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  • Dec 13 2019

    Next Generation of Dynamo Charging Units

    The Plug5, Igaro D2 and Appcon3000
    The Plug5, Igaro D2 and Appcon 3000

    In the past 6 months we’ve seen 3 new dynamo usb charging units come to market and in my view these products represent the next generation in dynamo charging. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Plug III and have used it to charge my phone a lot, but that unit is soon to be moved to my commuter so I can make room for one of these newer, higher tech models.

    Two of them I see as a response to what is a clear trend among long distance and touring cyclists that rely on their dynamo charging unit. This trend is to use their dynamo charging unit to charge a power bank, then use the power bank to charge their device (phone, garmin, wahoo, etc). There are a large amount of devices needing to be charged on the road, yet info regarding how these devices manage being charged is hard to find (in particular, how each device would handle a low, fluctuating power supply). Thus, the safest bet is to charge the power bank. Specifically the Smart Power Pack II because this power bank is designed for getting charged via dynamo power and can be charged while charging a device (pass-through technology).

    The third option is strictly a dynamo charging unit with a usb-c port with some tech advancements that we’ve dreamed about, though this is the first time they’ve been available to us. The biggest advancement that we are most excited about is auto-reconnect. This is an answer to my comment above about not knowing how well a device can be charged when the flow of power fluctuates (namely drops to a tiny flow on a hill climb). Often devices stop receiving power when the current dips too low and then it ignores the incoming power…even when the power supply increases. Auto-reconnect solves this problem by recognizing the issue and reconnecting to the device when the power supply is at a level that the device will accept.

    Here are the 3 options (plus a runner up):

    Appcon 3000 w/ Bag Option

    Appcon 3000: The Appcon 3000 has a lot of tech happening in a nice little package. A 3000 mAh power bank is integrated into this unit. It can be mounted a few ways on the bike. Using the steer tube mounting setup is probably the cleanest solution, though you need to know that the headset cap is not the USB port (like some other units), but the USB port and the incoming power lines come out of the cap with a few inches of durable cable. Whatever mounting setup you go with, the Appcon 3000 is designed to be easy to remove from the bike. This is because you might want to take it in the tent and use the power bank, or you may want to bring it into the cafe and charge the power bank via usb wall plug. Another added feature of the Appcon 3000 is an iOS or android App. The App uses bluetooth to connect to the Appcon 3000 and gives you tons of information about incoming and outgoing power.

    Cinq5 Plug5 Plus

    Cinq5 Plug5 Plus: The Plug5 Plus also has an integrated power bank. The power bank on the Plug5 Plus is 1000 mAh and is not capable of being charged from a wall mount and there’s no app for your phone, but there’s loads of tech in this unit. The Plug5 Plus has power management built into it so that charging a device AND having your lights on is a possibility, though we must understand that the hub only has so much power to give and the charging will happen much better when the lights are turned off. The Plug5 Plus is designed to fit into a steer tube. When this is possible, it’s an awesome setup as the USB-C plug is built into the top cap and the power bank along with all the electronics are hidden inside your steer tube. If you prefer a less permanent solution for mounting the Plug5 Plus (or you have a carbon steer tube), you can keep it external by using a length of 1-1/8” aluminum tubing to act as your mock steer tube. This will easily fit it into a frame bag or handlebar bag.

    Igaro-UK D2

    Igaro-UK D2: The Igaro-UK D2 is a simple, super lightweight and very techy dynamo charging unit. All Igaro D2’s have Auto-Reconnect technology built into them. With Auto-Reconnect you can successfully charge a variety of devices that might fail otherwise. The fail happens because the the device being charged might lock on to a very tiny stream of power, or possibly stop charging altogether because of the drop in power supply on a big climb. The D2’s will see this issue as it’s happening and automatically restart the charge process when there’s a higher power supply available. This charging shut down is a somewhat common struggle when using a  dynamo charging units that are not incorporating a pass-through power bank, so this is a pretty exciting feature to have. The Igaro D2-Standard has charge optimization built into it which is set for 12 MPH. This adds a nice little boost to the power output that the D2-Lite (or any other dynamo chargers) do not have. 

