Review: Hiplok; Wearable Bike Lock2
by Mark V on Nov 28, 2011 at 12:03 PM
Evidence A: It is generally known that hardened steel chains with small, well-engineered locks are the tops for bicycle security. A super hard chain link is too much for bolt cutters and the small lock (unlike a U-lock) can’t be leveraged apart.
Evidence B: Bike locks/chains are heavy.
Evidence C: Using hips/waist to support heavy things is convenient and less fatiguing.
Ladies and gentleman, I present Hiplok , the wearable bike lock. As many of the best products are, Hiplok is pretty simple in concept. It consists of a chain, a lock that doubles as a belt buckle, and a woven nylon cover with a velcro strap. The chain is a square-section to resist cutters and hardened steel so saws don’t bite in. The thick nylon cover sheaths the chain, preventing it from scratching your bike’s finish and making Hiplok more comfortable as it wraps around your torso. A flush headed bolt/nut secures each end of the cover to keep the chain ends easily reachable. The lock is basically a large padlock with a disc-type lock mechanism, a similar mechanism to the best from Kryptonite and On-Guard. However, the lock has a stout plastic cover with a loop for the covers velcro strap to link. You simply feed the velcro strap through the buckle loop and secure the strap back onto the cover’s velcro.
Just so you know, Hiplok isn’t the same as buying a regular padlock and length of chain at the hardware store and locking it around your waist. Hiplok is safer in that it doesn’t actually lock to your waist at all; the nylon and velcro do that. And strapping on Hiplok is much faster and is easily adjustable, even while riding. Oh, and just in case it wasn’t obvious: even though your wear Hiplok like a belt, it can’t replace a belt to hold up your pants because it won’t fit through the belt loops of most pants.
I’m normally a U-lock kind of person, but my low position on the bike and high cadence don’t allow me to stick a mini-u in my pocket as is the fashion. I wanted a Hiplok because I could wear the lock and not need a bag to carry it if I just wanted to go bar hopping or something. Sometimes I just don’t want to carry my messenger bag with me everywhere….what if I drink too much to keep track of it? My system is cargo pants to keep safe my wallet, phone, and keys, and Hiplok to keep my bike safe.
Hiplok is so good at keeping the weight supported that sometimes I literally work a whole 8hrs on my feet and never take it off. I just don’t notice it or don’t care.
There are times that I prefer to use a U-lock still. For one thing, if I DO plan to bring my messenger pack, storing a U-lock isn’t a problem. I can still lock up quicker with a U-lock since I have a side-holster on my bag. I can quick draw the lock, use the key rubberband-ed to my wrist, and lock up distinctly faster than I can feed the Hiplok chain around a rack and through the bike frame. And lastly, the low riding position that I favour means that Hiplok hits my thighs and torso when I pedal. So riding comfort is great on my BMX, tolerable on the hoods of my road bike, and unpleasant on the drops of my track bike. This would be true of any chain-type lock.
I would like to see one refinement to the product. The velcro on the cover might be too long. I’m not a big barrel of a man by any means, but when I strap Hiplok on it leaves about about 4-5” of exposed velcro facing out to catch on clothing or unpleasantly rub the skin of my inner forearm as I walk. I ended up razoring the excess velcro off, but then I had to re-sew the end of the velcro patch to prevent the remaining stitching from unraveling. I think if the velcro were stitched on in discrete segments, the end user could easily razor the stitches off the segments not needed. One the plus side, you can easily remove the whole nylon cover (by unscrewing the two bolts at the ends) so that you can wash it or replace it (replacements available in colours from Hiplok).
Hiplok retails for $100.