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Modern touring wheelset with dyno hub - what can you recommend?

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Modern touring wheelset with dyno hub - what can you recommend?

Old 01-08-21, 08:03 PM
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polymorphself 
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Modern touring wheelset with dyno hub - what can you recommend?

Looking to invest in a modern wheelset to use on a few different frames, but will go on my Voyageur first. Much of my daily riding is done at night, and so a dynamo light makes sense to me for various reasons (quality of light, the issue of always having to charge, front bag blocking light if light is mounted on bars etc). More camping and light touring are also in my future this year.

For the light, based on aesthetics and reading lots of reviews the SON Edelux II makes sense to me. For rims, CR18 36 spoke (I'm assuming the advent of newer wheel technology renders needing 40 spokes obsolete?) also seem to fit the bill for price/quality/aesthetics but I'm open to anything else. Where I'm stuck is front and rear hubs. Dyno hubs seem to vary wildly in price and I'm not sure on how they do or don't interface with various lights and what to look out for.

Last thing, no way I'm building these myself, so hoping to find a solution where the whole wheelset can be purchased ready to go, but will have a LBS build them for me if need be.

Any insight is appreciated, thanks!

Last edited by polymorphself; 01-08-21 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 01-08-21, 08:21 PM
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I've got two SON dynamos... one purchased in 1999 (first generation), and then a newer one purchased in 2008. Both have served me very well.
I build my own wheels, so can't comment on who builds wheelsets.
Both wheels are built with CR-18 rims and have been used for commuting and general abuse. 36 spokes on the 700C wheel, and 32 spokes on the 26" wheel.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 01-08-21, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
I've got two SON dynamos... one purchased in 1999 (first generation), and then a newer one purchased in 2008. Both have served me very well.
I build my own wheels, so can't comment on who builds wheelsets.
Both wheels are built with CR-18 rims and have been used for commuting and general abuse. 36 spokes on the 700C wheel, and 32 spokes on the 26" wheel.

Steve in Peoria
Great, sounds like I'm on the right track then! The building is the least important factor here, I'll drop the cash to have my LBS do it, but I figure there may be a source I'm not aware of that puts wheels together like this.
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Old 01-08-21, 09:16 PM
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SON if price is no object
SP if you're looking for value
Sanyo or Shimano for pure functionality

I have all of the above, they all work just fine. SON and SP have least turning resistance. SON widebody makes the strongest wheel and may be more durable.
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Old 01-08-21, 10:49 PM
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My understanding is that SP hubs, while lighter than Shimano hubs, have more drag and provide less power than Shimano hubs. Source SON hubs are the best-performing by all accounts. I've had a Shimano DH-3N80 on my main bike for five years and it's served me well. I've repacked the bearings a couple times, and when a bungee cord got stuck in the spokes and wrecked the electrical connector, I was able to replace the part with something scrounged from a cheap Nexus dynamo hub.
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Old 01-09-21, 04:03 AM
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I have a SON and a 3N80 the SON is prettier but on the bike I can’t tell the difference.
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Old 01-09-21, 04:37 AM
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Figure out what you want to pay and get a hub at that price point. Germany is the cheapest for dynamo hubs but Shimano is now out from there due to geoblocking.
I rode through 3ft of water with a Shimano 3N80 and didn't get a drop inside, so the sealing is pretty good on those.
Got a SON on my tourer, SP on my partners, can't tell the difference really, even with a forumslader doing USB charging. Shimano have a new hub, the DH-UR700, supposed to be way less drag and more efficient than previous models.
Spokes DT Swiss Alpine III the pro nipples with hemispherical seat.
Rims, I like rhynolite XL, they're cheap, super strong and have eyelets. They'll work tubeless with Joe's Rim Strips.
The building is the most important factor! You need somebody who knows how to set bends and stress relieve properly, while getting spoke tensions even. You can have the best components, but if it's built poorly you'll have problems.
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Old 01-09-21, 04:54 AM
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I have a Shimano 3N72 laced to VO rim on my tourer. It works fine but have found that I can feel the vibration of the hub up through the handlebars, so kind of annoying. I have a SONdelux wide en route from Germany and I plan on building it onto a TB14 rim for my tourer and move the Shimano wheel to a city/errand bike I’m putting together..

