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  • Oct 03 2013

    What Makes a Brompton Superlight a Superlight?

    Brompton Superlight with S Bag with Hose Flap Ever since becoming a Brompton dealer, we have seen great value in superlight models and have always made them available to customers as a part of our Brompton inventory. You may have heard them referred to as "Titanium Bromptons," "Ti Bromptons," "Superlights" as above, or "X-Models." All of these refer to the same product — Brompton's superlight frame option. At the start of this year we received several superlight bikes in various configurations, including all three of our standard handlebar types and a variety of colors. For 2013, we also added a third bike to our demo lineup: an S2L-X that was later transformed into an even lighter S2E-X when Luke travelled to England for the Brompton World Championship. Several of you have test-ridden our new demo and all agree: the S2 is a very zippy Brommie! With more and more Brompton riders gaining interest in Brompton racing, Superlight Bromptons are more popular than ever. Of course when it's not race day, one of the superlight's main advantages is not in riding it but in the moments you need to carry it. Going up a flight of stairs or through the airport with your Brompton in tow is all that much easier with a superlight bike. But just what makes a Brompton Superlight so very super? And just how light is it? You'll find the answers to those questions and more below. The following components on a Brompton Superlight or "X" model differ from a standard Steel Brompton. These changes combined contribute to a weight savings of 1.63 pounds (.74 kg) on any given Brompton. Titanium Brompton Superlight Explained
    1. Aluminum Headset
    2. Xtra-Light Front Hub (not only lighter than Brompton's standard front hub, this is a sealed cartridge bearing hub, a big step up from their standard cup and cone hub) built into the front wheel, along with butted spokes for additional weight savings***
    3. Titanium Front Fork
    4. Titanium Front Mudguard Stays
    5. Titanium Rear Frame
    6. Titanium Rear Mudguard Stays
    7. No pump is supplied with a Superlight bike
     

    What parts of a 2013 superlight bike are steel?

    Two key parts: the Main Frame including the stem riser (both painted) and the seatpost.

    Why Titanium?

    • While not as stiff as steel, titanium is equally strong and weighs about 50% less, all of which adds up to mean that Titanium has the highest strength-to-weight ration of any metal. Brompton has long seen its advantages, as has our favorite touring rack manufacturer, Tubus.
    • Titanium has excellent resistance to corrosion; it won't rust. This makes it a great choice for all-weather riders and those who bike in areas where roads are salted in the cold months.
    • Because of its corrosion resistance, titanium doesn't need to be painted — and, we might add, the silvery-grey color of the raw metal is very attractive.
    • As a West London-based manufacturer, Brompton has one more thing in coming with the metal we call "Ti" for short: both have English roots! Titanium was first discovered in Cornwall, in South West England, in 1791 by William Gregor.

    Is it possible to B-Spoke order a Superlight Bike?

    While it is usually possible to B-Spoke (custom-) order a Superlight Brompton, as of September 2, 2013, Brompton is not taking any new orders for Superlight bikes. (Should that change, we'll post an update here.) Many of our stock-superlights have already gone out the door, but we still have Brompton Superlights available for purchase. You can see a selection of our in-stock Superlight Bromptons here. Except where noted, all of the bikes listed on our website are in-stock and ready to ship to your door. Each has a front wheel built with the Brompton Xtra-Light Front Hub.

    I have a standard, steel Brompton. What else might save weight?

