We Choose The Best Locks For Mountain Bikes

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Best bike locks for mountain bikes
Best bike locks for mountain bikes

Mountain Bike Theft Happens

According to the National Bike Registry, 1.5 million bicycles are stolen each year. Bike locks are the only deterrent to thieves on the lookout for mountain bikes. Sometimes, would-be thieves only decide to strike when they see an poorly bike. After your see which three locks we have selected, read on to learn about our best practices for keeping your mountain bikes safe and sound.

The best u lock for mountain bikes

Best U Lock For Mountain Bikes: Kryptonite Evolution Lite Mini-6 U-Lock

The Kryptonite Evolution Lite Mini-6 U-Lock is the best U lock on the market today. This tiny black and orange beauty weighs 39% less than its parent, the Mini-5. Keep this key lock in your bag, or throw it in your pocket if you are traveling light. Use the Evolution Lite Mini-6 on your travels on transportation, metro areas, and public bike racks.

U Lock Materials

The Mini-6 is made out of max-performance steel. This means all 6 x 2.75 inches are created out of high-quality, long-lasting materials. Not to mention the substance of the stuff only weighs 1.95 pounds! There are also 3 keys made of stainless steel, as well as 1 LED key fob replacement.

U Lock Durability

The thickness of this U lock is 11 millimeters of hardened steel. That means a drop or a fall won’t destroy it. For even more durability, this mountain bike lock has a rotating dust cover and stopper plug to prevent the lock from failing due to debris.

U Lock Level of Protection

Kryptonite rates their locks on a 10-point system. The number 1 is the most basic level of protection, and 10 the most secure. The Evolution Lite Mini-6 rates as a 7.

The high-security cylinder is resistant to both drills and picks. Not to mention there is a reinforced cuff over the crossbar and cylinder. Twist attacks? Not anymore. This bike lock boasts protection in the form of a double-deadbolt, bent-foot design.

As an added safety precaution, this lock is eligible for the Key Safe Program. This program allows you to register your key number to make replacement simple. There is an additional fee, but it allows you to use this U lock for a very long time to come.

Finally, you can register for optional, $2500 anti-theft protection on the official Kryptonite website.

The best chain lock for mountain bikes

Best Chain Lock For Mountain Bikes: Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 1090 Integrated Chain Lock

In terms of chain locks, the Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 1090 Integrated Chain Lock is the best in the business. Black and orange are the colors, 35.5 inches is the length, and 6.1 pounds is the weight. Although heavier than U locks, the chain lock is longer, more durable, and can withstand more malicious treatment.

Chain Lock Materials

The chain links and 3 included keys are made from 3T manganese steel, and the sleeve on the outside is made from water-resistant nylon. The purpose of this accessory is to protect your mountain bike from the tough lock chains underneath. As an added bonus, the sleeve also protects the chain from nasty weather!

Chain Lock Durability

The 1090 integrated chain lock boasts 6-sided links, 10-millimeters apiece. It is also able to withstand quite a bit of mistreatment, whether from the climate or those with cruel intent. Furthermore, a sliding dust cover is included to protect the lock cylinder from dust, rocks, and other debris.

Chain Lock Level of Protection

Since the Series 4 1090 Integrated Chain Lock is a Kryptonite, it follows the same security point system as the first product on our list. However, this lock received an 8 and there are plenty of reasons why. Not the least of which is the oval crossbar headlock that works to double the strength of the mechanism!

The Series 4 1090 also eliminates the usual vulnerability at the end of chain links. How? By using a hardened deadbolt to secure the chain at each of the ends. Kryptonite calls this the End Link Design. Additionally, this bike lock features a cylinder resistant to drills and picks.

The $2500 anti-theft protection is optional, and it is available on the official Kryptonite website. Additionally, this bike lock qualifies for the Key Safe Program. Simply register your key numbers, and if your keys are lost or stolen you pay a small fee to receive replacements.

Thule cable lock for mountain bikes

Best Cable Lock: Thule Cable Lock 6ft One-Key System

One of the best cable locks to keep your mountain bike safe is the Thule Cable Lock 6ft One-Key System. At 6 feet long, there is no bike size you cannot wrap this black lock around. In fact, you can secure up to 4! Whether on your hitch rack, cargo carrier, or roof rack, you won’t have to worry about the safety of your bicycle.

Cable Lock Materials

The Thule Cable Lock is made of braided steel, and double coated with plastic. This helps protect your bike, rack, and vehicle from scratches. Additionally, the whole thing is self-coiling which comes in handy when trying to store it. That goes double for storing in small spaces such as a backpack or beach bag!

