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Dynamos and other magic

asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
edited September 2014 in Commuting chat
I've just bought a new winter bike and looking at it there isn't much I would want to upgrade apart from the bleedin' heavy wheels when suddenly the word 'dynamo' popped into my head.

So, anyone running a dynamo front wheel? What's it like? Is it heavy and draggy? Is the wiring butt ugly? Does it all go dark and you die as soon as you stop moving?

I'm censored at remembering to charge my lights.
Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
Sun - Cervelo R3
Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX

Posts

  • Am looking for a winter ride myself and I have looked but not researched dynamo's sufficiently. However I found some interesting research on http://mccraw.co.uk/long-distance-bike-lights/ which I have yet to decipher. At the moment I use a rechargeable unit I got on dealxtreme which is like a car headlight through Richmond park - even in 'dull' mode I get told to turn it down by oncoming traffic. If I am going to replace it its got to be as good if not better. I started looking at the supernova but decided that replacing the bike should come first.
    Rose Pro DX Cross 3000
    GT Edge Ti
    Ribble Audax
  • I've currently got a Shimano DH-3N72 equipped front wheel, with a Philips Saferide 60 front light, and a Philips Saferide Lumiring Rear light.

    What's it like?
    Brilliant! Light output is fantastic, and I never have to worry about batteries running out. With 10 hours of commuting a week in darkness over the winter, I REALLY need lights that just work. The Philips ones are really well made, and give a great beam pattern. They're so good that they're legal for use as motorcycle lights in some jurisdictions. Beam pattern is fantastic, with a good cut off, so the light goes exactly where it should, and doesn't dazzle.

    Is the front wheel heavy?
    Marginally more so than a regular wheel, but not particularly noticeable.

    Is it draggy?
    No. The only difference you notice when the light is on is a slight high frequency vibration. The actual drag is microscopic.

    Is the wiring butt ugly?
    Yes, unfortunately. Zip tying wires to a frame is never going to look good. I'd like to run mine internally, but am too frightened to drill the frame. The front light isn't so bad, as you've only got to run the wire up the fork blade, but to run the wire to the back neatly and invisibly is challenging. You can get thin co-axial wire which may help matters, but even then, it's not going to look great.

    Does it all go dark and you die as soon as you stop moving?
    No. All modern dynamo lights have back up capacitors that keep the lights going for a few minutes after you stop.
    1938 Hobbs Tandem
    1956 Carlton Flyer Path/Track
    1960 Mercian Superlight Track
    1974 Pete Luxton Path/Track*
    1978 Dawes Chevron Fixed
    1980 Harry Hall
    1986 Dawes Galaxy
    1988 Jack Taylor Tourer
    1988 Pearson
    1989 Condor
    1993 Dawes Hybrid
    *Currently on this
  • I thought Dynamo was berated for using wires?
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
    2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5
    2012 Felt F65X
    Proud CX Pervert and quiet roadie. 12 mile commuter
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    Rhodrich wrote:
    Is the wiring butt ugly?
    Yes, unfortunately. Zip tying wires to a frame is never going to look good. I'd like to run mine internally, but am too frightened to drill the frame. The front light isn't so bad, as you've only got to run the wire up the fork blade, but to run the wire to the back neatly and invisibly is challenging. You can get thin co-axial wire which may help matters, but even then, it's not going to look great.
    I run the gear wire (Di2) down the underside of the down tube held in place with 3 discreet strips of electrical tape that matches the frame colour [nearly]. Except for the loop that allows the forks full rotation it's practically invisible. The tape does come adrift after a while if used in the wet, but as a roll is cheap as chips once you've got it it's practically free to replace it when it needs doing.

    It might not hide so well running up to where the light is.
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    I thought Dynamo was berated for using wires?
    :)

    Did you not get the edict that says we mustn't post on social media, forums, newspaper comment sites etc?
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 22,788 Lives Here
    One of my colleagues has a few bikes running dynamo wheels and he says much the same as Rhodrich above. But he also has the heaviest bikes in the world. I can't bring myself to put one on the Kinesis and I don't have a winter bike so won't be using one myself. If I had a winter bike I would fit one without a doubt.
  • How about those wireless Magnic 'dynamo' lights - does anyone have any experience of those?
    Rose Pro DX Cross 3000
    GT Edge Ti
    Ribble Audax
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    I haven't built the wheel yet, but I've recently bought a SP PD8 dynamo. After much research it came out top because of the low drag, low cogging, low weight and low price*. £80 from Spa Cycles
    I can't wait to build a wheel with it in. I'm going to team it with an Axa Luxx 70 Plus front light (with USB port for charhing stuff) and a B&M Secula rear light. About £80 for the pair from Rose.
    Assume maybe £20 for spokes and nipples (I'm reusing my current rim) and the whole build should come in at less than £200.
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • I've been running an Ultegra-level Shimano DH-3N80 wheel for the past three winters. Superb, just superb. I only run a dynamo front light, as I'm too much of a tart to run a cable along the top tube, the front light cable is neatly hidden on the inside edge of the fork and secured with red (to match the Equilibrium) electrician's tape. The front one's the most important anyway, as they need recharging far more often than the back. I generally only need one or two sets of batteries per rear light for the winter.

