathe and sleep easier.


Of course, the issue with protecting your bike when you’re out on it is portability. A ship’s anchor chain and a massive lock will make sure it stays put, but you won’t be able to carry that around with you. Conversely, a tiny chain that goes in your pocket will be portable, but most thieves will be able to get through it as if it wasn’t there.

Somewhere between these two extremes is a situation where you can carry useful protection with you when you’re out and about. And by carrying it with you, we mean under the seat, wrapped around a luggage rack or grab handles or in a rucksack, topbox or pannier.

Portable security is also handy on bike tours or motorcycle camping trips where space and weight in your luggage is at a premium but you’re staying away from home.

Security tips

One thing to think about when it comes to security is applying layers. The more devices a thief has to tackle to get away with your bike, the better and will make them think twice about yours and potentially, move on.

Chain the bike to something solid so it can’t be lifted into a van and driven off. Disclocks are useful if you’re just popping into the shops briefly, as are lever locks, both of which will prevent your bike being pushed away or ridden off by thieves.

Related: Top motorcycle ground anchors

Another note on security; when considering products, look for the Sold Secure logo and the rating. This is a testing scheme run by the Master Locksmiths Association and you’re looking for Gold or Diamond standard products – they resist attack for the longest.

Here are some of what we reckon are the top portable motorcycle locks around.

Tested by Ben Clarke for 2 months
When sister magazine RiDE tested locks and chains, this one from Oxford was the Best Buy in the 'Middleweight' category, up to 10kg in weight for the largest chain we would usually carry with us. The chain uses 16mm wire for the links and the test found it took almost a minute to cut through with a mains-powered angle grinder and cutting disc. The padlock took the same amount of time to cut through and while a minute may not sound long, it is if you’re on a street corner with a disc cutter…
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Sold Secure Rating: Gold

MCN’s Ben Clarke has been putting the latest version to the test
‘The recently updated Oxford Nemesis lock and chain set is a great middle ground between a portable chain you might use out and about and the kind of heavy-duty metalwork you could only realistically use at home. At 7.7kg (1.2m version), it’s a little too heavy to carry with you on the road but the 16mm hardened steel links are more than a set of bolt croppers can munch through so if you are able to carry it somewhere it offers a great level of security (it’s got a Sold Secure Gold rating).

Oxford portable motorcycle lock

On the plus side, it’s dainty enough to fit between the spokes of most bikes – the fairly tight pattern of the Indian FTR S’s cast rims are no problem – and it’s light enough to manhandle around without issue, too. As an added bonus, the padlock acts as a disclock when you’re out and about and you can arrange the chain in such a way that it’s locked to the disc to make it harder for thieves to move your bike around and get access with cutting tools.

The fabric sleeve protects your paintwork and this is the first chain I’ve used where the studs holding the sleeve in place haven’t immediately given up. £189.99 is a little salty but when you consider the lock’s double use it doesn’t seem so bad. There are plenty of deals to be had online too.’

Tested by Ed Armitage for six months
Big chains are great for peace of mind, disc locks are quick and easy to use. This Magnum Duo performs the role of both. It comes with a 1.2-metre plastic-coated steel cable, which I have wrapped around a solid anchor point in my garage and attach it to the bike with the U-lock through the wheel and swingarm.

For going out and about I just take the U-lock to use as a beefy disc/wheel lock. Carrying is easy as the Duo comes with a bracket – it's designed for cycle use but fits neatly around the grabrail on my WK Scrambler.

The lock has Sold Secure Gold, ART four-star and Police certification, so certainly gives faith that my bike will stay where I park it. After six months of being used in all weathers (and receiving no maintenance) the U-lock still slips together easily and the pick-resistant lock is as smooth as when new. Sixty quid feels like good value to me.
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A variation on a theme, the LiteLock is a wide strap that features a boaflexicore construction with a hardened steel alloy lock assembly. Off the bike, it's light (1.1kg) and compact, rolling up in itself.

But when it’s needed, it extends to 1.075m in length to secure the bike to a solid object such as a lamppost. If you need extra length, then simply join two together – a twin-pack includes two locks with the same key to give double the length.
Sold Secure Rating: Gold
Price: £106.23

This disclock from Milenco is a chunky piece of kit. With its body formed in lightweight composite, it's the 14mm hardened steel pin in the double locking mechanism that provides the actual security.

The pin goes through the brake disc and locks into steel housings on either side so even if the composite housing is attacked, the pin remains locked to the bike so it can’t be pushed or ridden away.
Sold Secure Rating: Gold

A lever lock is a highly visible deterrent to a thief. It locks the front brake lever to the throttle, preventing both from being used. This means the bike cannot be safely ridden away and the thief will hopefully just move on to the next bike.

However, this one from Kovix features a built-in 120dB movement and shock alarm encased in a zinc and steel alloy body for strength.
Sold Secure Rating: N/A
Price: £113.86

Another product from Milenco, this time a lock and chain combination. Weighing just 3.7kg and gaining a Best Buy in the lightweight category of RiDE's test, this one-metre chain length took 35 seconds to cut through a chain link, offering impressive protection for such low weight and price.

The integral lock mechanism is harder to attack than the chain itself and the low weight means there is no reason not to keep one with you on the bike all the time.
Sold Secure Rating: Gold

A shackle lock is designed primarily to be used on its own, though it could also clearly be used as a padlock with a chain to secure the bike to something solid. But in isolation, the idea is the lock can be used to secure the wheel to the swingarm or forks, for example, preventing the bike from being pushed or ridden away and is more visible than say just a disclock.

This one from Spanish manufacturer Luma is 85mm between the prongs with a usable depth of 310mm.
Sold Secure Rating: Silver

Another variation on a theme, this is effectively a disclock though the difference is that the locking pin is housed within a body that is permanently fixed to the bike's brake-caliper mounting bolts.

The pin is inserted and removed from the housing and passes through the brake disc, preventing the bike from being pushed or ridden away. It’s not cheap but it is an elegant solution that should mean you are never without at least some form of protection.
Sold Secure Rating: N/A
Price: £149.95 (1.2m chain) £169.96 (1.4m chain)

This package has been put together to make it as easy as possible to grab a lock and chain and make sure you always take it with you. The handy rolltop bag comes with a wide retaining strap to fix it to the rear rack or pillion seat of your bike and it includes an Abus shackle lock that can be used as a disclock or on its own or with the included 1.2m or 1.4m long chain to secure it to something solid. A pair of gloves and a reminder tag help with convenience.

Sold Secure Rating: N/A

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