Hiplok kicked off 2018 winning not just one, but two awards at the Design & Innovation Awards 2018. We spoke to Ben Smith (Hiplok Co-founder) on what this meant to him, the winning products and future steps..
CS: There’s so many awards out there, what’s so special about this one?
BS: The Design & Innovation Award has become one of the most recognised in the cycle industry. It’s judged by industry experts and professional riders from around the world who engage in 6000 hours of real world testing and debate before reaching their verdict. I guess it’s this feedback from the real world which is so special. As cyclists and designers, it’s a proud moment to receive a nomination for a DIA, but to win two, for both AIRLOK and Z LOK – well that’s just blown us away.
CS: AIRLOK seems like the ultimate in home storage, tell us about it.
BS: AIRLOK is the world’s first high security bike storage hanger. Sold Secure GOLD rated, it combines the functionality of a ground anchor with the practical yet elegant design of a hanger. With over 60% of bikes being stolen from homes (UK Crime Statistics), AIRLOK provides the perfect solution for displaying and securing your bike on the wall of your house, shed, garage or even outside.
CS: How does it work?
BS: It was important for us to ensure AIRLOK achieved the maximum security rating – it’s a seriously strong piece of kit. A hardened steel frame bolts in to the wall with security fixings and a hardened nylon outer fits over the top with a rubberised mouth to hold the bike and prevent frame scratch. You lock your bike in place with an integrated 30mm hardened steel lockable bolt. And because of the triangular shape, AIRLOK will fit a multitude of different types of bike frames.
CS: What’s the nicest bike you’ve seen secured by an AIRLOK?
BS: We’ve been fortunate to see some amazing bikes AIRLOK’d down! The Muc-Off one of a kind Pinarello at Eurobike springs to mind but our personal favourite is John’s (Hiplok co-founder) ALAN Super Gold – a classic from the 1970s currently secured by our office AIRLOK.
CS: At Hiplok, you seem to have a way of combining form and function in all your products. Which is more important aesthetics or practicality?
BS: Predictable answer but I don’t think you can have one without the other. At Hiplok, we always strive to solve a problem in the creation of new products and if you work ground up, form and function becomes so integrated for the benefit of the end user. Design which enhances everyday experience is usually found in the simplest of ideas and executions, I think that’s why people are connecting with Z LOK.
CS: Z LOK is essentially a secure reusable zip tie. It’s a pretty simple idea but never done before, did you get a “Eureka” moment?
BS: John and I were doing a late night in the office and I was recalling a friend telling me about how he uses traditional zip ties to prevent his bike disappearing at Sunday ride coffee stops. This sparked an idea for super lightweight armoured, reusable security ties and so we spent most of the rest of the night sketching it out. Of course, that’s the easy bit, then comes the development, material sourcing and testing and connecting all the dots in between.
CS: Z LOK has been picked up as so “damn practical” – give us your top 5 uses for this secure, reusable zip tie.
BS: You can’t limit it to five but ok – first in mind are:
– Bike café lock
– Roof racks
– Cycle accessories
– Kids bikes (super easy – my 4 year old loves his!)
– Snowboards & skis
– Repairs (including fixing a campervan on the way to Sea Otter!)
CS: What’s next in terms of design and innovation for Hiplok?
BS: Alongside our full line of chain, D and cable locks, AIRLOK and Z LOK have been pretty ground-breaking and have kept us busy. But as product designers and cyclists, we’ve always got a few new projects in the works. Technology and connectivity are buzz words right now so we’re enjoying exploring some ideas – watch this space.