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Any Dynamo users?

pastryboypastryboy Posts: 1,385
edited September 2018 in Commuting chat
Thinking of building a dynamo front wheel for city commuting.

Are all lights/dynamos universal in their connections?
What is the real world difference between a £70 Shimano dynamo and £200+ SON one?
How come a USB charging adapter is so expensive - £80-200+?
How does the brightness of say a £25 rear light compare to a similarly priced regular battery one?

Any advantages/disadvantages to think about. It seems a relatively expensive route from what I've seen.
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  • pastryboy wrote:
    Thinking of building a dynamo front wheel for city commuting.

    Good plan! I'll never go back to batteries - for my front light at least. Rear lights last long enough to not bother me with recharging.
    pastryboy wrote:
    Are all lights/dynamos universal in their connections?

    Certainly the Shimano and SP dynamo ones are compatible, connector-wise, but the lights generally come with bare cable anyway which you cut to length and use whatever connector came with your hub.
    pastryboy wrote:
    What is the real world difference between a £70 Shimano dynamo and £200+ SON one?

    Never tried the SON, which I hear is lovely, but the main difference between my previous Shimano 3N80 and my current SP dynamo PD-8 is that with the Shimano I changed to a summer wheel and was counting down the days until I was able to do so, the SP I use all year round. Much lighter spinning and smoother.
    pastryboy wrote:
    How come a USB charging adapter is so expensive - £80-200+?

    Basically you're taking an unreliable AC signal and plugging it into a very expensive device. You *want* good electronics to do that without frying your phone. Some lights have it built in https://www.bike-discount.de/en/buy/busch-mueller-lumotec-iq2-luxos-u-led-headlight-63073 . A mate has one and it's powerful enough to stop his phone losing charge when the light's on.
    pastryboy wrote:
    How does the brightness of say a £25 rear light compare to a similarly priced regular battery one?

    Never tried a rear light - I claim it's because I don't mind USB charging once every few weeks, but mainly it's because I don't like the idea of running cables along the top tube and making my bike less pretty. Be aware that they won't flash either as the German regulations say that will mesmerise drunk or tired drivers.
    pastryboy wrote:
    Any advantages/disadvantages to think about. It seems a relatively expensive route from what I've seen.

    Yes, it is a bit expensive, but the lights are fantastic. They conform to the German road regulations and so don't dazzle oncoming drivers and put an obscene amount of light on the road. Here's a beam shot I did a while back using a 100 lux B&M light:

    Beam.JPG

    That and you never, ever have to start seeing your battery run out.
  • wolfsbane2kwolfsbane2k Posts: 2,957
    Not yet. Not yet, but N+1 will feature a PD-8 and B&M light for year round commuting.
    Intent on Cycling Commuting on a budget, but keep on breaking/crashing/finding nice stuff to buy.
    Bike 1 (Broken) - Bike 2(Borked) - Bike 3(broken spokes) - Bike 4( Needs Work) - Bike 5 (in bits) - Bike 6* ...
  • DrLexDrLex Posts: 2,142
    Mr Elephant pretty much nails it, so I’ll just throw in a couple of thoughts.

    I had a Shimano dynamo wheel on my Pompetamine and now have a SON on my Mason - choice of that or SP as it’s a 12mm through axle disc wheel. Shimano gave me no issues for the six years that I had the bike, and only had the current one for just over a year.

    If you’re handy with a soldering iron or have a friend who is, you can make a charger for around £15 worth of bits - https://www.arenddeboer.com/diy-hub-dynamo-usb-charger - but far easier to get a front light with a USB socket.

    I add a flashing rear as a back-up - you won’t get a German rear flasher due to their lighting regs - and as I like the better visibility it brings about. Many of the German front lamps are fork crown mount, so you may need an adaptor to hang it from the ‘bars.
    Location: ciderspace
  • pastryboypastryboy Posts: 1,385
    Thanks - very helpful responses. I'll pick up a Shimano hub at some point before autumn.
  • DrLexDrLex Posts: 2,142
    Well, the nights are drawing in...
    ;-)
    Location: ciderspace
  • roger_merrimanroger_merriman Posts: 6,142
    pastryboy wrote:
    Thinking of building a dynamo front wheel for city commuting.

