The Hiplok Z LOK COMBO ($24.99) is a zip tie on steroids—except that it’s made with an 8mm reinforced steel core and a three-digit combination lock system. To be clear, I know of no bike lock that is 100% theft-proof.
Once, in Amsterdam, I watched a local thug saw through two solid, heavy Dutch-style security lock chains and wiggle some object into the AXA security lock to free a shiny new Gazelle from a metal railing. The entire act took about 12 seconds.
Before I could shout, “Hey! Bike thief! Scum of the Earth! Bring that Gazelle back!” he pedaled off along the Herengracht canal in no particular hurry—and that was a bike that had three locks!!
That was a digression wasn’t it? On to the review of the Hiplok Z LOK COMBO!
What I liked
- Compact and lightweight. Diminutive in size and weight (2.5 ounces) it’s an ideal lock for quick runs into coffee shop where you can secure the wheel to the frame or to a bike rack with a narrow bar—all while keeping an eye on it. It also takes up zero space in your pack your backpack or pannier.
- Combination lock. Give me a key and I will lose it. I have lost more lock keys than I care to count so anything with a combo lock is better for me. The lock allows you to set a custom combo and it’s easy to set and re-set if you forget or just want to avoid predictability.
- Sturdy. Its 8mm reinforced steel core means that not just any passer-by can take off with your bike. They would have to carry a set of bolt cutters designed to cut through steel. The size of the bolt cutters used by the bike thief in Amsterdam were fairly big and obvious but like all seasoned thieves he carried them in a messenger bag. So beware of people with messenger bags near your bike.
- Useful beyond the bike. In the end, the Hiplok Z LOK COMBO is still a zip-tie on steroids and you can use it for any and all efforts for which you would normally use a zip-tie. It have also used it to secure my xc skis together for ease of transport.
What I’m not so crazy about
- Short length. In total, it’s 19.5 inches in length but the lockable length is 16.5 inches. That makes it too short to secure your bike to a street post, lamp post or tree. When I used it on my bike rack in transport, I could only secure the wheel to the bike frame.
As bike lock technology has evolved, so have thieves and their tools. The Hiplok Z LOK COMBO is not the most secure bike locks out there but at the price point of $24.99, it’s a great accessory to your usual bike lock. Like I said earlier, I know of no bike lock that is 100% thief-proof.
My main bike lock is a high-end ABUS (that weighs several tons) and yet I still worry about my bike when I’m in a shop, café or taproom for a long time. But not every situation requires a high-end ABUS (that weighs several tons). Once, I was sitting outside my local tap room with a frothy IPA. It was a sunny day in the high forties and other patrons were sitting outside as well. The ABUS, with all its might and muscle, just seemed like overkill.
I propped my bike up against the railing six feet away from where I was sitting and secured the wheel to the frame with the Hiplok Z LOK COMBO. If a would-be thief came along and jumped onto the bike, they wouldn’t get far with a wheel that didn’t turn—and I’d have plenty of time to jump from my seat and tackle him/her. Plus, my commuter bike isn’t exactly lightweight so even if he/she picked it up and ran off with it, I could still run faster than thief and wrestle my bike back.
The Hiplok Z LOK COMBO is a Gear Gals recommended piece of gear.