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  • Dec 07 2018

    Introducing The Flat S Senso Light

    Here at Perennial Cycle we love the German Busch & Müller dynamo and battery-operated lights! Germany has strict cycle lighting laws and B&M abide by them and we benefit from that. We have recently brought their battery powered Flat S Senso light into our shop and have found it to be a wonderful upgrade to a Brompton.
    The Flat S Senso has both a light and a reflector, so it is legal to use this to replace a reflector on a bike. The Flat S Senso sports B&M’s LineTec technology which has a single LED as well as multiple mirrors that extend across the light in a  line, making you very visible on the road. In its Senso mode (S), the light turns on and off using light and  motion! This means that it will turn on whenever the bike is in motion and it is dark out  and it will remain on for a couple of minutes at a stop to keep you visible. If no further motion is detected the light will turn off on its own! The light works on both rack (R) and non-rack models (L/E) of the Brompton. When installing it on a L/E (non-rack or non-fender) all you need to do is replace the reflector with the Flat S Senso. The reflector/light mounts on the the bike have a slotted hole that allows the light or reflector to slide up or down a bit. When tightening the Flat S light on, be sure and have the light as low in the slots as possible. This allows clearance with the ground when folding the bike.This light also fits very nicely on our Tubus and Racktime racks (also German engineering at is finest).
  • Feb 20 2018

    The Time for Dynamo Lights is NOW


    dynamo | ˈdīnəˌmō | noun | a machine for converting mechanical energy into electrical energy; a generator

    Dynamo Lighting

    Dynamo setup on a commuter we recently built up

    Dynamo Lighting: A bicycle lighting system that powers lights with energy generated by a dynamo front hub. Your spinning wheel generates energy and powers the light(s). A new meaning for Pedal Power!

    Are you looking to get off the grid... at least a little? Us too! At Perennial Cycle we are big fans of dynamo lighting. The concept of never having to replace or charge batteries but always having quality lights seems truly magical, but in reality it’s not magical at all; it's completely attainable. We have lots of experience setting up bikes with Dynamo Lighting.

    What’s needed:
    - Dynamo front wheel  
    - Front dynamo light
    - Rear dynamo light (rear lighting is optional, but highly recommended)

    The cost to getting dynamo lighting is similar to any other part on your bike. There are several options with a large price range. The most basic setups (front wheel, front light & rear light) would be $250, while high end setups can be over $900.

    The majority of the dynamo lighting packages that we install are $375-$500 (parts and labor included).

    Dynamo Front Wheel

    Dynamo Front Wheel

    DYNAMO WHEEL: Over half the price is going to be spent on the wheel. This makes sense in that the actual mechanical generation of power (the magical part of the equation) is coming from the coolio front dynamo hub. In the basic dynamo package (totaling about $250 complete), the front wheel cost is less than $200. The high end package would have a wheel cost of $500-$600. The most common dynamo wheels we build sell for $245-$280.
    All of our dynamo wheel listings (online) have options offering many front and rear lights. This makes it easy to compare a variety of package prices simply by choosing the diffferent lights from the menu and watching prices adjust accordingly.

    Dynamo Front Lights

    Dynamo Powered Front Lights

    DYNAMO FRONT LIGHT: The range in lights is from under $50 to over $200. The entry level light is impressive, though we sell more lights in the $75-$115 range. The very top end (the Luxos U) gives you a light AND a USB port to charge your phone or other device.

    Dynamo Powered Rear Lights

    Dynamo Powered Rear Lights

    DYNAMO REAR LIGHT: The rear lights range from $25-$70. This will partly be determined by where you want to mount the light: on the seat post, rear rack or on a fender. Many of our taillights have a reflector built into the light.