    Good plan! I'll never go back to batteries - for my front light at least. Rear lights last long enough to not bother me with recharging.

    Oddly it's the rear lights that I find annoying, my front lights have long life, plus gauge, where as the rear lights don't have a gauge nor last that long, I use two and for the commute bike I run lights all the time, generally find out one is flat at some point, one is a blinky with rechargeable other is big more powerful USB thing.
  • pastryboy wrote:
    Thanks - very helpful responses. I'll pick up a Shimano hub at some point before autumn.
    Get the SP Dynamo one! They’re about the same price as the Shimano, but much, much nicer.

    https://www.spacycles.co.uk/m2b0s133p0/ ... ng-Dynamos
  • HamishDHamishD Posts: 538
    thanks for the tips gentlemen - something to think about for the coming winter. The treasurer won't let me buy another bike but this falls under a different cost centre so I think I can get away with it... :)
  • pastryboypastryboy Posts: 1,385
    The SP looks a bit lighter and has some decent reviews so I'll go for that one. Think 50LUX headlight will do for me - really just after something that makes me very visible on the road and provides a little light in front.
  • I've just ordered a brommie with a shimano dynamo hub for year-round commuting. main reason for going down this route is that i just don't have to remember to put the lights on, take them off, and recharge them. fit and forget.
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    For the last few years I've been using a SP PD-8 dynamo with an Axa 70Luxx front light and a B&M Secula rear light.
    The SP dynamo is fantastic. I can't fault it, it feels no different to a normal front hub and is small enough to be barely noticeable if you're not looking for it.
    The Axa front light is also fantastic. Built in USB charging port and it gives enough juice to add about 1% charge/mile to my phone even with GPS on, mapping guiding me and the screen showing the map. With the phone on stand-by it adds quite a bit more charge, but I can't remember how much.
    The rear light does the job. The stand light stays on for about 15 minutes after about 5 minutes of riding, so being stationary at traffic lights in the dark is not a problem after about a minute of riding.

    I'm a complete convert and every bike I own from now on will have the same or similar set-up.
    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!
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Aah I used to love my old school dynamo that went on the tyre. The bike made a noise like airwolf going along and the light was brighter than any battery light back then.

    Makes a lot of sense for a commuter bike.
  • DrLexDrLex Posts: 2,142
    EKE! Welcome back - how’re tricks?
    Location: ciderspace
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    DrLex wrote:
    EKE! Welcome back - how’re tricks?
    Exactly what I was going to say. Long time no hear, good to have you back!
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • It's a great idea... I still need an excuse to build myself a dynamo front wheel. I do long Audaxes, but not long enough that I need a dynamo... generally the 5 hours provided by my light + spare battery are plenty enough for 400 or 600 km events.
    Likewise, my commuting is under an hour each way, so battery is plenty.
  • After a lot of digging around, and really not being sure what bike I want, and therefore what wheels I want, and the associated costs of building up a number of wheels across what will now become a fleet of 4 bikes, I've pretty much decided to go with the B&M Ixon IQ Speed Premium LED light, which the battery powered version.

    Ideally I'd want to be able to power these from a dynamo when I eventually get around to building the wheels up, but seems that's not possible :(
    Intent on Cycling Commuting on a budget, but keep on breaking/crashing/finding nice stuff to buy.
    Bike 1 (Broken) - Bike 2(Borked) - Bike 3(broken spokes) - Bike 4( Needs Work) - Bike 5 (in bits) - Bike 6* ...
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    I have the 4xAA powered Ixon IQ Premium and now the nights are drawing in I've been impressed all over again with how good it is and how long it lasts. (The Speed is better still, but I didn't want the faff of the separate battery pack)

    Although I must confess I still have a hankering for a dynamo front wheel and the 100 Lux B&M with a remote switch and USB port for charging stuff on the go...
  • keef66 wrote:
    Although I must confess I still have a hankering for a dynamo front wheel and the 100 Lux B&M with a remote switch and USB port for charging stuff on the go...
    It's one of those dreams, like living 100% sustainably in a slate cave... maybe one day... 8)
  • keef66 wrote:
    I have the 4xAA powered Ixon IQ Premium and now the nights are drawing in I've been impressed all over again with how good it is and how long it lasts. (The Speed is better still, but I didn't want the faff of the separate battery pack)

    Although I must confess I still have a hankering for a dynamo front wheel and the 100 Lux B&M with a remote switch and USB port for charging stuff on the go...

