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Sunday read: Brooks Leather Saddle Maintenance & Care

Leather saddles have a ton of advantages over synthetic materials – they adjust to your anatomy, they get more comfortable with time, and if maintained well, they last forever and only look better with time. At the same time, if not looked after at all they might start cracking and lose their colour and character. Looking around Copenhagen shows you both ends of this line, the beauties and the beasts. No-one does leather saddles better than Brooks, so we will share 4 easy steps of leather saddle care to make your saddle last a lifetime.

  1. Give it some grease

    Even if you keep your bike indoors, never ride in the rain and only wear velvet pants, leather will have its natural wear. The saddle on the picture is a 1-year old B17 that I’ve ridden in all sorts of weather almost daily. As you see, it is starting to look like someone rubbed a sandpaper over the edges, this is to be expected. Easy medication against it is to take a piece of (clean) cloth and some leather fat. Brooks tells you to only use their saddle polish, but anything will do as long as it is natural and doesn’t have chemicals in it. Personally I would suggest bee’s wax, you can use it for saddle, grips, shoes, handbags etc.

    Leather fat for Brooks Saddle maintenance
    Natural leather fat by Gold Quality
    1-year old Brown B17 Brooks Saddle
    A year old Brooks Saddle with signs of wear.

    Brown Brooks B17 saddle care and maintenance
    Same saddle after a layer of natural leather fat. Rub it on, let it sit and rub excess fat off with a clean piece of cloth.
  2. Cover from rain

    Leather is not a huge fan of water. Just have a plastic bag in your backpack or under the seat for when it rains, pull it over the seat and keep your saddle in order and your rear end dry.

  3. Keep your bike indoors

    This one is not a must, but a rule of thumb is that your bike will last longer the less sun and rain it receives. The Bike Hanger is the perfect solution for bike storage on the wall if you have small spaces or you just want it to be out of the way in the corridor or garage. If you don’t want to keep it indoors then cover the seat with a plastic bag during the night so it won’t soak in the rain.

    White bike hanging on the wall with The Bike Hanger by KP Cyclery
    The Bike Hanger 2.0 in brown stores this bicycle in style
  4. Tighten your seat every once in a while

    In most cases, it will be needed only once a year, but still, it is a good idea to do it. All Brooks saddles come with a special key to tighten them as leather stretches. If you’re not sure when to do it then jump into the closest bike shop and they should give you a good idea and probably do it for you. NB! Don’t tighten a wet saddle!

    Tightening Brown Brooks B17 saddle
    Use Brooks saddle key to tighten stretched saddle. Quarter of a turn at a time, tighten until you reach desired tension.

And that’s as easy as it is. Our leather saddle care regime probably takes less than an hour of work a year. It will keep your Brooks leather saddle looking good for ages, and who knows, maybe one day you’ll sell it on eBay for a nice dime.

*We’re happy to do the above steps for you for free in our Copenhagen shop 😉

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Long time, no see – we’re not dead, just busy.

It’s been a while since we last had a moment to properly sit down and write something. And no – we have not been lazy, quite on the contrary – there’s just been so much happening. So we will try to cover the 5 biggest leaps that we’ve taken since May.

  1. The beautiful ladies’ bike – The question ‘Do you have a bike for women?’ has been asked countless time. It took us time, but it’s here. A beautiful women’s bike in what we like calling Rivera Yellow. It boasts a gorgeous lugged mixte-style frame, a nice front rack and mudguards as standard. If you like it, act fast, we currently only have one left!
    Pastel Yellow Bicycle KP Cykler
  2. The Perfect Urban Bike – We curated the best bits of some of the most popular configurations to create The Perfect Urban bike, which we launched through Kickstarter. The project was a large success, we hit our goal fast, after which it slowed down a bit, but we’re very thankful for everyone’s support. Along the way we learned a few new lessons which we will discuss in another blog post to help others with crowdfunding.
    Features of the perfect urban bike by KP Cyclery
  3. Sidecars – We started building sidecars for different bicycles. We are in the process of testing a universal way of mounting the sidecar on almost any bike, and we’ve created a completely one-off for a client in the UK. Unlike other sidecar we’re making, this one does not allow the bike to lean in corners. This was a request by client as it will be installed on a chopper bike, and the goal was to make the ride more stable at low speeds.
    Custom Sidecar for Bicycle
  4. The Bike Hanger 2.0 – Based on feedback and our own ambitions, we’ve continued to develop our most popular product. Tests of our innovations have been very pleasing, and we are nearly ready to start full production of the 2nd generation Bike Hanger. As to do so will require a little boost – we will be preparing an Indiegogo campaign very soon.
    KP Cykler The Bike Hanger in Black
  5. New name and currency – And the biggest news will be last. Our image will get a little overhaul as our client base is growing rapidly outside of Denmark. We will be slowly transforming from KP Cykler to KP Cyclery to have a more sticking name and brand outside of our beautiful Denmark. With those news, we have updated our online store and changed the currency from Danish Kroner to Euros.