I recently found that Handsome Cycles sells built dynamo wheels at decent prices

https://handsomecycles.com/collections/dynamo-lighting

Peter White cycles is also one of the few US distributors of SON hubs and also a great resource for all things dynamo.

https://www.peterwhitecycles.com
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Old 01-09-21, 06:47 AM
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As is usually the case, Velomine can set you up for a very reasonable price:

https://www.velomine.com/index.php?m...pl9gfbo9squq14

For me, I’ve been running SP hubs since they first came out and have been very happy with them. Half the price of SON but more than half the performance!
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Old 01-09-21, 11:07 AM
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If you just want generated light vs battery light, the SA Dynohub is a cheap alternative and still out there. Not nearly as bright as modern lights thouht. 20 years ago, I picked up 2 for cheap $, found the original headlight produced weak, but reliable, light for the country roads of my commute. Later replaced SA headlight with a Busch & Mueller Lumotec Halogen headlight which cost around $80 from my LBS back then. It produced adequate light. At the time, was concerned that I might build a wheel, then find the Dynohub didn't function. A trusted tech at our LBS re-assured me. Said he had never seen 1 that didn't work. Just did a search and surprised that those old Lumotec Oval headlights go for around $100 now, so if you want to go cheap, look for a good bottle generator setup, still available on the Bay for not too much $$. Don (edit: reminder, Dynohubs are chrome plated steel, not aluminum, so heavy as sin but they are durable)

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Old 01-09-21, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by polymorphself View Post
Great, sounds like I'm on the right track then! The building is the least important factor here, I'll drop the cash to have my LBS do it, but I figure there may be a source I'm not aware of that puts wheels together like this.
I've been looking at prowheelbuilder.com but haven't pulled the trigger yet. They have SP and Son dynamo hubs and a wide variety of rims (including Velocity and VO for retro types). One item that source seems to be missing is triple butted spokes, but they do have some double butted options. The website has a nice tool to let you "build" your wheels and see the price and weight. Prices seem very good to me - you could build a decent wheelset with an SP dynamo for around $500. Maybe $700 if you went with a Son dynamo.
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Old 01-09-21, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
I've been looking at prowheelbuilder.com but haven't pulled the trigger yet. They have SP and Son dynamo hubs and a wide variety of rims (including Velocity and VO for retro types). One item that source seems to be missing is triple butted spokes, but they do have some double butted options. The website has a nice tool to let you "build" your wheels and see the price and weight. Prices seem very good to me - you could build a decent wheelset with an SP dynamo for around $500. Maybe $700 if you went with a Son dynamo.
Awesome just the kinda site I was looking for!
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Old 01-09-21, 02:19 PM
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I commute on Shimano DH-3N30 laced to a Mavic A319 rim. I bought it used and have been commuting on it for the past 3 and a half years through snow, ice, rain, grit, and salt. Been taking the bike regularly in and out of cold and warm places, so I'm sure it's had plenty of moist air go inside the hub, as it has none of the fancy Schmidt pressure compensating technology. I've had to replace a cone after 3 years because the bearings got real grumbly. Took 45 minutes. That's the only maintenance I've had to perform. They say you can't change the connector-side cone, but I did it (with two wrenches, sitting in an office chair) so anybody with two wrenches and a brain can do it.

The trade-off, I think, is between weight and serviceability and price. Certain Shimano hubs are efficient as Schmidt ones, or at least one BQ test said they were, and unlike Schmidt, the bearings can be serviced without unlacing the wheel. But they're heavy. The few SP hubs that have been tested for efficiency are less efficient than their Schmidt and Shimano counterparts. However, they're cheap and lightweight (but also can't be disassembled to change the bearings unless you take apart the wheel).

I'd be interested in the resistance stats for the SP SV-9 versus a Schmidt SONdelux. Has anybody checked the SV-9? I know the PV-8 has a bit more drag than the SON28 and SONdelux, and the PD-8 is the same (more nuanced analysis with different lights), but what about the small ultralight SV-9? I have heard promising things, but no real data.

The front wheel is under much less stress than the rear no matter how you slice it. Less weight overall, and symmetry means all the spokes share equally in the load, so you're probably fine with almost any rim you choose. I toured on a Nashbar-branded MA40 copy (they look identical) for six months. Broke all manner of stuff, including a front racks and two rear wheels during that time, but the rim was fine - and it's a pretty lightweight thing.

