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Best Folding Bike Lock: Practical and Secure Options!

Best Folding Bike Lock: Practical and Secure Options!

Last Updated on May 20, 2024 28 Comments

Folding bicycle locks are fairly new, and have been designed to solve some of the inherent problems with more traditional u-locks and chains.

Folding locks made from a series of connected steel plates that can be moved around to give you loads of locking options, and then folded down into a compact package that's really easy to carry around.

Firstly, let's take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of folding bicycle locks.

And then I'll recommend the best folding bike lock for different risk levels, based on my user tests and the current security ratings!

Advantages of Folding Bike Locks

Folding bike locks tend to be slightly heavier than u-locks that offer the same internal locking space and the same level of protection (although they're much lighter than the equivalent chains).

But because of the way they can be shaped (by folding the plates in one direction or the other), they'll give you loads more locking opportunities than any u-lock…

Folding lock around thick lamppost

A u-lock would never fit around this thick lamppost

For example, you'll never be able to lock your bike to a bulky lamppost (or any other large street furniture) with a u-lock. And it's difficult (if not impossible) to secure two bikes with one standard size u-lock…

A folding lock securing two bikes

Folding locks are the best type for securing two bikes at once

But these things are easy with a folding bike lock, because of the way you can shape them. In fact, folding bike locks are probably the best type of lock for securing two bikes together, or securing one bike away from standard bike racks.

Folding locks are really compact

Folding locks are really compact, so they're easy to carry!

And because they fold down into such a compact package, folding bike locks are also super easy to carry around. Whether you throw them into a bag or use the supplied frame mount, they're the least hassle to transport.

In a bag, they take up far less room than any u-lock. And anyone who’s ever struggled with a u-lock frame mount that’s not able to hold the lock quietly or securely, will really appreciate the tight, noiseless fit of a folding bike lock against their frame!

Folding lock in case on bike

The frame mounts hold the lock close to the frame: less noise, more stability

No rattling, no movement, and no doubts over how long it will be until the lock falls off their bike!

So folding locks are one of the easiest to use and definitely the easiest to carry around. But there are some disadvantages too…

Disadvantages of Folding Bike Locks

Although folding bike locks are generally more practical than u-locks and chains, it can take a bit longer to secure your bike as you maneuver the plates into position, depending on how busy the bike rack is.

And because their construction is more complex, they’re less likely to function as well after they’ve repelled a vigorous attack. Damaged rivets or bent plates won’t stop the lock protecting your bike, but they might stop it folding up properly!

Decent folding locks also tend to be more expensive than many u-locks (although probably about the same price as chains).

Abus Bordo 6000 unfolded

Folding locks: thin plates and lots of moving parts = potential vulnerabilities

Most importantly: because the plates are thinner than u-lock shackles and the rivets are susceptible to drilling or shearing attacks, low quality folding locks tend to be very low security.

And it’s not always easy to tell the difference between a low and high quality folding lock.

This is why it’s particularly important to pay attention to the independent security ratings of folding locks, and to carefully match your personal circumstances to the appropriate rating. If you do this, then they are still a great option!

Choosing the Best Folding Bike Lock for you

So if you want a lock that's easy to carry around and that offers you loads of locking opportunities, then a folding bike lock is an excellent choice.

The question is which one should you buy? Well, finding the best bike lock for your circumstances is a simple, two-step process...

Step 1: Find the right security level

When you’re trying to choose a bike lock, the first step is to work out what level of security is most appropriate for your risk level. And answering the 3 quick questions in the quiz below should give you a pretty good idea…

Based on your answers, the quiz should recommend either a Sold Secure Silver, Gold or Diamond rated bike lock as the best option for your particular circumstances.

If you're unfamiliar with Sold Secure, they are an independent, UK based, security testing organization that destroys bike locks (and other security products), and then rates them according to how long they took to defeat.

Bronze = less secure. Diamond = more secure.

