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ABUS uGrip Bordo 5700 Review
Cons: Less secure than U-locks, rotating plates pesky at times
Bottom line: This is our favorite balance of moderate security and ease of transportation.
ABUS mastered the folding lock with the uGrip Bordo 5700, our favorite of its type. Made in Germany, this model is a smooth operator that is built to last. The joints rotate without any stiffness and allow for versatile lock ups to awkward structures. We love that the locking mechanism head of the lock turns independently, and the ability to secure the lock without turning the key increases its simplicity. Best of all, it's lightweight and compact, a piece of cake to transport in a bag or attach to the frame with ease. It doesn't offer robust security, but folks living in lower crime areas will dig how easy this lock is to bring with and use.
The uGrip Bordo faced competition in low to mid security models. The INBIKE 8 Joint is a less expensive folding lock, but it isn't as easy to use, it's less secure, and will not last as long. If you want to step up a level in security, the Hiplok Original: Superbright is a wearable chain lock with heavier-duty construction and increased versatility.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The ABUS uGrip Bordo 5700 is a folding lock that consists of 6 steel plates connected by rotating rivets. Each bar is 5 mm thick and covered with a plastic shell. It offers low to mid security and retails for $80.
The uGrip Bordo 5700 is well-made and durable, yet it doesn't have a security rating from an independent integrity rating from an agency like Sold Secure or ART. It has a rating of 7/15 from ABUS, which we feel is accurate. By comparison, the ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 U-lock has a 15/15 rating and is a much more secure lock. That level of security isn't necessary for everyone, though. For mid-security needs in rural areas, most towns, and some suburbs, this lock is an effective deterrent that takes more than a casual thief to crack.
The Bordo 5700 fared better than the other folding lock during our shred-fest. It survived the wire cutters, and wouldn't open after many smashes of a three-pound hammer, which was one of the INBIKE's downfalls. The plates did bend after several hammer strikes, though. It succumbed to the hacksaw after seven minutes of hardcore sawing. With the joints being the obvious weak points of this lock, the bolt cutters cut through the Bordo in 15 seconds of maneuvering, and it took about 20-25 seconds for the angle grinder to shred through a metal plate.
Ease of Transport
The little weight and compactness of the uGrip Bordo 5700 are the best reasons to purchase this model. Folded up, its dimensions are 7" x 1.875" x 1.125", which won't fit in most pockets but hides away in a messenger bag or backpack. It weighs 1 lb 13.4 oz, which is over two pounds less than heavier models like the Hiplok Original, Kryptonite New York Standard U-lock, and the Cocoweb Armbar Combo. It is slightly larger and heavier than the folding INBIKE lock, but it comes with a better mount and disappears into a bag almost as well.
We love the mount included with this model. It works like a quick draw holster for the folded lock, which slides in and out with ease. Despite being easy to slip into its place, we experienced no rattling or fear of the lock falling out on bumpy rides. Mounted to the frame, we didn't notice the extra weight on all but the most ultralight bicycles, and it never brushed against our legs or impeded pedaling. Secure the mount to the seat tube or down tube of your frame using two large hook and loop fastening straps, which hold strong and don't slip. For an even more robust attachment to your frame, screw through the holes of the mount into the water bottle cage holes.
Ease of Use
This lock from ABUS is the easier to use of the two folding locks reviewed. Having six metal plates, as opposed to eight on the INBIKE model, it is more manageable with less rotating parts swinging around. The entire lock operates smoothly, from inserting the key to manipulating the lock around wheels and frames. The key is similar to a house key and simple to see when it is fully inserted. Most other locks reviewed had keys that were harder to tell when they were inserted. This is an advantage for the Bordo, because turning your key before it is fully inserted into the locking mechanism can jam the lock. It comes with two keys, and ABUS offers replacement keys to the tune of $13 apiece. When it comes to keys, our other favorite design was found on the Hiplok Original: Superbright.
The faster you can lock up your bicycle, the better. This lock quickly releases from its mount and snakes through your frame and wheel. It is unique in that you do not need the key inserted to secure it. We've all struggled in awkward positions when locking up our bikes. Leaning over your wheels or the bike rack, it's much easier if you don't have to insert the key and turn it to lock up, which comes with a satisfying snapping sound. We also love that the housing for the locking mechanism rotates, unlike on the INBIKE lock, which increases its user-friendliness. U-locks and chains tend to be easier to use than folding locks, but it depends on the type of structure you are using to secure your bicycle. U-locks are easiest on standard bike racks, while chains are perfect for larger structures like trees or lampposts. We appreciate that ABUS attempted and succeeded to make a folding lock that is as easy to use as these other lock forms.
The mount is also a cinch to install. If you opt to use the sturdy hook and loop straps, the installation takes no more than 15 seconds. If you fasten the mount to the water bottle cage screw holes, it's straightforward and complete within a minute.
The uGrip Bordo offers solid versatility. It's large enough to lock up the frame and wheel to an immovable structure. The rotating plates are not as flexible as chains, but some of our testers found it easier to maneuver around structures with difficult shapes and easier than inflexible U-locks. Even with large bikes with cyclocross tires, it was possible to remove the front wheel to lock it up with the rear wheel and frame. For this use, it's a smidge more versatile than the INBIKE model.
It's unlikely that you'll be able to lock up your saddle or panniers in addition to both wheels and frame, even after removing it from the seat post. If you're concerned, it's best to remove and take them with you. Furthermore, it can't reach back and also lock up a cargo trailer, and it's a poor choice for securing motorcycles and mopeds. For these purposes, consider the long and mega-beefy Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock.
We love this lock for use in low to mid risk areas. Bike commuters wanting a lightweight, compact lock will appreciate this model. Eco-friendly errands and bar crawls by bike are made easier with the Bordo, as it is quick and easy to operate. It's also a great choice as a kids bike lock. Many U-locks are too large for kid-sized frames, and your children might not be psyched to toss a four-pound U or chain lock into their backpacks. This lightweight model mounts to their frame or takes up little space and weight in a bag.
This lock isn't a bargain, but you're paying for quality. ABUS is a German company that has a great reputation for quality control. It costs $80, but expect it to last you for years. It's a prime example that middle of the road security can still be top caliber.
The ABUS uGrip Bordo 5700 is the best low to mid security lock in our review. It's well made, super transportable, and quite easy to use. If you don't need high-end security, don't waste your money on a heavy, bulky model. This lock is so compact and lightweight that there few reasons to not bring it along, no matter how short your list of errands.
— Ross Robinson
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