Best Folding Bike Locks – 2021 Guide

Anthony
| Last Updated: June 29, 2021

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Are you interested in buying a folding bike lock? These work quite differently from traditional U-shaped locks, but they offer some advantages that are worth considering.

Here's what you should know about our top picks for folding bike locks, as well as other information about these products to help you make an informed decision.

Comparsion of the Best Folding Bike Locks

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Made from a very strong and durable steel alloy
  • Links are made from hardened steel to prevent easy braking
  • Comes with a fast and easy installation and use option
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  • Comes with a level 7 security option for improved safety
  • Made from durable 5mm steel bars to be stronger
  • Can easily be folded in compact package for storage
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  • Best for the Money
  • Coated with an ABS rubber paint to prevent corrosion
  • High-quality cylinder prevents picking and drilling
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  • Made from durable 5mm steel bars to be stronger
  • Comes with a fast and easy installation and use option
  • Will fold up easily in compact package for storage
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  • Transport bracket included to make it easy to install
  • Comes with a spare key included for convenience
  • Made from durable 5mm steel bars to be stronger
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How Does a Folding Bike Lock Work? 

A folding bike lock is a set of sturdy segments coupled to circular hinges that allow you to fold the lock into a wide variety of configurations. Most folding bike locks have five hinges plus the clasp area, but you might occasionally see this with different designs.

Folding locks offer slightly more internal space than a traditional one, but it's not enough to make a difference in most scenarios. People have several reasons for using these locks above standard locks, as we'll discuss below.

Why Would I Use a Foldable Bicycle Lock? 

There are three main reasons for using a foldable bike lock: portability, flexibility, and locking mechanism types.

Portability

Foldable bike locks are incredibly portable compared to some other types of locks. Since they fold down for storage, they take up significantly less space on your bike or in a bag. Furthermore, they are particularly useful if you're planning a long trip, and every bit of space matters for your journey.

Most foldable bike locks can fit into the screws for a standard water bottle holder, offering a convenient place for storage on the frame that U-shaped locks and cords can't quite match. Carrying cases come with clasps to stop the lock from falling out while you're riding, even if you take a tumble.

Foldylock Compact Bike Lock by Seatylock Store

Flexibility

Flexibility is the main selling point of folding bike locks. The flexible design allows these locks to fold around whatever you're attaching your bike to, which means you can lock them to areas that you can't connect to with a regular U-shaped lock.

If you aren't familiar with the place where you plan to store your bike, folding bike locks can offer peace of mind.

Fundamentally, folding locks offer a mid-point between rigid locks and completely flexible options like cords or chains.

The main difference is that foldable bike locks only open so far, making it much harder for someone to try and wiggle in a tool if they're trying to steal your bike.

Locking Mechanisms

Finally, foldable bike locks can come with different locking mechanisms, which isn't the case for all other types of locks. Most modern bike locks only have key-based versions, which put you at risk of losing that key before you get back to your bike.

In contrast, some folding bike locks have combination locks instead of key slots, which means you're at no risk of losing it. If you store your combination somewhere online, you can access that information whenever you need to. Keeping your bike lock combination online makes it functionally impossible to lose your bike's code, and therefore your access to it.

Security Levels for Folding Bike Locks

Bike locks come with many different security ratings. There's a reason for this: most lock manufacturers offer their rating systems to help customers understand their relative strengths. Unfortunately, this means that figuring out the rating between products is a little harder.

The good news is that two independent sources help rate bike locks.

ART

The ART Foundation issues quality marks for locks in different categories. They have a five-star rating system, but this isn't quite as simple as "more stars is better." That's technically true, but this organization considers any lock with two stars or better to be appropriate for bikes.

In other words, as long as it's not just one star, any rating in this category suffices. You may want to get a higher rating for valuable bikes, but this is more of a pass/fail consideration than a way to figure out which locks are good enough for bikes.

Sold Secure

Sold Secure is a British organization owned and operated by the Master Locksmiths Association, the primary trade association for locksmithing activities in the UK. They rate products on a four-step scale of Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Diamond. 

In this case, higher ratings are generally better, though even a bronze rating is enough to thwart casual theft. Experts recommend typically purchasing locks based on your expected threat levels.

For example, school campuses see high levels of theft, while farmland areas are so safe that you might not need a lock at all.

Kryptonite Kryptolok

Review of the Best Foldable Bicycle Locks

Here are our reviews of the best foldable bicycle locks currently on the market, including what sets them apart from the competition.

Best Overall:
Foldylock Compact Bike Lock by Seatylock Store

FoldyLock Compact Folding Bike Lock - Award Winning Patented Lightweight High Security Bicycle Lock - Heavy Duty Anti Theft Smart Secure Guard with Keys and Case for Bikes or Scooters

pros

  • Available in several colors
  • Surprisingly light for its size
  • Uses anti-drilling components to minimize risks
  • Sturdy, heavy-duty metal offers outstanding protection
  • Has rust-free components for use in various weather conditions

cons

  • Can scratch bike paint if you attach it poorly
  • Relatively expensive for this product category

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers broadly agree that this is a durable lock, particularly for its size. While it doesn't have the thickest steel in this product category, it's more than strong enough to resist most tools that thieves are likely to carry, which is the main thing we like to see out of a bike lock.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This bike lock stands out as an excellent balance of quality, price, and features. Most of the better products in this category are significantly heavier and harder to bring around, but while other products can beat it in one area, they generally can't do as well in all places.