For the rear rim, since you say "wheel-set", I suggest the heaviest thing out there if you are planning on carrying much load touring for a long time. I like the Mavic A319, Ryde Sputnik, or Ryde Andra.

I don't think 40 or 48 spoke wheels have been made obsolete, but the market has deemed them unnecessary. No idea why, but I'm confident it's what an economist would call a "market failure". They didn't stop being stronger or more durable over long distances. They just stopped being profitable. I am unhappy about this, but that's the way it is.

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Old 01-09-21, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by polymorphself View Post
Awesome just the kinda site I was looking for!
Contact them- call or email- and talk options if the site is too confusing due to all the options.
Sapim double butted spokes and brass nipples are good value from them too, though they may only allow plain gauge spokes with a dynamo hub.

As for rim- the cr18 is fine, I have a set, but there are much nicer options for not much more $.
H Plus Son Archetype is a really good rim thst comes in 32 and 36h. You don't need more spokes than that for a front wheel on a modern rim like this. The front wheel with 36h is simply overbuilt(I have one) in all situations except the most extreme examples.

I've bought 2 wheelsets from prowheelbuilder and cant say anything negative about either experiences.
An Archetype rim, sapim strong butted spokes, and a son 28 hub habdbuilt costs $418 before discount. Shimano dynamo hub would be less.
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Old 01-11-21, 08:21 AM
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Old 01-11-21, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by polymorphself View Post
SON Edelux II makes sense to me. For rims, CR18 36 spoke
Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
I've got two SON dynamos... one purchased in 1999 (first generation), and then a newer one purchased in 2008. Both have served me very well.
Both wheels are built with CR-18 rims and have been used for commuting and general abuse. 36 spokes on the 700C wheel, and 32 spokes on the 26" wheel.
Originally Posted by gugie View Post
SON if price is no object
SON and SP have least turning resistance. SON widebody makes the strongest wheel and may be more durable.
Looks like you ran smack dab into your solution.

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Old 01-11-21, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
SON and SP have least turning resistance.
Is this based on your personal experience, or some published source?

According to the sources I have read (here and also here), the SP hubs have more drag above 20km/h, with the lights on. And some old Shimanos (3N30, 3N70) have the same drag as the old SON28 (BQ Vol. 3 #4).

I've got a bunch of different Shimanos, old (3N30) and new (S500), and a Sturmey (XL-FDD) and I can't feel a difference between any of them, lights on or off. Some resonate with some frames and make a slight buzzing when the lights are on, but that's all I notice.

Telling the difference between dynamo hubs' resistance by riding them seems a bit like that old fairy tale, "the princess and the pea" to me.
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Old 01-11-21, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
Is this based on your personal experience, or some published source?

According to the sources I have read (here and also here), the SP hubs have more drag above 20km/h, with the lights on. And some old Shimanos (3N30, 3N70) have the same drag as the old SON28 (BQ Vol. 3 #4).

I've got a bunch of different Shimanos, old (3N30) and new (S500), and a Sturmey (XL-FDD) and I can't feel a difference between any of them, lights on or off. Some resonate with some frames and make a slight buzzing when the lights are on, but that's all I notice.

Telling the difference between dynamo hubs' resistance by riding them seems a bit like that old fairy tale, "the princess and the pea" to me.
I stand corrected!

Coulda sworn I saw data awhile back claiming SON and SP are about the same, your sources show differently.
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Old 01-11-21, 01:55 PM
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Modern lights need so little power that you can power them with any dynamo hub. The more you spend, the less drag the hub has. I've been riding on Sanyo hubs for a few years. They are the cheapest and draggiest, and I don't mind, and they fully power my lights. It sounds like SP is the best compromise between performance and price.

Buy the fanciest headlight you can afford.

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Old 01-11-21, 02:39 PM
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I'm with @noglider on this. Get the best headlight you can afford. And don't worry too much about the particular dynamo.

I have had a Shimano DH-3N30 for well over 10 years and have run the Shimano Nexus 8 into the ground while the dynamo is still spinning smoothly. In fact that whole bike is falling apart but the dynamo is still running.
There is a reason why most cheap companies don't survive entering the Dutch bicycle marketspace. Dutch people are HARD on their bikes. (read: downright neglectfully so)

My current daily commuter runs a Sturmey Archer XL-FDD, my rando bike a Shutter Precision PL8 and my girlfriend rides a Shimano DH-3N80 but just because I liked the way it looked better than the Shimano DH-3N72 at the time.

