Hiplok Original Review
Hiplok Original Review
A review of the Hiplok Original, a wearable bicycle lock.
The Hiplok Original is a lock that you can wear around your waist. Riders have been doing this for years, but it was always a little uncomfortable and make do. The Hiplok Original uses a velcro extension to the lock’s sleeve, which passes through a belt like loop on the padlock and then passes back to secure on the opposite side of the velcro, much like a belt. This version has a reflective logo on the protective sleeve.
At the moment I’ve been reviewing a few products with the idea of urban cycling in mind. I’ve been looking at the possibility of using a bike to get around without wearing lycra! In the process of doing this I’ve realised that if I’m not dressed in lycra I’m far more likely to get off my bike and go into a shop on my way home from work, or cycle to meet my friends instead of using my oyster card to get the seven miles or so into Central London.
The problem with this revelation is that with this new freedom I need to lock my bike up somewhere. And leave it. And walk away from it, where I can’t see it. This causes two main problems. Firstly I need to have a lock that will be big enough to stop my bike getting stolen. Secondly I then need to carry that lock!
The light duty cable lock I use at work is no good for this situation. I have a D-Lock that I won in a competition, it’s not bad but as well as being a bit awkward and heavy to carry, it’s not very flexible when it comes to locking. If you’ve ever used a D-Lock you’ll know that whatever you’re locking to needs to be in the right place to fit in the ‘D’ or you’re going to struggle.
I have some locks that I used to have for my motorcycles. They’re pretty solid and they used to protect my motorbike, which was a lot more expensive than my commuter bike. The only problem is carrying them. They weigh over 3kg and need to be put in a bag of some sort that won’t break with the weight. Neither solution is really that practical.
Enter Hiplok. Hiplok is a company that produces wearable locks. The range is quite vast now so they should have a solution that suits you. Even their D-Locks are wearable. The ‘Original’ lock I’ve been given to review is placed just under their most secure ‘Gold’ lock. The Gold is 2.4kg and has a gold Sold Secure rating.
The main difference between it and the Original I have is the chain links are 10mm instead of the 8mm of the Original. This gives the Original only a silver Sold Secure rating, but just as importantly makes the weight only 1950g, almost half a kilo saved. Hiplok recommend the Gold as the best way to prevent theft, but the Original is one of their best sellers.
The next step down from this is the Hiplok Lite, which has a bronze rating and is only 1kg, but on this the chain is only 6mm and the shackle, or padlock is also 8mm instead of the 12mm the other locks have.
The Hiplok Original is a nice looking lock. The lock has an outer sleeve, which not only protects your paintwork but also can be removed for washing if you undo the two allen bolts securing it in place, you don’t want it making your clothes all dirty.
The colour scheme version I have has a green padlock body, and black sleeve with a reflective ‘Hiplok’ logo which would be on the rear when it’s worn around your waist. Hiplok also have a ‘Superbright’ range which has the sleeve made out of a reflective material for extra visibility.
The elephant in the room here is the wearing of a solid object around your waist. I tend to shy away from putting keys and anything pointy in pockets around my chest because in an accident those pointy things could end up causing me quite a bit of damage. In the same way, its possible wearing a chain around your waist could cause problems too.
There are no sharp edges on the Hiplok, and its velcro closure around your waist means getting it off is very simple, it’s not locked to you. The choice is up to you, and Hiplok do have other solutions if you’re not sure about wearing a lock around your waist.
When I took the Hiplok out on my commute the hill at the start was harder going with an extra 2kg, that’s unavoidable. If I want to lock my bike up then I have to make the weight sacrifice of a decent sized lock. If your journey is much more than an hour you will of course notice this extra weight through your saddle, and with my 15 mile commute I certainly wouldn’t want to carry the extra weight every day. I tend to only take it when I know I’ll need to lock my bike somewhere unfamiliar.
The velcro passes through the loop on the padlock and then fastens against the rest of the chain. It’s quick and easy and feels secure once on. I’m a 32” waist so I didn’t trouble the reaches of the 24”-44” adjustment, if you are near the maximum or minimum it may be best to try before you buy. I’ve had a lot of experience with velcro on clothing and I’d suggest trying to be gentle with it rather than tugging on it to get it off, it’ll last a lot longer that way. Pulling too hard damages the tiny loops sooner.
Once on, apart from the overall weight of your body, the lock isn’t that obtrusive. I’ve worn it over normal clothes and over my lycra with no problems. I’m not going to attempt to break the lock or get a reformed criminal to try and get past it. The Hiplok Original lock has a Sold Secure Silver rating. Sold Secure is a non-profit organisation that tests security products and awards them a rating based on the difficulty it takes to get past each product.
With cycle locks Gold is the highest and Bronze is the lowest. Generally cycle insurers will demand a certain level based on the value of your bike, so check with them before buying. The lock has an 87.5cm locking diameter, which is slightly more than a D-Lock and will easily get around your rear wheel and frame as well as whatever you’re locking it to. You will need either security skewers or a separate cable to go through the front wheel, or you’ll have to remove it and lock it to the back wheel.
I’ll confess I’ve always wanted to own a Hiplok, but up until recently I’ve made do with my old motorcycle locks and a combination of lighter duty locks and keeping my bike in more secure areas where it’s less likely to be accessed. It’s a great product and a very neat solution to a problem faced not only by cyclists, but motorcyclists too. I’ve seen people wear a regular lock around their waist and lock it, but Hiplok’s velcro is a much better option.
Security wise, the Hiplok doesn’t take much thought to take out so it’s more likely to get used. A chain lock is slightly more versatile than a D-Lock, the chain’s flexibility means you can bend it around things and lock it in places you might struggle to use a D-Lock. Although the chain isn’t quite long enough to go through both wheels, if it was any longer it would weigh a lot more.
It’s a simple idea really and it works. Securing locks to a mounting bracket on your frame always results in a rattle, plus you don’t want the ugly plastic mount ruining your bike’s aesthetics or paintwork. The Hiplok doesn’t rattle and doesn’t take much thought to sling it around your waist and pull it tight.
If I was planning to chain up a more expensive bike regularly then I’d definitely go for the Hiplok Gold for the added security and to appease my insurers. For my Allez, which although it looks quite nice is worth pretty much nothing now depreciation has done its worst, the silver rated Original is just fine. Hiplok have a range of chain and D-Lock options so whatever type of cycling you do, you should find something there to suit you.