Thank you for reading. Hopefully the next post won’t have to wait this long. I hope you’re all having a wonderful summer and it is as warm where you’re reading as it is here.

xx
Kaspar

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Hangers, Sidecars and Bikes – news from all the fronts

It’s been quite busy over the last month to say the least. There was a huge order of our Bike Hangers by Monoqi from Germany of just under 100 units, production version of The Sidecar Bike finished and a new version of our bikes is rolling out.

Thus far we have been selling the Hangers to resellers like Steel Vintage Bikes from Berlin, Jooks from Tallinn, Westside24 from Düsseldorf, Omniia.dk, Monoqi and others for just a few pennies staying in our pocket after production. As there is more and more interest from resellers, then we will be pushing the price up next week from approx 100€ to about 120€ per Hanger (coupled with the launch of The Bike Hanger 2.0 – more on that soon). That means it is a good idea to order one from our webshop now 😉 Above mentioned shops will still have it for about 100€ until the current stock sells out.

The Bike Hanger on a wall with a bicycle - KP Cykler

At the same time we’ve had great news from here in Denmark. Having just finished the first production-ready Sidecar Bike, we’ve taken it to the Danish Cycling Federation’s shop (Cyklistforbundet) close to Torvehallerne in the middle of Copenhagen. You can go and test it there + they will be stocking our Bike Hangers from June. There was more Sidecar news from Bike Rumor, as to our surprise we were featured on their website – http://www.bikerumor.com/2016/05/19/hang-bike-wall-like-trophy-kp-cykler/

KP Cykler Sidecar at Nyhavn Copenhagen

Lastly, perhaps the biggest news of the 3. We are just about to launch a Kickstarter campaign for our latest creation – The Perfect Urban Bike. We’ve noticed people getting slightly confused on all the different options we offer for building a bicycle. So we’ve created the ultimate package – puncture protection tape as a standard to save you from annoying flats; steel frame for a lovely ride;  Brooks leather as standard; our Porteur bars for a good speed/comfort balance; Kickshift for no maintenance gears and of course smoking looks. All this comes in at modest 6995 dkk (approx 935€). Here’s a preview link for you (yes it’s not live yet, but we love you, and should get the first look).

KP Cykler Perfect Urban Bike Kickstarter Cover

That will be it for now, stop by our new bike studio at Ingerslevsgade 103 when in Cph 🙂

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Leaning Sidecars

It’s been a little while since the last post – we’re looking to get back into it now as we’ve successfully moved the shop to our new location in Copenhagen (Ingerslevsgade 103, Kbh 1705 if you’re curious to stop by ;) ). Here’s a piece on something that’s been cooking for a while – leaning sidecar history.

Leaning sidecars were first invented by Freddie Dixon, an English motorbike racer, way back in the 1920’s. Dixon was the first to figure out that by having the sidecar passenger control the tilt of the car with a lever, instead of the sidecar being rigidly fixed to the bike, it was possible to take turns a lot faster, and he used this idea to great success in his motorbike racing career. Leaning sidecars were further popularized in the same decade in American motorcycle racing, although now the focus was on having the sidecar wheel tilt by itself, giving the bike rider control. The technology used in these tilting sidecars has come a long way, and we have now been able to come up with our very own leaning sidecar for a bicycle, allowing you to easily carry goods around without knocking the bike itself off balance.

