How to Cut a Bike Lock – The Practical Ideas

For one reason or another, there comes a time when you need to cut your bike lock. However, if you are not well conversant with the process, you may find difficulties along the way. Therefore, it is important to learn how to cut a bike lock so that you can complete the procedure with ease. In this article, we are going to look at the different ideas on how to cut bike locks. Unfortunately, some of these ideas are used by thieves to steal bikes from the parking lot. The good news is that, you will be able to seal the loop holes on securing your bikes.

Why would you need to cut your bike lock?

There are several reasons why you may need to cut your bike lock. This is especially in emergency cases when you need to ride your bike and get to another location but you cannot open your bike lock. And you need to know how to cut a bike lock to prepare for the cases might happen. The reasons include:

1. Lost keys

Lost key is one of the main reasons why you need to break your lock. You may leave your bike locked and on coming back; you find that you have lost your keys. If it is difficult to find the key, you are better off breaking the lock. 

2. Broken lock

In other instances, the locks may break down and fail to open. This is mostly because of the rain; age and heat elements that may cause the locks jammed and refuse to open. In such an instance, it is advisable to break the lock.

3. Tampered lock

On the other hand, there are unfortunate instances when either kids insert sticks into your bike lock or thugs breach it in an attempt to steal the bike. In the former situation, you may find that you are unable to insert the key in the lock-hole while on the latter case; you may be able to get the key in but fail to open the lock. Therefore, the only way out of this is to break the lock. Bike theft is on the rise and when a thief fails, you may end up with a tampered bike lock that cannot open freely.

Types of bike locks

Bike locks comes in many varieties. This includes chain locks, U-locks, wheel skewers and cable locks. Below, we will have a look at each of them individually so that you can get a better understanding on how they work.

1. U- Locks

As the name suggests, U-locks come in the shape of a U. These types of locks are designed to offer the highest level of security for your bicycle. The locks offer good resistance to breakage using a hammer, mallet, chisel etc. However, you have to ensure that they fit well on your bike so as to limit the space for inserting leverage tools. A big leverage space would increase chances of theft.

Bell CATALYST Pocket U-Lock for Bicycle


2. Cable locks

Cable locks are also an option when it comes to bike security. However, they are best suited for use in areas with less cases of insecurity. This is because; compared to U-locks, cable locks are easier to break. They can however be used as a complement to the U-locks.

UShake Bike Lock Cable


3. Chain locks

Chain locks are made up of a chain and offer good bike security when used with the right type of lock. However, it is advisable to go with the thicker chains and good locks so as to get the best security. Unfortunately, they are much heavier than other types of locks.

Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit 1415 Bicycle Chain and New York Disc Bike Lock, 14mm x 60"


4. Wheel skewers

Although Wheel skewers are smaller bike locks, they are very difficult to break. In fact, you need some special types of tools to break them. Therefore, they are ideal for use in areas with high rates of bike theft.

Mr. Control Anti Theft Bicycle Wheel Skewer Set


Tools needed to break bike locks

  • Cable cutters
  • Hacksaw
  • A hammer
  • Crow bar
  • Bolt cutters
  • Hydraulic bottle jacks
  • Portable angle grinder

How to cut a bike lock - Step by step

The steps followed in cutting a bike lock depends on the type of lock installed as well as the tool available for the job.

Step 1

If you are dealing with a cable lock, you can use a cable cutter to cut through it. Most cable cutters available in the market can cut through these kinds of locks in seconds.

Alternatively, you can use a hack saw to cut through both cable locks and cheaper U-locks. The good thing is that, the hack saw will cut through a cable lock instantly as it is sharp and very effective. In addition, they are easy to use as you do not need any expert skills to break them. Also, hack saws can cut through thin chains. However, they will take a little more time to complete the task.

Step 2

The other option is to use a hammer to break your bike lock. As we continue to learn how to cut bike locks, it is important to know that hammers can come handy in the process. However, you need to hit the lock against a hard surface. For example, it is easy to break the lock against a wall or ground, provided that the surface is hard enough. If there is a huge rock near you, you can use it for the task as well.

Crowbars are also useful in breaking locks. This is especially when you have a U-lock. You can leverage it in the space at the middle of the lock before forcing it open. The good thing is that, crowbars are very effective. However, you need to choose a long crowbar in order to increase the force. Unfortunately, you may find that it is difficult to insert the crowbar in the lock as many U-locks have a small space.

Step 3

Using a bolt cutter can also be an effective method of breaking a bike lock. Cable cutters are very efficient especially when you are dealing with a cable lock. This is because; the cutters will break the cable with only one bite. In addition, Medium to large size cutters can easily defeat cable and U-locks.

When you have high quality U-locks, you may consider using hydraulic bottle jacks to break them apart. The jacks have enough pressure force the locks open. However, most secure U-locks do not leave enough space to fit bottle jacks.

Step 4

If all the above fails, you have the option of using portable grinders to break bike locks. Portable grinders are the most effective tools for breaking bike locks and will cut through any type of lock when given enough time. You should however note that the tool produces a lot of noise when doing the job.


As we complete the article, we can see that there are many ways to cut bike locks. However, there are many other methods that are not as popular as the above. The bike locks can either be lock-picked, frozen with aerosols before being smashed with a mallet or melted down with a blow torch. The choice of the lock breaking method depends on the ease of the procedure, availability of the tools as well as the experience in completing the process. The good thing is that, if you are not able to do it yourself, you can always seek help from a professional.

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