October 1, 2004

    My bike lock is “The Great Protector,” a U-lock with a cylindrical key made by Bell. Can you tell me:

  1. Is this lock vulnerable in the same way Kryptonite locks are?
  2. If they are, do you know if Bell is providing a remedy, and how to access it? (I can’t find anything at all referring to locks on their Web site, so I assume they’re not making them anymore and we’re just out of lock . . . er, luck.)

Giudi W.

    The pen trick can potentially defeat all locks using cylindrical keys. If I hear of a particular model that seems impervious I’ll post the info on this page.
    I suggest you call Bell’s customer service phone number, 800/969-4476. Alternatively, you can contact the retailer from which you got the lock. Either way, I’d like to know what remedy, if any, they’ll give you.
    FYI, some bike-industry manufacturers sell two levels of products: Higher-quality products they distribute thru bike shops, and cheaper products sold in mass-market stores like Wal-Mart and Toys-R-Us. Your lock falls into the latter category. Manufacturers tend not to support mass-market stuff in the same way they do the better products. (Some won’t even put the stuff on their Web site.) So if Bell sez “tough luck” it won’t surprise me.
    But please lemme know how it turns out. Thanks.

Mr Bike

October 4, 2004

    Bell customer service says “We haven’t had reports of any trouble with our locks.” But as you say, the potential is there. Their remedy: “If you mail your lock to us, we’ll send you a cable lock as a replacement.” I didn’t ask for details on the cable lock, since there’s not a chance I’m going to do that. (What would I use in the meantime? I’d have to buy a lock in any case.) But if others are interested, the address is:
    Bell Sports Customer Service
    1924 County Road, 3000 North
    Rantoul IL 61866-9512
Giudi W.

Back to questions