Hiplok Gold Bike Chain Lock Review
Hiplok Gold Chain
4.85 lb (2.2 kg)
33.5" (85 cm)
Other Security Ratings:
The Hiplok Gold tries to solve one of the biggest issues with portable, high security chains locks: how to carry them efficiently and comfortably while you're riding around on your bike.
And it does this with a couple of tweaks to the standard design that make it possible to wear the chain around your waist like a belt!
How well does this work? Is it easy to carry around? Is it easy to use? And how secure is it? Keep reading and we’ll find out...
How secure is the Hiplok Gold Chain Lock?
The Hiplok Gold is made up of 10 mm hardened steel chain links. And a padlock with a 12 mm hardened steel shackle.
The heavy padlock is protected by a tough plastic shell. And the mechanism uses a pick resistant cylinder with an anti-pull plate.
That’s not to say it can’t be defeated of course. 10 mm chain links can be cropped by large and even medium sized bolt cutters. And I think this is one of the reasons that chains have become less popular than u-locks in recent years.
But in order to crop a 10 mm, hardened steel chain link, a thief has to get the lock into a position that’s close to the ground, so that they can place one arm of the bolt cutters on the floor and then throw all their weight onto the other arm.
And if we keep the chain as far from the ground as possible, they won’t be able to get the lock in this position, and a 10mm hardened chain will essentially become bolt cutter proof!
Chain locks are also slightly trickier to cut with angle grinders than u-locks. This is because the chain links move about as you’re trying to apply pressure on them. So it can be difficult for the angle grinder blade to get a decent purchase.
So, whereas a 10 mm chain like the Hiplok can theoretically be cropped quite easily compared to a Gold rated u-lock with a 13 mm (or more) thick shackle, if we keep it away from the floor, it actually becomes bolt cropper proof and is less likely to succumb to an angle grinder than the u-lock.
What I’m saying is: if we use the right locking technique (more on this later), the Hiplok gold is a very secure lock indeed.
Is the Hiplok Gold Chain Lock easy to carry?
One of the big drawbacks with chain locks is their weight. They’re much, much heavier than u-locks with equivalent security ratings. And the Hiplok Gold is no exception.
The Hiplok Gold weighs 5.3 lb (2.4 kg). Compare this to the similarly Gold rated Kryptonite Kryptolok New-U Standard, which weighs 2.9 lb (1.32 kg). The Hiplok is a whopping 82% heavier!
That's right, it’s almost double the weight of a similarly secure u-lock. It's not a lightweight lock!
In fact, the Hiplok Gold weighs about the same amount as 6.5 cans of Coke. And that’s a lot of soda/pop to be carrying around every day!
Chain locks are not only really heavy. They don’t come with frame mounts either. So you have to come up with a way to carry them around too!
Usually, you’d throw the chain lock in a backpack, saddlebag or pannier. The Hiplok Gold easily fits in my saddlebag for instance. Or you might be able to wrap it around your seat post.
But a heavy chain can become a drag in a backpack and they don’t always fit very neatly around seat posts, leaving parts hanging down which can be annoying or even dangerous.
Luckily, Hiplok have come up with a solution to this issue. They've turned their chain into a belt which you can wear around your waist!
It’s a simple idea. And an even simpler execution! But it works incredibly well, and it solves one of the biggest issue with heavy, bicycle chain locks: how to carry them around comfortably and easily.
So how does it work?
The Hiplok Gold consists of two parts. The chain, which is sheathed in a tough (600D), polyester sleeve. And a separate padlock.
There's a strap (of adjustable length) with a plastic buckle, sewn onto the outside of chain sleeve. Whereas at the bottom of the padlock there is a metal bar built into its casing.
So with one end of the chain locked into the padlock, you can the clip the plastic buckle (at the other end) into the bar at the bottom of the padlock, to make an belt you can wear around your waist.
The strap can be lengthened or shortened to fit waists from 28” (71 cm) to 44” (112 cm). So you should be able to get a comfortably snug fit.
And the truth is, once it’s sitting on your hips those 6.5 cans of Coke just sort of disappear! With the weight distributed around your waist it’s really not that noticeable.
The buckle clips in and out very easily but neither it does it feel likely to pop out at accidentality at the wrong moment (when you’re riding). In fact, I’ve been using the Hiplok for over a month in the city and haven’t any such issues
But it's important to note (because I think it's the law too), that the chain isn't locked around your waist. This is so that, if you're involved in an accident, it's easy to remove. So it's safer.
