• Home
7

Best Folding Bike Lock: Practical and Secure Options!

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

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

So, let's take a look at some of the reasons you might choose a folding lock over another type of lock.

And then I'll recommend the best folding lock for different risk levels, based on my user tests and the current security ratings (which have changed massively in 2020)!

Advantages of Folding Bike Locks

Folding 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 lock. Just because of the way you can shape them. In fact, folding locks are probably the best type of lock for securing two bikes together.

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 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 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!

Disadvantages of Folding Bike Locks

Although folding locks are more practical than u-locks and chains, it can take a bit longer to lock or unlock your bike as you manoeuvre 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!

Abus Bordo 6000 unfolded

Folding locks: thin plates and lots of moving parts = less secure

Most importantly, folding locks are generally at the lower end of the security ratings that they’ve been awarded.

So they tend to be slightly less secure than u-locks that have the same Sold Secure rating. This is because the plates are thinner than u-lock shackles and the rivets are susceptible to drilling or shearing attacks.

Does this mean you should avoid folding locks? No, definitely not! As always, you just need to be aware of your risk level and choose the security of your folding lock accordingly…

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 lock is an excellent choice.

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

Step 1: Find the right security level

When you’re trying to choose a bike lock, the first thing to do is work out your risk level. And answering the questions below should give you a pretty good idea.

Questions

High Risk

Lower Risk

Where do you live?

Big town, city or university campus

Small town or village

Does your bike attract second looks?

Yes

No

How long do you leave your bike unattended?

More than 1 hour

Less than 1 hour

Cell
Cell
Cell

Your lock should be:

Sold Secure Gold
Sold Secure Silver

If two or more of your answers are in the “High Risk” column, then you’ll need a lock that offers a higher level of protection.

But if two or more of your answers are in the “Lower Risk” column, then you might be able to get away with a lower security lock.

How do I know how secure a lock is?

I cover this in much more detail in my full guide to choosing the best bike lock. But essentially we can use the ratings of the independent third party testing houses Sold Secure and ART.

Sold Secure security ratings

Bronze = less secure. Diamond = more secure.

Both these organisations test a huge variety of locks and rate them according to their security levels.

ART Security Ratings

1 star = less secure. 5 stars = more secure.

However, Sold Secure test far more locks than ART, and for this reason I prefer to use them as my benchmark. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t look at both ratings when they’re available though!

So, if you’re “High Risk” in the table above, then you need a lock with a Sold Secure Gold rating. Whereas if you’re “Lower Risk”, then a Sold Secure Silver rating could be enough.

I don’t recommend any locks that have a Sold Secure Bronze rating, as I don’t think they offer enough protection.

Step 2: Choose a Folding Bike Lock based on it’s Security Level

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

To be fair, Sold Secure have never rated many folding locks, but a change in their testing criteria in 2020, has meant there are now just three available locks that are rated either Silver or Gold...

Foldylock Classic

Foldylock Classic

4.5 mm

2.95 lb (1.34 kg)

37.4" (95 cm)

Sold Secure Silver

Trelock FS 500 Toro

Trelock FS 500 Toro

5.5 mm

3.48 lb (1.58 kg)

35.4 " (90 cm)

Abus Bordo 6500

Abus Bordo Granit X Plus 6500

5.5 mm

3.88 lb (1.76 kg)

33.5" (85 cm)

The Foldylock Classic is the only Silver rated folding lock at the moment. And the Trelock FS 500 Toro and the Abus Bordo 6500 are the only available (see below) Gold rated folding locks...

Foldylock Classic, Trelock FS 500 Toro, Abus Bordo 6500

Foldylock Classic, Trelock FS 500 Toro, Abus Bordo 6500. The only Silver & Gold folders!

And there are a ton of previously Silver rated folding locks that have been demoted to Bronze in the new tests.

It's worth remembering that Sold Secure base their testing criteria on inside information from the police and insurers on the techniques that thieves are actually using in the streets.

