September 15, 2004
    I own a Kryptonite Evolution 2000 U-lock. As you know from the latest news stories, these locks can be opened with a Bic pen. Kryptonite claims their flat key locks will solve this problem. The company is going to rush said locks to the market. I no longer trust this company to secure my bike. Can you recommend or point me to other companies that make locks that are just as good or better?

Travis M.

    First, let’s review the facts: A bunch of years ago someone discovered a weakness in bike locks (not just Kryptonite’s) that use cylindrical keys. In some of the locks, you can open the lock using the body of a ball-point pen. This information, formerly a well-kept secret, just got spread all over the Internet.
    How can you tell if your lock has this weakness? The only way to tell for sure involves trying the pen method. But some people who try it screw up their locks, so I don’t recommend it.
    So you have several options:
1. If you have a cyclindrical-key lock and have registered it with the manufacturer, do nothing. If you bike gets stolen, the lock manufacturer’s theft agreement might pay for the replacement cost of your bike. (Check the conditions of the agreement.) Of course, don’t do this if you really don’t wanna lose your bike.
2. Continue to use your existing lock, but “cross lock”: Also use a completely different locking system, such as a thick cable with a padlock, or an armored cable (one that does not use a cylindrical key). For a good armored cable expect to pay at least $35 US. You can find cables and such at most bike shops.
3. If you have a cyclindrical-key lock made by Kryptonite, take advantage of Kryptonite’s offer to upgrade your lock. For details go to www.kryptonitelock.com or call 800/240-0802. Note that Kryptonite makes locks under other brand names, including KHS Ultra Cycle, Avenir, Cycle Pro, Diamondback, and Trek.
4. Replace your existing lock with a new, reliable lock from a different manufacturer. I suggest you check out two brands that have proved very reliable for years in Europe, now sold in the U.S.: OnGuard (www.onguardlocks.com) and ABUS (www.abus.com). These don’t use cylindrical keys so thieves can’t defeat them with a pen. You might not find these locks in your local bike shop, but you could ask the bike shop to order them. More and more have begun to stock these brands.
    You can find details on and pictures of the locks, methods, and agreements described above in the revised edition of my book, Urban Bikers’ Tricks & Tips.
    Check back on this page for new developments in the cylindrical-key saga.

Mr Bike

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