The Kryptonite KryptoLok 990 Combo is a secure and convenient way to keep your bike safe without the hassle of another set of keys to manage. You can even lend the lock to a friend or let someone borrow or move your bike while you're away by sharing the resettable combo. Indeed, it's a nifty product and one you might appreciate adding to your biking collection. This chain-style lock has a nylon cover to protect your bike from scratches when you wrap it around your seat post or crossbar for transport. The chain links aren't the thickest we've encountered in our bike lock review, but this bike lock will make thieves think twice before taking a crack at this one.Editor's Note: We updated this gear review on January 25, 2022, to include additional information that might help your decision-making process to find the perfect bike lock for your needs.
Kryptonite KryptoLok 990 Combo Review
Cons: Heavy, wearability limited by waist size
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|Pros||No need for keys, versatile||Secure, includes 5 keys, price is nice||Inexpensive, more secure than many in its price range, high quality||Lightweight, easy-to-carry, easy-to-use||Lightweight, flexible, easy to use|
|Cons||Heavy, wearability limited by waist size||Clunky mounting hardware, heavy||Locking mechanism stuck a few times, lackluster frame mount||Minimal security, can be compromised with the right tools quickly||Too small, minimal security|
|Bottom Line||This chain lock does a good job balancing moderate security and convenience with a 5 digit combination and a deadbolt style locking mechanism||This lock provides great security and versatility at an affordable price, and while not our absolute favorite, it's pretty close||This inexpensive U-lock offers versatility and security that is likely to fit the needs and budgets of many cyclists and commuters||If you're in the market for a highly portable and lightweight lock but without much security, this one has your name on it||Great for preventing the "snatch and grab" while you make a pit stop but does little to prevent a real bike thief from swiping your ride|
|Rating Categories||Kryptonite KryptoLo...||OnGuard Brute STD||Kryptonite Kryptolo...||ABUS Chain Lock 120...||Hiplok Z Lok|
|Ease of Transport (25%)|
|Ease of Use (20%)|
|Specs||Kryptonite KryptoLo...||OnGuard Brute STD||Kryptonite Kryptolo...||ABUS Chain Lock 120...||Hiplok Z Lok|
|Measured weight (lbs)||5.8 lbs||3.6 lbs||3.2 lbs||0.5 lbs||0.1 lbs|
|Type of lock||Chain||U-Lock||U-Lock + cable||Chain||Reusable zip tie|
|Primary materials/thickness||9.5mm 3T manganese steel||16.8mm hardened steel||12.7mm hardened steel; braided steel cable||4mm hardened steel||Steel core security tie|
|Locking dimension||35" circumference, 1.5" width||7.5" x 10.5"||U-lock: 4" x 9"; Cable: 4'||43" circumference||16.5" circumference|
|# of keys included||N/A||5 keys||2 keys||N/A||1 key|
|Tin snips||No||No||No||Yes, requires two cuts to defeat||Yes|
|Bolt cutters, 36"||No||No||No||Yes, but not very easily. Requires two cuts||Yes|
|Number of cuts to free lock||2 cuts||2 cuts||2 cuts||2 cuts||1 cut|
Our Analysis and Test Results
A combination lock is a sure-fire way around the problem of lost or forgotten keys. The Kryptonite KryptoLok 990 Combo combines a simple 5-digit combo wheelset with a tough steel chain, and the result is a reasonably secure and versatile keyless bike lock. The downsides: it's heavy and cumbersome.
This chain lock uses 9.5 mm thick manganese steel links to create a 39" chain shrouded under a sheath of weather and abrasion-resistant nylon. At the connecting end, a deadbolt-style mechanism secures the terminal link, which is encased in rubber. The nylon is easy to cut, and you can slide back the rubber case to get eyes on the steel link, but these features make the weak points (the individual links) less obvious and more challenging to locate and could slow down a thief, especially in the dark. If we didn't first remove the nylon sheath, our bolt cutters would slide off the links before biting into the nylon sheath. Again, the sheath itself isn't all that tough, but it adds a step on the path to destruction, and every extra step is a little more security.
Ease of Transport
This sucker is heavy (5.8 pounds), and we notice it as soon as we drop it in our packs. We also experimented with wearing the lock around our waists, but it's not optimized to be carried that way comfortably and was only an option for our scrawnier testers.
The best way we found to transport the KryptoLok 990 is to wrap it several times around the bike's crossbar and lock it. The nylon sheath will protect your fingers from getting pinched by the chain and keep your bike from getting scratched. It's not very convenient, any way you carry it, and it might interfere with your biking gear and goals.
Ease of Use
The first step in using this lock is to set a combination (unless you want to use the factory set combination, but you're asking for trouble). It is as easy as flipping the "reset" lever, and you can't reset the password without knowing the previous one. We tried and failed to come up with a scenario where we could accidentally reset the combination. Kryptonite offers a combination registration program to register your code and give them a call if you forget your combination. It is even easier to make a note of your combo digitally, such as saving it in a note on your phone or even emailing it to yourself.
Once you input the proper combination, you can open the lock by pulling the plastic cap on the end of the lock, releasing the deadbolt mechanism. The combination wheels rotated smoothly, and the lock always popped free for us with little resistance. We're not much for speculation at GearLab, but simplicity often goes hand in hand with long-term durability, and this lock has a lot of moving parts.
Since the chain is 39" long (you can also purchase a more extended and heavier version), you can lock your bike to various objects than even the largest of U-locks. We think the most significant advantage of this lock is that it allows you to lock both wheels and your bike frame to a standard rack without removing your front wheel, and this saves you some time and gives you more peace of mind in sketchy areas.
Should You Buy the Kryptonite KryptoLok 990 Combo?
The Kryptolok 990 is unique from many models in our lineup of bike locks in its offering of keyless security. This contender is heavy, and it doesn't have a wearable option like our favorite chain-style locks, which strongly makes us hesitant to recommend it over other impressive models.
What Other Bike Locks Should You Consider?
We think it's wise to check out the Hiplok Original: Superbright, an award-winning wearable contender that brings solid security. It is more money, but we think it's an all-around better option worth the investment.
— Matt Bento
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