    Dynamo Lighting on Luke's commuter

    EXTRA (for the more curious types):
    - All of our lights hold a cache of power. This means that the front and rear light will stay lit when you’re at a stoplight. Not at the same brightness, but enough to keep you visible.
    - The rear lights are powered (and wired) through the front light. This means that you only switch on the front light to get both the front and rear light on (or off).
    - As mentioned above, one of our headlights (the Luxos U) has a wire that mounts on your handlebar with an on/off switch and a USB port. This can be very handy if you are doing long rides and want to be able to keep your phone working (even with a maps app running). We carry a few other device charging products that can be added to your dynamo kit at any time. BTW: it is not uncommon for touring cyclists to set up a dynamo hub with a device charging unit and no light(s) at all. I wrote a different post about charging devices HERE.
    - If someone tells you how much a dynamo lighting system slows you down, we’d guess that they were early adopters of old dynamo lights that used halogen bulbs or even earlier adopters that used halogen bulbs with tire rubbing generators. While the hubs constantly evolve, the huge leap in practicality, reliability and minimizing drag came when LED lights arrived on the scene. This was about 10 years ago now, but they were pretty expensive, so halogen lights were still fairly common even just 5 years ago.
    - If you want to set yourself up with the most efficient system, your key item to spend the $$ on would be the dynamo hub. LED lights (all lights we currently sell) are very efficient, so your best bet to reduce drag will be to get a premium hub. The Schmidt/SON Hubs are the very best hubs on the market.
    - If you really want THE most effient hub possible, get the SONdelux hub which was originally designed for a small wheel (16" or 20"). By using the hub designed for smaller wheels on a 700 or 26" wheel you decrease drag considerably. This hub has the least drag of any hub we've seen (by quite a bit). The rub is that this hub needs you to roll a bit faster to get full power output. Below speeds of 7-9 MPH your lights will begin to pulse. I have 2 bikes running this hub and both have 700c wheels. I am perfectly satisfied with the power output and both bikes have lights as well as charging devices (one uses a Luxos U and the other uses The Plug III).

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  • Feb 05 2018

    NEW: Souma Handlebar Bags for Brompton

    Anyone who has stopped into our shop on Hennepin Avenue (or browsed our website, for that matter) knows for a fact that we absolutely love bicycle bags. We have bags to fit just about any bike, and our selection of Brompton-specific bags is especially formidable. So we were thrilled to find out that Souma, a tiny company operating out of the Czech Republic, is making a handlebar bag that's unlike any the ones we were already stocking. We knew we had to get them in the store!

    Souma bag for 2017 handlebar in Topaz (show on a Brompton H2L in grey/black)

    There are many handlebar bags that could be used on a Brompton, but nearly all of them fit weirdly, or get in the way somehow, or simply flop awkwardly onto the concrete when you're folding the bike. These Souma bags, on the other hand, perfectly fill the unused space in the middle of your M- or H-type Brompton handlebars. They're easy to mount up with four leather straps and four heavy duty snaps. They don't flop around or interfere with the fold, and they keep your essentials within easy reach. A snap closure keeps your stuff inside when the bike is folded and the bag is upside down. It's a design that we've never seen before, and as soon as we saw it we wondered why the heck nobody had thought of it until now.

    Handmade in Brno, Czech Republic from full-grain leather, Souma bags are available in two versions to fit either your pre-2017 or current model M/H bar (for those who don't know, Brompton modified the shape of the M/H handlebar back in 2017 - see photos for clarification). The 2017 version is slightly smaller to fit the updated handlebar, and comes in three colors: Topaz (which matches Brooks "Honey" saddles), Brown, and Black. Folks with pre-2017 bikes can choose a brown or black bag.

    Souma bags for 2017 and newer bikes (left) and pre-2017 bikes (right), in black

    Souma bags for 2017 handlebar in (from left) black, brown, and topaz

    If you need color suggestions: Topaz looks especially nice with softer colors like grey and turkish green. Brown looks excellent on our nickel edition bikes. When in doubt, black looks good with everything (but we like it especially well with bright colors such as red or lime). Like any quality leather good, your Souma bag will acquire a unique and beautiful patina with time and use, so buy it, use it, and love it and know that you're only making it look cooler. Click here to check out Souma bags on our website.

