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There are some things you can't completely and honestly assess until they let you down: a bicycle lock is one such item. After all, you can't really know how effective it is in preventing your bike being stolen unless some larrikin should attempt to purloin your two wheeled transport. As far as I know no such attempts have been made to steal my bicycle while it has been secured with the Master Lock bicycle lock but it's also possible that, unknown to me, the lock has thwarted a would be bike thief. What I can report on, however, are the practical aspects of the lock - how easy it is to use, what it's suitable for and how durable it is.
It's rare that I lock my bike up because my partner and I tend to go cycling together and even if we stop somewhere, perhaps for lunch at a pub or just to stop for a rest, we never lose sight of our bikes. I don't fasten my bike up in the city centre either because it's just not safe to do so in Newcastle upon Tyne (unless you take the saddle and wheels with you) and life is just too short to dismantle your bike just to pop into Boots. If I was more likely to leave my bike unattended in urban areas I'd buy something more substantial than this lock; it's eight millimetres thick and therefore it could be easily snipped if someone had the appropriate tool to hand. I figure that city centre bike thieves are more likely to carry such implements but I can probably get away with short stops locally and in the countryside with this model. One positive about this model is that it does look pretty strong and that in itself may deter a casual thief from having a go.
There was limited choice of combination locks of the length I wanted so I reluctantly chose a key secured loc. This model comes with two keys which measure approximately 4cm long - not so small that you're liable to lose one, nor so big that they're awkward to carry. The metal cable is covered with black plastic and it's 180 cm long. It's sufficient for securing one bike but, whereas we have an extra long lock to fasten our bikes together in Slovenia, this one won't secure two at once. The cable is self coiling which is great for stashing the lock away (I coil mine just under the saddle) but battling to get the cable unravelled when securing the bike can be an ordeal. It weighs 281g so it feels quite substantial but it's light enough to stick in a pocket or in a backpack when riding and because it coils quite tightly it doesn't take up much space.
One concern I have about this lock is the quality of the keys. So far it this has not been a problem but the keys don't seem that sturdy and I am not convinced that one won't snap off in the lock at some point. I suppose the only consolation, should that happen, is that it's not going to be a major undertaking to snap the cable.
It's worth noting that a lot of people reviewing this product on Amazon have had the unfortunate experience of having a bike stolen while it was locked with one of the Master Lock cable locks. A cable lock is not the best option to ensure your bike is secure (of course no method is 100 per cent) and so you shouldn't even consider using this lock on its own if you are going to leave the bike for long periods and/or in city centre locations. In such instances I would suggest using this lock in tandem with a strong D lock.
I paid £4.39 (there was a reduction of £1.10 because I was already spending over £20) for this lock which is undeniably cheap for a bike lock, so cheap that you know deep down that it's probably a bad move. My bike is insured but I really wouldn't want the inconvenience of having it taken and therefore I'll only use this lock as a deterrent, in places where I think there's little chance of tooled up thieves operating.
"Masterlock Key Cable Lock. Locks. 1.8m self-coiling steel cable with vinyl coating. • Size - 1.8m x 8mm • Comes with 2 keys • Colours: Yellow, Green, Red, Silver, Black, Blue"