    Worth Mentioning (runner up):

    Cinq5 Smart Power Pack II

    Cinq5 Smart Power Pack II: I would be remiss to not mention that while the Smart Power Pack II is not a new product, it is something that’s been gaining in popularity in the past 18 months. This is due to the fact that this power bank is pretty awesome. It is capable of adjusting it’s power intake with the power supply being offered AND it can charge and be charged (act as a pass-through). These are features that all 3 of the next generation of dynamo chargers are working to address. So if you have a charging unit that you’d like to breathe new life into, you might want to consider getting the Smart Power Pack II

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    Looking for more info about using dynamo power? Check out these blogposts:
    - Dynamo Lighting Basics
    - USB Charging w/Dynamo Power

    Here are some relevant links for our shop:
    Dynamo Charging Units - Dynamo Products - Dynamo Lights  -  Dynamo Wheels

  • Nov 13 2019

    Poketo x Thousand Helmet: Perennial Cycle Product Highlight

    Thousand is a company that believes that it is important to keep human-centered design at the forefront of crafting a helmet. Poketo is a lifestyle brand that creates exclusive products reflecting a philosophy of “Art for Your Every day.” Together, they have created a series of inspired designs that folks will actually want to wear every day!

    At Perennial Cycle this type of stuff gets us excited. One of the top reasons people don't like to wear helmets is because they don't like the way they fit, look or make them feel. Thousand Helmets fix these perceptions with good design.

    Coral Reef Helmet

    Poketo reflects its Californian roots with its bright and light pastel colors. The Coral Reef pattern features nebulous patches reminiscent of the ebb and flow of the oceans and all the colorful life within them.

    Color Blocks Helmet

    This Color Blocks pattern lets you channel your inner abstract artist. Inspired by Ellsworth Kelly and their use of colorful, pattern and geometric shape.

    Memphis Movement Helmet

    Not unlike a lot of creative movements, the Memphis movement was born from a rejection of the status-quo. With playful, squiggly shapes, this pattern reminds us of the fun and vibrant designs of the Memphis Group.

    There is so much to discover when you explore Minneapolis, and there is no better way than going on a two-wheeled adventure! We hope these new Thousand x Poketo helmets inspire you to get out into the world.

  • Nov 08 2019

    Brompfication: Upgrade your Brompton Game

    • • •

    Brompfication Ti Seatpost, Ti Seat Quick-Release and Ti Hinge Clamps
    Titanium Seatpost, Hinge Clamp, Axle Nuts and Seat QR

    Here at Perennial Cycle, Brompton Folding Bicycles are a house favorite. Despite the adage that says there is no such thing as a bike that 'does it all', we feel that the Brompton comes about as close as any bicycle.

    The main two reasons Brompton has earned this status at our shop is their attention to detail and the endless ways in which a Brompton can be personalized to fit the needs of their riders. This is why we are excited to talk about these upgrades from Brompfication, along with the main reason we use them as upgrades ourselves.

    Brompfication Titanium Seat Post

    This addition makes sense for Brompton because it provides additional anti-shock qualities beyond that of Aluminum or Steel.

    We find that this is an excellent solution to reduce 200g of additional weight off your Brompton. This is a big upgrade for your Brompton because it is a bike that is designed to be lifted and transported by the user on a regular basis. The pay off becomes cumulative!

    Brompfication Hinge Clamp Set

    This high quality part is made from Titanium and Aluminum. Not only do these clamps add a big ol' splash of bling to your bike, they are a serious quality of life upgrade for Brompton users as well.

    These are cleverly machined in such a way that the Hinge Clamp Plate is always aligned correctly to the frame. This saves fiddling and time while folding your Brompton! Awesome!

    Brompfication Seat Clamp Quick Release

    The simple and clean design is reason enough to gift yourself with this little gem, but if that is not enough, there is also a quality of life factor.

    It has been cleverly designed to hold its position on the bike without rotating. You'll thank your self when you see how smooth and simple it makes adjusting the seat post. It is not just candy for the eye!