So, if they change a rating downward (to Bronze), we should pay attention: it's because thieves are using new methods to defeat these locks. And they no longer provide adequate protection!

But let's have a quick look at the locks that will provide enough protection...

Abus Folding Bike Locks

Abus produce a huge variety of folding locks, but at the moment they've only got one lock that's got an acceptable security rating. And that's the Gold rated Abus Bordo 6500.

Abus Bordo 6500 unfolded

Bordo 6500: the only Abus lock that's secure enough to recommend!

The Abus Bordo 6000, which has been rated Sold Secure Silver for as long as I remember, has just been demoted to Bronze!

There are no Silver rated folding locks from Abus right now. So be careful to avoid any folding Abus locks other than the Bordo 6500, because they're just not strong enough to protect your bike. 

Seatylock (Foldylock) Folding Bike Locks

Seatylock make a number of folding locks which they call the Foldylocks. At the moment only the Foldylock Classic is rated Sold Secure Silver. And they don't have any folding locks that are rated Sold Secure Gold.

Foldylock Classic unfolded

Foldylock Classic: the only Sold Secure Silver folding lock!

The Foldylock Compact, which is a shorter, (slightly) thinner version of the Foldylock Classic was rated Silver but hasn't been tested this year.

So while it hasn't been demoted to Bronze, the Compact doesn't have a Sold Secure rating at all at the moment. We'll need to wait and see how it's rated when it's re-tested later this year!

Trelock & AXA Folding Bike Locks

Trelock and AXA are now both owned by Kryptonite's parent company, but I think the production remains separate. Trelock have the Gold rated FS 500 Toro. And AXA have the Gold rated Fold 100 Ultra.

However the AXA Fold 100 Ultra doesn't appear to be available yet, so I haven't been able to test it.

Trelock FS 500 Toro unfolded

Trelock FS 500 Toro: the only other Gold rated folding lock 

Although both brands had a series of Silver rated folding locks, with the testing shakeup, they've all been demoted to Bronze! Which means these locks don't offer enough protection and should be avoided!

The Best Mid-Security Folding Bike Lock

Foldylock Classic

Foldylock Classic

My score:

Check price:

Bar thickness:

4.5 mm

Weight:

2.95 lb (1.34 kg)

Length

37.4" (95 cm)

Foldylock rating:

14/18

Other Security Ratings:

Sold Secure Silver

In the past, if you were looking for a nice mid security folding lock, you could choose between the Abus Bordo 6000 and several Foldylocks. But times have changed!

At the moment, the only Sold Secure Silver rated folding lock is the Foldylock Classic [Amazon]. Don't despair though, because it’s a great lock!

The Foldylock Classic is a medium sized folding lock, measuring 37” (95 cm) long, with hardened steel plates that are 22 mm wide and 4.5 mm thick.

Foldylock Classic vs Kryptonite Kryptolok

The Foldylock Classic gives you more locking space than a standard size u-lock

This means you get more internal locking space than a standard size u-lock. And don’t forget: because it’s flexible it will gives you tons more places to lock your bike than any standard size u-lock!

The Foldylock Classic weighs 2.95 lb (1.34 kg). Which is about the same as 3.5 cans of Coke. And that makes it a little heavier than most standard size u-locks that offer the same level of protection.

But where the Classic (like all the Foldylocks), really shines, is when we look at usability...

The case is made from a tough, smooth plastic with a kink at the bottom, so that the lock clicks into place when fully inserted. There is a rubber band that stretches over the top of lock to hook onto the case and keep everting in place.

Foldylock Classic around frame and back wheel

Foldylock Classic: easy to use and lots of locking space

And the Foldylock is really easy to unlock, get around your bike and re-lock too. The outer link attaches to the side of the mechanism, so its easy to pull it away from the mechanism. And the plates move much more smoothly than on Abus folding locks.

