Hiplock Gold Superbright
Hiplock Z Loks
Versatile Locks Deliver Convenience, Security and Nighttime Safety
I’ve been using a Hiplok for a few years now and love it. So, I was eager to try their new models and requested samples at their booth at the Sea Otter Classic bike festival back in April. Their original Hiplok is now even more high-security and comes with a bonus feature, an ultra-reflective, high-visibility, water-repellent sleeve to protect rider as well as bike.
Like the name Hiplok suggests, their chain locks are actually worn belt-like around the waist. The chain is covered with a nylon sleeve, which protects bicycle paint jobs and components by preventing the metal chain links from striking the frame. And now with Superbright reflectivity added, this new Hiplok protects riders with a 2-inch-wide band of reflected light when riding at night in traffic.
Even buttery-smooth pedalers rock a little side to side, making the lock even more visible. Plus, the reflectivity encircles you for almost 360-degree visibility. The sleeve is also attached to the chain in such a way that the reflective panel can’t rotate and hide next to your body.
The lock you wear
When I first saw a Hiplok I thought the idea of wearing a lock was silly. But I gave it a try and found that you quickly forget that you have it on. Yes, it weighs a pretty massive 6.4 pounds, but that’s completely manageable when wrapped around you. And if you were to put it in a bag on the bike, it could affect the handling.
To size the Hiplok to fit, just click its snap buckle together, which is built into the padlock on one end and the belt on the end of the sleeve. Then pull the end of the belt to snug the Hiplok around the waist. It fits riders with waistlines from 28 to 44 inches. Once sized it stays sized for easy on/off and a good fit.
Using a Hiplok feels more convenient to me than a typical U-lock. Since you wear the Hiplok, it’s always at the ready. There’s no need to remove it from a holder on the frame (or put it back in after unlocking). All you do is twist to open the buckle, wrap the lock around the bike and immovable object you’re locking to, open the padlock, feed the other end of the chain into it and lock the padlock.
And, related to last week’s RBR Newsletter story on violence against cyclists, a Hiplok might come in very handy. According to Hiplok, bicycle messengers love how you can unhook the Hiplok and immediately wield quite the weapon. I don’t think drivers will mess with you if you’re swinging it their way.
Keeping your bike yours
I requested Hiplok’s maximum security lock. It has a beefy 12mm diameter padlock shackle and 10mm diameter chain links – all hardened steel to thwart cutting tools. Hiplok also offers the Original and Lite models in Superbright versions. The Original offers high security and the Lite, medium security. They sell for $109 and $75, respectively.
For maximum security, it’s best to remove the front wheel first and place that inside the lock, too. The Hiplok has an inside circumference of 33 inches (75cm) so it won’t reach around both wheels and the frame unless you take off the front wheel.
Zip tie security
Which brings me to Hiplok’s other new product, the Z Loks. You get 2 per package and 1 key. As you can see in the photo, they look just like oversized zip ties, which is pretty much what they are. To provide more security than an actual zip tie, Hiplok uses a tough nylon and steel core inside the Z Loks, and a more aggressive gripping action.
Z Loks are basic security devices. The idea is to slow down thieves with something not easy to break or cut without the right tool. The only way to open a Z Lok is with the special key that’s included. I like the small size and lightness. You can tuck it away anywhere and always have one on hand.
I sacrificed one of my sample Z Loks to check cut-resistance. I found that a good pair of diagonal cutters will cut it quickly. However, the same is true of most basic security cables.
These types of locks should only be expected to thwart impulsive crimes of opportunity, and for that purpose they’re pretty ingenious. You could use them to lock the front wheel to the locked bike. Or the Z Lok allows locking the bike to something if you’re nearby keeping watch. I can think of a lot of other things you could secure with them, too, like helmets, packs, seats, etc.
I would not recommend using it as the only lock if the bike will be out of sight. Instead, use the Hiplok with both wheels inside it. I gave the Z Loks a lower rating than the Hiplok because it seems to me that something could be added inside the Z Loks that’s more cut-resistant to basic hand tools that anybody up to no good might have handy.
The Last Word
As long as you respect the limitations of the Z Lok, both these new Hiploks are great additions to your bike security arsenal. If I’m going to park my bicycle, I never leave home now without first putting on my Hiplok and tucking a Z in my pocket.
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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 8,000. Click to read Jim’s full bio.