Back in 2004 a member of a US lock-picking enthusiasts’ group revealed that you could open the seemingly impregnable Kryptonite locks with a ball-point pen. One internet forum post later and the online cycling community was up-in-arms. Whilst this may be old news to some, quite a few people may have missed this astonishing revelation or, like me, had forgotten all about it.
Bike Locks Are Not As Secure As You Think
According to Bike Biz the flaw in the shackle lock, or U-Lock, design was first highlighted in 1992. Back then a British journalist had teamed up with a bike thief to demonstrate just how vulnerable bike locks really are. The results were supposedly covered by the BBC and an article published in MBUK magazine. I vaguely remember reading that article and being a little horrified as to how easy it is to steal a bike.
Here is a recent video showing how to use a ball-point pen to open a Kryptonite lock in seconds…
Kryptonite Held To Ransom By The Internet
Back in 1992, when the first wave of media coverage occurred, social media wasn’t even dreamt of. Fast-forward nearly a decade and the internet meant that news of the world’s favourite lock being pickable-with-ease spread like wildfire. Because Kryptonite was easily contactable online they were faced with a barrage of questions from thousands of irate customers who felt they had been mis-sold a lock which was, in fact, useless. In response Kryptonite rushed a new locking system to market in order to replace the original locking system, which could be opened with a plastic pen. This new system had, until then, been reserved for their most expensive range of locks and was far more difficult to pick. This locking system is still used by Kryptonite today. But how do we know whether our Kryptonite locks feature the old lock or the newer, more thief-resistant lock? The key is in the key.
How To Tell if Your Bicycle Lock Is Secure
The old, cyclindrical locks have… you guessed it, cyclindrical keys. The handles are flat, but the end, which you insert into the lock is cyclindrical in shape. The newer, more secure, disc lock keys are not in fact disc-shaped. The tumblers inside the lock are disc-shaped, but the keys are flat. Here’s how they look…
For you cyclists still using the older cyclindrical locks; you might as well be securing your bike lock with a piece of string. It’s time to throw out your old Kryptonite lock!