Leaning motorcycle sidecar

Leaning sidecars have many advantages which they can bring to your bike-riding, that make them an excellent choice for anyone who wants to be able to carry things on their bike with ease. With a leaning sidecar, riding the bike feels normal, and you aren’t constrained by having to compensate for the added weight of the sidecar. You’re able to take corners as you normally would, leaning in and taking them faster, as the sidecar is able to tilt freely to match the curve of the corner. Furthermore, since the sidecar is able to move independently, you don’t have to worry about holes in the road knocking you off balance – the sidecar can move over these without affecting the stability of the bike itself. On a three wheeled bike, you might notice that the bike rocks around when moving over holes, but this is not a problem with a leaning sidecar.

At KP Cyclery, we’ve specifically designed our leaning sidecar bike to match the demand springing up for more efficient, effective bikes. With more and more households choosing not to have a car, it makes sense to enable your bike to carry goods such as groceries home easily. You’re sure to be impressed with how much weight it can cope with – in testing, we even managed to fit an armchair onto it!

Sidecar Bicycle by KP Cyclery from above
Our version of the leaning sidecar

Stylish and functional, this bike makes a great choice for those who want to cut through urban congestion with ease, and carry goods around safe in the knowledge that they are still doing their bit for the environment. The only constraint on what you can ferry around is your imagination, so you’re sure to find that it adapts to your particular needs perfectly. If you have good balance, and hang on tight, you can even fit a person on it, so it really is suitable for everyone. We look forward to seeing what you can do with yours!

**Rasmus K, if you’re reading this and haven’t checked you inbox, then do so, you just won a set of magnetic lights.

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Berlin Bike Show – part 2: The Show

Having finished putting together the last bike a few minutes after the show officially started, we were ready. From the moment door opened at 18:00 until they closed at 23:00, it was on. And not just a people wondering around, but ON. We managed to take a moment to have a quick look around and we understood why it was so busy for us. It is best put by a set of maritime designers who visited us on the 3rd day – ‘you guys have the best ideas here.’ I’m sure not everyone thought that, but there must have been at least a few more.

Day 2 was largely the same, a lot of people, cool ideas bounced around, The Bike Hangers continued to sell good, and we continued to enjoy attention. After Station Berlin, the venue, closed its doors at 19:00 it was time for beers, and time to witness a mad race on a go-kart track. It was a criterium type race with fixed gear riders blasting around in heats, leading to a superfinalé. Event boasted a great atmos and we really started to go from liking Berlin to loving Berlin. Check out a short summary here:

The last day – day 3 – could be summed up as the most productive one for us. We nearly sold out our hangers and got some exciting interest from other companies. Having personally followed the growth of Berlin based Steel Vintage Bikes team, with their truly rare restorations, having them as a reseller in Berlin feels very heartwarming. And there is more news to follow on reseller front soon.

Steel Vintage Bikes at Berliner Fahrradschau 2016
Steel Vintage Bikes booth at Berliner Fahrradschau

As the show was slightly slowing down during lunch hours, it also gave us a nice moment to reconnect with friends. Having met Pelago folks during last year’s Tallinn Bicycle Week’s alleycat race, it was god to see their new lineup for 2016, and hearing that they have now reached as far as opening a shop in Japan. Over the weekend we also enjoyed our personal tour guides , and ex-berliners from Czech – SegraSegra. They are the ones who can also be blamed for our participation, after talking us into it during 2014’s SPIN London show. If you’re not only into nice bikes, but also want to look good when cycling, then give them a look – they have off-shelf and made to fit clothing for cyclists.

Pelago Bicycles at 2016 Berlin Bike Show
Pelago Bicycles booth
SegraSegra at Berlin Bike Show 2016
Friendly picture with SegraSegra people.

Over and out. Berlin, thank you for treating us well, we’ll surely be back next year.

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So how did it go at the Berlin Bike Show?

Preparing for this year’s Berliner Fahrradschau was a full on obstacle course. With the argon tank for TIG-welder and the lasercut sidecar mounts not arriving, it really pushed us to be creative to get everything ready in time. Luckily we are surrounded by excellent people, namely Jan and Arne, who borrowed us gear, so it was possible to start welding on Tuesday, to be ready by Thursday evening. And so, after working 12-13 hours every day, the sidecar and materials for the stand we’re ready, just minutes before our production area alarm is armed on Thursday evening. Unfortunately with no time to paint the sidecar.

