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2017 Kryptonite Kryptolock new u-lock double deadbolt bicycle lock

Stepping up to the AASQ plate this week is Kryptonite. Probably best known for their yellow     or orange locks, Kryptonite has been one of the longest standing names in bicycle locks. Naturally, most of the questions received for the company have to do with bicycle locks and security. This is the first installment – if you have more questions, feel free to send them in for next week!

Pound for pound, with cost as no object, what’s the best material to make a lock out of? – Sarah

Kryptonite: That all depends on the locking scenario. The best lock for New York City is going to be irrelevant in a small rural community. That being said, steel alloys are our favorite weapon in the war on thievery. Steel is versatile, strong, and available. While we’re always on the lookout for exciting new materials, we have yet to identify one that checks all the boxes for us the way good ol’ steel does.

Will it ever be possible to have a lock that will be unbreakable? – Andy

Kryptonite: We guess no. The truth is, given enough time and the right tools, any lock can be defeated. We’ve gotten to where we are though, by striving to always stay one step ahead of thieves.

AASQ #38: Kryptonite demystifies lock material, colors, and hand washing

Why aren’t there more “permanently” mounted bike lock solutions? For instance, lightweight wheel lock that clamps to one side of the fork/stay that simply rotates a bar through a spoked wheel. Looking for basic lightweight security that allows me to not have to create an out-of-place stow spot. The Hiplock Z-lock comes to mind as a design I like. – Dan

Kryptonite: Hi Dan, very European of you to ask. There are places in Europe where the Ring Lock, which sounds like what you’re describing, is the norm. Here in the US, “Free-Locking” as we call it, locking to immobilize, isn’t very popular, and in reality, doesn’t prevent lift-away theft. We do have an option with a Ring-Lock product, that also has a plug-in capability, letting the Ring Lock interface with a plug-in chain or cable, allowing you to both immobilize, and lock to a fixed object when available.

AASQ #38: Kryptonite demystifies lock material, colors, and hand washing

Why do you color code your lock security? Thieves around here (San Francisco) often look for the grey colored ones and pop them open with leverage of the frame. Yellow is strongest, orange is in the middle, and grey is low level. Why show this to thieves from a distance? – Barry

Kryptonite: Hi Barry, thanks for the question. Our product line is, and has always been color coded to help with the purchasing process of the lock. You’re right about the colors and their security level.

While you’re right that a bicycle thief would be able to identify a lower security lock, we do feel that when using an appropriate security level lock, in the appropriate setting, the color can act as an additional theft deterrent. For example, San Fransisco is an orange level lock area, possibly trending towards a yellow level security, where a thief would pass those security levels by. A Kryptolok, which is grey, is not a lock we recommend at all in the San Francisco area. Feel free to check out our security recommendations here: https://www.kryptonitelock.com/en/how-to-choose-lock-landing/bicycle-security.html

Why do you recommend washing your hands after using your products – Georgina

Kryptonite: Hi Georgina, good question, it’s because our locks are made of metal. We are required under Proposition 65 by the state of California to have that warning on our packaging which has the recommendation to wash your hands after you handle our locks. For more information on Prop 65 check out https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65.


Got a question of your own?  Click here to use the AASQ form, or find the link under the Contact menu header up top anytime a question pops into your mind! 


    • TheKaiser on

      Yeah, this stuff did read like it was answered by a PR rep rather than an actual product manager or engineer, which isn’t very fun or interesting. 1st question was “cost no object” yet the answer was touting their current material, which was chosen in part based on availability. The questioner wanted to hear about cool stuff that is just impractical to commercialize in a cost effective manner, like Aermet or something like that.

      Last question, about hand washing, is super vague. I understand Prop 65 is good intentioned but over the top, however it isn’t just metal that’ll get their locks on the list. Vinyl coatings will do it too, or lubricants applied to the mechanism at the factory, etc… If a consumer was truly concerned about the carcinogenicity of the product, then they could be mislead by the answer provided, as it would be possible to operate the lock without touching the metallic bits, but that wouldn’t actually be preventing contact with all Prop 65 materials. Nearly all of a modern bicycle should have a Prop 65 warning, so I don’t intend to single out Kryptonite product at all here, I’m just citing this as another example of a really bland and uninformative reply.

  1. gyom on

    I kind of missed the boat here, but I believe it would have been interesting:

    – to know if they plan to make a decent frame-mount accessory for the 16mm New York locks. The old all-plastic one (mine eventually broke *while riding* – ouch) was so tight with the lock that it was hard to get it out; and the latest one with the nylon and rubber bands is so loose with the frame that it won’t stay in place no matter what). And 18mm locks don’t have any frame-mount option at all…

    – to ask about the rattling between the two part of the locks while riding. The few NY lock owners I know all end up using some kind of glued O-ring to avoid this issue, easy to do, but this should be built-in.

    – to beg for replacement vinyl sleeves in other colors. At least a black one, pretty please? Yellow is a very seldomly-used color on bikes, so a frame-mounted NY lock basically uglifies every bike it’s mounted on. This could so easily be avoided. Replacement vinyl sleeves used to exist for lesser locks, why not the NY locks?

    • Shafty on

      Dry film lubricants are best, since they attract less dust or dirt. You can use something like an oil, but it will likely wear faster, as dust will stick to the oil.

  2. raphapha on

    European frame lock “ring” lock, FTW!!! Sold off my otto lock after realizing the convenience of ring locks that europeans have been using for years. Especially useful when in use with a U-lock.

    • Crash Bandicoot on

      Yes. I’d like this! I use a New York lock and another Kryptonite kryptolock series 2 to lock the front wheel to the frame but frankly it’s annoying as hell carrying an additional heavy U lock to secure what is usually a $50 front wheel; it’s also extremely annoying to lock the front wheel on my mtb since I can’t hook it around the Downtube.

  3. kenny potter on

    I was hoping they would’ve said plutonium for the first question, since cost would be no object. Any potential thieves would have their DNA scrambled for sure. I’m not sure about toughness, but I’m sure any thief would move to an easier, healthier target.


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