When Kryptonite's Bic problems surfaced, Master Lock of the US issued a statement saying its top-end locks were immune to pen-attack. The fact the company also produced u-locks with cylinder tubular mechanisms was not majored on. Master Lock did not follow Kryptonite and launch a recall programme: until now, that is. News of this went on masterlock.com on Friday

MasterLock stung into recall action

The Oklahoma lock company will only honour recalls if the consumer can supply the two keys that came with the lock. And, unlike Kryptonite’s recall in which consumers start getting their new, more secure locks next week, Master Lock is warning its replacements may take 4-6 weeks to ship.

Master Lock has come in for much criticism on bikeforums.net, the forum where the original u-lock/Bic posting first surfaced. On the other hand, forum posters seem to be warming to Kryptonite because of the speedy recall programme.

Master Lock is one of the companies named in a class action by the Pinnacle Law Group of San Francisco. Pinnacle was seeking an injunction stopping Master Lock from advertising its locks until a recall programme was instigated.

See the BikeBiz.com links below for 22nd September news of the other class actions.

PDFs of the following actions can be downloaded from Pinnacle’s website.

"Pinnacle Law Group LLP in conjunction with Rubin, Winston, Diercks, Harris & Cooke, LLP has filed the following action in San Francisco Superior Court"

Terry v. Master Lock Company, Case No. CGC-04-434819

"Pinnacle Law Group LLP in conjunction with Rubin, Winston, Diercks, Harris & Cooke, LLP has filed the following action in San Francisco Superior Court"

Terry v. Ingersoll-Rand Company and Kryptonite Corporation, Case No. CGC-04-434818

"Rubin, Winston, Diercks, Harris & Cooke, LLP in conjunction with Pinnacle Law Group LLP has filed the following action in Superior Court of the District of Columbia"

Reigner v. Master Lock Company, Case No. 04-0007217

Like the other class action suits filed by a number of law firms, the Pinnacle case makes much of the BikeBiz.com revelation that the Bic method was first publicised in 1992. Pinnacle’s class action suits claim that tubular cylinder locks are now "a virtual ‘steal me’ advertisiment."



Wednesday 29th September: Brand attack: how many ways can consumers tell you they’re unhappy?


At first, disbelief. Anger follows. Tort lawyers then smell blood and launch putative class actions. Is sarcasm the last stage or merely another point along the road? A US consumer has placed Kryptonite replacement keys on Ebay. They’re felt tip pens. "If you really bid on this, you missed the point of the auction, but I will still gladly take your money anyways," said russw19.

Friday 24th Sept: Bike bosses round on round-key lock makers


Gordon Fisher, MD of Fisher Outdoor Leisure, has told BikeBiz.com he and other bicycle trade execs were interviewed by newsreader John Humphries on BBC Radio 4 on 3rd December 1992. The subject matter? Bike locks which could be opened with Bic pen barrels. Prices for locks secured with ACE mechanisms dropped overnight, indicating the Bic method was well known at the time. Nigel Moore, MD of Moore Large, said: "It does our industry no good if the public are ripped off."

Monday 20th Sept: Bikeforums.net hit by upsurge in Bic-fondling visitors


As of late Sunday night, the Kryptonite vs Bic posting on Bikeforums.net had been read 340 000 times, and the movies, hosted elsewhere, downloaded by half a million unique users. Forum owner Joe Gardner, who holds down a full-time job and runs the site in his spare time, is now out of pocket because he had to lease extra gigabytes of server space to cope with the rush on his site following reports on CNN.com, Wired.com, 370+ news-sites, and a front page splash in the New York Times.

Wednesday 22nd Sept: Cycling attorney files class action against Kryptonite


The class action has been filed at the San Diego Superior Court Case, California. Despite the fact many lock manufacturers supply security products which can be opened with deformable plastic tubes – such as Bic pen barrels – it’s only Kryptonite mentioned in the class action. Attorney firm Estey-Bomberger bases its action on Kryptonite’s failure to change from tubular cylinder mechanisms after the Bic-opening method was first publicised in a British bicycle magazine in 1992. BikeBiz.com is cited as a source of evidence in the class action.

Wednesday 22nd September: Kryptonite does not win ‘dilution’ case against DC Comics, owner of Superman brand


Ingersoll-Rand’s Kryptonite execs are probably seeing more lawyers than they like right now. On top of the Bic wrangle, DC Comics has come out best in the first stage of a long-running dispute over the use of the name usually associated with Superman.

Thursday 23rd September: Kryptonite changes tack; offers free product exchanges


Last week, Kryptonite came out with a caveat-heavy crossbar upgrade programme. This has now been scrapped. Now, owners of Kryptonite tubular cylinder locks – the ones that can be opened with Bic pens – can hand in their locks in an amnesty programme that will see them walk away with free locks. No other supplier of locks using ACE cylinders have announced any sort of exhange programme.

Friday 24th September: $200m locks lawsuit launched against Kryptonite and others


A class action against Kryptonite was filed in California earlier this week. Now, a Canadian lawyer has launched a lawsuit to help gain compensation for "hundreds of thousands" of bicycle lock owners. Significantly, Sack Goldblatt Mitchell of Toronto names not just Kryptonite in the suit but Norco and Bike Guard, too. The company says it will also add "bicycle retailers" to the list.

Saturday 18th September: Kryptonite was not too slow to respond to consumer attacks, says Tocci


Donna Tocci is getting lots of media name-checks at the moment. She’s the Kryptonite spokeswoman quoted in hundreds of news-site articles syndicated across the US and beyond. She believes Kryptonite has acted as swiftly as it could, given the circumstances.

Thursday 16th September: Write it down to experience, Kryptonite to offer lock upgrades


Sheath those Bics, Kryptonite is to offer owners of Evolution and KryptoLok locks the ability to upgrade their crossbars to the new disc-style cylinder. The mechanism for this has yet to be worked out, says the company.

Thursday 16th September: The pen is mightier than the….u-lock


In a bizarre case of coincidental product syncronicity, the plastic barrel of a certain type of biro can easily open a certain type of tubular cylinder locking mechanism, popular on u-locks. This was first described in a British bicycle magazine in 1992 but the issue then disappeared from public view. But, in a powerful demonstration of how quick and cruel the internet can be, an American cyclist has rediscovered the Bic-pick and posted a Quicktime movie to a bike bulletin board, showing a Kryptonite lock being popped open in seconds. Kryptonite has responded, but slowly…

In other news...

Global e-bike market set to be worth over $120 billion by 2030

The global e-bike market size is expected to be worth over $120 billion by 2030, …