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Answers from Kryptonite

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on February 17th, 2006 at 3:42 pm

seth's business card

[Seth's card]

A few weeks ago I asked if you had questions for Kryptonite because I was going to meet with one of their tech guys, Seth Samson. I printed out all of your questions and brought them to dinner. Here are your questions followed by answers I managed to scribble down over beers and Chinese food:

James: "I’m curious how their distribution has changed. I think REI used to carry Kryptonite, but now no longer does."

    REI actually still carries Kryptonite, just less models than they have in the past. This is due to normal competitive market forces and REI purchasing decisions. In addition to carrying Kryptonite they also offer a less-expensive brand called OnGuard.

Andrew: "I’m curious what they ended up doing with all the returned locks. Sold as scrap?"

    Right now all the old locks are sitting in a warehouse in Kansas until they figure out what to do with them.

Michael: "I finally found the keys to an old vulnerable Kryptonite lock. When I tried to register it for a replacement, they said NO! That I waited too long. That stinks! I have already lost one good bike - stolen by opening a Kryptonite. They should not put a time limit on making good on their failed products."

    The warranty exchange program is now officially over. Seth said they "had to end it some time...we've closed the books. We figured 15 months was enough time." He also stressed that this was a voluntary recall on their part and they were never legally obligated to replace any locks.

Tomas: "Are they going to come out with a Titanium lock that is just as strong as a regular lock but weight a fraction of the poundage?"

    Seth wasn't too excited about titanium. Like steel, it can be cut and it is very compliant. He worries it wouldn't be as secure.

Sonia: "I got a non-Bic-vulnerable replacement lock about a year ago, and both ends of the U are rusting. The lock is only out in the rain in a locked position, either hanging off the bike as I ride, or locking up the bike. I had my old lock for almost 15 years and never had that problem. A) Why is the new lock rusting? B) Is there anything I can do about it?"

    Seth said that locks should be treated like any part on your bike that requires regular maintenance. In a rainy climate, rust happens. He recommends using some grease, WD40, or steel wool to clean it out. He also recommended carrying the lock with the U facing down (so the holes are not as exposed to rain). I asked him about using all stainless steel internals and he hasn't got back to me yet on that.

JA: “The replacement U-lock that I received is too narrow/squat to fit around the bike racks that have a wider circumference, the frame, AND my fat tire. Locking two bikes together is nearly impossible.”

    Seth answered: "The longer the opening, the less secure the lock will be. You should try and leave as little space open as possible".

Someone: "Have there been many instances where thieves used a battery-powered circular saw with an abrasive blade to cut through a Kryptonite?"

    According to Seth, you'd need about 50 blades and a very long extension cord or powerful battery. He said, "if someone can use a tool like that on your lock, than your bike is parked in the wrong place!"

Robert: "The new pattern locks seem to be a bit sticky–very sensitive to full insertion of the key. I’ve always been able to get mine to work, but have noticed that they have this problem to a greater degree than with other types of locks." (I've had this problem too!)

    Seth says that inside the cylinder is a series of discs (the amount increases with better locks) that must freely rotate 360 degrees. The key is to use a light touch on the key and finesse it around. When you try and jam it in quickly and go, you're likely to have more problems. He also showed me a prototype key they're working on to help with this issue.

If there's anything else you'd like to ask Krytponite I can have Seth answer your questions in the comments. Thanks for submitting your questions and I hope the answers were helpful.

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Comments
  • eric February 17, 2006 at 8:59 pm

    I'm glad the "sticky" issue is on their radar. Soon after I received my replacement lock, I went to Cha Cha Cha for a burrito, and was barely able to unlock my bike when I tried to leave. I was shimmying and shaking the key/lock so much (for about 2-3 minutes) I was worried that someone would call the cops, thinking I was boosting the bike!

    I chalked it up to "needing some break-in" and haven't really used it since then.

    Glad to see a new system/key is in the works. Not that I'll likely pony up for it unless mine continues to have problems being sticky.

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  • Paolo February 19, 2006 at 11:24 pm

    This was in a previous comment and it worked for me too.
    Kryptonite has stopped the voluntary replacement program but if you go to http://www.kryptonitesettlement.com you can still get them replaced. I just sent my lock into kryptonite and I haven’t got the replacements yet but it looks like it should all work out. Basically they are doing the same replacement program as before but not through their own website.
    Ciao
    Paolo

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  • Dabby February 20, 2006 at 11:35 pm

    Being a messenger, with fine quality bicycles, I am left with one slim option for a bicycle lock.
    And of course this is Kryptonite.
    But, I spend more time trying to get my New style Krypto LOck open than I do going into the offices to do deliveries.
    The key system, as stated above, is trashy.
    In order to save themselves liability due to lock picking, they seem to have made us suffer.
    How hard is it to make a lock cyclinder that you don't have to Jimmie for minutes to get it to work?
    I want to return my lock to the bike shop, but there is no other option for locks, not for my bikes.
    I would like a version of the evolution, or new york lock witha simpler locking mechanism.
    The problem is not in the key, it is in having to line up four floating cyclinders, after racing across town, with my eyes watering, my heart pounding. The last thing I need is a barely working lock.
    Many times a day I curse my Kryptonite lock, and if I had another viable option, I would buy it tommorrow.
    Please kryptonite, tell me to send you my lock tommorrow, and you will replace it with something worthy....
    BUT, Do Not Tell Me You Won't!!!
    I have supported Kryptonite for 20 years.
    I am waiting for them to now support me

