September 15, 2004

Your U-Lock is not safe. From the blue: Any circular keyed lock, including (especially) all models of Kryptonite locks, can be compromised with a fucking Bic pen. See the video, try it for yourself.

I just walked down to the bike rack at my office with a trusty 5 cent Bic pen (pilfered from the supply cabinet), and lo-and-behold came walking back upstairs with two Kryptonite locks; one brand new KryptoLok, one Bell U-Lock, and one very nice bike belonging to my friend in the cubicle next to me. One important thing to note if you're doing this on your own lock: When opening the lock, if you twist the pen the full 180 degrees of the cylinder then the cylinder gets locked into an open position. So be careful, just twist it about 90 degrees or so, till you feel it. Otherwise you'll end up with a bum lock that can only be closed again with a filed key.

  • s/two Kryptonite locks/two U-locks/
  • Good reason to get combo-style then. But U-locks aren't about being unstealable - they are just about being less stealable than the chain or coil lock beside them. I trust them - I had my bike stolen in one day with a coil lock in downtown Toronto. The same bike (retrieved from pawn shop by the police, though I had to pay the damn pawn fee) was never stolen from it's new U-Lock, despite the fact that I continued to leave it in more questionable places downtown.
  • I'd recommend the massive chain locks the dutch use, but I can't find a decent image of one.
  • i still have the masterlock U-lock i've had for about 10 years. it uses a standard little key. i bought that because the key was easier to replace if i lost one copy - any key shop can make a backup copy for me. it's not un-pickable, but at least now i know nobody's going to steal my hardrock with a 5¢ ballpoint. (now i wanna go try and unlock bikes... i have lots of old pens. hmmm... my wife has a kryptolock with the circular key...)
  • I'm dutch and I use one of these. It also has an extension cable that goes around the frame and a big tree or lamppost. So far it worked.
  • OK, i have a krypto 2000 evolution but i can't seem to find this hole they're putting the pens in. do you have to strip the rubberized coating off the lock to get at the hole? is that it?
  • SideDish: It's the keyhole. The diameter of a bic pen barrel is about the same as that of the key. I guess this theoretically works on any lock that has a barrel type key. I don't have a bike lock so I tried the technique out on other stuff around the house, and yea, it works.
  • ah, gotcha. man, this sucks.
  • I've know so many friends who have had bikes stolen, first, I wonder what the hell the thieves do with them, and secondly the last bike I bought I went to K-Mart and bought the cheapest huffy I could find so it if it gets stollen I'm only out $75. My bike gets me to class just as well as the Treks I seein the racks next to me.
  • But U-locks aren't about being unstealable - they are just about being less stealable than the chain or coil lock beside them. I trust them - I had my bike stolen in one day with a coil lock in downtown Toronto. Uh...I've biked in major cities for a long time, including Toronto, and I can tell you that if you don't have the right lock, then if your bike hasn't been stolen by now it's only because you've been lucky. Info suggests that this Bic trick has been known in select bike-theft circles for a couple years. With it in the open, just about any U-lock that will fit a pen is now officially in the unsafe category.
  • Can someone refer me to the place where they sell these 5 cent pens?...I didn't think I could get anything for a nickel. (or are you all a bunch o' old farts who just steal pens from the office and have no concept of what a nickel won't buy?)No offense. LOL
  • a dozen for 89 cents so 4.9 cents per pen!
  • Yay for jccalhoun for coming to my rescue. Actually, I haven't a bloody clue how much bic's cost, I haven't bought a single pen since I started working in offices. Um, I mean, don't steal, it's bad.
  • Funny aside: Turns out the Kryptolok I'd cracked off the bikerack was indeed in use; an employee was too lazy to take it home and kept it locked up to the office bike rack as his 'office lock'. It's funny because I broke the damn lock in cracking it open; I'd turned the Bic the full 180 degrees and now it's locked in the open position. He wasn't too happy, but then again, at least now that he has a new lock his bike won't get stolen.
  • The best thing for locking up a bike is either this minus the crappy mini-Ulock or some other case hardened chain of similar size and use an American or Master padlock to close it. The lock will probably be about as heavy as your bike but used appropriately anything secured by the chain is not going anywhere. Parts are another matter. Using a Ulock will get your bike stolen, even without the pen trick.
  • And the company has known about this for 12 YEARS? ...according to the article.....I see a 60 Minutes episode in their future. and what kind of monkey would think of sticking a Bic into a lock anyway?
  • a dozen for 89 cents so 4.9 cents per pen 89 divided by 12 = 7.42