    The light I use is a Busch and Muller, great light output and all of the light goes *exactly* where it's needed - on the road. I may even upgrade to the latest one this year, the new ones are so shiny...

    Whilst there is a drag on the wheel, in reality if you can notice the difference, you may well be a true princess, and should find your nearest handsome prince.
  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    Any chance of some pictures if anyone gets the chance?

    I've been searching and there are loads of blog pictures showing the hub or light, but nothing showing them all joined up.

    I've been looking at the SON Delux or the SP PD-8 coupled with B&M IQ2 Luxos U and B&M Toplight for the rear.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • asprilla wrote:
    Any chance of some pictures if anyone gets the chance?

    I've been searching and there are loads of blog pictures showing the hub or light, but nothing showing them all joined up.

    I've been looking at the SON Delux or the SP PD-8 coupled with B&M IQ2 Luxos U and B&M Toplight for the rear.

    Here's mine...

    1F596C0B-B11E-412E-A3D5-52D5E2FAA991_zps6l4cnhea.jpg

    Dynamo wheel is getting re-rimmed this week. It's had a hard life (the hub is still absolutely perfect, though).
  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    Looks good. Which light is that?

    Running cabling to the rear may well be eased by the fact that the Plug has top tube cable routing.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • asprilla wrote:
    Looks good. Which light is that?

    Running cabling to the rear may well be eased by the fact that the Plug has top tube cable routing.

    It's a Busch and Muller IQ Cyo that I've had the past three years. Perfect illumination of the road , very even with no hot-spots and seems brighter in use than almost any of the big mountain bike lights. My Magicshine, for instance, produces a very bright spot in front of me so that I can't see all the light that spill around the edges. That spot is brighter than the Cyo, but I can only see that spot. Am tempted to upgrade to the B+M Luxos B, it's even brighter and doesn't have the slightly rattly switch that my light seems to have developed. Still has the excellent side visibility of this light, too.

    Edit: And in answer to one of your earlier questions, no, they don't switch off at traffic lights. They have capacitors/batteries now that they run off when stationary (up to about 10 minutes) and charge up as you're moving. It does switch to a lower-power mode when stationary, but still very visible.
  • veronese68 wrote:
    One of my colleagues has a few bikes running dynamo wheels and he says much the same as Rhodrich above. But he also has the heaviest bikes in the world. I can't bring myself to put one on the Kinesis and I don't have a winter bike so won't be using one myself. If I had a winter bike I would fit one without a doubt.

    I can understand your reluctance but i have a dark red pro6 which is now my go commuting/winter bike. I run a Busch and Muller IQ Cyo on the front with an Alfine dynamo hub and Busch & Müller Secula Plus on the rear 'guard. No real weight disadvantage nor any drag i can detect. The interesting thing is that the lights, while notionally less bright than others, seem to stand out more, i think, because they are not pin pricks or spots of bright light but more orb like in luminosity. Its good to know they are always available though the front has a switch to allow me to turn them off. As we move into winter i will supplement them with a knogg flasher on front and the moon shield copy on the rear.
  • I think it's worth pointing out that the extra weight of my front hub (about 200g) is far less than the weight of my Magicshine battery pack (nearer 400g). Sure a few of my watts go on generating, but I've got loads of them. And nothing pisses people off during SCR than when you mention that you're generating your own electricity as well as pummelling them into the tarmac.
  • DrLexDrLex Posts: 2,142
    Another dynamo user here, echoing Rhodrich's comments. My only issue was Philips SafeRide bracket failing, but it's a known weakness and can be replaced with another make - about £5 from SJS cycles.
    bqNraqC.jpg

    Wiring, admittedly, is slack, and the feed to the rear runs alongside the brake line, and then out along a stay on the mudguard to a B&M rear - no issues for the 2 years so far.

    Hard to feel the extra weight of the hub with a steel frame, disk brakes, Alfine 11, seat post rack, but would look to get a dynamo wheel if I switch to an Inflite 9.0S or similar CX.
    Location: ciderspace
  • SON delux with B&M Cyo and a B&M rear light too.

    The SON had the lowest drag when I was looking (1 watt at 18mph IIRC)- also was the prettiest and lightest (only 100g more than a 105 front hub IIRC).

    I ran front light only for a year or so before going for the rear. I attach mine with the following:
    - Cable from hub to light run up the inside of the fork blade held in place with electrician's tape.
    - Light on the fork crown / brake caliper bolt.
    - Rear light mounted to my pannier rack - I prefer a higher position to the mudguard mounting position of other lights.
    - Cable from front light run along the rear brake cable, then black electrical taped to the top of the black bluemels mudguard.

    My kit came from SPA cycles - I think I needed to get some extra spade connectors from maplin for some connections though.


