It’s late at night, you’re lying in bed, and you hear the distinct and unwelcome sound of a creaking floorboard from outside your room.
There’s only one thing for it. Grip the blanket, pull it up to your chin and keep quiet. You’re safe now.
Some motorcycle riders have the same misguided belief that token deterrents will prevent their beloved machines from being stolen.
They visualise would-be thieves standing in resignation with hands-on hips at the sight of the small contraption you have placed around a wheel or brake lever.
No one device will prevent outright theft.
With that in mind, slowing down a criminal may be enough to send him on to the next bike, which is where a good deterrent or security accessory comes into its own. As every scuba diver knows, you don’t have to outswim a shark… just your dive buddy.
Quality in a small package
The Abus gets a mention because it’s a quality lock that can be a solution for those with smaller discs or limited storage space
Its 5mm bolt and compact design work where many other disc locks fail to fit.
Best Motorcycle Disc Lock Reviews
All of the models reviewed here have redeemable features across a wide budget range.
I would choose something cheap, quick and easy to fit, complimented by something more substantial for overnight or lengthy parking durations.
Oxford Boss Alarmed Disc Lock
With its bright, industrial yellow colour and 100db alarm, this disc lock is a serious audio/visual deterrent at the price.
Oxford has a reputation for quality, mid-range gear, and this is their strongest disc lock to date.
A sealed, removable unit houses the 100db alarm (batteries included), and the rest of the lock’s housing and tumbler is water, vibration, frost, and heatproof – designed to hold up in the UK’s climate.
100db might not sound like much. But in the kinds of situations when your bike needs protecting (typically late night/early morning), the wailing of this alarm will alert you (and your neighbours) to the problem and send would-be-thieves scurrying back to their rat’s nest.
Alarmed locks are a cut above in the deterrent department. There are very few people with the iron nerves required to finish a cut in a potentially hostile situation with an alarm blaring.
Thieves hate light, but they hate loud noises even more. Make sure they have to contend with both.
Scum doesn’t stick around when the odds of facing the consequences of their actions start to increase.
The Oxford Boss is available in 14mm and 16mm shackles to fit a wider variety of discs but check measurements of your wheels against the internal measurements stated on Oxford’s website if you intend to use this as a disc lock without a chain.
This is a small unit and fits under the seat or in the pannier in many cases. If it fits your wheel on its own, this makes an excellent travel option for someone packing light who still wants decent security.
- Robust and weatherproof
- Won’t fit some smaller discs
Oxford HD Max Disc Lock
Cheap but not particularly cheerful from a thief’s perspective, the HD max is a tried-and-true design with a convenient key replacement service.
The look of the HD Max will be immediately familiar to anyone who’s been riding for more than a couple of years. These are a common sight on the wheels of commuters and courier motorcycles everywhere.
The hardened steel and difficult-to-pick tumbler make this lock a problem for thieves, whichever way they come at it.
Lots of people buy these as a backup lock to keep in a pannier for short term parking. The small size, durable build, and key replacement means you can get a lot of mileage and many years out of the HD Max (remember to stash the serial number that comes with the unit safely).
The usual Oxford build quality is present – a smooth, easy-to-operate lock, tough, hardened steel, and a rotating keyway cover to protect the moving parts from the weather.
This is an ideal lock for someone who’s stopping off in the city centre, picking up some shopping, or wants some extra security for their office parking. It’s big, bright, and looks enough like a typical lock to act as a visual deterrent.
An excellent lock for at the price and easy to recommend to people looking for a cheap, portable, security solution.
- A determined thief will get it off
ABUS has a solid reputation for domestic and industrial locks, and their Provogue 305 is a unique looking disc lock solution that functions similarly to the others on our list.
The 5mm hardened alloy locking bolt is difficult to access for thieves but easy to slot into place and lock (particularly on bikes with smaller discs).
This has been designed just big enough to get the job done and has a smaller overall footprint than the more traditional style of disc lock.
It’s light too, tempting some people to carry it in their jacket pockets – probably a bad idea in the event of an accident, especially when these locks are small enough for under-seat storage, top box, or panniers.
The body is a solid, impact-resistant metal cast into this unique shape that makes the locking bolt difficult to access with power tools and keeps the size and weight down.
A range of colours is available though we recommend going for one of the brighter ones.
Beware, these things are so small; it’s easy to forget you’ve got it on and attempt to roll away. This is a minor complaint of a lock designed to be as compact as possible, but a big part of a lock’s purpose is a visual deterrent.
The sleek design, paired with the darker colourways available, could make this less effective at deterring that initial investigation from a dirty thief.
For safety, go with a bright colour.
