Avoid damage to your bike frame with this easy solution for carrying a U-lock

I discovered the hard way that a steel cord bike lock is NOT secure and can be cut in seconds, so I switched to a U-lock for my bike. I’ll never rely on a cable to lock my bike up again! But, a U-lock is pretty heavy so carrying it is a bit of a challenge.

Why the Included U-Lock Bracket Sucks

My OnGuard U-lock came with a plastic bracket that clamped to my bike frame:

OnGuard U-lock clamped to bike frame

After about a year though, the plastic cracked and fell off. But much worse, it permanently marred my bike frame where it attached, because I had to clamp it down so tightly to carry the weight of the lock. When I discovered that damage, I was not happy.

If you go online,  you can find all kinds of clumsy contraptions people have come up with to attach their U-locks to their bikes. One creative one was made of PVC pipe. I’ve also seen guys stick the U-lock in their pants or belt! (I’m wondering how they sit).

My Solution

After doing some research online, I found a great solution! Bontrager makes a $40 bike rack that has a slot that perfectly fits my U-lock. Was this on purpose? I don’t know, but it seems too perfect to be chance. The opening is wide enough for the “U” section of the lock to slide in, but stops at the actual cylindrical lock section. Furthermore, there is a metal flap that stops the lock from hitting your spokes.

U-lock on bike rack
Bontrager BackRack Large (tail light and bungee cord not included)

The rack is much lighter than it looks – it’s amazing how little it weighs. So, you’re not adding a lot of mass to your bike with this.

I was also concerned that the rack would look dorky, but I think it looks fine and is barely noticeable since it’s the same color as my bike.

Maximum Lock Size

My OnGuard lock has a relatively thin tube, so I tried a bigger Kryptonite Kryptolock, and it also fits, though just barely.

Kryptonite Kryptolock U-lock
The Kryptonite Kryptolock also fits in the Bontrager rack

To the best of my measuring ability, the tube diameter of the Kryptonite Kryptolock is just under 5/8″ wide, or more exactly 1.5 cm. Any lock with a bar diameter equal to this or less should fit.

The best way to carry a U-lock on your bike
You can carry two U-locks, which is what I do when I ride with my wife

Securing the Lock

This solution was great except for one thing – the lock would rattle and jump around as I rode on rough surfaces or went over bumps. The solution to that was to add an 18-inch length of bungee cord to hold it down.  It still rattles if I go over something big like a curb, but that’s fine with me.

Removing the lock is pretty easy – just lift the bungee slightly and pull out the lock!

And, unlike clamping brackets, this rack won’t crack and won’t mar your bike’s paint job!

This rack is very expensive on Amazon, but you should be able to find it cheaper at your local bike store or direct from Bontrager. But make sure it fits your lock! I recommend taking your U-lock to your local bike store and testing the fit before purchasing.

Reader Bryan found this cheaper rack at Walmart, and it’s also available from Amazon. It only mounts to your seat tube, so it’s not as secure as the Bontrager model though.

Have you found a better solution to hold your bike U-lock? Please comment below! – Brian

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