    Brompfication M10 Titanium Rear Axle Nuts

    What?!? Are you nuts?

    Nope, we just love Titanium on our Bromptons! This last piece may be just for bragging rights, but there are real-world reasons we use these in-shop as well.

    Perennial Cycle is located in Minneapolis, MN. Winters here are hard on bikes and we like to install parts that will hold up to the demands of cycling in that salty slush. You'll even save a few grams over the stock ones.

    Jesús optimizing their Brompton fold with Brompfication
  • Mar 20 2019

    Dynamo Lighting + Perennial Cycle

    Perennial Cycle sells more dynamo hubs, lights, chargers, wiring kits, wheels, connectors, mounts and all other things related to dynamo lighting than any other bike shop in the US!

    Busch & Müller Luxos U

    The reason is very simple: we absolutely love and believe in dynamo lighting as a true game changer when it comes to seeing and being seen on the roads. No wondering if you have them in your bag or if the batteries are charged or if you remembered to remove them from your bike the last time you used them. You can be confident that your lights are working.
    If you are unfamiliar with what dynamo lighting is, check out our blogpost about it HERE.

    This is my DaMN setup. DaMN is an event that starts at midnight (and it's dark at midnight)

    Most of our dynamo customers are commuters, touring cyclists, bike campers, randonneurs and the big mileage gravel racers.
    Commuters are all about the lights, cycling tourists are most interested in getting setup to charge their phone and less concerned about the lights and the big mileage rando and gravel riders are in need of both the charging and the lighting.

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    The dynamo wheels on our website have options (options show up after choosing your color) for both front and rear lights (and in some cases special wire kits) that make it possible for you to see exactly what the cost would be to setup a complete dynamo kit with a front and rear light. This can be a great tool if you are new to dynamo and need the full kit or if you're simply trying to work out budget.
    We used to start off with a wheel and front light, but the reality is, dynamo rear lights are inexpensive and the wiring is not problematic, so it's best to just go for it!

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    Brompton folding bikes are ideal candidates for dynamo lighting. These bikes are very utilitarian and thus end up being ridden at night with regularity. Brompton understand this and offers a dynamo kit that is a great price, though lacking in brightness. Lots of people get custom kits or have us upgrade their current lights. We have tons of experience setting up all bikes with dynamo lighting kits. Also we work hard to keep a great selection of dynamo parts and accessories in stock.

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    Why so German?
    Our dynamo hubs and lights are almost exclusively from German companies because Germany has a lot of cyclists and very strict laws regarding riding a bike at night (as in you can't ride at night if you don't have self generated lights).
    Because of these rules, there is a much stronger market in Germany, so naturally their dynamo companies rule the world market. We consider ourselves lucky in regards to this German dynamo monopoly. Busch & Müller and SON Nabendynamo are developing absolutely phenomenal product.

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    Dynamo hubs can be used to charge devices. In this picture you can see that I use a SON Deluxe front hub and The Plug III to change my phone that is tucked inside the Banjo Brothers Frame Bag.
    We have a blogpost dedicated to using dynamo hub power to charge devices as it can be a challenging to get a good understanding. Check out that Blogpost HERE.

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    This is our dynamo demo bike built by a past employee that built amazing bikes in the basement (thanks Matt!). The hub is a SON Deluxe that Matt fit a singlespeed freewheel onto (using disc brake rotor mounts).
    Sometimes we use it to troubleshoot issues, but mostly it's used to show how little resistance there is when you are using dynamo hubs. Our dynamo demonstrator allows you to spin the wheel with the lights off, and then with lights on, making it very easy to compare. Each front light has a different rear light connected to it.
    Currently the front lights on the demo bike are the Schmidt Edelux, Busch & Müller IQ-X, Lumotec IQ Cyo T Senso Plus Premium and IQ Lumotec Avy N Plus.
    The rear lights are the Busch & Müller Toplight Line Small, Secula Plus (fender and chainstay mount), Toplight Line Plus.

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