Getting the chain on and off when you're either leaving or arriving somewhere is quick and easy. Certainly easier than clipping some u-locks in and out of their frame mounts. Indeed, everything works really well.
The only thing I don’t like about the whole “bike lock as belt” idea, is the risk of getting water or (even worse) chain oil or street grime all over my clothes.
We all know how it goes. In the adverts for these things, the sun is always shining and the bike is always clean. While is real life it’s always the opposite. It’s always raining and my bike (at least), is always filthy.
I really wouldn’t want to be smearing oily water all over my Rapha cycling jersey or Comme des Garçons blouson (not that I wear either of these things, but you know what I mean). But it’s hard to see how this can be avoided.
Unless you keep the chain as far away from the ground as possible…
Is the Hiplok Gold Chain Lock easy to use?
The chain part of the Hiplok Gold is 80 cm long. And when you connect it to the padlock that gives you a little bit more internal locking space than a standard size u-lock. But not much...
And that might be less than you’d expect.
But the advantage of a chain lock is that because it’s flexible, you’ll be able to lock your bike to things that would be impossible with any u-lock. Like beefy lampposts...
This is another one of the advantages of chain locks of course: many more locking opportunities.
The Hiplok Gold will secure your frame and your back wheel. Or your frame and your front wheel Whatever style of bike you ride. And on all but the most comically fat tires.
But there are two problems with using the Hiplok to secure your bike frame and one wheel in the traditionally recommended way (which is wrapped around your seat tube and rear wheel).
Firstly, it’s impossible to keep the chain too far away from the ground (where it can be cropped). And secondly it’s likely to get wet and probably dirty (which is likely to make your clothes wet and dirty too).
Whereas, if you wrap the Hiplok around your top tube instead, you solve both of these problems.
The average Sheffield bike stand is 30” (76 cm) tall. If you keep the Hiplok tightly wrapped around the top tube and the top of the bike stand, a thief would need a pair of 34” bolt cutters to even reach from the ground to the chain.
And the angle would be such that they’d never be able to get their weight over the arm to exert any force. Even with a pair of 42” bolt cutters, I think it would be impossible.
So by slightly adjusting your locking technique, you eliminate the biggest security threat that chain locks face: bolt cutters.
Plus your top tube is likely to be far less dirty (if not wet) than your wheels and the lower parts of your bike. So your less likely to ruin your clothes too!
But what about your wheels! They’re no longer protected! Well, even if you were using the Hiplok lower down the bike, you’d only be securing one of the wheels anyway.
You could use one of those flimsy lasso cable as well, I suppose. But those lassos provide only psychological protection and they’re a bit of pain to use.
There are much more secure and much easier to use options these days. And the great thing is, once you’ve installed them, you won’t have to secure your wheels (or seat) ever again.
For me, wrapping the chain around the top tube is definitely the best way to use the Hiplok. It was very difficult (but not impossible) to get the chain around the bike stand and the top tube twice (for the tightest fit).
So in the end, I wrapped it around the seat post too. This keeps the chain as far from the ground as possible and with enough movement in the links to make an angle grinder attack a little more difficult (though obviously still possible).
However there are a couple of other ways of using the Hiplok that do allow you to secure the rear wheel as well, which might work for you depending on your bike...
Locking the bike through the rear triangle, secures both the frame and the rear wheel. The chain is a bit closer to the ground, but it should be OK in most cases.
And depending on the size of your bike (and the size of the stand), you might even be able to get the Hiplok through the rear triangle and around the top tube! This is extremely secure. But it was a bit of a stretch on my bike...
You get three beefy, sidewinder style keys with the Hiplok Gold. And a key code for ordering more. The keys turned smoothly in the mechanism for me and the shackle popped in and out easily (as you’d expect with a new lock).
It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway), that in order to prevent your lock jamming over time you need to clean and lubricate it now and again!
One minor annoyance (when trying to lock or unlock), is the plastic guard on one side of the padlock, which stops the shackle rotating 360°.
I’m not sure why it’s there (it doesn’t protect the shackle from attack), and by not allowing the shackle to fully rotate, it makes fastening the padlock that bit more difficult.
But other than that (and the simple fact that as a big bulky chain, it can be difficult to handle), the Hiplok Gold was a breeze to use.
Getting the chains off my waist and around my bike was quick and easy. And likewise, unlocking and fastening it around myself was also painless. I didn't really notice it while I was riding around either.
