- The Hiplok Z-Lok is an intuitive bike lock solution that allows you to quickly and easily secure your bike.
- It features an easy-close zip tie-like locking mechanism and has a steel core to prevent it being slashed.
- Though it’s not recommended for daily use, it works well for quick pit stops or as a companion to a larger lock.
Some bicycle components and accessories are about performance while others are about style. However, some of the best and most indispensable pieces of bike gear are often about neither. These are the kinds of tools you don’t always think about but are always very glad you had on hand.
The Hiplok Z-Lok is the perfect representation of this and is the kind of bicycle accessory that should live in your bag or toolkit at all times. A lightweight, no-frills lock, the Z-Lok embraces the notion that less is more. It may not replace your heavy-duty, everyday bike lock but for those rides where all you need is a quick tie-up, it conveniently gets the job done.
At first glance, the Z-Lok looks like your run-of-the-mill zip tie. It’s made of plastic, features that same satisfying clicking sound, and appears to be no different from the one securing your disc brake cables or the ties used on coaxial cables hanging off the side of your apartment building.
Although it shares a similar DNA with a zip tie, its true spiritual forbear is the toe strap. While the main purpose of any toe strap is to secure your feet to your pedals, cyclists have long used them for a variety of auxiliary purposes like fastening spare tires to their saddles or using it as a makeshift lock when they’re in a pinch. Think of the toe strap as the duct tape of cycling — it lends itself to almost limitless MacGyvering.
The Z-Lok manages to take that duct tape-like versatility even further thanks to a few key features, most notably, its ability to be reused (unlike zip ties) and the fact it locks (unlike toe straps). With a small, twin-pronged key, the Z-Lok offers a modest amount of security that’s made even better by its steel core. Not only will potential thieves be unable to open the lock by hand, but they also won’t be able to slash it.
Even with that steel core, you likely don’t want to rely on the Z-Lok to secure your bike in a high traffic environment. It’s meant more for when you need a quick lock while stopping into a roadside store or to have on hand in the city when you need to augment your regular lock.
I’ve even used the Z-Lok to theft-proof my saddle when briefly locking up my nicer bike on the streets of Manhattan. As a secondary line of defense, the Z-Lok occupies a useful middle ground between cable lock and locking skewer. It’s also ideal for fastening your helmet to your bike if you don’t want to tote it around with you.
It’s especially handy if you travel with your bike, too. For instance, if you’ve ever tried to load it onto a friend’s bike rack only to find out its wheel strap won’t accommodate a wider tire, the Z-Lok helps secure the odd fit. It can also provide additional security on locked bike racks or serve as a lock for racks without one.
The Z-Lok is also conveniently small and light enough to carry in a jersey pocket or handlebar bag without taking up much space. They take up so little space that you’re able to easily carry more than one at a time — and the brand even offers a two-pack.
Though it does come in a combination lock version, I recommend sticking with the simpler (and cheaper) keyed option. Given that this isn’t exactly a high-security device, the hassle of resetting the combination just isn’t worth the time or money. The pin-key is easy enough to carry on a key ring and locking or unlocking the Z-Lok only takes a matter of seconds.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use, no-frills bike lock then yes. It won’t exactly take the place of a sturdier, everyday bike lock but the Z-Lok offers enough security that it’s able to handle quick lock-ups (and peace of mind). It’s small enough to keep in your bike kit at all times, too.
Bike locks are a dime a dozen, so there are many alternatives on the market. However, not all are created equal enough to warrant use — especially none as lightweight and easy-to-use as the Z-Lok. Many of the most reliable bike locks are similar to the Kryptonite Kryptolock in both design and function, though these do tend to be much heavier than the Z-Lok.
Hiplock also makes a lock called the DX, though this one is more of a U-lock-style bike lock (and costs $90 instead of the roughly $11 the Z-Lok costs).
The Z-Lok from Hiplok is an impressive lightweight bike lock that’s perfect for quick lock-ups or as an additional safeguard when used with a larger lock. Though it features a style reminiscent of a zip tie, it offers much more in the way of security thanks to a steel core that helps prevent slashes.
The lock comes in two varieties, keyed or combination, though the keyed option is recommended because of its ease of use. If you need a simple, lightweight, and quick-use bike lock, the Z-Lok is what you seek.
Pros: A quick, lightweight bike lock, features a steel core to deter bike thieves, and it’s small enough to carry multiple at once
Cons: Not recommended for daily use in a busy, high traffic environment