Kryptonite hit back after TV bike theft documentary

Heavy duty bolt croppers are not bike thieves' modus operandi says lock company

The Kryptonite company has responded to an ITV London programme in which its high end bicycle chain the New York Fahgettaboudit is shown being breached in seconds by a rival firm conducting tests using heavy duty bolt cutters.

In the show entitled "Gone in 60 seconds: The Bike Crime Wave" the programme makers followed a police sting operation to catch bike thieves in London before setting their own trap using bikes fitted with tracking devices and then confronting the thieves. They also had the Newcastle-upon-Tyne based motorcycle and bicycle security chain supplier Almax break into some of the the toughest locks made by Kryptonite, Abus and Squire.

Not surprisingly Kryptonite are unhappy about the way their product was portrayed and Marketing Manager Donna Tocci responded on the company's corporate blog, Unbreakable Bonds.

"We weren't offered the opportunity to participate in, attend or view an unedited version of this 'test'" she says. "What we did see was a clearly edited video performed by a competitor whose products, we are told, are not used in this show.

"This televised demonstration leads viewers to believe that 42-inch bolt cutters are common tools used by thieves. They are not. The 42 inch bolt cutter, like the one used in the show, retails for approximately £291-360...and replacement jaws retail for approximately £100.

"The methods described on this show are not common methods currently in use in the UK or elsewhere. The New York Fahgettaboudit chain is covered by Kryptonite's anti-theft protection offer. In the last two years, in the UK, there have been no claims of property being stolen that was secured with a New York Fahgettaboudit chain. Zero."

Almax's co-owner Maxine Simpson says that the programme makers did, in fact, film the company performing the same test on its own bicycle-specific product, but chose not to air the footage which, she says, shows the chain resisting attack.

Mrs Simpson went on to say that her company's real issue is not with other lock manufacturers but with the quality marks given by Sold Secure, a non-profit making company which assesses security products and which was featured testing cheaper locks in the film. Sold Secure gives the Kryptonite, Abus and Squire products featured in the film its gold standard rating. In the documentary, the products were shown succumbing to 42 inch bolt croppers in as little as three seconds.

The Fahgettaboudit, however, is still considered by Cycling Plus magazine to be one fo the most secure locks on the market in real world conditions given that the modus operandiof the typical opportunistic bike thief is to use light, easily concealed hand tools. "I would still recommend the Fahgettaboudit to anyone in the market for the best security for their bike," said the magazine's lock tester Warren Rossiter.

Sold Secure was originally established in 1992 by Northumbria and Essex Police with the help and backing of the Home Office and is now an independent, ISO quality accredited test house for security devices. The organisation says its test specifications have been prepared using information from the police forces and insurers on the methods of theft and tools utilised by criminals. These specifications, it says, are constantly monitored and the services of a technical consultant are used to assist with, amongst others, this area specifically. Subsequent to the ITV programme, Sold Secure told BikeRadar that a more detailed and in-depth investigation into chain testing is being performed.

Currently to meet Sold Secure's gold standard a bicycle lock must offer theft resistance against the full bicycle tool list (any realistic combination of tools) for a period of no less than 5 minutes (per attack).

The basic bicycle tool list consists of items such as screwdrivers, junior hacksaw, pliers and steel tube. The enhanced bicycle tool list adds in stillsons, larger tube, ball peign hammer, HSS hacksaw, punch set, side cutters and 16" bolt croppers. The full tool bicycle tool list adds in socket set, spanner, more screwdrivers, 24" scaffold pole (for use with stillsons), club hammer, TCT hacksaw, freezing agent, cold chisels, 24" bolt croppers, 24" wrecking bar, scissor jack, slide hammer and lock picking tools.

For clips from the show clip here or to see the London Programme: Gone In 60 Seconds in its entirety click here.

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