The Hiplock FLX is a handy one-metre security cable for cafe stops and the like, with a convenient three-digit combination lock. But added features like its LED rear light and clip add bulk and cost without adding truly useful functions. It'd be better slimmed down to essentials.
When the Hiplok FLX came, the first impression was that the white plastic felt a bit tacky; it's a smooth and shiny brittle-looking surround but I soon came to like the finish. The second element that confused me was the integrated red LED light, which seemed like an add-on gimmick. The pocket/belt could be useful, but it's not secure enough for me to trust it to keep the lock in place on all but the gentlest of rides.
The instructions were pretty vague, so I found a Youtube video (produced by Hiplok themselves) which showed me how to set the lock. You hold down a tiny button on the side of the lock then set the code. The tiny button isn't a particularly great piece of design as the video shows it being depressed by a pen lid (not supplied with the lock). Once you get the hang of it, it's fairly easy to get the combination set, but it does take a bit of specific pressing.
A practice with me riding up our darkened street and my wife as a rear light spotter concluded that the single 10 lumen red LED wasn't going to be a replacement for a decent rear light. It didn't face one way continually which compromised visibility. The lock would be better off losing it and concentrating on being a lock. It's the same with the belt/pocket loop. I know that Hiplok is all about portability, but I can't imagine why you wouldn't put this in your jersey pocket or in a bag when you're going somewhere. The added bulk is unwelcome. It does look like a couple of tiny screws (beneath the light lens) could remove the light and belt loop.
Once you've figured out how to set the combination, the Hiplok FLX serves pretty well as a café lock. It has a metre of flex, which is enough to go around your frame and wheel (or both wheels if you whip the front one off). It's not going to stop anyone with a set of bolt-cutters, but it will stop an opportunist thief from sauntering away with your bike. It gives peace of mind when popping for a coffee, pint of milk, trip to the bank or like that.
The lock would be much better if the add-ons were removed, which would make it slimmer (taking the width down from 30mm to a shade under 20mm) and improve portability. I have a key-operated flex lock that is similar, and the Hiplok is nicer to use because of the combination lock. My daughter has used it to lock her bike and scooter at school, and quickly got to grips with the system.
Decent lock, though a bit pricey, but would be better without the belt loop and light
road.cc test report
Make and model: Hiplok FLX
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
A 1m retractable steel cable combination lock with an integrated 10 lumen rear LED light.
The new Hiplok FLX is a wearable cafe style bike lock with a rear 10 lumen rear light integrated into it's sleek lightweight design. Its 1m retractable steel cable provides protection from the opportunist thief while the CLIP + RIDE system clips on to bag straps and jersey pockets. The FLX is the ideal solution on those road and mountain bike rides when you can only take the essentials.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Light with flash mode
10 lumen output
3 digit combi lock
1 metre retractable cable
Integrated universal clip
The side button could be better, but the finish has been fine
As a lock, it's pretty good - my daughter has been using it as a bike / scooter lock at school and it's been faultless
Despite initial reservations, I've not had any problems with durability of materials or finish
Light for its size
At an RRP of £29.99, it's quite expensive for what it is, it can be had for as low as £19.99 online, but I'd prefer to see it around the £15 mark, especially as it's probably something you'll only use semi-regularly. Hiplok themselves offer a 10% discount on first orders through their website
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The lock works well, other bits - not so sure
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The belt loop and the light, and the tiny code-setting button
Did you enjoy using the product? Once I'd ignored the price
Would you consider buying the product? If it was half the price
Would you recommend the product to a friend? As an option for this type of lock, yes
Use this box to explain your score
The core principle of the lock itself is good, but the belt loop and light weaken what is a decent design
About the tester
I usually ride: Kinesis Racelight T (winter) Cervélo S2 (Summer) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb,