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Hiplok Original: Superbright Review

The innovative design of this wearable chain lock increases this heavy lock's portability, which is great news for regular bike commuters
Hiplok Original: Superbright
Photo: Hiplok
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $110 List | $106.50 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Wearable design, solid security, easy to use
Cons:  Not lightweight, uncomfortable with some backpacks, pricey
Manufacturer:   Hiplok
By Ross Robinson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 25, 2017
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 18
  • Security - 40% 6
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 8
  • Ease of Use - 20% 7
  • Versatility - 15% 7

Our Verdict

The Hiplok Original: Superbright provides an innovative way to take your lock with you. The unique design allows a cyclist to wrap the chain around his/her waist, adjust it to fit, and comfortably carry the theft deterrence on their person. The nylon sheath that protects your bike frame and components from the heavy chain (the lock weighs over four pounds) has a strip of reflective material to make you visible on the road, too. This wearable design makes it easier to transport the weight than most U-locks, which weigh down backpacks. The lock itself is easy to use with a curved key that inserts into and opens the locking mechanism like butter. Its inherent flexibility also makes it more versatile for locking up to oddly-shaped structures. This model is a user-friendly, mid to high-level security lock with a cyclist-first approach to design and function.

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Pros Wearable design, solid security, easy to useVery secure, mounts to bike, convenient size for locking upSecure, includes 5 keys, price is niceInexpensive, more secure than many in its price range, high qualityLightweight, easy-to-carry, easy-to-use
Cons Not lightweight, uncomfortable with some backpacks, priceyHeavy, bulky to transportClunky mounting hardware, heavyLocking mechanism stuck a few times, lackluster frame mountMinimal security, can be compromised with the right tools quickly
Bottom Line The innovative design of this wearable chain lock increases this heavy lock's portability, which is great news for regular bike commutersThis is our favorite all-around lock for high security needsThis lock provides great security and versatility at an affordable price, and while not our absolute favorite, it's pretty closeThis inexpensive U-lock offers versatility and security that is likely to fit the needs and budgets of many cyclists and commutersIf you're in the market for a highly portable and lightweight lock but without much security, this one has your name on it
Rating Categories Hiplok Original: Su... Kryptonite New York... OnGuard Brute STD Kryptonite Kryptolo... ABUS Chain Lock 120...
Security (40%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
3.0
Ease Of Transport (25%)
8.0
4.0
3.0
5.0
9.0
Ease Of Use (20%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
Versatility (15%)
7.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
4.0
Specs Hiplok Original: Su... Kryptonite New York... OnGuard Brute STD Kryptonite Kryptolo... ABUS Chain Lock 120...
Measured weight (lbs) 4.3 lbs 4.5 lbs 3.6 lbs 3.2 lbs 0.5 lbs
Type of lock Wearable chain U-lock U-Lock U-Lock + cable Chain
Primary materials/thickness 8mm hardened steel chain, 600D polyester sleeve 16mm Hardened Steel 16.8mm hardened steel 12.7mm hardened steel; braided steel cable 4mm hardened steel
Locking dimension 33.5" circumference, 2" width 4" x 8" 7.5" x 10.5" U-lock: 4" x 9"; Cable: 4' 43" circumference
# of keys included 3 keys 3 keys (one with HID light) 5 keys 2 keys N/A
Tin snips No No No No Yes, requires two cuts to defeat
Hammer No No No No No
Hacksaw No No No No No
Bolt cutters, 36" No No No No Yes, but not very easily. Requires two cuts
Angle grinder Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Number of cuts to free lock 1 cut 2 cuts 2 cuts 2 cuts 2 cuts

Our Analysis and Test Results

This lock consists of an 8mm hardened steel chain with a 10mm steel shackle (that doubles as a buckle.) It has an outer nylon sheath with reflective material that covers the chain and a piece of velcro that is threaded through the buckle and back on itself, allowing the Hiplok to be worn around your hips while riding.

Performance Comparison


Our far and away favorite for portable chain lock is the Hiplok...
Our far and away favorite for portable chain lock is the Hiplok Original. Our testers were stoked that it's actually quite comfortable when worn around the waist.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Security


The Hiplok Original received a Silver Award by Sold Secure (an independent English testing organization) and is rated "Medium/High Risk" by Hiplok. Our tests aligned with these ratings. The padlock on this piece could not be smashed or pried apart. The plastic covering on the padlock had the look of something one could use brute force on, but that wasn't the case at all. We tried to use a hacksaw (and patience) to cut through both the 10mm lock and the 8mm chain but the hardened steel is super hard, and after minutes of sawing we gave up. Bolt cutters proved to be ineffective as well. Even our favorite folding lock, the ABUS uGrip Bordo 5700, succumbed to some hand tools.


