Kryptonite calls back widely used bike locks

Jennifer Nacin

Opening what is considered by many to be the best of bicycle lock available has been proven a cinch, as the tubular lock mechanism can be overcome by an ink pen.

Kryptonite, the originator of the U-shaped lock and a giant in the bike lock industry, is facing a recall and replacement effort that could cost it millions.

David Koch, senior in mechanical engineering and treasurer of the ISU Cy-cling Club, said he has owned a Kryptonite bicycle lock for four years and has never had a problem.

“I think the Kryptonite bike locks have been thought of as the best locks,” he said.

Koch said the cycling club and other local bicycle shops will work together to resolve any potential issues.

According to The Associated Press, when word got out around Internet bicycle chat rooms and bicycle shops throughout the country that these $35 to $100 locks could be defeated with an inexpensive pen, lock owners were irate and concerned for the safety of their bicycles.

Koch said he believed that despite the present difficulty with its locks, Kryptonite will still remain a respected and trusted company.

Steve Lauber, store manager of Bike World, 126 S. 3rd St., said this is something that has concerned employees and customers.

“They’re locking up their bikes with something that is known to be broken, so of course they are concerned,” Lauber said.

Eric Grootveld, sophomore in mechanical engineering and Bike World employee, said he has been unable to open the Kryptonite lock using a ballpoint pen.

Grootveld said he tried the pen method for more than a half hour with no luck.

Grootveld said he is impressed with how Kryptonite is handling the situation, but said he plans on using a cable lock to secure his bike until he can get a new Kryptonite lock.

“It’s going to be more secure to use a cable lock than something that uses that key design,” Grootveld said.

He said Kryptonite is being proactive in fixing the lock’s problems and attending to customers’ concerns.

Kryptonite announced Wednesday that customers wishing to exchange their current Kryptonite tubular cylinder locks for a non-tubular cylinder lock may do so by filling out a registration form on the company’s Web site.

According to the Web site, Kryptonite will be exchanging products for improved ones within the next few weeks.

A Kryptonite representative was not available for comment.

Lauber said Kryptonite is not the only company having problems with these locks.

“It’s a problem with the tubular cylinder locks in general,” Lauber said.

But, he said Kryptonite is the only company that he knows of doing something about the problem.

He said Bike World has locks using a new upgraded locking mechanism that can’t be opened in the same way as the current tubular cylinder locks are. Lauber continues to recommend the Kryptonite bicycle lock.

To help deter bicycle theft, Lauber said owners should use both a U-shaped lock and a cable lock.