Best cargo bike locks

Here at Cycle Sprog, we believe this is the decade of the cargo bike and love seeing more and more of them out and about. In this article, we'll be advising you on the best cargo bike locks to keep your bike safe.

A cargo bike is perfect for carrying children to and from nursery or school while getting some exercise in and saving money on fuel, car insurance and parking.

Theft of electric cargo bikes has been on the rise unfortunately, which is awful for those affected and tricky to combat.

The most important step you can take to avoid your cargo bike being stolen is to lock it up - and do it well. We'll show you how to lock up a cargo bike and other steps you can take.

Since you're looking for a lock, make sure the one you choose is in line with your insurance - if you've not got insurance here's our comprehensive guide on cargo bike insurance.

Even if you’re using the best locks in the world, there’s no guarantee your cargo bike won’t get stolen so the best way to cover it against theft is to take out insurance.

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Kryptonite Evolution Series cargo bike lock

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What’s the best type of lock to use with a cargo bike?

Bike locks come in different shapes and sizes. D locks or heavy-duty chain locks are the best type of locks for cargo bikes, and for optimal security you can use a combination of different types of locks.

D locks are a lighter option than chain locks.

A chain lock is more versatile than a D-lock because it is longer and more flexible. With a box bike, a chain lock can come in handy when you can’t park close to a stand. A chain lock may also allow you to lock the frame and a wheel to a bike stand. We recommend a chain length of at least 100cm for a box bike.

Some cargo bikes are fitted with a wheel lock (sometimes called a nurses or cafe lock), which is a small lock that is attached to your bike and locks the wheel through the spokes.

These locks usually don’t have a high Sold Secure rating, but can offer another layer of security to your main lock(s).

What cargo bike lock is best for you depends on your personal preference as well as your insurance policy, if you've taken out cargo bike insurance. Most cycle (and home contents insurance) will only allow you to claim on your insurance if your bike is locked according to the insurance policy’s requirements, which usually includes a lock’s Sold Secure rating.

Make sure you buy a lock that has been rated by Sold Secure with the correct level of rating and keep the (electronic) receipt of the bike lock in case you need to provide evidence to your insurer.

For most cargo bike insurance you’ll need a Gold-rated Sold Secure lock.

What is the best bike lock for my cargo bike

Best D-locks for cargo bikes

Most lightweight option

D-Lock Granit X Plus 54/160 HB300 ART3 (from £79.99)

Weight: 1.66kg
Length: 23cm shackle length
Sold Secure rating: Diamond

This D-lock is the most lightweight Diamond-rated lock we could find.

It has a fairly long shackle, which is great, but you'll still need to park your cargo bike fairly close to a bike stand to be able to lock it up.

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Best for high-theft areas

Litelok X1 (from £149.99)

Weight: 1.7kg
Length: 101x197mm (internal dimensions)
Sold Secure rating: Diamond

Litelok are at the forefront of angle-grinder resistant locks and this D-lock offers at least five times more angle grinder resistance than the current best-selling, best-performing other D-locks.

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Best value option

Hiplok DXXL D-lock and chain combo (from £159.99)

Weight: 6.1kg
Length: 100cm (chain length)
Sold Secure rating: Diamond

The Hiplok DXXL is a small D-lock combined with a 14 mm heavy-duty chain. This combination offers a lot of options because you can loop the chain through the ring, or lock both ends of the chain to the D-lock.

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Best chain locks for cargo bikes

Best for flexibility

Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain 1410 and Padlock (from £123.99)

Weight: 4.9kg
Length: 100cm
Sold Secure rating: Diamond (despite Tredz website saying ‘Gold’!)

This 'forget about it' Kryptonite 14mm chain lock comes with a padlock (essentially a tiny 'D-lock') which gives you some flexibility as to whether to lock the padlock to the bike frame, stand, or just to the chain.

This is not a lightweight lock, but does offer both security and flexibility due to the decent length.

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Longest diamond-rated chain lock

Oxford Chain 12 Chain & Padlock 12mm x 1.5m Bike Lock (from £79.99)

Weight: unknown
Length: 150cm
Sold Secure rating: Diamond

This is another cargo bike lock which combines a heavy-duty chain with a padlock, but this padlock can't lock onto your bike frame or to the stand.

This is one of the longest chain locks on our list, so if you're after maximum flexibility for your cargo bike, this is the lock for you.

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Best lightweight lock

Litelok Core Plus (from £139.99)

Weight: 1.9kg
Length: 75cm

Sold Secure rating: Diamond

This Litelok is actually not a chain lock and not a D-lock but something in between the two.

This cargo bike lock is more flexible than a D-lock and more lightweight than a chain lock. With 75cm it offers a more flexible locking area than a smaller D-lock.

The integrated lock is a big plus as there are no separate parts to wrangle with while you're locking up your bike.

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Best Gold-rated Sold Secure locks

Easiest to use lock

Abus City Chain X-Plus 1060 Lock (from £144.99)

Weight: 2.7kg (for 110cm length)

Length: 110cm
Sold Secure rating: Gold

This Sold Secure Gold-rated chain lock comes in three different lengths and has a sturdy canvas cover on the heavy duty chain.

We recommend the 110cm or 140cm length for a box bike or if you’re looking to park in awkward spaces where you can’t get close to an immovable object.

The integrated lock together with the flexibility that the chain offers makes this one of the most easy-to-use cargo bike locks.

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Longest gold-rated chain lock

Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 1016 Integrated Chain Lock (from £106.99)

Weight: 4.33kg
Length: 160cm
Sold Secure rating: Gold

This is the longest heavy-duty chain lock for cargo bikes on this list, but not as heavy as some of the Diamond-rated bike locks.

