Hiplok DXC: A wearable U-lock!

Hiplok DXC

Hiplok DXC Summary
Overall Score:4 Stars
Check Price:Check Amazon Price
Bar Thickness:14 mm
Weight:2.98 lb (1.35 kg)
Size (internal):3.5 x 6" (8.5 x 15 cm)
Hiplok Rating:Maximum Risk
Other Security
Ratings:
Sold Secure Gold

Introduction

Tackling one of the biggest problems with all bike locks: how to best carry them around, Hiplok have made a name for themselves as the purveyors of locks that you can wear!

From chains that you fasten around your waist to u-locks that you clip onto to your belt, most Hiploks can be attached to your person, so you don’t have to worry about how your going to attach them to your bike.

Hiplok DXC boxed
Hiplok DXC boxed

In this review I take a look at the Hiplok DXC which is the highest security u-lock they produce. I’ll explain how secure it really is, just how easy it is to carry around, how practical it is to use on a day to day basis. And finally I’ll suggest some alternatives in case it’s not the right lock for you.

How secure is it?

The DXC features a 14 mm hardened steel shackle, which locks on both sides into a hardened steel body. The fact that it’s double locking means that it would need to be cut twice to defeat it and also provides additional protection from leverage and twisting attacks.

Hiplok DXC unboxed with keys, cable and reflective cable holder

It’s also a pretty small lock (providing just 15 cm x 8.5 cm internal locking space), and as long as you use a locking technique that occupies most of that internal free space, this further limits leverage and twisting attacks and also makes hydraulic bottle jack attacks almost impossible.

The DXC also features “sidewinder” laser cut keys which are difficult to replicate and that work with mechanisms that are more difficult to pick.

So it’s a high security lock. And indeed, the DXC has been awarded a Gold rating from Sold Secure the independent testers who provide the most comprehensive rating system for bike locks.

Hiplok DXC 14 mm, double locking shackle
Hiplok DXC 14 mm, double locking shackle

It’s not un-defeatable (no bike lock is). But while a 14 mm shackle is theoretically crop-able by the very biggest bolt cutters, if you keep it far from the ground it’s unlikely to be defeated in this way.

No, as long as your locking technique is sound, the main threat to the DXC is likely to be from an angle grinder. But unfortunately no lock is safe from an angle grinder. And that’s just something we all have to live with!

One other thing worth noting is that the Hiplok DXC comes with a 1 m long cable that’s supposed to be used in conjunction with the u-lock to secure your second wheel, your seat or any other removable items. This is a pretty standard extra with many u-locks these days. But I don’t like them at all…

Hiplok DXC 1 m cable
Hiplok DXC 1 m cable

These cables can be snipped through in seconds with the most basic tool which every single bike thief carries: cable cutters. So they can only ever provide psychological protection. And for me that’s just not enough to warrant the hassle of unwinding them, getting them round my stuff and then winding them up again and packing them away when I’m unlocking.

If you’re worried about losing your seat or your second wheel to a thief (and you should be), there are plenty of other much more effective ways to protect them with options to suit every budget. And the good news is: the Hiplok DXC is actually available without the cable as the Hiplok DX for a slightly cheaper price.

But in conclusion: the actual u-lock of the Hiplok DXC is a very safe, high security lock. I feel comfortable using this as my primary lock in all but the very highest risk circumstances.

Is it easy to carry?

Of course there are plenty of other small, Sold Secure Gold u-locks with 14 mm, hardened steel shackles. And many of them cheaper than the Hiplok DXC. So what makes the Hiplok DXC special?

Well, it’s something very simple but also very important. The DXC (and indeed every Hiplok u-lock) features a built-in clip that allows you to easily fasten the lock to your belt or to a pocket on your bag.

The Hiplok features a carrying clip on the back
The Hiplok features a carrying clip on the back

Yep, it really is that simple. It’s just a clip. But as everyone who’s owned a u-lock knows, one of the biggest challenges with these locks is how you carry them around when your bike’s on the move. Most u-locks come with a frame mount that allows you to attach the lock somewhere on the bike…

The problem is that these frame mounts are usually rubbish. It’s not entirely the manufacturers fault. The mounts have to fit a huge variety of frame sizes. And they need to hold in place a heavy, rigid piece of metal whose center of gravity is away from the frame, while the bike is moving about over all kinds or surfaces.

Most of the frame mounts are just not up to the job in the long term. The locks or the mounts work loose, they start to rattle, they move about. Sometimes they fall off altogether!

The Hiplok attached to my belt
The Hiplok attached to my belt

So the great thing about the Hiplok u-locks is that you can just forget about all that. The clip easily slips into your belt or the top of your trousers / skirt / whatever. Or it will slide into a pocket on your bag. And since it’s really robust and strong, you don’t have to worry about it falling off.

And while it’s not lightweight (no high security u-lock is), it’s small size means the DXC is not so heavy that it feels like a nuisance hanging from your waist. In fact, at just 1350g (including clip and cable), it’s one of the lightest Sold Secure Gold locks available. I’ve been using this lock for a couple of months and to be honest I forgot it was there after a while!

The Hiplok clip is attached to the body
The Hiplok clip is attached to the body

The clip is attached to the lock with two hex bolts so you could actually remove it if you like. But I’m not sure why you’d want to do that really. The clip and this handy method of transport is the reason you’d buy this lock. If you don’t need it: buy a different lock!

Is it easy to use?

