Hiplok is backing our security special in the forthcoming July edition of BikeBiz – arriving with the bicycle industry from this weekend.
To mark the occasion we caught up with the co-founders of the innovative brand, Ben Smith and John Abrahams, who met while studying Industrial Product Design at Coventry University.
Ten years on, while working in the bike and design industries, they both faced the same issue that had plagued them at Uni – how to carry a secure bike lock without taking a cumbersome bag. They worked together on a solution, taking inspiration from bicycle couriers, and tested their wearable bike lock from the Californian canyons to the streets of London. The result was a unique wearable bike lock that bridges the gap between security, portability and versatility – the original Hiplok.
Today Hiplok offers a range of easy to carry bicycle locks and despite the growth of the brand, Abrahams and Smith are still very much involved in the research and development of the brand’s products. We caught up with them to find out what goes in to the design and development of bike security along with consumer tips for keeping bikes safe.
WHAT’S THE FIRST THING YOU CONSIDER WHEN DESIGNING A NEW BIKE LOCK?
The requirements of the rider. It’s important to recognise what the rider wants from the lock including how they will use it, the type of bike they ride and the price they want to pay for a lock – then we set about ensuring we deliver the most secure lock possible to fit this. Combined usability and security is key. If the rider finds the lock a hassle to use or carry then they will often not take it with them and this negates any security rating!
HOW DO YOU ASSESS THE SECURITY OF YOUR NEW PRODUCTS?
In the UK, we use Sold Secure – an independent testing company set up by the police and locksmith association. They use a range of tools and attack methods and time how quickly locks can be broken in to, thus rating manufacturers locks accordingly – Gold, Silver, Bronze. Beyond Sold Secure, there are other international testing houses and as we expand in to new markets, we are getting to know their criteria. For example, Hiplok recently gained approval from SBSC, a Nordic certification body, whose tests include extreme cold weather testing.
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR CONSUMERS KEEPING THEIR BIKES SAFE THIS SUMMER?
Buy a lock which fits your security needs. If you are riding in a town or city, always use a good quality chain or D lock (such as the Hiplok v1.50 or Hiplok D).
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP SECURITY TIPS FOR BIKE SHOPS TO PASS ON TO THEIR CUSTOMERS?
- Lock your bike in the most visible and populated area possible – try to avoid dark alleys away from main streets Make sure what you are locking to is secure. For example, wire fences or rusted railings can easily be cut through.
- Avoid locking to short sign posts and bollards where the entire bike and lock can be lifted up and off.
- Try to position your lock so it is awkward for a thief to attack – generally the higher a chain lock is from the ground, the more secure.
- Lock or take with you anything that can easily be removed eg. lights, saddles, quick release wheels.
ANY FINAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR SHOPS TO PASS ON?
Insure and register the bike. Make it as easily identifiable as possible and thus more difficult for thieves to sell on without being caught. Besides catching the thief after the event, hopefully it will put them off getting their hands on bikes in the first place.