Cable Lock Durability

The hefty plastic coating protects the steel from bad weather, and the hinged cap protects the cylinder from dust and dirt. Hefty braided steel forms a strong 10mm diameter underneath the polyethylene, meaning you can give this product the business without fear!

Cable Lock Level of Protection

Thule does not include a system to rate the level of protection offered by its products. However, there is ample information online that would place the safety rating at a 5 out of 10. You can trust it for many situations such as travel, but professional bike thieves can break through with with inexpensive cable cutters.

The cable lock is a one-key cylinder, and you can have the cylinders to all of your Thule products keyed the same. That makes it easier for you. However, that also makes it much easier for a thief to steal all of your Thule items.

There is also a lifetime manufacturers warranty available from Thule on the lock itself.

Best kids mountain bikes

Kids’ Mountain Bikes
Start at this page to find the best mountain bikes for kids for two year olds through teenagers

Whistler's Lord Of The Squirrels

Go On A Family Bike Ride
What’s on your bucket list for family mountain bike rides? How about Whistler’s Lord Of The Squirrels?

Real cost bike calculator

Have A Good Laugh – Or Cry
Find out how much that mountain bike really cost you with our mountain bike real cost calculator

Our 3 Best Practices To Protect Your Mountain Bikes

Tip 1: Inside Is The Safest Storage Place

Even mountain bikes stored in the garage or out on a balcony should be locked. Once when traveling in California, we visited an aquarium and took great care to take the front wheels off the bikes and store all four of them in the van as opposed to locking them on the bike rack.

Tip 2: Use Multiple Locks

All locks do is buy you time and help deter theft. We have four bikes to keep safe and we often use a combination of all the types of locks mentioned in this article when camping.

Tip 3: Keep Your Locked Bikes Within Eyesight

Even if we have multiple locks on our mountain bikes, I always keep them in eyesight. When we stop a restaurant after a ride, my wife knows I will not sit at a table where we cannot see the bikes. We always leave someone in the car if we go to a grocery store.

Mother’s Day 2019 – Mom Bike Checks

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Mother's Day bike checks 2019

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there who enjoy mountain biking and/or encourage their kids to ride. Let’s take a look at what some of the moms are riding this season. Many thanks to each of you for taking time to share the photos and words for this post. We hope you enjoy your ride today!

Kaylee Gibb And The Pivot Mach 6

Kaylee with her kids

Kaylee Gibb and her three children. Photo by Ryan Gibb.

Some tragedies have happy endings. With the first child we decided to drop some coin on a little Giant strider – knowing more kids would get to use it! Well the drunk lady who drove through the yard and ran it over had different ideas… pulling it out of the ground un-bending a few parts and adding some trike handle bars to it fixed it. It has now been passed on to the third kid! Worth EVERY penny. The moment they can glide – they can pretty much pedal with a few tries on a pedal bike… in comes the Spawn. Same thing; cost a ton of coin but they hold their value, have decent brakes, and are quite light which was the most important thing on our list. This bike has gone through 2 and will soon be passed on to the third child (plus still sell it when we’re done for a decent amount).

My feeling on bikes is you put into it what the kid’s going to get out of it, not what your money says you can buy. Sure there are $2000 bikes out there for my 6 year old, but she’s not into it that much… yet. She likes to ride occasionally with me and push herself with her peers around, so we opted for a well priced Norco that has good disc brakes and a little bit of travel to keep her from fatiguing too quickly. She also has plenty of gears that she still isn’t super sure what to do with!

My Mach 6 is next level. Definitely the smallest bike I’ve owned minus the DJ. It’s an XS and feels pint sized! I LOVE IT! Its built a bit tough for most because of the style of riding we do, but it could be built up extremely light and be an XC killer and handle some seriously technical steeps no problema! It is a good family bike as well for growing kids. I’m 5’3″, 115lb..and not growing! It can fit the older siblings and be passed down for sure! It’s a bit of an investment, but for the person who loves to ride, ride comfortably, ride aggressively, and likes to progress… it’s a sure fit!

Kaylee riding with chlldren

Riding in the Utah desert. Photo by Ryan Gibb.

Kaylee with kids and caterpillars

Stopping to investigate the caterpillars. Photo by Ryan Gibb.

Courtney Nash And The Transition Sentinel

Courtney and her daughter

Courtney Nash and her daughter. Photo by Eric Brown.

I can’t wait to get back in the bike park with my 7 year old daughter! Her little brother is progressing with the bike stuff as well, but skiing may be his true sport. Cleo got a 20 inch Norco Fluid and she really likes that thing. She’s learning the reality of having a full-suspension kid bike with the squish, but having to pay for the weight on the climbs.

