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  • Jan 09 2020

    Brompton Tire Guide

    Looking for some new rubber for your Brompton? We have been riding and selling Brompton Bikes for over 10 years. Finding the right balance between durability, ride quality and efficiency will depend on where you ride, how you ride and what your expectations are.

    • We find the Schwalbe Marathon to be a shop favorite (not just for Bromptons, but overall) because it has mega durability yet the Marathon is quite speedy. The downside is that it is a fairly stiff tire, so the ride isn't quite as smooth as some other options.

    • If you want to be protected from flats as best possible, the Marathon Plus is the way to go. In Minneapolis it might be considered overkill, but if you're in a cactus state it might be necessary. This is the highest mileage and best flat protection offered from an air filled tire.

    • The Marathon Racer is Brompton's default stock tire. The Racer is a nice compromise between durability, smooth ride and speed. You're not going to get the same mileage as the Marathon and the flat protection isn't quite as high, but you gain a more supple tire which translates to a smoother, speedier ride.

    • If you like kicking it old school and want the narrowest and highest pressure tire, then the Kojak is for you. This has been the go-to for Brompton racers since the day it was introduced. While the folding and the non-folding Kojak look identical, the folding Kojak is lighter and more supple (higher sidewall chord count).

    • The Schwalbe One is the newest performance minded tire in the lineup. We LOVE it. Fast, lightweight, supple, durable and even a bit chubby. The only downside is the price, but hey, we don't need to replace our Brompton tires very often, so it is money well spent.

    • While the Marathon Winter is only going to appeal to those riding on rather extreme conditions (like those of us in Minnesota), it is a great tire for icey conditions. The Fin's made this tire possible and Minnesotans thank them ; )

    Schwalbe Marathon HS 420

    SIZE: 16 x 1.35"

    ETRTO: 35-349

    PRESSURE: 65-110 psi

    WEIGHT: 420g

    BEAD: Wire

    COLOR: Black

    COMPOUND: Endurance

    If we had one tire to recommend for the utility rider or daily commuter, the Schwalbe Marathon HS 420 is it. It is a little slower rolling than others on this list (except the Marathon Plus), but in exchange it will reliably shrug off glass, wire and other debris. We find this this is a dependable tire that will provide favorable riding characteristics.

    Schwalbe Marathon Plus HS 440

    SIZE: 16 x 1.35"

    ETRTO: 35-349

    PRESSURE: 65-110 psi

    WEIGHT: 480g

    BEAD: Wire

    COLOR: Black

    COMPOUND: SmartGuard

    The Schwalbe Marathon Plus HS 440 is Schwalbe's best selling tire and is also the most puncture resistant tire available for Brompton Bikes. It is an extremely durable, long-wearing and flat resistant tire. This is the highest mileage and most flat resistant tire available for Bromptons.

    Schwalbe Marathon Racer HS 429

    SIZE: 16 x 1-1/3"

    ETRTO: 35-349

    PRESSURE: 65-110 psi

    WEIGHT: 282g

    BEAD: Wire

    COLOR: Black

    COMPOUND: SpeedGrip

    The Schwalbe Marathon Racer HS 429 is the best-of-all-worlds option for your Brompton, and is the standard tire option on their bikes since 2017. We find that the Schwalbe Marathon Racer provides excellent city / commuting performance, while still being reliable and rugged enough for everyday use.

    Schwalbe Winter HS 396

    SIZE: 16 x 1.20"

    ETRTO: 30-349

    PRESSURE: 65-115 psi

    WEIGHT: 460g

    BEAD: Wire

    COLOR: Black

    COMPOUND: Winter

    The Schwalbe Winter HS 396 is the best way to winterize your Brompton. This tire provides outstanding grip on ice, and the winter compound provides reliable stability in winter conditions. We also like the added puncture protection and reflective sidewalls.