They award locks either Bronze (least secure), Silver, Gold or Diamond (most secure) ratings. And since they test and rate more locks than any other organization, and they are security experts, they provide the best indication of how secure a lock really is.

I don’t think Bronze rated locks are sufficient for any circumstances, so I don’t recommend them in the quiz. And at the moment there are no Sold Secure Diamond rated folding locks available.

So for folding locks, we are left with either Sold Secure Silver (for less risky circumstances) and Sold Secure Gold (if your circumstances are higher risk). If you were recommended a Diamond rated lock by the quiz, my top high security choice below might be OK. But it might also be worth looking at u-locks instead.

Step 2: Choose a Folding Bike Lock based on its Security Level

The next step is to choose a specific lock. And with folding bike locks, it's pretty easy because there’s not a huge amount of choice!

Sold Secure Silver Folding Locks

Model Thickness Weight Cans of Coke Length
Foldylock Classic Foldylock Classic 4.5 mm 1.34 kg
(2.95 lb)
3.5 37.4 "
(95 cm)
AXA Foldable 1000 AXA Foldable 1000 10 mm 1.97 kg
(4.34 lb)
5.5 41.3 "
(105 cm)
Foldylock Mini Foldylock Mini 5 mm 0.89 kg
(1.96 lb)
2.5 29.5 "
(75 cm)
Foldylock Clipster Foldylock Clipster 5 mm 0.9 kg
(1.98 lb)
2.5 29.5 "
(75 cm)
Foldylock Compact Foldylock Compact 5 mm 1 kg
(2.2 lb)
2.5 33.5 "
(85 cm)

Sold Secure Gold Folding Locks

Model Thickness Weight Cans of Coke Length ART rating
Foldylock Forever Foldylock Forever 6.5 mm 1.76 kg
(3.88 lb)
4.5 35.4 "
(90 cm)
Abus Bordo Granit X Plus 6500 85 Abus Bordo Granit X Plus 6500 85 5.5 mm 1.76 kg
(3.88 lb)
4.5 33.5 "
(85 cm)
2 stars
Abus Bordo Granit X Plus 6500 110 Abus Bordo Granit X Plus 6500 110 5.5 mm 2.16 kg
(4.76 lb)
6 43.0 "
(110 cm)
2 stars
Abus Bordo 6500a SmartX Abus Bordo 6500a SmartX 5.5 mm 2.3 kg
(5.07 lb)
6 43.0 "
(110 cm)
2 stars
Abus Bordo 6500a SmartX RC Abus Bordo 6500a SmartX RC 5.5 mm 2.32 kg
(5.11 lb)
6 43.0 "
(110 cm)
2 stars
Abus Bordo 6405 85 Abus Bordo 6405 85 5.5 mm 1.7 kg
(3.75 lb)
4.5 33.5 "
(85 cm)
2 stars
Abus Bordo 6405 110 Abus Bordo 6405 110 5.5 mm 1.95 kg
(4.29 lb)
5 43.0 "
(110 cm)
2 stars
Trelock FS 580 Toro Trelock FS 580 Toro 5.5 mm 1.58 kg
(3.48 lb)
4 35.4 "
(90 cm)
2 stars
Kryptonite Evolution 790 Kryptonite Evolution 790 5.4 mm 1.5 kg
(3.3 lb)
4 35.4 "
(90 cm)
2 stars
AXA Fold Ultra AXA Fold Ultra ? 1.44 kg
(3.17 lb)
4 35.4 "
(90 cm)
2 stars
Squire Stronghold FL/850 Squire Stronghold FL/850 5 mm 2.04 kg
(4.5 lb)
5.5 33.46 "
(85 cm)

Folding Lock Brands

As you can see in the tables above, there aren’t many folding locks that offer acceptable levels of security.

And remember: even more than other types of locks, I highly recommend that you avoid folding locks that don’t have Sold Secure or ART (more on them later), ratings. This is because, due to their inherent vulnerabilities, unrated folding locks can be very unsecure.