The Sidecar Bike is almost welded
The Sidecar is welded, just need the woodwork.

So we loaded everything on the car by 21:30, and after a quick sleep, we were ready to hit the road at 4:30 in the morning with my friend Birk. Roll your clocks some 6,5h forward and we’re unpacking at Station Berlin, the venue for 2016 Berliner Fahrradschau, only to discover that we had forgotten the smallest, yet one of the most important components of the Sidecar Bike – the bearings that connect the sidecar to the bike.

Packing the car for Berliner Fahrradschau 2016

With 1 hour to go before opening, I grab one of the show bikes and make my way to a tech shop. With no lock on me, I take the bike inside the shop and set it standing next to the counters. A very grumpy older lady-worker appears and takes the bike outside, I’m nervous about thieves, but I hope to be out of the store in 2 minutes, and take my chances. So I’m directed to the right department and waiting as the man over the counter speaks to a client about RC helicopter blades in a deeply disturbing pervert tone – oh well, at least I’ll get my stuff soon. Some anxious 5 minutes pass, I ask about the bearings and he tells me to look at a shelf, if it’s not there then they don’t have it. OK, Thanks for not checking your stock on the screen, they are not there. Out and gone I am, luckily the bike is there.

Googling for help, the only option is to hit up the store from the same chain, some 20 minutes by bike. I’m quite pissed off by the manners of the service person, but as I cycle and absorb more of Berlin, I start to feel more and more relaxed. Berlin has a really nice vibe and I decide to give it one more chance. On my way, I come up with a plan to ask a person on the street to mind my bike as I run to the store.

Berliner Fahrradschau Bike Show and Sidecar Bicycle

I arrive by the shop, a man is just walking out the shop – ‘Can I ask your help, I’m here for a bike show and need something from this store. Do you have just 5 minutes to look after my bike? I don’t have a lock‘. After taking a moment to process English, the man says ‘Yes‘ with a nice smile. Faith in Berlin restored. Running in, I show a picture of what I need. I’m immediately directed to right department. I ask the person there, this time to be greeted in perfect English, he checks the computer, they 2 bearings in the back room. I’m out in about 7 minutes and after thanking the person outside, I make my way back to the show, 6 minutes after the doors opened..

I guess everyone is quite tired of reading by now, so we’ll post the part 2 about the actual show next week.

For all the new subscribers from Berlin: The lucky winner of Magnetic Lights is Katharina. Congratulations, we’ve send an email to you with details 🙂

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Hey kid, you’re hired!

The interweb is a vast place, and every once in a while you tumble on something hilarious.

We’ve never thought of opening an electric bicycle division, but maybe we should..? If only we could hire this kid.

Check out his ingenious homemade eBike. We can only imagine lawyers taking their electric-drill-powered bikes between their meetings.

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A week in the life of Olaf the Cyclist

As  the sun is rising higher and higher above the horizon, Olaf has become more and more busy. Between preparations for Berliner Fahrradschau in the land of bier, wurst and no-speedlimit horseways; taking moving-pictures for a new villagefunding campaign and production of goods, there has been very little time for sleep. But mythical as it may sound, under the label of labour of love, it has been a very enjoyable week indeed.

So what is Olaf making for the villagefunding campaign?

Villagefunding platform by the name of Kickstarter has been a huge help to Olaf’s business thusfar. After the first campaign, Olaf has been on a quest to design the perfect urban bicycle. He has been looking for the perfect balance between comfort, practicality, speed and personalization. After testing of different components since the end of the summer, Olaf is now happy with the setup. He won’t go into details just yet, but took a selfie to give a first glimpse:

What will be new for Berliner Fahrradschau?

After thorough tests of the bicycle-whale-carrier, Olaf has been perfecting production methods and equipment. He has prepared the tubing for a new version of the bicycle-whale-carrier with lovely laser cut frame attachments. The TIG type blacksmith machine still needs a barrel of Argon, and the new version will be ready next week. In addition Olaf has prepared a bunch of prototype elk-horn-antler-bike-rests that will be sold for quite a few gold coins fewer than the normal models.

