picking u-locks with a pen

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Anonymous's picture

I saw this thread on craigslist and posted a few other places too. I didn't see it on NYCC's message board, but it's important to know:
Basically, you can remove the end of a ball-point pen and jam the pen into the keyhole to open the lock. There are videos on the website.


Anonymous's picture
seth (not verified)
"link is on www.bikeforums.net, in ""general discussions"""

apparently it has to be a Bic pen. I'm going to try this at work today. maybe I'll make my own video

Anonymous's picture
Isaac Brumer (not verified)

"Looks like the hex-shaped Bic pen takes the place of the cylindrical key (You need to remove the end-cap.) That said, I wonder if this is real, or staged for ""attention."" Will this work with a Bic pen and any K lock or did the movie maker need to carfully copy the tooth pattern of his keys onto the end of the pen before doing this trick?"

Anonymous's picture
seth (not verified)
no, not stagged

I just opened my NYC chain lock (the little yellow U-lock) with a regular (well, red ink) Bic pen.

All that seems to be required is to fit the barrell of the pen into the lock slot. It took a little coaxing to get it in there, but it works.

Anonymous's picture
Fixer (not verified)
It's for real.

"I haven't had the time to try it myself, but lots of people whom I know to be straight-up folks reported that it does indeed work.

Also, some have reported that after doing this, the locks ""froze"" open, probably due to bits of plastic caught in the tumblers. So, don't try this at home, kids, unless the lock's disposable.

And if you think you're home free because you have a different brand of lock with a different tubular key diameter, fahgeddaboudit, as the guys at Kryptonite say. It seems that by simply making lengthwise cuts in the pen, it's adaptable to other sized locks.

Nothing on Krytpo's site about this, no doubt their guys are busy lobbying legislators to outlaw BIC pens!"

Anonymous's picture
<a href="http://www.OhReallyOreilly.com">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
Which Bic pen?

"From these videos, it's hard to tell but it looks to me as though it is their round barrel version:


No word from the kryptonitelock.com website either.

Looks like my NYC lock just became a worthless 6 lb necklace.


Anonymous's picture
Isaac Brumer (not verified)

Saw this comment on Usenet, http://groups.google.com/groups?q=%22tubular+key%22+%22bic+pen%22&hl=en&...
seems some people claim to have known this for 25 years. How does a company continue to produce a product that doesn't work? Oh, I know the answer; too many trial lawyers and frivolous lawsuits!

Anonymous's picture
seth (not verified)

yep, just a regular round Bic pen. I've opened mine now about 3 times. I'll confess, it's a little tricky, and mostly just blind luck, but I'm sure that the technique is already mastered by hundreds, if not thousands of little teenage punks all over this city.

Anonymous's picture
Gordo (not verified)
Circular keyholes only?

I'm assuming this only works on locks with those circular key holes, no? My Krypto New York lock has a standard-looking key hole...

- Gordo

Anonymous's picture
Fixer (not verified)

Tubular keys only.

Interestingly, Krypto's top-of-the-line model uses a flat key now, replacing the EV disc lock.


Anonymous's picture
heath (not verified)
Just called Kryptonite

Called Kryptonite customer service. They are working on the situation and are planning to post something by the end of the day. They took my info and my key codes and said they would be contacting me when a solution is reached.

Anonymous's picture
Robert Rakowitz (not verified)
Bike manufacturer response

I have OnGuard locks.

They've already sent out my replacement locks.

The flat locks are actually an upgrade from my current chains and armored cable.

I am very, very impressed by their response IMHO.

Anonymous's picture
Anon (not verified)
I'm surprised that NYC cyclists didn't know this already

It has been widely known for years that most circular key locks (not just bike locks) are vulnerable to attack with a common tool available in any hardware store. (Consumer Reports wrote about this a long time ago in one of their articles about locks.) The only new thing here is that a Bic pen also does the trick.

I have had the flat key version of the Kryptonite lock for several years and a smaller German made model with a similar multi pin key.

Anonymous's picture
xxx (not verified)
TA + Kryptonite have admitted the problem


(What they don't tell you is that cylindrical keys are never as secure as flat multi-pin keys.)

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
Good thing punk thieves (likely) don't read the Times.

I haven't seen the Friday Times yet--it's not out yet-- but I've heard this story is in the paper.

While we might lament the additional publicity of this lock-breaking trick, I think we can feel somewhat confident the majority of punk thieves don't read the Times.

Anonymous's picture
Christian Edstrom (not verified)


Sign-up required, of course.

- Christian

Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)
maybe kryptonite should update thier knowledge base?

"it's cheaper to buy a bic ball point pen. :)

http://www.kryptonitelock.com/inetisscripts/abtinetis.exe/[email protected]?tn=faq_bicycle_lock#10

Q: I have a Kryptonite lock and I lost both of my keys, what do I do?

A: US customers only - If your lock is not locked to anything you can send it to Kryptonite for re-keying. The cost of re-keying your lock is $10.00 for flat-keyed locks and $18.00 for tubular keyed locks. This price includes the locksmith fee, two new keys, and shipping back to you. Send you lock and check or money order to:

437 Turnpike St.
Canton, MA 02021

Anonymous's picture
Mark Shelby Perry (not verified)

">>Also, some have reported that after doing this, the >>locks ""froze"" open, probably due to bits of plastic >>caught in the tumblers. So, don't try this at home, >>kids, unless the lock's disposable.

IMO the only question is ""trash"" or ""recycle bin"".

(Yes I tried it myself. Though in all fairness to Kryptonite, it took me a bit longer than the 5 seconds reported in the NYT article.)"

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