And just like @scarlson I do not notice any difference in drag but the SP does tend to vibrate a bit around the 22 kph (13 mph) mark for me. Then again, I have heard the same for the SON but at slightly different speeds depending on the bike. Some frequencies just resonate.
My guess is the Sturmey Archer makes it less noticeable because it's a dynohub with integrated drum brakes. All that weight must dampen it somewhat.

On my new project I plan to use a Son 28 disc center lock but only because I like using 36H wheels. The SONdelux disc center lock only comes in 32H.
Curious to see what the hype is about and they do make some really nice over-engineered hubs.

These are all good hubs. Unlikely to fail and the drag is negligible.

CyclingAbout has a blog post that gives you some calculations on how much they slow you down:
How Much Do Hub Dynamos Really Slow You Down? - CyclingAbout,com

The most-efficient hub will slow you down:
10-30 seconds per hour with no lights or chargers attached
1-2 minutes per hour with a USB charger
1.5-2.5 minutes per hour with a bright light

The least-efficient hub will slow you down:
0.5-1 minute per hour with no lights or chargers attached
2.5-3 minutes per hour with a USB charger
2.5-4 minutes per hour with a bright light
EDIT: A really affordable way is to buy a pre-made wheel from German places like Bike24.com. Starting at €75 + shipping ($91) you get a cheap Shimano + Mavic wheel or spend some more for a SONdelux + DT Swiss R460 rim at €259 + shipping ($314).
Though personally I would go for a different rim for touring.

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Old 01-11-21, 03:39 PM
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I have had a couple of dynohubs fail on me over the years. One was a cheap model that V-O sold at one point (maybe a re-labeled Sanyo?), which stopped working after a season of deep winter commuting. Another was a Kasei, which seemed to replace SP for a short time. It would emit a horrible noise every now and then, which went away when I disengaged the lamp, but would eventually come back after another few hundred miles. Relaced that wheel with an SP and no problems since.
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Old 01-11-21, 04:31 PM
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Huge +1 on the SON hubs but if you are looking for a more budget option that is still decent SP hubs are actually pretty solid. If you are doing something with a cassette in the back, White Industries would be my pick if freewheel Phil Wood of course. If you need a heavier duty wheel set 36 would probably be the sweet spot but a 32 will work as well.
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Old 01-15-21, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
Is this based on your personal experience, or some published source?

According to the sources I have read (here and also here), the SP hubs have more drag above 20km/h, with the lights on. And some old Shimanos (3N30, 3N70) have the same drag as the old SON28 (BQ Vol. 3 #4).

I've got a bunch of different Shimanos, old (3N30) and new (S500), and a Sturmey (XL-FDD) and I can't feel a difference between any of them, lights on or off. Some resonate with some frames and make a slight buzzing when the lights are on, but that's all I notice.

Telling the difference between dynamo hubs' resistance by riding them seems a bit like that old fairy tale, "the princess and the pea" to me.
I doubt anyone can discern differences in drag between a Shimano, SP or SON hub of the same wheel size class. For me, the difference is in the vibration. I had a Shimano 3N70 which caused a vibration in the handlebars, which translated to nerve irritation and numbness in my hands on longer rides. I don't get the vibration with SP hubs or SON hubs. Others have not experienced vibration with the Shimano, but I suppose it might have something to do with the damping characteristics of the fork. My Shimano hub also developed a faint clicking noise after a few years. My SON and SP hubs have been flawless.
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Old 01-17-21, 01:58 PM
  #24  
hsuBM
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For commuting and weekend tours I wouldn’t bother with the expense of a dynamo system over modern usb-lights- even if the expense is just a CR rim and a Sanyo hub strung up with non-butted spokes.
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Old 01-17-21, 03:34 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by hsuBM View Post
For commuting and weekend tours I wouldn’t bother with the expense of a dynamo system over modern usb-lights- even if the expense is just a CR rim and a Sanyo hub strung up with non-butted spokes.
I would disagree and say daily commuting is one of the better reasons for a dynamo. Charging lights on a regular basis is a big annoyance for me and then on top of that, if you don’t charge your lights every day, then guesstimating if you can get one more ride out of the charge. Knowing your lights are ready to go, anytime, anywhere is a wonderful luxury.
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