    Schwalbe Kojak HS 385

    SIZE: 16 x 1-1/4"

    ETRTO: 32-349

    PRESSURE: 70-115 psi

    WEIGHT: 230g

    BEAD: Wire

    COLOR: Black

    COMPOUND: SpeedGrip; 50TPI

    The Schwalbe Kojak HS 385 is a high performance Street Slick, well suited for use on the road. We find that the Kojak is ideal for city / urban performance riding due to its high on-road grip, low rolling resistance, and puncture protection. Reflective labeling is just the icing on the cake.

    Schwalbe Folding Kojak HS 385

    SIZE: 16 x 1-1/4"

    ETRTO: 32-349

    PRESSURE: 70-115 psi

    WEIGHT: 175g

    BEAD: Kevlar

    COLOR: Black; RFX

    COMPOUND: SpeedGrip; 67TPI

    The Schwalbe Folding Kojak HS 385 has similarities to the non-folding Kojak, but it's lighter weight, has a kevlar (folding) bead, higher threads per inch, and a full reflective strip. The higher thread count makes for a lighter and more supple casing. Additionally, the compact fold makes this a great option if you need to pack an extra tire.

    Schwalbe ONE HS462A

    SIZE: 16 x 1-1/3"

    ETRTO: 35-349

    PRESSURE: 65-100 psi

    WEIGHT: 180g

    BEAD: Folding

    COLOR: Black w/ Tan Walls

    COMPOUND: Addix Race

    The Schwalbe One HS462A is the fastest and lightest Schwalbe tire available for the Brompton. Here at Perennial Cycle, we prefer the slightly wider Schwalbe One VS. the Kojak, as we find the the ONE gives a slightly smoother ride and gives a bit more durability. If you are looking for the speediest tire option, this might be 'the one'.

    • • • • • • • •

    Schwalbe Tubes

    Schwalbe tubes have extremely high air retention and elasticity. We recommend Schwalbe Tubes for all of these tires.

    The Schwalbe AV4 is standard (shrader valve) for Brompton Wheels. This tube is used unless you have non-standard rims.

    WEIGHT: 85 grams

    STEM LENGTH: 40mm

    VALVE TYPE: Schrader Valve

    The Schwalbe SV4 is used on non-standard (presta valve) Brompton Wheels. This is used if your rims are setup for presta valve tubes.

    WEIGHT: 85 grams

    STEM LENGTH: 40mm

    VALVE: Presta Valve

    Click here to see all of our Brompton Tires & Tubes

  • Dec 27 2019

    Igaro-UK D2 dynamo charging units are here!

    Igaro D2 Dynamo Charger
    The Igaro D2 is tiny & packed with tech

    Igaro is a company in the UK making an extraordinary dynamo charging unit called the D2. Whether you are touring, randonneuring gravel grinding or spending the day out and about on your bike, the Igaro-UK D2 will keep your phone, Garmin, Wahoo, power bank or any number of USB devices charged no matter how many apps you're running.

    While we have been reliably using dynamo charging here at Perennial Cycle for several years now, we are always searching for the next evolution of this amazing technology. The Igaro-UK D2 has been of particular interest to us because it has new technical features that we have not seen before, namely the ability to auto-reconnect. What this means is that when a device has either stopped charging completely, or the device's charger has locked onto the lowest trickle of current (like when you encounter a big hill), the D2 will recognize this and once there's enough current to charge at a higher rate, the D2 restarts so the device will start accepting the higher current. This is the feature makes the D2 a plug and play charging device.
    Note: Your device needs to be plugged into the D2 while the bike is at a standstill. Being plugged in from a stop allows auto-reconnect to calibrate itself. Plugging in your device while rolling doesn't prevent the charger from working, it just won't activate auto-reconnect if needed. Some devices are capable of reconnecting after charging has been shut down due to a low current, so auto-reconnect is not always a necessary feature.

