Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
Even though last week saw the return of the Sea Otter Classic, probably the largest bicycle show of 2021 so far, in my opinion, the biggest news came out a week before in a press release from Hiplok.
Founded 10 years ago, Hiplok is a British-based company specializing in innovative, quality security and storage for bicycles and outdoor gear. I’ve been a fan of their locks since the 2011 Interbike show in Las Vegas when I met Ben Smith and John Abrahams, who had just started the company.
“Hey, give it a try!”
As I walked past their booth they spotted my media badge and asked me to take a look at one of their Hiploks. They’re called that because they can be worn around your hips like a belt. And, before I had a chance to object, I think it was John, slapped a lock around me and buckled it.
It felt heavy and I wondered if it was such a good idea. But, he said, “Jim please wear it around the show and give it a chance.”
Three hours later, I was still wearing the unusual belt and hardly noticed I had it on anymore. Back home I wore it when commuting and really enjoyed how accessible that made it for locking up my bikes. And, because you can take the belt off almost instantly and swing it, I felt like I had another type of security onboard, too… not that I would ever want to use it that way.
In the years since, I’ve used and enjoyed other Hiplok locks and products. Here are a couple of recent reviews:
The Dreaded Angle Grinder
The Hiploks that I use the most are heavy-duty chain locks with hardened and cut-resistant steel links. I have never had anyone steal my bikes when they’ve been secured with these daunting looking locks. And I know there have been attempts because I luckily spotted a thief hiding behind my car (with bikes on the rack) who ran when I approached.
But, like everyone who has ever had a bike stolen (I’ve had several), I realize that professional thieves have an arsenal of tools at their disposal to break even the best locks. It’s no secret (or I wouldn’t mention it) that one of their favorite weapons for breaking locks is the angle grinder.
These inexpensive, powerful and portable tools are capable of cutting through almost anything and easily grind through and break bike locks. And they’re the reason that no cycling expert will promise that you can protect your bikes with bicycle locks.
Ferosafe – A New Standard in Cut Resistance
All of which helps explain why Hiplok’s announcement this week was such big news and so excitedly received by the industry. Note that a lot of people who have their bicycles stolen decide to give up on cycling completely because they feel violated and don’t want it to happen again.
How Hiplok solved the angle grinder vulnerability is with “Ferosafe, a composite graphene material that effectively resists high power angle grinders due to its unique chemical and physical properties.” It’s the first time this material has been used in a bicycle lock.
Hiplok’s new Ferosafe model is the D1000 and it’s a U-lock
To see how well it works, watch Hiplok’s video:
Launching with a Kickstarter Campaign
Hiplok is launching the D1000 Ferosafe lock via a Kickstarter campaign to bring the lock to cyclists and motorcyclists with delivery in early 2022. The projected retail pricing will be 250 GBP, 275 EUR, and 345 USD so the 4-pound lock also carries a hefty price.
Learn all about the lock and how you can get one here:
To wrap up, I want to share my thoughts on this game-changing lock. I think Hiplok deserves a lot of credit for tackling the angle grinder problem. I haven’t tried it, but if what’s shown in the video is real, the D1000 looks like the most angle grinder resistant U-lock ever made.
Like some other U-locks, one limitation may be the D1000’s small size. Maybe they’ll make a larger version but this one doesn’t appear wide or long enough to put around the parking post, bike frame and both wheels. Which means having to carry more locks to secure the wheels.
The other thing is that when using a lock as secure as this one, it’s going to be important to choose something substantial to lock to. You don’t want the thief when he realizes he can’t cut through the lock to cut through what you locked to. It won’t matter how long it takes to cut through the lock or how many angle grinder discs it takes once the bike’s in the thief’s possession.
And, lastly, I find it frustrating in the first place that thieves are so successful with angle grinders. You would hope that if someone tries using one on your locked bike that the awful noise the angle grinder makes and the sparks it throws off would alert someone to the fact that a bike is being stolen. And that they would chase the thief away or in some other way help save your bike.
10,151 Daily Rides in a Row
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s streak of consecutive cycling days has reached more than 10,000. Click to read Jim’s full bio.