From stolen bike to Hiplok
Getting my bike stolen was a wake-up call in more ways than one. On a rather dreary April Sunday morning, I nipped out for the usual fry up materials from the local corner shop in a well-heeled area of Windsor, west of London – why would I bother taking a lock? Needless to say, it wasn’t there when I emerged with my bacon and eggs.
I was angry but it wasn’t funneled specifically at the thief, or even at my stupidity for not taking a lock. It was more disillusionment that despite having several locks in various shapes and sizes at home, I hadn’t deemed any of them easy enough to take with me. As an industrial designer, my frustration began to rise and over the coming weeks, I started to channel that frustrated energy in to conceptualising an alternative – a bike lock that doesn’t compromise security with portability.
Incorporating the help of friend and fellow Industrial Designer Ben Smith, who was at the time Bicycle Director at Troy Lee Designs over in California, we set about developing the first wearable bike lock and establishing a company to bring it to market. OK, that sounds a little easy…it took a year of Skype credit, market research (our first focus group held with couriers and commuters in London), rider testing and a lot of attempted steel cutting before the Hiplok ORIGINAL was launched.
Fast forward five years and we are proud to now offer a full line of security products under the Hiplok banner. A name which we want to represent products that are as secure as possible for purpose while being as practical as possible – products which truly add to the enjoyment of your ride.
As such, all Hiploks have been designed and developed from the ground up and tested to the highest standards using exactly the same attention to detail as our original wearable lock. The thing is, we’re not about designing me-too products and we’re not taking on the bike security world for the sake of it – where would the joy be in that (other than a couple of good rides of course!).
Before we put pen to paper on any new product, I check the idea against that first feeling I had when I walked out of that Windsor shop – as a cyclist, do I need this in my life? Does the product solve a problem that is not covered by anything else available? And if it’s a yes, then it’s time to design, refine, and test until we have a Hiplok which is worthy of the name.
This year, the new Hiplok product line reaches a number of different types of rider. For example, the new maximum security gold-rated DX is ideal for commuting in London while the FLX café-style lock with integrated light is ideal for those road or trail riders looking for a little extra protection at pit stops. Ben and I love riding bikes but that’s not the reason we started this journey. We started out because we genuinely believe we can improve people’s ride through innovative design and quality execution.
And of course, I didn’t want to have another bike stolen – that would be just be careless.