Hiplok Original: Superbright Review
Cons: Not lightweight, uncomfortable with some backpacks, pricey
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Hiplok Original: Superbright
|Price||$109.99 at Amazon||Check Price at Backcountry|
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|$69.99 at Amazon||$14.99 at Amazon||$58.95 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Wearable design, solid security, easy to use||Very secure, mounts to bike, convenient size for locking up||Versatile, light (for a U-Lock), easy to use, value||Lightweight, easy-to-carry, easy-to-use||Inexpensive, more secure than many in its price range, high quality|
|Cons||Not lightweight, uncomfortable with some backpacks, pricey||Heavy, bulky to transport||Slightly less secure than other U-Lock models, bulky||Minimal security, can be compromised with the right tools quickly||Locking mechanism stuck a few times, lackluster frame mount|
|Bottom Line||The innovative design of this wearable chain lock increases this heavy lock's portability, which is great news for regular bike commuters||This is our favorite all-around lock for high security needs||A versatile U-lock and cable combo that provides strong security at a favorable price point||If you're in the market for a highly portable and lightweight lock but without much security, this one has your name on it||This inexpensive U-lock offers versatility and security that is likely to fit the needs and budgets of many cyclists and commuters|
|Rating Categories||Hiplok Original: Su...||New York Standard U...||Evolution Mini-7 U-...||ABUS Chain Lock 120...||Kryptonite Kryptolo...|
|Ease Of Transport (25%)|
|Ease Of Use (20%)|
|Specs||Hiplok Original: Su...||New York Standard U...||Evolution Mini-7 U-...||ABUS Chain Lock 120...||Kryptonite Kryptolo...|
|Measured weight (lbs)||4.3 lbs||4.5 lbs||3.5 lbs||0.5 lbs||3.2 lbs|
|Type of lock||Wearable chain||U-lock||U-Lock + cable||Chain||U-Lock + cable|
|Lock dimensions||33.5" circumference, 2" width||4" x 8" (16 mm thick U)||U-lock: 9.4"x 5.6" (13mm thick U), 4' cable||23.6" x 0.16"||U-lock: 11.1" x 5.4" (13mm thick U), Cable: 4'|
|# of keys included||3 keys||3 keys (one with HID light)||3 keys (one with HID light)||N/A||2 keys|
|Primary materials||8mm hardened steel chain, 600D polyester sleeve||16mm Hardened Steel||13mm hardened "max-performance" steel with braided steel cable||Hardened steel||Steel|
|Warranty/Manufacturer programs||1-year manufacturer warranty||$4,000 Theft Protection, Limited Lifetime Warranty, Key Safe Program||$2,500 Theft Protection (does not cover cable), Limited Lifetime Warranty; Key Safe Program||None||$1,700 Theft Protection|
|Unique Features||Reflective sheath, curve key||Keyhole cover, LED light on one key; dust cover over keyhole||LED light on one key; cable in addition to U-Lock; dust cover on keyhole||Steel chain with textile sleeve (available in different colors)||Includes 4 foot cable|
|Tin Snips||No||No||Cable: Yes; U-lock: No||Yes, requires two cuts to defeat||No|
|Bolt Cutters, 36"||No||No||Cable: Yes, U-lock: No||Yes, but not very easily. Requires two cuts||No|
|Number of cuts required 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Ross Robinson