D lock vs folding bike lock, a very interesting topic, and probably the reason why you’re here. These two styles of bike lock have many different features. Below we will explore these pros and cons of either lock and hopefully find out which works best for you!
The choice between the two can be a difficult one to make. Don’t worry though, If you’ve been struggling to decide, you’ve come to the right place.
I’m going to talk you through the security, practicality and price of both locking systems as well as recommending some of the best from each category.
I thought before jumping into the deep end, I’d let you in on the quick key differences. If you’re looking for a bike lock that is super secure, will last a long time and provides great value for money, then you’ll probably want a D lock.
However, if portability and practicality are your main priorities a folding bike lock could be more suited to your needs. But don’t make your mind up just yet!
Below you’ll find a much more detailed breakdown of either locking system. A good quality bike lock can cost a fair amount, so it’s worth finding out which will work best for you before making a purchase.
D Locks – Security
Good quality D locks have unrivalled strength and would serve anyone well. All D locks have a solid metal shackle. Most of the best D locks will be made from some form of hardened steel.
The Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini is the strongest portable bike lock. This Mini D lock features an 18mm max-performance hardened steel shackle which is completely boltcutter proof.
The Fahgettaboudit Mini boasts the thickest shackle on the market of any D lock. The general rule of thumb you can follow with most bike locks is, the thicker the shackle, the stronger the lock. So it’s safe to say, they don’t come much stronger than this.
It’s worth noting, not many D locks are as strong as the Fahgettaboudit Mini. Many bike locks are manufactured with cheaper materials to cut costs. This means it’s worth buying from a reputable manufacturer rather than a cheap Chinese lock that will last a few weeks!
The video above shows the Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini in action. Even an advanced pair of hydraulic bolt cutters couldn’t beat it! If your bike is expensive or has sentimental value to you, protect it. Take a look at my review of the strongest and best bike locks.
D locks don’t feature any external moving parts. This is great because moving parts create weak points. If these weak points are accessible they could easily be targeted by thieves. The only moving parts a D lock uses are inside the locking mechanism.
The locking mechanism of a D lock is encapsulated by an outer metal casing. This casing is normally made from steel and prevents thieves from gaining access to the inner parts of the mechanism.
If you’re looking to purchase a good quality D lock, you’ll want one that uses a double locking shackle. Older D locks (along with the cheaper ones on the market today) only secure one side of the shackle. This presents a major security flaw.
If a thief bends or twists the shackle enough, the side of the shackle is not secure can pop out of place, releasing your bike! A double bolted shackle will resist larger amounts of pressure and will withstand most twisting attacks.
Thanks to their simplistic design, D locks top the charts when it comes to security.
Folding Bike Locks – Security
As they are a newcomer to the bike lock market, there isn’t currently a huge selection of folding bike locks available. However, there are several folding locks that offer great levels of security for your bike, whilst utilising some new and interesting features.
It’s much harder to speak for folding bike locks as a whole. This is due to the large amount of unbranded knock-offs that are being produced and sold for ridiculously cheap prices. Don’t be fooled by these, they may look similar to top quality folding locks you’ve seen but it’s likely that they will perform much differently.
Even though your choices are limited when it comes to folding locks, there are locks that have gained the highest Sold Secure rating. The ABUS Bordo Granit X Plus 6500 was awarded the Sold Secure Gold rating, ABUS’s top security rating (15/15) and also gained 2/5 stars from the dutch security testing foundation ART.
ABUS themselves say that this lock has “Maximum strength for maximum security” and that it “offers a superlative level of security”.
Folding bike locks use rivets to hold the metal plates/arms together, whilst allowing them to move. As I’ve said before, moving parts provide a weak point that thieves could manipulate and target. However, the ABUS Bordo Granit 6500 was awarded the Sold Secure Gold rating. This proves that with the right engineering, measures can be taken to remove these weak points.
Manufacturers of bike locks must submit their locks for testing with Sold Secure before they are awarded a security rating. This may explain why there are not currently a large amount of Sold Secure rated folding locks.
As folding bike locks are a relatively new concept, not many have been manufactured. This means that only a select few have ever been Sold Secure tested.
Even though the ABUS Bordo Granit 6500 gained the Sold Secure Gold rating, in general, folding bike locks aren’t quite as secure as D locks. The difference in security is marginal, but folding locks do suffer from more vulnerabilities than D locks.
D Locks – Practicality
The majority of D locks now come with a frame mount. This saves you from having to carry your lock in your rucksack whilst you are cycling, which provides an easier ride and less strain on your body.
Some newer D locks feature a slip-on carry system. This is where the lock can be slid onto your belt, or onto the waist of your trousers. A great example of this is the Hiplok DXC which features a super convenient “Clip and Ride” system.
No mount is needed for you to carry the Hiplok DXC D as it can easily be stowed on your waistband, backpack, belt or even your pocket.
