Small, lightweight, colorful, and… trendy? Sure. In comparison to other bike locks we tested, the HipLok Z Lok also delivers both ease of use and portability. What it lacks, though, is the security of knowing your bike and bike-related gear are safe from bike thieves. Perfect for the mid-ride pit stop, this lock prevents "snatch-and-grab" steals. However, if you want something to keep your bike safe for more than a minute of out-of-sight time, we recommend upping your security with a more substantial bike lock.Editor's Note: We updated this gear review on January 25, 2022, with fresh sections sharing our stance on this product to help your decision-making process.
Hiplok Z Lok Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Lightweight, flexible, easy to use
Cons: Too small, minimal security
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Hiplok Z Lok
|Price||Check Price at REI|
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$74.95 at Amazon
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$45.61 at Amazon
|Pros||Lightweight, flexible, easy to use||Secure, includes 5 keys, price is nice||Inexpensive, more secure than many in its price range, high quality||Lightweight, easy-to-carry, easy-to-use||Inexpensive U-lock, durable, good quality|
|Cons||Too small, minimal security||Clunky mounting hardware, heavy||Locking mechanism stuck a few times, lackluster frame mount||Minimal security, can be compromised with the right tools quickly||Lacks the security of better U-locks, clunky design, mount is not our favorite|
|Bottom Line||Great for preventing the "snatch and grab" while you make a pit stop but does little to prevent a real bike thief from swiping your ride||This lock provides great security and versatility at an affordable price, and while not our absolute favorite, it's pretty close||This inexpensive U-lock offers versatility and security that is likely to fit the needs and budgets of many cyclists and commuters||If you're in the market for a highly portable and lightweight lock but without much security, this one has your name on it||The Bulldog DT is large and accommodating, but if you need a U-lock for higher security needs, this one might not be the best option|
|Rating Categories||Hiplok Z Lok||OnGuard Brute STD||Kryptonite Kryptolo...||ABUS Chain Lock 120...||OnGuard Bulldog DT|
|Ease of Transport (25%)|
|Ease of Use (20%)|
|Specs||Hiplok Z Lok||OnGuard Brute STD||Kryptonite Kryptolo...||ABUS Chain Lock 120...||OnGuard Bulldog DT|
|Measured weight (lbs)||0.1 lbs||3.6 lbs||3.2 lbs||0.5 lbs||3.0 lbs|
|Type of lock||Reusable zip tie||U-Lock||U-Lock + cable||Chain||U-Lock + cable|
|Primary materials/thickness||Steel core security tie||16.8mm hardened steel||12.7mm hardened steel; braided steel cable||4mm hardened steel||13mm steel; braided steel cable|
|Locking dimension||16.5" circumference||7.5" x 10.5"||U-lock: 4" x 9"; Cable: 4'||43" circumference||U-lock: 6" x 11"; Cable: 4'|
|# of keys included||1 key||5 keys||2 keys||N/A||5 keys|
|Tin snips||Yes||No||No||Yes, requires two cuts to defeat||No|
|Hacksaw||Yes, quick||No||No||No||Yes, eventually|
|Bolt cutters, 36"||Yes||No||No||Yes, but not very easily. Requires two cuts||No|
|Number of cuts to free lock||1 cut||2 cuts||2 cuts||2 cuts||1 cut|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We envision the HipLok Z Lok for the dedicated cycling minimalist who prefers to own the smallest version of everything. These little zip-tie locks can fit right into just about any messenger bag without appearing bulky or overly imposing when securing your bike to a thin iron rail near your favorite coffee shop.
On the security scale (where 10 is leaving your bike at home, safe), the HipLok Z Lok security ties rank at about a 1.5. While they will prevent the impromptu "snatch and grab" when you've dashed into the coffeehouse for your morning joe, they're little more than a five-second inconvenience for most of your urban bike thieves. Envision locking your bike up with zip-ties, and essentially, you get the idea. Compared to other bike locks, it's very minimal.
The strip of metal inside the plastic cover on the lock did resist our attack with wire snips, which surprised us to a degree. However, every other tool defeated this lock in seconds.
Ease of Transport
At 1.3 oz, this is the lightest option of all the bike locks we included in our bike lock review. It's lightweight enough that you could put the ties in your pocket and forget they were there, and unlike some of the U-locks in our lineup, they won't dent the inside of your washing machine if they happen to get tossed in there with your worn jeans.
There are certainly perks to being small as these ties can fit nearly anywhere. They pretty much disappear in your backpack, although the bright colors make them quick and easy to find inside a dark bag. They also weigh nothing in the back pocket of a cycling jersey, and they can zip to the bike saddle rails for easy transport.
Ease of Use
This contender is a five-second steal, at best, with other downfalls, which include: a key that, if it becomes bent in your bag or purse, has the potential to stop working correctly. A perk, we guess, is that if you are unfortunate enough to lose the key or bend it, you could always ask pretty much anyone to cut the lock for you.
At a not-so-whopping 16.5 inches long, your options are slim as to what you can lock your bike to. Think about it — you're not going to have much clearance after going around your wheel. For thin, immovable structures, though, we could get this lock around the rear wheel, the frame, and the structure itself.
The HipLok Z Lok comes in several color options, is small enough to fit into a purse or murse (or the trendiest messenger bag), and has a tiny locking mechanism that truly takes the word "tiny" to a whole new level. These little zip-locks aren't exactly expensive, and if you had a few of them, you could secure any part of your bike to pretty much everything. Again, however, this lock is intended for super-short term security (think: minutes, not hours.)
This lock's versatility comes in handy when it's not considered a primary security lock or in non-urban settings. We've brought it mountain biking to stash our bikes off-trail to hike up a peak, and we have used it to lock our helmets to our bikes. If your vehicle's bike rack doesn't have a lock, a few Z Lok's work well for running into a gas station or for a rest area pit stop. You can also daisy chain multiple Z Loks together to extend this lock's reach. With some creativity, you can probably find several uses for this small touch of security.
Should You Buy the Hiplok Z Lok?
If your biking gear is several hundred or thousands of dollars, you might think twice before trusting your investment to something so… well, little. As we've articulated, if you just need something to hold your bike very short-term while you stop to use the restroom, this might be useful. But, that's about it.
What Other Bike Locks Should You Consider?
If you're leaving your bike for anything longer than a few minutes, though, you're playing with fire. We think it's worth considering the ABUS Chain Lock 1200 Web, a lightweight option that is suitable for low-security environments, or the OnGuard Brute STD, which offers the most security per dollar spent on a bike lock.
— Rebecca Eckland
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