You carefully lock your bike in public, as you should. But what happens if you lose the key?
Well, let’s just say that there are other ways to unlock a bike! And cutting the lock with a hacksaw is definitely one of them. Just make sure you have the receipt from the bike store in your back pocket as proof of purchase so you don’t get arrested.
Hacksaws are easy to cut chain locks, cable locks, and low-grade U-locks, as many of these locks are made of thin and soft metal. Hacksaws are very durable, and their metal blade can cut through anything inferior.
In this article, we will cover how to use a hacksaw to cut a bike lock—as well as suggest other tools that are useful for cutting bike locks.
We will also go over which bike locks cannot be cut with a hacksaw, and whether or not you should cut your bike lock if you lose the key.
How Do You Use a Hacksaw to Cut a Bike Lock?
If you need to cut your bike lock with a hacksaw, always put safety first.
Pull the bike lock tight so that there’s an area you can saw through without damaging it or injuring yourself. Place the blade on the chain, or the plastic coated cable of the lock, then carefully saw back and forth.
If the lock is a cheap one, you should be able to easily cut through the soft metal with a hacksaw. Hacksaws are inexpensive to buy and easy to carry. Some even come with a blade guard. If your hacksaw has one, make sure to put it back on when you’re done using it so it doesn’t cut through anything else.
What Other Tools Can You Use to Cut a Bike Lock?
Cheap bike locks can also be easily cut with other tools aside from a hacksaw.
Wire cutters and bolt cutters are easy to use and can snip through the chain or cable of a low quality bike lock without hassle. Angle grinders are another tool that can cut through some cheap bike locks, although the process will be noticeably louder than using a hacksaw or wire cutters.
Some locks are so flimsy that you can break them with your bare hands—it’s probably a good idea not to buy one of these in the first place. In that case, there’s no point in even securing your bike!
A hydraulic bottle jack can pry open some U-locks. But if the lock is too small, this tool may not work. Overall, cable locks are pretty flimsy, and can be easily cut using a number of different tools.
Are There Any Bike Locks That Can’t Be Cut?
U-locks are the most popular type of bike lock, set up to simply lock your bike to a stationary object.
However, there is a wide variety of U-locks on the market, and they don’t all perform the same. If you want to get a bike lock that can’t be cut, go for a U-lock that has a very thick U-bar.
There are some U-locks that are 85 mm thick, and that thickness would prevent pretty much anyone from cutting through them. Other locks sport digital defense systems that activate if anyone tries to tamper with the lock.
There are also bike chains with extra thick links reaching up to 16 mm in thickness that are virtually uncuttable.
If you need a bike lock that can hold its own against cutting tools, check out Altor SAF and Skunklock. These types of locks will not be the cheapest on the market, but you will get your money’s worth out of them. Don’t lose the keys, though. 🙂
Should You Cut Your Bike Lock If You Lose the Key?
Cutting your bike lock because you lost your key can be an extreme and unnecessary measure.
You can contact a locksmith or a local bike shop to help you open the lock and fashion a new key for the lock. Alternatively, you can try your hand at lockpicking to see if you can open it yourself.
If you don’t happen to have a lockpicking kit lying around, there are other tools that be used as makeshift lockpicks.
For bike locks that have a circular bladed key, you can usually use a plastic pen to mimic the key. If you take the pen apart and use the hollow plastic tube, you can insert it into the lock and jimmy it around until the lock pops open.
Some new bike locks may be a little more secure so the pen trick may not work. In that case, making a shim or using the old fashioned lockpicking method with hairpins can help you fool the bike lock into thinking it should open.
If you don’t have the time, patience, or luck to fiddle around with lock-picking devices or wait for someone to help you, then cutting the lock may be your best option.
Just remember to put your key in a safe place next time!
The Long And Short Of It
It’s easy to lose the key to a bike lock, but don’t panic if you do.
There are plenty of ways to get the lock open. If it is a lock made of cheap soft metal, tools such as hacksaws, bolt cutters, and angle grinders can easily cut through the metal. Cable locks are especially simple to break with this method.
If you’d rather not damage your lock beyond repair, you can call a locksmith for assistance or pick the lock yourself with a lockpick kit, shim, or plastic pen.
If you are uneasy about having a bike lock that can be so easily tampered with, there are bike locks on the market that are crafted to withstand the assault of such cutting tools.
Bike locks come in all different qualities and prices. It is worth your money to choose a lock that is of higher quality so it cannot be cut. If you don’t trust yourself not to lose the key, a cheaper lock that can be easily cut may be the better option.