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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.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $110 List | $89.99 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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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 16
  • Security - 40% 7
  • 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 when on the go and wins our Top Pick for Commuters Award. 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 upLarge and strong U-lock, relatively lightweight, beefy mountVersatile, light (for a U-Lock), easy to use, valueCompact, extremely secure, heavy-duty
Cons Not lightweight, uncomfortable with some backpacks, priceyHeavy, bulky to transportNot the highest security possible, expensiveSlightly less secure than other U-Lock models, bulkyHeavy, limited versatility, expensive
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.If you prefer top-shelf quality, this German-made lock delivers a great product.If you're looking for a U-Lock that will keep your front tire on (and you aren't in a dangerous area) and your budget balance, this is probably the lock for you.This is the smallest high-security lock reviewed. Its security is incredible, but it's not very versatile or portable.
Rating Categories Hiplok Original: Superbright New York Standard U-Lock ABUS Granit X-Plus 540 U-Lock Evolution Mini-7 U-Lock New York Fahgettaboudit U-Lo...
Security (40%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
Ease Of Transport (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
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6
10
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6
Ease Of Use (20%)
10
0
7
10
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6
10
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7
10
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7
10
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5
Versatility (15%)
10
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7
10
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7
10
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7
10
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8
10
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4
Specs Hiplok Original:... New York Standard... ABUS Granit X-Plus... Evolution Mini-7... New York...
Measured weight (lbs) 4.31 lbs 4.49 lbs 3.28 lbs 3.51 lbs 4.69 lbs
Lock dimensions 1.5' long x 2" 4" x 8" (16 mm" thick) 9" x 4.25" (13mm thick) 9.35"x 5.6"x 1.6" (U-Lock); 4' cable 3.25” x 6.25” (18mm thick)
Type of lock Chain U-lock U-lock U-Lock + cable U-Lock
# of keys included 3 keys 3 keys (one with HID light) 2 keys (one with LED light) 3 keys (one with HID light) 3 keys (one with LED light)
Primary materials 8mm hardened steel chain, 600D polyester sleeve 16mm Hardened Steel 13mm hardened steel 13mm hardened "max-performance" steel with braided steel cable 18mm Hardened Steel
Warranty/Manufacturer programs 1-year manufacturer warranty $4,000 Theft Protection, Limited Lifetime Warranty, Key Safe Program None $2,500 Theft Protection (does not cover cable), Limited Lifetime Warranty; Key Safe Program $5,000 Theft Protection, Limited Lifetime Warranty; Key Safe Program
Unique Features Reflective sheath, curve key Keyhole cover, LED light on one key; dust cover over keyhole Automatic keyhole cover, LED light on one key LED light on one key; cable in addition to U-Lock; dust cover on keyhole Small and super burly, LED light on one key; dust cover over keyhole
Tin Snips No No No Cable: Yes; U-lock: No No
Hammer No No No No No
Hacksaw No No No No No
Bolt Cutters, 36" No No No Cable: Yes, U-lock: No No
Angle Grinder Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Number of cuts required to free lock 1 cut 2 cuts 2 cuts 2 cuts 2 cuts

Our Analysis and Test Results

Our Top Pick for Commuting 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 Original. Our testers were stoked that it's actually quite comfortable when worn around the waist.
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.

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. He had to cut it twice  taking about a minute. Cutting the shackle required only one cut to break the bike free.
Ben started by using the angle grinder on the chain. He had to cut it twice, taking about a minute. Cutting the shackle required only one cut to break the bike free.

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.

With the shackle locked to a chain link on one end  the strip of sturdy velcro runs through a bar on the shackle and secures to the nylon sheath. Even during fast and bumpy rides  it never loosened around our testers' hips.
Cruising the streets of Reno with the Hiplok carried around this tester's waist.

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. As far as U-locks go, the bent foot design of the Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 makes it a cinch to lock around a frame and wheel.

If you're tired of inflexible U-locks  this chain lock tends to be easier to use.
Bike theft is common. If you ever leave your bike outside your home  you need a lock  and preferably one that's easy to use.

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 your front wheel and lock it up with your rear wheel and main frame  along with the bike rack. The Hiplok has a large enough circumference to lock thick tires.
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 main frame, along with the bike rack. The Hiplok has a large enough circumference to lock thick tires.

For regular commuters  the wearable Hiplok Original is a worthy innovation.
For regular commuters, the wearable Hiplok Original is a worthy innovation.

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

Conclusion


The Hiplok Original: Superbright is a unique chain lock that we enjoyed reviewing due to its design integrity. The people of Hiplok sufficiently tackled the question of how to make a lock secure and comfortable to ride around with. We hope that this lock makes its way around the waists of many a happy commuter and that is why we gave it the Top Pick for Commuting Award.

Our testers loved riding and locking up with this unique model.
Our testers loved riding and locking up with this unique model.


Ross Robinson