    I'd never go back to a non-dynamo solution for commuting now. I wish I had bought a front hub with a disc mount though as that will be the future for my commute bike.
  • I built up a XT dynamo hub into a 29er wheel for a mate last week, it's a centerlock disc. I was quite amazed when it arrived with the rubber cover over the centerlock connector how "normal" it looked. You'd just see it on someone's bike and not think it was a disc hub. If I was replacing I'd probably use one of those, as at some point I may use discs in the future.
  • What a difference a day makes...

    7D72272B-182E-4C92-8DAC-66A9A7172928_zpstp9qodau.jpg
  • This morning saw the first commute of the year with my dynamo lighting setup. I had to change the front brakes on my winter bike to get the fork crown bracket for the front light to fit (it didn't work with centre pulls, as the straddle wire gets in the way of the bracket).

    Last year, I had the whole setup on a different bike which I no longer have, which had a rear rack. I'm now using a bike with no rear rack (just the Carradice bagman).

    Question is - I can no longer use my Philips Lumiring rear lamp, as it only mounts on a rack. I can't use a seatpost mounted light, as the saddlebag is in the way. Are there any decent seatstay mounted rear dynamo lights out there?
    1938 Hobbs Tandem
    1956 Carlton Flyer Path/Track
    1960 Mercian Superlight Track
    1974 Pete Luxton Path/Track*
    1978 Dawes Chevron Fixed
    1980 Harry Hall
    1986 Dawes Galaxy
    1988 Jack Taylor Tourer
    1988 Pearson
    1989 Condor
    1993 Dawes Hybrid
    *Currently on this
  • Rhodrich wrote:
    This morning saw the first commute of the year with my dynamo lighting setup. I had to change the front brakes on my winter bike to get the fork crown bracket for the front light to fit (it didn't work with centre pulls, as the straddle wire gets in the way of the bracket).

    Last year, I had the whole setup on a different bike which I no longer have, which had a rear rack. I'm now using a bike with no rear rack (just the Carradice bagman).

    Question is - I can no longer use my Philips Lumiring rear lamp, as it only mounts on a rack. I can't use a seatpost mounted light, as the saddlebag is in the way. Are there any decent seatstay mounted rear dynamo lights out there?

    Have previously mounted a rear dynamo light on a bagman support using a combination of:

    http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/hebie-arc-j8 ... t-prod553/

    and

    http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/busch-and-mu ... -prod1964/

    If you've got the newer bagman supports (which have struts that connect to the top rack bolts) you can get away with just getting the B&M seatbolt bracket and then bolting directly onto the bottom of the bagman where the struts connect to the bottom of the bag supports.

    Not the prettiest setup but functional...
  • Thanks - those brackets look like they could do the job! I really like the Lumiring, so if there's any way I can fit it, I'd far prefer that to a seatstay light. I've got the original Bagman, not the one with supports, so I may need to measure the diameter of the tubing first. The bag still does bounce about a bit, but to be honest, that's no bad thing with a rear light.
    1938 Hobbs Tandem
    1956 Carlton Flyer Path/Track
    1960 Mercian Superlight Track
    1974 Pete Luxton Path/Track*
    1978 Dawes Chevron Fixed
    1980 Harry Hall
    1986 Dawes Galaxy
    1988 Jack Taylor Tourer
    1988 Pearson
    1989 Condor
    1993 Dawes Hybrid
    *Currently on this
  • Had another look at the problem on Saturday, and realised that clamping something to the Bagman wasn't going to work, due to the limited clearance between that and the mudguard.

    Went to Clas Ohlson's on Sunday morning, and picked up a pack of small angle brackets. A little fettling with the vice, a brush with the pillar drill, and a tickle from the rivet gun, and there before me was a bracket that could enable the light to be bolted onto the rear mudguard.

    It's all wired up now with copper coloured speaker wire which blends nicely with my copper coloured bike, and it seems to have survived this morning's commute without a problem.

    No need to worry about my lights or batteries for the winter now. Job done!
    1938 Hobbs Tandem
    1956 Carlton Flyer Path/Track
    1960 Mercian Superlight Track
    1974 Pete Luxton Path/Track*
    1978 Dawes Chevron Fixed
    1980 Harry Hall
    1986 Dawes Galaxy
    1988 Jack Taylor Tourer
    1988 Pearson
    1989 Condor
    1993 Dawes Hybrid
    *Currently on this
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,226
    My Shimano (ultegra grade) /bm Cyo combinaion just keeps on lighting up the road, year after year without missing a beat.
    the only issue is the difficulty of servicing bearings in the dyno-hub. What do other Shimano users do?
  • MichaelW wrote:
    My Shimano (ultegra grade) /bm Cyo combinaion just keeps on lighting up the road, year after year without missing a beat.
    the only issue is the difficulty of servicing bearings in the dyno-hub. What do other Shimano users do?
    I think the general advice is to just leave it alone. Mines done 10,000 miles without any servicing and is still very smooth. I guess they can use better seals when people aren't exactly expecting drag-free performance.
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