By Adam Newman
In high-crime areas, skimping on a wimpy bike lock isn’t an option. When a basic U-lock won’t do, riders have been turning to chain-based locks that protect your bike, but aren’t exactly the easiest or most convenient thing to carry around.
Enter Hiplok Lite ($73), a second-generation design that weighs in at just more than half the weight of the original Hiplok. Yes, it’s spelled L-I-T-E, but unlike Miller Lite, this lock has not left a bad taste in my mouth.
Designed to be worn around the waist while riding, it is secured by a Velcro strap that loops through the padlock portion. There have been tales of woe of cyclists locking their chains around their waists and losing the key. Fortunately, that can’t happen here.
At 2.2 lbs. it is completely comfortable to wear while riding. In fact, I forget it’s there almost immediately. The flat, padded sleeve over the chain keeps it from poking you in the back and the padlock portion doesn’t swivel around. The sleeve even has some reflective accents, because every bit helps. It will fit a 24-44 inch waist, and the cover comes in a handful of colors, too.
The chain itself is 6mm hardened steel, and the lock’s shackle is 8mm. Three keys are included. Because it is "worn" with the Velcro strap instead of locking it to yourself, it’s much more adjustable and far less disaster-prone. It would be cool if somehow the lock portion was permanently affixed to one end of the chain, since a couple times I’ve re-attached it to the wrong end and it took me a second to realize my error.
In all, the Hiplok Lite is a really great option for folks who need a high level of security and still want to be able to get around. I’ve pretty much stopped carrying my U-lock, for what it’s worth. I don’t need to worry if my pants have pockets to carry it in, it doesn’t matter what kind of oddly-shaped object I need to lock to, and I can loop it through the front wheel for extra security. The Hiplok is just easier.
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