I wrote an article in the not too distant past about beating ‘lazy fit’ – effectively being happy to ride 50 miles of a weekend morning, but being less enamoured with the idea of riding just five miles to pick up some milk. I was an avid commuter as a university student, but as I’ve got older (alas) my commuting miles have become pretty limited.
I’ve perhaps got more protective over my bikes. Ok. My bikes have got more expensive. As a result, security has become a major barrier: finding a lock that I trust to protect by beloved (even for just two minutes whilst I nip into the Co-Op), that is convenient to carry has not been an easy task.
I’ve always held Hiplok’s creations in high regard. The Lemmington Spa based brand make bike locks that are resilient, but designed with ease of transportation at front of mind. Options include chain locks which can be worn around the waist, and D-locks that slip onto your pocket, belt loops or bag straps as you ride. So when I mentioned my non-new-years-resolution (why wait until January?!) plan to up my short journeys by bike to Hiplok, they sent me one of their DXC D-locks to test out.
Hiplok DXC: The Spec
The DXC is a Sold Secure Gold Rated lock. Sold Secure is an independent accreditation body that tests and benchmarks security products. Their ratings are used to inform customers as well as insurance companies and the police.
- Security Rating: Sold Secure Gold Award
- Shackle: 14mm hardened steel shackle, dual locking tabs
- Body: Hardened steel casing, tough nylon outer shell
- Accessories: 1 metre steel accessory cable.
- Weight: 1350g
- Locking Size: 15cm x 8.5cm Internal Area
- Keys: 3 keys with coded key replacement program
- RRP: £79.99
Items under assessment are tested against an assortment of destroying techniques – from freezing to wedge attacks, torque attacks and bolt cropping. They’re then given a rating – ‘Gold’ being the highest standard. A Gold rated lock is described as one which:
‘Provides resistance against the top level tool list (each tool being used multiple times) and including items such as large bolt croppers and TCT Hacksaw for a minimum of 5 minutes’.
No lock is invincible, but a Gold rated lock is pretty reliable. Often that means heavy, and a little bit cumbersome – but that’s what sets the Hiplok DXC apart.
The Hiplok DXC features a 14mm hardened steel shackle and hardened steel body. The shackle tabs are anti-twist to help them withstand the toughest of attacks, whilst the outer shell of the lock is made from tough nylon. The lock comes with three keys, and there is a coded replacement programme in place, as is evident from the numbers printed on the top of each key.
The best way to lock your bike is always to secure the frame with a D-lock or chain, and then loop an extra cable lock through the wheels to add additional security – particularly if like most road, hybrid and mountain bike riders you’ve got quick release skewers attaching your wheels. To encourage this, Hiplok have added a 1 metre steel cable, which curls up and sits within a removable clip that then attaches to the shackle. This cable won’t be invincible, but it’s certainly a deterrent and will ensure that your hoops don’t look like an easy target.
Hiplok have done their best to keep the weight low, and the lock comes in at 1350g. It’s no featherweight, but it's light for the level of protection on offer – which is handy because you’re going to clip it to your jeans. The party trick for Hiplok is the way the nylon plastic case extends to incorporate two ‘hooks’ which fit onto a pocket, belt, waistband or bag – thus creating an easy way to transport your lock.
Sure, if you had a lock in your bag, or on your bike, you’d be carrying the same amount of weight – but this method means the weight is placed in a position that won’t affect handling as per a frame mounted lock, or place extra pressure on your shoulders as would a lock in your backpack.
To add a nod to safety, the DXC also features a reflective strip which will draw a little extra attention to you on the road and aid visibility.
Using the Hiplok DXC
I was already impressed by the features of the Hiplok DXC – but obviously what matters the most is how it works in practice.
I’m not really a belt wearer, and I was concerned that when attached to the waistband of my jeans, the lock would tug on my trousers and create a bit more exposure than I was going for. Thankfully, this turned out not to be the case. I could feel the weight of the lock, and it did tug at the fabric a little, but not enough to show off too much skin – even with skinny jeans that sit low on the hips. If I’d opted to wear particularly loose fitting or baggy jeans I might expect more pull – you probably wouldn’t be advised to fit the lock to a pair of harem pants or jogging bottoms, for example.
The reflective panel was a handy addition, and it was nice to know I had that extra little bit of protection.
The lock feels sturdy and robust, and looping it over the frame of my bike, I was confident leaving it in town. The shackle’s internal area is 15cm x 8.5cm. This is sufficient for pretty much any purpose designed bike racking system as you’d find in town or outside a gym. It’s not wide enough to allow you to lock the bike against a wider anchor – such as a streetlamp – so you’ve got a little less freedom than you might have with a more flexible chain lock.
The cable lock that came with the D-lock is a great idea, and it’s nice to see a brand creating a way to easily incorporate that extra safety feature into the design. It took me a few practice runs to find the best way to re-coil the cable so that it would fit into its clasp, but once I’d mastered this it was easy.
The clasp is removable, and in Hiplok’s video they suggest you thread it through the cable to avoid losing it when in use. This is one of those suggestions that makes perfect sense, but over long term use I see myself forgetting, and chucking the clasp into my bag for ease of use. It’s a nice feature, and good to see the cable woven into the design of the D-lock – but I have to admit that when making short stops I tended not to use the cable – and I doubt I’d be alone in that (even though I know I should).
To use the technical term, the Hiplok DXC is mega-useful. The Lemmington Spa brand have created a Gold Secure rated lock in a convenient package that's easy to use. Having this handy riding companion waiting for me in the porch genuinely made short journeys seem so much easier to me by warrant of cutting down on the fear of bike theft and otherwise cumbersome nature of carrying a lock. Waterproof key seal, reflective detailing and an included cable lock are nice-to-have features, though the cable addition wasn’t initially intuitive to me.
Interested in the Hiplok DXC? See it here.
After more ways to cut down on commute hassle? Check out 'Will Cycle 50 Miles, but not 5? Tips for Beating Lazy Fit Syndrome'.