At just 15 cm long and 8.5 cm wide (6″ x 3.5″), the Hiplok DXC is definitely a mini u-lock. But it’s certainly not the smallest Sold Secure Gold mini u-lock. And the internal space should enable you to easily lock your bike to a bike rack in most instances.

A tight fit on the back wheel and frame
A tight fit on the back wheel and frame

You’ll probably struggle if you live an area where you can’t depend on bike racks though. Lampposts and traffic lights will be too wide for the DXC. So make sure you’re aware of the locking options where you live before you commit to buying it (or any other lock!).

You get three very robust laser cut keys with the Hiplock DXC. These can be registered through the Hiplok website so that should you ever lose them, you can easily buy replacements. They slide smoothly into the mechanism (note that they will only enter one way round though) and only need a quarter turn to lock or unlock.

3 laser cut Hiplok keys
3 laser cut Hiplok keys

There is also a rubber plug that you can insert into the key hole to protect the mechanism from the weather and any street grime. With a nice tight fit, this seems to offer better protection than the key hole covers that come with other locks and should ensure that the mechanism keeps working smoothly.

A rubber plug protects the mechanism
A rubber plug protects the mechanism

A big part of how easy a lock is to use, relates to how quickly you can lock your bike up and the clip system is really helpful here too. There’s no unwieldy frame mount to wrestle with. As easily as it slips onto your waist, it slips off and it can be round your bike in seconds. Super smooth!

Conclusion

At first glance there’s nothing exotic about the Hiplok DXC. It secures your bike in exactly the same way as any other high security, mini u-lock.

But the simple addition of a built in clip that allows you to easily carry it on your waist or on the outside of your bag, effectively tackles one of the biggest issues with most u-locks: how to comfortably transport them while you’re riding your bike.

And this transforms it into something special. As long as you’re able and willing to carry the DXC on your waist or on the outside of your bag, then you’ll feel really liberated from the unreliability and inconvenience of a regular u-lock frame mount.

Of course, not everyone will be comfortable wearing a u-lock in this way. Maybe your clothes aren’t suitable and/or you don’t have a bag that could accommodate it. In which case this lock is not for you: there are other mini u-locks that offer the same high security for a cheaper price.

But if you’ve ever cursed the regular frame mounts that come with every other u-lock, if you’ve ever yearned for a simpler, more elegant way to carry your lock around, then Hiplok u-locks are worthy of serious consideration.

And if your risk level is high, then as the only Hiploks with 14 mm shackles and Sold Secure Gold ratings, the Hiplok DXC (with cable) or DX (without cable) are certainly the best choice.

Alternatives to the Hiplok DXC

If the Hiplok DXC isn’t quite right for you, then there are, as always, plenty of other locks that might suit you better…

Looking for something cheaper?

OnGuard Pitbull Mini 8006The DXC isn’t a particularly cheap lock. For around half the price you could get the OnGuard Pitbull Mini. Just like the DXC it has a 14 mm, double locked shackle (they claim it’s quadruple locked but that’s really just marketing rubbish). And it also has the same Sold Secure Gold rating.

Personally, I don’t think the mechanism is quite as strong. But the biggest drawback is that you can’t clip it to your waist. And the Pitbull Mini doesn’t even come with any kind of frame mount! So your limited to carrying it on your bag or fastening it through a belt loop!

If this works for you then then this is a fantastically economical alternative to the Hiplok DXC, and will offer the same level of security if not the same level of convenience.

Looking for something more secure?

Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit

Have no doubt: the Hiplok DXC and DX are very secure locks. However, the very highest risk circumstances may call for something even more secure. And with u-locks that generally means a thicker shackle.

The Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini has an 18 mm, double locked shackle and it’s the most secure u-lock currently available. Not only does it have a Bicycle Gold award from Sold Secure, it also has a much more demanding Motorcycle Gold rating.

It has the same internal space as the Hiplok, so it will offer the same locking opportunities. But at 2060g it’s nearly twice as heavy and it doesn’t come with a frame mount either: probably because it would be difficult to design a frame mount that could effectively support its weight!

So again, how you’ll carry it around is a bit of a problem. A bag, a belt loop or even a back pocket are possibilities. But it’s heavy, unwieldy and these options may be uncomfortable. However if you’re looking for the very highest security then it’s the best choice.

Looking for something lighter?

Tigr miniThe TiGr Mini is something altogether different. Made from a single piece of titanium, it’s not really a u-lock. And it’s almost certainly not as secure as the Hiplok.

However it is incredibly light and whether you transport it with a frame mount that screws into your bottle holder, an attachment behind your seat or keep it in a bag or your pocket, it’s probably one of the easiest locks to carry around that I’ve come across.

It has a 2/5 star security rating from ART, the other independent lock tester, and this is usually equivalent to a Sold Secure Silver award (although there are Gold locks with 2 stars from ART). So it’s not quite on the same security level as the Hiplok.

But if you’re looking for something lighter than the Hiplok that’s also very easy to carry around then the TiGr Mini is definitely worth looking at (as long as it matches your risk level).

Hiplok DXC Specs

Hiplok DXC

Hiplok DXC Summary
Overall Score:4 Stars
Check Price:Check Amazon Price
Bar Thickness:14 mm
Weight:2.98 lb (1.35 kg)
Size (internal):3.5 x 6" (8.5 x 15 cm)
Hiplok Rating:Maximum Risk
Other Security
Ratings:
Sold Secure Gold

Review Details
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Hiplok DXC U-lock
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