It’s also clear that there are just a few lock manufacturers that dominate this space: Abus, Foldylock (AKA Seatylock on Amazon), and Allegion (who own Kryptonite, AXA and Trelock).

I have tested most of these locks and my favorites are always the Foldylocks, as they have the widest range of security levels and features, and they seem to put a lot of effort into making their locks as easy to use as possible (which is really important too).

The Best High-Security Folding Bike Lock

Although there are quite a few Sold Secure Gold folding locks to choose from these days, there is one that stands out over all the others: the Foldylock Forever.

Foldylock Forever

Foldylock Forever

My score:

Check price:

Bar thickness:

6.5 mm

Weight:

3.88 lb (1.76 kg)

Length

35.4" (90 cm)

Foldylock rating:

18/18

Other Security Ratings:

Sold Secure Gold

So what makes it different?

The steel plates on the Foldylock Forever are 6.5 mm thick (which is 1 mm more than the other Gold rated folders like the Abus Bordo 6500, the Kryptonite Evolution 790 and the Trelock FS 580).

Foldylock Forever plate thickness

Unrivaled 6.5 mm steel plates on the Foldylock Forever!

In fact, it’s the first folding lock to ever go with such thick steel plates, which significantly increases its security level. I couldn’t cut them with my giant bolt cutters, and I would be very surprised if anyone else could either.

Foldylock have also added a layer of protection to the nuts that join the steel plates. This is a known weakness in folding locks, and it’s possible to split the nuts of lower quality locks with bolt cutters or nut-splitters.

Foldylock Forever nut protection

Foldylock Forever nut protection

To be fair: a thief has to get the lock in the right position to achieve this with bolt cutters, and thieves don’t habitually use bolt splitters in the street. But it’s good that Foldylock have addressed this issue, which further adds to the security.

In fact, if you were recommended a Diamond rated lock in the quiz above, then this is the one folding lock that could possibly come close (although for the very highest level of protection I would still recommend one of the angle grinder resistant u-locks).

While it may be the extra security that makes it stand out from the other Gold rated folding locks, it’s not the only thing that makes the Foldylock Forever a good choice over those locks.

In contrast to the Abus Bordo 6500, the plates move really smoothly (the Abus is stiff), they’re covered is a smooth, tactile plastic (the Abus is covered in a sticky rubber), and the carry case uses a clever design that doesn’t require a strap to keep the lock in place (so it’s quicker and easier to get the lock in and out).

Foldylock Forever vs standard size ulock

The 35.4" (90 cm) = more locking space than a standard size u-lock

I also prefer the 35.4" (90 cm) length of the Foldylock Forever to the 33.5" (85 cm) or 43.3" (110 cm) of the Abus folding locks. This gives you more internal locking space than a standard size u-lock, without excessive weight.

There are a couple of things I don’t like the Foldylock Forever, though.

While I do really like the indented keyhole cover that automatically splits in two when you push the key in (making unlocking easier), I wish the cover was made of metal (like the Abus locks), rather than plastic, as this a part of the lock that gets a lot of wear and tear.

Foldylock Forever plastic key hole cover

The Foldylock Forever key hole cover is plastic

It’s also worth noting that this is a heavy lock. At 3.88 lb (1.76 kg), it weighs the same as 4.5 cans of Coke. The more secure a lock, the heavier it is, so this is unavoidable. And if you carry it in the frame mount, you’ll hardly notice the weight.

But if (for whatever reason), you can’t use the frame mount and have to carry it in a bag, you will notice the weight!

If you must have something lighter, then the AXA Fold Ultra, Kryptonite Evolution 790 or the Trelock FS 580 Toro (which are essentially all the same lock just with different branding) are a little bit lighter (4 cans of Coke). But there’s not much difference, and they are definitely less secure than the Foldylock Forever.