My new bike day was just a over a couple of weeks ago and I ended up with a 2019 Transition Sentinel Carbon GX. At first I didn’t want a 29er, but after I demo’d it for a few hours, this was a quick upgrade from my Patrol. I can’t get over how well my bike corners – even at high speed. Every moment where my brain screams, “You’re going to slide out!”, I mentally and physically prepare to adjust my body position and weight, but the bike never lets go. Even through long, big, loose corners. I keep pushing it and pushing it, but the bike won’t give up. All the normal attributes of a 29er are prevalent, but the Sentinel’s performance on technical terrain and jumping were initially surprising. It took me a few rides to dial in the suspension and now I’m pretty much in love.

Photos by Eric Brown.

Courtney would like to thank: @transitionbikes and encourage everyone to donate what you can to the WMBC (Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition). They’re the trail organization in Bellingham responsible for tracks including Unemployment Line, Evolution, and several more.

Sarah Paxson And The Kona Hei Hei

Sarah Paxson and the Kona Hei Hei

Sarah Paxson is expecting a bike ride – and a second child. Photo by Spencer Paxson.

I’ve been riding the Kona Hei Hei since 2013, and really enjoy the current iteration that I am on, the 2016 Hei Hei Race DL. For me, the bike suits my needs because it is a cross-country, endurance-oriented bike, but is also confident and playful on the trail. I stated riding mountain bikes in 2010, and there was a time when I enjoyed a bigger bike for hitting jumps, steep lines and pushing my skill limits. But these days I feel fulfilled with a “low air diet” and really value getting out for longer missions or short and fast outings between work and family obligations. Here is a bit more detail on the setup:

The frame is a size medium, with 120mm travel up front and 100mm in the rear. The wheels are 29” diameter, and since the bike is already so light (carbon frame and nice components), I like to run heavier tires so that I feel more confident on the trails. It makes for a fun combo – a zippy little bike with good grip. For gearing, I run a 32-tooth chainring up front with a 11-46 cassette, which gives me plenty of gear range for most climbs. Finally, I have a dropper post that gets the seat out of the way for riding downhill or across rough terrain.

We are expecting our second child in August, so I’m currently using this bike as my so called “gravel commuter” to continue to enjoy time in the woods. As with baby #1, my bike serves as a motivator for getting back in shape to enjoy all the fun trails in Bellingham.

Photos by Spencer Paxson.

Sarah would like to thank: @konabikes

Sarah Rheuban And The Canyon Spectral

Sarah Rheuban and the Canyon Spectra

I ride a Canyon Spectral AL 6.0. It’s pretty perfect for me. The geometry and setup is versatile and can handle everything from single track to chasing my crazy boys at the downhill park. The bike worked well for me right out of the box. I haven’t really done anything to it other than swap out the saddle for a Terry saddle. The bike can go anywhere I want it to go – it’s a jack of all trades. And it’s got a sweet blacked out paint job. It’s like my little black dress, if I could wear my little black dress in the mud. I love it!

Sarah and family
At the bike park with the kids

Sarah and her family run Prevelo Bikes. Please visit their website. You can also follow Prevelo Bikes through Instagram @prevelobikes.

Ginger Rosenbauer And The Trailcraft Cycles Big Mesa, Trailcraft Cycles Maxwell 26 Plus

Ginger and daughter of Trailcraft Cycles

The best thing about riding a bike is getting to be outside and enjoying time with people I love most. The bikes I ride and enjoy the most are the Trailcraft Cycles Big Mesa and new Trailcraft Cycles Maxwell 26 Plus. The Big Mesa is a hard tail its light and with its 1x 28T on the front and 11-42 on the rear this allows me to tackle most the mountains around here in Colorado. Mostly I just try to keep up with our kids that are getting faster and faster every year! I enjoy the versatility the Big Mesa which can be ridden with 27.5 or 26 Plus tires. I prefer the 26 Plus wheels for the extra stability and traction they provide cornering on the loose granite or dry blown out trails that happen end of season. I’m not an expert rider and the bigger tires give me more confidence on the trails.

Th Maxwell 26 Plus full suspension is awesome and a lot of fun to ride – it’s going to be my new Moab bike for sure! I ride this bike in a size small and love the Maxxis DHF and DHL tires for extra grip, MRP Ribbon 140mm fork and it has a Fox Transfer dropper. Its super sweet and very plush to ride.

Best wishes for a fun Mothers Day and Happy Trails Ladies!