    Even though I’m bit cynical as is my want, I do get the interest in the technology and the self sustaining etc.
  • keef66 wrote:
    I have the 4xAA powered Ixon IQ Premium and now the nights are drawing in I've been impressed all over again with how good it is and how long it lasts. (The Speed is better still, but I didn't want the faff of the separate battery pack)

    Although I must confess I still have a hankering for a dynamo front wheel and the 100 Lux B&M with a remote switch and USB port for charging stuff on the go...

    The local audaux group have a load of members with that setup, and it's my ideal, but know I don't really need it
    Intent on Cycling Commuting on a budget, but keep on breaking/crashing/finding nice stuff to buy.
    Bike 1 (Broken) - Bike 2(Borked) - Bike 3(broken spokes) - Bike 4( Needs Work) - Bike 5 (in bits) - Bike 6* ...
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    tgotb wrote:
    DrLex wrote:
    EKE! Welcome back - how’re tricks?
    Exactly what I was going to say. Long time no hear, good to have you back!
    Tricks are good.
    After a brief foray as a driving instructor I'm back as a cycling instructor and very glad about it I am too!
    I'm doing less work in schools doing Bikeability and more work with HGV drivers, taking them out on bikes so that they get to feel more vulnerable and explaining why cyclists do what they do (good and bad).
    Living in the sticks is good. Much as I love London it feels dirty to me now (not in a good way) and the congestion is just crazy.
    Being a dad is great. Fidget (EKE junior) keeps is on our toes and looks like she is about to get interested in her balance bike.


    So what's new on the forum? Helmet debate still raging? DDD still scared of squirrels but claiming to be the ultimate alpha male? ITB still drunk? Bad speeling and gramer still pounced upon? Has anyone been brave enough to admit that they are thinking about getting an e-bike?
    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!
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 22,484 Lives Here
    EKE_38BPM wrote:
    DDD still scared of squirrels but claiming to be the ultimate alpha male?
    Who? He's been even quieter than you. Good to hear things are going well, good luck with fidget.
    ITB may still be drunk but he's long overdue coming to the smoke to buy us a drink. It's been his round for at least 3 years.
  • EKE_38BPM wrote:


    So what's new on the forum? Disc brake debate still raging?

    FTFY
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    EKE_38BPM wrote:


    So what's new on the forum? Disc brake debate still raging?

    FTFY
    I thought that one has been put to bed.
    Disc brakes if you like stopping in all conditions, rim brakes if you don't like stopping but do like wearing through your rims.
    Even Pro teams are using disc brakes in the TdF, FFS.
    Only Luddites still prefer rim brakes, but then they are probably still using toe clips, solid rubber tyres and EverReady D cell lights.
    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!
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    EKE_38BPM wrote:
    EKE_38BPM wrote:


    So what's new on the forum? Disc brake debate still raging?

    FTFY
    I thought that one has been put to bed.
    Disc brakes if you like stopping in all conditions, rim brakes if you don't like stopping but do like wearing through your rims.
    Even Pro teams are using disc brakes in the TdF, FFS.
    Only Luddites still prefer rim brakes, but then they are probably still using toe clips, solid rubber tyres and EverReady D cell lights.
    In theory, yes.
    In practice, the rim brakes on my road bike are more effective, in all conditions, than the disk brakes on my commuting bike and both of my CX bikes. Compare the effective rotor sizes, and it's not hard to see why.
    Are pro teams riding what they want to ride, or what their sponsors want them to promote? The recent badmouthing of 3T by various Aqua Blue team members very much suggests the latter. (As an aside - what are they thinking? Talk about biting the hand that feeds you...)
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • EKE_38BPM wrote:
    EKE_38BPM wrote:


    So what's new on the forum? Disc brake debate still raging?