Bottom Line

Ultimately, this is a great folding bike lock if you're unsure which one you want to get. No bike lock is perfect, but this lock offers impressive durability at a pretty good price. We'd like it if this lock were a little cheaper, but it's still within the range we consider reasonable.

Runner-up:
Abus Bordo 5700 Folding Lock

Abus Bordo 5700 Folding Lock

pros

  • Most appropriate for lower-risk areas
  • Made by one of the top brands in the industry
  • Somewhat more affordable than the Foldylock
  • Uses a premium cylinder to help prevent lockpicking
  • Has a color-coded lock section to make it easier to identify the locking side

cons

  • Not particularly useful against bolt cutters
  • Not suitable for higher-risk locations, despite the high price

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers think that this is a mostly hassle-free lock, and while it's not perfect, a sufficiently determined thief will probably cut through any lock you have. For that matter, the manufacturer doesn't rate it for higher-risk areas.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This product stands out mainly on its brand. Abus is an excellent company that makes high-quality products, and unless you face an abnormally capable thief, chances are this lock will hold strong.

Bottom Line

This lock is a little less secure than our top choice, but it's a little more affordable as well. It's an excellent lock for lower-risk situations but not for theft-heavy areas, so keep that in mind when deciding which bike lock to buy.

Best for the Money:
INBIKE 8 Joints Folding Bike Lock

INBIKE 8 Joints Alloy Steel Folding Bike Lock Anti-Hydraulic with Mounting Bracket

pros

  • Extremely affordable
  • Surprisingly lightweight
  • More joints than most folding bike locks
  • Uses ABS rubber paint to protect bike frames
  • Has an orange variant for the locking segments

cons

  • Relatively short
  • Will not withstand bolt cutters

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers agree that this lock is easy to put on and take off of a bike, although some feel that it's a little shorter than it should be. That does limit the number of objects you can attach to the bike compared to other products in this category, so keep that in mind when deciding which lock to buy.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This lock stands out to us for two reasons. First, with eight joints, it's significantly more flexible than most other folding bike locks. Most products in this category only have five joints, so you can get a much snugger fit here than you could otherwise.

Second, this lock is also quite affordable compared to many other bike locks. It won't resist the most potent cutting tools, but the same can be said of any lock. It's more than good enough for cheaper bikes or lower-risk areas.

Bottom Line

This lock is the single best option if you need a primary lock for lower-risk situations. It's less than half the price of some of our top locks, and if your bike isn't too fancy, this lock is the smart buy. If you have an expensive bike or need to put your bike in a higher-risk area, buy a better lock instead.

4. Abus Bordo GRANIT X Plus

Abus Bordo GRANIT X Plus 6500/85cm (33.46 in) red - Folding lock, Bike lock, Security level 15

pros

  • Especially durable joints
  • Easily compares to heavy-duty U-shaped locks
  • Has Abus' highest security rating for a bike lock
  • Has a soft silicone covering to protect your bike
  • The key cylinder has two spring-loaded wedges for extra protection

cons

  • The case is pretty lousy
  • Significantly more expensive than most competitors

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers agree that this is a heavy-duty bike lock, with the emphasis on heavy. It has the maximum security rating from its manufacturer, which is already a good sign. However, many buyers report that the pouch for storing it isn't particularly useful, and there's no excuse for that at this price point.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This product stands out to us because it has the highest security rating from one of the world's most reputable manufacturers. It also stands out because of the price because it's significantly more expensive than anything else on this list.

Bottom Line

If this folding bike lock can't protect your bike, then chances are no lock will ever do the job. This lock is almost too good, considering its hefty price tag. However, you may want to switch the pouch out for something more durable. Also, replacement keys only come from Germany, so don't expect to get them quickly if you need spares.

5. Kryptonite Kryptolok

Kryptonite Kryptolok Folding Bicycle Lock

pros

  • Competitively priced
  • Available in different lengths
  • From a highly reputable brand
  • Noticeably lighter than the Abus Bordo
  • Uses 5mm steel links for added durability

cons

  • The rubber strap breaks quickly
  • The mounting hardware isn't particularly good

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers agree that this is a sturdy and practical lock for most scenarios. It's quite strong and, while it's a little heavy, that's easy to overcome. However, buyers also agree that the mounting components aren't suitable, and there's no real excuse for that at this price point.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This product stands out to us because it's a high-quality option from one of the industry's most reputable manufacturers. Note that this description only applies to the lock. Far too many buyers agree that the mounting hardware is terrible for it to be a hiccup in manufacturing, and that's the main thing stopping this lock from having a higher position on our list.

Bottom Line

This is a higher-end folding bike lock that offers a lot of security and with a price that's reasonably competitive to our best overall choice. However, the mounting hardware issues make it difficult to recommend this lock over the others on our list, so we consider this a backup option if other locks are out of stock.

