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Kryptonite KryptoLok 990 Combo Review

This chain lock does a good job balancing moderate security and convenience with a 5 digit combination and a deadbolt style locking mechanism
Kryptonite KryptoLok 990 Combo
Photo: Kryptonite
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Price:  $75 List | $74.93 at Amazon
Pros:  No need for keys, versatile
Cons:  Heavy, wearability limited by waist size
Manufacturer:   Kryptonite
By Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 9, 2021
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57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 18
  • Security - 40% 6
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 4
  • Ease of Use - 20% 6
  • Versatility - 15% 7

Our Verdict

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 keep track of. You can lend the lock to a friend or even let someone borrow or move your bike while you're away by sharing the resettable combo. 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, but this lock will make thieves think twice before taking a crack at this one.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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46
Star Rating
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Pros No need for keys, versatileSecure, includes 5 keys, price is niceInexpensive, more secure than many in its price range, high qualityLightweight, easy-to-carry, easy-to-useLightweight, flexible, easy to use
Cons Heavy, wearability limited by waist sizeClunky mounting hardware, heavyLocking mechanism stuck a few times, lackluster frame mountMinimal security, can be compromised with the right tools quicklyToo 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 mechanismThis lock provides great security and versatility at an affordable price, and while not our absolute favorite, it's pretty closeThis inexpensive U-lock offers versatility and security that is likely to fit the needs and budgets of many cyclists and commutersIf you're in the market for a highly portable and lightweight lock but without much security, this one has your name on itGreat for preventing the "snatch and grab" while you pit stop, these ties do 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
Security (40%)
6.0
9.0
6.0
3.0
1
Ease Of Transport (25%)
4.0
3.0
5.0
9.0
10.0
Ease Of Use (20%)
6.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Versatility (15%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
4.0
2.0
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
Hammer No No No No Yes
Hacksaw No No No No Yes, quick
Bolt cutters, 36" No No No Yes, but not very easily. Requires two cuts Yes
Angle grinder Yes Yes Yes Yes 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, cumbersome, and lacks the wearability featured on the chain-style lock from HipLok.

Performance Comparison


This chain lock easily accommodates the frame, the front tire, and a...
This chain lock easily accommodates the frame, the front tire, and a fence post. The chainlink fence is easily the least secure part of the equation here.
Photo: Matt Bento

Security


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 easily cut, and you can slide back the rubber case to get eyes on the steel link, but these features do make the weak points (the individual links) less obvious and more difficult 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.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

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.

You could wear this lock, but it's not exactly a one-size-fits-all...
You could wear this lock, but it's not exactly a one-size-fits-all, nor is it very comfortable.
Photo: Matt Bento

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.

Wrapping this lock around your crossbar or seat post is one way to...
Wrapping this lock around your crossbar or seat post is one way to carry it, though it's bulky, heavy, and still inconvenient.
Photo: Matt Bento

Ease of Use


The first step in using this lock is to set your personal combination (unless you just 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 knowledge of 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 where you can register your code with them and give them a call if you forget your combination. Even easier is to make note of your combo digitally, saving it in a note on your phone or even emailing it to yourself.

Once the correct combination is entered, a simple yank of the end of...
Once the correct combination is entered, a simple yank of the end of the lock pulls back the dead bolt and releases the chain.
Photo: Matt Bento

Once you input the proper combination, you can open the lock by pulling the plastic cap on the end of the lock, releasing the dead bolt mechanism. The combination wheels rotate 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.

The combination is easy to reset by moving a lever inside the lock...
The combination is easy to reset by moving a lever inside the lock housing, but you can't change it without knowing the original combo.
Photo: Matt Bento

Versatility


Because the chain is 39" long (you can also purchase a longer and heavier version), you can lock your bike to a bigger variety of objects than even the largest of U-locks. We find the biggest advantage of this lock is that it allows you to lock both wheels and your bike frame to a standard rack without having to remove your front wheel. This saves you some time and gives you more peace of mind in sketchy areas.

Value


The price is in line with most of the competition, and the Kryptolok 990 is unique from many models in its offering of keyless security. There are many chain-style locks on the market that are much less expensive, but few are as secure, and the Kryptolok's combination mechanism is much better than a simple combo lock connected to a chain that can be broken in 10 seconds with a pair of bolt cutters.

Conclusion


Without a doubt, this lock provides security and confidence when you leave your prized 2-wheeled possession locked up around town or on campus. It's heavy and it doesn't have a wearable option like our favorite chain style locks, though, which makes us hesitant to strongly recommend it over some other impressive models.

Matt Bento

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