Dynamo lighting

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vexed87
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Dynamo lighting

Postby vexed87 » Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:17 am

Is anyone running dynamo lighting on their commuter bicycle?

I ask as after their initial setup costs/effort, they appear to be able to help save on disposable batteries, dud-non replaceable USB lithium ion units and as an added bonus they don't unexpectedly run out of charge when out in the dark leaving the rider vulnerable on the road and at risk of being fined. At face value, they hubs are serviceable and last a long term, unlike attachable battery powered lights which in my experience don't last long, the cheap plastic clips snap, or the batteries die, plus the aforementioned battery issues.

I would appreciate any experiences/recommendations/reading materials regarding these. Dynamo setups seem rare around these parts, but I hear they are popular in holland/denmark. I tend to currently run lights even during the day on multiple bikes so I always find myself buying new lights, batteries and bracket paraphernalia following clamp failures, li-ion battery charge capacity depletion, I think I've had enough of clip on lights and might benefit from a dynamo setup. :twisted:

Thoughts?

Edit: Also, I'd like to hear from anyone with a front dynamo hub on a road bike, is the obvious weight penalty worth the convenience of battery free lights?
Last edited by vexed87 on Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

sky
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Re: Dynamo lighting

Postby sky » Thu Sep 15, 2016 5:27 am

The clamp on bottle dynamos are extremely reliable and durable. I don't commute anymore so I don't ride in the dark much, but I have a working dynamo that I got off a scrap bike 30 years ago, and it was probably 20 years old when I got it. The weak points are the light bulbs and wire connections. The advantage of a bottle dynamo is there is no friction while disengaged.

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vexed87
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Re: Dynamo lighting

Postby vexed87 » Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:20 am

I'm pricing up the gear, all new and the lightweight and durable stuff, from what I have read, cheaper hubs compromise on weight as well requiring more vigilant servicing schedules. Not being as well sealed also reduces working life significantly so I think there's little point scrimping in that respect... so going with high quality stuff, costs are totting up fast:

£169.99 for Schmidt SON delux Dynamo Front Hub - Black
£26.99 for new rims (can't reuse current rims, need more spoke holes)
£~20 for spokes (will have some spares)
£8.99 for nipples (again, more spares, lots in fact!)
£1.49 for rim tape

Total £228.40

This is just for the hub & wheel, before I have even added lights. Ouch! I'm not sure the inconvenience of batteries and failing clamps is worth the upfront expense, but would still love to hear from others!

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vexed87
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Re: Dynamo lighting

Postby vexed87 » Thu Sep 15, 2016 7:05 am

For the curious, I have just learnt that these shimano hubs are much cheaper, but require greater DIY knowledge, and the cones, cups and bearings often arrive from the factory too tightly adjusted and greased poorly which might account for the reports I read about accelerated wear of the bearings and cones (which is problematic if you spend so much on a hub and trash it right off the bat!) I'm not sure why shimano would sell products in that state! These come in at about £~65, much cheaper than Schmidt model I looked at for my original price up, those hubs are nearly x3 as expensive. So more tools and work required to get these cheaper ones running perfectly, but makes the setup much more affordable.

Here is a cool resouce I stumbled on for dynamo hub maintenance: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/340 ... o_Hubs.pdf

Not sure if I am prepared to spend this much for convenience... maybe if one of my current front wheels die, I'll then consider building a new one with a dynamo hub.

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Re: Dynamo lighting

Postby jacob » Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:43 am

Yeah, I had a bottle dynamo on my commuter. It was superconvenient never having to worry about batteries. Imagine driving a car and having to worry whether the batteries for the headlights are sufficiently charged. It was $20 from China on eBay several years ago. I'll second the comment on the wire connections. That can be iffy since typically one connection (rear light) typically runs through the frame which for obvious reasons need to be metal.

Also, the light is not exactly the brightest to put it mildly and it stops whenever you stop (which might be a legal problem in some places these days).

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FBeyer
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Re: Dynamo lighting

Postby FBeyer » Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:50 am

Dynamo? No.
Bicycle magnet lights? Yes!

Magnet lights still flash minutes after you stop, so you're still visible when you're waiting at an intersection.
They don't provide any meaningful friction when you're driving. They're completely silent.
Can be fitted on any bicycle that has spoked wheels.

A dynamo hub sounds like something expensive that'll break often and need expensive replacements.

Maybe I don't get the question...

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vexed87
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Re: Dynamo lighting

Postby vexed87 » Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:27 am

@jacob, the modern lights and hub dynamos generate light intensity that surpases the old dynamo 'be seen' lights of yesterday by orders of magnitude, it's just that they have price tags that match the high end battery powered equivalents, but in that sense the dynamo is a game changer as the super high lumen lights are crippled with short burn times, not great if I forget to bring my light in from my bike after a long ride to/from work. Don't get me wrong though, it's not like I need a 700 lumen light to get to work, but it's nice to have on a foggy/rainy day.