    • Standard reflectors and battery lights are lighter than a dynamo lighting system
    • Single-speeds, 2-speeds, and 3-speeds will be lighter than 6-speeds
    • E-Version bikes without mudguards will be slightly lighter than L-Version bikes
    • E-Version and L-Version bikes will be lighter than R-Version bikes fitted with a rear rack
    • Standard or Extended Seatposts are lighter than a Telescopic Seatpost
    • Brompton Kevlar tires and Schwalbe Kojaks save weight over Schwalbe Marathon tires
    • The S Type is lighter than the M, H, or P Type
    • Standard rollers marginally save weight over Eazy Wheels
    • Saddles, in order of lightest to heaviest: B Saddle < B17 S Special < B17 Special
    • Some Brompton owners choose to retro-fit superlight parts, like the Xtra Light Front Wheel, to an all-steel Brompton
    • Carry only the necessities in your Brompton luggage
    • Ride your Brompton every day!
    If you're interested in purchasing (or simply test riding) a Ti-Brompton, stop in any time or order online now. We ship Brompton bikes on a regular basis to U.S.-based Brompton enthusiasts and Brompton fans abroad. Shipping in the continental USA is just $35-40. International shipping quotes are available upon request.   ***Since the publication of this post, Brompton has had some stocking issues with the Superlight front hub. As a result, not every Ti bike will ship with a Superlight front hub. To compensate, Brompton (and we at Perennial Cycle) has reduced the price of all bikes that ship without a Superlight front hub. These bikes will still feature butted spokes in their wheel builds but will use the standard Brompton front hub, unless a dynamo hub is fitted. If you are interested in ordering a specific in-stock Brompton and are curious about what type of front hub it features, please call us at 612-827-8000.
  • Mar 05 2013

    Airnimal Chameleon & Custom Build Info

    Airnimal Chameleon at Calhoun Cycle If you're looking for the most performance-minded folding road bike, look no further than the Airnimal Chameleon. The Chameleon can go toe-to-toe with that lovely road bike of yours, yet has the ability to pack into your car's trunk in less than 2 minutes (30 thirty seconds with motivation & practice). The Chameleon hits its mark for performance by fitting a standard road component group onto a comfortable, stiff frame (comfort coming from a simple, yet firm suspension unit) and accepting a high quality wheelset with several performance oriented road tires available. The Chameleon can be purchased as a frame kit, an economical performance (Sport Racer) package, or the superbly spec'd Rival Pro Chameleon. Perennial Cycle customers have purchased Chameleons with a wide variety of uses in mind, and because of this we have built up a good number of custom builds. If you are interested in building up a bike from a frame kit, this post will help you along in the process.

    Airnimal Bikes at CalhounCycle.com

     Virtually all of the components used to build the Chameleon are standard, so if you have some favorite road componentry you will be able to use these for your Chameleon build as well. Wheels: One key element that you will not find in a typical road bike shop is the 24" (ISO 520mm) wheelset. Velocity is a rim & wheel manufacturer that develops and manufactures great quality products. Whether you are buying Velocity rims to lace up to your favorite road hubs (standard road hub spacing, 100mm front & 130mm rear), or buying a wheelset, we've found them to be the best option available. We stock the Velocity A23 Pro-Build Wheel Set that is perfectly suited for the Chameleon. Tires: We recommend and stock the following tires for the 24" (ISO 520) wheels: Sizing: The Chameleon Frame Kit is available in two sizes and is very adaptable to fit a wide range of rider sizes. By adjusting seat post length, handle bar height, and stem reach, the Chameleon covers riders from 5' to 6'4". We do, however, have a few customers who are outside these measurements who have been able to get the riding position they need, so please call if you fall just outside these measurements.
       52cm (small)   56cm (large)
    HEIGHT:    150–178cm / 5' to 5'11"   175cm–193cm / 5'10" to 6'4"
    INSEAM:    65–95cm / 26" to 37"   65–95cm / 26" to 37"
    STAND-OVER HEIGHT:    63cm / 24"   63cm / 24"
    RIDER WEIGHT:    100kg / 220lb   100kg / 220lb
    Here's a spec list of what's needed to build up a Chameleon:
    • 24" (ISO 520) wheelset, standard 100mm front hub and standard road 130mm rear hub
    • tires, tubes, rim strips and 9 or 10 speed cassette to complete the wheels
    • rear derailleur—even single speed setups need a rear derailleur to accommodate the folding frame
    • standard road brakeset
    • bottom bracket/crankset
    • braze-on mounting front derailleur
    • 31.8mm seat collar
    • 27.2 seatpost (We typically use a 350mm length)
    • saddle
    • 1-1/8" threadless headset (add 1-1/8" headset spacers if tall rider in need of raising the handlebar height)
    • handlebars
    • 1-1/8" threadless stem with handlebar clamp size to match chosen handlebars
    • brake levers & shift levers (most commonly an integrated set)
    Included with Chameleon Frame Kit: Frame, Carbon Fork (with 1-1/8" aluminum steer tube), J-Riser Foldability: The Airnimal Chameleon can be folded to fit into the trunk of your car in less than two minutes. With practice, you'll be doing it in about 30 seconds. Amazing. The Airnimal Chameleon in the First Fold Bag by Carradice Transporting your Chameleon: The Chameleon is ideal for multi-modal travel and we offer convenient protection for any type of travel in your plans. For train, auto, boat and private plane travel, the Carradice First Fold Bag is an excellent solution offering soft-sided coverage that is lightweight, portable, and convenient. For commercial air travel requiring a hard-shell case, the Airporter Mini offers excellent portability, protection and security—and it is sized to comply with standard checked baggage requirements, saving you money every time you fly with your Chameleon. The Mini Airporter with the Airnimal Chameleon inside Even the slightly smaller B&W Clapton case (also known as the Brompton Travel Case) works with the Chameleon with careful attention to detail. Here's a video of the Airnimal team doing just that: • • • • • •
  • Dec 24 2012