So if you’re looking for a folding lock because they’re so practical and you don’t need the very highest level of protection than the Foldylock Classic is not only a great choice, at the moment, it’s the only choice!

Having said that, it is worth comparing it quickly to the Trelock FS 500 Toro. That’s because although the Trelock is a Gold rated lock, it actually sits at the lowest end of that rating...

Foldylock Classic vs Trelock FS 500 Toro

Foldylock Classic (Silver) vs Trelock FS 500 Toro (Gold)

And as we’ll see when we compare it the Abus Bordo 6500, I think this puts it nicely in the middle in terms of security. So it could really be a more secure mid range lock or a less secure top range lock!

The Trelock is slightly shorter than the Foldylock, measuring 35.4" (90 cm) in length. And although the steel plates are the same width, they’re 1 mm thicker. This makes the Trelock 18% heavier than the Foldylock despite being shorter.

But 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.

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

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

However the Trelock has a Gold rating from Sold Secure, which makes it a high security lock and that’s really the context in which we should judge it. So lets see how it compares to the only other Gold Rated lock…

The Best High-Security Folding Bike Lock

Abus Bordo Granit X-Plus 6500 folding lock

Abus Bordo 6500

My score:

Check price:

Bar thickness:

5.5 mm

Weight:

3.88 lb (1.76 kg)

Length

33.5" (85 cm)

Abus rating:

15/15

Other Security Ratings:

At the time of writing (November 2020), there are actually three Sold Secure Gold rated folding locks: the Trelock FS 500 Toro, the Abus Bordo Granit X Plus 6500 and the Axa Fold 100 Ultra.

But the Axa lock doesn't appear to have actually been released yet. So we can’t test it! However, I have tested both the Abus and Trelock locks and they’re actually quite different…

Trelock FS 500 Toro vs Abus Bordo 6500

Trelock FS 500 Toro vs Abus Bordo 6500

The Abus Bordo 6500 is both shorter and heavier than the Trelock. It’s just 33.5” (85 cm) long. And while the steel bars are the same 5.5 mm in thickness, they’re over 3 mm wider (at 25.2 mm).

This obviously means the Abus contains more steel which accounts for the greater weight. Weighing 3.48 lb (1.58 kg), it’s over 11% heavier than the Trelock. And that’s about the same as 4.5 cans of Coke to the Trelock’s 4!

Abus Bordo 6500 with can of Coke

The Abus Bordo 6500 weighs about the same as 4.5 cans of Coke

These length and weight differences alone make the Trelock the most usable of the two locks…

The 85 cm Abus will give slightly less internal locking space than a standard size u-lock. While the 90 cm Trelock gives you slightly more. Of course both of them will give you far more locking options than any u-lock, due to their flexibility.

But whereas the Abus will fit around all but the thickest lampposts, you might struggle to secure two bikes in a rack. However the Trelock will do both with ease...

Trelock FS 500 Toro locking two bikes

Locking two bikes with the Trelock FS 500 Toro 

I should note that there is a longer, 43” (110 cm) version of the Abus Bordo 6500, which will give you more locking options than even the Trelock. It’s 4.76 lb (2.16 kg) through, and that’s 37% heavier than the Trelock. Which is like carrying around 6 cans of Coke!

To be honest the weight differences between all three folding locks are not a massive issue, especially if you use the frame mounts…

Foldylock, Trelock and Abus cases

Foldylock, Trelock and Abus cases: all good!

All three locks come with decent frame mounts that will screw into the water bottle cradle holes on your bike or fasten around your frame with Velcro or plastic ties. I would say the metal plate that reinforces the Abus frame mount makes it more robust than the other though.

These holders keep the locks close to the frame so they won’t rattle or work loose, whatever their weight.

And while you might notice the equivalent weight of 6 cans of Coke in your bag if you go for the 110 cm Abus lock, with the other two, their compact folded down dimensions mean they’re all easy enough to carry around in a backpack or saddlebag.