Also, I understand that the modern dynamo lights have capacitors which keep the lights going for upto 5 minutes, which is plenty if stopped at lights, although apparently you get a lot of concerned souls trying to tamper with your lights to switch them off and save your battery ( :lol: ) as you will be long before the lights give up.

I'll check out these bottle dynamo's I know nothing about them!
Last edited by vexed87 on Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:36 am, edited 2 times in total.

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vexed87
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Re: Dynamo lighting

Postby vexed87 » Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:30 am

@Fbeyer, I think they are relatively reliable, but yes, the better quality hubs are rather expensive. The lights are not too bad. £60-80 for a decent one, which is about on par with battery powered, if only slightly more. The trade off is the convenience of the dynamo vs inexpense of disposable/rechargeable battery. What kind of light intensity do the mag lights produce? I assume they are to be seen, not to see? My commute has some unlit and poorly lit streets which need high power once it gets dark.

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Re: Dynamo lighting

Postby jacob » Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:41 am

@vexed87 - In my case I wanted the lights-solution to match the value of the bike ($50) and the risk of it getting stolen (above average). Another and more disposable solution solution is to buy the cheapest hipster cysts available and put several on your bike. Then you have backups. Also, for city-driving, I found that spoke-lights were more effective than regular lights because it's highly noticeable and drivers pay attention.

Oh yeah, since you're already at it, also get a pair of these: http://www.citylab.com/commute/2015/05/ ... ht/393131/

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Ego
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Re: Dynamo lighting

Postby Ego » Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:44 am

One of the guys I ride with has the Schmidt system you are looking at. He commutes about 25 miles each way every day regardless of weather and rides a custom built road bike. He absolutely loves them. Maintenance free and bright.

I have a saved search on craigslist for bikes with dynamo hubs. Every so often a used bike appears. One of these days I am going to buy one, cannibalize the hub/lights and resell it with cheaper wheels.

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vexed87
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Re: Dynamo lighting

Postby vexed87 » Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:53 am

jacob wrote:Oh yeah, since you're already at it, also get a pair of these: http://www.citylab.com/commute/2015/05/ ... ht/393131/


“Gently squeeze the Balls to turn the light on and switch between the modes. Gently squeeze again to turn the Bike Balls off.”


Sold :lol:

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Ego
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Re: Dynamo lighting

Postby Ego » Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:45 pm


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Re: Dynamo lighting

Postby enigmaT120 » Thu Sep 15, 2016 5:57 pm

I have a Shimano generator hub on my commuter bike. And a LED head and tail light system. I got the hub prebuilt in a 29er wheel for 100 bucks. Yes I think it's worth it. I ride a lot at night, and will for the next 3 years when I'll retire. Sigh, too far off. The lights have the capacitor somebody else mentioned and is called a stand light.

The head and taillight combo was more expensive but have been flawless for over 7000 miles, with lots of rain.

I wish I were riding today.

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Re: Dynamo lighting

Postby henrik » Fri Sep 16, 2016 12:43 pm

My bike came with a Shimano generator hub and a connected incandescent front light. It's been working fine for 10 years and thousands of kms. The light is not quite bright enough though. Does anyone have any experience replacing the light on something like this with a LED front+back light set? I would assume you need to stabilise the current somehow?

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Re: Dynamo lighting

Postby enigmaT120 » Sun Sep 18, 2016 11:16 am

LED's seem to be able to accept a wide (to me) range of voltages, I don't know why. What is the output of the generator?

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Re: Dynamo lighting

Postby G_Dog » Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:28 pm

FBeyer wrote:Dynamo? No.
Bicycle magnet lights? Yes!


I hadn't come across these before. They look great! What's the brightness on them like? I do quite a bit of cycling on country roads and it's handy to forewarn other traffic you're there before they come around corners.

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FBeyer
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Re: Dynamo lighting

Postby FBeyer » Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:45 am

G_Dog wrote:
FBeyer wrote:Dynamo? No.
Bicycle magnet lights? Yes!


I hadn't come across these before. They look great! What's the brightness on them like? I do quite a bit of cycling on country roads and it's handy to forewarn other traffic you're there before they come around corners.

Brightness is a bit more than the usual bike light, but they blink for added urban visibility, not for navigating dark roads.

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Re: Dynamo lighting

Postby white belt » Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:15 pm

I have a Sanyo NH-H27 that powers both front and rear B+M lights. The lights have worked great for me and it's really nice to not have to mess with clip on lights or batteries.

I got my wheel/hub from Intelligent Design Cycles for $100: http://www.intelligentdesigncycles.com/ ... stout.html

I ordered the B+M lights direct from Germany through rosebikes.com for another $90 (top of the line lights). At the time the exchange rate made it much cheaper importing them than ordering through Peter White Cycles.

Obviously this is much more expensive than just using cheap battery powered lights, but I like the convenience of always having no-hassle, powerful lights.


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