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Minimalist PBP-compliant tail lights?

Old 04-25-22, 05:13 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by SBinNYC View Post
What's your objection to a sidewall generator? N.B. the rollers on the new ones are rubber and are replaceable. That means they won't injure the rubber on the tire sidewall. In the old days, there was the Velox rubber cap to prevent the metal roller from touching the sidewall.


I used cold press tubulars, when I rode PBP. The only sidewall protection on those were the liquid latex I'd apply. That's why I used the bottom bracket generator, which rode squarely on the tread.


I have not tried a rim generator. However, the biggest problem for an external generator is slippage during rain. I'd assume there would be more slippage on the rim than on the tire sidewall.


I used a SA dynohub on my pre-historic Rudge, way back when. I'm sure the current models are much more efficient. I did not like the additional friction penalty, when the lights were off. The extra drag on the required full fenders were bad enough, when I did PBP. I would have gladly traded a dirty vertical stripe up my back for the 1 mph lost to fender drag.


There is another objection to a hub generator that might not be obvious. There was a flash flood coming back on a century ride. I had to cross a fast moving stream that was up to my hubs. Some debris in the water broke the seal on the hub bearings. I had to send the wheel back to Phil Wood for the hub to be repaired. I used a spare front wheel, until my wheel came back. Had something happened to a dynohub on PBP, getting a replacement wheel would have been iffy. They have excellent repair and common parts at the controls. However, a wheel with a dynohub is too much to expect. A friend busted his freewheel on PBP. Contrary to Sutherland, it is possible to screw a French threaded freewheel onto an English threaded Campy hub...once.
Ok, sidewall generators work great for you. But, how many people have you actually seen use them in the past year?

I think the best vehicle I ever owned was a 1965 Ford F250, it was easy to work on, easy to fix, rarely gave me problems. When I needed to diagnose a problem with it, there were so few parts on it that it was really simple to diagnose. But I would never recommend one of that vintage to someone that was now looking for a vehicle. My F250 did not even have backup lights or windshield washers, the radio was AM only. When I drove that in the 1970s and 80s, that was still acceptable, but the world has moved on. Same with sidewall generators (alternators), the world has moved on.

A friend of mine was complaining about his dynohub not working, he knew that I had a couple of the same model hubs. Since he rarely used that bike I asked when the last time he used it was, he said it was a short trip he did with his wife. I said - is that the trip where you decided to save a mile and walked your bikes through deep water and then trashed your bottom bracket bearings? He said yeah. I said did you really submerge your dynohub when you did that? He said of course I did, it is waterproof. I then asked him if he was nuts? He chose not to answer that question.

When your sidewall generator quits working, good luck finding a quality one to replace it. And when that happens, I hope you can find one because you clearly think that is the best option.
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Old 04-25-22, 05:45 AM
  #27  
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The veological sidewall generators seem to work fine for randonneuring. Otherwise I don't think they are going to be the choice of anybody riding their bike on a 1200km grand randonnee
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Old 04-25-22, 06:29 AM
  #28  
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I had considered rim generators at one point in time. They have some significant advantages over hub dynamos with slippage and noise being the only two drawbacks from my perspective.

This one got my attention. But, I am sticking with battery lights.

https://pedalcell.com/
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Old 04-25-22, 06:32 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by SBinNYC View Post
What's your objection to a sidewall generator? N.B. the rollers on the new ones are rubber and are replaceable. That means they won't injure the rubber on the tire sidewall. In the old days, there was the Velox rubber cap to prevent the metal roller from touching the sidewall.


I used cold press tubulars, when I rode PBP. The only sidewall protection on those were the liquid latex I'd apply. That's why I used the bottom bracket generator, which rode squarely on the tread.


I have not tried a rim generator. However, the biggest problem for an external generator is slippage during rain. I'd assume there would be more slippage on the rim than on the tire sidewall.


I used a SA dynohub on my pre-historic Rudge, way back when. I'm sure the current models are much more efficient. I did not like the additional friction penalty, when the lights were off. The extra drag on the required full fenders were bad enough, when I did PBP. I would have gladly traded a dirty vertical stripe up my back for the 1 mph lost to fender drag.