Ginger and kids riding mountain bikes in the desert
Summer bike ride

Ginger and her family run Trailcraft Cycles. I thought she’d be riding a different brand of bike because we’ve done reviews for the Maxwell line. When I saw her on one of her bikes for this post, I needed a little more detail. Ginger said she is 5’4″ tall and added “Our small size Big Mesa and growing Maxwell line fits riders up to 5’6” so it’s a perfect bike for growing teens and Moms”. Please follow Trailcraft Cycles through Instagram @trailcraftcycles.

Traci Thompson And The Yeti SB100

MTB mom and kids model the Yeti SB100

Mountain biking has allowed my family to go to spectacular places over the last several years. From red rock deserts of the American southwest to the loam of the BC, we have been able to ride together a lot as the kids have been growing up.

I like the Yeti SB100 because its climbing ability isn’t compromised by its suspension set up. That being said, it’s still a capable bike on mildly aggressive downhill terrain. This 29 inch wheeled mountain bike allows me to ride how I want. I enjoy undulating desert single track and challenging climbs – so this bike’s carbon frame and 1x GX Eagle drive train fit my style very well. If you were to place this bike on a spectrum ranging from hard tail XC racer to all-mountain thriller, it would definitely lean towards the latter, but if the terrain gets a bit technical, the dropper post lets me easily put my weight over the rear of the bike. The stock Maxxis DHF tire on the front is a little more burly than XC rubber, so it helps maintain traction and steering control on loose trails. For a full-suspension bike, I think the weight is reasonable. The medium sized 2019 Yeti SB100 weighs in at 29lbs with pedals and a water bottle cage.

Traci mountain biking with the Yeti SB100
Rolling in on the Yeti SB100

Traci’s family runs the Mountain Biking With Kids website. She would like everyone to get out on bikes with their families and support your local trail organization through dig days and/or financial contributions.

LittleBig Bike Review

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LittleBig Bike Review - Featured Image

Long gone are the days of starting your child off with a tricycle or some other single-use bicycle. Now, they need to begin working on their balance and their riding skills with a bicycle that will grow with them. This is where the LittleBig Bike comes into play.

This bike starts out as a simple balance bike – no training wheels needed. And then, as your child matures and is able to handle a bike with more advanced features – you can add the drivetrain. We had three different sized riders with different abilities get on the bike and take it for a spin.

Designed For Kids Aged Two to Seven

In the past, kids started out with the aforementioned tricycles and then progressed to small two-wheeled bikes with stabilizers or training wheels on them. As their balance got better, those training wheels were raised up slightly, and then more so, until they could be taken off. Thanks to the LittleBig Bike, these introductory stages are skipped over. Kids learn to balance on two wheels right away.

Mom and dad look on...

What Comes With The Bike

The bike comes with all the tools you will need to assemble the bike and convert it from a balance bike to a pedal bike. There is a wrench for the rear bolt-on axle and properly sized hex keys. When in its balance bike configuration, a plastic dust cover can be placed over the rear chain ring.

It’s Not Just A Kids’ Bike – It’s A Transformer!

These helpful videos were created by LittleBig Bikes. They take you though the assembly of the bike and how to go through its configurations.

Little Balance Bike

Big Balance Bike

Adding The Pedals

The First Stage – The Little Balance Bike

The LittleBig Bike comes already set up for kids ages two and three. This is the balance bike stage. There are no pedals and there are no stabilizers either. Instead, your child uses their feet, which should be flat on the ground when they are in the bicycle’s seat, in order to propel themselves forward. While it’s common for kids of this age to use their feet as the brakes, which works just fine, because they won’t be able to move at a high rate of speed, the LittleBig Balance Bike actually comes with front and rear hand brakes. The creator of the bike, the LittleBig Company, believes that kids this age can learn to use hand brakes fairly easily. And, it’s true! One of our test riders had never used hand brakes before. With a little instruction from his dad, the little ripper was braking safely and evenly.

Comfy on a descent while riding the LittleBig Bike
Powering along the dirt on the LittleBig Balance Bike
So much fashion and function with the LittleBig Bike

The Second Stage – The Big Balance Bike

Once your child gets taller, it’s time for the second stage of the bike. This is also a balance bike stage, but it’s set up for slightly older kids, usually those age four and five. The back section of the frame is one of the ingenious ways in which the bike grows with your child. All that you need to do is flip that back part of the frame and move the seat to the (new) top section. This provides more vertical height and pushes the seat back slightly so that there’s a longer reach for the handlebars.

