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  • 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.

  • 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

    •   •   •   •   •

    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

  • Dec 08 2019

    Holiday Gift Guide - 2019 Edition

    It happened. The beautiful green heat of the summer is long gone, replaced by twinkly lights, cocoa, and temperatures in the single digits. Some of us have hung up the wheels for the winter and others will ride straight through until spring thaw, but hopefully we're all finding ways to make the most of another long Minnesota winter. The holiday season really snuck up on us this year, but we're here for you with gift suggestions large and small for all the cyclists in your life, from your grandma to your old roommate.

    1. Pedro's Tire Lever - The choicest tire lever for the home mechanic. Sometimes a tiny gift is all you need!

    2. Upso Ferrybridge Folder for Brompton - For the Brompton owner in your life. Made of upcycled tarp and stylish to boot.

    3. Brompton Toolkit - Another one for the Brompton fanatic, this toolkit fits inside the bike's frame. Ingenious.

    4. Reflective Shoelaces - Everybody needs shoelaces, right? 

    5. Crosspoint Flip-Mitts - Perfect for winter commuters and smart-phone addicts alike.

    6. ABUS Granit 640 U-Lock - The Goldilocks of locks. Not too big, not too small, super strong. Bonus: comes in red.

    7. Spurcycle Bell - Put a super loud bell on your friend's bike so they can stop spooking pedestrians. Fully serviceable. A bell to last a lifetime.

    8. Merino Wool Buff - The most versatile winter accessory for unpredictable weather conditions. It's a hat. It's a scarf. It's a balaclava. Oh my!

    9. Lucky Cat Bottle Cage - For cat lovers who also love to stay hydrated.

    10. Perennial Cycle Cap - For the Perennial Cycle super-fan, of course!

    11. Brooks Challenge Tool Bag - A beautiful accessory for the cyclist who enjoys the finer things.

    12. Purist Water Bottle - A good water bottle with a good pattern.

    13. Spurcycle Key Clip - It's also a bottle-opener. Titanium, for people who are into that.

    14. Carradice Bikepacking Top Tube Pack - For phone and snacks and things that need to stay close at hand.

    15. Perennial Cycle Gift Card or e-Gift Certificate - If they're hard to shop for.

    16. Thousand x Poketo Helmet - The one they'll actually wear.

    17. Ride More Drive Less Tee - A sentiment we can all agree on.

    18. Donut Bar Tape - For the Perennial Cycle Pastry Ride devotee!

  • 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

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