Essentially a tough cable tie, the Hiplok Z Lok Combo isn't something you would trust your pride and joy to for a couple of hours outside the office, but for a quick dash into a shop or securing your helmet to the bike it's a useful detterent; it's small, light and relatively cheap.
Security is understandably an issue for cyclists. There's a very real risk that even with the most expensive and hefty lock your bike will be gone when you get back. Even popping into the shops to grab a sourdough loaf on the way home from the club run (yes, that's me) is too risky no matter the value of your bike. Or how good the sourdough loaf.
This sort of 'just leaving it for five minutes' is where I feel the Hiplok Z Lok Combo is suitable. It's adequate to deter the casual thief from making off with your bike and gives a little more peace of mind that your flat white (me again) won't cost you a bike.
It has an 8mm reinforced steel core wrapped in a plastic outer, which protects your bike from scratches. You thread the tie through the open mechanism and use the three-digit combination to secure it.
Another use is for audax and touring rides, where popping into cafes for cake or a brevet card stamp is part and parcel of long-distance cycling. The Z Lok Combo doesn't take up much space or weigh much, and it's useful to secure your bike to a lamppost or railings. (I also like to leave the bike in plain sight for extra reassurance.)
The two issues I have with it, other than that a determined thief with the right tools could likely break through in a matter of minutes, is that it's a little too short to always reach around whatever solid object you want to lock your bike to.
The other issue is what to do with it when it's not in use. It'll just about fit in a jersey pocket but not if you've already filled those, so you'll need a bag on your bike – which you'll probably have if you're doing an audax or on a bikepacking adventure.
For locking your bike outside a cafe or shop it's reasonably effective but it's no substitute for a bigger main lock for longer periods of leaving your bike unattended.
Okay for briefly locking your bike outside the shop or cafe but nothing longer
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Hiplok Z Lok Combo
Size tested: 43cm locking diameter
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?
Hiplok says, "Introducing the Hiplok Z LOK COMBO – an innovative step forward in security. The Z LOK COMBO is super lightweight, with an adjustable zip like tie design as the original Z LOK, but with added benefits of a larger locking circumference and resetable-3 digit combination mechanism. The lock is available in 3 colour ways to match your bike and stand out of the crowd. With endless uses, the Z LOK COMBO will come in many uses, from luggage to securing, your back wheel, don't go without this handy tool."
It's more expensive than the company's own Hiplok Z-Lok Cable Tie Lock but the combination means you'll never lose the key, provided you can remember the three digits of course!
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Kept my bike secure for short visits to the cafe and shop, but I wouldn't trust it for hours on its own.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Light and easy to use.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Could be longer.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
You can get the much more secure Abus Ultra for the same price but it's heavy to lug around all the time.
Did you enjoy using the product? Maybe
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a reasonably cheap and easy to use lock for short visits to shops and cafes; it won't hold up against serious attacks by determined thieves, but that's not what it's designed for.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.