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Hiplok Z Lok Review

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
hiplok z lok bike lock review
Credit: Hiplok
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Price:  $20 List | $12.99 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, flexible, easy to use
Cons:  Too small, minimal security
Manufacturer:   Hiplok
By Rebecca Eckland ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 26, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
46
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#18 of 18
  • Security - 40% 1.0
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 10.0
  • Ease of Use - 20% 7.0
  • Versatility - 15% 2.0

Our Verdict

Small, lightweight, colorful, and… trendy? Sure. In comparison to the best 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.

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hiplok z lok bike lock review
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Lightweight, flexible, easy to useSecure, includes 5 keys, price is niceInexpensive, more secure than many in its price range, high qualityLightweight, easy-to-carry, easy-to-useInexpensive U-lock, durable, good quality
Cons Too small, minimal securityClunky mounting hardware, heavyLocking mechanism stuck a few times, lackluster frame mountMinimal security, can be compromised with the right tools quicklyLacks 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 rideThis 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 itThe 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
Security (40%)
1
9.0
6.0
3.0
6.0
Ease of Transport (25%)
10.0
3.0
5.0
9.0
4.0
Ease of Use (20%)
7.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Versatility (15%)
2.0
7.0
7.0
4.0
6.0
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
Hammer Yes No No No No
Hacksaw Yes, quick No No No Yes, eventually
Bolt cutters, 36" Yes No No Yes, but not very easily. Requires two cuts No
Angle grinder Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
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.

Performance Comparison


hiplok z lok bike lock review - this lightweight lock provides minimal protection against serious...
This lightweight lock provides minimal protection against serious bike thieves. For short stops, though, it might prevent a "snatch-and-grab" steal.
Credit: Rebecca Eckland

Security


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 high-ranked bike locks, it's very minimal.

hiplok z lok bike lock review - it's a bit of a stretch to get around larger tires like these cosmo...
It's a bit of a stretch to get around larger tires like these Cosmo wheels, but it can be done.
Credit: Rebecca Eckland

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.

hiplok z lok bike lock review - our hacksaw took about five seconds to defeat this lock. it...
Our hacksaw took about five seconds to defeat this lock. It surprisingly survived our wire snips, though.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

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.

hiplok z lok bike lock review - this lock is so light, you can literally carry it anywhere. some of...
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.
Credit: Rebecca Eckland

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.

hiplok z lok bike lock review - the hiplok z-lok's key is, as you would expect, small. there's a...
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.
Credit: Rebecca Eckland

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.

hiplok z lok bike lock review - highly portable, this lock can secure most tires and frames.
Highly portable, this lock can secure most tires and frames.
Credit: Rebecca Eckland

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.

hiplok z lok bike lock review - small, compact and colorful: this zip-tie bike lock is highly...
Small, compact and colorful: this zip-tie bike lock is highly portable, but not highly secure.
Credit: Rebecca Eckland

Versatility


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.)

hiplok z lok bike lock review - because they aren't very expensive or heavy, you could carry several...
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.
Credit: Rebecca Eckland

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.

hiplok z lok bike lock review - getting the lock around front and back tires, the frame and a post...
Getting the lock around front and back tires, the frame and a post was a little snug.
Credit: Rebecca Eckland

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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