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  • anonymous February 21, 2006 at 1:06 pm

    Kryptonite is owned by Ingersoll Rand these days. A HUGE corporation that is from outside the bike industry. its not at all surprising to me that they are closing the replacement policy at this point instead of being responsible and carrying out the replacement til they are all handled. Seth made it sound like they were do-gooders by even offering the recall when they werent legally bound to it. I think thats bull when youre the leading supplier of u-locks. you need to set the example and take care of your customers. That especially doesnt fly when there are reports that Kryptonite knew the vulnerabilities of their locking system back in '92. OnGuard used the Euro locking system when they first starting building u-locks. kudos to them...

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  • Donna Tocci February 23, 2006 at 7:40 am

    Hey there, everyone:

    Thanks for the questions a few weeks ago and the comments here. We are very happy to be working with Jonathan; we think he's an invaluable resource for the cycling community in Portland - and those of us who are a country away!

    As for the nature of the disc-style cyclinder, it does take some getting used to. We are always working to perfect our locks and that includes cylinders. There is a new key coming that should help some of this before anything changes with the cylinders.

    Dabby - thanks so much for using Kryptonite for years! We honestly appreciate all of the support we get from the messenger community and try to give it right back. We support numerous alleycats all over the country every year, many that are benefits for the BMEF. We have just signed on for the NACCC and are talking with the folks in Sydney for CMWC. We very much value your input, Dabby. As a matter of fact, we have messengers test some of our locks before they ever go out. They are talking to us about the same issue you are having and we are taking that quite seriously.

    Now...anon...interesting that you won't give your name since you bash us quite nicely. That just gets me a little feisty and I have to wonder just who you are, but I'll be polite and answer you nicely.

    As we have stated more times than I can count, we did not know about a vulnerability like this with our locks. Do you really think we'd offer the anti-theft protection offers we have on those products if we did? C'mon. As for that other company using the other system when first starting building locks...um, you might want to check your facts there or at least make a clarification that they, too, used tubular cylinder locks on their products and, in actuality, only changed over a couple of years ago.
    As for the lock exchange program and being 'responsible' and 'setting an example', well, the readers can decide for themselves, but here are a few facts that I, personally, am proud of - we are the only company that offered such a program (there are still security companies selling tubular cylinder products!) and we replaced over 380,000 locks worldwide to our distributors, dealers and consumers at no charge. You decide.

    I'm sure to some of you that comes off as corporate hoo-ha, but, it's not, it's just my thoughts and facts. At this point, it's time to move on from this issue, don't cha think? I'd much rather hear about Dabby's and Eric's concerns about the current line of locks as well as the folks who had some questions and concerns a few weeks ago. These are productive comments that we (Seth and I) have walked over to engineering. We want to hear these things, in a constructive way, of course. We've always valued the in-put of the folks that use the locks daily and, very often, use that info to help with future models.

    Again, thanks to Jonathan for getting a conversation started here for us. Portland is a very, very important market for us and this is a great place for us to stay connected!

    Donna

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  • Dabby February 25, 2006 at 12:06 pm

    Donna,
    I know my post sounded more like a rant than anything else, and posibly negative..., but don't get me wrong.
    I have never had a bike stolen. I have had a bike damaged irreperably, but it was locked, and not stolen, by a Kryptonite lock....... I believe they kicked it in frustration for not being able to steal it....
    It is just frustration, in not being able to effectively use the lock I have chosen...
    And, I do understand that a key reconfiguration is in the works...
    I saw Jonathan the other morning, and he showed me the Fugetaboutit lock he had.
    Me Want..... Me Need....is there a smaller one?
    I am going to ask my company to buy me one.....Oh, wait, I must be dreaming, time to wake up..

    I know that at our 2005 NACC weekend here, I saw many Krypto locks on our prize tables... And there is no doubt in my mind that Krypto will continue to support PUMA's event's and other messenger events in the future.

    Just another reason why I , and most everyone I know, use your locks........
    As to the anonymous posting here.....
    Grow some already....
    You were given a name. Use it proudly.....
    I post under a nickname......if I used my real name, people would not know who I am, so I use the moniker that people know me by.......
    We all get frustrated by corporations, even me, if you read my comment.
    But, corporations make things happen...
    A little mom and pop company couldn't offer the protection that my beautiful track bike needs.....
    When I learned about the bic incident,was on the day I went to No Po bike shop to pic up a lock I ordered.
    Alex informed me, and showed me, why I wasn't going to buy my lock... Plain, simple, and fair......
    I could'a sent my old, worn, Krypto in for a warranty, and I am fully into warranties mind you.
    Instead, I got a temporary lock and chain, threw away my old krypto, and waited for the new locks to come out...
    Get over it already.........I mean,you cannot expect , though some do, a company to replace for ever. Things wear out, get a new one......
    I am now done.
    Dabby has left the building......

    Ride Bikes Throw Bricks!!

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