“How do I attach my U-Lock?” – the eternal challenge of the bicycle commuter.
If you’re like me, it took about two seconds to decide that the manufacturer’s included U-lock holder that came with my lock was useless. A traditional rear cargo rack doesn’t provide many good options either. Unsecured U-locks can rattle, fall out, or even create safety hazards by getting caught in your wheels.
Thankfully there are a few front and rear bike racks that are designed to carry your bike lock with elegance and simplicity. For the purposes of this roundup, I assume that as a bike commuter you are interested in a solution that is:
- Safe, and prevents your lock from falling into your drivetrain or spokes.
- Simple, and easy to use so that it doesn’t take you five minutes every time you need to access your lock.
- Durable and practical. Bike commuters don’t the luxury of riding in perfect weather, and silly hipster leather U-lock holsters are not helpful.
Front Bicycle Racks With Lock Holsters
The Blackburn Local Basket is generously sized, fits everything from 26″ mountain bikes up to 700c road bikes and 29″ mountain bikes, and can be used as a rear and front rack. It’s also disc brake compatible, making it a real jack-of-all trades.
Pro: Sleek & integrated. Price. Con: Only useful if you want a basket.
The Minoura (Gamoh) KCL-3F Pouteur Front Rack is one of the few porteur racks that can hold a U-Lock well. Although it lacks a purpose-made U-lock holster, the narrow gap on the left and right side is appropriately sized for holding a U-lock. Fits wheels 26″ up to 700c.
Pro: Porteur racks are dope if you deliver pizza. This one holds a lock, too. Con: Price; your lock will rattle a bit..
I’m a pretty big fan of the Portland Design Works Takeout Basket. In fact, I wrote up a whole review over here on Oly.Bike. It fits on basically any bike. Holds your U-Lock and a few goodies. And it looks slick.
Pro: Looks great. Mounts easy on any bike. Includes waterproof satchel. Con: Spendy. Doesn’t hold much weight or volume.
The Pure City Urban Front Cargo Rack is similar the the Blackburn basket, but smaller, less refined, and less expensive. This rack/basket provides a great value and is available in black and silver. Basket side rails can be removed and it converts to a porteur rack.
Pro: Great value. Con: Only useful if you want a basket. Limited capacity.
Rear Bicycle Racks With Lock Holsters
What? The Blackburn Local Basket again? YES! because it’s reasonably priced at $70 and it can be used as a rear and front rack.
Pro: sleek & integrated. Front & Rear. Con: only useful if you want a basket.
The Tubus Locc was a purpose-built solution that came with an Abus U-Lock and included mounting brackets. Why am I using the past-tense? Because Tubus took this rack off the market. Some retailers still have it in stock. Or try to find one used. It came in silver and black; with different sizes for 26″ and 700c tires. (The 700c version was marketed as 28″ tire size, because… Germany.)
Pro: Durable Tubus quality. Integrated German design. Con: Price. No longer manufactured.
If you already have a rear rack you love, the Abus UGH U-Lock Rack Brackets let you easily and reliably attach your U-lock. The brackets attach with bolts, but your lock is held tightly with elastic straps. Unfortunately, it takes up one whole side of your rack, eliminating the ability to carry two panniers.
Pro: Works with the rack you already own. Con: Price. Can’t carry two panniers.
The Topeak OS Rack Lock was also discontinued. Seriously? Yes, seriously. Why do they keep doing this to us? It was heavy, durable, clever, and heavy. Buy it if you can find it.
Pro: Value. Simple to use. Con: Discontinued by mean jerks.
Many classic-style rear cargo racks like this one from Pure Cycle actually hostler a U-lock quite well. The key to look for is a lock-sized gap in the top rails and narrowly mounted rear stays for the lock. Because the rear stays are more narrow than the rack, your lock will hang to the outside of them. This prevents your lock from getting caught up in your wheel and compromising safety. This aluminum rack from Pure Cycles fits most bikes and is available in black or silver.
Pro: Price. Durability. Simplicity. Con: Lock will rattle. Blocks pannier mount location on one side.