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The Toughest Lock in Town

Why Kryptonite is still the one to beat.

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Only 2 percent of the 6,000 to 8,000 bikes reported stolen each year in New York are ever recovered—and insurance companies think as many as nine out of ten thefts go unreported. So a serious lock is a crucial investment. Until last year, Kryptonite locks were widely acknowledged to be the hardiest on the market. Then, word spread online that the company’s tube locks (like the Evolution and the KryptoLok), which use short, round keys, could be opened by humble Bic pen casings. The company was forced to offer a massive product exchange, and its image suffered.

So has the lock champion been dethroned? No. While the Bic episode might have been embarrassing, it didn’t involve Kryptonite’s heavy-duty New York line of locks, which haven’t included any tube models since 2000 (although some New York chains were packaged with problematic padlocks until this past January). Specifically designed—and priced ($80–$120)—for “high-theft danger areas,” the New York locks feature long, thin keys and keyholes that aren’t susceptible to simple picking techniques. Besides, the leading threat to bike security is not an Internet-savvy master thief but a street criminal with a sledgehammer and a chisel. And Kryptonite is so confident in its ability to defeat that foe that it guarantees New York–line owners up to $3,500 to replace their bikes if the lock fails. The bicycling advocates at the nonprofit Transportation Alternatives group still rate the lock highly and offer a discount on it to new members.


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