We envision the HipLok Z Lok for the dedicated 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.
This lightweight lock provides minimal protection against serious bike thieves. For short stops, though, it might prevent a "snatch-and-grab" steal.
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 you've basically got the idea. Which, you know, is better than nothing, but not much.
It's a bit of a stretch to get around larger tires like these Cosmo wheels, but it can be done.
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.
Our hacksaw took about five seconds to defeat this lock. It surprisingly survived our wire snips, though.
Ease of Transport
At 1.3 oz, this is the lightest option of all the bike locks we included in this review. It's light enough that you could literally put the ties in your pocket and forget they were there (and unlike some of the U-locks in this review, they won't dent the inside of your washing machine if they happen to get tossed in there with your worn jeans).
This lock is so light, you can literally carry it anywhere. Some of our testers liked the idea of wearing the lock around your wrist like a bracelet, but it could just as easily fit in your saddlebag, pocket or pannier.
These ties can fit near anywhere. They pretty much disappear in your backpack. We like that the bright colors make them quick and easy to find inside a dark bag, too. We like zipping them to our bike saddle rails for simple transport, too. Lastly, they weigh nothing in the back pocket of a cycling jersey.
The HipLok Z-Lok's key is, as you would expect, small. There's a whole, so you can add it to your keyring, which is a huge plus. Otherwise, this looks like something that, if left in a backpack, could easily be lost.
Ease of Use
This 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.
Highly portable, this lock can secure most tires and frames.
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 were able to get this lock around the rear wheel, the frame, and the structure itself.
Small, compact and colorful: this zip-tie bike lock is highly portable, but not highly secure.
The HipLok Z Lok comes in seven color options (cyan, lime, red, grey, black, orange and purple), is small enough to fit into a purse or murse (or the trendiest messenger bag), and has a tiny locking mechanism that really 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.)
Because they aren't very expensive or heavy, you could carry several with you and lock several parts of your bike to a post or a tree, etc. In this way, the lock is highly versatile. On its own, though, it's really not large enough to lock multiple wheels and the frame to a secure object, like a bike rack.
This lock's versatility comes in handy when it's not considered as 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.
If you're in a spot where your bike never leaves your line of vision, and you don't plan on being there all day, then the HipLok Z Lok might be the right option for you. Easy to carry, colorful and easy to use; they will probably be enough of a deterrent to prevent an unprepared thief from riding off with your bike.
For more expensive bikes or for a bicycle that has to hang out for longer than a few minutes in a public place, we suggest a more secure option. If you're looking for something lightweight, we suggest the Ottolock or the TiGr mini.
It's really hard to argue with the $20 price tag of the HipLok Z Lok unless your bike is several hundred or thousands of dollars, in which case 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 when you stop to use the restroom, this might be a worthwhile investment.
For more expensive bikes or for folks who might leave their bike for more than a minute or two in one location, these locks are just asking for trouble.
Getting the lock around front and back tires, the frame and a post was a little snug.
Colorful, compact, easy to use; tuck this lock into your jersey pocket to use for the quick pit-stop. If you're leaving your bike for anything longer than a few minutes, though, you're playing with fire. As a helmet, saddle, or component lock, though, it's pretty convenient.