If you own an electric scooter, then there is always a chance to become a victim of scooter theft. The risk is higher in big cities and poorly-secured urban places.
As an illustration, the odds of scooter theft in a city like London is 12.9%.
Clearly, you need to secure your electric scooter whenever you park it, even if it’s just for a few minutes. A good scooter lock should be a visual and physical deterrent to theft, but it shouldn’t be too heavy or difficult to use. For these reasons, finding the perfect lock for your electric scooter can be challenging.
Locks are one of the most popular electric scooter accessories. But how do you find the best option in a sea of different types of locks? What should you pay attention to when shopping around?
By the end of the article, you will know:
- which is the best e-scooter lock type
- how to choose a best lock for you
- how to lock up a scooter
Table of Contents
- Security Standard
- Lock Types
- How to Choose?
- How to Lock an Electric Scooter?
- Other Security Options
- Other Risks to Consider
In the bike lock world, there are two independent organizations that test and rate products according to their protection level:
- Sold Secure
- The ART Foundation
If there’s a bike lockout in the market, Sold Secure has already tested it. They work with a standard set of tools for each lock and use the exact picking and brute force techniques that thieves use on bike locks. They also work with the police.
Nowadays, many insurance providers will ask you to use a Sold Secure-rated lock before they can cover you. In other words, Sold Secure is the most trusted source.
Sold Secure rates locks as Diamond, Gold, Silver, or Bronze depending on the level of security they provide. ART Foundation, on the other hand, uses a 1-5-star system.
I recommend using both rating systems when picking out a bike lock. For instance, if you settle for two silver-rated scooter locks, you can check their ART 4000 rating as well and pick the option with a higher star rating.
You’ll have to consider six types of scooter locks when buying your first one. These are:
- Cable locks
- Ring/Disc brake locks
- Cuff locks
- Folding locks
- Chain locks
Each of these locks is secure in the right scenario, but they all have drawbacks that can expose you to theft in the real world. You may need to use more than one scooter lock in some cases. Let’s take a closer look and try to identify which is the best scooter lock for you.
Typical Price Range: $5 – $30
- Easy to carry
- The most INSECURE lock
The cheapest lock you can get your hands on is the cable lock. It’s lightweight, easy to use, and compatible with any two-wheeler as it loops around the frame and rear wheel.
However, it’s also the least secure type of bike lock. It’s easier to cut through than solid metal locks. What’s more, if the cable is too loose, your scooter will slip right out. Even if you tie it securely, a motivated thief can easily use a hammer or hatchet to cut it if it’s tied closely to the ground.
For the most part, scooter owners use cable locks as a secondary locking mechanism combined with a more robust disc lock, chain lock, or U-lock.
Here is a video of cutting the cable lock and stealing a bike. It’s a perfect sample of how you can’t trust just a cable lock.
Disc Brake Lock
Typical Price Range: $10 – $50
- Easy to apply and remove
- Can’t connect to a permanent object
- Thieves can just lift your scooter away
A ring lock or disc brake lock attaches to the wheel of your scooter, thus immobilizing it. The problem with ring locks is that they’re not for every scooter, especially those with spokes. Their shape, however, is far more restrictive than that of a U-lock.
Some disc brake locks have cables that you can wrap around your scooter’s rack or carrier. These are just cables, though, so thieves can cut through them relatively easily. Like cable locks, ring locks work best when used in combination with a more secure lock, one that attaches your scooter to an immovable anchor.
Typical Price Range: $40 – $100
- Easy to apply and remove
- Difficult to cut
- Good quality cuff locks are not cheap
Cuff locks look like handcuffs. One end attaches to your scooter while the other secures it to an anchor point. Usually, chain links connect the cuffs to each other, and they can be quite robust. More importantly, they have revolving joints, which make them less impervious to brute force attacks.
Cuff locks are pretty secure as far as scooter locks go. One reason for that is that they attach to a crucial component: the fork. That makes them time-consuming to remove, and as a result, an impatient thief will not see your scooter as an easy target. They’re far from perfect, however. The chain link is durable, but it can still succumb to impact and cutting machinery. Nevertheless, the level of security they provide is more than decent, especially if hardened steel and 10-pin cylinders are part of their construction.