So make sure you stop by Berliner Fahrradschau if you’re in Berlin between 18-20 of March.

There was also a day when Olaf managed to curb his enthusiasm for selfies and took pictures of the upgraded new elk-horn-antler-bike-rests. Upgrades include a chromed pipe vs previously painted pipe and a laser cut logo. Head over to our shop and treat yourself to a lovely storage solution for the new season: http://kpcyclery.com/

The Bike Hanger in black on a wall with a bicycle - KP Cykler

Lastly a pro tip from South Africa – get a fast bike or you’ll get run over by an ostrich.

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Lucas Brunelle – a living legend in urban cycling

At KP Cykler, we have many friends in the cycling community across the globe. In this series of articles, we will be profiling just some of them, to give you an insight into some of the exciting developments going on in the cycling world right now.

Lucas Brunelle in NYC Traffic

Lucas Brunelle is something of a living legend, a film maker focused on urban cycling. He began cycling aged 15, but soon found that the conventional racing world just didn’t provide enough of a thrill for him, so soon he moved onto something more – taking cycling to the extreme. Lucas has built up a dedicated following thanks to his videos of bike stunts and intense alleycat races.  He has been featured in some of the most well known publications in the world, including Rolling Stone and Vice – a testament to his skill as a film maker and his passion for cycling.

Lucas Brunelle filming

Because of his huge reputation, Lucas was one of the first people we got in touch with when we set up our Kickstarter to get KP Cykler up and running. From first moment you meet Lucas, you can see that he has a huge heart. We are eternally grateful that he was willing to play such a big part in our success, spreading the word of what we’re doing wherever he went. Having Lucas behind us let people know that we provide an excellent service, as he only works with the best, and it is largely thanks to Lucas that we are up and running right now.

We have continued to keep in touch with Lucas, and to closely follow his career. From Africa, to South America, even to Chernobyl, he travels the world in search of the next big thrill. You can check him out for yourself at www.lucasbrunelle.com – an absolute must for anyone with an interest in cycling on the edge.


Lucas’s films and videos: https://www.lucasbrunelle.com/shop/

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5 impressive Sidecar hauls

Ever since we finished the 1st Sidecar Bike prototype in mid-November 2015, we’ve been throwing everything at it to test its limits. Here are 5 different loads we’re most impressed about.

Sidevogn Cykel i Odense Havn

5. Groceries – perhaps it’s not as impressive as the rest, but it rightfully deserves a place in the list. You can probably relate to this one if you’re like 44% of Danish households and don’t have a car. The weekly grocery run can be quite annoying if non-motorized, especially if you end up buying something larger you didn’t plan. Carrying it on handlebars can be hassle, but throw it on a Sidecar and you’re not even thinking about it.

4. Ice hockey gear – us, hockey players, are known for having a crap-ton of armor. Without a car, it’s almost impossible to transport. But luckily a sidecar can easily handle one large bag, just make sure to strap it properly.

Sidecar Bike transporting ice hockey gear

3. Two sidecars – or rather the material for 2 more sidecars. I must say I was a bit nervous about loading the 2,7 meter long steel pipes and wooden planks on the Sidecar Bike. But the 4 km ride turned out to be smooth as a baby’s behind.

2. Six frame sets – instead of taking the van, I thought of seeing how well the Sidecar Bike can handle a longer ride – 14,5 km one way to be precise. The climbs were a bit slow, and I admit that I got a bit pissed after chasing a group of roadies for a few kilometers without being able to catch them..

Sidecar Bike taking 6 bicycle frames to Otterup

1. My lovely fiancée – this one was more for fun than anything, but it does work. You can see her filming the ride on the following video:

From heavy to super long to super high, our Sidecar Bike has not fallen short with any cargo we’ve thrown at it. It has been far more valuable and versatile than we first imagined. As we produce all Sidecar Bikes in-house, it can be customized for practically any special cargo, but what would you use it for?

Our Sidecar Bike: http://kpcyclery.com/product/the-sidecar-bike-by-kp-cykler/