The Best Mid-Security Folding Bike Lock

There are even fewer Sold Secure Silver folding locks And only two brands to choose from: Foldylock and AXA.

The AXA Foldable 1000 is a slightly different type of folding lock, being made up of joined up cylindrical bars. And again, I prefer the Foldylocks here, as they’re lighter, easier to use and there’s even a wearable option.

Foldylock Compact

Foldylock Compact

My score:

Check price:

Bar thickness:

5 mm

Weight:

2.2 lb (1 kg)

Length

33" (85 cm)

Foldylock rating:

14/18

Other Security Ratings:

Sold Secure Silver

The Foldylock Compact is probably the pick of the bunch, and will provide the nicest balance between weight and length for most people. But which is the best option for you will really depend on your personal circumstances…

Foldylock Compact vs Kryptonite Kryptolok

The 33.5" (85 cm) = same locking space as standard size u-lock

The Foldylock Compact is 33.5" (85 cm) long, which provides about the same internal locking space as a standard u-lock. And it weighs, just 1 kg (2.2 lb), which is about the same as 2.5 cans of Coke.

This will give you loads of locking opportunities at a weight that is hardly noticeable!

Foldylock Compact around fat lamp post

Foldylock Compact around a fat lamp post

The steel plates of the Foldylock Compact are 5 mm thick, which makes it slightly more secure than the Foldylock Classic (even though they both have the same Sold Secure Silver rating). And it has the same rivet protection as the Foldylock Forever, to discourage splitting.

It also features the same smooth moving plates, clever frame mount, easy action keyhole cover and tactile (but tough) plastic housing as the Foldylock Forever.

So while it’s not a bike lock for the most high risk circumstances, the Foldylock Compact is a good, lightweight and practical option when you don’t need the highest levels of security.

Foldylock Compact on bike

The Foldylock Compact is a lightweight and practical option

If you ride a bike with a thinner frame or wheels, and can get away with a shorter folding lock, you also have the option of the Foldylock Mini or Clipster. These two locks are exactly the same as the Compact, but are just slightly shorter at 29.5" (75 cm).

Of course, this also makes them lighter, and the Foldylock Mini is the lightest folding lock you can currently buy (that offers a reasonable level of protection). At 0.89 kg (1.96 lb) it weighs about the same as 2.5 cans of Coke.

Foldylock Clipster on belt

The Foldylock Clipster can be worn on your belt

The addition of a belt clip to the Foldylock Mini turns it into the Foldylock Clipster, which can be worn on your waist like a Hiplok. Because it’s so lightweight, this can be a really convenient way to carry it around.

The Competition

Of all the other folding locks that I’ve tested, the only other ones that stand out are the Trelock FS 580 Toro, the Kryptonite Evolution 780 and the AXA Fold Ultra, all of which are more or less the same lock, just with different branding.

(Remember: they're all owned by the same parent company).

I'll use the Trelock as the example...

Despite the Trelock having the same Sold Secure Gold rating as the Foldylock Forever, it is definitely less secure. This is because the steel plates are 1 mm thinner, and it doesn’t have the same nut protection of the Forever.

Trelock FS 580 Toro plate thickness

Trelock FS 580 Torro has 5.5 mm thick plates

And of course, this is reflected in the 2-star rating from ART (in contrast to the 3-star rating for the Foldylock Forever).

But although it’s the same 35.4" (90 cm) length as the Foldylock Forever, at 1.58 kg (3.48 lb), it’s also 10% lighter, making it about the same weight as 4 cans of Coke.

The 35.4" (90 cm) Trelock FS 580 Torro will give you loads of locking options

And in terms of usability, the Trelock is probably even better than the Foldylock. This is down to the way the mechanism rotates, so it can always be positioned towards the end of the arm that fastens into the lock.

And also because of the way the arm spring loads into the mechanism. This means that once the arm's inserted, it’s anchored there, and you don’t have to worry about holding it in place, while you turn the key to lock up.

