High-quality bike locks and the manufacturer Kryptonite have become almost synonymous among many urban cyclists. The Kryptonite New York Standard U-lock does not disappoint this association. Simple, functional, and 16 mm of burly steel combine to form our favorite lock overall. It wins our Editors' Choice Award for the fourth time running, despite fierce competition due to its optimal balance of security with versatility. With high security comes significant weight in this gear category, yet our testers were willing to mount this lock and ride into high-risk environments with confidence. Our attempts to break this lock were futile with hand tools, including a cordless drill and a car jack. We are confident that it takes a miracle and some luck to break this lock with hand tools. Short of that, a thief will have to use power. Kryptonite is so confident their lock won't break, they offer $4,000 in bicycle protection to back it up. Although this lock could be an everyday lock for nearly anyone, its best use is in cities, suburbs, and college towns.
Kryptonite New York Standard U-Lock Review
Cons: Heavy, bulky to transport
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The New York Standard U-Lock features Kryptonite's top-of-the-line security technology. Our Editors' Choice winner is the ultimate bike lock for security and convenience. The "U" bar is made of hardened steel 16 mm in diameter, which locks into a crossbar with a dual locking mechanism.
Kryptonite's New York Standard, New York Fahgettaboudit Mini, and Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock are rated to Gold in Sold Secure (an independent European lock testing organization that rates accepted products as Bronze, Silver or Gold). Kryptonite gives the Standard a 9 out of 10 security rating and the Fahgettaboudit models a 10 out of 10. When comparing the two U-locks, our security testing showed a minimal increase in security for the Fahgettaboudit Mini. The Standard took 31 seconds to cut through with a grinder (for only one cut. A thief would have to make two cuts to free a bike locked up with this lock, which means that they would be throwing sparks all over the place for over a minute.) The Fahgettaboudit Mini took 45 seconds.
The New York Standard is constructed with a burly dual locking mechanism in the crossbar, meaning that one cut through the "U" can't pull the "U" apart enough to get the bike frame out. This is one of a few compelling reasons to lock your bike through thick parts of your bike over thin spokes or even rear triangles. We struck the already cut "U" metal bars with a hammer to force the bars apart on this lock. Mid-level security U-locks were kaput after one cut with the grinder. It also took longer to bust through the 16mm steel of the New York Standard.
There is a reason these locks were named for the notoriously most-likely-to-get-your-bike-stolen city in the world. If you live in a metropolitan area and expect to leave your bike on the street for more than a New York minute, this is an ideal lock. The Anti-Theft Protection policy offers financial compensation if your bike is stolen when locked properly with this model. Be aware, though, that you must meet Kryptonite's somewhat stringent stipulations to cash in after an unfortunate theft. This lock is a powerful deterrent with a chance for compensation in worst-case scenarios.
Ease of Transport
Here, we come back to the dilemma of security vs. transportability. A more secure lock means more physical lock, and thus a heavier and bulkier transport. The Kryptonite New York Standard is pretty heavy, weighing a hair over 4 lbs, and also a beast of a lock to break into. To help this unavoidable problem, the Standard comes with a mounting bracket (the FlexFrame U Bracket) to attach that 4 lbs to the frame. Regarding U-lock mounts, though, the most secure bracket came with the ABUS Granit X-Plus.
Say you are riding a comfy towny bike and you want to buy a New York Standard to mount on the frame. The addition of the lock increases your bike's weight by 10 percent, not a super noticeable difference. If you took that same 4 lbs and put it in your backpack, your shoulders and lower back may well take notice after a few miles.
Similar logic was applied to the Hiplok Original: Superbright when we examined how its 4 lbs of steel were distributed evenly around the rider's waist. Although the wearability of the Hiplok is a very good idea, the New York Standard is a better fit if you want to transport a lock on your bike instead of around your hips. Ease of transport is where the Standard outshone the Fahgettaboudit Mini. Even though the Mini is more compact, it weighs more.
Ease of Use
The New York Standard scores similarly to the other U-locks in the usability department. Dual locking sides mean that you have to slide the crossbar evenly onto the "U" part of the lock, which can take a little fiddling, depending on what you are locking your bike to. And, if you're new at this, expect a few "Cat 5 tattoos" (chain grease or dirt from the bike) to end up on your hands and forearms as you wrestle with the bike, lock and whatever you are locking the bike to. However, of the standard U-Locks in this review, the Standard was our reviewers' go-to if other similar locks wouldn't work. It enabled our reviewers to lock bikes to racks, park benches, iron fences, bleachers-- in other words, more than just standard bike racks.
When comparing the size of the New York Standard to the Bulldog DT and ABUS Granit, they are all about 4" by 9", a natural size to get around a wheel, your bike frame, and the object you are locking to. The Fahgettaboudit Mini is a bit more time-consuming when locking up because of its much smaller size.
The Editors' Choice Award goes to the best bike lock tested, and we thought that the versatility factor of the Standard was important to consider. While the Fahgettaboudit needs an additional lock to include both wheels, the New York Standard's 4" width and 8" length allows the lock to handle your frame, rear wheel, bike rack and detached front wheel to most bike racks.
If you want to cover all your bases, this lock is as good as they come. You will have trouble locking to awkward structures like trees and lampposts, though. If you need high security but don't lock to standard racks often, the Hiplok model is a better option. For the optimal combination of versatility and protection (but forget about portability), the Fahgettaboudit Chain is your lock.
One of our testers recalls her first couple of years in college when she had three bikes stolen. Two out of the three bikes were locked in her fenced backyard, but with cheap cable locks (the third was on her front porch while she put down a load of groceries in the kitchen). She added up the value of bikes and locks and found the combined price to be about 10x the amount of the New York Standard U-Lock. The amount of lock that you are getting for a hundred bucks is well worth it. Even if you don't own an expensive bike, the cost, and effort of replacing bike and lock after bike and lock pay for this one-time investment in quality.
It's also worth stating that buying a U-Lock you can't use isn't really all that useful. With the New York Standard, you know that you'll be able to lock to most objects you'll come across, especially in urban situations. While the Fahgettaboudit Mini is more secure, you're limited to what you can lock to by its small size.
Kryptonite's New York Standard U-Lock is a workhorse in the bike lock world. A thief most certainly needs power tools to get through the thick metal and burly locking mechanism. It is heavy in hand and initially on the wallet, but the quality of lock and design is worth it. The Standard won the Editors' Choice Award with the idea that if you choose one lock the rest of your life, this is the one. We don't think you'll be disappointed.
— Ross Robinson and Rebecca Eckland