How to Select a Folding Bike Lock

Here are the factors to keep in mind when selecting a folding bike lock.

Security Ratings

Companies rate products differently, but the basic principle is universal: the more secure a lock is, the higher the rating. Price and security level are directly linked among bike locks, so if you're looking for budget products, chances are you won't see the best ratings. However, it is possible to get a lock that's too secure for your needs.

No bike lock can guarantee the safety of your bike. With the right tools and determination, a thief can break any lock. As such, most experts recommend getting a security level that matches your situation.

INBIKE 8 Joints Folding Bike Lock

Lock Type

As we discussed above, folding bike locks come in various lock types. Key-based locks are still the most common, but you can also find combination locks and, rarely, other types of locks. This is mainly a personal choice because you can find products at different price ranges and different security levels with varying locks.

We prefer combination locks over key-based locks because they're generally harder for experienced thieves to pick. However, keys do have the advantage of simplicity and backups if you forget your combination and don't have it written down anywhere.

Price

Prices for folding bike locks can range from about $15 to over $120, depending on how secure you want it to be. You can find most decent-quality locks in the $25-$75 range, so you don't need to buy anything more expensive unless you're in a particularly risky area.

Remember that while price broadly correlates to quality, there's a point where higher pricing is more about the brand than genuine improvements. Similarly, even the most expensive folding bike lock in the world can't thwart a sufficiently capable thief.

Folding Bike Locks - How Do They Compare?

Abus vs Kryptonite

Abus is a top brand within the bike locking industry, with generally outstanding quality and reliability. Their locks are usually excellent in various weather conditions; they have good strength-to-weight ratios and typically last for extended periods. A large part of this is due to manufacturing things to European quality standards, too high.

Kryptonite is another large brand within the industry but slightly inferior to Abus in overall quality and reliability. Note that Kryptonite is not a lousy manufacturer by any stretch of the term. They're not the best, but their locks are still outstanding on their own merits, and most users are unlikely to notice the difference between the brands.

Kryptonite Kryptolok

Folding Bike Lock vs U Lock

Folding bike locks are significantly more flexible than U-shaped locks, which means you can wrap them around structures that U-shaped locks won't fit around. Moreover, this is the main reason to consider using them.

U-shaped locks don't work in as many situations as folding locks, but well-made locks of this type are fundamentally more robust and offer better security. Furthermore, this is because they are made from one solid piece of metal, rather than several pieces joined together.

As before, you don't need the best-quality lock for your bike to have it be good enough. A folding lock or a U-shaped lock is suitable for most people in most situations, so it's okay to decide between these based on what type you like better.

Foldylock vs Abus Bordo

While Abus is a great company overall, that doesn't mean every product will be the best. Foldylock is a smaller brand and not quite well-known, but since we gave them our Best Overall winner, it's safe to say their manufacturer (Seatylock) knows how to make good locks. 

The Abus Bordo is a better lock on its own merits than the Foldylock. The reason it's not our top overall choice is the price. The Abus Bordo is several times more expensive than the Foldylock, and most people don't want to invest that much into a bike lock.

How to Lock a Folding Bike Lock

The correct way to lock a folding bike lock depends on the type of lock you're using. In most cases, this is as simple as turning the key or spinning the combination lock. However, make sure you put the lock around your bike's frame rather than through the wheels. Moreover, this helps prevent thieves from disconnecting the wheel and taking the rest of the bicycle.

Conclusion 

As you can see, folding bike locks have a surprisingly wide range of features and differences. Ultimately, the best way to decide which lock depends on your budget and how much security you need.

People Also Ask

Here are some of the most common questions people ask about folding bike locks.

How Secure is a Folding Bike Lock?

Like all bike locks, folding bike locks vary in their security levels. Modern locks are more likely to include innovations that help protect against known threats. That said, we consider folding bike locks to be medium-security products. They're not weak, but you can find other products with better security, too.

Are Folding Bike Locks Any Good?

Yes. As with our discussion on whether they're worth it (see below), folding bike locks are fundamentally viable security mechanisms for most bikers in most areas. They generally offer high quality and flexibility at a reasonable price point, all in an easy-to-carry design.

How Much Do Folding Bike Locks Cost?

The price of folding bike locks varies based on factors like the material, the security level, and the manufacturer. In practice, most models fall in the $15 to $120 range, with most decent models being somewhere in the middle.

Anywhere higher than $120 is probably overpriced for its quality.

Anything on the low end probably offers minimal protection, so we recommend avoiding those.

Is a Folding Bike Lock Worth it?

A folding bike lock is undoubtedly better than no lock at all. From there, however, it's a question of how good you want your lock to be and how much you're willing to pay for it. Folding bike locks are particularly useful if you need to lock your bike to structures that U-shaped locks won't fit around.

Anthony

"I'm Linda's husband. We got married in 2018 and are loving life together. We met in one of my many competitive races and hit it off right away. Our best dates are when we're riding down a trail enjoying each other’s company in the beautiful Colorado weather. I enjoy writing about everything pertaining to bikes. "