    Many of Perennial Cycle's dynamo super-users have ultimately ended up using their charging units to charge the Cinq5 Power Pack II (power bank). This is due to the fact that the Power Pack II is capable of adjusting its power intake to the flow that is being offered AND it can be used as a pass-through, so while it is being charged, it can also charge a device. Charging a The Power Pack II is the safest way to be sure you are going to be able to charge any device in all riding conditions, but the Igaro-UK D2's are as close to a sure bet as you'll find when connecting a device directly to your dynamo charging unit.

    There are 2 models of the D2 available at Perennial Cycle, D2-Standard and D2-Lite. While both models of the D2's have auto-reconnect, the D2-Standard adds tuning optimization to its function and is tuned to give optimal power output at 12 MPH. This translates to adding over 20% more power output at around 12 MPH vs. D2-Lite (or other charging units on the market).

    D2's are tiny and easy to tuck into a frame bag or handlebar bag. No matter where you place your D2, the power input pins need to be protected. We have found a nice little ABS box that works well to protect the D2. You can buy it with a USB-C input plug (plugs into the D2) that is about 5" long and the other end of this adaptor is a female USB-A plug.
    Note: If you have other adaptor cables that you plan to use, we'd recommend you buy our D2 Box as a DIY project so you can add holes specifically sized for your cable.

  • Mar 04 2019

    Chains for Brompton Folding Bikes

    Servicing bikes is taken very seriously at Perennial Cycle. Brompton Bikes are a big part of our service department. It's only natural that we would offer the best chains that you can install on your Brompton Folding Bike to make it shift quickly and run smoothly.

    While the stock (OEM) chain is functional in a gets-the-job-done kind of way, the chain is the heart of your bike's transmission and thus a great component to upgrade to help you get the most out of your bike. Being that the Brompton chain is a basic OEM chain, we feel pretty strongly that it doesn't match the quality of your amazing Brompton Folding Bicycle.
    Below are 3 choices that we like a lot:


    Connex 8sX by Wipperman
    The Connex 8sX is the best. Hands down.
    Manufactured in Germany using the best tech available. The stainless steel plates with nickel inner links make this a weather-proof chain that is highly wear resistant. Expect an extra 40% life from the 8sX as well as improved shifting. The included Connex Link is known to be the most dependable quick link available.
    This is not an inexpensive chain, but it is a great value.


    Connex 808 by Wipperman
    The Connex 808 is a full nickel chain (both inner and outer plates). It can handle the weather better than most chains on the market. Also the chain plate design is the same as the 8sX, so shifting will be smooth and quick. The Connex Link (included) is legendary for being extremely dependable.
    Though the 808 is not manufactured in Germany, it is quality tested prior to packaging in Hagen, Germany.


    SRAM PC 850 Powerchain II
    The SRAM PC 850 is the best chain that you can buy for under $20. Uses SRAM's Powerchain II technology and comes with a SRAM Powerlink for tool-less installation. A clear step up from the Brompton OEM chain, yet keeping things very economic.


    The length of the chain is determined by the gearing on your bike. The chart below is what we use to get the chain length correct for each Brompton we're working on.
    If you need help working out which length chain you need, feel free to give us a call: 612-827-8000

    If you buy a chain and you choose the number of links you want it to be, we'll measure it and send you the chain as requested along with the quick link. This way you would not need a chain tool on your end.
    BTW: If you are going on a trip or tour, having a spare connecting link could end up saving the day. Find the connecting links with the chains.

    Extra Details: If your chain needs replacing, we'd expect you to also need to replace the sprocket(s) on the rear wheel. These are available HERE. Replacing your chain and sprockets is a simple way to keep your shifting smooth and your drivetrain running quietly.

    Extra Extra Details: Older Bromptons used 1/8" chains, instead of the current 3/32". We don't expect to put any 1/8" chains on Bromptons. The current sprockets available are for 3/32" chains, so if you currently have an 1/8" chain, we'd be replacing the chain and sprocket with 3/32" sprocket and 3/32" chain.