- High-grade alloy
- Difficult to cut the bolt
Oxford Nemesis Disc Lock
The gold-rated Oxford Nemesis disc lock is one of the better-known and highly-rated locks on our list.
The shackle is rubberised, and the lock is housed in weatherproof plastic, meaning neither can scratch up your bike while fitted.
The anti-pick, double-locking mechanism holds in place a 16mm shackle. The unit is small enough for use as a disc lock but can also be used with a heavy-duty chain for higher risk or longer-term parking situations.
This is an excellent disc lock at a more premium price than others on our list. The double locking mechanism, solid construction, and “Sold Secure” seal of approval certainly act as both a deterrent and a real problem for opportunistic thieves.
The Nemesis is small enough to fit under the seat or in a storage box and offers much more security than is typical for this size of disc lock.
It looks big and bold when locked on a disc and immediately suggests to would-be thieves that they should move on to easier prey.
This option makes sense if you want something solid enough to use with a chain and anchor at home and take it with you for decent portable storage.
- Tough to break
- Versatile – disc lock or chain padlock
Oxford Monster Disc Lock
Oxford’s Monster Disc lock is made of Ni Cr Mo-alloy steel and is Thatcham Approved.
It comes with three keys and a lanyard to remind you that the device is still attached to your disc.
The shackle has a width of 11mm, and the whole device stores neatly into a smart pocket pouch.
- Double locking mechanism with 2 hardened steel bolts.
- Widened access to disc enables easier fitment
- Reminder cable included
- Thatcham approved
- Despite the strong metal components of the lock the casing may be vulnerable to heavy duty or advanced cutting tools.
- A little more expensive than other models.
Mammoth Original Disc Lock
The Mammoth Original Disc Lock is easily stored in a pocket and represents the most basic of our selection of disc locks.
However, don’t be fooled. As long as you know its limitations, then it can be used very practically in many scenarios. Intended for short-term use as a minor deterrent, the device may be ideal for a quick visit to a shop.
However, buy a winning lottery ticket while you’re in there, as you’ll need all the cash you can get if you rely on this as your sole means of theft prevention.
Its 6mm hardened steel pin is small compared to other models but is very well hidden inside the casing. (Note – there is also a 10mm pin version available.)
- Lightweight, compact and fits easily into pockets.
- Very cheap allowing you to purchase several for multi-placement.
- Unsuitable for protection against heavy attacks.
- Unlikely to win favour with insurance companies.
What are disc locks
Disc locks are an excellent security tool. A good quality model correctly placed lessens the chance of your bike being wheeled away quickly. An in-built, attention-drawing, audible alarm further enhances its deterrent characteristics.
Disc locks are usually quick and easy to attach, can be stored in small places and won’t cost you a small fortune. They may complement other security devices such as chains and ground anchors, providing a miniature ‘security field’.
Riders generally fit a disc lock to the front or back disc but doubling up isn’t uncommon. It is important to know the width of the holes in your discs to ensure that the locking bolt will fit them.
You also need to remember that you did fit them, as riding away with a lock still in place won’t get you very far and damage your bike.
Watch the following disc lock fail:
The best way to prevent this from happening is to install a memory cable. Total no-brainer – extremely cheap and will stop you looking like a numpty!
Security devices often come with two to five keys. Like your ignition keys, you should give some thought to where you keep them.
The aim is to avoid inconvenience if you forget one, but also to avoid the chance discovery of a spare and risking the theft of your bike. Hiding one on your bike shortens the distance but don’t make it obvious… some thieves are clever; their ‘job’ requires it.
Insurance premiums can be cheaper when owners invest in and use approved security devices. Motorcycle thefts have increased dramatically in the last year, with £3 million worth of bikes stolen every month.
That’s a lot of thieves.
How well protected from them is your bike?
Disc Lock Material
Steel is the metal of choice when going one-on-one with bike thieves. The casing is also a potential weak link and should be considered. Hardened steel has an advantage over more brittle metals and is not as easily shattered by heavy-duty hammers or cutters.
Models with alarms incorporate motion detectors and audible alerts up to 120 decibels, more than enough to give a would-be thief an earful.
Step back and think like a thief.
- How long have I got?
- Who can see me?
- Is the next bike an easier option?
This will help you match the level of risk with a suitable device.
If a disc lock is your primary choice of security deterrent, then opt for something strong, with a recessed bolt and a built-in alarm system.
Fixing two not only makes theft a longer process but a painful and riskier one as two bursts of 100 plus decibels ring out for several minutes.
Consider ‘security fields’ where chains, locks and alarms are used in tandem. It may take longer to implement, but the downside is a long walk home and higher premiums.
Thieves don’t like being seen or heard and, less still… locked up. Make their job as difficult and conspicuous as possible.
Safe and happy riding to all.