There is another objection to a hub generator that might not be obvious. There was a flash flood coming back on a century ride. I had to cross a fast moving stream that was up to my hubs. Some debris in the water broke the seal on the hub bearings. I had to send the wheel back to Phil Wood for the hub to be repaired. I used a spare front wheel, until my wheel came back. Had something happened to a dynohub on PBP, getting a replacement wheel would have been iffy. They have excellent repair and common parts at the controls. However, a wheel with a dynohub is too much to expect. A friend busted his freewheel on PBP. Contrary to Sutherland, it is possible to screw a French threaded freewheel onto an English threaded Campy hub...once.
1991? 87? Did you finish?

I was training for PBP 1991 but had an accident ruining my chances.
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Old 04-25-22, 07:30 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
The veological sidewall generators seem to work fine for randonneuring. Otherwise I don't think they are going to be the choice of anybody riding their bike on a 1200km grand randonnee
Yeah, my comment above in a previous post on those was:
There are some newer ones that instead of using the sidewall of a tire have a roller on the rim, they are called rim dynamos. Some owners like them. I have no such experience so I can't comment. I think the Velological was the first one that gained any foothold in that mkt. Those came out when rim brakes and machined rim braking surfaces were the norm, not sure how they work on rims that were designed for disc brakes, that would be something to research if the roller would wear the paint off the rim.

If you wanted to have a dynamo system and did not want to get a dynohub, I would check out a rim dynamo before considering a sidewall one.
I am not disagreeing with you, but I have not used one so I do not want to recommend it.
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Old 04-25-22, 07:31 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
1991? 87? Did you finish?

I was training for PBP 1991 but had an accident ruining my chances.
I rode PBP in 1979 and 1983. I earned the medal both times.

Lighting was primative before LED's and lithium batteries. Most of the French used either a small front wheel sidewall generator/headlight combo and/or strapped a flashlight onto their front rack. The road was littered with flashlight parts that had fallen off their bikes.

I used a dedicated generator system for my primary lighting. It consisted of either the Sanyo (1979) or Soubitez (1983) bottom bracket generator connected to the Union headlight and taillight. I also used a battery backup that consisted of BEREC front and rear lights. Each was powered by 4 D cells. I had one of the better lighting systems. I rode with a French club most of the time. They would wait for me at the top of hills because I lit the road on the downhill. Their lights did not reach much beyond their front wheels.
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Old 04-25-22, 07:58 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by SBinNYC View Post
I rode PBP in 1979 and 1983. I earned the medal both times.

Lighting was primative before LED's and lithium batteries. Most of the French used either a small front wheel sidewall generator/headlight combo and/or strapped a flashlight onto their front rack. The road was littered with flashlight parts that had fallen off their bikes.

I used a dedicated generator system for my primary lighting. It consisted of either the Sanyo (1979) or Soubitez (1983) bottom bracket generator connected to the Union headlight and taillight. I also used a battery backup that consisted of BEREC front and rear lights. Each was powered by 4 D cells. I had one of the better lighting systems. I rode with a French club most of the time. They would wait for me at the top of hills because I lit the road on the downhill. Their lights did not reach much beyond their front wheels.
Wow, you must have seen a real change in randonneuring over the past 45 years. I did a 400 or 600k leaving from the AYH in Harlem in the early 90's, I remember riding with a seemingly older Ancienne who I recall was a medical doctor. I could have used him that night, I broke the radius bone in my elbow when two riders ahead crashed on a descent. What a memory that was. You must have had some great experiences back in the day.

Interesting how they waited for you, I had a similar experience with two French riders between Loudeac and Tinteniac on the return. I had not seen other riders in a long time other than the bright LEDs coming the other direction when low and behold two riders caught me on a climb but they did not drop me. I was surprised. I then realized they were using me for my lights just holding my wheel. Unfortunately, they decided to sleep in Tinteniac and I pushed on.

