WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE KRYPTONITE LOCK VULNERABILITY?
September 15, 2004Back to questions
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?
First, lets review the facts: A bunch of years
ago someone discovered a weakness in bike locks (not just Kryptonites)
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 dont 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 manufacturers theft agreement
might pay for the replacement cost of your bike. (Check the conditions of the
agreement.) Of course, dont do this if you really dont 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 Kryptonites
offer to upgrade your lock. For details go to
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
dont use cylindrical keys so thieves cant 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.