‘If a bike thief really wants your bike, they’re gonna get it,’ the old adage goes. Well, Hiplok thinks that doesn’t have to be the case anymore.
Hack saws, hammers, and bolt cutters — typically, bike lock brands do their damndest to build a device that can stand up to all three. At the very least, the idea is to make a lock that will resist these threats long enough that a would-be bike thief will abandon their attack for easier prey.
But there has always lurked an apex predator that feasts on all manner of bike locks: the angle grinder. A handheld, high-speed grinding wheel, this tool is the most efficient weapon in the bike thief’s arsenal. Even the stoutest bike lock will succumb to the relentless onslaught of an angle grinder in less than a minute.
Until now, that’s just been a fact of life. To fortify a lock to withstand such attempts was impractical; locks became large, heavy, and unwieldy to carry.
Today, Britain-based Hiplok reveals what it calls “the world’s first truly portable bike lock to resist angle-grinder attacks.” The D1000 weighs 4 pounds and is a standard U-lock size, yet it purports to withstand angle grinder attacks thanks to a composite graphene material called Ferosafe.
GearJunkie received an advance sample of the D1000 to verify Hiplok’s bold claims. Read on for all the results of our testing and details on this one-of-a-kind lock.
Hiplok D1000 Anti-Angle Grinder Bike Lock
First off, what is the Hiplok D1000? Like other Hiplok products, the D1000 is a little bulkier than your average U-lock, but not by much. It weighs 4 pounds and measures about 10 x 6 x 1.5 inches. It has anti-rotating, double-locking tabs — so a thief needs to cut both sides to break and remove the lock and a rubberized surface to protect your bike frame.
A hardened steel core is designed to withstand traditional thievery (like with bolt cutters), but the real magic is on the outside. Hiplok incorporated Ferosafe’s graphene composite “specifically designed to disintegrate angle grinder cutting wheels.”
In short, while the steel holds up to blunt-force attacks, the graphene composite will parry away cutting and grinding.
But does it work? We had our top-secret Bike Vigilante — and resident lock tester — do everything he could to break Hiplok’s claims.
Angle Grinder Test: Hiplok D1000 Review
My wait is over. When I heard that a new lock was coming out that would hinder damage from a portable grinder, I was more than skeptical. Nothing has been able to stand up to a grinder so far.
That is, until now!
This lock has a thick, rectangular, hardened steel U-shank coated in the new Hiplok Ferosafe material. The lock is wrapped in a generous amount of rubber to protect your bike as well as to slow thieves. I threw everything I had at this lock and was increasingly impressed with every attack.
Here’s the play-by-play.
I started by locking the D1000 to a piece of machinery in my garage to approximate a bike attached to a rack. I started my attempt with a ramset, which uses the power of a 22-caliber round to hammer a metal rod into the lock. Construction crews usually use these to drive nails directly into concrete with one shot, so you can imagine the power.
I shot the lock twice near the junction of the lock body and the shank. All it did was blow some plastic covers off and slightly bend the lock body.
Next, I brought out the nitrogen. I froze the lock and hit it again with the ramset. There was a little more bending and a crack in a part of the lock body that wasn’t integral to its security.
And then the key no longer worked. So the lock was now stuck on my machine until I could find a way to remove it.
I cut away some of the thick rubber covering around the U-shaped shank and tried two more times with the ramset on the shank. At this point, I felt like the lock was laughing at me.
Next came the 3-foot bolt cutters. Hiplok clearly already thought of that, as the shape and size of the lock made it so that the jaws of my bolt cutters couldn’t fit around the metal to even attempt a cut.
Next, I attempted a Sawzall with a metal blade on it. As with the methods above, this would make for a highly conspicuous and loud attempt to steal a bike. But we have to rule out every scenario we can.
The coated lock shank stripped all the teeth off the blade within 60 seconds. This left only a small cut mark on the lock.
At that point, I started getting excited. A lock that can stand up to all of this abuse is rare, so even here the D1000 stands among the best locks on the market.
However, the reigning champion still loomed — the angle grinder, waiting patiently for its chance. As thieves and lock manufacturers know, this is the tool that bests almost every lock on the market in about 60 seconds or less.
I busted out the grinder, excited to see if this lock could live up to the hype. I installed a brand-new 5-inch metal cutoff blade and went to work.
After 45 seconds, my blade was gone, leaving only a small 1.5mm-deep groove in the shank. I grabbed another blade … then another … then another.
Five blades later, I was almost all the way through! I then used a pry bar and hammer to break through the last part to save myself some wasted grinder blades.
Finally, I was through.
But there was an issue. Hiplok built the D1000’s lock shank rectangular — thus, neither I nor a thief could rotate the lock body. This is important because it means you have to cut both sides. It took another five-plus blades!
After the first ramset attempts, I could see that the body of the lock appeared to be a mixture of a few different aluminum and steel pieces that were bent and shaped around each other. You can’t disassemble the lock while it’s locked, but the body looks susceptible to a grinder attack.
It wasn’t! Under that first layer of aluminum on each side rests a large strip of Ferosafe that shredded my grinder blade. I tried another spot, shredded another blade.
Finally, I resorted to wasting a few more grinder blades around the other side where the ramset had blown off a little of the Ferosafe, finally finishing the lock off.
Hiplok D1000: Hype or Hero?
The D1000 lives up to everything Hiplok promises and more. Thieves would have better luck cutting through the bike rack, so be careful what you lock your bike to.
The D1000 makes me think we need a new category. This lock outperformed all other Diamond-rated locks I’ve tested by leaps and bounds.
Functionally, this lock is like many other U-locks. It has a similar size and feel to some other options, and the locking mechanism is a little more clunky than Hiplok’s lighter-duty DX lock. But for portability, the D1000 still works well and comes with coded high-security keys.
As with any product out there, I noticed a few things I disliked. First, the rubber cover that protects the keyhole from weather and dust is a bit lacking and will come off if snagged on something. On the plus side, this piece is friction-fit into holes and can snap back in with little effort.
Second, the fit between the body of the lock and the shank has just a little more play than most other locks, which will rattle if you have it attached to your bike. Due to the size and weight of this lock, it’s best transported in a bag and will help remedy the rattle.
Finally, the rubber around the shank makes it more difficult to slip into your belt. Nit-picky, I know. But after it ate five of my blades and some other tools, I had to find something to not like. Needless to say, the high security makes the D1000 totally worth these small inconveniences.
Now, while you can’t put a price on peace of mind, you can put a price on a bike lock. The Hiplok D1000 will cost $345 for full retail. That makes it among the most expensive on the market. But hey, odds are you’ll only ever need to buy one. And the good news is that the D1000 launches today on Kickstarter with early-bird discounts.