  • Jan 25 2018

    Upgrade Your Brompton: Pro Front Wheels!

    Pro Paired Wheel

    Brompton CHPT 3 w/American Classic Pro Paired Front Wheel

    Brompton Bikes are a favorite here at Perennial Cycle. We pretty much love everything about them. The things we don’t love, we improve. The front wheel is a great example. If you have a standard front wheel on your Brompton, then you have a hub that is not meeting the quality of the rest of your bike. It passes as OK, at best.

    Brompton Front Hubs

    Standard Brompton Front Hubs

    I try not to be snobbish about bike parts as that can be a very deep hole to jump down, and for the most part I am very clear-headed about these things. I really doubt many would challenge me when I point out the front hub as a weak spot in the components on a Brompton.

    Perennial Cycle Pro Wheels for Brompton

    Our Pro Wheels solve this problem. The Pro Wheels for Brompton are built in-house with either Phil Wood or American Classic hubs. Both these hubs are manufactured to the highest standards. DT Swiss spokes and Velocity Dyad (previous named Aeroheat) rims are used so that the end result is a lovely, yet long lasting premium front wheel for your Brompton Folding Bike.
    The Phil Wood hubs are world renowned for their ever beautiful and bomb-proof designs. Phil Wood manufactures in the US to the absolute highest standards. A wheel built up with a Phil Wood hub is going to be the envy of any bike nerd.
    American Classic is a company known for high quality, smooth hubs that keep a very close eye on weight. The American Classic Micro hub is designed to handle the stresses of a paired spoke pattern without allowing those stresses to throw off the smooth-running stainless cartridge bearings. This hub is a minimalist’s dream.

    American Classic Pro Wheel for Brompton

    We hand build the American Classic Micro hub into a beautiful paired spoke wheel for your Brompton. Our American Classic Pro Paired Front Wheel is a very lusty wheel at an ultra-light weight. This would be a great fit for any bike, especially if you dream of racing (and winning) the Brompton World Championship.

    Brompton Front Hubs

    The Three versions of Phil Wood Pro Wheels

    We use Phil Wood Hubs to build paired spoke wheels in addition to two different straight radial wheels. If you dream of touring with a T-Bag overstuffed with camping gear, you will love the Phil Wood Pro 28. It will handle your load and your miles with ease. The Phil Wood Pro 14 and Pro Paired are plenty durable for the typical commuter’s load. The Pro 14 would be a bit more durable than the Pro Paired, but you'll be able to ride hard and ride far with either of these options.

    Phile Wood & American Classic Hubs

    All Pro Front Wheels for Brompton

    Phil Wood Pro 14 Front Wheel for Brompton

    Phil Wood Pro 28 Front Wheel for Brompton

    Phil Wood Pro Paired Front Wheel for Brompton

    American Classic Pro Paired Front Wheel for Brompton


    As a side note, between mid-2013 and 2015 there were a number of Superlight Bromptons sold without Superlight wheels. Brompton had trouble sourcing the Superlight hub, so these bikes came with a wheel built with fancy spokes and the same hub and rim as the standard model bikes. These bikes are great candidates for a front wheel upgrade. You have a beautiful titanium bike with a hub that looks and feels like it belongs in the 80’s. The Pro Wheels are clearly what we at Perennial Cycle think would be your best choice, but a Brompton Superlight Wheel would at least get you up to stock for those bikes.

    Wondering if your Superlight Brompton has a Superlight front wheel? If your front wheel is attached with axle nuts it is not a Superlight wheel. The Superlight Wheel by Brompton is secured to the fork with an allen head skewer.

    If you have any questions, or would like to discuss building up a wheel that you are not seeing on our website, feel free to contact Perennial Cycle.

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