How to Lock an E-Bike Avoiding Common Mistakes

3 ebikes on the background with post title at the front

Locking an e-bike securely is extremely important, as e-bikes are valuable and can be attractive targets for thieves. In 2019, a bike was stolen after every 3.5 minutes. A secure lock can provide peace of mind and help deter thieves from targeting your electric bike.

It’s important to choose a high-quality lock and take additional measures to secure your e-bike in the most effective way.

In this article, you learn what type of lock to choose and how to lock an e-bike securely. Keep reading!

Main Types of Bike Locks Available

Cable Locks

holding a cable lock in my hands
Photo: Electric Wheelers

Cable locks are made of braided steel wires covered in plastic. They are lightweight and easy to carry around, making them a popular choice for casual riders.

However, cable locks are the least secure type of lock and can be easily cut with bolt cutters. Electric bikes are usually expensive enough to never lock with a cable lock.

Some e-bike riders use the cable lock as a secondary lock. I personally don’t use it at all. In this video, I tested the strength of an average cable lock and it took just 10 seconds to cut it.


holding a u-lock in my hands
Photo: Electric Wheelers

U-locks are made of hardened steel and are one of the most secure types of bike locks. They are designed in a U-shape (or a D-shape) and have a locking mechanism that requires a key to open. Additionally, U-locks have a compact, rigid design that makes them difficult to cut or break.

U-locks are heavy and bulky, which makes them challenging to carry around. However, they are an excellent choice for high-risk areas.

I have one U-lock and I sometimes use it to lock my electric scooter. But for locking an e-bike, I prefer a chain or a folding lock. For me, the U-lock is too clumsy and less versatile than other locks.

Chain Locks

holding an Abus chain lock in my hands
Photo: Electric Wheelers

Chain locks consist of a chain made of hardened steel links, covered in a protective sleeve. They come in various lengths, which allows you to secure your bike to various objects.

In terms of the level of security, chain locks are as effective as U-locks. However, chain locks are more flexible, because you can wrap the chain around different objects. But at the same time, chain locks are generally heavier than U-locks, which makes them difficult to carry around.

Still, I prefer a chain lock any time over the U-lock. I can put it at the bottom of my backpack and it doesn’t take much room. Also, I have seen that some riders wrap the lock around the frame of the bike and it won’t affect the riding experience at all.

Folding Locks

folding lock in my hand and folding lock in the carrying bag
Photo: Electric Wheelers

Folding locks are made of several steel plates that fold together and can be locked into place. They are compact and easy to carry around, making them a popular choice for commuters.

Folding locks offer good security, but they are not as secure as U-locks or chain locks. It’s because the plates are generally thinner and less strong than the solid metal of U-locks and chain locks.

To be honest, it’s my favorite type of lock because it’s the most compact and lightweight. So, most of the time I carry a folding lock with me. But if I plan to leave my ebike unattended for a longer time, I will add a chain lock in addition to the folding lock.

Which Type of Lock is Best for Locking an E-Bike?

all main types of locks on the table
Photo: Electric Wheelers

To be honest, no lock is good enough if the thief is highly motivated to steal your e-bike. But we can’t guard our bikes 24/7.

So if we have to lock our e-bike in a public space, the best way is to combine two locks – preferably a U-lock and a chain lock.

If you have only one lock, then the best is either a U-lock or a chain lock. The security standard of these is similarly high.

The next choice in terms of security would be a folding lock. It provides adequate security and is the most comfortable to carry.

And lastly, the cable lock is better than no lock. It prevents random theft when you go to the store for 5 minutes. But I wouldn’t recommend using it longer than that.

What is the Best Location to Lock an E-Bike?

Before locking an e-bike, it’s important to assess the locking situation around you. Evaluate the location where the bike will be locked up, as well as the objects available for locking.

The best location for locking an e-bike is a well-lit, high-traffic area that is visible to the public. Avoid secluded areas with low visibility because these are more likely to be targeted by thieves.

man parking his e-bike in a crowded area next to other bicycles
Photo: Unsplash

When selecting an object to lock the bike to, choose a sturdy, immovable object such as a bike rack, post, or railing. Avoid trees, flimsy fences, or other objects that can be easily cut or broken.