Typical Price Range: $20 – $120
- Lighter than chain lock
- Cheaper than chain lock
- Difficult to cut
- Great visual deterrent
- Difficult to carry
- Smaller sized u-locks don’t fit around bigger posts
The U-lock is the gold standard when it comes to scooter locks. They look like large padlocks that go around the frame of your scooter and an anchor point. A high-security lock can weigh as much as 2kgs (roughly 4lbs).
The best U-locks have hardened steel bodies and thick shackles/crossbars. They come in different sizes, so make sure to get one that comfortably wraps around the stem of your electric scooter and the anchor point.
The shackle length determines how well a U-lock will fit your scooter, but a long shackle can be a weak point. U-locks with shorter shackles are more secure. If it fits around your scooter without leaving too much space, it’s the right one. Since they’re impressively resilient, U-locks are the most popular choice for scooters, bikes, and motorbikes.
As you can see from the video, even U-lock isn’t 100% secure.
Typical Price Range: $30 – $150
- Easy to carry
- More locking opportunities than U-locks
- Not so secure as U-lock or chain
- Lots of moving parts can be vulnerable to attacks
- Not many folding locks have the Silver or Gold security standard
Get a folding lock if you want to lock your scooter onto a wider range of anchor points. A folding lock is a bit like a U-lock with a flexible shackle. You can bend it around thick objects and attach your scooter onto hard-to-reach anchors with ease. Folding locks can even anchor two scooters at the same time, so they’re as versatile as it gets.
Since they fold down, they’re easier to carry than bulky U-locks, even though they provide the same level of security. Some come with a frame mount that you attach them to while riding. In any case, they’re much less of a hassle to deal with.
Convenient as they are, nevertheless, you’ll find folding locks a bit more challenging to use. Also, a folding lock won’t survive a vigorous attack as well as a U-lock. Its multiple components make it vulnerable to irreparable damage from attacks.
Typical Price Range: $30 – $200
- The highest level of security
- Great visual deterrent
- More versatile than U-lock due to length and flexibility
- Difficult to carry
They say that a thick, heavy chain lock is better than any U-lock when it comes to security. Although this may be true, you should think about other factors when buying a lock, such as whether it is portable enough.
If you want a lock that you can use daily on your commute to work or school, then a U-lock is better. But, if you’re shopping for a lock that will secure your scooter at home, then a heavy-duty chain lock is definitely the best lock for electric scooter.
Chain locks can be as thick as 12 mm, so they’re nothing to sneeze at. That makes them ideal for stationery security, but it also makes them too heavy to lug around. Besides, not many of us have a bike rack at home, so it makes more sense to have a chain lock.
Wearable Chain Lock
Hiplok lock company has designed a chain lock that you can wear like a belt. It has a patented belt-like fastening and can be adjusted to perfectly fit around your waist. It makes it easier to take a good quality lock with you on your rides.
How to Choose?
What are the most important factors to consider when buying a lock for your electric scooter?
What’s Your Budget?
Quality locks can be expensive, so it’s good to know how much you’re willing to spend. Invest in quality materials and reinforcements instead of fancy bells and whistles. An expensive U-lock is more reliable than a similarly-priced folding lock because its main selling point is high-end security.
As with any other security product, you get what you pay for. Cheaper locks are ideal for low-risk environments such as private parking lots but don’t make the mistake of cutting corners in a high-risk environment. Invest as much as you think you should keep your electric scooter safe. You’ll need to know how dangerous your environment is before deciding how much to spend on a lock.
How Much is Your Scooter Worth?
How much did you pay for your scooter? If it’s an expensive electric scooter, then it’s a more attractive target and thus will require more security to deter theft. But if it’s a relatively inexpensive model, it doesn’t make sense to invest in pricey state-of-the-art scooter security.
You don’t want a situation where thieves cut the scooter in half to steal your lock.
Thieves will spend more time cutting loose a high-end scooter than they will a cheaper one. That alone is incentive enough to buy the biggest lock you can find if you’re riding on anything worth $1,000 and above.
That doesn’t mean that you should leave your cheap scooters unattended. A cheap, unsecured scooter is more attractive to criminals than any expensive scooter with a decent lock.
What’s the Level of Risk
- Where do you live?
- How safe is the neighborhood you park in?
- Can you maintain a line of sight to your parked scooter at all times?
- How long do you usually leave your scooter unattended?
These questions will help you establish your risk level for scooter theft. An unsafe neighborhood or crowded city center is a high-risk environment. Parking lots that are out of sight give thieves a lot of time to work your lock uninterrupted, so they’re also very risky.