The Third Stage – The Big Pedal Bike

Finally, when your child is ready for something even more advanced, pedals, the bike easily converts to accommodate them. There’s a separate pedal and crank assembly that can be attached to the bike. You don’t even need to break the chain! Since the hand brakes are already included, you just have to add this one section and then your child has a mini mountain bike that they can use to cruise along the trails.

Standing up on the pedals with the LittleBig Pedal Bike
Posing with the LittleBig Bike in pedal bike configuration
Simon Evans - Founder of LittleBig Bikes

Simon Evans – Engineer, Inventor, And Founder Of Little Big Bikes

Simon was kind enough to spend a few minutes on the phone with us and talk about his invention. When asked about the inception of what lead to the LittleBig Bike, he said:

“I used to work in a bike shop and I remember one day very specifically. On our sales floor there was a balance bike, then a 14-inch bike, and a 16, and an 18, and a 20. And they were all lined up. I thought, ‘Why do you have to buy all these different bikes?’ Why couldn’t you just have one bike that adapts?

This was the ‘light bulb’ moment that went off in my head. I knew what I had to do. I didn’t know exactly how I was going to do it, but I knew what I wanted to do.”

Specifications And Features

Because the LittleBig Bike changes sizes with your child, there are three different sets of specs for it. Starting with the minimum saddle (seat) height, at stage one, it’s at 14 inches, then it moves up to 18 inches and 19.5 inches at stages two and three.

The maximum saddle height is at 18 inches in stage one, and then 22 inches for stages two and three. Another important measurement is the wheelbase. It’s at 27.5 inches in stage one. Stages two and three are the same here – 26.8 inches.

Wheels on the bike are sized at 14″ and the bike weighs 11.25lbs as a balance bike and 14.55lbs set-up as a pedal bike.

LittleBig Bike Size Chart

Little Balance BikeBig Balance BikeBig Pedal Bike
Min Saddle Height (inches)141819.5 (or 18" with optional short seatpost fitted)
Max Saddle Height (inches)182222
Top Tube Length (inches)13.515.515.5
Head Angle (degrees)667070
Seat Angle (degrees)787070
Wheelbase (inches)27.526.826.8

The LittleBig Bike is available with or without the additional pedal and crank attachment. You can also buy that attachment separately. You also have your choice of bright colors, including flame red, apple green, electric blue, and sparkle pink. The company even sells helmets on their website to match (or not match) your kid’s next bike.

Lovingly designed and hand-assembled in Ireland, the LittleBig Bike company does their part to ensure your young riders get off on the right foot when they become a part of your #mtbfamily.

Quick release seat collar for the LittleBig Bike

The bike features a quick-release seat collar.

This is where the drive train is secured on the LittleBig Bike

The pedals are fastened to the seat tube with these 2 bolts

Hand brake for LittleBig Bike

Front and rear hand brakes.

LittleBig Bike Review - adjustable frame

The front/rear portion of the frame is fastened here.

Getting Around On The LittleBig Bike

All our riders enjoyed the bike because it put them in control right from the start. Each mode of the bike was suited to each riders’ abilities.

We did our best to get one young lad to pedal on his own for the first time, but the pedaling was just not happening during this show-and-go impromptu session. There is absolutely no pressure with this bike though! We just converted it back to a balance bike and the young ‘un enjoyed riding the bike up and down the sidewalk.

Almost the first time pedaling solo on the LittleBig Bike

Your Child Could Use A Bike That Can Actually Grow Along With Them

If you want to pass your love of mountain biking on to your children, do your best to start them off at an early age. The LittleBig Bike is an excellent option for learning the initial skill-set that a child will build on for years to come. You won’t have to worry about buying a new bicycle every year since this one will grow along with them. These bikes are designed to last, too. When your children outgrow the Big Pedal bike, it can easily stay in the eco-system via resale or being handed off to another young rider.

When WIRED labels your invention as “genius”, you’re in pretty good shape. Ireland’s Simon Evans has come up with a kid’s bike that that is superbly functional, and good looking. It would make Artemis Fowl green with envy. The design of the bike allows it to be enjoyed for multiple years by the same rider who will grow several inches. As a parent of a growing pre-teen and high schooler we hope Mr. Evans’ next endeavor will be applying his learnings to larger bikes.

Best kids mountain bikes

Kids’ Mountain Bikes
Start at this page to find the best mountain bikes for kids for two year olds through teenagers

Whistler's Lord Of The Squirrels

Go On A Family Bike Ride
What’s on your bucket list for family mountain bike rides? How about Whistler’s Lord Of The Squirrels?

Real cost bike calculator

Have A Good Laugh – Or Cry
Find out how much that mountain bike really cost you with our mountain bike real cost calculator