Hiplok Gold Bike Chain Lock Review Summary
By successfully tackling one of the biggest issues with portable chain locks, (namely how to carry a big, heavy chain around comfortably), Hiplok have quietly turned conventional wisdom (at least my conventional wisdom) about bike security on its head!
I would always have argued that high security (Gold rated) u-locks are the best choice to protect your bike when you’re out and about. They’re easier to carry. And their thick shackles offer better protection against cutting attacks.
But the Hiplok Gold is actually easier to carry than a lot of high security u-locks. And if you keep it far away from the ground when securing your bike, it will be well protected from those pesky bolt cutters.
It remains much heavier than most u-locks though. And that weight (and its bulk), can make it a bit cumbersome to use sometimes. So I still think you need a good reason to choose a chain over u-lock for portable security.
But if you need a really secure bike lock, that provides more locking options than any standard u-lock can, then the Hiplok Gold is definitely is worth considering.
It’s without doubt the easiest high security chain lock to carry around. And that makes it a very attractive option indeed.
If you're still not sure what level of security you need or even what type of lock will work best for you, check out my 3 step guide to finding the best bike lock for your circumstances. And you like the idea of the Hiplok but it's not quite right for you...
Alternatives to the Hiplok Gold Bike Chain Lock
Of course, the Hiplok Gold won’t be the right choice for everyone. And as always there are plenty of alternatives. So let’s take a look at three of those now...
Looking for something lighter?
If you like the idea of carrying a bike lock on your waist, but feel the Hiplok's a bit too heavy, then what about the Litelok [Amazon]?
The Litelok Wearable is rated Sold Secure Gold too. You can also wear it like a belt. And it comes in three sizes that will fit waist sizes from 30” – 38”.
But it weighs much less than the Hiplok. The smallest Litelok Wearable provides a slightly larger (88.5 cm) locking circumference than the Hiplok Gold.
But it weighs just 2.8 lb (1.31 kg), which is 45% lighter than the Hiplok!
Although it’s much lighter, I wouldn’t say it’s easier to use than the Hiplok, as the wide, stiff belt can sometimes be tricky to get through your spokes. And it will also be vulnerable to long armed cable cutters if you keep it too close to the ground.
So to make it easier to use and more secure, I’d recommend wrapping it around your top tube in the same way I use the Hiplok, and use alternative methods to secure your wheels. Read my full review of the Litelok.
Looking for something smaller?
Maybe you don’t need the 85 cm locking circumference that the Hiplok provides?
And if you only use bike racks and choose to secure your bike around the top tube like me, that's very possible!
In which case, the Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 1055 Mini [Amazon] is a great alternative.
Just like the Hiplok, it’s made with 10 mm hardened steel chain links. And it’s rated Sold Secure Gold.
But measuring just 21.5" (55 cm), it’s much shorter than the Hiplok. And this means it’s also a bit lighter, weighing just 4.40 lb (2.00 kg). That’s 17% less than the Hiplok. But bear in mind it’s still heavier than almost every Gold rated u-lock!
The lock is incorporated into the chain so locking and unlocking your bike is going to be a little bit easier.
But you can’t wear in round your waist. So you'll have to either wrap it around your seat post or sling it in a bag.
And if that works for you then this is a fantastic, high security chain lock for situations where you don’t need lots of locking options.
Looking for something cheaper?
Chain locks are always more expensive than u-locks that offer comparable levels of security.
This is because they use more steel. Which is also, of course, why they’re always heavier!
The Hiplok Gold isn’t super expensive for a high security, portable chain. But it’s quite expensive compared to many other bike locks.
If you’re on a tight budget then your best best is to abandon the idea of a chain lock and go for one of the wider versions of a standard size u-lock instead.
The Kryptonite Kryptolok New-U ATB [Amazon] is a wider sibling of the Kryptonite Kryptolok New-U Standard.
The Standard version would give you more or less the same internal locking space as the Hiplok.
But the ATB is an inch wider, measuring 5.0" (12.7 cm) across, internally. So you’ll get more locking space with the ATB. And because it’s wider than other standard size u-locks, you’ve got more chance of getting it around lampposts and other fatter street furniture.
Like the Hiplok, it’s rated Sold Secure Gold. And because it’s a u-lock., it’s much cheaper than the Hiplok, usually retailing at around half the price [Amazon].
Hiplok Gold Bike Chain Lock Specs
Hiplok Gold Chain
4.85 lb (2.2 kg)
33.5" (85 cm)
Other Security Ratings:
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Last Updated on December 7, 2020 by Carl Ellis