This feature is perfect for cycle couriers or commuters who need to lock and unlock their bike multiple times a day. The Hiplok DXC D would be one of the best locks for a Deliveroo rider as it has also gained the Sold Secure Gold rating, meaning it’s up there with the strongest and best D locks!
D locks do not feature moving parts or links like folding bike locks do. The only moving part a D lock has is it’s locking mechanism. Moving parts can become worn over time and may require cleaning and maintenance to keep them working smoothly.
Due to the simplicity of their design, D locks will not require as much maintenance as a folding bike lock. This will save you time in the long run. Regardless of the lock, you decide on, basic maintenance is advised to prolong the locks life and to keep it functioning smoothly.
The one downside of a solid metal shackle is that it is unable to adjust to fit around larger objects. For example, you may struggle to fit a smaller D lock around a lamppost.
It’s a big inconvenience if your locks shackle won’t fit around an object you’re trying to secure it to. Several of top-of-the-range D locks do have smaller shackles to prevent twist or hydraulic attacks.
Smaller shackles aren’t suitable for all bikes. So make sure you consider the shackle size when purchasing a new bike lock.
Folding Bike Locks – Practicality
The video below shows just how convenient a folding bike lock can be. Seconds to lock your bike up, and seconds to unlock and stow away!
The main reason people are choosing to use a folding lock is simply for their practicality. As you know by now, folding bike locks fold down into a small compact shape.
Most, if not all good quality folding locks come with a convenient carry case. This carry case will stop your lock from unfolding whilst you are riding your bike. Most of the time, these carry cases can be used to attach your lock to your bike’s frame, or sometimes even a pocket or belt.
This practical folding feature makes folding locks perfect for people who commute to work daily, or for those who are cycle couriers and use their bike all day long. If you were unable to mount a folding lock onto your bike’s frame, the chances are it would still take up less room than a D lock in your rucksack.
The function that rivets provide gives the ability to change the shape of the lock. Being able to change the shape and size of the locking area does make folding bike locks more practical than D locks.
As already explained, all moving parts require some form of maintenance. This isn’t a long process and will make sure that your folding bike lock or D lock will keep functioning properly.
- Weight: 2.2lb (1.0kg)
- Locking Circumference: 33.5" (85cm)
The occasional spray of a Teflon based lubricant, along with a wipe down using a clean damp cloth will do the trick. You’d have to do complete the same process for a D lock, but because you’d repeat the process for each rivet, it will take slightly longer when cleaning a folding bike lock.
By carrying out this general maintenance you’ll prevent the moving parts (rivets & locking mechanism) from corroding and gathering unwanted debris.
If I was choosing a lock based on how practical it was, I’d use a folding bike lock for sure.
D Locks – Price
D locks vary in price. The Fahgettaboudit mini (the best D lock and arguably the best bike lock) is a similar price to many Sold Secure Gold D locks and costs alomst the same as the ABUS 6500 folding lock. In the battle of D locks vs folding bike locks, it’s worth remembering D locks give you greater security for your money.
There are cheaper Sold Secure Gold D locks available on the market for little more than £20. Remember, two locks can be Sold Secure Gold rated, but this doesn’t mean they offer the same level of security. One of the locks may have just passed the required tests, whilst the other easily surpasses them and provides a greater level of security for your bike.
Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini
- Weight: 4.55lb (2.06kg)
- Dimensions: 3.25" x 6" (8.3cm x 15.3cm)
Folding Bike Lock – Price
The price of a folding bike lock can vary drastically. The best folding bike lock (the ABUS Bordo Granit 6500) as stated above will cost a similar price to the Fahgettaboudit.
Remember, for this money you are getting the most premium folding lock on the market. The Foldylock Compact is Sold Secure Silver rated and retails just below the price of the Bordo Granit.
Cheap folding locks can be found lock online, but they won’t provide the same security and may leave your bike vulnerable to theft.
I’m always hesitant to recommend locks with no Sold Secure rating and never recommend Sold Secure Bronze locks simply because they only “offer protection against the opportunist thief”.
Keep an eye out for those security ratings!
ABUS 6500/85 Bordo Granit XPlus
- Weight: 3.88lb (1.76kg)
- Dimensions: 33.5" (85cm)
Summary – D lock vs Folding Bike Lock
If I had to call it, I would say that as it stands D locks on a whole are the better bike lock of the two.
At the end of the day, your choice of bike lock will depend on your own circumstances.
If you’re looking for maximum security and are slightly less worried about practicality you’ll want a D lock. You’ll be able to mount almost any D lock onto your bike’s frame, which is very convenient.
If you are looking for a super practical bike lock that will also do a good job of keeping your bike secure, you’ll want a folding lock.
I use the both the ABUS 6500 and the Fahgettaboudit Mini, and switch which im using based on where im locking my bike and how long it’ll be left for. My bike is reasonably valuable so I find myself using the Fahgettaboudit slightly more for its extra security.
You could use the biggest and best bike lock in the world, but if you don’t know how to secure your bike properly, you’ll be doing yourself an injustice. These simple steps will drastically increase your bike’s security.