Review: Hiplok – a Wearable Bike Lock
With a ton of locks on the market, there aren’t many things that separate one lock from the other besides security rating and personal style preference. Hiplok stands alone because it’s wearable. The basic premise of Hiplok – a solution for hauling locks around town without a bag or frame mount. Combining a belt and a lock, Hiplok velcros around the waist fitting men’s sizes 26-42. I’m a solid 32 waist and it fit great.
I have a couple locks I use. Generally, I either jam a u-lock in my belt loop or carry one in a bag. In the belt loop, the u-lock is sometimes uncomfortable or snags on the seat when I stand up. When carrying a bag, u-locks are fine – but oftentimes bags bulk up short trips when they aren’t altogether needed. Hiplok solves the “where do I put my lock” problem with clever design.
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In terms of security, Hiplok has a Sold Secure Silver rating, a rating described by Sold Secure as “offering a compromise between security and cost”. The chain is large, heavy, square cut, and would give thieves a run for their money. If you’re looking for pure security though, there are u-locks sold for the same price (roughly $100) that offer a Sold Secure Gold rating, a tad better, described by Sold Secure as offering “the highest level of security”.
So, I wouldn’t use Hiplok as a completely fail-proof primary lock to latch the bike up all night. But that doesn’t void Hiplok as an impressive gadget or killer lock. Hiplok packs a different punch than pure security. What you’re paying for is a standard lock with some added function.
The construction is simple – a padlock laced to a chain secured in a nylon cover. Four keys come with. Just insert a key into the lock and twist. On twisting, one end of the chain can be removed from the lock. The end of the chain that’s removed slips inside the nylon casing until needed again. Then run the velcro strap through the lock and secure it to the body. A fun pamphlet describing the process is provided in the packaging. Eventually, after heavy use, when the lock starts smelling like sweat and waist-grime, the nylon casing can be removed with two hex keys and machine-washed.
- The lock never has to be locked to the body, a feature that keeps the paramedics happy. Velcro seems to be the same high quality velcro as what’s sewn into popular messenger bags (Chrome, etc.) so the lock doesn’t slip off too easily.
- The lettering on the back is reflective – 3M reflective – standard for awesome in the industry. At night, cars will see in big bold letters “HIPLOK” plastered on your booty.
- Because it’s easy to remove, Hiplok can be swung, heaved, and hucked at a moments notice, making it almost as empowering as a .44 Magnum.
Hiplok looks cool above all. It’s both a gadget and an accessory. The $100 spent pays for innovation and style as much as function. Offered in a variety of colors – blue, black, red, green, pink, yellow – they’ll probably have one that matches your bike/bag/swatch.
I’ve been wearing the green version. Surprisingly comfortable, Hiplok feels weightless when riding and standing up. It never gets in the way like u-locks do. Also, the nylon casing prevents the bike from getting scratched, granted care is taken positioning the padlock.
How has it held up? After about 4 months, fairly well. The reflective lettering has started to break apart and the velcro has eaten some cotton from my clothing. But, that’s to be expected. Luckily, the velcro has held up structurally. If the velcro latching had failed while I was riding, a 4lb chain would’ve been sitting on my back tire, bike chain, pedal or wherever it felt like landing.
I only have one complaint: Hiplok doesn’t sit well on the waist when carrying large backpacks with waist stabilizers. I rock a Mission Workshop Vandal, a pack I give 5 stars, but it’s not comfy with Hiplock. Hiplok forces itself under the pack. With a waist stabilizer added to the pack, Hiplok’s nearly impossible to wear. Good thing is, with smaller backpacks or messengers, the lock sits perfectly and makes for an innovative, fashionable lock.
Check out Hiplok here. They’re sold for £69.99 in the UK and retail for around $100 in America at various online retailers.