    FTFY
    I thought that one has been put to bed.
    Disc brakes if you like stopping in all conditions, rim brakes if you don't like stopping but do like wearing through your rims.
    Even Pro teams are using disc brakes in the TdF, FFS.
    Only Luddites still prefer rim brakes, but then they are probably still using toe clips, solid rubber tyres and EverReady D cell lights.

    Falling into the trap again...

    Not everybody rides 2 grand of carbon wheels. For example my rims are worth 35 quid each and I can replace them myself for free. Given road bikes with rim brakes are generally a kilo lighter like for like, they are significantly cheaper like for like, come with a wider choice of frame geometries and are typically not littered with half a dozen incompatible and ever evolving dropout standards... I am finding it difficult to advise disc brakes to anyone who is not strictly commuting in traffic all the time
  • EKE_38BPM wrote:
    EKE_38BPM wrote:


    So what's new on the forum? Disc brake debate still raging?

    FTFY
    I thought that one has been put to bed.
    Disc brakes if you like stopping in all conditions, rim brakes if you don't like stopping but do like wearing through your rims.
    Even Pro teams are using disc brakes in the TdF, FFS.
    Only Luddites still prefer rim brakes, but then they are probably still using toe clips, solid rubber tyres and EverReady D cell lights.

    Falling into the trap again...

    Not everybody rides 2 grand of carbon wheels. For example my rims are worth 35 quid each and I can replace them myself for free. Given road bikes with rim brakes are generally a kilo lighter like for like, they are significantly cheaper like for like, come with a wider choice of frame geometries and are typically not littered with half a dozen incompatible and ever evolving dropout standards... I am finding it difficult to advise disc brakes to anyone who is not strictly commuting in traffic all the time

    Interesting view, - I've always been considering discs as replacing discs is signifacntly easier for a layman who's not able to rebuild a wheel. Hadn't realised/considered the weight difference, not that it matters "much" for all weather commuters..
    Intent on Cycling Commuting on a budget, but keep on breaking/crashing/finding nice stuff to buy.
    Bike 1 (Broken) - Bike 2(Borked) - Bike 3(broken spokes) - Bike 4( Needs Work) - Bike 5 (in bits) - Bike 6* ...
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Interesting view, - I've always been considering discs as replacing discs is signifacntly easier for a layman who's not able to rebuild a wheel. Hadn't realised/considered the weight difference, not that it matters "much" for all weather commuters..
    As someone who builds his own wheels, I can confirm that replacing disc rotors is significantly quicker and cheaper than a rebuild :-)

    I'm not sure about 1kg weight penalty; I reckon it's about half that.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • tgotb wrote:
    Interesting view, - I've always been considering discs as replacing discs is signifacntly easier for a layman who's not able to rebuild a wheel. Hadn't realised/considered the weight difference, not that it matters "much" for all weather commuters..
    As someone who builds his own wheels, I can confirm that replacing disc rotors is significantly quicker and cheaper than a rebuild :-)

    I'm not sure about 1kg weight penalty; I reckon it's about half that.

    As someone who's attempting to rebuild their old disc based wheel with a new hub for learning purposes, I can completely concur with that assessment..

    (6 weeks/4 hours and counting, and I'm not happy, and have got through a fair amount of wine after each time I try to do it...)
    Intent on Cycling Commuting on a budget, but keep on breaking/crashing/finding nice stuff to buy.
    Bike 1 (Broken) - Bike 2(Borked) - Bike 3(broken spokes) - Bike 4( Needs Work) - Bike 5 (in bits) - Bike 6* ...
  • andyh01andyh01 Posts: 518
    After a few years off the bike I'm in midst of changing jobs and be back commuting via bike.
    The new bike build will feature a Son Delux hub with supanover triple 3 & tail light.
    Are 700c wheels as efficient in light output/charge as 650b or as smaller wheels spin faster are they better option for dynmano wheels?

    I also can't decide whether to go with usb charger as well was looking at top caps like plug charge 3 or senewave but not sure if need a cache battery as will be fair stop/start commute 10 mile each way, are the charges worth it?
    If had charger and lights would I also need a switch to switch off charging if not using? Intend to have daytime running lights.??
    Thanks Andy
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