How to Lock Your E-Bike Securely?

You are now aware of what type of lock to use and you have chosen the best location for locking. It’s time to lock your e-bike.

Here a step-by-step instructions on how to lock an electric bike:

Preparations for Locking

First of all, remove all detachable components (battery, saddle) and accessories (display, phone mount). You can’t secure them with bike locks, so you have to take them with you.

Additionally, position the bike correctly. Position the bike so that the frame and both wheels are securely within the locking area. Ideally, you can lock the frame of the bike and wheels together. If not, remove the front wheel and place it next to the frame and immovable locking object.

Locking Your e-Bike

It doesn’t matter if you use a chain lock, a folding lock, or a U-lock, the locking is very similar with all of them.

If using a U-lock, insert the shackle through the frame, rear wheel, and immovable object. Make sure that there is minimal space inside the lock for thieves to insert tools.

If using the chain lock or the folding lock, the process is basically the same. You just have to unfold the folding lock first. Then, wrap the chain or folding lock around the rear wheel, frame, and locking object. Also, ensure that there is minimal slack in the lock.

one bike is locked with u-lock and another is locked with chain lock
The bike in the middle is locked with U-lock and the bike on the right is locked with a chain lock. Photo: Unsplash

Add Additional Lock

For maximum security, we would recommend adding a second lock. It will double the time to break two locks. This in turn increases the likelihood that someone will witness the theft.

Even if the second lock has a lower security standard, it will still help. A thief may see, that your e-bike is better protected than other bikes nearby. In this case, he understands that there is too much work to do and picks another target.

Avoid Common Mistakes in Locking an E-Bike

Locking an e-bike securely can be a complex task that requires attention to detail and careful execution. Here are some common mistakes and how to avoid them.

  • The lock is not secure enough: A $10 cable lock is not secure enough to protect your multi-thousand-dollar e-bike. Invest in a high-quality lock (U-lock or chain lock) that can help deter thieves and prevent them from breaking the lock.
  • Locking only the wheel: Thieves may remove the wheel and steal the bike anyway. So make sure both wheels and the frame are secured with the lock.
  • Locking in a secluded area: If you lock the bike in an isolated area, thieves can work on your locks without anyone seeing them. Therefore, always lock the bike in a crowded area with high visibility.
  • Locking into a flimsy object: You may have the best lock but if it’s around a weak fence post, a thief can just break the fence and take your bike. Instead, choose a sturdy object that is firmly affixed to the ground.
  • Leaving accessories attached: Thieves may target valuable accessories on your bike like a battery, display, phone mount, or saddle. You should take all easily detachable items with you.
e-bike's front wheel locked to the post, while the bike itself is stolen
If you lock your e-bike only through the front wheel, then you only secure the front wheel. Photo: Unsplash

Additional Tips for Deterring Theft and Keep Your E-Bike Safe

There are numerous ways to add an extra layer of security when locking your electric bike. Let’s name here a few:

  • Use a GPS tracker: Consider installing a GPS tracker on your e-bike, so you can monitor its location and receive notification if it’s moved.
  • Use multiple locks: Even if the second lock is less secure, a thief may give up on stealing your bike because it is too time-consuming. He may try to steal another bike that is secured worse.
  • Place the lock high from the ground: If the lock is positioned low to the ground, a thief could use a metal bar or other tool to lift the lock and break it open. By positioning the lock higher, you make it more difficult for thieves to use tools to pry it open.

Conclusion on Locking and E-Bike

Securing your e-bike with a high-quality lock is crucial for deterring theft and keeping your valuable investment safe.

By following the steps shared in this article, you can choose the correct lock for your needs, locate the best place for locking, and securely lock your e-bike. Additionally, we shared common mistakes people often make when locking their bikes and provided additional tips for deterring theft.

Hopefully, you got something useful reading this blog post and you can now enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your e-bike is safe and secure.

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