    Airnimal Joey & Custom Build Info

    The Airnimal Joey is an extremely versatile folding frame.  The Joey's versatility is due in a large part to the fact that there are two distinctly different types of 24 inch wheels--and the Joey frame is designed to accomodate both of them.  Brilliant. • traveling tourer • club ride phenom • ultimate commuter • gravel racer • saturday's century speed demon The wide range of build options for the Joey make frame-kit custom builds commonplace. Building a Joey up exactly the way you want is a fun project that assures your getting a dialed-in ride to fit your needs.  Many riders have a favorite mechanic they'd like to put to work completing the build using their chosen parts. This is a great way for your hometown hero to get familiar with your new ride.

    24" Wheels & Tires 24" wheels are confusing because there are actually two different diameters (ISO 507 and ISO 520)--each with its best uses and both called 24". Here is a guide to help you sort out which is best for you: For utility riding and loaded touring, the ISO 507 wheels are the best choice.   While there are plenty of knobby mountain- bike tires available in the 507 size (due to the fact that youth sized mountain bikes are made with this wheel size), we build most Joeys with street oriented 24 x 1.5" - 24 x 2.0". • the fastest 507 is the Schwalbe Kojak 24 x 1.5 (40-507) • the fattest high pressure tire is the Schwalbe Big Apple 24 x 2" (50-507) • A road oriented knobby is the Intense Micro Knobby 24 x 1.5" (40-507) • the standard for a commuter/touring tire is the Schwalbe Marathon 24 x 1.75" (47-507) • northern climate winter riders love the Schwalbe Marathon Winter (studded tire) 24 x 1.75Z" (47-507) 507s are the best option if you plan to do some loaded touring and/or loaded commuting.  507s are also suitable for some off-road riding or gravel grinding on your days off.  For light, fast riding, the ISO 520 wheels are the best fit.  Paired with a good set of 520 tires, they perform like a great pair of road wheels. Tires that are available in this wheelsize have width of 7/8", 1". 1-1/8". 1-1/4" and 1-3/8". • the most common 520 tire is the Panaracer Pasela 24 x 1" (25-520) • the fastest 520 is the Schwalbe Durano 24 x 7/8" (23-520) • The Intense Micro Knobby's are comfortably chubby 520's, yet supple and speedy even when used on gravel. While 520 tires are available in various widths, there are no "touring" style tires available. 520 tires are lighter than 507s, but they are less durable and have limited flat protection, so they do not wear very well under a load. If you are all about lightweight commuting and fast day rides where speed and efficiency are your objectives, then you will appreciate 520s.