So far so good, right? Thus far, this bike lock measured right up to the U-Locks tested, and even has a one-up on U-Locks in that thieves cannot use crowbars to pry open the heavy duty chain (cheap U-Locks, if secured incorrectly with extra space inside the lock, can be compromised with a pry bar). However, the U-Locks outperformed the Hiplok when we took the angle grinder to their steel. Whereas it took us 40+ seconds to grind through the New York Standard U-Lock once, and another cut to free the bike, the Hiplok shackle succumbed in a scant 17 seconds. It requires just a single cut to let loose of the bike or bike rack. Even with this news, we still gave the Hiplok a high score in this metric because at the point that a thief is using a powered angle grinder, the chances are high that he or she is going to get the bike.

Ben started by using the angle grinder on the chain and cutting the...
Ben started by using the angle grinder on the chain and cutting the shackle required only one cut to free the bike.
Photo: Rylee Sweeney

Ease of Transportation


This category is where this product deserves kudos for design and ingenuity. Bike locks increase in weight as they go up in security, which has the unfortunate side effect of making them annoying to transport. So, higher security usually equals a cumbersome bike lock. The people of Hiplok, however, came up with the idea that their locks should be worn to transport. We liked the way this piece became a hip belt and distributed its weight around the center of gravity. The designers at Hiplok also included a fat strip of reflective material on the outside of the nylon sheath for extra nighttime visibility. We dig that.


A massage therapist that wore the Hiplok around for a day felt strongly that the same amount of weight (about 4 lbs) put into a backpack would cause more muscle fatigue in the lower back than this chain worn slung around the hips. This alleviates the problems of being heavy and not having the ability to be attached to your bicycle that the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit U-Lock Mini has. The owner of a Hiplok could still toss it in a bike pannier or basket, but not having to wear a backpack to transport your lock is a major plus. One consideration that we wanted to test was the wearability of the Original: Superbright when it got wet. The nylon sheath was resistant to water but not pleasant to wear without a jacket, so we considered that when scoring. Overall, our reviewers were super impressed with this product and thought that it proved to be a great everyday bike lock.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Ease of Use


When using this piece, it's obvious that someone put time into thinking things through regarding both transport and ease of use. The designers streamlined the padlock/buckle into being well-functioning and smooth at both its jobs. Even the keys (this model comes with three) were designed with ease of use in mind. They are curved, and our testers agreed that this improves the process of opening and closing the lock.


Compared to the simplicity of cable locks like the OnGuard Akita 8041, the Hiplok requires a few more moments of fiddling the chain through the wheel and then wrapping it around the frame. Compared to the standard fare of rattling the U-Lock crossbar into the "U" each time you lock up, the Hiplok is pretty simple. Its 2' of chain allow you to lock your bike up to nearly anything with relative ease.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Versatility


This category was hard to judge for a few reasons. For normal-sized frames, the Hiplok is only going to cover one wheel and the frame. If you want to lock both wheels, you have to remove the front wheel and position it next to the back wheel. While this is a pain, this chain lock performed this feat much better than U-locks like the New York Standard and even the larger ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 due to its larger area inside the lock and its flexibility. We were able to lock up a mountain bike with fat tires in this described manner, which was impossible with the folding and U-locks.


This chain is useful in a garage to secure loose items, and could even be used for dirt bikes and motorcycles. The Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock, due to its length, proved more versatile. You don't need to remove the front wheel to lock the frame and both wheels with that model.

A secure way to lock your bike frame and components is to remove...
A secure way to lock your bike frame and components is to remove your front wheel and lock it up with your rear wheel and mainframe, along with the bike rack. The Hiplok has a large enough circumference to lock thick tires.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

For regular commuters, the wearable Hiplok Original is a worthy...
For regular commuters, the wearable Hiplok Original is a worthy innovation.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Value


With the Hiplok, you are paying for the well-designed product that you want to buy. It hits the hundred+ dollar mark, but it's well worth the money if you plan on using it often. If you own a bicycle that is your means of transportation or is expensive, think of the money spent as insurance.

Buying a bike lock is similar to purchasing insurance. The more you...
Buying a bike lock is similar to purchasing insurance. The more you pay, the more benefits you tend to get.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Conclusion


The Hiplok Original: Superbright is a unique chain lock that we enjoyed reviewing due to its design integrity. The people behind Hiplok sufficiently tackled the question of how to make a lock secure, easy to use, and relatively comfortable to ride around with.

Our testers loved riding and locking up with this unique model.
Our testers loved riding and locking up with this unique model.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Ross Robinson

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