If you leave your scooter unattended for hours, then you need strong locks that can deter thieves and survive multiple attempts. Knowing your risk level will help you buy the best locks for your situation.
How to Lock an Electric Scooter?
Find Secure Locking Points On Your Scooter
The most secure locking points on your scooter are:
- Built using solid material (stainless steel, aluminum, carbon fiber, etc.)
- Free of screws and removable attachments
- Difficult to break and/or vital to the functioning of the scooter
The stem is the first choice since it meets all these criteria. It’s sturdy, impossible to remove, and doesn’t have any attachments that can provide a way out. You just have to find a lock that’s large enough to slip around the stem and the bike rack or pole.
Other locking points include the folding mechanism and the carry handle. You shouldn’t lock around the handlebars, front wheels, and removable accessories like fenders. Even if it’s bolted on, all it takes is a patient and well-equipped thief to get past your lock.
Choose a Crowded Place
The biggest deterrent to theft is other people, so whenever possible, park your electric scooter near crowds or in high-traffic areas. Make sure the area is widely visible, well lit, and easy to monitor and access.
Shopping centers are a good place to start. They’re often crowded, plus most shops these days have outdoor security cameras that deter theft in the vicinity.
Do not park between cars or in dimly lit areas. Avoid parking in areas you can’t see or get to quickly if you need to. Keep in mind that a secure parking space should also protect your scooter from the elements.
Choose a Permanent Object
Always lock your scooter onto a permanent fixture, preferably one that’s cemented to the ground. Ensure the anchor is not too short because it’s easy to lift a 25lb scooter over a 3-foot locking point.
Your best bet is a designated bike rack since it’s designed for that exact purpose. But, in a pinch, stair railings, steel posts, and signposts work too. Avoid metal fences and flimsy structures that look easy to cut or smash through.
Don’t Give Thieves Hints
Try to be as discreet as possible about your whereabouts.
You shouldn’t broadcast that your scooter is unattended. Always give the impression that you’re close enough to pounce on any delinquents looking to boost your electric scooter.
Keep the Lock Off the Ground
It’s a bad idea to let the lock hang too close to the ground. That’s a surefire way to get it pulverized by a hammer. Make sure it is suspended slightly above the ground, far enough to make hammer attacks ineffective.
Make It Hard to Access the Lock
- Fill the inside of U-lock
- Face the keyhole downwards
- If the keyhole is hard to access, it is harder for lockpicking
There have been cases where thieves have put the glue inside the keyhole, so you can’t unlock your cooter and have to leave it overnight. This gives them the quiet nighttime to steal your vehicle.
Keep the keyhole facing down. You want to make your locks as difficult as possible to pry open with picking techniques. If you’re using a U-lock, fill the space between the shackles and your electric scooter to make it harder to crowbar open.
Other Security Options
A nifty electric scooter theft prevention is the immobilizer alarm. This security system features a remote-control system with which you can disable the electronics of your scooter.
It also has a motion-activated alarm that sounds off and disables the scooter when it’s tampered with. Even though it doesn’t stop the thief from carrying away the scooter, it makes it impossible for them to ride it.
Bikeep Docking Station
In the near future, we might ditch our scooter locks in favor of docking stations. Like bike racks, you’ll find these at shopping centers, universities, and office buildings. It secures it by the fork and handles, making it impossible to jack.
The Bikeep Scooter Docking station even charges your electric scooter while it’s parked.
These docking stations can be unlocked using your smartphone and can even be booked in advance.
Other Risks to Consider
- Don’t leave your helmet or other gear on the scooters.
- If you have a rack or carrier, make sure it is properly secured or don’t leave any valuables in it.
- Attachments like batteries, displays and wheels can be dismounted, so take measures to secure them as well.
- Whenever possible, lock your scooter with two or more types of locks.
If you lock up your scooter every time you leave it unattended, thieves are less likely to make away with it. It sounds obvious, but scooter thefts are still on the rise.
To keep your electric scooter safe, it’s vital that you use the right lock(s). Risky areas may require you to use multiple locks to keep thieves at bay. But, if you follow the basic security guidelines in this article, such as using correct locks for electric scooter, keeping your scooter visible when parked, parking in crowded places, and using secure anchor points, then you can deter even the most motivated thieves.
Which lock type yo like the most? Leave a comment and let us know!