I saw a lot of sewups in 95 but doubtful many ride them now. My frame won't take more than 25 mm tires, wish I could use 28 mm but can't have everything.
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Old 04-27-22, 05:47 AM
  #33  
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There was a real change in lighting between 2011 and 2019. My dyno lighting really wasn't that great in 2011, especially compared to what I had in 2019. But I still had people sitting on my wheel on downhills. I get real annoyed about that when I'm tired. I certainly didn't see as many people lighting up the treetops in 2019, whereas it was pretty common in 2011.
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Old 04-27-22, 06:23 AM
  #34  
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WRT treetop lighting, I dare say I saw the vast majority of lights in my eyes in 2015 between around Carhaix and Tintineac on the return. It was awful. Either the dynamo riders do not aim their lights correctly or there are a lot of non-dipped battery lights being used. In 2019, I slept at night and really have no impression other than seeing two (2) dynamo riders clip the curbs existing roundabouts (circles or rotaries). One French rider kept yelling, Merde, Merde, c'est le deuxieme frois ce soir or something like that as he lifted his bloodied body back onto the bike. Another one was a nasty crash with about a dozen riders going down. On a recumbent, I do not join pacelines so, I saw the whole thing. One rider leans in to turn and his dipped lights no longer illuminated the road to the right and he hit the curb and the other riders went down.
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Old 04-27-22, 06:38 AM
  #35  
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My little backup Fenix light broke and I bought a Lumitop B01. The LED projects the beam on the reflector, they claim it is StVZO compliant. I tested it and indeed, it cuts the light about 4 foot off the ground when aimed at my garage door. With a good 5000ma 21700 battery, it looks like a keeper but need to test it. For $37? It is lightweight, puts out good light (medium is as good as a good dynamo light), attaches easily, and very important to my eyes......it is not that intense 6000-6500 blue white tone, more like 4000-4500.

I was considering the Supernova M99 B54 mini but the beam patterns are wavy and it is too white/blue for me BUT it is very well dipped and has a high beam for going around sharp corners. Very expensive experiment. Lupine SL7 beam pattern is better but the settings make battery life unmanageable for an overnight brevet.
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Old 04-27-22, 01:13 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
One French rider kept yelling, Merde, Merde, c'est le deuxieme frois ce soir or something like that as he lifted his bloodied body back onto the bike. Another one was a nasty crash with about a dozen riders going down. On a recumbent, I do not join pacelines so, I saw the whole thing. One rider leans in to turn and his dipped lights no longer illuminated the road to the right and he hit the curb and the other riders went down.
I don't think my current IQ-X headlights have that problem so much, or maybe I'm not railing corners anymore. But some people aim them down. Mine are aimed just like a car headlight, which in most cases illuminates everything. It takes some fiddling though. In 2011, I was using a supernova and there is a technique to illuminate the corners which is hard to explain. Take a line that keeps you fairly upright.

I think riders on pbp would hit curbs no matter what their lights, I was not impressed. In 2011 it was only the Americans that rode like ****, now it's everybody. Although I did see a crash in 2011 from people cutting corners definitely involved French people. I don't know why anyone would cut the inside of a roundabout with a big curb and off-camber downhill pavement, but these guys did. I guess the victim wanted to quit, but someone was messing with his bike and rattling off the parts that were good and then told him to get back on the bike and go. Those 1" tall traffic calming curbs they have in little towns are deadly. I managed to ride over one, which surprised the heck out of me, I thought I was going down hard. I met someone who broke a finger falling on one. I imagine they took out a lot of pacelines.


Regarding pacelines on pbp, it's like a yackof smirnoff joke: In PBP, you don't join pacelines, pacelines join you. Especially if you have good lights.
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Old 04-27-22, 01:45 PM
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It could be a light aiming problem. There are so many different lights, it is hard to say. Maybe I'm a chicken or just think to logically, I don't ride fast in city areas at night. I have also learned empirically that not a lot of speed is needed to get really hurt under the right or wrong situation. I remember the Potomac Pedalers checking light aim during inspection back in the day and they would insist on adjusting if they were aimed wrong. No inspection on PBP in 2023 if I recall

If you want to get steamed, try doing PBP on a recumbent with the pacelines. Lots of times they pass me on a climb and then nearly saw me off or join me by hitting my feet. I think they are looking down at the pavement sucking air riding at the redline and they just look at my front wheel thinking they are clear and then slam over to the right but there is about 24 more inches of carbon and meat after my wheel. But I think the pacelines can be survivable on an upright but you have to be really alert until it thins out. To be a little more fair, people get tired and they don't have a lot of pack riding experience and it gets sloppy, especially with so many different languages. Except all the crashes I have seen were within the first 100 km.
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