    • • • • • • •

    Here is a spec sheet listing what is needed to build an Airnimal Joey from the frame kit:
    • 507 or 520 wheel set with 135mm rear dropout spacing, tires, tubes and rim strips. The front hub must be disc compatible; the rear triangle gives you the option of using either a disc or a linear pull brake
    • rear cassette--This is usually a 9 speed cassette, but all that really matters is that you get a cassette that works on the rear wheel you have chosen. We like to run a wide range (11-32) cassette with a single (or double) front crank
    • rear derailleur--Even single speed setups need a rear derailleur to accommodate the folding frame
    • rear brake (disc or linear pull)
    • front disc brake
    • bottom bracket/crankset
    • braze-on front derailleur (optional, only needed if you are using a double crank)
    • saddle
    • handlebars
    • stem--1-1/8" threadless style stem, handlebar clamp to fit handlebar size chosen
    • brake levers--must be compatible with chosen brakes and have a clamp diameter that matches the handlebars being used
    • shift levers--must be compatible with cassette and crank and have a clamp diameter that matches the handlebars being used

    Included with Joey Frame Kit: Frame, seatpost, quick-release seat clamp, fork (cro-mo w/disc brake mounts), headset and j-riser (including headset adjuster)

    • • • • • • •

    Joey Frame History: 2 generations of this frame exist. The first generation could not fit tires wider than 1.5" and had no front derailleur mount. The current (second) generation has a front derailleur mount (to fit a braze-on style front derailleur) and will fit tires over 2" wide. Foldability: The Airnimal Joey has a 15 second quick-fold that will allow you to get it small enough to fit into a trunk or back seat of a small car. With a little more time and disassembly Joey will fit a suitcase. Fenders: The Planet Bike Speedez are a nice solution for having some proper mudguards. There is a shopcast post about them (and some pictures with them on Joeys) HERE.

    Transporting your Joey: The Joey is ideal for multi-modal travel and we offer convenient protection for any type of travel in your plans.  For train,auto and boat travel, the Carradice First Fold Bag is an excellent solution offering soft-sided coverage that is lightweight, portable and convenient. For air and other travel requiring a hard-shell case, the Airnimal Traveler Case is a purpose-built case offering the ultimate in protection, security and convenient portability in terminals.  You may also choose to source your own solution--we have found a few suitcases over the years that will accommodate the Joey.  (See a picture of one example above. The dimensions of this case are 21x29x13 inches.) Here's a video of Hunter packing a Joey Explorer II into the Airnimal Traveler Case: Direct Youtube Link Racks: We have custom fit a variety of racks on the Joey. There are rack mounts on the frame. The front struts will have to be either long-reach mounting struts (like Tubus sells for their Tubus racks) or custom long reach struts which we have available. We recently installed a Tubus Logo rear rack on a Joey--one of the best racks around. We used a Disco Rack Spacer (21mm) and Tubus extra long struts to fit it on the Joey. Here's a picture of it on the bike. Here's a video from a 100 mile ride I did with a friend. We both were riding Joeys. The ride report is HERE Direct Youtube Link
  • Aug 06 2010

    Wooden Seat on a Giro 26!

    A local big miles rider was in this week and when we noticed his new wooden seat we all fell in love. Nice work Gary. This was his practice model and he had another shaped "blank" that would become his new seat after he works out any glitches with the one pictured.

    He integrated a sweet bag carrying system as well. Easier to get at than an under-seat rack, but also keeping the weight well forward of the rear axle. Very nice. It's pretty obvious that Gary's a high mileage rider that is willing to put some thought and energy into perfecting things for his commute. Here are some pictures of his bike.
    Gary was on the shopcast and the news a couple years back. You can check that out here.

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