If we talk about usability through, the Trelock FS 500 Toro definitely beats the Abus Bordo 6500 too!

Abus Bordo Granit X Plus 6500 on bike

The Abus Bordo 6500 is shorter, heavier and stiffer!

The Abus is shorter, which gives us less locking options. But the plates are also a bit stiff, so unfolding the lock and getting it around your bike is a bit more difficult. And the part that the end plate slots into is more difficult to access, so locking the Abus is also trickier.

Whereas as I’ve already mentioned: the plates on the Trelock move really smoothly, the part that the end plate slots into rotates so it’s super easy to access, and the mechanism is spring loaded so once the plate’s inserted it won’t pop out again.

Trelock FS 500 Toro on bike

The Trelock FS 500 Toro: easier to use

Along with the bigger locking space, these qualities make using the Trelock FS 500 Toro much more pleasant to use than the Abus Bordo 6500.

So the Trelock must be the best high security folding lock, right?

Well, no actually. Because: security.

The Trelock not only has the same Sold Secure Gold rating as the Trelock. It has the same 2/5 stars from ART too. But these security classifications are very broad.

This means there can be a big range in the security offered by different Gold rated locks. For example the Kryptonite New York Standard and the Kryptolok New-U are both rated Gold, but the New York lock is clearly massively more secure.

It’s the same (although less pronounced) with the Trelock FS 500 Toro and the Abus Bordo 6500. And it’s a lot of the things that make it less usable that make the Abus more secure...

The Abus bars are wider = more secure!

The wider steel plates, the stiffer movement (from less space between the plates to attack), and the shrouded, difficult to access mechanism, all add to the security of the Abus. It’s just a beefier lock all round.

The mechanism of the Abus Bordo 6500 is much better protected

And if we look at more granular independent tests, they back this up, with the Abus rated “good” for security while the Trelock is merely “satisfactory”.

That’s not to say the Trelock is a bad lock. It’s not. It’s a great lock. Especially for usability. It’s just that in terms of the protection it offers, it sits somewhere in between mid and high security.

So if you want a genuinely high security folding lock, then my advice is: go with the Abus Bordo 6500 [Amazon].

Wrapping Up

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, in general, they’re not as secure as either. Relatively thin steel plates and all those moving parts make them vulnerable to several types of attack. 

The easiest locks to use and carry! But you've got to get the security level right!

So when we’re choosing a folding 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.

And there has been a massive shake up in the way that Sold Secure test locks this year (2020) which means there are currently only four locks that are actually rated Silver or Gold!

Many of the locks that were previously rated Silver have been demoted to Bronze. And Bronze rated locks do not offer enough protection under any circumstances. Avoid Sold Secure Bronze locks if you want to keep your bike!

So if you’re looking for a mid security folder then go for the Foldylock Classic. It’s really easy to use and is the only folding lock that’s currently rated Sold Secure Silver.

Foldylock Classic

Foldylock Classic

4.5 mm

2.95 lb (1.34 kg)

37.4" (95 cm)

Sold Secure Silver

Trelock FS 500 Toro

Trelock FS 500 Toro

5.5 mm

3.48 lb (1.58 kg)

35.4 " (90 cm)

Abus Bordo 6500

Abus Bordo Granit X Plus 6500 85

5.5 mm

3.88 lb (1.76 kg)

33.5" (85 cm)

Abus Bordo 6500

Abus Bordo Granit X Plus 6500 110

5.5 mm

3.88 lb (1.76 kg)

33.5" (85 cm)

If you’re looking for a high security folder go for the Abus Bordo 6500. It’s undoubtedly the only folding lock that offers enough protection for high risk circumstances.

But if you feel hat you’re somewhere in-between the low and high risk group, then definitely take a look at the Trelock FS 500 Toro.

It’s the easiest of all the folders to use and while it’s not as secure as the Abus 6500, it does offer more protection than the Foldylock Classic.

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.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 7 comments