  • Feb 20 2016

    Leather Saddle Care

    leather saddle care   Last month, we covered a variety of ways to protect a leather saddle from rain. Through the course of researching for that article, we came across many other articles and forum posts on leather saddles. The overall landscape of information out there is disheartening. There is a lot of confusion, fear, and mystical speculation around the subject. Apparently us children of post-industrial economics have trouble thinking about natural materials, and tend to relegate them to the same bin as things like weather prediction, the Tarot, and alchemical processes. But it’s really not that complicated. Yes, you can ruin a leather saddle. You can also ruin anything else if you start poking at it without any guidance. So we’ve harvested a small heap of saddle wisdom for you to get you started.

    There are a handful of manufacturers making leather saddles in 2015, some surviving since the dawn of cycling, others started on Kickstarter in the past few years. The pattern is somewhat similar to that of preserved foods, anything made of waxed canvas, hipster hatchets, and wool athletic clothing. The hype of plastic is burnt out, and we are realizing that sometimes the most technically advantageous material happens to already grow on the back of some living creature, or a tree. Our favorite manufacturer is Brooks, who have been making their saddles for a very long time indeed and, thanks to their wide distribution and eternal status, produce a multitude of shapes, sizes, and colors (and special editions, and unique editions, etc, etc…). But how to pick?! Well, we can’t help you decide which shade of brown will suit your frame color best*, nor can we tell you which saddle will fit you! Only your own body can guide you, and it usually turns out, if we may borrow the old wizarding adage, that “the wand chooses the wizard.” Stop by your LBS with the hugest selection of Brooks saddles (big hint if you live in Minnesota) and test out some saddles. Start with something appropriate for your general riding style: narrower for leaned-in drop bar riders, wider for the laid-back cruiser. Put it on a chair and take a seat, and try a few! Brooks saddles are gendered (“S” for women’s fit). It’s a little old fashioned, don’t feel weird if you feel better on the “other” type, many do! We’ll help you out if you are confused, disparaged, or lost.


    So you've found a saddle. Now we are going to give your brand new $200 leather-and-steel throne a shove down its path of decay. But we are going to control it, hold its hand, massage it, give it compliments and play it Mozart. You could just throw it on the seat post and start chugging, feeding the leather off your own oily skin and sweat. This works for some, and I salute them. They ride enough and weigh enough to use their calloused Sitz bones as shoe hammers, carving themselves a dwelling into the stone-hard surface of Brooks leather. This is what Brooks recommends, by the way. But Brooks leather is tough, and bone dry. It is shaped with heat and baked at high temperatures until the fibers set, similar to the process used to make medieval leather armor. A new Brooks saddle is a tabula rasa, waiting for your personal "touch". It requires input to selectively soften the areas that need softening, thus:

    1. Acquire some Brooks Proofide.
    2. Load a good helping onto the middle-rear section of the seat. Think of the saddle in two parts: the nose, and the seat. You are aiming for the front portion of the seat area, where your Sitz bones land. Get some on the raw underside of the saddle in the same area. Spread a very light coat on the rest of the top surface.
    3. Let the Proofide soak into the leather for a bit, until dry. It soaks in surprisingly fast. Like we said, these saddles are bone dry.
    4. Polish off the excess with a clean polishing rag. This will unseat any dye left on the surface of the saddle that would otherwise end up on your shorts.
    5. Ride hard, ride often.
    6. The saddle should start to deform, and should be very comfortable in 100 - 200 miles.
    Here's what it looked like when we treated one of our store demonstrator saddles: After the initial break-in period, an occasional treatment with Proofide will keep the leather supple and reasonably protected from water damage, but it will not be waterproof†. Proofide is made of waxes and oils, which don't mix with water, but if enough Proofide were used to waterproof the saddle, it would become too soft and would stretch beyond usefulness. Don't do it! And a final word: should you be tempted by that nice little chrome tensioning tool stamped with the Brooks logo, don't touch it! You will have plenty of experience with your saddle before it is necessary. Now go ride your magic carpet of velo-human friendship!     * - actually we can! Stop by and we’ll give you our refined and well-informed opinion. † - see our previous post, "Seat Thoughts: Saddle Covers".

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