British security company Hiplok is at the forefront of the fight against bike crime. It’s hard to believe that with a full line-up of innovative products built to keep your bike safe, the company only burst on the scene with its ground-breaking original wearable bike lock less than a decade ago.
The 2020 Hiplok range promises to be as innovative as ever. With all products still designed and developed in the UK by product design duo and company co-founders Ben Smith and John Abrahams, we caught up with Ben to get the lowdown on security, innovation and keeping your cool.
2019 was another record year for Hiplok. What have been your highlights?
Product innovation is at the core of Hiplok and so highlights always include new product launches. This year we launched Hiplok SPIN through UK IBDs and we’ve been really pleased with the reaction to our first wearable combination lock.
On a more personal note, getting the opportunity to fulfil a lifetime ambition of riding the mountains around Bend, Oregon after another fantastic year at The Sea Otter Classic was pretty epic.
The product line has expanded at a phenomenal rate since the launch of the original wearable bike lock, how do you stay ahead of the curve?
Our goal has always been to create unique, quality products which solve problems. As product designers, John (Hiplok co-founder) and I always have lots of ideas but the challenge is prioritising which ones to turn in to reality. This is where, as a small business, we have a huge benefit in that we can personally meet our retailers and customers who provide invaluable feedback. For example, this is how we have identified the requirement for problem-solving product in-home storage and security.
How have you applied your design ethos to bike security for home?
Unfortunately, we are hearing more stories of bikes being stolen from homes and garages and this trend is highlighted in the latest crime statistics. There just didn’t seem to be a good range of practical, quality and aesthetically designed product available. AIRLOK, our Gold Sold Secure lockable wall hanger marked our entry into this area and we continue to grow our STORE + SECURE line for 2020 with the introduction of ANKR alongside our maximum security chain locks.
Tell us more about ANKR.
ANKR is our new ground and wall anchor, it is Sold Secure Gold rated for both motorcycle and bicycle, which is particularly important given the value of e-bikes. We not only wanted to address the fact that anchors are traditionally ugly and cumbersome but also the practical issue of how to move them if you move house or simply want to change your bike storage. ANKR has a unique three-part design which makes the bolts inaccessible when mated with a lock but easy to relocate when not in use.
What is the testing process for new Hiplok product such as ANKR?
As the thieves’ weapons of attack improve, it’s vital that we stay one step ahead. Testing really starts from concept – John and I spend a large proportion of our time attempting to break different materials long before the first prototype stage (much to the annoyance of the rest of the office!). Through real-world rider testing and working with experts at independent security bodies such as Sold Secure in the UK and ART in Europe, we ensure the lock is secure for purpose way before launch.
How important is the UK IBD in the growth of Hiplok?
We sold our first product through a London based independent bike store and this channel remains imperative to the future of Hiplok. We see good retail partners as an extension of our team in communicating the values of our brand and unique product benefits, that’s why we have launched the Hiplok Flagship Store Program with Zyro-Fisher. Now that we have a full line of security solutions, we are working with some of the best retailers in the country to support them in merchandising and selling.
COREbike always marks the start of the year. What’s new from Hiplok at the Show?
Once again, we will be attending CORE with our partner ZyroFisher. As well as launching ANKR, we have a number of exclusive IBD packages available which we hope will support the opportunity for independents in selling unique security that meets their customers’ needs.
Beyond CORE, can you share any longer-term plans for Hiplok?
We always have something new on the drawing board and 2021 will be no exception. As long as there’s a practical need, we will innovate to match it. We are already seeing a huge response to our Z LOK security ties from outside of the bike industry also. A wide range of outdoor enthusiasts, from triathletes to skiers, use Z LOK to secure their equipment. This is an interesting new market for Hiplok.
Hiplok has coined the phrase “Keep Your Cool”. How do you keep yours?
Check with the rest of the team as I’m not sure I always do! Starting a business from scratch presents its challenging moments for sure but problems are why John and I started Hiplok – we wanted to solve them through good design. I find that collaboration keeps us cool under pressure, it’s great to have such a talented inventor and great friend as a business partner.
Where are you hoping to ride in 2020?
We’ve just appointed a new distribution partner in the Nordics and so I’m hoping a little Norwegian heli-biking trip might be on the agenda for summer!