This chain lock also has an integrated lock, so you don't have to worry about lose parts when locking up your cargo bike.

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cargo bike alarm

Oxford Screamer

A bike alarm attached to your cargo bike which emits a loud sound when your cargo bike is being moved can be used in addition to your main lock(s). They can offer another layer of protection against theft.

The Oxford Screamer is a small lock which you lock to your cargo bike by putting a pin through one of the holes in the disc brake. If someone moves the bike, the bike alarm will emit a loud 100dB siren.

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How to lock up a cargo bike

Locking up a cargo bike can be more complicated than locking up a regular bicycle because they are bigger.

The good news is that they usually have several gaps in the frame to put a lock through.

Our top tips for locking a cargo bike:

  1. Lock the frame of your bike to an immovable object (one which is bolted securely to the ground!)
  2. Use two different locks - locking the front wheel and rear wheel to the frame will increase security as well as slowing a thief down if they are attempting to cut the locks.
  3. Get insurance for your cargo bike (we can’t say this too many times!)

Even when using the best locks, if someone is determined to steal your bike and they’ve got an angle grinder, it’s usually just a matter of time before they break open the locks.

Having said that, you can certainly deter them by using multiple lock types and locking it to an immovable object like a bike stand or a metal fence.

If your cargo bike isn’t locked to something sturdy you run the risk of people driving by in a van and taking it away to break the locks in a private place.

The longer it takes to break the locks, the less likely people will be trying to do it in the first place, or they may give up because it’s taking too long.

We cannot emphasise enough though that getting your cargo bike insured is the best way to protect yourself against theft of your cargo bike.

Box bike locked up to iron fence

How to choose the best cargo bike locks

Sold Secure bike lock ratings

Some bike locks are rated according to the Sold Secure categories of Bronze, Silver, Gold and Diamond. Sold Secure is a company which charges manufacturers to rate their locks independently.

Check your cargo bike insurance policy to see what level of Sold Secure rated lock you need.

A bike lock rated Sold Secure Diamond will offer the highest level of security. There's a handy Sold Secure product database with an overview of all Sold Secure-rated locks.

Are cable locks secure enough to lock a cargo bike?

No, even the best cable locks only go up to a Sold Secure Bronze rating, which is not secure enough to lock up a cargo bike with.

Do I need to lock the battery of my electric cargo bike?

An electric cargo bike's battery is expensive and sometimes gets stolen as a standalone item. The battery on an e-bike is usually locked onto the bike, but not in a highly secure way.

On some cargo bikes, you can thread a lock through the area where your battery is attached to avoid it from being taken out.

If you are locking up your electric cargo bike in a high-risk area you could remove the battery and take it with you to make it less attractive to steal - the battery of an e-bike is worth around £500.

Do I need to lock my cargo bike’s accessories?

If you live in a high-risk area you may want to secure any accessories to your bike, such as a rain cover or a bike seat.

You can secure accessories with cable ties if they’re always on your bike, or you can use a cable-tie type lock like the Hiplok Z lock if you take the accessory off on a regular basis.

Some rear bike seats and panniers come with an integrated lock; use it!

Always remove the control panel from an e-bike if possible. The same goes for any other small accessories that can easily be removed like pogies, bike lights or a camera.

It’s worth checking accessories are covered with your cargo bike insurance as these can often add up in cost significantly if you need to replace them.

Do I need to lock up my cargo bike accessories to keep them safe

Where do I store the cargo bike lock when not in use?

Some bike locks come with storage mounts, for example some D-locks can be attached to your frame.

A chain lock can be wrapped around your seatpost.

If you have panniers on your box bike or longtail bike this can be a good storage place for a lock.

Do I need to lock up my cargo bike if I’m just popping into a shop?

Yes, always lock your cargo bike to an immovable object. Lots of e-bikes get stolen because they are not locked up at all and the owner has left the bike out of sight.

What if I can’t find an immovable object to lock my cargo bike to?

If you can’t lock your cargo bike to an immovable object like a bike stand or a lamp post, make sure you lock both wheels to the frame or to each other so that the bike can’t be wheeled away.

When I find myself without convenient or accessible parking spot for my box bike, I park it in a highly visible spot and thread our heavy duty chain lock through the front wheel and lock the rear wheel with the wheel lock.

Midtail cargo bike locked up to stand

What about installing a GPS tracker on my cargo bike?

Some people install a GPS tracker on their cargo bike for added peace of mind, in addition to using a bike lock (or two) and insurance.

The idea is that if your cargo bike gets stolen, you will be able to track down its location. This may help if the bike gets dumped somewhere, which sometimes happens with stolen bikes, even with high-value cargo bikes.

You can use a standard GPS tracker, like an Apple AirTag or a Tile Sticker, or a specialist bike tracker like a Knog Scout or Cycloop Bike GPS Tracker. You would install them somewhere they are not visible and cannot be easily found.

A word of warning about GPS trackers; most police forces will not act on information you may have about your stolen bike, even if you have GPS tracker data as evidence.

What else can I do to avoid my cargo bike from being stolen?

You can register your cargo bike with the national cycle database called Bike Register. This may help to reunite you with your cargo bike in case it gets recovered in the event of it being stolen.

Before you go...

After all this reading about how to avoid your cargo bike from being stolen, you may like to hear that cargo bikes are amazing machines with so much potential for a happier, healthier and cheaper way of getting from A to B with your children.

You can read all about cargo bikes in our dedicated Cargo Bikes section.


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