Plus, it comes with a handy, quick release frame mount that makes getting the lock into out of the cradle super easy.

The Trelock's rotating mechanism makes it really easy to use

While it may not be as secure as the Foldylock Forever, it’s definitely more secure than the other Foldylocks and could be a nice intermediate security option, that provides a really usable locking experience.

The Kryptonite Evolution 780 and the AXA Fold Ultra have exactly the same features, just with a slightly different design.

I don’t think that one is better than the other. So if you need a Gold rated lock, but don’t feel you need the highest security of the Foldylock Forever, then just look for the best price on any of the three locks.

Best Folding Bike Lock Summary

Folding locks are a great alternative to more traditional u-locks and chains. They provide more locking opportunities than u-locks, they’re much lighter than chains, and are easier to carry than both!

However, there are some inherent security vulnerabilities in folding locks. Relatively thin steel plates and all those moving parts make them vulnerable to several types of attack.

So when we’re choosing a folding bike lock, we need to be extra careful that we get the security levels right.

As always, we should only consider those that are rated Sold Secure Silver or Gold, depending on our risk levels.

Folded Foldylock Compact

Folded Foldylock Compact

If you’re looking for a mid-security folding lock, then go for one of the Foldylock Compact, Classic, Mini or Clipster. They’re really easy to use, and there should be a length and carry option to suit you perfectly.

If you’re looking for a high security folding lock, go for the Foldylock Forever. It’s the only lock with a 3-star ART rating, and undoubtedly the only folding bike lock that offers enough protection for high risk circumstances.

Foldylock Forever in frame mount

Foldylock Forever in frame mount

But if you feel that you’re somewhere in-between the low and high risk group, then definitely take a look at the Trelock FS 500 Toro, the Kryptonite Evolution 780 or the AXA Fold Ultra (which are essentially all the same lock).

These three are the easiest of all the folding bike locks to use and while they’re not as secure as the Foldylock Forever, they do offer more protection than all the Sold Secure Silver rated Foldylocks.

And if you don't agree with my assessments, let me know in the comments below!

This page contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. You will not pay any extra. More details here.

About the author 

Carl Ellis

I've had bikes stolen in London, New York and Barcelona. Yep, I was a serial, international, bike theft victim. In 2015 I decided to stop the rot. And not a single bike's been stolen since! Brakes, yes. Bells, yes. But they're another story. Everything I learn, I document on this website. More about my story. Contact me. LinkedIn.

  • How does the 6500 do in protecting a saddle, would
    It fit in the bars underneath a typical saddle? Thanks and really great site and reviews!

      • Thanks for the quick response and invaluable website! I just finished reading your piece on protecting seats/saddles and will follow those directions! Now I just need to determine if I should do the ABUS 6500 or Abus Chain 1010 as my second lock to compliment my Abus Mini 54. I love the weight and size of the 6500, but wonder if the 1010 is a more flexible, safer lock albeit a lb heavier. Any thoughts?

        • Mmmm it’s a tricky choice. I would probably go with the 6500 though just because it’s going to be much easier to carry. At least it will be if you can fasten the mount into the place where your water bottle cradle would usually go.

          • Thanks, Carl! I’ll order and check out this combo. I was thinking about giving up my bottle cage holder for this 🙂 – and if this doesn’t work, I may swap out the 6500 for a Abus x-plus 540 and just do two u-locks. But, I think this combo will be perfect! Thanks again for the great website and advice!

          • Hi P.J. I recently moved my Bordo 6500 folding lock holder from the seat tube water bottle location to underneath the downtube, just above the bottom bracket. I used 4 heavy duty zip ties to secure it. I took it for a test ride with the 3.5 lb. (1.6 kg) lock secure this way; so far so good. I am planning on using a heavy 2 inch (5 cm) wide cinch strap to further secure it for safety on rough roads. Hope this helps. Ken 🙂

    • Hi Timur

      I haven’t actually tested the Kryptonite Evolution 790/90 yet, but it looks good.

