Kryptonite lock

Kryptonite lock

The Kryptonite lock is an Ingersoll Rand-owned brand of bicycle lock for securing a bicycle to a pole or other fixture, when the owner wants to leave the bicycle in a public place. It was named after kryptonite, the fictitious substance that can thwart the powerful comic-book hero Superman. The basic design, made of hardened steel of circular cross section bent into a U-shape with a removable crossbar, has been emulated by numerous other manufacturers, and adapted with variations in size and shape for other applications, locking motorcycles for instance.The Kryptonite lock was developed in 1972. Before then, the only comparable security available was from a chain, which could weigh almost as much as the bicycle itself. (A common humorous observation in bicycle magazines at the time was that the total weight of bicycle plus chain was constant regardless of cost, since owners of more expensive, lighter bikes would buy heavier, more secure chains.) Inexpensive chains or cables were easily cut using commonly available tools. Indeed, local hardware stores would often sell chain cut to length with simple bolt cutters. The first Kryptonite lock model was made of sheet metal cut and bent to shape, but the company soon went to the now universal circular cross section.


In an early test of the Kryptonite lock, a bicycle was locked to a signpost in Greenwich Village in New York City for thirty days. Thieves stripped the bike of every part that could be removed, but the lock resisted all attempts to break it. The innovative U-shaped design of the Kryptonite lock was subsequently adopted by several other manufacturers, with varying degrees of security. U-locks can often be seen holding naked rusty bike frames without pedals, gears, or wheels to bike racks.


Until 2004 Kryptonite locks used the tubular pin tumbler locking mechanism. In 2004, videos circulating on the Internet demonstrated that some tubular pin tumbler locks of the diameter used on Kryptonite locks could be easily opened with the shaft of an inexpensive ballpoint pen of matching diameter. Trade website revealed that the weaknesses of the tubular pin tumbler mechanism had first been described in 1992 by UK journalist John Stuart Clark [ "The pen is mightier than the... u-lock"] , - accessed 18 July 2008] . For an article in New Cyclist magazine he teamed up with a bike thief to show how easy it was to break in to the majority of bicycle locks then on the market. One of the methods he revealed was the ballpoint pen method. His article led to follow-ups in bigger circulation bicycle magazines and a BBC TV consumer rights programme also carried a feature on the pen method. Some UK trade distributors of bicycle locks using the tumbler mechanism withdrew the products from the marketplace and introduced locks which were more pick-proof. Following's report about this 1992 knowledge of the pen method the lock-picking video received widespread attention by the mainstream media and after a few days of negative publicity the company responded with a lock exchange offer. However, lawyers in the US and Canada had already launched class actions against the Kryptonite Corporation, citing the 1992 revelations on Kryptonite Corporation later settled the claims out of court despite the fact the 1992 magazine article had not featured a Kryptonite lock and Kryptonite employees said they were unaware of the 1992 article.


External links

* [ Kryptonite lock manufacturer's website]
* [ Benjamin Running's original collection of lock picking videos and press coverage received]
* [ Videos of Kryptonite locks hacked by a Bic pen]
* [ NPR interview with Benjamin Running, discoverer of the Bic pen lock exploit]
* [ "Debunking the myth of Kryptonite Locks and the Blogosphere"] Dave Taylor, (retrieved 29 Oct 2006)
* [ "Twist a Pen, Open a Lock" - article] (in English)

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Kryptonite (disambiguation) — Kryptonite may refer to: * Kryptonite, a fictional element from the Superman comic book series * The mineral Jadarite, nicknamed Kryptonite * Kryptonite (processor series), an antiquated term used to describe Advanced Micro Devices K series of… …   Wikipedia

  • Tubular pin tumbler lock — A tubular pin tumbler lock, also known as Ace lock or axial pin tumbler lock or radial lock , is a variety of pin tumbler lock in which 6 8 pins are arranged in a circular pattern, and the corresponding key is tubular or cylindrical in… …   Wikipedia

  • Bicycle lock — A bicycle lock is a physical security device used on a bicycle to prevent theft. It is generally used to fasten the bicycle to a bicycle stand or other immovable object.An important difficulty in preventing the theft of a bicycle is that the… …   Wikipedia

  • После прочтения сжечь — Burn After Reading …   Википедия

  • Ingersoll Rand — Infobox Company company name = Ingersoll Rand company company type = Public (nyse|IR) foundation = 1871 location = Incorporation: Hamilton, Bermuda; Operational and executive: Montvale, NJ, flagicon|USAUSA key people = Herbert L. Henkel, CEO… …   Wikipedia

  • Environmental direct action in the United Kingdom — The environmental direct action movement in the United Kingdom started in 1990Fact|date=August 2008 with the forming of the first UK Earth First! group. The movement rapidly grew to include road protest camps, airport camps, anti GMO actions,… …   Wikipedia

  • List of Superman enemies — This is a list of fictional characters from DC Comics who are or have been enemies of Superman. It is notable that several of Superman s enemies are or have been foes of the Justice League of America as well. Contents 1 Central rogues gallery 2… …   Wikipedia

  • Smallville (season 2) — Smallville Season 2 DVD box cover art Country of origin United States …   Wikipedia

  • List of The Batman villains — The following is a list of the villains who have appeared in the Batman animated series, The Batman , their background in the show and their likely inspirations. NOTOC =Bane= * Voice Actor: Joaquim de Almeida (in Traction ); Ron Perlman (in Team… …   Wikipedia

  • Superboy (Kon-El) — Superboy Superboy flies into action. Art by Mike McKone. Publication information Publisher DC Comics First …   Wikipedia