Motorcycle Cable Locks vs. Chain Locks

A black motorcycle.

Plenty of people choose motorcycle cable locks to protect their machines. Others prefer to use chain locks. Is one really better than the other? In many ways, they’re similar and do exactly the same thing. If you need a new lock for your motorcycle, which would be the better option?


It doesn’t matter whether you choose motorcycle cable locks or chain locks for security if you go for the cheapest option you can find. They’re simply not going to be secure. Most bolt cutters will go through them very easily.

If you’re going to try and keep your motorcycle free from thieves, you’ll need to spend more money. Motorcycle cable locks aren’t as safe as chain locks, although those with a protective layer of metal over the cable do tend to deter bolt cutter. Best of all is the heavy chain lock that’s made from reinforced steel and in odd shapes, such as hexagonal, which can deter the bolt cutters.


When you travel on your motorcycle you need to take your lock with you. When it comes to portability the motorcycle cable locks win easily. Many of them will naturally move into a loop when unlocked, so they can be put away and moved.

The same isn’t true of chain locks. They’re difficult to move around as they won’t fold into simple shapes, making them very awkward to transport. Chain locks also tend to be heavier than motorcycle cable locks, which also hinders their portability.


The lock can be the weakest link in the security of a motorcycle chain lock or cable lock. All too often people opt for a cheap lock, thinking that any lock will deter thieves. That’s far from true. You need to use a specialized lock with a good chain, for instance. Choose a mini U-lock or a monoblock padlock.

Motorcycle cable locks often have combination locks. These might seem very secure, but they’re not. With cheap combination locks in particular, it’s possible to look between each of the numbers into the mechanism to see the ridges and decipher the combination.

If possible go for motorcycle cable locks that are looped on each end and use one of the more expensive padlocks you’d use of the chain locks. You can also use a U-lock. Whether you use cable or chain, spend as much as you can afford on the lock to help keep your motorcycle more secure.


There are motorcycle cable locks and chain locks in all price ranges. As a general rule of thumb, you get what you pay for. The less expensive the locks, the less secure it will generally be.

Read reviews to find out which can be the best locks. Be prepared to spend a good amount of money to buy the very best lock for your motorcycle. Remember, you have a great deal of money invested in your motorcycle. Spending money to keep it secure is something that just makes sense.