      Both locks will give you the same level of security.

      So I would say go with the one where you can get the best price!

      I hope that helps!

      Carl

  • My friend had a folding lock and her bike stolen twice! The actual lock was left in place in the latter case on a casing in Lidl within 5 minutes of leaving the bike! We can only assume the thieves managed to undo a section with a special key or screwdriver the. Secure it back and nick the bike. Meanwhile I use a D lock in central London and never had a bike stolen – would never use a folding lock tho

    • Do you know what type/brand of folding locks they were, Eric? There are a lot of very dodgy folding locks and only a few good ones (the ones on this page).

    • Hi Matyas

      No, I haven’t seen this one before.

      But it’s very lightweight, suggesting it would be Sold Secure Silver at best. And to be honest, I would be very surprised if it was even that level.

      Plus the promotional video is deceptive (suggesting that it can resist an angle grinder).

      Avoid!

      Thanks
      Carl

      • Thanks for the quick reply. I agree the promo video is ridiculous.. : D

        Nevertheless, regarding the weight it’s not much lighter than Ziilock for example – and that one based on some videos on youtube (e.g. from vit:bikes which is a decent channel) looks rather sturdy..

        It’s a bit of a struggle to decide which lock around 1kg to go for that is also flexible enough to lock a bike around a thick pole / slightly distant railing and ideally also lock in a helmet.

        Here in Switzerland the theft risk is medium let’s say (most people don’t even lock their bikes to a stable object) especially for daylight use. I’ve been fine for 10 years with a simple cable lock on a decent vintage road bike, but I feel like going a bit safer with my new bike. There’s no obvious favourite…

        • Hi Matyas

          Looking rather sturdy and being rather sturdy are two very different things 🙂

          You have to be careful with folding locks (more than other locks), with regards security. They have a lot of potential vulnerabilities.

          I would always go for one that has been rated by Sold Secure.

          My advice: go to https://thebestbikelock.com/bike-lock-comparison-table/

          Filter the table so it only shows folding locks, and find one that suits your needs.

          For example, the Silver rated Foldylocks are around the same wight as the Titanlock.

          I will be updating this page shortly as well.

          Thanks!

          • Thanks Carl,

            Much appreciated!
            I guess I’m just a bit surprised/disappointed that there doesn’t seem to be much innovation in the bike lock materials – to bring the weight down and make them resistant to snapping/grinding – like some ultra chewy rubber composite reinforced with graphene, coating a mix of steel/titanium cables kind of thing..

            Apart from Litelok maybe I have a feeling that everyone is happy with the heavier=safer compromise..

            Anyway. Thank you for running this website! Very helpful and informative!

            Cheers,
            Matyas

          • Yes I know what you mean Matyas. After Litelok and Hiplok, many more angle grinder resistant bike locks will come out in the next couple of years.

            For example, Abus is bringing one out this year.

            I doubt they will be very light though and they will also be very expensive!

  • Hey carl,

    How would you rate without testing and based on information on their website the Altor APEX folding lock ?

    https://altorlocks.com/products/apex-bike-lock

    Although I could not find any rating for it, it seems to me it’s well-made (hardened steel) and not too heavy at 2.4 lbs (1.1 kgs).

    How would you (guess-) rate it as a SECOND lock and how would it fare against (possibly differ from) the other folding locks you discuss here ?

    Or maybe you could actually test it ?

    Thanks in advance for your insights !
    Marco

    • Hi Marco,

      Sorry about the delay getting back to you!

      I would guess it would be Sold Secure Silver level at best. And I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it were actually Sold Secure Bronze level.

      I like Altor and I like to see these smaller companies innovating and trying to disrupt the market, but if they want to be taken seriously, they need to get their locks rated by independent, security testing organizations, rather than random people on the internet (like me)!

      Thanks!

      Carl

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