Kryptonite responds on the vulnerability of their locks to a Bic pen.

One of the videos in the earlier thread I posted was created by the folks at and they sent it to Kryptonite to see what the company plans to do about this serious flaw with their products. They weren’t real happy with the reply they got:

Engadget reader Chester Bullock decided to toss Kryptonite the link and video we posted about picking their Evolution 2000’s lock with a plain ol’ Bic pen. And we can’t say it wasn’t a good idea, but what we were hoping for was something a little more drastic than just being slightly less than amused, and plugging a bunch of new products.

So what did Kryptonite have to say? Here’s the text of the reply:

  We understand there are concerns regarding tubular cylinders used in some Kryptonite locks.  The tubular cylinder, a standard industry-wide design, has been successfully used for more than 30 years in our products and other security applications without significant issues.

  The current Kryptonite locks based on a tubular cylinder design continue to present an effective deterrent to theft.  As part of our continuing commitment to produce performance and improved security, Kryptonite has been developing a disc-style cylinder for some years.  In 2000, Kryptonite introduced the disc-style cylinder in its premier line of products, the New York series.  In 2002, Kryptonite began development of a new disc cylinder system for both its Evolution and KryptoLok product lines, which currently use the tubular cylinder design.  These products are scheduled to be introduced in the next few weeks.

  We are accelerating the delivery of the new disc cylinder locks and we will communicate directly with our distributors, dealers and consumers within the coming days.  The world just got tougher and so did our locks.

In short they said, “Dude! That TOTALLY sucks! It’s a good thing we’ve got a bunch of expensive new products that are totally way better that you can buy to replace the expensive flawed ones we sold you earlier!”

Say, isn’t that the same approach Microsoft takes? No, not entirely. Microsoft at least tries to fix their expensive flawed products before pushing you to purchase totally new and expensive flawed products.

7 thoughts on “Kryptonite responds on the vulnerability of their locks to a Bic pen.

  1. If their marketing department wants to make lemondae out of this lemon, they’d at least institute a trade-up program for people with vulnerable locks.

    That would get those locks off the street, re-build some customer loyalty and aid in the sales of new locks,

    This company, like many others before it, faces a crisis and that can either make or break ‘em.  Wise marketers revise the spreadsheets and take the long view.


  2. Kryptonite’s response is a recipe for losing customers FOREVER.  They should take a couple Tylenol and then ask themselves, “Why is Tylenol still in business?”  The answer should guide what they do next.

  3. That really reads like a poorly ‘canned’ letter from Kryptonite.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see some lawsuit filings come out of this if Kryptonite doesn’t adjust their position.  I imagine right now their sitting in some board room calculating out approximately how many locks would need to be replaced versus the number of stolen bikes and bouncing that against their bottom line and marketing position.

    Unfortunately for them, the speed of the blogsphere gives them little time to over-analyze their position and if they want to avoid a serious loss in market-share they will heed the advice of the Decrepit Old Fool.

  4. Actually the company is now giving free upgrades:

    “But only those who have purchased an Evolution lock, KryptoLok lock, New York Chain, New York Noose, Evolution Disc Lock, KryptoDisco or DFS Disc Lock in the last two years are eligible for a free product upgrade, the company said in a statement. “


    (cnn story) 

    Unfortunately I think this does more harm then good,  the bic pen hack has been around literally for years,  but now everyone and their grandmother knows about it.  I wonder how many bikes (or vending machines,  thanks cnn!) will be broken into…

    On the upside, people will get new locks.

  5. I should mention what the letter says, I guess.  They’re going to replace the locks for free, as long as you’ve got a proof-of-purchase or have registered the keys within the last two years.  Anything older than two years gets a “sizable” discount on a new lock.

  6. Im not too sure what to think about this.  Caveat Emptor.  It’s sort of like sueing MacDonalds because the food they sell is not the best for you.

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